In Closing…

For some time now I have been contemplating what to write or if I write at all. So here it goes…

2 years ago my family and I embarked on a beautiful journey. One that took us half way around the world to bring home our beautiful effervescent baby boy.

 

I have said this many of times and I will always stand by this statement: The adoption process will test you and your family in every way possible.

 

Bringing home a child who has been institutionalized is not for the birds. This is extremely difficult. It’s so hard to watch your child fight demons that only he knows. You feel so helpless as a parent not being able to take their pain away. One of the most aggravating and frustrating parts of this is the lack of understanding from others. No matter how much you try to explain different behaviors or why different situations are just to be avoided there is a major lack of understanding. We are not trying to keep Graeme in a bubble however that bubble is his safe place and he needs that.  This past year his bubble has gotten bigger but there are times we need to make his bubble smaller. Graeme was still in an Orphanage longer then he has been in a family. We will celebrate the day Graeme has been home with his family longer than the Orphanage.

 

We have been extremely fortunate with Graeme. I truly believe he was born to be in our family. I cannot imagine our lives without this precious baby boy.

 

I have seen several families truly struggle after they have gotten home with their children. And my heart has gone out to these families. It is not always easy it’s actually more common for it to not be easy. 

 

If you are considering adopting especially a child with special needs, do your homework. Educate yourself about behaviors of institutionalized children. Follow different families and their stories. I have honestly learned so much and I am still learning from the families who have adopted or from different Spina Bifida families. Most of all ask questions.

 

Adopting is the most rewarding yet loneliest thing I have ever done. Unfortunately not a lot of people do understand what you are going through or how you feel. I feel like I honestly don’t have the friends that I once did. Life happens people go on different unexpected journeys. I know I can say 100% I am not the same person I was when we started this journey. And I can say I am still forever changing not all because of this journey but I am also getting older. I view and look at things differently than I did 10 years ago. Which this is ok because that is part of my journey. I want to be the best person I can possibly be at the end of the day not only for myself but for Chris, Morgan and for Graeme.

 

And Speaking of Morgan this coming school year is going to be starting with her as a Senior in High School.

I am not sure how this has happened. Morgan was just Graeme’s age. I just blinked and I have a young adult on my hands.

I did have Morgan extremely young. Part of me feels like we grew up together but also she made me grow up. Morgan was my saving grace when I needed one the most. I am excited and scared to see my baby girl growing into a Beautiful young adult. I hope and pray she does not make the same mistakes I did while being young and dumb.

I can only give her the tools let’s hope she uses them.

 

I want to say Thank You for taking the time to read our blog. I have been extremely touched and honored that this blog is read from people all around the world. Which that still blows my mind. With that being said I have come to the VERY hard decision to not continue this blog. It has been hard for me to keep up with the blog and our Instagram page while also working a fulltime job and let’s face it life. I try not to repeat anything from Instagram to the blog and I am finding it more and more difficult to not repeat things. I do love to post daily videos in my Insta Stories and I post about all our happening. So I think it will be easier if I do blog style posting on Instagram moving forward. 

 

If you are not following along already please join us on Instagram @ Allthingspossible25

 

We want to Thank Each of you again from the bottom of our hearts for following our Beautiful and Amazing Journey.

 

XoXo,

The West  Family of 4

 

And then he was 3

Just like that he’s 3. How has a year flown by already? It seems like yesterday we landed on US soil making our little Ukrainian an official US citizen.

This past year we have witnessed true miracles with Graeme. He now knows what belonging in a family is. He knows the love of a Mom and Dad. And he truly loves us and trust us. There’s no mistaking it we are his people just like he’s our little person.

When I sit down and think about the past it’s really amazing. Each of us had to go on separate journeys in order for us to come together as a family. And Graeme has been part of our family since the day he was born 3 years ago today.

I may not of given birth to Graeme but he was born to be in our family right where he belongs.

I am extremely biased however I truly believe Graeme is the most amazing 3 year old. We are all very blessed he is in our lives.

Fun Graeme Facts:

Our boy is tiny and mighty. He is currently rocking 18 month clothes.

He’s a picky eater. Potatoes are always a winner.

He loves to sing and incorporates whatever he is doing into the songs.

He has a love for animals and babies.

I cannot wait to see what the next year has in store for our boy.

Happy 3rd Birthday Graeme you make all of us strive to be better.

Xoxo,

Tia

For more day to day follow us on Instagram @allthingspossible25

Happy Metcha Day

Over the past few months I have started several post but have never been able to complete them for one reason or another. I figured today was the perfect day to finally catch up.

Over the past few months Graeme has really blossomed. He is talking up a storm. He knows his ABCs, the primary colors, he is getting his shapes down and we are working on counting to 20. He loves to sing and tell nursery rhymes. Which all of this amazes me considering we were told he was nonverbal.

We finally received Graeme’s wheels. We got him a stander wheelchair and a basic wheelchair. The stander chair is going to help Graeme build his core muscles. And build his tolerance for standing. We are very excited about this because the goal is for Graeme to walk.

So why did we get a wheelchair?

That answer is simple. Independence. Right now the only way for Graeme to get around is crawling or being carried. So the wheelchair while he is at school has given him independence. He can now be in class with his peers and not get run over by a bunch of 2 year olds. And maybe with him not being on the ground he will not be so sick

Graeme now also has his RGO’s ( reciprocating gait orthotics). This has been some what if a challenge however he is realizing he can stand straight and eventually walk using this with the assistance of a walker.

Graeme has the sweetest nature. He will just hug us out of nowhere. The way he will stop everything and look at us with the most heart enduring smile. It’s like he knows a secret no one else knows.

On this day 1 year ago Chris and I walked into a very quiet Orphanage in Ukraine. As we sat there full of nerves speaking to the doctor our son came into the room. April 17 2018 was the day Graeme finally got to meet his Momma and Dadda.

My favorite picture from our first trip is the one of Graeme and Chris. Graeme is holding Chris’s face looking into his eyes like finally you have come.

Happy Metcha Day baby boy. You will never be alone again. 🐳

XoXo

Tia

Happy New Year

Two years ago as 2016 came to an end none of us were together. Chris had a family emergency out of town, Morgan was with her friends, Graeme was in an orphanage half way around the world and I was at the house with our fur babies. All of us clueless to the beautiful journey 2017 was going to put us on. By New Year’s Eve 2017 we knew 2018 was going to bring forth so many wonderful and scary emotions. All 4 of our lives have forever changes this past year. 

When I look at Graeme I often ask myself how. How did we manage to get all the documents together, how did we manage to travel to Ukraine and bring this amazing little boy home? How has he not been here his entire life? My only answer to most of those questions is fierce love and trust. Trust that everything will work out the way it’s supposed it.

In the past 7 months since we walked out the doors of the orphanage Graeme has flourished leaps and bounds. He was on a liquid/purée diet now he eats solid foods like an average 2 year old. He was not able to speak any English now he is putting sentences together. He can count to 13 unassisted. He’s learning the alphabet and he can point out a few colors when asked. He had very low muscle tone now he’s stronger everyday. He can stand for long periods of time wearing his AFOs.  

In a few weeks Graeme will be casted for RGOs(reciprocating gait orthotics) then we are going to start walking. We have also started working on potty training.

This past year has taught me so much. I have unfortunately learned there is still an ignorance towards children when others don’t fully understand them. I have also learned there are good genuine people still out there who care.

When we got back from Ukraine I felt like the people around me changed. However I realized it was not the people around me it was me. I can’t explain how or why. Maybe it was from all of our experiences we went through or the experiences we are currently going through. I welcome the change and wouldn’t want it any other way.

This past year has been an incredible blessing that I am so grateful to have gone through.

Our little happy family of 4 welcomes in 2019. We look forward to all the beautiful surprises this coming year is going to bring.

Have a Wonderful and Safe New Year!

As always you can follow us on Instagram @ allthingspossible25

XoXo,

Tia

Sick, sick and sick

The past few months have flown by. We have been extremely busy. There has been a lot of incredible first and a few scary first.

Graeme has unfortunately been sick a lot the past few months. He has had a number of ear infections and the croup. He’s a very tricky little guy to diagnose. He usually doesn’t run a fever and his pain tolerance is crazy high. The one time he did start to run a fever he literally went from being fine to lethargic within an hour. It was an extremely scary situation that ended with Graeme’s first trip to The Emergency room. Which he loved being wheeled on the gurney through the hospital yelling weee. By that point the medicine they gave him while we were waiting to be transferred to the ER from Urgent Care had kicked in. And to think we were actually concerned it didn’t get in his system because he threw up all over me (The joys of motherhood). That trip to the ER was actually a wasted and upsetting trip. The diagnosis was unknown fever. I was not a happy Momma. I kept saying there was something wrong. My gut was saying double Ear Infection and Croup with possible UTI. We got Graeme into his doctor the following morning with a confirmed diagnosis of Ear Infection and Croup.

Luckily Graeme had a couple weeks to recover before his first Halloween. I will go on record and say Graeme was the cutest monkey I have ever seen. He really enjoyed Halloween.

We attended a holiday kick off that was complete with fireworks. Which was another first for our little man. We had a blast watching him watch the fireworks. He was thoroughly amazed.

Graeme did not skip a beat either. He went from pointing out Every pumpkin and saying pumpkin pumpkin to Santa Santa. He has really gotten into the holiday spirit. He loves wearing Santa hats everywhere.

We had a quiet Thanksgiving. Graeme was unfortunately sick again so it was nice to be able to let him rest as much as possible.

During all of Graeme’s sicknesses Morgan still has soccer everyday. Graeme loves to pick Morgan up from soccer practice. Soccer games this year are a little different with Chris and myself splitting the games. Ever since Morgan’s concussion last year I find myself holding my breath when she on the field playing. We are about half way through the season so far all has been well.

Tomorrow marks the 6th month anniversary of Graeme being an American citizen. It’s still hard to believe he has not been here with us his whole life. Tomorrow we also have some bladder testing which is very standard for kids with Spina Bifida. We will be very happy when this testing is over.

This holiday season is going to be a joyous and magical time. We are going to enjoy every moment this very special season.

P.S. Come follow us on Instagram @ allthingspossible25 for more day to day shenanigans.

XoXo

Tia

October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month

When Chris and I started the adoption process we only knew 5 things about Graeme.

  1. He was male
  2. Born in 2016
  3. His Diagnosis was Spina Bifida
  4. He was in the Ukraine
  5. He was our son

We had no other information. We had no idea what type of Spina Bifida he had. We had no idea what his abilities or disabilities he had. Which is extremely frustrating when you are trying to prepare for your child’s life, once they are home with you.

I decided to do my best and educate myself on Spina Bifida.  There are 3 types of Spina Bifida.

  1. Myelomeningocele –  When a baby is born with a sac of fluid that comes through an opening in the baby’s back. Part of the spinal cord and nerves are in the sac and they are damaged.  Myelomeningocele is the most serious type of Spina Bifida.
  2. Meningocele – A sac of fluid comes through an opening in the baby’s back also at birth. However with Meningocele there is usually little or no nerve damage. This type of Spina Bifida can cause minor disabilities.
  3. Spina Bifida Occulta – With this there is a small gap in the spine but no openings or sac on the back. The spinal cord and nerves are usually normal. Spina Bifida Occulta is the mildest type of Spina Bifida.

 

See the source image

Researches can not tell you the exact cause of Spina Bifida. They can tell you taking Folic Acid will help reduce the risk of Spina Bifida.

The more I read about Spina Bifida the more it became clearer there was no way I would know about Graeme’s Spina Bifida. Spina Bifida is called a”Snowflake” condition because no 2 cases are the same.

Graeme has Myelomeningocele which is the most severe type you can have. A lot of people with this type of Spina Bifida have issues with going to the bathroom and need to be catharized m.  They have loss of feeling in their legs or feet. Along with some not being able to move their legs.

On paper Graeme should not be able to do many of things he does. He has feeling in his legs and feet. He is ticklish on the bottom of his feet. He can stand up with assistance.

We still have a lot of big question marks with unfortunately more testing. Plus he just turned 2 so he is still a baby.

I refuse to listen to the Doctors when they want to set limitations on Graeme’s abilities. He has already proven he CAN do anything he sets his mind to. And we are here to love and support Graeme in anyway humanly possible.

Don’t let a Diagnosis define you!

 

XoXo,

Tia

 

See the source image

 

Summer Rewind

It’s still hard to believe what an amazing summer we have had. It’s been filled with every emotion one can possibly have. Everyone keeps saying how lucky Graeme is to be in our family. We truly believe we are the lucky ones.

We have been extremely busy this past summer getting Graeme settled into family life. It really feels like he has been here the whole time.

Graeme is doing extremely well. We have made and continue to make our rounds with All the Doctors. We have been able to cross some doctors off of our list. And unfortunately Graeme has some more test that need to be scheduled.

Right now we are working with his physical therapist on getting Graeme mobile. He finally has his AFO’s(ankle braces). Since we are at the beginning stages we are still working on getting him a wheelchair to help bridge the gap.

I was able to stay with Graeme this summer. I absolutely loved every minute of it. Being able to watch him explore and figure things out and being able to teach him things was a blessing. I really felt like I had a purpose. Now don’t get me wrong or take that the wrong way. But sometimes it’s very easy to lose a piece of yourself when you get wrapped up in everyday life. I was able to find that missing piece this summer I had been looking for.

I constantly get asked how Morgan is doing with Graeme. I can confidently say she’s doing fantastic. She’s an awesome big sister that adores her baby brother. She’s been so helpful.

Morgan went on a dream vacation to Italy this past summer for 2 weeks with my parents. She’s one lucky kid! I would of loved to have gone to Italy.

This school year is pretty major for Morgan. She is now a junior in High School which everyone knows is the most stressful year. She’s going to be busy between school, soccer, SAT, ACT, and all the college nights. I am still not sure how any of this is possible. It literally feels like yesterday I was sending her off to Kindergarten and now we are talking college. So needless to say this is going to be an interesting year.

Oh and did I forget to mention I got the last minute Homecoming announcement again this year. So we have 2 weekends to find a homecoming dress. Ohh the joys…

Chris has been busy with work. He went back to work right after we got home from Ukraine. To have been able to watch the relationship and bond form between Chris and Graeme has been truly wonderful. To see how much Chris loves Graeme makes me love him more than I thought was possible.

We still have a few weeks of official summer so there will be plenty sunning and swimming left.

I will try blog more frequently and I will also do a better job posting to social media.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer🌞

XoXo

Tia

The Next Step

It’s hard to imagine that 2 months ago yesterday we walked out of the Orphanage with Graeme. It truly seems like he has been with us this whole time. I can not imagine our lives without this precious baby boy. He is absolutely perfect in everyway.

The past 2 months have flown by. From our stay in Ukraine. Which was extremely life changing. From our time back home getting Graeme and ourselves adjusted to the new norm. From the countless doctor visits. And especially from our  bonding time.

Graeme has adjusted very well with learning how to be in a family. We are still working on things with him. He lived in an Orphanage for 22 months that does not come without trauma. He is better then he was 2 months ago. We have bad days but mostly we have good days.

Graeme is learning extremely fast. I have said this many of times but this kid is smart. I absolutely love being able to spend my days with him teaching him new things. It is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.

Adopting Graeme has been a true blessing for our family. If you ever thought about adopting you need to just do it. Of course if you are like me do your research first. Reece’s Rainbow has so much helpful information on their website. Also Hand of Help in Adoption has a wonderful website with even greater staff.

I am not going to sit here and tell you how easy of a process it is to adopt. Because it is not easy at all. Adoption will test you, your spouse and family in everyway. You will run into hiccups and bumps in the road. You will run into set backs. You will end up a sobbing mess at some point. But it is all worth it. Saving a life is worth it. When Graeme gives me big hugs and little pats on my back, when he tells me he loves me. That was worth every fight, bump in the road and tear.

I have been struggling with the idea of closing this blog out since we are no longer in the adoption process. However I think I am going to leave it open and change gears into our journey with Spina Bifida.

It has truly amazed me on how much this blog has been read and it amazes me even more from the readers all over the world. I never in my wildest dreams thought this blog would be accessed world wide. I am truly honored and wanted to Thank each and everyone of you for taking the time to read about our journey to Graeme aka Baby C.

XoXo,

Tia

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The Big 2

Well folks we have an official 2 year old. Today will be Graeme’s first Birthday home and birthday party complete with a Masha and the Bear Birthday cake.

You can not imagine what it means to us that Graeme is home for his special day. This is something I hoped and prayed for during our process. I did not want him to have another birthday without a family and stuck in an orphanage.

In the short time Graeme has been home he has grown leaps and bounds. He is an extremely smart little boy. He observes everything! Chris and I are in big trouble.

Graeme is amazing us with all the words he has picked up in the short time he has been with us. Of course my favorite is momma and when he tries to say I love you.

He loves animals. Especially woof woofs(dogs)

His favorite food is bananas

He LOVES Masha and the Bear

He loves books

We cannot wait to see what this next year brings.

Happy Birthday precious boy🐳 We love you more than all the fish in the sea🐳

XoXo,

Tia

To be loved

We have been home for 3 busy weeks. I have been trying to find the time and the words for this post. The time has come but I am not sure I have the appropriate words.

I am still in awe of our little man. When we left Ukraine is when I was finally able to completely process what Chris and I had done.

We gave Graeme the everlasting love of a family. He was born to be a son, our son. He is worthy to live a fulfilling life. A happy and healthy life. We will make sure he gets the proper medical care he needs.

When we first met Graeme there was an instant connection. It’s like he knew who we were. It’s always been easy.

I am not exactly sure when it happened but I love him with every fiber in my body just like I love Morgan.

When I look back on that first encounter to today that big bright light in Graeme’s eyes has only grown bigger and brighter. Graeme is amazing. He has a very special soul that is truly hard to find these days.

I could never imagine our lives without him. Our family it truly blessed. We needed Graeme as much as he needed us.

This is not the end of our story. We have only just started…

XoXo,

Tia