February 13, 2013

A Day in the Life...

I thought it would be fun to document a "day in the life" of my world right now.  I figure one day I might enjoy looking back and seeing photos from this stage of life. So, today I tried to take at least one picture an hour, documenting something I was doing at the time... 

And now, at this time, I hereby welcome you to the post with a million pictures...


I woke up an hour before my alarm went off to "phantom cries."  My friends tell me they do the same thing. I could have sworn I heard Abi crying so I ran to her room, only to find her sleeping like a log.  But at that point, I was awake.  I went back to bed only to lie there with a million things running through my brain.  #1 being "Why am I awake when my child is sleeping soundly and my alarm hasn't even gone off yet??!??" Eventually my alarm did go off and by 7:30 I was sitting in my living room, coffee in hand, talking to Sean. 
 Abi woke up right on time at 8:00 and was having breakfast by 8:15.
 By 8:35 Abi and I were in the car and by 9:00 we were at Occupational Therapy.  
(Once we're on-the-go we move quickly.)
After OT, the sun was shining so we took a lazy drive around town and day dreamed about it being warmer.  

When we got back home, I popped this guy in the microwave.

And then I fed Abi.  Feed #2. 
Abi's teacher who comes to the house on Tuesday afternoons was sick today.  So we relaxed and watched some Veggie Tales instead.
By 1:00 Abiella was napping and I skyped with my sister. 
Good grief it's good to see her smiling face!
Abiella woke up an hour later and I immediately made another pot of coffee. 
Then came books...
and play time...
 Followed by some nice rice cereal.  (We're trying to let her practice eating by mouth again.)
 ...and then it was time for Feed #3.
 Then we had mat time and Abiella LOVED the lady bug in front of her face.  She got to kick and "talk" and get a lot of good exercise in. 
(Very good afternoon!)
  At 7:00 Sean arrived with sushi!! (Wooohooo) and we watched "The Taste" with Anthony Bourdaine.  We love that show!!
...and then Sean took over.  He fed Abi while watching the State of the Union Address. 
 Then came books and some quality time with Daddy.
 Then we cleaned her g-tube site, got into PJs, and got ready for bed.  Here I was having a serious talk with Abiella about how much we love her, how wonderful she is, and how we'll always take care of her.  Sean happened to snap this photo without me realizing. Glad he caught it. 
 Then Abi went to bed and I cleaned... 
At 11:00 I got in bed and then quickly realized Abi was still awake... and had pooped.  So after dealing with that and getting her back in bed, I'm now here... working on this blog post...
... and it looks like Abi's finally asleep and I'm about to be too :)

mama mae

February 11, 2013

Getting Princess Sadie her Chariot!

Let me tell you an amazing story that STILL blows me away... A while ago, when Sean and I were early in the stages of adoption (still waiting for a match) our coordinator blogged about a little girl in Ghana who needed a home.  She was beautiful, her name was Princess, and she had special needs.

I shared the blog post and pictures with Sean and prayed for this little girl.  A few months later I realized this sweet child had found a home and I was SO EXCITED.  As our adoption process continued, (and we began considering adopting a child with special needs) I often thought about that mystery mom who had adopted Princess.  I wanted to know her story... I wanted to know how it was going... I wanted an update on Princess.  I thought about her so often.

Over the course of the next year, we committed to Abiella and after a LONG journey our baby girl FINALLY arrived home.  Shortly after Abi's arrival, I was on a Ghana Adoption Facebook group when I found a woman who I thought *might* be Princess's mama.  I couldn't believe it. I began to do some research.  Could this be her?? Could this be the mom of that child I saw and prayed for a year ago?? I SO wanted to know how everything was going.  But I quickly got whisked away into hospital visits ng tubes, surgery, and more.  I didn't have time to "research" or find out anything about the woman who I thought might be Princess's mom... And yet, during that time, I found myself longing for a friend who had adopted a child with similar needs. I wanted someone I could email or contact anytime of day with a question. "What do you do when THIS happens?" or "I'm really tired. This nose tube is stressing me out."  That kind of thing... And then one day, out of nowhere I get a sweet message in my inbox from a woman saying, "I found your blog and I think we have similar stories...I adopted a little girl named Princess from Ghana over a year ago."  My heart stopped.  THIS WAS THE MOM!!! REACHING OUT TO ME!!!  The mother of the little girl I had thought about so much over the last year had FOUND ME and sent ME an email! I of course wrote back immediately and from that point on, Audrey became a source of deep encouragement.  At a low moment, my inbox would magically 'ding' and out of nowhere Audrey would have sent me an encouraging message completely relevant to what I was feeling at that exact moment. Sean and I would just shake our heads... it was obvious God was using her to answer my longing for a friend with a similar situation. I always say, "I didn't have time to search for what I needed, so God said, "here you go... I'll take this one off your plate..." During that first month, I received so much encouragement from Audrey, got caught up on how Princess (now Sadie) was doing and asked a TON of questions about g-tubes, traveling with a feeding pump, etc. etc. etc. And you can imagine how excited I was when I realized the little girl I had remembered (from the first picture) now looked like this!


But that's not where the story ends...Preapre yourself, this is big. One night a few months ago, I woke up and couldn't sleep.  I of course reached for my phone and saw a message from Audrey.  It said, "Was Abiella's name 'Afua' in Ghana?"  My heart stopped. I wrote back, "Yes. Why?"  Turned out... (are you ready for this?) over a year and a half ago, one of Audrey's dear friends wanted to adopt Abiella but wasn't able to... when they realized she wouldn't be able to adopt her, they committed Abi to prayer, begging God to bring her a family.  THIS NEW FRIEND OF MINE HAD BEEN PRAYING FOR OUR DAUGHTER FOR OVER A YEAR... AND WE BECAME FRIENDS BEFORE SHE EVEN KNEW I WAS THE MOM OF THE CHILD WHOM THEY HAD BEEN LOYALLY PRAYING FOR.  It was one of those crazy-God is SO GOOD- I can't believe that just happened- moments. Absolutely insane.

A week or so later she told me that she had dinner with the friend who had wanted to adopt Abi and showed her all of her current photos on facebook. She said they both cried. Their prayers had been answered. To know my new friend had been loyally praying for my daughter before I EVEN KNEW MY DAUGHTER is a gift I can hardly fathom.

All this to say, Audrey and Sadie (Princess) have a very special place in our hearts... We enjoy getting videos of Sadie and showing them to Abiella.  Abi will laugh and listen sooo intently when she hears Sadie's voice. Just look at this video of Sadie in the hospital this winter.  Audrey and her husband joke about who is Sadie's best friend... looks like Mama won:

Sadie has a very unique and powerful story and I highly encourage you to go to Audrey's blog and read more of it in greater detail. They call her the "life-changer" because everyone who comes in contact with Sadie is changed... In West Africa, Sadie survived a late-term abortion.  Through a series of divine miracles Sadie was adopted into the Beute family and became Audrey's youngest child. You can read more about how Audrey's family was "matched" with Sadie here, but this is my favorite part... (Ryleigh is Audrey's other daughter.)

"when I was reviewing her information on the computer, Ryleigh was behind me.  She just couldn't understand why this was even something we were thinking about!  Why wouldn't we just say yes!??  I explained to her then that this baby could grow up and be a beautiful healthy child full of energy and life....or she may continue to grow old, but continue to stay a 6 month old forever.  Ryleigh....with a very serious thoughtful look on her face says to me "Well, she still needs a mom and dad".   Can't argue with the deep wisdom of a then 10 year old."

Amen? AMEN! Don't you just LOVE this family!???  They are devoted, hard-working, extraordinary, and brave. Audrey continues to be an advocate for orphan care and speaks at churches and groups about her amazing experience as Sadie's mama.

This brings me to today.  Sadie is getting a wheel chair!  While this exciting piece of equipment will offer invaluable physical support, a way to attend school, and other wonderful opportunities... it also comes with a need for a wheel chair accessible van. Vans with a wheel chair lift can be very expensive. So, one of Audrey's friends began a fundraiser for her. The goal was to get 4,000 people to donate $5, equaling the cost of the van this family so desperately needs. So far they've received amazing support and raised $4,000+ dollars. Will you help us blow it out of the water!?! Would you join me in giving up a Starbucks latte (or whatever your $5 treat is) this week to help give Princess Sadie her chariot??

Join us in getting Sadie her new ride and helping a family who has helped so many so selflessly!! You can donate HERE through PayPal or checks can be written to Sarah Butterfield or Audrey Beute and mailed to:

Chemical Bank
5980 Lake Michigan Dr.
Allendale, MI 49401

Attn: Conni/Sadie's Chariot Fund
Please indicate it is for Princess Sadie's Chariot Fund in the memo line.

Many Blessings,