Sunday, November 30, 2008

life's tough

(She looks like she's thinking - "Sorry, Mom, life's tough. Deal with it!" Hehe!)

Now that our long and busy holiday/birthday party weekend has wound down into a lazy Sunday, I cannot help but think of Emerson. Some days I feel filled with hope and patience, others I stand in front of her pictures on the refrigerator and my hope dissolves into a frown and a sigh. I know I will be patient since patience for an unknown day of holding her in my arms is far easier to bear than the grief I would feel of never getting to hold her at all. But some days I guess I feel I can overcome the uncertainty and other days ... not so much.

Will it be late January? February? March? April? May? Not at all? We just don't know yet. I know I will be loving and missing that beautiful girl every minute until then though! ^_^

If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden.
- Claudia Ghandi

Saturday, November 29, 2008

just living is not enough

said the butterfly.
One must have sunshine,
freedom and a little flower.

- Hans Christian Andersen

This morning we celebrated Macy's 2nd birthday before Grandma had to head back home to Michigan. Macy loved the ladybug theme and was so happy with her presents! I cannot believe my little girl is 2 years old... what a sweet day!
Here are some pictures!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

turkey day pictures

We had a very small gathering this year - just us and Grandma as my parents and sister had to work - but we still had a great day!

My pogaca - this must be a very hearty bread since it slipped off the pan while coming out of the oven and flopped right onto the floor LOL! I LOVE bread and this one was wonderful, I think I will be making this one a lot in the future.

I'm not sure if these cevapcici look like they're supposed to - or maybe our facilitator will have a good laugh at my little sausages :) - and next time I think I'll have to dice the onions smaller, but boy were they delicious!! Even the kids loved them; they actually ate more cevapcici than turkey heh. They are heavenly on toast with mayonnaise. I hope we do lots of walking in Belgrade or I will pack on some pounds for sure! ^_~


"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."
- Melody Beattie

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Although we never expected to still just be a family of 6 today, we still have so much for which to be thankful.

Our incredible family and of course, 5 precious little ones.
Health, yes, but more importantly just life.
With so many people in our country losing jobs and homes, we still have both of those things.
Although we began our adoption journey with a leap of faith financially, we are grateful for all of the wonderful people who have showed us such generosity and have truly made the completion of our journey possible.
Emerson is not with us yet, but she is with people who love her - caregivers and a physician/facilitator who will always be part of her family.

She is alive, we are alive, and so we still have hope of being together this time next year. So it is still a very happy Thanksgiving! :)

I'm going to try my hand at cevapcici (little meat/onion sausages) and maybe pogaca (a bread) if I have time so we can have a little bit of Em's spirit with us. ^_^ I'm sure I'll have some pictures to share!

I hope everyone has a relaxing day with family and a yummy meal! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

plodding away

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."
~ Dale Carnegie

No real news just yet. Our facilitator is working hard to resolve everything and I cannot help but be hopeful she will find an ear willing to listen soon.

I called Dr. B tonight and left a message asking if he will write a letter for Emerson, explaining the urgency of her medical situation. I know it's Thanksgiving week but I hope to hear back from him soon. (You can read about Dr. B's amazing robotic techniques here.)

Lately it seems the whole world is upside-down but I am trying to keep a steady focus on this one small thing of getting Em home and safe.

(Update: Dr. B just contacted us - he just came out of an operation but he will be emailing us tomorrow!)

Monday, November 24, 2008


"Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.
- Mary McLeod Bethune

Tomorrow there will be an important meeting in Belgrade. I have provided our facilitator with a letter expressing our hopes for the pending adoptions to be completed and for us to be able to quickly bring Emerson home for surgery. I hope I did our situation justice.

Please keep in your thoughts and prayers a special red-haired lady while she goes to fight for a few precious little ones. I know the right thing will find a way.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

a holiday party

Last night we went to our local DS network's annual holiday party - I cannot believe how crowded it was!! This was our first time and it really was a great event - the kids made gingerbread houses, they had a great buffet dinner and Santa even passed out presents! It was so neat to be surrounded by so many various ages of people with DS - these guys really know how to have a good time ^_^

I made a special display for the Angel Tree and had a bunch of flyers for people to take. I was asked to speak to the group unexpectedly - yikes LOL! - I'm a great speech writer but not such a great speaker, at least not without notice! ^_~ Anyway, I hope that some people found a new cause to fight for :)

Here are a few pictures!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

when it is darkest

men see the stars.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Okay. I am sad that Emerson will not be here for Christmas (barring some miracle!) and I am still worried about her. But I am calm remembering there have been many bumps in this road. It seems at every stage there has been something new to worry me, something new to cry over. Getting the right number of references for the home study, finding a good surgeon who would actually speak to us, coming up with the exact amount of money... and every single thing has been overcome, even though at times it seemed impossible. It wasn't. I just didn't know that yet.

So I know now this too will be resolved and one day we will hold that little girl and look back and shake our heads at how upset we were over this little bump. I don't know when that will be, but we will wait as long as we need to. ^_^

Friday, November 21, 2008

set dancing

"But you rise, beneath the shining star of dawn.
With Avala's blue distant mountain far below.
You glitter, when the stars have faded with the morn,
Then, sun-like, melt the ice of tears and last year's snow.

In you there is no empty vanity or death.
You glisten like an unearthed sword from bygone years.
In you is all revived, set dancing, given breath,
renewed, refreshed, like bright day and like children's tears."

- Milos Crnjanski, from "Lament over Belgrade"

I am typing whilst fighting tears (and losing terribly, I'm afraid)... I love the beautiful poem above. It describes a beautiful White City and I think it also describes a beautiful little girl waiting there.

The future is uncertain. We may not be able to adopt Emerson... right now... maybe at all.

Our facilitator, whom I just adore, has told us that some changes are happening in the government and international adoption is halted at the moment and no idea what will happen in the future.

I do not know if this is the government considering foster care/domestic adoption instead of international, I do not know if she would still get her heart surgery.

I am heartbroken. I feel as if one of my babies is out there just dying and I am powerless to stop it... I guess because truly she is, and I am.

Please keep us, Emerson, our facilitator and the lawyer... all in your thoughts and prayers, that the government will let the pending adoptions continue, that the other children still waiting for families will have a chance at happiness somewhere.

Ah, Em, I love you. I'm sorry.

(A little update... apparently this is regarding the government considering using adoption agencies instead of independent facilitators - which might mean we could just go through an agency but still complete the adoption, eventually, but of course for Emerson... time is working against her. I hope we will know more soon...)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

all I want for Christmas

(Thanks, Jody, for the beautiful new pictures! ^_^)

Friday, November 14, 2008

oh bother!

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day."
~ Winnie the Pooh

I've decided to observe a blogging silence for the next 2 weeks, the last 2 weeks we have to get a travel date this year.

Partly because we will be very busy around here but mostly because I can feel a combination of Eeyore's pessimism and Piglet's anxiety just around the corner, especially as next Wednesday approaches... 4 months since we submitted our dossier... and I don't want to dampen the holiday spirit with more sad/frustrated/worried posts! ^_^

I hope very much that I can break the silence early with some wonderful news, but if not - I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank you so much for all of the amazing support you have shown us and little Emerson! We really appreciate your continued prayers and happy thoughts both for her heart and for our strength in this waiting.

I will leave you with some more wisdom from dear old Pooh Bear (or rather, from Christopher Robin, and part of which we used on Dawson's birth announcement, and seems to fit perfectly now as well) and one more picture of Andjela, our Emerson. :)

"If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together...
there is something you must always remember.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart... I’ll always be with you."

Thursday, November 13, 2008


"to wait" : [verb] (1) to remain inactive or in a state of repose, as until something expected happens; (2) to look forward to eagerly

Another week is drawing to a close. As of next week we will only have 2 weeks in which to have Emerson put into the Central Registry and a date to be requested and confirmed, before we will need to wait until January or later.

Right now I am still hopeful, though I know if next week passes without good news that will change. I bought Em a Christmas stocking with her name on it and an adorable little ornament with her name and birthdate. I can't imagine how sad it will be to hang them up this year without having our little angel home. I am trying to keep myself busy to pass the time and not get too discouraged (though I am not a person who is easily distracted haha!)

I have finally gotten serious about learning as much Serbian as possible. I used to be a language geek (I was pretty fluent in French years ago and pretty good with German, too, and I also studied Chinese and Ancient Greek LOL) so I have made a daily goal of 15 words/phrases and 2 verbs. A quiz in the morning and flash cards to refresh will hopefully do the trick. I feel badly that so many Europeans speak English so well; it's unfortunate we Americans do not learn more of other languages. Now if only I can get Matt to learn a little - he's more interested in the history than the language though, of course! I guess if it truly is a long wait for a travel date, I might be able to translate for him HA!

I have begun my pre-travel cleaning - scrubbing from bottom to top while the kids chase after me making messes! :) And tonight I repacked the suitcases - the two big ones were just too close to 50 lbs... when we went to Florida last summer we ended up paying an extra fee for going over 50 lbs on the way there, and standing there trying to shift things around to avoid the charge on the way back. Not this time LOL! Now the weight is evenly distributed and we have more room for our clothes! I still can't believe we have over 50 lbs in donations o_O

I'm also preparing for our local Down syndrome network's Christmas Party (on 11/22). I am making a display for the Angel Tree and special spotlight displays for 3 dear little girls - Maria, Nadja and a beautiful girl named Mila - hoping to raise some funds and maybe find some forever families!

And of course, my favorite thing to do is look at The Cutest Girl in the World (well, one of 2 - Macy's pretty cute too!) I think our amazing facilitator must know exactly when I need something to make me smile. ^_~ And oh does she make me smile! Ah, I cannot wait to kiss those cheeks!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

our ladybug is 2!

Hard to believe, but our little Macy is 2 years old today! I still remember our disbelief when the nurse told us she was nearly 9 lbs - it was such an easy birth! And I still laugh at how I referred to her as "he" for those first few days... how wonderful and strange it was to have a daughter! Here is a baby picture:

She has been such a source of delight to us - feisty, stubborn and definitely holding her own with her big brothers, she is still such a girly girl and has such a connection with Dawson... he just smiles and laughs everytime he sees her. We usually do too! :)

We planned on celebrating her birthday along with Emerson's 1st birthday and bought double the ladybug party supplies, but it seems that's not possible so we will have her party the weekend after Thanksgiving. I cannot wait to bake her a ladybug cake! ^_^

Happy Birthday, baby girl; we love you!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

two angels

If you haven't yet seen Reece's Rainbow's Angel Tree Project, now is the time! :)

We have decided to sponsor these two little beauties, both from Eastern Europe, Emerson's neck of the woods! I am hoping to put together a fundraiser soon, but in the meantime won't you join us in contributing for Nadja and Maria? With gifts of $35 or more you will receive a beautiful ornament to remind you of this precious gift of family. ^_^

Click here and scroll toward the middle of the page to donate!

Friday, November 07, 2008

good news...sort of

I am not sure if this is good news exactly... it is not as good as it could be I suppose, but it is progress made at any rate.

The problem with Emerson's paperwork has been resolved. It involved her maternal grandmother wanting to visit her before the adoption (which is wonderful!) and some misunderstandings surrounding that request. The Social Work Center cleared that up with the grandmother yesterday and they expect to inform the Ministry next week. At that point, Emerson will be ready to be put into the Central Registry and from there we can receive a travel date.

Now the question is... will they get her into the Central Registry quickly enough that we can receive a date for this year? As I said before, the last possible date we can meet with the officials this year is December 10 and we need about a 2 week notice so we would have to have that date by November 28. We would miss Dawson's 1st birthday :( but it is still a small sacrifice that is worth it.

I am not sure how I feel... I think perhaps because we are almost halfway through November I recognize that waiting until January is not that long of a wait anymore. I am trying not to focus on her heart issues right now and just focus on getting her home. I am not sure if it's foolish or not, but I am very hopeful that 3 weeks is enough time for the Center to do their part and the Ministry to give us a December date.

One thing I do know is that she is in the care of people that love her, now including her grandma and of course, a certain wonderful facilitator. :)

Keep hoping for us!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

stay tuned

Nothing to report just yet, but something important is being done with Emerson's paperwork tomorrow and our facilitator hopes to get an update then or Friday.

I am hoping they are fixing what needs to be fixed tomorrow and maybe sometime next week she can be put into the Central Registry and we will be on our way to a travel date!

Keep your fingers crossed!!! ^_^

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Hehe please excuse my not-so-subtle political message below - I do not agree with him on ALL issues, but I am definitely an Obama Mama! I don't talk much politics on my blog because usually I'm pretty disinterested in the whole thing so I promise that will be my one and only! I hope EVERYONE gets out and votes today if you can, whether you're hoping for red or blue. :)

Matt took Cade and Parker with him to vote early this morning - their first glimpse of democracy in action! They thought it was pretty cool that we get to pick "who's in charge."

No news on the adoption front... yet. We may have some more information tomorrow so while you're jumping up and down in excitment or screaming at the TV tonight LOL, please spare a happy thought for Em. I am at the least hoping to have a more concrete idea of a timeframe for her paperwork, and hoping that timeframe still allows us to travel in '08!

And I think we can all agree - that face is one of the sweetest things ever! ^_^


Monday, November 03, 2008

good vibrations

Thanks so much to Baby Vibe for sending us 6 of their new JeJe vibrating teethers - I came across these while looking for the star vibrators and I love them! Dawson loves to hold round toys, it's easier for those little hands, and unlike the star toy this one allows you to set it on vibration for several minutes - giving babies a great oral motor work out and hopefully helping those feeding and speech skills! ^_^

And one more gorgeous picture of our little angel - I hope our facilitator isn't expecting me to shake her hand when we meet because she is most certainly getting a big hug! ^_~

more goodies! (updated)

The donation from Ark Therapeutics arrived today - they sent us 48 grabbers and tri-chews! :) They didn't say how many they would contribute so this was a pleasant surprise! Around $300 worth of products - we are so thankful!

Now, the next question... where on earth will we pack our clothes?? o_O The above suitcase is filled with donations and a few of my own great finds (like those 10 wonderful vibrating star teethers) and I think we're near the 50 lb limit.

I told Matt we'll just have to wear the clothes we're bringing to Serbia... ALL of them. Layer after layer.... hehehe just kidding, I'm sure we'll find some room! ^_^

(Edited later: Well, forget near the 50 lb limit... I dragged the suitcase out to the foyer and weighed it - 54 lbs! Translation: We're bringing another suitcase - we will now have 4 checked and 4 carry-ons!)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

pretty in pink

Hello, November!
Our facilitator expects to have some news next week - hoping it's the good kind! We've figured out that we can travel as late as December 8th (so meeting the officials on December 10th) before we will need to wait until 2009.

So we have 4 weeks. 4 weeks for Emerson's paperwork to be fixed and put into the Central Registry and an appointment to be made.
That doesn't seem so impossible now does it? :)

... And this morning I checked my email to see the most adorable pictures of our little sweetie - I cannot wait to hold this little girl! I hope it is very soon! :) I'll have to post a picture of her going-home outfit soon - it is almost exactly the same as this dress except purple. I must have the same taste as someone in Serbia ^_~
(I'm posting too much these days hehe, there are Halloween pics in the post below but here is Emerson!)

And I just had to point out how perfectly Em seems to fit in with our other kids, especially Dawson! Babies with Down syndrome don't all look the same, but I think people will assume they are twins (and that we got very lucky and both had DS!)
She was truly meant to be with us. :)