Military Life

Merry ChristmasUnfortunately, Roy wasn’t able to be in our Santa Photo this year because he was set up vending his Chainmaille Wares at a local Craft Fair the same day that the kids were scheduled for this special visit with Santa which was put on by the base.

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EYE GLASSES!

Being able to see well is definitely NOT over rated. Apparently all this time poor Alanna has been struggling to see & we had absolutely NO idea. Parental fail? {{nods}}

Just before the holiday’s her teacher came to me & informed me that both her & another of the classroom teachers had noticed Alanna’s right eye seemed to be wandering. I’d never noticed it before but thanked her for telling me & then went about trying to arrange an eye exam for her.

The base said they couldn’t do pediatric exams & suggested an off base eye center to bring her to, but with all the baby mama drama we went through over Christmas & New Years, getting Alanna’s appointment scheduled got pushed to the back burner. Once things finally settled down again however, I gave the recommended eye center a call only to find they were scheduling a month out. I booked her into the earliest slot they had available, February 1st.

During the beginning of her appointment the technician was trying to have her identify pictures being projected onto an 8×10 mirror on the wall in front of her. Most of it, despite showing her various sizes, Alanna could not identify however. She just kept saying “I don’t know” & I informed the technician that she was a bit developmentally delayed & in an exceptional learning class at school. Still, the technician tried her best despite Alanna’s repeated “I don’t knows”.

A while later we were moved to another room where the actual eye doctor came in to check out the health of her eye & determine whether any sort of prescription was needed. She pulled the machine in front of Alanna’s face, made some adjustments & then asked Alanna to now look through the machine & identify the same series & various sizes of pictures being projected onto the mirror on the wall in front of her.

I almost fell out of my chair!

All in a sudden she was identifying everything with not a single problem. From a huge 8×10 size black & white silhouette of a cake & candle image to other tiny silhouette’s. It was unbelievable & I was completely blown away. The sudden difference a prescription made changed everything & made me question everything all at the same time. Is she really developmentally delayed or has she just not been able to see all this time?!?!

Apparently she’s seriously near sighted with a bit of astigmatism & we had no idea. She will need to wear glasses as I do full time from now on & to top it off the glasses may or may not correct the wandering right eye. The doctor said it’s not something a patch can fix either so she wants to see her back in about 4 weeks to re assess it & if the eye is still wandering she may require corrective surgery. I sure hope not!

What really gets me is that we had her eyes tested back in California shortly before we moved & the doctor at that time said she was a tiny bit far sighted but not anything that would require a prescription so we were sent on our way. Now just a brief 3 or so years later it’s the complete opposite & then some. So I have no idea whether the previous doctor just sucked or if it was just that difficult to really tell with an infant that couldn’t communicate what they could or couldn’t see. Hard to say….

Anyways, Alanna has been an excellent sport about getting her new glasses. She got to pick out a pretty pink pair of frames with flowers all up & down the arms & she was greatly disappointed when she found out she was going to have to wait over a week for them to make the glasses before she could wear them. She’s had them now for just about 2 weeks however & is so excited to put them back on in the morning’s & after her naps. She talks about how she get’s to be like mommy & poor Brooklynn is actually feeling a bit jelous that she doesn’t get to wear a pair. For now though I’ve been able to appease her by telling her that because she can already see so well she can wear sun glasses like daddy does while Alanna needs to wear glasses like mommy because we can’t see well without them.

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This picture was taken last year just before Valentines Day ended when Roy got off his final plane, on the last leg of his journey, coming home from Iraq.

I don’t think there’s anything that can beat my hubby coming home, safe & sound after 8 months in Iraq, & on Valentines Day no less!

This year we actually decided to do our celebration a day early to avoid the chaos that seems to ensue on Valentines Day with trying to get a reservation anywhere. I booked us a morning at the spa together where we had a lovely couples massage, followed by a relaxing soak in a private jacuzzi, & then a pedicure where I got my toenails painted all pretty & Roy got his dry skin, caused by many hours spent in combat boots, taken care of. Then, to finish it off, we had a delicious steak lunch before picking the kids up from school & having a rejuvenating nap.

It was an absolutely wonderful day of pampering.

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I have been a bit MIA regarding the blog for the last month & apologize for my lack of posting. Not a whole lot has been going on necessarily besides getting ready for the holiday’s & feeling in a bit of  a funk due to the lack of activity with our adoption agency. It was really starting to feel that we’d never get a baby… or at least that it was going to take a LONG time. The thought was pretty depressing to say the least, despite the fact we’ve only actually been actively waiting with our agency for just shy of 3 months.

Then yesterday morning I got a call, totally out of the blue, wondering if we wanted to be considered for a possible match situation with a birth mom that really liked us as well as another family, however the fee was a bit over our set budget.

I made some phone calls to see if we could find access to the extra that would be required & then responded saying yes we wanted to be considered. I was advised that the birth mother specialist with the agency would contact me with more info soon & then we waited, and waited…. and waited.

At 4pm I finally emailed our worker asking for a status update & a short while later she replied back that the birth mother’s specialist wanted to have a chance to verify everything with the birth mom & finish some paper work before he called us so we could expect a call from him in the morning. It sounded promising but I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

The morning came & the morning went. Still, we didn’t hear anything. The suspense of waiting for answers was killing me and around 1:30pm I emailed our worker again.

By 3pm I hadn’t heard back from her nor the birth mother’s specialist so I took things into my own hands & called the agency asking to talk to the birth mothers specialist directly & I got put through to his voicemail, which really started me thinking that this was heading south fast since apparently no one wanted to give me answers I figured they either didn’t have any or it wasn’t going to be good news.

Less than 10 minutes later he called me back & announced that the birth mother did in fact pick us!!!

We’re matched!!!

He then proceeded to fill me in on all the details:
* It’s a boy!
* She’s due Sunday December 18th
* It’s her first baby
* She’s in New York
* The adoption rules will be based on Florida’s Laws which is excellent news for us because it means once she signs the papers it’s irrevocable. She won’t be able to sign them however for 48 hours after delivery unless the baby is released earlier.
* Baby will be full African American
* She picked us because she knew she was having a boy & asked to be shown profiles from couples who specifically wanted a boy. Out of the profiles she was shown she really liked our picture although I have no idea which one.
* She definitely wants pictures, letters & emails post placement which we’re more than happy to do. I do this already with Alanna’s birth mom.
* She isn’t certain that she’ll want post placement visits but would like the option left open. We’ve decided to be ok with that so long as she understands we’re Military & could end up stationed pretty well anywhere so she would likely have to come to us. I also specified not more than yearly & the specialist really doesn’t think she’s overly concerned about it & likely won’t desire it but just doesn’t want the option to be closed.
* Sadly, for me anyways, she doesn’t want anyone (not even her family) in the delivery room. She wants to do it totally alone & I’m pretty bummed to once again miss out on this beautiful moment but I do understand & am certainly not going to let it be a deal breaker.

So, at this point that’s about everything I can say. I’m beyond excited & am not sure how I’m going to sleep between now & then. The timing is absolutely awful though. My gramma is due to be arriving on the 24th to spend Christmas & New Years with us & now we very well may not be here. She’s ok with having her ticket rerouted if possible though to bring her to us in New York where she can stay with us & meet her newest great grandchild.

Roy’s sister has volunteered to fly to Florida & stay with the girls as well as look after our pets for us & this would be a tremendous blessing. We were advised not to bring the girls to the hospital with us because we want to give the impression that the new baby is our primary focus at that time & having to worry about two 4 year olds climbing all over everything would be quite a distraction, not to mention having them cooped up with us in a small hotel room for a week or two along with the newborn wouldn’t be a whole lot of fun for anyone. So, I hope it all works out that his sister can in fact make it out here to do this for us.

The issue though is that everything has to happen at a moments notice. Once we get the call that she’s gone into labor we have to book our flights to New York ASAP & have his sister book her flights here ASAP & arrive BEFORE we have to leave. Preferably with enough time to get her to our house (we live an hour from the airport & she’s never been here before!) & show her around so she knows where to find everything & so on.

We may well be spending Christmas at a hotel in New York as well. I hear it’s beautiful this time of year & am actually super excited about being there but am saddened that we might be separated from the girls for Christmas. Regardless though, this will definitely be a Christmas we’ll never forget & this little bundle will be the best Christmas gift EVER!

I’ll keep you all posted….

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Our adoption homestudy was approved & we finally got everything done for our profile.

One of the agency’s media specialists worked her magic to put everything together into a pretty little profile that will be sent out to birth parents who match what we’re looking for as well as a version of it that will be published on the agencies website for birth parents to view.

We’ve also had one of the agency video camera’s for the last few weeks & have been working on getting various clips of us as a family to send in for another media specialist to turn into a professional looking 3 minute video of us.

I am really not thrilled about being forced to create a video for this. We feel incredibly awkward & uncomfortable in front of the camera as did our friends who participated in one of the “friend interviews” so I fear this video is going to portray us badly & do nothing more than work against us.

This whole thing being mandatory is apparently new for our agency. Our friends who went through them for their adoption 4 years ago never had to do this & even when I read the agency forums I see talk of people not being required to do this even a year ago, but for us it’s mandatory…. as is the $1,300 fee to go along with it.

I don’t know how much exposure we’re going to get either due to being gender specific for a boy but if we haven’t made a match in a couple months I’ll inquire for stats & see if any tweaks need to be made to our profile.

The agency put our written profile “active” on September 26th. So it’s been about 2 weeks now & we’ve heard nothing yet.

They do have a special “situations” page where they post available situations that they’re having trouble finding matches for. Sometimes it’s via 3rd party agencies or attorney’s who are posting it via our agency & in most cases the situations are available in Florida. This is great but at the same time it makes every one of these situations SUPER expensive. Apparently Florida doesn’t have a cap on how much can be charged for adoptions & I’ve heard sometimes they can even be as high as $70,000… That’s insane!!!

I do understand some of the reasons behind the increased fees since our agency has to get their cut & so does everyone else involved in making the match but $70,000 is ridiculous.

There is one on there currently which I inquired about but they still wanted $41,000 & even that is way above & beyond our budget.

They did tell us for the “agency assisted” program that we’re in (which means they will match us with a baby that is African American in full or in part) that our current budget which we have available is about average. So, I’m trying not to let the $41,000 situation freak me out too much because that is a “special situation” & not considered to be average.

Part of me fears we’re going to be waiting forever. That they won’t match us until we significantly increase our budget which we just can’t do or that no birth parent will find us appealing. I read the forums & see other people who were matched within just days of going active & others who’ve been waiting a year… sometimes two!!!

It’s hard not to let that get me down. I know everyone’s circumstances are different. I don’t know the reasons as to why their waits have been so long & I know that the baby who’s meant to be ours will end up with us when the time is right but I really don’t want to have to wait an incredibly long time for this to become a reality for us.

We’ve already been waiting for nearly 3 years! We had requested a fost to adopt placement of a baby boy back in California, when the girls were about 1-2 years old, but then we got orders sending us to Florida. We then pursued re licensing to foster to adopt here in Florida but then Roy got deployed. When he returned we decided to pursue infertility assistance instead, which then lead us back to adoption but this time we chose to go private instead of through the State.

I’m also terrified of the potential that’s there for disruption, meaning a match gets made & then the birth parent/s change their mind. I just pray if this does happen to us it happens before we invest our time & money into traveling to meet her. Before we ever meet & hold the baby.

Sadly, I’ve read a number of stories where adoptive families go through this sometimes multiple times. Where they go all the way to the hospital, are there in the room for the delivery, & are the first to hold the baby, only for the birth mom to change her mind at the last minute. How devastating!

I’m all for keeping families together when it’s for the best & if a mother truly believe she has what is needed to parent then she should if that’s what she wants but it just sucks that there’s no emotional protection for the adoptive family against this happening.

I suppose no matter which way it ends up going someone still ends up hurt. That’s just the nature of adoption.

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