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Old 10-23-2008, 03:53 PM   #1
OneBlessedFamily
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Samuel's Make A Wish Pre-Trip Report

Hi!!! My name is Mary and I'm wife to Doug and mom to Lydia (8), Gwen (6), Sam (4), and Phoebe (10 m). We adopted our son, Sam, from China in February, 2008, and knew when we committed to him a year previously that he has a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome and tricuspid atresia. When he arrived home in February, our doctor at our base (we are US Army) referred us to a cardio team in St Louis. When we went for our visit, the doctor said, "Do you want a referral to Make A Wish?" We had no clue what he meant, but then he explained, and we thought, "Sure! Let's do that!"

Quick break for a couple of photos:

This is my husband, Doug, just a few minutes after meeting Samuel in China. I did not travel b/c our daughter, Phoebe, was 4 weeks old and nursing.




And here I am, meeting Samuel for the first time at Springfield-Branson Airport (MO).




And here is our whole family, together at last, at the airport:




So, back to the story....

Our doctor submitted our referral to Make A Wish directly from his office, and about 2 weeks later we were contacted by Make A Wish and they told us that Samuel was approved for a wish. We had to decide if we wanted the wish now or later....once you're approved for a wish, you're always approved. So, I talked to Doug and we had already noticed that Sam was just falling in love with Disney World. Every time a movie started and had the Disney "sound", he would jump up and down and yell "Didney!!!" So, we told the wish granters they could come right away instead of waiting.

A few weeks later, Holly and Melissa came out to the house to get Samuel's wish.




Samuel didn't speak much English at this point, but he could get his point across! When they talked to him about Disney, he pulled out every sign (we use sign language with him) he knew....and all of them were for Winnie the Pooh characters. So, his wish was to go to Disney and meet Winnie the Pooh.

We don't know a lot more at this point. We do have our dates (December 19 - January 3), and we know we are staying at Give Kids The World for the first week. After that, we will go spend some time at the ocean and with some family that lives in West Palm Beach.

So, that's all I know for right now! I will keep updating this as we know more and get closer!

Mary
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:50 PM   #2
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Thank you so much for starting a pre-trip report!

Sam is an absolute little doll!! How sweet that he wants to go to Disney World and meet Winnie the Pooh!

You have such a beautiful family and I can't wait to read more!!
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:58 PM   #3
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How exciting!!! Samuel is ADORABLE!!!! Your whole family is! I can't wait to read more about your trip!!!!
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:05 PM   #4
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I'm on board.
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:36 PM   #5
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Awesome PTR! Your kids are so cute. Sam is such a trooper! I can't wait to hear all about your plans.
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Kayla, Noah and my wish child Nicholas .

Nick's pre-trip report - http://www.disboards.com/showthread....8#post28150528
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Old 11-03-2008, 05:49 PM   #6
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Hi!! I'm so happy I found your TR! I have a Lydia too! Your Sam is such a sweetheart, just too cute!!! Looking forward to hearing all about your trip.
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A link to my TR: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....0#post27875290
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:20 PM   #7
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I am subscribing to get updates!

You guys are going to have a wonderful time!
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:23 PM   #8
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what a wonderful picture. Your family is going to have the greatest time.

http://www.disboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=144
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:02 PM   #9
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can't wait to hear more
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Old 11-04-2008, 12:02 PM   #10
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What a beautiful family you have! I have a soft spot for adoption stories, and I can't wait to hear how your son will enjoy Disney
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Old 11-10-2008, 12:14 AM   #11
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We're getting closer!

Yesterday we received a surprise in the mail!!!! Thank you, Regina!!!!!



Uhhhh....excuse the mess please. We homeschool in our teeny apartment (excuse #1) and we just found out some HUGE news (excuse #2) that I will explain below, so cleaning has been my last priority in the last couple of days!!!

So, as you can see, the kids all got their postcards. Phoebe got one too, which she enjoyed chewing on.




Sam kept thinking this meant we were leaving TODAY to go meet Mickey Mouse. We had to keep telling him it was actually going to be in about 45 days! Yikes!



Lydia was a teeny bit skeptical, but it was Gwen who voiced her doubts.



"Mama, how did Cinderella find a mailbox?"
"There are mailboxes in the Magic Kingdom, Gwen."
"Yeah, but did she write to EVERYONE who's coming to visit her?"
"No, she wrote to you because you're special!"
"Hmmm.... I'm not sure if Cinderella *really* sent this."
"Gwen, please talk to me about this later so that Sam can enjoy his postcard."

Ummmm....yes, the kids need haircuts. I realize this. But, did I mention that there has been something HUGE that has taken up a bit of our attention?????

Well, here's the story. (Pull up a chair because it's a LONG one!!!!!)

Around mid-September, I was posting a video of our daughter, Phoebe, on YouTube for my parents to see. Phoebe had just started walking and since they live so far away, I thought it would be a good way for them to see it. So, I called my mom, told her there was a video up, and she got online. As we watched the video together over the phone, she said, "Mary, look over on the right side....there's another video of another Phoebe Joy learning to walk!" So, we both clicked on that video, and partway through, it showed a few white siblings with this very very brown little girl. I started wondering if the other Phoebe Joy was adopted, so I clicked on the other videos by the same user. One of them had a link to their blog, and I just got very caught up in their story. It turned out to be the Livesay family. They are a family from Minnesota that moved to Haiti and now they have a few bio kids and a few Haitian kids. The first thing that jumped out at me is that 3 of their kids have the same names as my kids. They have a Lydia, a Hope (Gwen's middle name) and a Phoebe Joy. I commented to Doug that I can't imagine how they adopted so quickly because it's such a difficult process with Haiti. I started clicking on the links to other adoption blogs that she had on her blog, and something JUMPED out at me! On the 3rd blog, I read the sentence, "We have to thank Dr Ben Fredrick for giving us an update on our child!" I thought, "That's weird. I knew a Ben Fredrick in school and he became a doctor." So, there was a link to Ben Fredrick's name and I clicked on it, and it WAS my friend from high school.

I'm still friends with his sister, so I emailed her the story and said, "Isn't this the ODDEST thing you've ever heard????" She wrote back and said, "Not really. Ben's heart for Haiti is the same as your heart for China. Here's his email address." So, I emailed Ben and we started writing about the work that he does in Haiti and how he's getting some things going to start doing more medical missions to Haiti. He was introduced to the incredible need a few years ago because he and his wife hosted a boy who needed heart surgery and who had been brought to Pennsylvania to get that surgery. And then, little by little, they started hosting more kids that came to the US on medical missions and then they started becoming more involved in the needs in Haiti.

So, we chatted back and forth for a week or so, and then October 2 came. It was Doug's and my 9th anniversary, so we got a babysitter and went out to eat and to the movies. Sometime during supper, we started talking about if our family was complete, and we both said, "No." Somewhere out there, there is another child for our family. Little did we know.....

A few hours later we came home with the kids, and I was checking my email before going to bed, and there was a message from Ben's sister. It said, "Hey, do you want to adopt again?" or something along those lines. I opened the email and I just melted..... She talked about Pierre, in the US on a medical mission, and VERY VERY sick. He could not return to Haiti b/c he would die in just a few days, and his birthmom made the choice to place him for adoption. Doug and I read all this with our mouths open. It was just so....weird!!!! WAY too much to be coincidental!

Ben's sister had sent me Ben & Jen's phone number along with directions that we could call them at any time of the day or night. and a note that Pierre needed to be placed VERY quickly, so that he could have surgery on his cleft lip/palate (the main reason he was in the US). So, I called Jen that night at 11:30 my time, so 12:30 AM her time, and we talked for about an hour. I learned about Pierre's diagnosis beyond cleft affected, and it all just sounded so overwhelming. So, I gave Doug the info and waited. A couple days later, we decided to submit our bio for the birthmom to look at. But then, just a day after finding that out, we were told that another couple had submitted their bio as well and they didn't have any children and they had been wanting a baby for YEARS.....like thirteen years!!!! So, we called and backed out immediately. It just felt too weird....like a competition. However, at the same time, we did call a friend of ours who we had told a few days earlier and they had told us that if we didn't go forward then they would. So, at that point, we knew that 2 families were submitting bios for the birthmom. Then, we found out that the other family, the one that didn't have any kids, decided not to go forward, so it was just our friends. Doug said, "Ok, let's submit the bio." So, we did. And we expected we would hear something quickly because Pierre had to be placed quickly.

So, days went by. Weeks went by. A WHOLE MONTH went by. And we waited and waited, and we heard through the rumor mill that Pierre's mom was having second thoughts (who wouldn't!!!!!) and that Pierre was probably going to return to Haiti, to a certain death. I just ached for him.

Last Friday evening, we all loaded in the car in St Louis and drove 4 hours back to our farm. When we got there, it was late and everyone went to bed, except me, who stayed up to check my email. And there was an email from the woman in the US who had taken all the bios down to the birthmom to read. And the email said, "Mary, please call me in the morning. I need to speak with you regarding Pierre."

And she expected me to SLEEP!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I laid awake all night, just scared of what we were going to be told.

9AM on Saturday, I called the woman and found out that the birthmom had chosen US!!!! We were chosen because of 1) our faith, 2) our insurance and 3) the incredible way that God had orchestrated all the events leading to our finding out about Pierre.

So, in the next couple weeks, we will be meeting our new son at the St Louis airport and he will be accompanying us to DisneyWorld. We just cannot believe how it all happened and how things have worked out so far!!!!

Do you want to see pictures?









I'm SO MUCH IN LOVE I can barely stand it!!! We have a lot on our plates with his diagnosis, but we are preparing for it and are excited to finally have him in our arms!!!

We received an email from HeatherSue (Hi Heather! ) inviting us to be part of the Dis Big Give. OH MY GOODNESS, I cannot explain how stinkin' excited I was (also completely blown away!!! AMAZING!!!) when we got that email. I read it to Doug, and his reply was, "What? So people just make us stuff and send it here? What do we give them?" I said, "I think we just have to do a trip report."

So, I answered the email from Heather and felt like the pickiest person in the world as I explained that I'm not totally fond of really loud clashy fabrics, but she assured me I wasn't that picky. Hmmmm..... It sure felt like it! lol

The kids were extremely curious as we measured all of them, and Doug and I noted with amusement that Lydia, Sam and Phoebe all have the same waist measurement. How is that possible? We re-measured, and sure enough....Lydia and Sam are teeny tiny and Phoebe has a belly that can only be rivaled by someone with a beer gut.

So, we get closer, and my planning kicks into gear. I made some dining reservations, but nothing too extravagant as we don't know what Make A Wish gives us for an allowance. We ordered our special maps from Disney and they just came the other day, so everyone's having fun looking at them and dreaming a little bit!

More soon!

Mary

Last edited by OneBlessedFamily; 11-10-2008 at 12:26 AM. Reason: Edited to add a second part that I had pre-written but forgot to include
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:49 AM   #12
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Thank you so much for sharing the story of how Pierre came into your lives! I wasn't sure if it was the same baby you had told me about before, or a different one. He is just SO cute!! His eyes just melt my heart!

My 2 year old and 5 year old have the same waist measurement. It seems my daughter's waist hasn't changed since she was a baby!

I'm glad you're excited about the big give. We are too!
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Old 11-10-2008, 01:04 PM   #13
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crying here
kids just find their way home one way or another
Congrats on your new son
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:23 PM   #14
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Wow! Congratulations on the new addition to your family!
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:52 AM   #15
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What a wonderful story! I cannot believe how Pierre has come into your lives. What a miraculous story also!

I can't wait to see what comes from the big give, learn more about your family and hear about your trip and pre trip! The getting ready and planning is almost as much fun as being there!
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