Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!







from Victoria, Anna, and Madalyn Westbrook

Best Wishes for a wonderful and blessed New Year!!!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010



Merry Christmas from the Westbrook's...most of them anyway. Roy, you need to get up here so we can get a full family pic!!! :))

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A family needed

Here is precious Brent!! He is 5 already and at great risk of being transferred to the institution.

I know it looks like this little guy has a women's sweater on. The other day somebody asked me how old "she" is. Hmmmm...

Sometimes a picture can make it or break it for an orphan! Unfortunately the ugly reality is people look at "looks"! It is true! I am not saying this little guy is not cute! Because he is adorable!! But I am sure this is not his best picture. It doesn't really matter, though!! Look and see past the sweater and the old picture! Look and see what what a treasure this little guy really is!


Brent (35)

Boy, Born June 21, 2005
Look how darling this little one is! Brent is HEALTHY, with no noted heart conditions. He is active and an Orphanage favorite. He is considered lower functioning than Spencer or Kareen, but will truly blossom like a flower in a loving family environment. He is almost 5 and will be facing the institution soon. He is blessed to still be at the baby house.

Please give Brent a chance! Brent can be adopted with SPENCER.

This was our first picture of Anna. We really couldn't tell alot from this picture. And this was the only pic we had for 7 months. Believe me, my mind was doing way to much imagining of what our little princess was gonna be like and if she was even still there... silly I know!!

We went from this....

to this.......



Still a somber little face, but so much different than the original pic.


And now this....



See... really a picture only tells a little bit. You will not know what a treasure you have, until you see the "real thing"......

Please consider adopting Brent! Or donate to his adoption fund this Christmas and give the gift of a family!!! You will never regret it!!!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

fundraising...

is a lot of work, takes up a bunch of time and energy, but in the end is so worth it!! We were invited to have the fundraiser for Carlene and Tristan and Brent at the "Breakfast with Santa" and took the opportunity to raise money for some sweet RR orphans!



Anna helped us by hanging out and being her cute and adorable self!!



Right now it seems like I barely have time to get the basic things done around the house. Like feeding babies, laundry, baths, dishes, homework, getting the older ones ready for school, cleaning, dinner, etc... So taking the time to make cake pops and plan a fundraiser really added alot to my plate. Not to mention it's Christmastime and I'm desperately trying to get ready for that...
But in the midst of all that...


A precious little girl named Anna. Little does she know that she is holding in her hands the very organization that helped us find her!! We are forever grateful to our amazing Lord and Savior! And to Reece's Rainbow, Andrea and Reece, and the whole RR team that helped us bring our daughters home! We are still pretty amazed by it all!! I just don't think it is usually that "easy".
We have been foster parents for 8 yrs. We have had many children come and go in our home. I have been a parent for going on 20 yrs!! (wow that is actually hard to write!). We have been a blended family for 14 yrs (yours, mine, ours, and theirs). We have wanted to adopt for that long as well. I am telling you, children just don't come into your family that easy. It is few and far between that a foster child will come into your home and stay forever. If that happens, you are mighty lucky and blessed!
My point is.....after doing foster care for so long, and praying for children to stay and most that have not, it makes you realize how amazing it is when something like this happens! We worked so hard after we committed to the girls. The paperchase was unbelievable! It seemed never-ending and most of the time it seemed like it really just would never happen and the girls would really never be here in our house in our safe little town. There really was nothing we could physically do to get the girls here.
But here they are!! :))
They are here now, and we are forever reminded that all our children are here because for some reason or another, the Father saw fit to bless this family with them! All of them!
He knew exactly which children would fit best in this family! Out of all the little ones on the RR website, how did we end up with 2 sweet little ones that fit perfectly into our family? There is no other explanation...



Anyway, it is busy and all....but really very fulfilling to be doing something to help a child! Not just any child, but a child that truly has no hope if they are not adopted!! We want to help these little ones! We want to help their families be able to bring them home as quickly as possible! Every single dime helps!!
We are still in the adjusting phase after bringing home our girls! We are still figuring out just exactly what the girls need to thrive! We are still trying to show them what unconditional love and family is like, and and help them with attachment and reduce any orphanage behaviors that are there! We saw the society from which many of these little ones come. There were things that they had to go through because they were orphans. Just because they were in an orphanage. Just because they did not have someone who was holding and loving and caring for them consistently. Just because it wasn't as sanitary as it could have been when their food was prepared... Just because the society into which they were born is not accepting of who they are...
But things can be different. All they need is a family!!
ALL THEY NEED IS A FAMILY.

At the Breakfast with Santa, Anna had her first picture with Santa! So cute and so many firsts these days!!

And just who in the world are you?? :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Carlene




This is Carlene. She is facing imminent institutionalization. The only reason she hasn't been transferred yet is because the orphanage she is in thinks she has a family coming for her. You see, they will do that sometimes, because most of the time the staff and caregivers really care about the children. But there is only so much they can do. They have new babies coming in and the older ones are taking up "space". Carlene will have to be transferred.

Go here to read more:
/http://the30dayjourneyforhope.blogspot.com/2010/11/emergency-update-about-carlene.html

or here:
http://learningtowalkonwatermom.blogspot.com/2010/11/carleys-last-christmas-carlene-2h.html#comments
This link has a neat fundraiser going on that would make great Christmas gifts, so please check it out!!

We are helping this other family(s) raise money for Carlene. Any money donated will go toward her adoption fund, and every little bit will help her future family. Speaking from experience, it is VERY expensive to adopt a child internationally. But SO VERY worth it!!

Wouldn't it be amazing if we were able to raise enough money to fully fund this little girls adoption. Then literally nothing would be standing in the way for a family to be able to commit to this little girl. There are many families wanting to adopt a child with Down syndrome, and certainly a beautiful little girl like Carly!

Go to either of these links to donate. Even if it is only $10. Give the gift of a family to a precious little girl this year! A little girl that, if transferred, may not even be here next Christmas, to be able to raise funds for.




She's beautiful, isn't she??

Carlene 2H
Date of Birth: December 2005
Character: Positive Emotions , happy, social, content

Carlene is just a little ray of sunshine. She is almost 5 and facing the institution. Her present diagnosis is: Down Syndrome, moderate mental deficiency, valvular disease of the heart, strephexopodia, squint, farsightedness of light degree, allergic dermatitis, systemic underdevelopment of speech.

I have $504 in my grant fund towards the cost of my adoption.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tristan

After posting about Carly, I just realized that Tristan is almost exactly the same age as she is. And he is in the same situation. He needs a family badly!! Please donate to this little boys adoption fund! Make it EASY for his future family to commit to him! As easy as it is to fall in love with these little faces, it is DIFFICULT sometimes to make that decision to commit to an adoption that takes so much out of your bank account!
Donate here:
http://reecesrainbow.org/tristan20
And bonus! It's tax deductible!!



This little guy has a new updated picture!! This is so wonderful because I really believe a good picture can make a huge difference for a child!! Praise God!! And this little guy is just adorable!!

Meet Tristan. He will be 5 yrs old in just 8 days. He is in imminent danger of being transferred from his baby house to an institution. This is what the institution will be like for him.

Boy, Born December 8, 2005
"Oh my little Tristan, praise GOD for some updated photos!! Tristan is a very active little boy, but is facing the institution VERY soon. He will be sent to a very rural, remote place and be forgotten" :(
Won't someone be his "forever family"?? "
Am I just imagining it or does he look just like my little Anna?
Look at those big beautiful brown eyes! They have the same hair and everything. Oh he is so precious! Somebody please go and get him!! And quickly! The region he is in is a pretty easy place to adopt from. IMHO Compared to other regions! This may not be true once he is transferred! Please someone save Tristan from life in an institution.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Still amazed...






So a while back I was wondering if we should keep this blog as just an adoption blog for our two new little girls, or.... make it a family blog. Well, we had a few comment-ers that voted unanimously so we are gonna make it a "one big happy family" blog. That will not necessarily be the name of it, but you know what I mean... If you didn't comment, and you disagree, well sorry, you had your chance. :))






Now if I can get my wonderful Lu to help me sometime when she is not totally busy busy busy, maybe we'll be able to change the title and stuff like that. But for now, those details will have to stay the same since I am not so talented when it comes to stuff like that... And she is busy with much more important stuff like the Reece's Rainbow Christmas Angel tree and the other amazing things that she does! ;))
Meanwhile...the girls are doing great! Both are making such big changes in different ways.



Victoria is blossoming right before our eyes. Everyday we are seeing something new she can do. She is gaining weight and strength and becoming more of her own little person. She even took a toy from Anna the other day. Too funny because usually she is the one getting stuff taken from her constantly and getting crawled over by the other two. :)) So we were proud of her! hee hee


Our sweet little Anna has had a few issues that we've been working on. She has had some digestive problems where she would scream (like she is in pain) when it is mealtime, and has had diarhhea and other things like that. Through advice from some fellow RR families that have "been there, done that", I got some great information which turned out to be quite accurate. I had the doctors add a test for H. Pylori to her stool sample tests and it turns out that she does have it!
Poor sweet girl has been pretty miserable for several weeks now, so we are pretty happy to have figured this out! She will start 2 different antibiotics today along with a reflux medicine which she is already on. She had lost weight since we first came home, so we are really hoping this will take care of everything! She is so precious and happy most of the time! She has added so much personality to our family! :))

Christmas is just gonna be so much fun this year!!! Still amazed at the blessings we have been given!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

So very thankful this Thanksgiving!!



We have been blessed.....




... with six wonderful sons and three precious daughters!!

We have very supportive and loving families!!
We have wonderful friends and a great church family!
Thank you God, for these wonderful blessings in our life!!!


And especially my amazing husband!! Without him, I don't know where I would be!! :)))

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Changes to the blog and other thoughts...

I have been a slacker lately when it comes to the blog. Not because I don't want to blog or I'm just too lazy (well sometimes I am!), but...honestly I just have very limited time on the computer now and my internet is just not the fastest in the world. I have plans to try to change that very soon!!

I have been giving thought to changing this blog from an adoption blog to a family blog. (Although it would be an adoptive family blog). I've also wondered if we should just have 2 seperate blogs. My lazy but common sense mind just says to change this one into a family blog, mainly because our focus is on our entire family and that seems to be where the posts have been heading anyway. We did not really know what a blog was before we embarked on this adoption, and it got us started in the blogging world (which I love), and now it seems like this blog should be about the whole family.

But..... this whole blogging thing started because of the girls, and it seems like we should continue to record their progress as they grow and learn and develop and not add other family members and events into the mix. Hmmm....

Should we just focus on the girls and their continued journey in this "new world", or should we include everyone and continue to blog as a family of biological and adopted, typical and special needs, under and over achieving, disobedient and wild, but sweet and loving and compassionate children?? Leave a comment and let me know what ya'll think!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Last Year

So here goes the anticipated "to be continued" post. I am not such a brilliant writer as some of the writers of the other blogs I follow, but I try. :) Anyway, I made ya'll wait awhile, didn't I!

Well, it's seriously busy around here! Somedays it seems like all I do is get from one set of feedings and diaper changes and snuggles to the next set. Absolutely nothing else is accomplished. Over and over and over again! Oh well, such is life with 3 one year olds and 1 three year old at home full time! :0 hee hee

Anyway, a year ago this week...

We already knew we wanted to adopt again. But this time, it would be a child with Down syndrome. In the just 7 short months since Madalyn's birth, we knew what a blessing we had been given, and we knew we wanted to "do it" again!!


I talked to Robin Steele and we decided to get on her "waiting list". I decided to "Google" Down syndrome and adoption. And then....

..I found Reece's Rainbow. I was totally amazed and touched and moved by the information we found there. And the children...... Such beautiful little wonders they all are!!

But our family was focused on Madalyn. We had to decide on an open heart surgery. We had to make the decision to go ahead with it "right now", like the doctors were recommending. It was so very heartwrenching. I know many of the readers of this blog know exactly what I am talking about. It hurts my heart and mind to just think back upon it now! So hard!!
Here's a few pics to remember...

Getting ready. So hard to let my little girl go...

Finding out our little Ladybug made it through okay! Finally a smile.


Seeing her for the first time, right after surgery. This just does not look like my baby!


On the left are all the machines that were pumping different meds into her.


The ventilator on the right.

Papa loves his Madalyn.


Minus a few tubes and wires...making progress.


So hard to see her like this.


Getting ready to extubate a 2nd time. First one was not successful!!


Finally off that thing!!!


Moved to the stepdown unit.



Oh my toys!!! How I've missed you! :))
It was during this time that I fell in love with some little ones on RR. And now, only one year later, many of these little ones are home with their families already or are close! So cool!!!

Milana, Jessie, Anna, Mina and of course Alina!!

Just to name a few.








A new heart.



Finally leaving. Get us outta here Justin!
Long story short, we got Madalyn home, settled in again, and within a few months we committed to adopting Anna and Victoria.
It is so unbelievable that here we are, a full year later, and we have 2 more little girls in our family! Two more beautiful daughters and we could not be more blessed!! So much can happen in a year, it is truly amazing!! We are so thankful to God that we have these 2 new blessings! It would've never happened without Him!!


For the most part, our adoption was a quick and easy process. I would have not said that a few months ago, there were many delays it seemed and waiting waiting waiting.... But looking back now, it really went fairly smoothly and easily. Comparatively.... :))

I would encourage anyone who has ever even considered doing this, to please just do it! No, seriously and prayerfully consider it, but jump in and see what God is calling you to do! Don't be afraid!
But even if you are not in a position to adopt, please do something! We are ALL called to help the orphans! Be a child's prayer warrior, support a family who is adopting financially, or contribute to a child who is still waiting for their family to find them! Every little bit counts!! Please just do something!






It is so worth it!


BECAUSE EVERY FAMILY DESERVES
THE BLESSING OF A CHILD
WITH DOWN SYNDROME
And your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it", whenever you turn to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:21

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Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.