"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Questions and Answers....finally

Hope I have answered all your questions!

How do you keep humor in your life...and not let all of the worries ruin your day........ ..how do you keep problems from stealing your joy?
Oh, sometimes I am a big whiner! I call my friends and go on and on about my worries. I think the main thing that keeps me pretty happy most of the time is that I am doing what I really, really want to be doing. It was a lot of work to build our family and I am always so grateful for each one of my kids! Plus, I get to spend my days with some fantastic (and sometimes whiny) little people. I wouldn't have it any other way!

Can you tell me about your other adoptions and if any of your kids are biological?
Our son, who is 17, is our biological child. The doctors told me I had a 1% chance to getting pregnant again, but then I had our daughter, Anastasia! When Anastasia was about three years old, I felt called to adopt from Haiti. We thought we would adopt a baby, but Isabella turned out to be the one for us! It took two years to complete her adoption! Then, a year later, we were going to adopt a baby from China, but she died. My friend had adopted two girls and she gave me the name of her agency. They told me about little Catherine. She is from the Republic of Georgia. They had a whole list of problems they thought Catherine had, none of which turned out to be true. She was 9 months old when we met her and 11 months old when I brought her home. And of course, you all know about Francesca and Victoria!

Is there a surgery to make Francesca physically appearance better?
Francesca's first surgery, which is called a cranial vault, was not for cosmetic purposes. I think she actually looked better before the surgery. But the cranial vault re-shaped her skull so that her brain would have room to grow, which is way more important than how she looks. Also, the doctor had to over-correct the bones in her forehead so she wouldn't need to have frequent surgeries to relieve the pressure. Kids who don't have a cranial vault can become blind and have terrible migraines from the pressure of the skull squishing into the brain. When she is about nine years old, she will have a surgery called a "mid-face". Then the front of her face won't look so flat and she will be able to breath better (kids with Aperts have sleep apnea).

Do I ever regret adopting Francesca and Victoria because of all their surgeries?
no, no, no, not even for a second!

Why isn't my husband on the blog very much?
He is a more of a behind the scenes kind of guy. We have been married 18 years.

Who is Anya at the bottom of my blog?
She was a sweet five year old from the Ukraine with Down Syndrome. I really, really wanted to adopt her, but sadly, she died. It broke my heart to think she died alone, with no family. Her death really spurred me on to adopt from the Ukraine.

Does Isabella have any special needs and did she struggle with attachment since she was older when we adopted her?
Isabella doesn't have any special physical needs. We adopted her from Haiti when she was seven, over four years ago. She had been with her birth parents for four years, but they just couldn't afford to feed her. I can't imagine what an awful decision it was for them, but they wanted a better life for her. Isabella has good memories of them and we have several pictures of them. Someday, I hope we can travel to Haiti to find them. I think her bond with her parents made it easy for her to bond with us. She is a very sweet girl. She was in the orphanage for two years before we brought her home. The orphanage was horrible, which I think caused some of her challenging behaviors, like being sneaky and lying, but that is a whole other story.

Will Francesca and Victoria ever be normal?
I don't really know anyone who is really normal! Francesca is very cognitively normal, but she will always look a little different. Victoria should be cognitively ok, but we don't really know for sure since she was so neglected in the orphanage. There is a lot going on in her head! They have both made huge strides. They are perfect to me, just the way they are!

Why didn't you adopt from the US?
We looked into foster care, but I just couldn't bear the thought of having a child in our home for a year and then having that child taken away.

Why doesn't F have her cleft palate fixed yet?
Her doctor said that the research shows that kids with Aperts who do not have their cleft palate repaired, have an easier time breathing than if they have it repaired early. Breathing is pretty important! Not to gross anyone out, but several people asked me what a cleft palate is, so here it is!

What condition does little Catherine have?
Catherine does not have Apert syndrome like Francesca does. She had craniosynostosis, which means she had just one suture fused in her skull (kids with Aperts have several sutures fused). Kids with craniosynostosis often have widely spaced eyes, like Catherine does. When we first adopted her, the doctors thought she had some kind of syndrome, since part of her toes are fused, but all the genetic testing was normal. We say she has "Catherine syndrome". She doesn't have any delays and she won't need any more surgeries.

Why made us decide to adopt?
Well, that's kind of a long story. I couldn't get pregnant after our son was born, so I started thinking of adoption. Even after we had Anastasia, I just couldn't get it out of my mind. All the years that I was having trouble conceiving, I was so sad and upset that I couldn't get pregnant. Now, I look back and think that it was the best thing to happen to me!

Will Francesca need more surgeries?
unfortunately, yes. She will need at least 3 more hand surgeries and one more skull surgery.

Why didn’t I change Catherine‘s name since it was the same name as mine?
Catherine's real name was not Catherine, it was Miriam. Actually, Catherine's real name is not Catherine now. Her real name is Scheherazade, which is the name of my favorite symphony by Rimsky-Korsakov. My whole family thought Scheherazade was an awful name, so we started calling her Mary Catherine, after my mom. However, as time went on, it was apparent that Mary Catherine was a little bit too wholesome of a name for our sweet little terror. I still like Scheherazade!!! Catherine loves having the same name as me though!

Will we ever adopt again?
I hope so, someday. Maybe from foster care this time.

Would I ever like to move to Texas?
I would love to move somewhere where it would be warm all the time! I hate the cold!

What were Francesca’s and Victoria’s original names?
Victoria's name was Victoria, though I don't think anyone ever bothered to call her by name. Francesca's name was Anastasia (which is my 8 year olds name) so we changed it.

How did I know Francesca and Victoria were meant to be our daughters?
It's funny, because I was always drawn to them, but I did not want to adopt them. I knew how hard it would be, how expensive and that I would have to leave my other kids for a long time. I tried and tried to forget about them. I looked into lots of other countries, but in the end, I knew they were ours and we had to go get them, no matter what! Sometimes, you have to listen to your heart!
Francesca and Victoria only 7 months ago.

They are all worth it!


  1. I loved this...so, so interesting!

  2. They are all precious! It is wonderful to see them making such progress. Victoria's sweet shy smile just melts my heart every time. God Bless You all!!

  3. I loved, loved, loved this post!! There is definantly something about those two girls that everyone loves! Really with your whole family! As always I look forward o your next post!

  4. I loved this post too!! So fun to learn about each member of your family.

    Really, "little Catherine's" name is Scheherezade? I love that name. I love the music by Rimsky-Korsakov.

  5. Good post! I was surprised at some of the questions but... you answered them all! I have googled both of the syndromes your girls have but I still don't understand it all so I appreciate the graphic pictures you have shared. I admit it was nice to see your husband lol.
    So my question is ,how long do bandage changes take now? Is the screaming coming down a level or two?

  6. Great post. You have a lot to be grateful for and proud of. So glad we met in Tbilisi. We'll have to get our girls together one day. They have a lot in common. ;o)

  7. What a great post, thank you for taking time to do this for your readers (ie: fans) :).
    Love this blog...

  8. Oh you would be fantastic foster parents! I say give it a go sometime (since you aren't busy enough at the moment). :) It really is a huge blessing.

  9. Great post! Thank you for being so open and sharing so much!


  10. When my husband and I first thought about adoption we knew our first would be domestic and from Foster Care. However, we, also, knew that we were not cut out to be foster parents. We went to our States special needs website (mare.org) to look for children who were legally free for adoption. We were blessed with two boys and we would go this route again in the future. Most states have websites set up listing the children that are legally free for adoption. Most are older (ours were 4 and 6), minorities, special needs etc. We are grateful we were able to adopt without having to foster!

  11. Scheherazade is a beautiful name that really suits her! Have you actually changed her name, or can she choose to be called Scheherazade when she'll be older?
    Not that Catherine isn't a beautiful name though - all your girls have such beautiful names!

  12. Yep, answered all of my questions! Thanks for doing that for us new to your blog. I love that your heart is so big and that your sense of humor is just as big! Your kids are adorable and I love reading your blog :)
    P.S. I live in beautiful Montana and we just got 2 feet of snow last week. I'll move to Texas with you!!

  13. Great post:-) I love your blog and your beautiful family:-)

  14. Fabulous!! I have to say that Scheherazade really fits Catherine! I can totally see her in a long silk dress all dark and mysterious!!

  15. Loved reading about your wonderful family!! Thank you for taking the time to share all of that. I too enjoy your sense of humor and honesty. Always looking forward to the next post....

  16. Catherine, thank you for this post. I loved hearing all about how God grew your family! You are so refreshing in your frankness and humor. I LOVE the tone of your blog. And I always loved your posts with the girls in diapers. We have nine at home and one waiting in China, and mine are always half dressed too when we're home! You have a BEAUTIFUL family. God bless you all!



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