Tuesday, December 28, 2010

{Introducing Him to Her}

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Christmas day held so many great memories, but the most amazing was going to Gavin's grave and introducing my little boy to our new little girl. After a person dies there are so many questions as to exactly what happens. I know my faith tells me that my little boy was released of his suffering, that his body lies deep in the ground, but I also believe that God would never allow my true Gavin -- his thinking and feeling, his very essence, to stay trapped in that box. 

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Even though I know God is taking care of my child I still have so many questions, as most people do. Will Gavi always be three and half or will he age right along with my other children. What is he thinking? Can he see us? So many questions -- very few answers until the day I get to join my little boy. Anyway, even though I know his grave holds only a sick, mito destroyed body, there is still peace and comfort being close to his physical presence, even if we are separated by a pile of dirt.

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Bringing Angela to Gavin's grave was very special. It wouldn't be appropriate in every adoption situation but for us it was just perfect. I consider myself to have three beautiful children -- and to have all their physical body's so close is an amazing feeling for a mother to feel. We speak often of the fact that Gavin left us a gift after he died. This is a truth Adam and I hold on to very tightly. We feel he gave us the ability to continue on, to live life with his legacy pouring through us. He gave us the ability to love and care for Angela and to call her our very own.

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It was just an amazing time for me as a mother -- a mother who not only has lost a child, but one who also has been incredibly blessed with two other. Our time was quick at his grave, but so special. Madison had bought Gavin a little car at her school's Santa's Workshop. It was cool to see her lay it on his grave. I know her memory is slowly fading of her earlier years with her brother and these physical memories help keep her innermost memories alive.

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We released a Christmas balloon up to heaven and all said a prayer it would actually float up, at least beyond the tree line! Of course we took some photos as well -- family photos with all five of us!

Monday, December 27, 2010

{The Christmas ReCap}

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Wow -- is it really all over?  It's so crazy how we all sit in this same place year after year pondering just how in the world it takes months and months to prepare for and then bam, it's all over.  This year was another amazing year for our little family!

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We started out on Friday with dinner at my parents, church and then our traditional advent service at my grandparent's with the entire extended family.  We spent all of Christmas day at my parents starting at five o'clock in the morning when my little Madi swore she heard jingle bells.  Both the girls must have been very good this year as they made out pretty darn well on the present front.  

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Madison was totally thrilled to be given a Nintendo DS, which she has been asking Santa for, for the past two years -- I guess, (but still do not understand why) he thought she was ready.  Oh, Nana -- I mean Santa.  Angela did so amazingly well.  She was so happy and thrilled to be entertained non-stop from early Christmas eve until late Christmas night.  She was so social and happy -- giving everyone her smiles and was very interactive.

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I have to say that our family and friends have been amazing in taking Angela in as if she has always been a part of our family -- It really makes a huge difference in her adjustment process and ours as well.  I really believe she has the ability to sense when she is loved and wanted -- it really shows and makes me as her mommie so gosh darn happy!

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We also spent some time at Gavin's grave on Christmas day, but that deserves a post of its own!  We all had a great Christmas, spending time as a family and enjoying each other and of course thanking God for his most amazing gift to us!

Friday, December 24, 2010

{A Glimpse of What it Was Like}

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Christmas is a rather difficult time for families who have lost loved ones.  This will be our second Christmas without our beautiful little boy.  It seems like last Christmas we were still on that "high" after his death that I'm not sure the holiday's hit as hard as people thought they would.  Gavin's last few Christmas' here on earth were great but filled with lots of unknowns -- we were always either in the midst of medical crisis or just getting discharged from the hospital.  Never the less our family and friends always made this time of year so special for us no matter where our current home was.

This year has been a little more difficult.  But difficult is not always a bad thing.  This year I am much more able to just sit with my overwhelming feelings of missing my sweet baby boy and just simply reflect on life and they amazing things that we learned through our little boy's life and also enjoy the amazing gifts he gave to us -- including his new little sister.

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I was thinking this morning on my way into work how, although obviously Gavin's story does not mean more to me than the birth of Jesus, but in so many ways God has shown me His story through the life and death of my own little boy.  I have a good idea of what Mary must have been thinking the night she gave birth, knowing that her son would one day die.  I can catch a glimpse of how amazing God's love was for us, his people, knowing that He would soon experience the most horrific of pains -- watching his son die.  A slow painful death.

Wow -- it's overwhelming.

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The story of Christmas pours out of Gavin's life and death.  The meaning of what life is all about -- hope, love, joy -- the desire to look beyond our current circumstances and still choose to love and be loved by an amazing savior.  

Mommie misses you more than ever.  Have the most amazing Christmas is heaven -- which seems to be the best gift ever!

Monday, December 20, 2010

{The Owens' Take Manhattan}

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Oh how we love New York City!  We are so grateful to live close enough to take little day trips here and there throughout the year.  New York City hold lots a amazing memories for our little family.  Adam and I used to go to the city pretty often before we have our little ones.  After Madison was born in 2005 we took her into the city when she was just a newborn -- wow it was so easy back then!  Then there was our many trips with our little Gavin.  He loved New York -- taking in all the sounds, smells and of course the people watching.  

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I feel like taking Gavin and now Angela up to New York City in the rush of the Christmas season is a crazy cool symbol of just what our family is all about -- making the impossible so very possible, doing whatever it takes to give our kids the most amazing life.  We had a feeling Angela would love the city.  Out little girl is quite the diva -- always wanting some kind of stimulation.  Well -- NYC is stimulation central!  She loved all the lights and sounds and really seemed to be nice and relaxed.

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Our first stop was in the village at the most amazing rice pudding shop -- Rice to Riches.  If the yummy rice pudding doesn't make you happy then all the crazy signage in the store will do the trick!  From there we headed onto the subway, which is always fun with a wheelchair!  All three of my kids love the subway, but particularly Gavin always was thrilled when it came rushing by!

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We took the subway uptown to 49th and 5th ave to buy Madison's baby her yearly outfit from the American Girl Store.  This place was a total mad house -- it's actually pretty sad how much money these people spend on this stuff!  Madison has had a bitty baby for a few years and has two more "American Girls" -- which were actually 4.95 on clearance at Target.  A totally awesome find.



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After American Girl we headed over to Rockefeller Center for a peak at the tree and all things Christmas -- then went to dinner and headed back to the subway to find our van.

Another amazing trip -- lots of smiles and lots of memories!

Things are going great with Angela, and I hope to do a full update after Christmas, giving more details on just what this process looks like for our family and hopefully answer some questions that people have been asking us via this blog and through email.  Once again Adam and I are in awe of the love and support we have found through our readers.  We pray each and every one of you has the most amazing Christmas filled with lots of reminders of what life is all about -- that little baby Jesus who changed life as we know it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

{Gotcha Day}

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In case you didn't know this past Friday was our new little girl, Angela's, permanent placement in our home! It really all is still very surreal as in many ways it seriously feels like she has been here forever although in other ways I have those moment as her mommie where I wish I knew her a little better. Time is going to do amazing things for us as a new family -- time to learn about each other, how we will move and groove. It's all good and although at times it can sound a little scary, it's actually an amazing thing -- the process of putting all the pieces together to form our amazing family.

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On Thursday, the day before we brought Angela home for good, Madison and I talked about how The 10th of December will now officially be Angela's gotcha day -- the day we 'got her' for good. After a few moments Madison proudly declared that Saturday would then be have ya day and Sunday would be have ya forever day.  I love how that girls thinks!

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On Monday we began the process of putting all the pieces of her medical history together. Already I feel like things are beginning to make a little more sense. We took her to the gastroenterologist and had her look at all her current feeds and meds and help us figure out what is best for Angela. She will now be receiving three small bolus feeds during the day and a continuous feed overnight with half formula and half pedialyte in hope to get her adequate nutrition and also help her belly tolerate her feeds a little more and make her more comfortable. The next appointment will be with the neurologist to have follow up with them and talk about her seizures, then comes the wheelchair clinic to get her fitting for some new wheels and then to the Eye Institute for some low vision assessment to help us better understand what she sees and to evaluate it she would benefit from glasses.

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Wow -- as Madi says, we are back in business. We are loving our girls beyond words could say -- life is amazing. I am daily reminded how our little boy's life has lead us on this amazing journey. There is not a day that goes by where I don't think about our sweet little boy and thank God for allowing us to see the other side of all that suffering -- the amazing beauty that has emerged. 

He daily blows my mind.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

{iPad for Kids with Special Needs}

We plan on purchasing an iPad for Angela as soon as we get the funds together!  Because of the bright screen she seems to be able to see it.  There are so many great apps to teaching her cause and affect, which she might otherwise have great difficult learning considering her visual impairment.  There are also amazing communication apps as well when she is ready for it!  I have heard of so many stories of how the iPad is opening up worlds for children with special needs -- this is just one of many amazing stories! Click on the photo for the full story and to watch the video.

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{Busy Weekend}

I can't believe I have no photos to share you with -- this gives you a glimpse of just how busy we have been.  We had another amazing weekend with our new little girl.  We picked her up on Friday morning and then was able to attend our adoption agency Christmas party and show off our new little one!  We all had a great time hearing of other beautiful adoption stories, it was pretty cool to see all the different families with all kinds of children each with different stories.

On Sunday my family had a progressive dinner, each different family had a different course at each different house.  We had a great time and it was so special to see my family fully embrace Angela as their own.  She totally felt the love because she just soaked up all the different laps to sit on and all the kisses and touches!

Friday is her permanent placement into our home -- I can't even believe how fast these weeks have gone by. It seems like just yesterday we were down in Philadelphia at DHS interviewing, and on the edge of our seats waiting to hear if Angela would be ours!  I feel like she already is fully ours -- it's like she is just having a three day sleep over at the foster home.  I know the transition was necessary for all parties involved -- but it has been so difficult having to say good bye again and again.

The winter bugs have caught up with our family, so we are praying we can all feel better by Friday and have a fresh healthy start to our new life!

So excited to start this new chapter!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

{The Telling of a Story}

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I took these photos last week during our first four day stretch with our new little girl Angela -- I've looked over and over at these photos and just can't seem to take my eyes away from them.  These photos are so powerful on so many levels.  At first glance I saw two beautiful little girls becoming sisters.  Then I looked closer at the photos and it was difficult to sense that it was every any other way -- these girls just fit together.  

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It's such a bummer that you can't see Angela's face.  It's so beautiful how she looks up to Madison and even in some of the photos they have the same exact facial expression -- can't explain it -- it just seems to be the amazing bond forming between two little girls becoming sisters.

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For me these photos tell an amazing story.  A story of hope and restoration -- a beautiful union out of two totally separate tragedies and losses.  In the most perfect way God choose to make our paths meet -- and for that I will be forever grateful!

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It's kinda funny because Adam and I have received so many nice comments from people saying how great it was that we would do this for a special needs child -- how we have so much love in our hearts.  Truth is -- our thinking is probably not what most expect.  Sure we are so happy to be in a place in our life, where we are fully equipped to care for this little girl, giving her the life and family she deserves.  But Adam and I have longed for his child for a long time, we are excited and feel so honored that she would accept us as her mommie and daddy.  We fully know that there will be lots of hardships on this new journey but the rewards that she will bring to this family far outweigh the struggles.

My girls.  

It's a beautiful thing for me to be able to write.  I love them both with all my heart -- I am totally ready to see what these little ladies have in store for this world!