Saturday, November 30, 2013

Melissa's Story

Before I even tell you who I am, I want to say how honored I am that I was asked by Kassie to share our Adoption story! I am not a good writer, I don’t like to read and you’ll soon see I’m horrible at grammar. That being said, I am passionate about what God has placed in our hearts and I can’t wait to share our story.

Let me share a short story about Zhi, when he was 5-6 months old he was abandoned at the gate of a Children’s Institute in China. He has a skin condition called Large pigmented Nevi and Bathing Trunk which is considered “Bad Luck” in China. He turned 4 years old in July. He loves to sing, dance and steal toys for his friends. He’s ornery so I think he’ll fit in great at his new home.

Now a little about us…We are just the Lee family: Yep that’s it, nothing special, nothing amazing, just the Lee family. There is Brian my husband, Logan our 4 year old Son, Levi our 3 year old Son and me (Melissa but most know me by Mel). When we were praying about adoption I found myself shutting out God’s voice because I thought there was no way he would call us to adopt at this time. We are still a one income family, we don’t even own a home, nor have college degrees. How can an ordinary family make adoption even semi possible at this point in their lives?

It was Logan that asked us to adopt Zhi. I stopped opening emails from the waiting children agency because I knew we weren’t ready to adopt yet, But for some reason I opened their email and there was Zhi, along with several other children waiting to be adopted. Logan pointed out Zhi, and he started asking me 100 questions about him, and then he said “Can you try to be his Mommy and Daddy?” Even though it was hard to tell him no, I knew that we just couldn’t do it right now. So we prayed for Zhi nonstop, that he would find a family. With every prayer Logan would ask God if we could try REALLY REALLY hard to be his Mommy and Daddy.  As I shared on our Bringing Home Zhi Facebook page, I had a similar prayer when I was 13 years old and God was faithful beyond my prayers.  Maybe God was using Logan to open our eyes to his plan for us to adopt Zhi?  So I decided to file out a small form for more information about Zhi.

The next day I received information about him and the requirements from China in order to adopt. The first thing I noticed was you must have $80,000 in assets; I literally laughed at how stupid I was for thinking God was calling us to adopt right now.  That night as I was praying for Zhi, I started to get mad at God…Why would you make me feel so sure, when you knew we couldn’t do this? A few weeks went by and the adoption agency called me to see how the application was going. I told her we didn’t have the assets required so we wouldn’t be able to move forward. She told me just to grab a pen and paper and start calculating our assets. That afternoon I started adding up stuff. About 15mins into the toy room I realized we should sell all the toys and buy a house! I was shocked! I called her, and then we starter the application right away.

What I forgot that day I was mad and questioned God, was that he already knew we would struggle to make this work financially, He knew that we would have ups and downs and He already knows we are just an ordinary family! But he that didn’t stop him from choosing us to follow through with HIS plan because you see; He doesn’t need us to be perfect or miracle workings, he just needs us to open our hearts and let him work through us. I love the saying “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called”.  We are still the “nothing special, nothing amazing Lee family” but we have the most amazing team member holding our hands and guiding us through this path.

We have been asked how we knew Zhi was the right fit for us and the answer is: We just knew! The same way I knew Brian was meant to be my husband. When I look at Zhi I see our Son, I don’t see a boy that needs recued, I see a Boy that needs his family. We feel like Zhi is meant to bless our family and we can’t wait to finally hold him in our arm! I know they are taking very good care of him at the Children’s Institute but as a parent it’s so hard to not be in control of his needs. It’s literally painful to think about him going to bed without us being able to hug and kiss him goodnight. 

We are very grateful for your prayers and support as we are waiting to Bring Zhi home! With God’s Strength, everyone’s prayers and support we know powerful things will happen!
With much Love!

For updates feel free to check out our Facebook page at

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thanksgiving Give-Away Winner

A BIG thank you goes out to the Schlueter family for sharing their 4-part story with us last weekend.  We had so many people write in and tell us how much they appreciated the honesty of the situation. We here at Waiting For Baby Stories found their story to be one of love and honest writing in a time when other could feel lost.  We hope this story blessed you and we look forward to future updates from their family!

On another note, Casie-the writer-has a wonderful craft corner where she sells beautiful hand-made cards and gifts:  She gave us a box of "Thankful" cards to give-away on our blog.  (Everyone who "liked" their story post was entered)  The winner is: Anjuli G.!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Schlueter Family Story~Part 4

On Vollen's first birthday I reflected over that past year and wrote about all my feelings about him.
Earth Day! There couldn’t be a more PERFECT holiday to mark the birth of a new life, new growth, change, and opportunity for such a unique soul. I am so thankful that the universe chose that day to bring my baby boy into my life.

I remember the specific second my life changed after my doctor told me that they believe my baby had Down syndrome. I thought to myself MY LIFE JUST CHANGED, forever. Surreal doesn’t even come close to describing how it all felt. It truly felt like a dream, a foggy, dream that I would wake up from the next day. I think I was in shock. My brand new ‘baby’ balloon deflated knowing all of the work and challenges that lie ahead. But also at the same time I couldn’t have loved Vollen any more than at that exact moment. My heart felt sorry for my little baby, like there was no one else to love him (even though that couldn’t be farther from reality), but me and I just wanted to pour my love onto him and never let him go. I felt like no one would love him like I would.

One thing I felt that was strange is I NEVER cried that entire night until the very last visitor left and it was just Vernon and I starring at each other thinking about what lie ahead. It was at that moment that Vernon was my rock. I have talked about this before, but he was so optimistic saying that there are worse things that he could have and that we would have to deal with and that we would get through anything, etc… That made me feel so much better about everything. It made me feel like, yeah, we can do this, we can do this together and be there for each other and raise this little boy, this child we created to the best of our ability and how lucky he is to have us and all of the people that love him so much.

My little guy is as unique as his own name, which at first I was honestly disappointed we used that name for him, because that first night when there were so many unknowns as to if he would even make it, we didn’t know if he had any heart problems and everything going on with his oxygen levels and so forth, we discussed that if he didn’t make it and we had another baby boy that we would name him after his brother so we could use the name, but by the grace of God we didn’t not have to deal with any of that and I couldn’t be more proud that Vollen has the name he does. He has shown me that his name couldn’t have been a more exact fit for such a special soul.

The visions of my all star, sports star, captain, homecoming king, ‘Utero Vollen’ were disappearing. Over this last year he has shown me he IS going to be my all-star, sports star, captain, leader and even a strong possibility of being homecoming king (like his father) with his heart clenching smile and squinty, crescent shaped eye charm, with such a warm and snuggly personality that is definitely a possibility. He will win over the hearts of everyone he meets. My vision for him is changing the way young people (his peers) perceive people with disabilities, showing them that they really are MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT, that they can be friends and see that he can do everything they can do and is fun to hang out with and is funny and a jokester just like everyone else. I underestimated the potential of my little guy and he will do everything in his power to prove to me that he is capable of anything he puts his mind to.

He has blown everything I had thought and expected from him out of the water. He has amazed not only me, but made every one of his therapists drop their jaws in amazement. He has broken the Down syndrome mold, that is for sure.

Sometimes I feel guilty that he is doing so well. I know I shouldn’t have those thoughts because that is just who he is and how he was designed and the genetics that he was given. I should be thankful and I should celebrate his accomplishments and not feel guilty. It is hard though when he is doing so many more advanced things than the typical baby with Down syndrome. He is so close to a typical child, that it’s hard for me to see him as anything but a typical child. I treat him that way, I look at him that way. I hardly ever look at him and think oh yeah, he does have Down syndrome. I am bursting with pride that I have to suppress, I feel sometimes like I don’t fit with either group, the typical children or the Down syndrome group and I am afraid that is maybe how he will feel when he grows up.

 My son has taught me so much in his few short years of life so far. I didn't know so many things about myself. It definitely made me grow as a person. I am able to go up to strangers and talk with them and introduce myself and invite them into our Down syndrome group. I became the Parent Outreach Chair on the board of directors for the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands as well as the head of the mom's group and lead meetings every month. 

I NEVER knew ANYONE with Down syndrome before my son was born. I was scared to death of talking with older people with Down syndrome. I didn't know what to say to them or how to treat them. I have learned to be more accepting to others and see them for the PEOPLE they are, not just a person with special needs. Do I still get uncomfortable? YES! But, it gets easier and easier the more I interact with them and get to know them. I knew it would be a lot of work and it is, but it's my son. I would do anything for him. 

There was a lot of therapies when he was younger and visits to specialist to make sure everything was still good. We got through it and we don't really have any more appointments than a typical child has. It does take him longer to do things that typical 4 year olds can do, but it will come eventually. In some things he is really not that far behind and in others he is pretty far behind. Each person is unique and will do things at their own pace. It has helped me to just take it slower and know that things will come and trust that he will 'get it' eventually.

 He is so very smart in so many ways. He knows exactly what we tell him, even if he has limited language right now. He can figure things out, is very clever and even can be ornery. His siblings and him fight just like typical brothers and sisters. He gets the same consequences as my other kids and I have the same expectations for him as I do for my other kids. I don't "baby" him at all. I know I said it before, but I just see him as my kid. I don't see Down syndrome and 98% of the time I forget, it's just not important. He does everything we do as a family and we treat him no different. It's hard to explain everything unless you know someone personally with Down syndrome and see for yourself that they are just like everyone else. I hope I was able to give you an idea about what it is like to have a child with Down syndrome. I would love to answer ANY questions anyone has. I am very open and I will be very honest with you. Don't hesitate to ask me anything. Please feel free to e-mail me if you would like:

and this unspeakable gift of motherhood... it's an honor. a dream. and not documenting it...capturing every moment...bottling it up to save forever...would be irresponsible. ~ Kelle Hampton

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Schluter Family Story~Part 3

Two days after he was born:
FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2009

Today I was released from Lakeside at 11:00am. Vernon and I went straight over to see Vollen at Bergan. I had a pretty rough morning and wanted to hold & feed my baby and was really feeling down. It was so weird being the only room without a baby crying in it and to leave the hospital without a baby. But as soon as I got my hands on him all was good again.

He was off of his oxygen tubes and looking really good and calm and peaceful with great coloring. We got great news from Vollen's main doctor here that his pulmonary hypertension is pretty much gone already (that is why they could take him off oxygen). So, he will most likely be discharged from the hospital without any problems with his heart & lungs at all! The tube that needed to close going from the heart to the lungs has closed, it just needs to structurally (or securely) close up, which it is in the process of doing and could take up to a week to fully heal, but once it is closed it is closed and that is the end of the pulmonary hypertension.
He has a bit of the rapid breathing still, but it is few and far between and it doesn't raise his CO2 levels. He is able to stop it pretty quickly and remain constant and steady with his breathing. They also said that the rapid breathing will completely cease in up to two weeks.

It helped me so much to be with him today and finally feeling like I have a baby, since I hadn't seen him for so long. I was able to start nursing him and he did so good. The night he was born I had put him on as soon as I could and he did great then also. Today he picked it right back up like he knew just what to do. He latched on really well, and was sucking hard and swallowing like a champ. So, they gave me a room to stay in on the floor above him, so I can be right here to feed him on a regular schedule. I like that I am in the same hospital as him again.
When we had left to go eat lunch and say hi to Sophie, they had given him all the colostrum I had pumped up until now, in one sitting and he was still hungry! So, they gave him a little formula also (which he didn't like as much). He his eating really well and should be gaining back some of the weight he lost. He was down to about 8 lbs. 1 oz.
(3 months)

Now all they are waiting on to release him from the hospital is for him to get on an established feeding pattern with the breast milk and be gaining some weight back. They said it is going to be totally up to him and how his body reacts, but they didn't think it would be any longer than 2 to 3 days. At the rate he is going with eating and how good he is at it, I am sure it won't be any longer than that!

The hospital's speech pathologist and occupational therapist came by to talk to us today a little bit about having a baby with Down Syndrome. They were both really informative and helpful. It was SOOOOOOO nice to finally be getting some questions answered and just told where we go from here and what all is out there and available. We are so thankful that there are so many resources out there for children with special needs. We had no idea all these services were out there! It really put our minds at ease that we are not alone in this process and that help is everywhere and so easily accessible for our little boy.

Tomorrow (well, actually today it is after 12) we are going to be meeting with the genetics specialist and they are going to go into more detail about what all Down Syndrome entails and give us a lot more details. We were also told that we will be seeing a counselor to talk about all of this, which I think it great and they do for all parents that have a special needs baby.
Today was a good day and we are feeling much better about everything.

As for me, I am healing pretty good, even though I am not technically supposed to be out of the hospital yet, I am trying to take it really easy and slow. I feel like this section was a little easier to recover from. I still have a slight cough from having a cold earlier in the week and it is sure torture on my wound. I have to hold and support the muscles under the stitches every time I cough, so I don't rip or tear anything inside or out. It is annoying and hopefully will be gone soon.

Sophie is not allowed to be in the NICU due to it still being rhino virus season. They won't let little ones in under 6, but they did tell us tonight that we would be able to take Vollen over by the window and she could look in at him, so we might try and do that soon. She sure talks about her little brother a lot and wants to see him and hold him. Today my mom showed me a video of her singing a song to mommy and baby Vollen into her karaoke toy with only a diaper on. It is really cute and I will post it on the blog as soon as I get my mom's cord to go from her camera to my computer!

We wanted to again thank everyone for all of your calls, e-mails, facebook messages, visits, etc... everyone has been so understanding and wonderful. We want to let you know that although we are not able to talk with each one of you individually and answer every single call and e-mail, that we do SEE each and every one and we know you understand that there are just not enough hours in the days right now to give everyone the responses back that they deserve. This blog is the best way that we can communicate with everyone what is going on and not be repeating the same information over and over again to every person. 

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 4!
and this unspeakable gift of motherhood... it's an honor. a dream. and not documenting it...capturing every moment...bottling it up to save forever...would be irresponsible. ~ Kelle Hampton