Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Journey to Joanna part 3 with pics :)

This is the way Joanna is most of the day- in the sling. It looks uncomfortable, but she loves it and as soon as she is in it- her whole body relaxes.
Awwww....this blanket is sooo soft. And of course I look cute in it!
Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle.....
There was NO posing here. Really I was just holding the blanket that said mommy's sweetheart just like this- for you my fan club :)
I am dreaming about milk.......mmmmmmm..........
Those eyes just say- come here- I am sucking you in- you have to do what I want- now hug me and kiss me :)
Awwwww.......what is this rattle doing on my arm. Please mommy it doesn't match my pink.
Awww....she's praying........
Mommy- please put some clothes on me....come on enough with the pictures....
That is pure blissful sleeping........

So- the story continues. I of course at this point am talking with the birth mother in the room for a while. She was sooo sweet, and friendly, and happy - although I know she was hurting. After a while the lawyer said we had to vacate the room - the hospital already let us use it longer as it was. So the birth mother left after I had dressed this sweet girl in her take home outfit. She said all of the baby stuff they give you at the hospital is for her. In fact when our agency called back saying it's all good that you are late just go directly to the hospital- the birth mom felt bad for me? What? Relief!

So after the birth mom left the lawyer talked to me a bit. Then she helped us get downstairs keeping in mind that at this point I had all my luggage with me still. Once we got downstairs the desk helped call me a cab to go to our hotel. Once at the hotel- I was overcome with joy, in awe, and wanted sooo desperately for Jason to be there.

So I passed time, skyping, e-mailing, etc. Of course we did not tell anyone yet- until papers were signed on Saturday. Now you all may think was cruel, but after losing 2 sweet girls we couldn't stand it any longer. We decided a part from family- everyone else would find out on Saturday - a little over the 72 hour wait Pennsylvania has.

I paced the floor the next day waiting for Jason to arrive......2 hours after his flight landed!!! As soon as he came in the door (because it was cold outside) I placed Joanna in his arms. We decided to venture out to Target only a couple of blocks from the hotel to you know- get more pink things :) And of course we bought the movie Blind Side to watch later at the hotel (we had seen it in movie theaters, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!!!!!!!!!!).

We ate at TGIFridays which was next to the Target. It was great showing our little bundle off and spending time together, although I really missed the rest of our clan!

Then Saturday approached and I was nervous, sick to my stomach.....realizing I never asked the lawyer when they were signing the papers. So I called and she said she was on her way over......from her place to theirs - it was about an hour this was at 10 til 9am! I was going out of my mind. I cried, I paced, I prayed- continually, I just wanted to know it would be ok! Funny I really never felt that nervous until that last couple of hours.

Then the call FINALLY CAME!!!! At 11:20- they signed the papers, but they don't want to meet. The mom did give me her cell though. OK. Immediate EXCITEMENT, and then a bit of sadness. Jason would never meet her, and I hadn't taken any pics at the hospital- terrible I know!!! We started notifying everyone- my parents, Jason's parents by Skype- who didn't even know what we were doing yet, and we couldn't get a hold of them sooner with timing and traveling and the time difference. My cousin Heidi, my brother, and the list went on......

Then we get a call from the agency saying the birth mom is upset because she thought she would get to meet us while we were still in town. Yeah!! I mean not that she was upset, but that it was a bad misunderstanding and we would get to meet. So I immediately called her and we set up to meet later that evening. We met at TGIFridays again- only nicer type place to eat in that direct area. We talked over so many things. She is soo fun to be around. Amazing how that works. Then we went to Target to get some pics-but their machines only run until 7pm....oh well let's go buy some more outfits- her birth mother picked out. We gave her a letter, and some mementos, and exchanged some information.

Jason has to leave Sunday and we get to meet the Beatties! Dorean & Brian - 2 of the most wonderful people you could know! They are friends of Tracie's -from Christian Adoption Consultants. The Beatties take us- Jason to the airport, and me back to their home a little ways outside of Philadelphia. They thought of everything and had it set up for me while I am here- WOW!!!! God really provides!!!! So thankful!!!!!!

Since I have been here- I have had a great time talking, getting to know them, and enjoying some great company from brothers and sisters in Christ who support adoption! So there you have it- I am hanging out here until I get the all clear to leave the state. Pennsylvania has to approve it first. Then I can't enter the state of Louisiana until they then in turn approve it afterward as well. When I get the all clear I will fly to Houston......and wait with some of our wonderful AGCI families :)

We hope to be together as a family for Easter- please pray with us for this to happen!!!!!!

***Some have wondered so I thought I would point it out. Joanna is also a Biblical name. She was a follower of Christ. One of the posse if you like. You can find her in Luke 8:3 & 24:10. She was one of the women who went to the tomb and reported back with the Mary's to the disciples. So how perfect is that - she is an Easter present- with an Easter name as well. You know we didn't plan that- we picked that name a while ago. God knew!!!!! And that is the story so far of our remarkable little angel called Joanna Faith Wright.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Journey to Joanna Faith part 2

So I flew out Thursday bright and early- Jason took me to the Lake Charles airport and off I went....well almost. You see literally within a couple of minutes of the plane's departure- a storm hit. One that had severe sideways rain, and hail. Jason was in the parking lot praying we hadn't taken off. Which we hadn't. Thank You God!

So then we were a good 15-20 minutes late taking off- which is better than never taking off again. The problem being that between flights in Houston I literally had 35-40 minutes! I shared our amazing story with the lady sitting next to me on the plane. Turns out we both had a huge heart for Africa- she had spent several months in Uganda herself :) We both had quick turn arounds to catch our next flights, and - I started praying! I was nervous as could be. I mean what would the birth mom think- great she's late. Would Joanna have to go into a temporary care situation, and then I wouldn't even get to see her for a while???? Oh my heart pounded.

As soon as we landed- I raced across the airport!!!!!!!!! Literally I was dripping with sweat. When I arrived they had shut the door- early I might add and said the plane had left. WHAT?? I started sobbing like a big baby right there sure that this was just the end of the world. It felt like it because I just couldn't possibly wait any longer to see her sweet face!

She gave me 2 for standby on the 10:20 flight and an actual seat for the 12:30 flight. I immediately went to the next gate, sat down, continued crying, and called Jason. He knew instantly what had happened. He said I will call the people at Mother Goose and the lawyer that was to meet us at the hospital. I collapsed in sadness.......why?

After Jason called back and assured me that they would ask the hospital to keep the birth mom and the child a few extra hours until I could get there.....I felt some relief. Tracie of course phoned and reassured me too. I just knew we had some prayers for us, and that this was all God's story and not ours.

So I waited impatiently pacing, bought some food & of course a Mountain soon as the screen said next flight - Philadelphia- I jumped up went straight to the desk and said.....I am on standby for this next flight. The big deal is that I am going to go there today to meet my daughter- she was just born Tuesday night!!!!! I NEED TO BE THERE NOW! I missed my last flight due to weather.....etc... and many Pleases were involved! She wrote down the info and said she would do her best. For the next couple of hours.......I paced, and only left the area for a few minutes - to use the facilities.

I was a nervous wreck!!!!!! It was still shock that said in a few hours you will meet your new baby girl! What? This all happened sooo fast that we literally only told the kids just a couple of hours before I tucked them in for the night that mommy is flying out to see - their new sister (hopefully- and after all the grief my children have faced with was hard to tell them anything). Would this all go through? Would we just have a really expensive weekend away and come home once again shattered over the loss of a child not meant to be ours?

So the plane comes- I start getting excited.....and the passengers board. Last calls are made, and then they call- Dawn Wright- I was already hovering near the check in desk. I jumped forward saying yes. She said all I have is a middle seat- I grabbed it with the biggest smile ever on my face!!! Saying as I was going down that little hallway to the plane- I don't care- THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She said back- Congratulations have a great flight...... :)

I got to my seat and started really going nuts. My brain went so many different ways. After speaking to the young lady next to me. Showing her pictures and telling her our story......I decided I should try to get some rest because may not get rest for - well quite a while! So I dozed and slept almost the entire flight. Until the last hour. My stomach went nuts! Like painfully crazy nuts! Was it something I ate? Nothing that I have eaten lately was strange, but I was sure it was all stress & excitement induced. I was in sooo much pain I just started praying. God I can't get off this flight travel in a taxi clear across town to the hospital and see my new daughter feeling like this. So I quickly took some medicine and kept praying. It got worse......and then just as I was really in pain- so much I am halved over at this point. It went away. Literally less than 10 minutes before the plane touched down! Thank You Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!

I landed....couldn't wait to see if all my luggage was there. Finally found the correct carousel. Yep- the car seat (which I had to have to leave the hospital with Joanna), my other checked luggage- all there! YEAH!!!!

Afterwords I realized that if I had caught my earlier flight- I HIGHLY DOUBT her carseat or my checked luggage would have been there. Another Praise Jesus moment!

Now for the real stress. Me catching a cab. I mean to some of you- no big deal right? Well it is to me. I am a country girl, maybe a small town- like a few thousand people. So taking public transportation- especially a taxi- not my thing!!!!! The last time I rode a taxi was back in college when our band went to Chicago and I was with friends.....and I remember our driver was really scary and went down a one way the wrong way. So as these thoughts are crossing my mind. I am thinking- ANYTHING for my Joanna!!!

Actually, it was really easy. I got to hospital in good time and the cab driver was really nice- yeah!!!! I get upstairs and they ask me for the birth mom's name- I said- um I don't know, but I will call the lawyer who should be around here. They then called me back to the room.........and she was in the arms of her birth mother. Both of them beautiful!

You know I realize that so many people worry about meeting a birth family, but really they are nervous about meeting you too (maybe a whole other post). Anyway, she handed me our daughter and I promise you my heart stopped for just a moment. In my heart I was praising God for a miracle I never saw coming. A miracle I do not deserve......a miracle that God created especially for our family.

In moments like can anyone doubt our CREATOR???? Not me!

Looks like part 3 will be coming soon, and some more pics. You don't think we haven't taken more do you??? Of course we have and will be posting some more soon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Journey to Joanna Faith part 1

Just so you have been warned this could be long...and I might need to put it in more than one part.

So as of last weekend we had called a lot of domestic agencies. We really felt like our international adoption that we thought would happen - wasn't going to. I will explain why later, but just know that the decision to switch was amazingly intense. I think mostly because our experience with All God's Children was soooo INCREDIBLE!!! The staff, the other families adopting, the Ethiopian staff- ALL 100% AMAZING! We were so sure our little Naomi was to be ours, and couldn't bear the thought of losing another child.......but we did. We have since e-mailed the family that will be bringing Naomi home, and although heartbroken, also felt assured that God was still working, and we still had another child out there if we could just find out where???

So after many, many, many, many times of prayer, and fasting, and praying some more, and begging God to just show us where!!! We started looking, calling, and asking lots of questions about domestic adoption. The one thing I guess that has stopped us from doing domestic adoption before was- our family size. Now I know that I LOVE MY CHILDREN more than anything else- except God & my husband, but would a birth mother see that in our pictures? So after searching, praying, going a little crazy with all the information......

We got a call from our agency that did our homestudy saying- we may have a baby for you that has just been born this weekend. We should know more in the next couple of weeks. So we waited, got excited, and waited, prayed, go more excited.....and found out- this wasn't our child. That was we waited- what now???

So we concentrated on all the work we had to do yet, and things that really had been left a bit behind. Then we got some information from a family that has 10 children- and I know at least their youngest was domestically I went to her website and e-mailed her. She said we used Christian Adoption Consultants. WOW- really there is hope for us, and we could maybe still adopt? Then my head was spinning.

As the weekend was fast approaching....we had to concentrate on food service for the retreat that was at the camp. So we were still praying, thinking, and hoping. When Monday rolled around and our kids were doing quiet time we finally sat down to look at Christian Adoption Consultants information. We got an e-mail and a phone call from Tracie Loux that said- have you filled out your information yet and sent it in for Christian Adoption Consultants? Nope, just sat down to talk about it. Oh- ok well there may be a possible scenario for you......just let me know if this is the way you want to go and I can give you more information.

So as Jason and I sat staring at each other talking.....we knew- this is it. This is our adoption journey continued. So we quickly filled out the forms, e-mailed them, and called back. Well, this little scenario wasn't to be our child either, but Wednesday we got an e-mail (from Tracie- the saying....I know this is crazy a little bit.....but there is a little girl being born- TODAY! So if you want to call let me know. So we did. We still weren't sure about it.

When we called our agency- Mother Goose Adoptions- said can you be in Pennsylvania by tomorrow? Ummm....sure...... is this really happening?????

So the next day comes...and of course we are having sewer issues at the camp. So Jason and I get wrapped up in these issues trying to figure it out. After checking with both situations that are a possibility.....I came over to Jason saying- Mother Goose Adoptions really wants us there ASAP. This is happening they want to conference call us both right now.

So dragging him away from our new camp issues.....he comes inside, and says are we sure about this. I said let's at least get the information. So Deb calls and we talk. She wants us to fill out right away all 50+ pages of paperwork, send in all of our information including homestudy, FBI checks, background checks, letters of reference, health checks for the whole family, birth certificates for everyone, marriage certificate, EVERYTHING!!!!! Oh yeah- one of you needs to be here by noon tomorrow because we are going to discharge the baby girl to you.

We stopped and said...umm can you give us literally a couple of minutes? Yes, but don't take too long. OK. As we hang up the phone- we look at each other and say- is this it? Are we dreaming? Is this our little girl? YES!!!!!!!!!! So we immediately call back.

Let the flurry of craziness begin. Keep in mind this is Wednesday. Our Joanna is now almost 24 hours old. We are going crazy!! We have a loan to get, money to wire, papers to notarize, and it is nearing closing time. We have papers to scan, papers to fill out, papers to sign, papers to look for......and flights to book, and I have to pack for myself and a new baby girl.

We decided that I would fly out Thursday- because there were no flights going to Pennsylvania after 5pm and I was not going to be able to pack that fast. So Thursday I would fly leaving at 6am, oh yeah and we had to leave earlier for check-in, and we had to stop by Wal-mart because we do not have all the baby baby stuff. So by the time we have figured it all out and go to sleep at 1amish- we have to get up around 4am......yikes!!!!!

Jason was going to fly out an meet me on Friday- stay through Sunday and would have to fly back to be with our kids.

Sorry.....little one is stirring will have to wait to read part 2..... :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Joanna Faith Wright- PICTURES!

Details coming soon - Her Story is for God's Glory and we can't wait to share it with you. This has been the craziest week of my life. After adopting 7 other children you would think this would be easy, he he he, no way! But it is ALWAYS WORTH EVERY SECOND OF WORK, WORRY, FRET, AND TEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't stop smiling, and thinking of how amazing this precious baby is. I can't stop thinking- someone pinch me- can this be real? I can't stop dreaming of the day we get to bring her back and our wonderful introduction to the rest of the family :) I can't stop SINGING HIS PRAISE FOR THE GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you God doesn't seem like that much for what HE HAS DONE FOR ME/US!!!

Our New Daughter!!!!

Just to give you all a quick update- we officially have our new daughter in our arms. She was born on March 23rd 8:30pm (a few minutes before)- 7lbs. 14oz. We got a call about this possibility literally that night. We officially said yes on Wednesday- filled out over 50 pages of paperwork, e-mailed at least a 100 documents (not kidding), got a couple of things notarized, booked a flight for me for Thursday- she was discharged from the hospital to me :) !!!!!!!!!!!! Jason flew in yesterday, and has to fly back tomorrow.

So WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IS THAT HUGE NEWS OR WHAT?????

OH YEAH- HER NAME- JOANNA FAITH WRIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Talk about another really really really wild ride of craziness!!!! There are a million details to share, but right now Jason is running to a Target a couple of blocks away to get a card reader for the computer so we can finally share some pics. The cord we have right now isn't working with the computer for som really silly reason.

So much more to share that will be coming soon - I promise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love you all and can't wait to share our crazy week with you.

She is sleeping, gorgeous, pretty easy going, perfect of course, has long toes, tiny, beautiful, has dark crazy hair that is straight and gets really curly when wet, eyes that draw you in, and is simply AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you tell I am a proud mommy??? CAUSE I AM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Things about the Wrights & family planning

1) We live and work at Uskichitto Retreat Center. Our home is a few hundred yards from one of the cabins.

2) We have 4 sets of bunk beds. Our king size bed has a log frame.

3) We normally shop at Sam’s & Walmart. Easy pretty much you can get everything at these 2 places.

4) Our home has 5 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms. It is wonderful, and we are very thankful :)

5) We have the camp’s playset literally within clear view of our living area window.

6) Uskichitto Retreat Center has around 100 acres- and is surrounded in loads of trees- oak, pine, &

7) Our kids love to climb trees. I have to tell them that while other campers/retreats are here they can’t do that because we can’t have them doing it too.

8) I LOVE SWEET things!!!! Candies, cookies, rice crispie bars, no bake cookies....mmmmmm

9) We have 3 computers in our home. 1 belongs to the camp. The other 2 are side by side in our dining area.

10) We have 1 indoor dog- small terrier mix, 1 indoor cat, 2 gerbils, and one outdoor dog- flat coat retriever. All of them were rescued pets (except the gerbils).

You know those books with lovely pictures of homes in them......we used to dream of a beautiful log home. I have to admit if something came up for housing someday in the future that involved a log home.......I would not pass it up. The closest I have come is one time we rented a log home while on a vacation.

When we used to think of our future home we thought of how in the world could we save the money for a log home? How could we plan it & get all the information etc. ?

Now when I think of planning for our future home.....I think of things many bedrooms does it have, and how many children can I fit in it! Seriously. There have been plenty of times we will drive by a large home and I will make the usual comment of- oh I love that house because I could have many more children if we lived there.

You see - I don't really care about how big it really is, but really I know there are guidelines for homestudies etc. So I would have to have something big enough to hold more children. So you see my family planning is simple. Have as many as your house can hold......(for homestudy sake) and then when one start doing another adoption :)

I find it sad sometimes to think that there are soo many people who are the opposite. Don't get me wrong. I know there are many who don't want a large family- I am not opposed, but I pray that every family- ENJOYS the children they have. Whether it is one or several.

Just for us....our family planning ideas have changed from a nice log cabin on a great piece of property to how many children can we raise up for the Lord? How many will God bring us? When will they come? What will their story be? How is God going to use all these miracles? I can't wait to find out!!! LOVE our changes in family planning.......

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy Adoption Day- Joshua, Sarah, & Elizabeth!!!!

This is daddy hard at work decorating all 3 CAKES!!!! Yep you read that right- we adopted Joshua, Sarah, & Elizabeth on the same day so- we do 3 different cakes :)
So here are our 3 babes that we get to celebrate being a forever family for- 2 years ago today!!!!!
Elizabeth- our little crazy 4 year old sweetie! She came to us at 5 1/2 months old and we are soo happy she did :) I remember the day she came- arrived at our home around midnight- the night before our big open house at the camp. You know perfect timing. he he he. I will never forget the squeals of joy on Joshua and Sarah's faces when they woke up and she was in a pack and play in the middle of their room. It was wayyy better than any other gift we could have given them.
Ripping into their presents. Yes we do it in our pj's because who wants to wait to get dressed, bathed and all that stuff???
Darts for of course a dart gun :) Remembering when Joshua & Sarah came to us. We got a phone call from a social worker saying the bare minimum about these children. I asked - can we talk about it and pray about it for at least a few minutes....yep, but hurry :) They needed to find a placement.
So we hung up, prayed, talked, and said yes. Within a couple of hours they arrived. We woke the others up from their naps and told them we would have a couple other children living with us for at least a while. They were pretty excited!
When Joshua darted out of the mini van the social worker drove....he grabbed the bike off the front porch and ran with it through- daddy's freshly planted flowers.....he he he....
We love recounting that silly story, and remembering the shoes he wore were too huge, and how handsome that smile was. It still steals my heart!!!!
Sarah, was sleeping in her car seat. So sweet, so peaceful.....which lasted all of a few minutes! I still remember saying no so many times I thought it would have been much easier to just make a tape recording. She tested every boundary and then some, but she has been such as joy as well.
Their story is LONG........very very very long- 3 years!!!! 3 WHOLE YEARS- we dealt with the system, social workers who loved us and some who didn't, a judge who changed with the wind, and then sided with the CASA worker out of racial hate. Sad story, with a happy ending.
Because these children- couldn't be any more mine than they are! You know that typical question- are these kids yours, don't you want any of your own? Yep- I already have 7!!!!!
You see adoption is REAL! It is not a story, a fantasy, or a sort of way to have children. It is a REAL THING! It is a living, breathing, changing relationship that is REAL!
Sometimes it is sweet, sometimes not so sweet, sometimes it is hard, really hard, sometimes it is great, sometimes it is sad, sometimes it is fun, sometimes not so much.
But it is ALWAYS REAL! My children are a miracle of God and I couldn't love them anymore!!!!! There is no way you could convince anyone in our family that what we are is anything less than any family that is based on God's Love!
So here is Joshua's dirt cake.
Sarah's home made carrot cake.
Elizabeth's strawberry flowery cupcakes.
My husband is the best!!!!! I am just a little biased.

So this day we THANK GOD for all the struggles, the craziness, and all those that held us up in prayer as we walked the road of fostering and then eventually adoption for these beautiful children!!!!!!!!!!!
Because my life would not be half as fun.....
without all .....
of my beautiful faces...
he he he.....
makes everything worth every second of stress, pain, and worry. When God's plan is fulfilled and we get to stand up in court and say- YES!!!!! I want to be the forever family to these beautiful children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT A HUGE BLESSING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you Lord for my beautiful family :)