Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A year in the life of our Family!!

Well, we have finally moved!! (insert sigh here) After a year of ups and downs, things finally seem to be going in a straight line! Here's a little recap of the last year in the Brooks household!.......
  • January 2010-Found out Emmie needed heart surgery & Tom got offered a job in Orlando
  • February 4, 2010-Emmie had heart surgery at Riley Children's Hospital (little did we know that also on that day in Jiangxi China, Elise was being born!!!)
  • February 4th through the 13th 2010-Emmie stayed in PICU at Riley and fought her way out!! Lots of complications and many more issues going on in her tiny body than originally expected.
  • February 14, 2010-Tom moved to Orlando without the rest of us :-(   We needed the steady income & health insuranse, so really no option to stay even though Emmie was still in ICU.
  • February 15th through March 8th-Emmie continued to improve and was in and out of Riley.
  • March 9, 2010-Emmie had heart surgery #2! Which was successfull. We finally started seeing lower blood pressures!
  • March 12, 2010- The family headed to Florida for a much needed spring break!!
  • April 2010-House went on the market! Anticipating a move to Orlando in the summer! Thanks to our wonderful church family & my family for helping us get the house ready!!
  • May 2010-Emmie continues to improve & we wrap up the school year for the boys & me.
  • June 2010-Emmie goes into renal failure and we end up back at Riley!! Spent a few nights at Riley doing testing. Figured out the meds put her into renal failure and adjusted meds.
  • July 2010-Things are looking better for Emmie, but house still hasn't sold so the decision is made for me to continue my teaching job in Indiana & Tom to continue working in Florida. Tough decision!
  • August 2010-We find out through our adoption agency that we are "on the deck" for a referral! I was in total shock! I'd been so occupied with Emmie's health concerns & a potential move that I hadn't even looked at the adoption sites in 6 months! Now it was time to scramble!! Lots of paperwork to update & money to raise!! First 2 fundraisers were in August, Spagetti Dinner & Pampered Chef Show, and we recieved many generous donations from family & friends. We raised $3,000 in one month!!! God is good!!!
  • September 29, 2010-The call I had been waiting on for 5 years finally came!!! It still brings chills down my spine as I remember sitting in the car line at Northside Middle School waiting to pick up Brandon and my phone rang!! I knew the number as soon as I saw it! I hear Leah's (from AWAA)sweet voice say, "We have a beautiful baby girl for you!" The rest of that day is a blurr! I was so excited to call Tom (who is still in Florida) & tell him everythnig I had just learned about our daughter! I hadn't seen a picture yet, but I was sure she was beautiful & perfect! Tom is the one who first realized her birthday was also Emmie's surgery date! The day we thought was the worst day of our lives, was after all one of the best! God was blessing us with a baby in the midst of all the turmoil & stress of Emmie's heart surgery! Amazing how God works!
  • September 29, 2010 (continued)- I was busy doing the mommy thing that day, picking up kids and taking them to practices. Brandon had a football game. So I raced over to my sisiter's house to see the picture that was being emialed to me. Tom saw her first and called me in tears! "She's beautiful Tracy" he said. I opened the email and stared at her little face. I had to just sit there for a minute in silence and take it all in. My brother was with me and I think even he teared up at the sight of this long awaited baby! I printed off her picture and raced over to the football game! Showed it to everyone who would look & introduced Brandon to his little sister! Blake was at Taekwondo practice, so  he saw the picture later that evening. Both boys thought she was cute!
  • Sptember 30, 2010-The referral packet arrived at our house. I was at work, so Shannon (the babysitter and family friend) drove the packet over to me at work. I opened it there in the parking lot and looked at all the pictures! She was absolutely perfect in every way!
  • October 2010-We continued to do fund raisers, try to save money and try to get all of our paperwork updated so we could get to China! Paperwork moved slowly!! Emmie was still struggling with blood pressure issues & we continue to see the kidney doctor every month. Parents Night Out Fundriaser!!
  • November 2010-We decided since the house wasn't selling that it was time for Tom to look for a job closer to home. At least close enough that he could come home on the weekends! Home study completed & I800A sent off. Chilli Supper Fundraiser with a local boy scout troop & the young marines! Parents Night Out Fundraiser! WooHoo!
  • December 2010-What an awesome Christmas we had! So many things to be thankful for this year! Tom's employer also agreed to let him work from home beginning February 1st because they didn't want to loose him! That was a huge answer to prayer! Fingerprinting done at the Dept of Homeland Security!
  • January 2011- Tom moved back home! & We got an offer on our house! God works in mysterious ways, doesn't he? Emmie still struggleing with blood pressure issues, however you'd never know to look at her!
  • February 2011-Fingerprints came back & I800 sent off on Feb 4th, Elise's birthday!! Emmie's 1 year mark from surgery. Looks like house is going to sell! woohoo!! On Feb 28th recieved word that I800 approval was granted and now we needed a letter from the National Visa Center, which should arrive in 1 week. Another Parents Night Out Fundriaser for Valentine's Day.
  • March 2011-NVC letter arrived on March 12th, was immediately faxed to AWAA & sent to US consulate in Guanghzou. Article 5 was sent to CCAA on March 29th. Closed on our house on March 25th!! Moving in 2 weeks & don't know where yet!!! As for China funds.... we got a tax refund, cashed in a Roth IRA, got a little equity check from selling our house & did another big fundraiser!
  • April 2011-Found a house to rent in our neighborhood! AWESOME!! Boys can keep all their friends close by, they can still ride the bus to school, and the house is really nice! A huge thank you to everyone who helped us move! It was a big job!! We are so excited to have a nice place to live until we figure out where Tom will be working! Right now he's still working for the company in Orlando, however that will only be until August, so lots of decisions still need to be made!
Well, that wears me out just typing it! I can't believe I lived it for the last year! God does give you strength when you need it, and boy did I need it & use it A LOT!!!! So, we almost have all the money needed for China! Only lacking somewhere in the ballpark of $500 to $1000!! Amazing to me that we have saved & raised & had donated almost $13,000!! God is so good! Our Travel Approval should arrive any day! I am so excited I can not wait!! Excited to get this precious baby, but mostly excited to gether home & to start living a "normal" life again! Only a new normal with 4 kids running around! Hoping for a fun filled summer visiting lots of family and friends!! Will post pics of the year later! This post is already too long!

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