2017 CAFO SUMMIT

Last week, I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Christian Alliance for Orphans summit in the Nashville area.  One of my dc parents came to me a couple months ago saying that there was money in the OARC (Orphans and At Risk Children) account to send someone and she thought I should go this year because of our adoption of A and also fostering.  She was going to try to go too but couldn’t swing it and J couldn’t get the time off so I asked my Sister who is the Children’s Ministry Director at our other church if she could go since the workshops gear towards adoption, foster care and ministry in those areas.  Her Senior Pastor gave the go ahead so last Wednesday, we headed out for the 11 hour drive that turned into over 12 hours on the way there due to traffic and rain.

We arrived at our AirBNB at 1am on Thursday in Franklin, TN.  It was the basement apt. in a house owned by a Woman who also had a couple of kiddos.  We didn’t get the chance to meet her but it was a really nice space and she left us goodies to eat and drink in the fridge which was super sweet of her.  We got up about 6:30am to get ready to head to Brentwood Baptist Church where it was being held.  Oh my gosh…I have never seen a church that big and the one that sent me is pretty darn huge and we’re expanding.  This one has a full time preschool in it that has 200 kids every day.  It was amazing and easy to get turned around, lol.

It was 2 fabulous long over 12 hour days of general sessions full of amazing worship music and speakers and the then lots of breakout workshops also.  Most of the workshops I attended geared towards caring and connecting with children that come from traumatic places but I also did one called “10 Things Adoptees want Parents to Know” that kind of scared the crap out of me on what A might go through as she gets older.  I also did one on self care when caring for kids with traumatic histories and a marriage one.  The one on self care was taught by Kristin and Mike Berry.  I had just read her book the week before on a night of insomnia and it spoke to me so much because many of the things she wrote about with their oldest boy, were things that we had been going through with T and it was just nice to hear that others were going through it too.  The book is called “Born Broken” and it was amazing.  I got the chance to go up and speak to her after the session and thank her for writing the book and of course, I cried trying to tell her our story from the last few months but she was awesome and gave me a big hug.  🙂

All in all, it was an amazing but exhausting 2 days and just made me hunger to learn more and do more.  I’m going to be researching and learning about TBRI because I think it’s going to be exactly what we need to help T if/when he comes back to us.  It really showed me that adoption and fostering is where my heart lies which I don’t know if I would have said that about fostering before I left because of how hard the past few months have been.  I was clearly shown that we can make it through and with the right tools, we can really help these kiddos that need to be shown that there’s a different way then what they’ve seen/heard/learned.  I’m excited to continue going to workshops and learned more and more about trauma and the ways it comes out in the children I will care for and how I can help them through it.

As amazing as the trip was, I was more than ready to get back to A.  She had stayed with my Mom while I was gone.  She had a great time with Grandma and her cousins and didn’t seem like she really missed us all that much.  In fact, she really wouldn’t look at us too much Saturday night so I think we were getting the guilt trip, lol.

If you have a heart for adoption, fostering, orphans, or ministry helping in any of those areas, I highly, highly recommend this conference!  Next year’s is going to be in Dallas on May 10th and 11th.  You can go to cafo.org to check their organization out!

In other quick news…5 weeks until I finally get to start some Maternity leave, lol.  I am so ready to just have A and M to think about.  Also, A’s Baby Dedication is on Mother’s Day so we’re super excited for that.  I feel like there was one more think I wanted to tell you guys, but what the heck was it?!  Hmmm, I’m sure I’ll remember after I hit publish…that’s just the way my brain works these days.

Hope you are all well!

Lots of Love~Dawn

7 Months

But seriously, where the heck does the time go?!  Time moved so slow back when I was a kid and then it started to speed up when I graduated HS.  Before I knew it, my 20’s were over and I was on to the 30’s and then again, even in the midst of 5 years waiting for Annabelle, my 30’s flew by and here I am, 40 years old with a 7 month old.  (I know, total run on sentence!). 

It was a GREAT month!  As much as I miss my snuggley tiny peanut, A is so much fun these days!

Weight:  I have no idea actually but I’m guessing somewhere in the 15lb range.

Height:  She was 25in at her last appt.  we still need to get the gorgeous growth chart board one of my Oily Sister’s made for her hung up in her bedroom so we can start measuring!

Medical Issues:  She got a horrible cold right after her stupid flu shot that lasted 3 weeks.  It was awful and I’m so glad she is finally feeling better!

Sleep:  Pretty much the same as last month but I am trying to get her down around 8pm now.  She’s still napping in her rock and play although we have to buckle her in now and in the magic sleep suit.  7 more weeks until daycare is done for the summer and at that point I am going to try and transition her out of the suit for all sleeping and back into her crib for naps.

Cothing size:  anywhere from 3-6 month to 6-9months.  The 6-9 is a little big in her but that’s what most of her summer outfits are and we’ve had a couple warm days lately…not enough, mind you, but a couple.  I think I finally packed up the last of the 0-3 stuff.

Diaper size:  Definitely 2’s and I’m wondering if we should try on 3’s and see how those fit before we open anymore boxes of 2’s.

Diet:  Target up and up infant formula.  This is her schedule for the last week or so: 7-8am:  get up, changed and have a 4 oz bottle.  About 30-45 min later, she has oatmeal with fruit in it.  About 2 hrs after she gets up, she goes back down for about a 2 hr nap.  Wakes up and has a 4 oz bottle.  Around 12:30pm, we have a veggie and fruit.  About 2 hrs after her morning nap, she goes down for the afternoon for 2-3 hrs.  Wakes up and has a 4 oz bottle.  Then she usually has a 3 oz bottle sometime in the evening and a little cat nap.  In the 7pm hour she has rice and fruit and tops it off with a 2 oz bottle before bedtime.

Baby gear love:  This has changed in the last month.  She hasn’t been loving the front pack lately but her jumperoos are a huge favorite!  She also still loves her rock and play for naps but is back in the pack and play for night time.  She also LOVES her tag blankets.  We have one hidden in every place she goes frequently, lol.  She’s not much for her playmat anymore because she tends to quickly roll to her tummy now.

Milestones/Firsts:  we have a sitter!  At the beginning of this last week, it was only 30-60 seconds before she tipped.  By the end of the week, she was sitting like a champ and if she does too, it tends to be forward and to the side a bit and she ends up on her tummy.  Super proud of her as we didn’t know how much being a premie was going to effect the timeline of these milestones.  Oh, AND…she’s officially ours!!!!  The court hearing was quick but the judge was fantastic and gave her a cute little bunny that you’ll see in her 7 month pics and then the next day, friends and family came over for a party to celebrate!  We also have her birth certificate and social security card now!  Oh and she also had her 1st Easter and her 1st time in the baby swing at the park!

Likes: mommy and Daddy, Baths, playmat, changing table, being told she’s beautiful, tag blankets, jumperoo, sitting up, her paci, her magic sleep suit, her routine.

Dislikes:  not being able to see Mom and Dad.  She’s starting to get a bit of the seperation anxiety although she does fine after we leave.  Being in places where she doesn’t have her normal routine.  We were having Easter at my SIL’s yesterday and she had a tough time not being able to be in her rock and play to sleep with her fan on.

Things I Don’t Want to Forget: Those belly laughs. Her grizzly growls she does with Daddy.  Her finialization day and everyone that came to celebrate with us the day after. That smile! Watching her figure something out for the first time.  Watching her learn how to sit up and engage her core so she doesn’t fall over.

What’s next?  I think creeping and crawling will be up next.  She army crawls once in awhile now but mostly just turns in circles.  I also hope she has some teeth coming soon and trying some finger foods out.

How’s Mommy doing? I got back to the gym for a couple weeks and then lost that motivation again.  Eating has been horrible.  Stupid delicious sweets that call to me all day everyday!  I also chopped my hair!  Before and after pics below.

How’s Daddy doing?  Lawn mowing has started and he’s still buying and selling.  He’s working on learning how to find balance with that and family time.  
Pics from the last month:  So many pics this month…sorry about that but a lot happened and there was so many cute ones!  I especially love the one of her and my Mom on Easter!


NIAW

It’s that time of year again when we try get others outside the 1 in 8 to understand just a fraction of what we go through as part of the IF community.  Sometimes, it feels like an uphill battle and sometimes, you find someone that you didn’t know was in the trenches with you.

Having Annabelle this year may take a bit of the sting away, but on the other hand, not really.  I still haven’t had a successful pregnancy and unless God makes a miracle happen in the next year or so, I never will because I plan on getting this uterus of mine taken out in the next year or two.  The endo pain is just becoming too much.  Now part of it is my own fault…if I would get off the junk and follow a pretty strict whole 30/paleo type diet, I could probably get some of this pain to leave, but, I pretty much suck at eating healthy, even when the benefits could be tremendous.

Pregnancy announcements can still send me to tears at times.  On Easter, my SIL (well, my Sister’s SIL actually, but we’re all really close so I claim her in laws as my own, lol), announced her 4th pregnancy.  Her oldest just turned 5 last week.  Needless to say, I broke into tears.  A few days later, one of J’s best friends called to tell him he wand his wife are pregnant and I felt nothing but joy for them.  It’s their first.

The theme this year is “Listen Up” so I guess what I want to say is, adoption doesn’t make it go away.  I couldn’t have ordered up a more perfect child.  She brings us indescribable joy every single day, multiple times a day.  However, I still think about that baby that would be 20 mo old right now.  Was it a boy or girl?  What would they be like?  I still wonder what it would feel like to grow a baby.  What kind of pregnancy would I have had?  Sometimes, as I look around and see some pretty awful parenting happening around me, I think, really Lord, why me?  Why not these people that hurt the children you Blessed them with?  I know why though; he needed us available for Annabelle and I wouldn’t change that for the world!

So Friends, keep going forward in whatever way you choose to.  Keep trying to fight the good fight in getting more resources available for couples with this disease.  Keep your hope alive the best you can and try to enjoy all the little blessings along the way.  I know they can be hard to find sometimes.

Sending much love out to a group of women who have enriched my life and made it infinitely better!

~Dawn

Oh Goodness….

Ladies…I am insanely behind on reading your blogs…I’m so sorry I haven’t been keeping up lately.  For awhile there, I was reading, but my computer was being stupid and wasn’t letting me comment so I’m not as behind as it might feel like to you since I was reading but not commenting.

So, what’s been happening?  For those of you that read my protected posts and no what led to it and those that have no clue what’s happening, T has left our house.  We are still in contact with him and have gotten to chat with him 3 different times in the 2 weeks he’s been gone.  He seems to be doing well there and seems happy.  We will hopefully get to go see him on Saturday for Easter but I’m waiting a call back from his case manager to know for sure.  M is still with us and their BM is working on what she needs to do for reunification.

In the biggest news though….our Adoption is FINAL!!!!  Annabelle Nicole Faith is officially part of the “R” Family and we couldn’t be more thrilled!  We’re waiting for her birth certificate to arrive so we can apply for her ss card.   This happened the same day that T left so it was a super emotional day.  On top of that, my MIL chose to start drama with me once again and had me bawling on what was supposed to be the happiest day of my life.

We had a party for A the day after our court hearing and lots of people came to celebrate her being an official part of our family.  It was amazing for so many of the people that prayed and supported us through this come together to celebrate.

A has been dealing with an awful cold ever since she was given the flu shot.  It’s slowly getting a little better but not fast enough for this Mama.  Sleep has not been nearly as good lately, naps or at night because she’s so congested.

She is getting stronger and stronger and I can’t believe she’s going to be 7 months in a couple weeks.  We’re super excited to celebrate her first Easter with her.

I’ve been getting back to the gym about 3 days a week but I’m not gonna lie, my diet has been awful and I just can’t seem to find that willpower that I had the first 45 days of the year.  If anyone one finds it, could you please send it back to me?!

I hope you are all well!  We’re anxiously awaiting for warm spring days to be a permanent thing here in WI and can’t wait for summer break to get here.

Lots of Love~Dawn