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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fun Days

I'm not sure how I've managed to stay so busy despite not working, Daniel says, "It's because you're Lindsey Royal." I think it may be a combination of that and the fact that God was sparing a few things from occurring until I had time for them! Every day I am so thankful for this time to be on leave and focus on enjoying time with Daniel and Anellah while still being able to do everything else that needs to be done.

This morning we were able to have a "Fun Day" and go to San Francisco on the ferry with some friends. All the kids (and Moms) had a great time. I felt privileged to finally be able to participate in a play day!

Riding the ferry and sharing PB & J with Jack

Visiting the Sea Lions
Paige, Penny, Jack, and Anellah
This week I have spent a lot of time meeting with and getting things organized for Anellah to start preschool. It is proving to take a lot more time than I had expected and I know I would not have been able to put in this time if I were still working. Anellah and I really like all the staff at the preschool location she will be attending and today she was even able to play with some of the kids. She absolutely loved it and did not want to leave. I tried to take a photo of her playing but she was too busy to look at the camera.

I have also been in touch with attorneys, advocates, social workers, etc. because the contract which authorizes payments for Anellah's childcare have not been renewed. The person who renews these contracts is the same person whom we have struggled with in the past regarding adoption payments. I have not attempted to contact her directly as in the past she refused to return my phone calls or meet with Daniel or I. It is an unusual case that the county will pay for childcare for a foster child but they were paying for Anellah because there were no other placement options and it was cheaper for her to have childcare subsidized than for her to live anywhere other than our home. In preparation for the transition out of foster care (and therefore becoming our sole financial responsibility) I spent the last 6 months getting her into Early Head Start so that we would only have to pay for HALF day childcare when I return to work and the adoption is finalized. We were not given any warning that the childcare payments would stop nor were we requested to decrease the number of hours (we did that of our own accord) but despite these facts one person has again decided to complicate matters and leave us fighting for what we feel is best for Anellah. Thankfully, as usual, we have a lot of people fighting for us and I have three irons in the fire to remedy the situation. Please pray that it is remedied quickly as we need a solution by the end of December which does not leave many business days. We do not want to have another big transition for Anellah around the time of Baby Boy's birth (which is why we attempted to start preschool as quickly as possible not knowing it would take 6 months!) so please pray that the solution will be for her to stay with her current daycare provider for the half days she is not at preschool.

We are thankful for each of you who support us including the Roths who invited us to spend Thanksgiving with them!
Making our contribution to the Thanksgiving Feast
Loving the piano music 
Notice the festive "pumpkin belly"

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We are thankful for everything in our lives right now. We are thankful for the home God has given us, the family and friends he has surrounded us with, and the way he is constantly showing Himself in new and unique ways. Thank YOU for partnering with us in prayer and other types of support as we venture on this journey of our expanding family.

Yesterday Anellah wore an outfit with a turkey on it that says, "Everyone is Thankful for Me." When I bought it last year for $2 I had no idea how fitting it would be. Anellah is such a joy and an example of one who thrives against all odds. We are thankful for her because our experiences and struggles surrounding fostering, parenting, and loving her have shown us so much about God's provision and about ourselves.

This past weekend my parents came to visit so that they could watch Anellah and we could celebrate our anniversary. Unfortunately we don't have many pictures since we lost our camera but here are a few taken with my phone at Harley's Goat Farm.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Time of Rejoicing

Just over a month ago I started a post with the following verse which was also my prayer at the time,

Isaiah 41:10 

So do not fear, for I am with you; 
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

A few verses later Isaiah 41 reads, 

Isaiah 41:16b

But you will rejoice in the LORD
 and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

We are definitely now in the season of peace and rejoicing. Seemingly overnight we transitioned from one of the busy-est and most difficult times in our lives to a time of relaxation. Anellah has returned to daycare and I will continue to be on maternity leave until after the baby is born. This means lots of time for getting our house back in order and catching up on everything that has fallen through the cracks over the past six months. 

We were also able to come to a compromise with Head Start and Daycare so that she will be able to attend half-day daycare four days/week beginning on December 1st. I'm glad we can make the transition before the baby comes and she has that to adjust to also.

Speaking of the baby, another praise is that I had an ultrasound this week and the partial placenta previa which was observed on a previous ultrasound has resolved on it own! The baby is also positioned appropriately so being breech should not be a problem. We have the green light to try to have this baby without a mandatory c-section.

Here are some pictures of Anellah "rejoicing through dance" in her unique way. :)


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Surgery - 2 Weeks Out

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update that Anellah had a follow up appointment yesterday with her surgeons and everything looks just as expected! When I asked the neurosurgeon about the chances Anellah would need to have the surgery repeated when she is older he said, "Well it's not zero, but it's not high. You'll keep seeing us about once a year until she's 8 years old." That was a lingering question I had had in my head and am glad to have answered.

In the waiting room we also met another kid who had the same surgery a couple years ago and you definitely could not see his scar as it was hidden under his hair.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Half Moon Bay

We arrived home yesterday evening after a fun weekend with our small group in Half Moon Bay.

We were slightly hesitant about going since it was so close to Anellah's surgery and she had gotten pretty whiny on Thursday and Friday morning. But we're glad we went because by Friday afternoon she was a happy little girl again and had fun with her three buddies (10 months, 22 months, and 3 years old). We even bundled up and went to the beach which she LOVED!

On the drive home we took a short jaunt to Pescadero so that we could visit Harley's Goat Farm. Then took the scenic route up Highway 1. It was a fun and relaxing drive.

Yesterday was Anellah's first pain-medicine free day which is exciting! Her hair is starting to cover her scar and the swelling has gone down enough that it's not super-obvious something happened to her. Her right eye still has some swelling which makes her eyelid droop, I'm hoping that will go away soon.

In other news- 
  • Things are going well with Anellah's Mom. She has been very appreciative that we are "treating Anellah like your own kid" which is what we consider her to be. She has stated multiple times that she would not have been able to support her through the surgery process and is thankful we were there to do so. Legally Anellah's Mom does not have any rights other than what is written up in our adoption contract (one visit per month and two phone calls per month plus being updated about Anellah's health status) but as long as things continue to go well we feel that it is healthy for both Anellah and her Mom to keep in touch with each other more frequently than that. The next court date is set for February and there probably won't be any adoption updates/changes until then.
  • I am thoroughly enjoying my maternity leave, although I haven't actually DONE much baby planning at least I have time to think about it and enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy. My belly continues to grow but I'm still relatively comfortable and would say I've had a pretty easy pregnancy! I'm even sleeping better now that I don't have so much stress and anxiety.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Post Op Days 6&7- One Week Later

Our little girl is back! She is still a little on the tired/fussy side but for the most part, Anellah has returned to herself. She had a relatively normal sleep, eat, and play schedule today which included lots of talking and singing. She even had a short session with her physical therapist (she normally sees Kristin weekly) who remarked that her stability and ability to stand upright had already begun to improve!!

Yesterday we noticed that Anellah had a significant cough which was still present today but had improved. It seems she caught a cold but her body has been able to fight it off relatively well.
Found a costume that fits over her swollen head! She loved it even though we never left the house.
As you can see, the swelling in her face is continuing to decrease pretty much hourly. It's amazing.
Today she looks A LOT more like Anellah
I am so thankful to not have to be at work. Anellah continues to have LOTS of appointments to shuffle (weekly physical therapy, weekly early childhood development, weekly speech therapy, multiple surgery follow ups, a liver ultrasound, pediatrician appointments, social workers, attorney, etc. etc.) but I am able to easily schedule them without the stress of trying to shuffle my work schedule! I feel relaxed and am really able to enjoy this time with Anellah, Daniel, Anne, and fetus rather than being preoccupied with what I must be forgetting to do.