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A Nervous Mama

IMG_1265So the day is almost here.  Surgery day!  Peanut will check into the hospital at 6 am on Thursday morning to have her tonsils and adenoids removed.  I know, this is a simple procedure and its not a big deal.  Let me tell you, to a mama of a 2 year old…this is a big deal!!!  We have to hand our baby girl over to strangers and pray that they will return her to us safely.

I just finished reading this article… Anesthesia & Down Syndrome  and now my anxiety is even higher!!  My husbands response was “Stop reading these articles, pray and trust that God will take care of her!”  I know that God loves Peanut even more than I do.  I understand that He has a plan for her far bigger

than I can ever image.  I just need to stop focusing on

myself right now…and remember my job is to rely on Him.

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Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers this Thursday.  We for sure have to stay one night however the Doctor did tell us there is a possibility of a 2-3 night stay.  I will try to keep you posted.

 

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With an Aching Heart

FullSizeRender-2Yesterday heaven received a warrior.

I’d like to introduce you to Walt.  He was born with Down Syndrome and a congenital heart defect.  He underwent countless surgeries and procedures to keep his heart and organs working. He spent way too much time in the hospital and not enough time being able to just be the precious little boy that he was.  He endured so much pain and struggles but with his loving family by his side, he kept fighting.

Yesterday, just 3 months short of his first birthday, Walt went to his eternal home. This past weekend he was sent home to pass in peace. Yesterday morning he FullSizeRender-3let go in safe in his mamas arms and ended his pain.  Now instead of pain and struggles, he is joyously in the arms of our Lord. No more pain, no more tears, no more surgeries, little Walt is finally at peace.

Since I read the news yesterday on Walt’s Instagram page, my heart has truly ached  for his family.  Today they awoke with a part of their heart missing.  Though they are at peace because they know his pain is over, it doesn’t mend the hole that I’m sure they are feeling.

I’m not just sharing this with you to break your heart. Many kids face these same struggles Walt faced each day. Jana was born with a congenital heart defect. By Gods grace she has not needed any surgeries, but that doesn’t mean she is forever in the clear. So many tiny lives are taken away sooner than their parents were wanting, but that doesn’t mean their lives weren’t worth it!  Some people feel that this is reason enough to abort Down Syndrome babies. BecauseFullSizeRender-1their lives might not be as “fulfilling” as typical children. I can pretty much guarantee that Walt’s family wouldn’t trade a second of his life to insure they had a “healthy typical child”. I’m sure they will cherish ever smile, every snuggle, every tear that they shared with their little warrior. Even though his life was short, it was worth it!!

For the past year Walt’s family have set up a fund to help other kids facing the same struggles as Walt. They’ve helped other families who are watching their little ones struggle.  They made sure Walt’s life had a purpose and that they were able to share Gods love with others. I encourage you to visit their site. Take a look at more photos of little Walt and see how much God has blessed this family.

Warriors For Walt

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Sleep in peace sweet little Walt

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Little Miracles

IMG_4045Today while Jana was finishing up her physical therapy, a young mom walked in with her little boy.  At first I couldn’t see him.  She had him in the car seat, but it was very clear to see the oxygen tank that followed him.  She sat down near me and pulled out this sweet, adorable, happy baby boy.  I asked how old he was and she said 9 months.  She asked me a little about Jana, she thought they were the same age 🙂  Little Eli not only had an oxygen tube to help him breath, but his head was obviously “deformed” (I hate using that word!  It was exactly the way God intended him to be!)  She informed me that Eli was born with a genetic disease that basically deteriorated part of his brain.  She was told that Eli would probably not make it to birth, let alone live after it.  She was encouraged to have an abortion at 24 weeks.  She said the night before her scheduled abortion, she cried and felt that it wasn’t her place to take his life.  She would trust God and be prepared to say good-bye to her baby boy at birth.  She told me she didn’t even have anything for him.  She had one outfit, and her priest available to baptize him, because the Doctors insisted he would die instantly.  Well little Eli survived!  9 months old and growing stronger and stronger.  He may never crawl or walk, but he is full of life.  He was very intrigued by his right hand and loved cuddling into his mamas arms.

We talked a little about how people count these kids out.  That they are so much more capable than people give them credit for.  He was her little miracle and she was so proud of the little boy he was.  It didn’t matter what disabilities he had.  She loved him just the way he was!

When I left I couldn’t help but to think of Jana’s birth mom once again.  She had the option to abort her and be done with it.  Instead she gave her life and trusted she would be loved.  I wouldn’t change anything about her and I am so proud of who she is.  I can’t believe how many tiny lives are taken away before they get a chance to prove themselves.  God has a purpose bigger than all of us for this little miracles.  We just need to stop being selfish and ignorant and allow them to be who God created them to be!

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One Year Ago…

Exactly one year ago…jeremiah-29-11-white

Monday June 22, 4:10 pm.  I received a call from Maria, our foster care social worker.  She said she had a baby girl for us.  She said she had very little info on her, only that she was roughly 3 months old and had Down Syndrome.  If we agreed to welcome her in, we would also need to be willing to adopt her.  She needed an answer right away.  She told me to call Juan.

4:20 pm. I told Juan what she told me, and didn’t give my opinion at all.  I held my breath as I waited for his response.  He instantly said “YES!  Tell her we’ll take her!”  I hung up and called Maria right back!

4:32 pm.  I finally got a hold of Maria.  She had been contacting Jana’s social worker to try to get more info.  She already told him that she had a family who was interested.  (She knew me well 🙂 ) She found out that this tiny baby  had been living in the orphanage and recently was sent to a foster home.  That family was unable to adopt her so they needed to find a forever home fast.  She was healthy and beautiful…and also nameless.  She told me to start thinking of a name so they can start calling her it immediately.

I told the kids about her.  They were scared but so excited!!

4:50 pm.  Maria calls me back.  She tells me there is possibly another family who might take her.  She tells me she will make sure we get her and will call me back the next day.

I instantly drop to my knees in front of the empty crib we had set up in our room.  I had never met this tiny angel and already I knew she was suppose to be with us!  I begged and pleaded with God to please allow it to happen.  I felt like my heart was being ripped in two.  Like a mother who lost her child.

I walked out to the kids and they knew something was wrong.  I told them we might not get her and they started crying.  They too felt like she was suppose to be theirs and couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t be.

Juan finally arrived home and tried to be positive for me.  He kept reassuring me that if it was meant to be then it will happen.  He tried to help me see that it was out of my hands and I needed to trust God.

The next day comes and I still don’t have an answer.  Maria informs me that the other social worker is speaking with the other family and there is a chance he might give her to them.  I felt like screaming!  I told her to fight for us and she told me she would.  Little did I know that when she wasn’t calling me, she was texting and calling the other social worker constantly telling him why we should get her!  A whole day passed when we had no idea what was going to happen.

Juan spoke to a christian co-worker of his.  Looking for guidance and reassurance that this girl was suppose to be ours.  What did he get?  An honest and truthful answer.  He was told “What makes you think that God can’t do better than you?  How do you know that God doesn’t have a bigger plan in mind for her?”  We were only looking at it like we can be the parents she needed.  We were not allowing God to work out and trust that He had a plan.  Even if it didn’t include us.

By Wednesday afternoon I was an absolute mess.  Trying unsuccessfully to not think of this precious girl.  Trying to come to terms that it wasn’t going to happen.  Doing all I could to not be upset with God.

3:50 pm I receive a call from Maria.  She tells me Jana will be coming home tomorrow morning at 9:00.  Was I ready?  My heart stopped!  I think I asked her a few times if she was sure 🙂  She was laughing and I could hear how happy she was for us.  She told me to get a good night’s sleep because she was told Jana’s days and nights were reversed.  She would see me in the morning.

I called Juan and cried.  It was going to happen!!  Juan however would not allow himself to accept it would until he held her in his arms, but I already knew!  She was ours and no one was going to take her away.

In three days our world got turned upside down!  Without telling any of our friends or family, we deeply longed for this precious girl.  I never knew how deeply I could love someone I never met.  I was a mother who hadn’t held her baby yet.  I didn’t know what to expect when I saw her for the first time.  I didn’t know what color eyes she had or how big she was.  All I knew was that my heart was screaming for her!  I was ready to welcome her home!

 

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Fear of the Unknown

ryderThis weekend I had the opportunity to participate in an online auction for a sweet little boy with Down Syndrome named Ryder.  His mother noticed in photos that one of his eyes always looked like it was glowing.  She felt uneasy about it and mentioned it to her pediatrician at Ryder’s 4 month check up and within 36 hours they found out that he had a cancerous tumor in his eye.  He now has to travel with his mama to New York every few weeks to complete his cancer treatment.  My heart ached for this poor mom.  Here she has to watch her baby boy go through treatments, pain and discomfort and he has no idea why.  I’ve been praying for this family and I hope you can add them to your thoughts as well.

After hearing about Ryder, I did more research about the cancer.  Children with Down Syndrome have a much grater risk of being diagnosed with Leukemia and other cancers than typical children.  Because so little is known about what causes Down’s and why so much of the children’s body is affected by it, it is unknown why they are at higher risk.  I have read however that Down Syndrome patience often react much better to medication and treatments than other children.  Again, something else they are unsure why exactly.  So even though little Ryder has a very rare form of cancer, there are many other children with Down’s who are facing the same fears.

How blessed with have been to have Jana so healthy and safe!!  There are so many things against my little girl and I am so grateful every day that she healthy and strong.  Yes, she is slightly behind developmentally right now (Only sitting up and being on all 4’s with support) and I know we will not see her delay fully until she reaches grammar school, but she is fighting along.  It could be so much worse!  But because of that, it has helped me appreciate and rejoice in her little milestones.  There are so many things that can come up in her life that will be a struggle.  That is why so many people have asked us why we choice to take on such a “burden.”  First of all, she is a beautiful little girl and never should be looked at as a burden.  And second, she is amazing and doesn’t ever deserve to face these obstacles alone.  God brought her to us for a reason and we will cherish all the times we have with her…the good AND bad!

If you would like to read a little more on baby Ryder or help contribute to their family check this out:  Ryder’s Retinoblastoma Battle #PrayForRyder

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Baby Shower!

Day 17 of 21 day Challenge…

FullSizeRenderToday has been a wonderfully busy day!  This morning some dear friends of mine threw me a baby shower at our church.  About 40 woman came to show our Jana how much she is loved!  We were overjoyed by the love we received today.  Considering we still felt sometimes people judge us for doing this…because we already had 3 kids, is this responsible…it felt great to have the support of those around us.  Jana did great during the whole thing.  I was worried about her being passed around due to the fact she still gets anxiety sometimes, but she didn’t cry at all.  It was almost like she understood it was all for her.

image2She received so many presents I’m not sure where it’s all going to go!  A couple of my favorites was a book from our pastor and his wife called God Made Me This Way.  I’ve actually seen this book on other blogs about Down Syndrome.  It is a great book that helps celebrate differences in God’s creations.  I’ve read it to her already about 4 times and she absolutely loves it!

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The other special gift was this necklace from my dear friend who also adopted her daughter 2 years ago.  It honestly made me cry (I hate crying!) and touched my heart so much.  I’ve been wanting something to wear that shows my love for my little peanut and this was absolutely perfect!  It says “You were made PERFECTLY to be good.”  She even suggested maybe one day passing it on to her to enjoy as well 🙂

I was so honored today to share my Jana with so many people who love her.  I pray she grows up and understands that even though her life didn’t start on the right track, God had a plan in her life to surround her with His love.

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Fost or Adopt?

Day 16 of 21 day challenge…4acd74b487de5c2d8bed5c915066860e

Enjoy today’s blog…written by my hubby, Juan 🙂

Next week Jana will be turning 5 months old and it’s hard to believe how fast time has passed. It was 4 months ago that I held her for the very first time and fell in Love with her immediately and knew that we were doing the right thing, and I was scared.

When Jaylen (our youngest and previously only daughter) was born Jen had to have an emergency C-Section due to series complications. I remember the Dr telling me that the baby was not receiving any oxygen and they rushed Jen down the hall into surgery as the Dr yelled orders to all the nurses. I almost lost my daughter and my wife that day. Jen had an emergency C-Section with no anesthesia (yup, NONE). The two anesthesiologists that were on call were in surgery and the Dr informed Jen that he could not wait or Jaylen would die or have series brain damage due to loss of oxygen. She remembers the pain, the screaming and seeing our daughter before she passed out. The next few days were hazy for her but I will never be able to forget the fear that I felt not knowing what was going on, whether my daughter would live and what Jen was going through. By the grace of God Jaylen was born healthy and without complications although she was tiny at only 4 lbs 12 oz. Jen required a few extra days in ICU and two blood transfusions but she also made a full recovery and we all got to go home. Soon after I had my vasectomy, I did not want to risk loosing my wife again.

Why am I telling you all this? A few years ago Jen started having the desire to have another baby. She kept dreaming about a baby girl. Night after night she would have a dream of her holding a beautiful baby girl. And night after night I felt horrible because I knew that I could not give her that baby girl. So Jen cried and prayed and asked God to take that desire away because she knew that we had made the decision to not have kids anymore and I wasn’t going to try and reverse it J. We couldn’t understand why her desire for this beautiful girl was so strong and why it would not go away. For over a year we prayed together, cried together and asked God for guidance. We felt alone and didn’t know who to talk to. Our closest friends had adopted a beautiful little girl because they were unable to have children of their own and here we were with three healthy kids and a desire for more. We felt like we were being selfish. God had blessed us with 3 kids, why were we complaining that we wanted another one; after all it was our choice to not have anymore.

As time passed out prayers changed. We no longer asked God to take away the desire that we felt. We asked him to work things out according to His will. I realized that if God wanted us to have another child He would make it happen, we just didn’t know how, or when. We started taking the necessary steps to be cleared as foster parents because we knew there were a lot of children without a home that needed a family. We decided that we would do what we could and trust God with the rest and if it was His will then things would happen in his timing.

It wasn’t until we held Jana for the first time that we realized we why were up together crying and praying and not understanding why Jen’s dreams would not stop. God had a plan all along.

I understand that Fostering or Adopting is not for everyone. In fact, when we started our goal was to foster as long as we could and the truth is that has not changed. There are lots of kids that have been removed for no fault of their own and are looking for someone to love them and provide a home and a family. We were simply blessed with a special opportunity to not only foster Jana but to adopt her because of her disability. God has used her to touch our lives and the lives of those around us. She has opened up our eyes to so many new things, new experiences and new relationships with amazing people. I won’t lie, its scary. But being surrounded by people who love our Jana and have supported our decision has strengthened us through the fear and at times, even doubt. So if you have thought about fostering or adopting I pray that you continue to pray and step out and trust God. And if you do not feel that it is for you, then pray for those who do feel called and if you know someone that is fostering or adopting, pray for them. If possible I would encourage you to go one step further and come alongside of them and encourage and support them. Thank you.

P.S. I promised Jana I would tell everyone she is beautiful 🙂