How do you do it? We are so blessed to have support from extended family and friends. We have AMAZING older children who help a great deal with “the littles.” We have been blessed financially. We are blessed with a good marriage. I feel like each time we follow the promptings to do something hard, the Lord compensates in some way or another. That being said, we don’t always “do it.” The house is constantly in need of a good cleaning, some things just don’t get done, and we definitely rely on Little Ceasers way too often! But the kids are loved, and I suppose that’s what matters most!
Are you done? I have thought we were “done” many times, but I have learned that this isn’t really our decision alone and that our Heavenly Father knows what’s best for our family. So even though I would say, “Yes, we’re done!” I know from experience that I may not be right!
Isn’t that expensive? Um, yes!!! The adoption process is about $20,000 per adoption, including travel expenses. We are very fortunate that Jeremy works for a company who pays a portion of that. Between that and the tax credit, we are able to pull it off. The really expensive part is feeding them all!! (;
Do you have help? Yes and no. A couple of months after bringing Lexi and Sophi home, we knew we were in over our heads. We hired a young woman to come in twice a week for a few hours. This was a tremendous help, especially because it gave me the flexibility to leave little ones while I took one of the kids to see a doctor, have surgery, go on a field trip, etc. I would come home and the house would be clean and the kids would be happy—heaven!! We could only afford to do that for a few months, but it was such an enormous help during that adjustment period, especially since Xander and Lexi were both in kindergarten at different times and different schools! Also, I have the most amazing neighbors and church friends who brought in dinner 1-2 times a week for almost a year. I know—I was so blessed and spoiled! These friends also doubled as “laundry fairies” who would take dirty baskets of clothes from my porch and return them clean and folded. Besides these huge helps, random acts of kindness continue to bless our family—from bags of hand-me-down clothes to left-over food from big functions to offers to help with the kids—people continually look out for our family. It seems that most of the times I get extremely overwhelmed or fall ill, someone does something that helps us feel loved. We see the Lord’s tender mercies all the time. We are so humbled and grateful for all that has been done for our family. That doesn’t mean, however, that we couldn’t appreciate an “Alice” (from The Brady Bunch.) Maybe someday! (:
What led you to adoption? Our sweet little stillborn babies were what started us on this journey. See Our Story.
Are they real brothers and sisters? YES! They are all real brothers and sisters! But only Taylor, Parker, and Jessica are biological siblings. None of the adopted children are related biologically.
Can Lexi or Elli see at all? No. As far as opthamologists can tell, they don’t even have light perception.
Do Lexi and Elli go to a school for the blind? No. At this time, it doesn’t seem to be the right fit for either of them. Elli goes to a school for children with multiple disabilities, because she has autism. Her autism is actually way more of a special need than her blindness. It is a wonderful school with an incredible staff. She will likely continue there until she “graduates” at age 22. Lexi attends the same charter school as our other children. She has a full time aide (that will taper off as she gets older) and receives services from the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind. That means that specialists are sent out to work with her on braille, orientation and mobility. Lexi loves school and her teachers, helpers, and classmates are so good to her. We have no doubt she will go far with her education and we anticipate she will graduate from college someday.
What’s wrong with Xander’s leg? Xander has Cloves Syndrome, which is an extremely rare disorder that affects him from his waist down. Most people only notice his one calf being affected, but both legs and feet are affected. He has undergone sclerotherapy several times, which has had minimal impact. This summer he is scheduled to have “de-bulking” surgery on his calf. We are so excited for him!! That leg is heavy, and he also gets teased about it once in awhile. While Xander could have complications from this syndrome, it doesn’t affect his day-to-day activities much at all. He rarely complains about it, and we have found that our hardest issue is finding shoes that fit him. He’s a strong, spunky little boy!
Will Sophi use prosthetics? We had a consult with the prosthetic department at Shriner’s Hospital who confirmed what we already thought: prosthetics are currently not even a consideration for her. They would most likely be cumbersome and not very helpful. We find that she does nearly everything she wants to do using her feet, toes, chin, teeth, and shoulders. You should see her eat an ice-cream cone with one foot—amazing!
What should I do when my kids stare? First of all, know that we understand. Our kids stare too! It’s impossible to not want to watch Sophi particularly, as she is quite fascinating even to adults. I think that “staring” from a distance is fine. But if you are up close enough to interact with the kids, teach your children to just ask questions if they have them, and then try to treat them like typical kids. It also doesn’t hurt to teach them to “stare” with a pleasant look on their face. I have found that Sophi doesn’t mind people watching her at all, unless they have a grumpy glare type of look, at which point she gives them the grumpy glare back and gets very self-conscious. (; A smile or compliment goes a long way in making her feel good about herself! Also, everyone always comments on her missing arms—I’m sure she would love to be noticed for her big beautiful eyes or impish smile as well!