Our Son!

Our Son!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Much Needed Spirit Boost

We're coming off a rough week here in the Sturgeon household. Now, to be fair, our part in the struggles are nothing compared to those directly effected, but it has caused some stress and anxiety nonetheless.

Last Wednesday night, my brother David suffered a major myochardial infarction (heart attack), and only through the Grace of God / a miracle, he was spared. One of the guys playing basketball with him was a paramedic, administered chest compressions and used the AED machine, and revived him. The next day, as we waited to find out what David's prognosis was, I went to my dad's oncology appointment to act as another set of ears. We got a call from David's wife with the crushing news that Dave would in fact have to have open heart (bypass) surgery: CABG. Five bypasses nonetheless. Shortly later, we discovered that Dad's cancer was not merely the one spot on his lung; rather, he had a some on a lymph node as well: stage 2A. The determination? Seven weeks of radiation coupled with chemotherapy concurrently. Sigh. While taking that all in, Troy and I made the decision to pack up the boys the next a.m. and head the 5 hours to Rapid City to be with / near David during and shortly after surgery. Now, Dave jokingly (or maybe not....it is David after all!) refers to himself as Superman, and we all accordingly give him grief and tend to disagree with this assessment of himself. However, after seeing his near superhuman initial recovery after not five but SIX bypasses -- i.e. sitting up the next day -- I think we can acquiesce and for a time allow him to don that moniker. At least for a while!

Now, during this entire time, at the back of my mind, I was marginally concerned that we had not received notification that our I800A paperwork had been received at the USCIS. I called USCIS. They gave me an email address for lockbox. I emailed. Crickets. I called USCIS again. This time the employee shared some information that I was actually not supposed to be privy to. I had forgotten a signature on the 8th page!!! How could that be?!?! In all the paperwork I had completed for these three adoption, I had never made such a rookie mistake. I was sick! Well, lo and behold, when I got home from school, there were the offending papers. I signed them, copied them, and sent them off with Troy FedEx. Now we wait again. I effectively cost us a couple of weeks in the paperchase and thereby a couple weeks away from our son. So, last night as we were getting ready to fall asleep, I said to Troy, "You know what would really help? What would really lift my spirits? An update. I need an update on our little guy." I emailed our ever patient agency and asked if they were working on Good Friday and / or Monday so I wouldn't wait needlessly those days if they weren't even in the office. She said the would be in, but that our little man's province is notoriously slow at returning update requests. So, I put it out of mind....hahahaha! Yeah right! Then, a few short hours later? AN UPDATE!!!! Be still my heart! Seriously. He could NOT be any cuter. We even got a video this time. I am over the moon!

So, without further ado. The newest picture of our painfully cute son!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Willy Wonka Was a Hit!

See, I do things other than adoption paperwork! My friend Jenny F and I (Troy was at a track meet of course) took the boys to the the BV all-school spring musical. The play was very well done and was a lot of fun! Aiden loved it all and was riveted the entire time. Ethan liked it a lot -- for about the first 30-45 minutes then decided sitting still any longer than that was asking too much. Even so, he was a relatively good boy and enjoyed the singing; I know this because at a fairly quiet moment, he took the opportunity to announce that fact very loudly. Sigh. Afterwards a couple of my students, Veruca and Willy Wonka, who were amazing in the production, took time to take a picture with Aiden and Ethan. Ethan was a little freaked out, and Aiden was more than a little in awe.

So glad we got to go see it!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Authentication and Home Study News

We got 11 of the necessary 13 documents authenticated and back from the Chinese Embassy today! Also, we found out that our notarized home study should be returned to us sometime in the middle of this week. Once we have that, we can send in our I800a application. Then we will wait for our I797. Those two (the home study and I797) will be our last two pieces of documentation we will need to send to be authenticated -- probably MANY weeks from now -- before we can forward everything to China so we can begin the long wait for our LOA, or acceptance from China for us to adopt our (yet nameless) son. One step at a time. One step at a time!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Celebrating Small Victories

This process is nothing short of (emotionally and mentally) arduous. Therefore, I have learned we need to celebrate the mini-milestones, and yesterday was one of those moments. We received the following email:

Congratulations! Today we approved your home study, pending revisions. We have notified your social worker of the pending approval, and they are now working on making the requested revisions before sending you 3 originals of the study. Please allow at least 1 week for processing.

(Insert a myriad of details and instructions for a slew of upcoming paperwork.)

Warm regards,
"X" Early Process and Dossier Assistant

It may not seem like much, but it is another step closer to bringing home our (yet nameless) son.

It is one more check mark on a seemingly endless list.

It is one day closer to having our three boys under the same roof!

That is why we celebrate!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Here We Go Again! Introducing.....

OUR SON!!! Our 2 1/2 year old, bright, naughty, "gymnastic talent" {according to those who know him best} son!

Yes, it's true. We are completing our family -- with a boy!

Ok, so, I've always had dreams of having three children. When the dream started taking shape, though, I have to admit, I had in mind having three girls in a more "traditional" manner. (How I was going to achieve this genetic feat, I'm not sure, but three bio girls it was going to be!) When reality began to rear its ugly beautiful head that we were not going to grow our family the old-fashioned way, we realized it was a family we wanted; the means to that family was not the point.

Of course, it's ironic in hindsight. With international adoption, we could have chosen the gender of our children. We could have had our family be comprised of three little girls. So, why didn't we? To be honest, I don't know that I can unequivocally say why. When we began the process, we had fully planned to check the box for "girl" only. But we paused. We discussed. We prayed. We vacillated . We finally decided to let God (fate if you're of that bent) make that decision. "If I was pregnant," we argued, "we wouldn't have a say in it. It would be what it would be." And so it would be. We chose "either gender." Enter Aiden. Our son. How could we imagine life without that funny, loving, bright, sweet boy? What a much darker, sadder, more boring place our world would be without him. God does NOT make mistakes; He showed us yet again!

Well, we knew our family was not complete. So, we got to {insert sarcasm} fill out the paperwork once again. Again, we were faced with so many decisions regarding ages, 'special needs,' and, yes, gender. It would have made perfect sense, to some, for us to check "girl." How sweet -- a boy and a girl! However, we looked at Aiden and felt so immeasurably blessed and grateful that we HADN'T ticked the box next to girl that we decided once again to allow the decision to be taken out of our hands: ETHAN! The gentlest, kindest, most thoughtful little ball of energy we've ever had the good fortune to know. Our second son. It takes my breath away to imagine my life without him.

Now, for the final chapter in the Sturgeon Family Story. We are accidentally expecting again. Here's how this situation unfolded.

It was the middle of January during my prep time, and I realized it had been months since I had been on our agency's (Holt) website. Troy and I had mentioned, somewhat in passing, that we would sometime in the near future like to start the process again in order to complete our family. Obviously with a girl. The matter of when to start the process was still up for debate, but eventually was as far as we'd gotten. So, when I decided to check out the waiting child list, it was with no pre-conceived notion that I would find *my* child waiting there for me. However, as I scrolled down the pictures, I found the cutest, sweetest little face capped with the most a-dork-able hair cut smiling up at me. I couldn't help it. I had to read his profile. Lo and behold, his 'special need' wasn't all that 'special.' At least to us. He was hard of hearing / Deaf. Huh. Turns out we know a thing or two about having a deaf son! I couldn't help myself. I sent the picture to Troy. In a nutshell, he asked what his special need was. I told him. His response? "That's IT?" To which I responded, rather eloquently I feel, "Yup." Then he sent his fateful reply. "Get on it!" The rest, as they say, is history. We didn't take precautions (to guard our heart), and now we find ourselves "with child" again. And we could not be happier or more excited!

We don't have a lot of details to share. We were provisionally approved by China, PA, on 2/12/14 (YAAAY!!!) and had our final home study visit on Sunday, March 16. As soon as that is notarized and in our hands, we can send it off to the USCIS and begin the much-despised waiting game -- waiting for our I800A approval. All of our other paperwork is Virginia / DC already, ready to be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy. There's a chance I've been referred to as "gung-ho" by our adoption agency's regional office. Haha! In fact, I was informed by our social worker that one of the staff members in Omaha claims she's never seen such a fast turn around in paperwork for a home study! Hey. This isn't my first rodeo, and I want this little guy (who is still nameless, by the way, and is still being referred to as 'baby brother') home, sooner rather than later!!

In summary, we appreciate any and all prayers, and....HERE WE GO!!!!!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Augustana's Kick Off Kid 11/16/2013.....

....was Aiden! Because Aiden is seen at Sanford Children's Hospital, and because Troy and I know the person at Sanford who works with Augie to arrange said kid, Aiden was chosen. To be honest, Aiden was terrified. All the "job" entailed, really, was walking out to the coin toss at mid-field. Even though the Augie captains were painfully sweet (and would probably be mortified to be described that way), and they all came over to say hi to Aiden and got down on his level -- physically -- he refused to go alone, so Dad had to accompany him. Troy said Aiden was so scared, he was physically shaking the entire time. Out he did go, though, brave kid. When it was all said and done, he loved it! Now, had Ethan been chosen, he would have led those captains out onto the field. Those two are an exercise in contrasts to be sure. Be that as it may, they're getting to be very close, and today they played together ALL DAY without one fight. It is sweet to watch their relationship develop. Now, if we could just get two days in a row. Haahaha! Ah well, we'll take what we can get. And it just gets better every day!

One of the captains talking to Aiden. So sweet!
Aiden and Dad at midfield

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Wanted, Prayed for, Chosen, LOVED!

Today is orphan Sunday. There is a oft-used saying in the adoption community -- especially when we get the comment, "You know, you can't save them all!" It is then when we lucky adoptive parents can say,

~Adopting one child WON'T change the world, BUT
for that child, the world WILL change
Author Unknown

That only tells half the story, though. It should continue,

~And for those fortunate enough to adopt,
THEIR world will be changed, too, for the better!~

So much better.

November is adoption month. Today is orphan Sunday. Please take a few minutes to think of and pray for those who still await their forever families. Maybe, just maybe, even ask yourself is your son or daughter out their waiting to meet you through the gift of adoption.

Orphans no more:
:( I can't seem to load Aiden's baby picture from the orphanage, but you get the idea!