Monday, August 27, 2012

Hospital Party

Two weekends ago, the hospital had a kids event.  While we were down visiting Naomi, the girls got their faces painted, ate popcorn and ice cream, got to do a craft and even got gifts.

 Here is Davey sporting her gift - a Fairy track suit!

Malia getting her face painted.

This is also the weekend my sweet sister Beth flew in for a visit.  Our whole family was supposed to go to Ohio this upcoming weekend to attend a baby shower for her but our plans had to change when Naomi was placed with us.  Beth was so supportive and understanding when I said we wouldn't be able to make it and then promptly booked flights to come out and see us.  Unfortunately the only picture I took was of her and Naomi (which I can't show you!)   

Friday, August 24, 2012

Home

After exactly four weeks of life in the NICU, we were able to bring Naomi home on Wednesday.  We are so grateful for the care she received at the hospital and the kindness shown to us by the staff.  It was wild to take her out of the hospital and realize she had never left that building in her 29 days of life and that she had, in fact, spent almost every hour of her life in a quiet room at the end of the hall.

We got the call to be her foster parents on her second day of life and so spent the next 28 days making trips down to see her.  While it was hard to add that to our daily schedule, we value those visits so much because we were able to get to know her and hold her during that time.  I think it was especially good for our girls to go and visit her as they had time to warm up to the idea of a baby in the house.

We have spent the last two days meeting with social workers, making phone calls trying to track down documents, having home oxygen delivered, going to the doctor etc. but everything is in place (for now) and I am hoping I can take a deep breath this weekend and just enjoy my sweet family.

A little update on Naomi herself.  She was sent home on a low dose of oxygen and will be on it for at least a few weeks as she continues to grow.  It is a bit of a hassle, but we are getting used to carrying the tank with us and it still four or five less cords to deal with than when she was at the hospital.  She is eating like a pro, sleeping like a champ and weighed in this morning at 5 lbs, 11 ounces!  (She was born 4 lbs, 4 ounces).

Thanks for your love and support during this time.  We truly feel surrounded and cared for, (more than I think either Andrew and I could have imagined in these circumstances.)

 Leaving the hospital...

... some of our loot (diapers, formula, bottles, etc).  
And yes, we accidentally wore matching shirts that day!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Big Fans

The girls are big fans of Naomi.  Here are a few pictures that show it.  Hoping they are as big of fans of her when we bring her home and she requires a lot of our attention!





Thursday, August 16, 2012

Simple backyard fun

Life seems complicated right now.  We are navigating and wrestling with some big issues (which seemed a bit easier when they were just hypotheticals).  We are interacting with a slew of doctors, nurses, social workers, lawyers, etc.  Life is good, but complicated.

The girls are a constant reminder of how simple and fun life can also be.  We have spent several evenings in the last week just playing in our backyard.  The girls can be so entertained by running down the "hill" in our backyard... over and over.  In the midst of complicated circumstances, I am so grateful for these simple (and joy-filled) times.

 Running.

Summersaults.

 Don't take my picture.

 Take my picture.

Tackle Daddy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Water Blob

Oh Pinterest.  I saw the water blob being pinned a lot earlier this summer and finally got around to doing it last week with Alli, Desmond, Graham and the girls.

I am not going to say it was a smashing success.  It was fine.  Don't know if we needed more water (and more duct tape) to get better results or what but it kept the four kiddos reasonably entertained for a portion of the morning.  Malia was really into doing gymnastics on it and for whatever reason Davey wasn't into clothes on this particular morning.





 Alli had the great idea of playing Hullabaloo on the blob.  So creative and fun.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Zoo

We have been trying to maintain some sort of normalcy for Malia and Davey while Naomi is in the NICU.  Last week, we went to zoo in the morning, then I spent the afternoon in the NICU with Naomi while Davey napped and Malia hung out with her Aunt Alli.

It has been a tiring process to be down there everyday but we are grateful that we get to know Naomi in these early days of her life.

Back to the zoo... I usually take my camera, lug it around and forget to take pictures.  This time I snapped a few of the girls with some of their best buds.

 The four amigos.

 Malia sitting in Davey's lap waiting for the elephant show.

Speaking of the elephant show, it was so cool.  I have never seen an elephant fully submerged in water or do some of the tricks that he did.  I was so impressed that I even took several pictures.  We also saw a baby leopard and 4 baby peacocks on this visit.    

More sister loving.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The County Fair

These pictures are from awhile ago but we did go to the county fair recently.  

The girls enjoyed seeing the animals and having bites of their first corn dog.

Davey especially liked the pigs tail (so gross!)

 And I particularly enjoyed seeing mutton busting for the first time (in case you haven't heard of it - I hadn't until we moved out west - it is little kids trying to ride a sheep).  I have never seen sheep jump so high before.




Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Park

Last week we stayed with Alli and Chris for a few nights as they live closer to the hospital.  One hot morning Alli and I took the kids to the playground.  We are so thankful for Alli and Chris's hospitality and look forward to some more sleepovers and adventures this week!

 Malia on top of a "mountain."

 Desmond loves throwing rocks into water.  Even this little puddle was big enough to entertain him.

And my sweet Davey on the swings.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Held

Last week as I was driving to the hospital, Natalie Grant's song "Held" came on the radio (it is so rare for me to listen to non-kid music in the car... even when they are not with me,  I usually forget to change it!)

I was struck by the chorus:

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held.

As I listened, I cried.  Hard.  I cried for sweet Naomi and the loss of her mother at such a vulnerable time in her life.  I cried for Naomi's birth mom, that she isn't around to see how beautiful her daughter is.

And I cried because until she gets well enough to leave the NICU all we can do is go visit her and hold her.  I cried because I am so humbled that God has chosen us to be his hands; hands to hold Naomi and remind her that He hasn't forgotten her.  Even though the sacred has been torn from her life, she is surviving and she is loved and she will be held.


Sunday, August 05, 2012

A Name

Not much blogging going on here lately.  Been a bit busy.  I wish I could share all that we have learned, enjoyed, and struggled with in these past 11 days, but time is limited (and I am a terribly slow writer - seriously it takes me forever to write really simple things). So I thought I should start with something important...like this baby girl's name.

Our situation is such that the girl put in our care was never officially named, and we were told that we could name her.  When we started this foster/adoption process, we learned that the chances of getting a newborn were slim and so getting an unnamed newborn was something we never even considered.  It took us about a week of knowing her to settle on a name because we were so unprepared for this task.

We are happy to announce that we have named her Naomi.  Here's why.

Last week, I was on the phone with my mom, and she mentioned off a few names she liked.  One of the names she mentioned was Naomi.  The next day I mentioned it to Andrew, and he liked it.  We talked about it more and he asked if it meant bitter so, after we had dropped the girls off at a friend's house, I read the book of Ruth aloud while we drove down to the hospital.  We were struck by several things in the story, which lead us to think this was a perfect name for her.  (Naomi does not mean bitter; in the story, Naomi ["pleasant"] changes her name to Mara which means bitter.)

First, in the beginning of the book, we find that Naomi has lost her husband and her two sons.  Being a widow in those times and in that culture meant life was pretty hopeless.  The loss of family and a hopeless situation is something that resonates with this little girl's life.

Second, Naomi tells Ruth to return to her people, "but Ruth replied, 'Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you.  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God." (Ruth 1:16)  This statement matches our desire to love on this girl and incorporate her into our family for however long she is in our care.

Third, Boaz wants to marry Ruth but knows that there is a kinsmen redeemer that has first rights to do so.  He courageously puts his own desires on hold in order to follow the law.  We hope to be like Boaz in our situation.  While it does not seem likely that Naomi's parents will come back into the picture, we don't know this for sure.  And the state has to keep its goal of reunification which means if her parents or other family members were to come into the picture, they would have first rights to Naomi.  We are hoping to courageously walk through these unknown days like Boaz did and to honor the laws of our land even if it does not exactly line up with what our hearts want.

Fourth, we were struck at how the story of Naomi and Ruth is about hope coming out of hopelessness, God's faithfulness, and new family.

So that is the long version of what her name is.  I am thankful that my mom mentioned Naomi to me and that my sister agreed that I could have it even though it was still in the running in her baby name bracket!

Naomi is doing well in the NICU.  We estimate she will be there at least another 2 weeks but we do not know for sure.  Today when we went to visit, we were happy to see that she had been moved out of her isolette and into a crib last night (which means she is maintaining her own body temperature).  And to our surprise above her new crib was her name on the wall.  A sweet nurse (who we haven't even met) took care of her last night and was so happy that she finally had a name that she decorated her wall.