Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Six Day Miracle

----Reposted from A Perfect Lily

I read the words of a friend last night, and as is typical of posts written by mamas rescuing their babies from orphanages across the world, it cut me to the heart. I read it with my girl tucked safely in the crook of my arm, her golden head laying softly against my neck, and I gulped back hot tears trying to read the words out loud to Sam.

"You read it," I said, because I knew it was pointless to go on.

There is something beautiful and powerful about mamas and daddies sacrificing finances, time, and energy to rescue a child who is going to require extraordinary amounts of care and effort once they are home. There is something amazing and rare about families who will put everything on the line, including and especially their hearts, for a child who by the world's standards is broken. There is something pure and noble and absolutely right about that kind of love- the love that says it doesn't matter what it takes, I am going to rescue this child, and nothing is going to stand in my way. The love that faces seemingly insurmountable costs and mountains of paperwork and risks what family and friends will think about traveling across the ocean to save a child you've never met before, one that many people might say wasn't really "fit for life" in the first place.

So when I read this mama's account of the very first time she met her little girl- it didn't matter that I've read several dozen similar stories- they get me every time. I want you to read this account, that of a mama rescuing her daughter. I want you to listen to the words spoken by a five year old little girl...

...and if you're a parent, imagine your child saying them...

About 5 minutes in, the door opened and someone pushed our girl in the door and shut it.

She was stunned. It seemed she had not been made aware of what was happening or why, and she regarded us quizzically at first. We were stunned.  The picture had turned in to a person! My mind was literally swimming, I could not remember a.single.word. of Russian. I couldn’t remember how to greet her, or how to tell her she was absolutely gorgeous, or how to say I am your Mama.  Nothing. Just complete shock.

Then I remembered I had a Disney princess doll in my bag to give her. I pulled it out, and she smiled.  I asked if she wanted to sit on my lap, and she did.  The director and doctor began talking again, but all I could do was stare at the sweet, brown pigtails swishing in front of me. Her little hands turning the doll over, as she began to speak a little bit.  She began to realize what was happening.

We were there FOR. HER.

Our sweet little Vi.

She looked up and asked me “What is your name?” in Russian.  I told her “Lora. Mama.”  She looked straight to Dean, “What is your name?”  He told her “Dean. Papa.” She looked to the director and smiled “Mama! Papa!”

Everyone was absolutely beaming, and perhaps had just a glint of tears in their eyes.

“I kept asking for you!! Mama? Mama? Mama? When will you come??” she said, according to our translator. 

Five years is a long time to wait for this.

Or this...

Or this...

I can't imagine Lily never knowing the security of having a mama to tuck her in every night, to hold her when she's hurting or comfort her when she's sad, never knowing how it feels to be desired and loved.

I can't imagine what goes through a little girl's mind for five years, wondering when her mama will come take her home, waiting for the day she will walk through the doors of her orphanage, dreaming about that elusive, imaginary angel....

Mama? Mama? Mama? When will you come??

Yesterday I received an email from a friend...another amazing mama who traveled last year to rescue not one, but two children.

I wanted to see if you could help me out by posting on your blog about the Dirkes family. You see she contacted me today just heart broken and at her wits end. Her faith is shaken and my heart has gathered her burden. She leaves in one week. Yes, 7 days and she still needs at least 7k for this trip. Grand total is still about 17k. I am asking for your help because I was in her shoes not long ago and it is heart wrenching. It takes all you got to get through a day. The tears seem to never end. You pray there will just be one person who hears your cry. You pray until you have no words left just hoping someone will help. Patti, financially I cannot help her, I have made donations but not nearly enough to help. I have heard her cries and I cannot just sit back and hope she gets her funds. Her daughter Charlotte holds a special place in my heart; she was the one I would of chosen if we didn't choose Varvara. So, this leaves me to contact people who I know can help. Please go to her blog and see if you can help. Post a story, anything you can think of....
Ann Plummer

I went to Ann's friend's blog, and recognized a sweet little face I donated to a few months ago...and again a few days ago, in honor of another friend's birthday wish. Little Charlotte met her mama and daddy last November. They are traveling in six days to see her again, and go to court to make her theirs.

Six Days.

 Six days to make a miracle happen.

Do you think we can do it?

With God's help, I believe we can.

Charlotte's mama, Kelly, emailed me yesterday, after I said I would do everything I could to help.

There are no words to thank you and the others who have stepped up and spoken out for us and for my girl. I knew this journey would give me the opportunity to learn a great deal about being a momma and about Down Syndrome...but I didn't know just how strong this community is.

Well, Kelly- you're about to find out. I say that not because I have confidence in Lily's blog, or in my own words, but because I serve a BIG God. And I'm part of a faithful and generous community, one who rallies around its own.

Charlotte is our own, friends.

 She's been waiting for her mama all of her life, waiting and hoping for someone to come and take her home.

“I kept asking for you!! Mama? Mama? Mama? When will you come??”

 Lily's readers have responded so many times to the needs of orphans. You've given so much to help these families find and rescue their children. Will you help me again?

Will you help us make a six day miracle happen?

Will you help save a little girl?

Because Charlotte is our own.

I know Lily's readers, and I know it doesn't even take a giveaway to move you beyond compassion, and into action. I know the face of one beautiful little girl who desperately needs her mama is enough to move you to give.
But a giveaway full of amazing prizes is always nice too:)   (and thank you, Kelly, for letting me hijack your giveaway!)

Here's how it works....

1 chance=$10 donation

5 chances=$25 donation

20 chances=$50 donation

All donations are tax-deductible and go directly to the Dirkes's grant fund through Reece’s Rainbow.  They can be made using the Chip-In at the top of my sidebar on the right.

Canon Rebel DSLR camera (with lens)

Petal Knot Dress from Willow Bean Creations

Custom made t-shirt from If You Say Sew

Starfish necklace from The Vintage Pearl

Pearl, bracelet, and earring set from Kay Jewelers

Insulated Tote from 31

Autographed copy of Alton Brown’s book “I’m Just Here for the Food”

Autographed “Hopkins” from Rachel Coleman of Signing Time

$150 gift card for Kimberly Wilson's TranquiliT (an amazing line of clothing for anyone who loves yoga...or comfort)

$50 gift card for Planet Jill

$50 gift card for Scentsy

$50 gift card for Hanna Andersson

$50 gift card for Target
$25 gift card for The Adopt Shoppe

$25 gift card for Wal-Mart

$25 gift card for Starbucks

$25 gift card for Olive Garden

A jar of Renee Tam’s famous toffee

A batch of oReshki, traditional cookies from Charlotte’s country

Kelly sees who donated on her chip-in, so you do not need to leave a comment to be entered to win. She will announce winners on her blog on February 6th, the day they leave to see Charlotte....

We need that chip-in (posted on Patty's blog) to be at $13,300 for the Dirkes family to travel on February 6th. 

I believe in miracles.

Do you????

----Reposted from A Perfect Lily

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pregnancy Update

33 weeks, 3 days.

We get to meet our little one in roughly six weeks....and while I'm excited, I'm so not ready.

I look around my house, and see mess everywhere.  If I can't keep up with work, house and Claire, how the heck is another little one going to fit in?  I know it will be ok, and that once s/he gets here I won't be able to imagine before, without him.  But wow, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now!

On the pregnancy side of things, uneventful pretty much sums it up.  My belly is measuring right at 33 weeks, baby's heart rate is always mid 140s to mid 150s, my weight gain is right on track, and my blood pressure seems to have stabilized after it's slight jump a few weeks ago.  We have a girl name picked out (no we aren't telling!), but haven't even started on a boy name yet.

I know you aren't supposed to compare, but I can't help comparing this pregnancy to my pregnancy with Claire.  So different, and yet, so much the same.

The differences are easy to spot.  With Claire, something came up at EVERY ONE of her appointments after about 20 weeks.  Ds markers.  Poor blood flow through the cord.  Heart defect.  Failed NST.  IUGR.  It got to the point where I honestly hated going to her ultrasounds.  I would finally feel emotionally ok with whatever the new development was, and then another appointment would get close, and I was a nervous wreck again.  I know the doctors were looking out for Claire and her well being, but I felt robbed.  Robbed of the 'normal' pregnancy experience, and that was hard.  On the positive side, I have an entire album of Claire's ultrasound pictures.

The biggest similarity between these pregnancies is that I just simply love being pregnant.  Even though all the complications with Claire, I still loved the experience.  I love the early muscle twitch movements of the baby, the first time you can see your stomach shift from the outside, and I even love the almost painful movements now that make me catch my breath at times.

Six weeks left and I'm not quite ready to be un-pregnant.  I know I could be saying something very different in a few weeks though!

These are from our 3D ultrasound at 29 weeks, 6 days.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Seven Snippets Fridays, #3

--- 1 ---

It's still Friday, but just barely...

--- 2 ---

We had a pretty laid back birthday party for Claire.  Just pizza, cupcakes and us.  As much as Claire loved her cake last year, she was completely uninterested in it this year.  She wouldn't even take a bite, just smooshed the frosting in her hand, and then wanted a napkin.  It's official, she has her dad's nonexistent sweet tooth.

--- 3 ---

We had our 3D ultrasound a couple of weeks ago.  It really was the strangest appointment ever.  With Claire, every ultrasound we had was checking on her, checking fluid, checking blood flow through the cord, etc.  This appointment was just for fun.  No measurements, just pictures of Bob (that's what my belly/baby combo has been named, and no, we aren't really naming him/her Bob).  The one thing the tech did say was that this baby has a lot of hair too!

--- 4 ---

Darren and Claire are gone this weekend.  Instead of something fun, it's going to be me and the computer all weekend, getting our taxes done.  Blech!

But tonight it's just me and my Nook.  And Facebook.  And Pinterest.

--- 5 ---

Look how dark her hair was!  (5 weeks old)

--- 6 ---

Claire has discovered pockets, and she LOVES them.  She looks pretty darn cute with her hands buried deep inside them, but the combination of pockets and a new walker is just asking for trouble!

(terribly blurry cell phone pic as we were headed to school and missy couldn't stand still at all)

--- 7 ---

If you haven't read The Human Bobby by Gabe Rotter, you should.  Super fast read and a whole lotta crazy going on.  It's one of those books that I've had rolling around in my head for the past few days since I finished it.

For more Seven Snippets, visit Bringing the Sunshine!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday Claire!


How in the world is my baby two already?!?!

4 days old

It seems like just yesterday we were wondering exactly how Down syndrome was going to change our lives, and today Down syndrome hardly enters into our daily thoughts.  We love, work, play and celebrate just like every other family.

12 days old....going home from the hospital

Some parts of our lives may be slower, but others are just as busy and hectic as anyone else's.  In other words, normal.

3 months


8 months

And the more ordinary days, months and years we have, the more I know that no matter what struggles and challenges Down syndrome throws at us, we can handle it.  I love that Down syndrome isn't our focus anymore.

14 months

Claire is.

Happy Birthday my sweet Claire

Friday, January 6, 2012

Seven Snippets Fridays, #2

--- 1 ---

In case you missed it....Claire is WALKING!!  In other milestone news, she reached another one this week that I am *almost* as excited about.  She can nod her head.  Sounds crazy, I know, but I have been working with her on this FOREVER.  And, it's the cutest nod too.  Very deliberate and even used appropriately a couple of times, though mostly mimicked.

--- 2 ---

Target featured an adorable little boy with something extra in an ad recently. What I love about this is that Target didn't make a big deal out of it.  They didn't expect praise for including this little boy, they just did it.  Actually, our Ds community has more more to say about the ad than Target does.

ETA:  The media has taken this story and run with it, and that, unfortunately puts a damper on my excitement a bit.  It was one thing when parents were pointing out the ad, but all the media attention put a spotlight back on the differences of Down syndrome, when the beauty of the ad was in having those differences not mentioned.

--- 3 ---

Thanks to my mom (love you mom!) I realized I do look pregnant this week.  Mom told me I was looking very pregnant, and I kept disagreeing with her.  Then, a couple of days ago I saw my reflection in the kitchen window, and thought "holy cow, you're huge"!  Don't get me wrong, I love being pregnant, but I do hope to avoid the comments about how huge I am as I've still got two months left.  Hopefully it was just the shirt I was wearing....

--- 4 ---

Claire will be 2 next Friday.  How in the world is she 2 already??

--- 5 ---

One year ago...

--- 6 ---

Our winters are DRY.  Claire's lips are constantly chapped and cracked.  I'm trying to keep them covered in  chapstick and aquaphor, but it doesn't seem to be helping much as missy is always chewing on something.  (She's getting her 2 year molars).  If anyone has some other suggestions, I've love to hear them.

--- 7 ---

When I was pregnant with Claire, I had issues with preeclampsia right at the end.  My blood pressure is already starting to go up this time around.  I'm hoping for a VBAC, and really need it to stay down, as the doctors won't induce on a VBAC due to risk of rupture.  I have another Dr appt on Monday, and hope my blood pressure stayed the same or has gone down!

For more Seven Snippets, visit Bringing the Sunshine!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


sorry for the terrible photo...she just doesn't sit still anymore   :)
I've put off posting this for a few days. I didn't want to jinx Claire by saying it too soon. But it's official.

Claire is WALKING!

Something just clicked for her the day after Christmas, and she started walking everywhere, unprompted, while carrying things.

We rarely have to remind her to stand up and walk, it's just how she gets around now.  I did catch her sign 'stand up' to herself yesterday after she tripped one time though.  :)

This is definitely the best Christmas present I have ever received!