Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Guess who is CRAWLING?





Yes, you read that correctly! Ariannah crawled on her hands and knees for the first time this weekend. She is still military crawling the majority of the time, but is able to go about 5 feet at a time on her knees. She is progressing so quickly. She is also able to tolerate Derek and I making her stand. We have to support her under the arms or on her bottom....but she doesn't scream anymore when we do it. She is growing too quickly!

On a less positive note, Derek's brother was killed last week in a car accident. He was only 29 and was hit on the driver's side of his car by a drunk driver. It was a tragic accident and his family (especially his mother) is heartbroken. Please keep our family in your prayers. video

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Whoops...correction!






In the previous post I meant to say that she gained 5 lbs in a year....and then gained almost 5 lbs in just the 4 weeks we have had her! At birth she was 5 lbs and then she wasn't even 10 lbs on her first birthday. When we got her she was 15 lbs on November 3rd and then was up to 19 lbs on November 27th!!!!

Here are some more pics too :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What a crazy month - finally an update!




Where do I even start??? I am kicking myself now for not updating this sooner, lol.

We received placement of Ariannah on Friday October 30th. We went to pick her up from the previous foster parents in Indiana. I sat with her in the backseat on the car ride home. It was so surreal that I cried the whole trip. It was just like bringing a newborn home from the hospital. Ariannah did great the first weekend home with us. She was somewhat lethargic and fussy….but we assumed it was because she was scared. Who wouldn’t be in her situation??? She was in a new home, with new parents, and two crazy dogs kept trying to lick her!

Little did we know that she was VERY sick. On Tuesday (barely 72 hours after we got her) we took her to a visit with her biological mother at the social worker’s office. The social worker commented to Derek that Ariannah looked “swollen” and that her belly was very large. He suggested we take her to the local Children’s Hospital. We knew her stomach looked large, but we thought it was because she was on 23 hours continuous feeding through her G-tube. We didn’t have much to compare her to.

We soon found out that her liver was the size of a grapefruit and that she could have died in a few days. Her white blood cell count was elevated, she had blood in her urine and bowels, and the liver caused her stomach to be pushed up through her esophagus (it is called a hiatal hernia). The stomach was now pushing against her diaphragm, making it hard for her to breathe. The cause of all this was a medical error by her pediatrician! Ariannah was getting 3000 calories a day pumped into her stomach using 120 cc of formula per hour for 23 hours out of the day. Her body could not process all of the food and therefore she was losing weight. The doctors kept increasing her feeds…making her sicker and sicker!

We were at the hospital for 5 days. They drained her liver and gave her antibiotics. Luckily she recovered quickly, although they say it will take months for her liver to heal itself. She was such a trooper and I couldn’t believe how much strength and determination something so small could have. The 5 days in the hospital were great for Derek and I. It gave us all a chance to bond and Ariannah learned quickly that she could trust us. By the time we left the hospital she was already calling me “Mama” and would cry anytime I left the room. She is definitely a mama’s girl.

Ariannah is now hooked to the feeding machine for 10 hours every night and then we feed her through the G-tube 4 times during the day. She is down to only 1000 calories a day. And still gaining weight! When we got her she weighed 15 lbs 11 oz and she is now weighing 19lbs 1oz. When she turned 1 she was less than 10 lbs. Then she only gained 5 lbs in 6 months. She has now gained almost 5 lbs in the first 3 weeks we have had her! She is growing so quickly!

In the past two weeks she has started scooting more and can even get herself from the sitting position into the scooting position without help. She is active and such a joy to be around. She has a silly personality and loves to make people laugh. Her favorite game is “Fetch”….she will throw anything you give her and then laugh hysterically while you have to bend over to get it. She also likes to shake her head no when you are scolding her. Such a feisty thing she is!!! But more than anything, she loves to cuddle and give kisses. Derek and I are truly blessed and couldn’t have asked for a more perfect daughter. Derek texted me at the hospital one night and told me that he already loved Ariannah like his very own. The pain from my miscarriages will never go away….but in all honesty, I understand now why they had to happen. I can’t imagine a life without Ariannah. I hope you enjoy the new pics of our beautiful princess.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

She's Home!





I am so sorry for not updating this more frequently! Ariannah is home with us now!!! We have had a rough first two weeks (most of which was spent in the hospital!) but we are all home and doing well now. I promise I will update this soon with lots of new pics and the entire story about the hospitalization! We are having a baby shower on Saturday so I will update this weekend. Please come back and visit next week! It will be a long read, but well worth it. Ariannah truly is an angel.

Thanks everyone!

P.S. Danielle – thank you, thank you, thank you! I was so surprised and very appreciative. We plan on taking her shopping tomorrow so I will let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

She's Coming Home!





Friday is the big day. Derek and I could not be more thrilled. The tough part is that I only get Friday off of work but luckily that gives us three days to bond with her. I will post pics as soon as she gets here!

We finished the nursery today. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We got to visit Ariannah!




Many of you have been asking about updates from this weekend….so here ya go!
Derek and I got to spend about two hours with Ariannah. It was supposed to be longer, but we could tell she was getting sleepy and was definitely confused about who we were! The foster parents waited in the other room, so she was probably a little terrified. I think I would have been scared too if some crazy woman I didn’t know started smothering me with kisses and snapping pictures of my every move, lol.

Ariannah was beautiful. She is so much smaller when you see her in person. I guess the camera really does add ten pounds. Her hair is growing in a whole lot and the foster mother even put a little bow in it for the visit. It was precious. She is getting more teeth too. Her top front tooth is almost completely black, most likely from the drug usage her mom did while pregnant. We will take her to the dentist when she is older to see if they can buff it or fix it somehow. Kids are mean and I don’t want her to be made fun of. If they can’t fix it….it will fall out!! Either way, she is beautiful.

The visit made us more aware of how fragile she is and how far behind she is developmentally for 17 months. We have been doing a lot of research and started to find local therapist, since her ones from Indiana most likely won’t want to travel twice a week to where we are. We also got to see her feeding tube and learn a little more about how it works. It looks more intimidating than it is apparently. Ariannah didn’t crawl or babble at the visit, but like I said…she was TERRIFIED! The foster mother said once she gets comfortable she is always talking.

The nursery is almost done…pictures of that to come soon. But here are some of my favorite pictures from last weekend!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An exciting weekend to come......

Today is a yucky day for me. I came home from work last night with a fever of 101.9 and a severe headache. I work in a daycare so I was terrified that it could be the flu…or H1N1. I took some pain medicine and went to bed. I woke up this morning after 14 hours of sleep and don’t feel better at all. Luckily my fever is down to only 99.6 so I am thinking it is not the flu. I have been in bed all day and am hoping I feel better for the weekend.

Why, you ask??? Because on Saturday Derek and I get to go see Ariannah for a three hour visit. It will be Derek’s first time meeting her and I can’t wait to watch him hold her. I am nervous and excited! The foster mother says she is doing wonderfully and is now crawling everywhere and starting to babble more. She is slowly but surely catching up. Even though she is already 17 months old, she is developmentally where a 7 or 8 month old baby is….so we will still get to experience many of her “firsts”. I can’t wait for the day she starts to walk and blows all of the therapists out of the water. She is a fighter, so I know she will meet every milestone she is supposed to meet within the next year!

Also this weekend we are providing Respite for a 5 year old girl we have had several times before. She is a sweet girl and we always have fun with her. We plan on going to the Zoo and to go get pumpkins. It will be a busy but wonderful weekend.

As far as placement of Ariannah into our home, things are slowly but surely moving forward. The lady we have been working with from Indiana said we should have a placement date by next week. So it should be soon! We are a little frustrated though with the mixed messages we are getting. We were told at first that she would be eligible for free daycare while still a foster placement and then we would pick up payment after the adoption. Now we are being told that we have to pay daycare from the day we get her. That is fine…we would have to for our birth child so I am not complaining. But we were also told that we would receive some monthly assistance because she is special needs. And now they are saying we will not because the social worker never completed his end of the paperwork and now it is too late. We know we will be fine but we do worry about medical expenses and the costs of therapy. God is good though and He will always provide. I have no doubt that she will be worth far more than any amount of money we have to spend!!!

I almost forgot, today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I know many of you who follow my site have also lost babies and I want to let everyone know that I continue to pray for all of you. I still think about my angel babies every day and I know you all do too. You are all strong ladies and I can’t wait to see how God blesses each and every one of you. He does answer prayers…so brace yourself, amazing things will happen!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

We are making Progress....

I talked to Ariannah's social worker today and he informed me that the Interstate Request is now in the hands of our adoption agency. That is great news because it is almost the final step to bringing our daughter (I love saying that!!!) home. He suspects she will be able to come live with us within the next 2-3 weeks. Hopefully by Halloween :)

And since some of you are asking, yes we plan on keeping Ariannah as her name. She already knows it, and as much as I despise what her mother has done to her...I would like for her to be able to keep something from her birth family. We will change her middle and last name though. Her new legal name will be:

Ariannah Isabelle Smith!!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME!


Today I turned 29. It was a beautiful day here in Kentucky…about 70 degrees and very sunny. I had a birthday dinner with my dad’s family last weekend, with my mom’s family on Saturday, and with Derek’s family on Sunday. Then I came home from work today to find a dozen yellow roses (my favorite!) and a home cooked meal. I have such a sweet husband and a great family!
Overall it was a great birthday. To top it all off, Ariannah’s foster mother sent me some new pictures of her and they are precious! She is getting so big and finally has some teeth and hair growing in. Last month at 15 months of age, she weighed 14 lbs 2 oz. The foster mother took her today for a check-up and just one month later she is up to 15 lbs and 12 oz!!!!That is a huge growth spurt and she is now finally in the 25th percentile for her age. Last month she wasn’t on the charts at all.
Developmentally she is growing too. She is starting to military crawl and the foster mother said she is always trying to move, so we think she will be crawling on all fours soon. She has an appointment in November to see where she stands in regards to the feeding tube and they are even going to discuss removing it! She will also be fitted soon for leg braces to help her stand on her own. All of this is very exciting news!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Ramblings for the Week.....

These past few days have been very rough on me emotionally. I am still very excited about the possibility of getting Ariannah and about finally being able to say that I am a MOM!!! But in a way, preparing for this adoption is still a reminder that I can’t have a baby of my own.

I realize that I am being selfish. Of course I will love Ariannah like she is my very own and I will love everything about her. It is just that I will never get to feel her in my belly, I will never see her little heartbeat on an ultrasound, and I will never get to experience her birth. I am one of those crazy people who want to have morning sickness and want to watch my belly grow over 9 months….the things I have dreamed about since I was little.

I have spent a lot of time in prayer and have asked God to take away my anger and jealousy. I used to participate in infertility support groups and find strength in success stories, but now I just feel bitterness and anger. The devil is taking the best thing that has ever happened to me and using it to bring out my downfalls. What I need to remember is that God has brought Ariannah into my life and I should be thankful for this amazing opportunity. I am sure that in a year from now I won’t have any doubts about why things turned out the way they did. God’s plan has always proven better than my own. So why do I continue to make my own path instead of choosing His???

And if something happens and we don’t get Ariannah….this little girl has made me realize that we CAN love a child that is not our own and that adoption is definitely an option for us. There are thousands of children needing forever homes and whether it is Ariannah or a child we have not yet met, we WILL be parents!!!

But we very very much want it to be Ariannah. It is crazy how much Derek and I feel like we actually know her….we talk about her constantly and make plans for her future. We pray for her and say good-night to her before we go to bed. I talked to her social worker today and all of the paperwork was just completed in Indiana and is somewhere in the mail today on its way to Kentucky. There are still a few more steps…but we are getting closer each day to bringing her home. I can’t wait until I have more pictures to show everyone! Keep us in your prayers.

Monday, September 14, 2009

*Sigh*.....

It looks like there might be a delay. Indiana was ready to place her with us this week but our agency wants Indiana to do a formal "Interstate Compact Request"....meaning it will be another month or so before we get her and not a couple of days. I am very disappointed because this makes me feel like something will happen and we will never get to bring her home. I know in the long run a couple of months is such a shirt time period...but I hate missing all of these important times in her life. Please, please, keep saying prayers for us! I will be so upset if this placement falls through and we can't adopt her.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nursery in Progress




Derek and I started working on the nursery this weekend. The walls are painted a light green color and the bedding is pink, yellow, and green jungle themed. Attached are pictures of the bedding, a picture of the giraffe wall mural I made, and also the name plaque I made. I was busy working on them all weekend but am very pleased with how they turned out. I can't wait to post the finished nursery!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good News!


I am still in complete disbelief! I just talked to the foster mother of Ariannah and she told me that court went well this morning. The judge granted the social worker’s motion for relief of services and set a termination date for October. The even better news is that the social worker and HOI (our foster/adoptive agency) have worked out a compromise and have decided to place Ariannah with us as soon as possible as a foster placement instead of waiting for the termination to occur. The social worker told the foster mother that his intention is to move Ariannah to our home next week!!! What???!!! I might have a baby in a week….no way??!!?? I also got an email from the supervisor in Indiana confirming this information.

Derek and I are super excited. Of course we have a lot to do, and a lot to buy, but we are definitely *ready* for Ariannah to come live with us. Part of me is still nervous and won’t believe it until it happens. But so far everything looks very promising.

I will update when I hear more.

A Day of Decisions....

Today is a big day in the life of little Ariannah...although she most likely has no idea that the "big people" around her are making such major decisions today. Decisions that will change her life forever. Decisions that will hopefully change mine and Derek's life forever too! This morning, Ariannah's birth mother has a court appearance in which the judge and social workers will decide whether or not to keep providing services to her or whether they should move forward with terminating her rights. If it is the latter, it will bring us one step closer to bringing Ariannah "home".

So while I sit and wait *patiently* for the social worker to call me this afternoon about court, I am also waiting to hear back from my doctor. I had to get blood drawn yesterday to make sure my hormone levels are going back down to zero. We have been blessed up to this point to not need a D&C after any of the losses, and a decling hormone level is an indicator that my body is clearing everything out on its own. So we are hoping my levels have plunged since last week and that I will not need any kind of procedure.

Well, I better get back to my waiting......

God Bless everyone and I can't wait to update you on the good news I am sure we will receive tonight :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Finally Started a Blog....

As many of you know, Derek and I have been trying for two years to conceive our first child. Last week our sixth angel entered Heaven as we heard the dreaded words we have heard so many times before: "There is no heart beat".

We left the doctor's office together as we always do, hand-in-hand. And although last week's news hit us hard, we do have reason to hope. Reason to continue our journey. Her name is Ariannah. A beautiful little girl with special needs who needs a forever home and loving parents to adopt her.

We have submitted our paperwork and are waiting for Indiana to finalize her birth parents' rights. It is then a waiting game to see if Kentucky approves our homestudy and chooses us as the adoptive parents. We are praying that this little girl becomes the answer to our prayers!

We have started this blog so that our friends and family can follow us on our journey to parenthood. We believe that God has big plans for our family, far greater than we can imagine. We are excited about what our future holds and are forever thankful for the love and support we have received from each and every one of you.

-Erin

"When God takes something from your grasp, He is not punishing you. He is simply opening your hands to receive something better."