I want to address some issues... I don't know if the people intended to read this will, but I'm going to say it anyway.
Why are we adopting?
Plain and simple: God spoke to our hearts, we've seen the conditions these little ones live in, we know what will happen to them if they're not brought home, and we can help. At least one child.
Why internationally and not in the US when there are tons of babies here ready to adopt?
Because, believe it or not, kids with Ds who are put up for adoption go quickly here. Also, the kids here, even if they are in foster care, are taken much better care of than they are in other countries, like the one we are adopting from. Is it more expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? YES!
Why are you adopting if you have to fundraise to do so?
The majority of families in our adoption ring are fundraising. I have posted about several raffles and different fundraisers for many of our friends. We're not the only ones. We put it on our blogs so friends and family can help. Whether we raise $1,000 or $20,000 Kellsey will be coming home. We are SO grateful for all of you who have helped us bring her home.
How is it possible that the donations are tax deductible?
If you donate through our page on Reece's Rainbow it is tax deductible as they are non-profit. We do not get that money until we are ready to travel.
What about Kennedy? What if she gets sick again?
We never know what the future holds. Kennedy is doing very well health-wise right now. As we get further and further away from her Leukemia diagnosis we feel more confident that she will not relapse. We look forward to her starting school and all the exciting adventures that encompasses in the Fall.
While we're talking about Kennedy's health, how is it that she was eligible for a Wish trip? I thought you had to be terminal... is it fair you got to go when other kids are waiting for years?
ANY child with a life threatening illness (such as cancer, heart defects, or even conditions like diabetes or anhidrosis) is approved for a Make-A-Wish trip. I promise they check into each child's medical history. There are LOTS of kids who go well after they are in remission and doing well. This program is not only for terminal children. I have never heard of a child having to wait years for a trip, so we didn't take anyone's place. Give Kids the World is huge and continuing to grow and they are ready for families any time, as soon as a doctor approves them as healthy to travel. We were very blessed to be able to go on that trip and we are grateful for Make-A-Wish and Give Kids the World for the opportunity.
What about being away from your kids while you travel to Kellsey's family? Haven't you been away from them enough?
We spoke at length with Kassidy and Kameron about this adoption. They know we will be gone for awhile to go get her. We've explained to them that Kellsey has Down syndrome, like Kennedy. They think that's awesome! They are in with us step by step and they are excited! Honestly, if they weren't, we wouldn't be doing this. Fortunately our travel time for Kennedy's medical appointments has slowed considerably, so once we return home with Kellsey we look forward to very minimal time away from all our children.
Don't you have enough on your plate? Why adopt another child, let alone another one with special needs?
There are times that I feel completely overwhelmed, but I don't know of any moms out there who DON'T, even with only one child. We feel that we can raise Kellsey, give her a good home, a loving family, a chance at life. We are not saints, we are not perfect, I WILL make mistakes and bad judgment calls. We're just doing what we know we can, what God has called us to do, for one child. Kellsey is HEALTHY as far as we know :). We are rejoicing in that fact and praying that any time spent at the doctor's office is minimal. As for Down syndrome, that's easy! :) We love Kennedy so much and all of us so look forward to bringing Kellsey home with all that entails :).
What about your son? Doesn't he have special needs too?
Kameron has a high functioning form of Autism. He is excelling in school right now. He does have some sensory issues for which he gets therapy once a month. He's making great strides and we're very proud of him.
Why blog? It could be said that you are just doing this for the attention.
It could. It has. It hurts. My internet experience started out with webtv back in 1999 where I slowly figured out email and joined a group of moms who were pregnant with kids due in 1999.
When Kennedy was born and was facing her first surgery someone told me about caringbridge.com where I decided to start a page for her. It's exhausting fielding the same questions over and over. With caringbridge I was able to post all of her information one time for everyone to see. Around the same time I joined a message board for parents of children with Down syndrome where I found the most amazing people ever. We walk through the journey of Down syndrome together. We bounce ideas and questions off one another. We have local meet ups and have fun.
When Kennedy was diagnosed with Leukemia I learned about carepages.com and moved her page over there for the simple fact that our family and friends could sign up to be emailed each time an update went out. The cancer world is another amazing world. One I NEVER wanted to be a part of. One I pray I'll never actively be a part of again. However, they will rally around each other with love and prayers. It's so amazing. And as word gets out, you get more people who read, who care, who want to know what's going on.
Once Kennedy's chemo was over and things settled down for her, I didn't really know what to do with her page. People were still asking for updates but I felt silly having emails go out when I was just saying everything is fine. Several of my friends in the Down syndrome community had started blogging at this point and had been encouraging me to start a blog. So I did. I started it as a place to update about the kids, life in general and bring awareness for Down syndrome and childhood cancer. Since then I have had countless parents of children with Ds and/or cancer find the blog. Many of them just starting out. They would send me emails saying how much my blog helped them see that Down syndrome WASN'T such a bad thing. That was amazing to me. That's what I wanted. Not attention for myself, but to help other people. Kids with Down syndrome are awesome, and I remember how scared and alone I felt when Kennedy was born. If I can offer just a bit of encouragement, then fabulous! Are there other blogs out there that do the same? YES! Hundreds!!! And I read many of them! I have drawn strength from their blogs the same way others have drawn strength from mine. That's what our community is for.
I also use this blog as an outlet to have fun. I post silly little things, dumb quizzes that make me laugh and silly little graphics, poems or stories. It's out there on the web. It's public, for everyone to see. I get that I leave myself open to criticism which is why I'm writing this post. I want you to know my heart. We fell in love with Kellsey. Head over heals. We feel she is supposed to be part of our family. We will bring her home to a world of siblings and baby dolls and dresses and a place to belong. A place where I pray I can do right by her just as I strive to do right by all my children every day. I have seen blog after blog attacked for their decisions... decisions to adopt. Decisions to stop treatment. Decisions to blog at all. In the meantime I just have to remind myself that my heart is in the right place. I will continue to strive to bring awareness to Down syndrome, to childhood cancer, and to adoption. One needs acceptance, one needs a cure, one needs understanding. They are all important to me. Yes, because of my daughter. Because of Kennedy. As opportunities arise to help my goal, I will take them, because anything else would be me not being true to myself. It's not for attention. It's for awareness. I apologize if that makes you feel any less of me. I just wish you could see my heart.