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  • Ashley

Enjoying the Wait

Hello all! It has been a few weeks since our last update. I'm sorry about that, but life has gotten in the way some. So much has happened...some good, some bad. So here goes...

On August 1, we took our precious Sheltie boy, Stormy, to the vet for an annual check up. He seemed completely healthy, so we thought it would be a routine check up. Since he is nine, we decided to have blood work done to get him checked out. That was a Monday; on Thursday, our vet called us with some surprising and unsettling news...Storm's kidney and liver enzymes were elevated. They were not off the charts, but enough that it was very concerning to our vet. We had to get him on two antibiotics for bacterial infections and on a special kidney diet. Of course I instantly began researching kidney and liver disease and other causes of the elevated levels. Most of what I read was disheartening to say the least and completely overwhelming.

Over the next week and a half I delved into my research; I found diet and nutrition information, as well as holistic treatment approaches to try to combat kidney disease. I also began making homemade dog food and switched to distilled water only for our pets. I made his follow-up appointment for more blood work and another appointment with a holistic veterinarian for acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies. On Sunday night, August 14, Storm seemed down and not his normal self. He had just finished his meds and had a vaccine and heartworm pill while at the vet almost two weeks prior. At 3:43 am (the morning of our first teacher workday), he woke me up vomiting. My mom came right over and we rushed him to the emergency vet in Hilliard, while Vince went to school and let everyone know I would not be there until later.

They ran his bloodwork again and all of his levels had slightly increased, and we do not know why. They did say it could be because of the meds and vaccine since everything gets filtered through the kidneys and liver. They gave him fluids and sent me home with instructions on giving him fluid every morning. Thank goodness Vince's sister, Haley, is a vet tech and helped us out the first three days. We took him back Wednesday night to get his levels rechecked. The kidney levels are coming down, which is good, but two out of three of his liver enzymes are increasing. So we have been continuing to give him fluids the last few days. On Monday morning he goes to an internist (he seems really knowledgeable) to get an ultrasound on his liver and kidneys and possibly a biopsy so we can find out exactly what is going on. It could be a powerful viral infection, Leptospirosis, kidney and/or liver disease/failure, or cancer. She also told us it could be several other things, whatever that means. Luckily, he seems to be feeling better and is acting like his old self. I'm hoping he stays that way!

Now to be raw and real with you all...I have been a complete mess. My anxiety has me thinking the worst and picturing what I am going to do and how I can keep him healthy and with us for many more years. I cannot concentrate on ANYTHING else. I feel like a walking zombie. All I do is cry and worry. Getting through the first week of school was torture for me. I felt so guilty while at school, simply because I want to do nothing but to spend time with him. He could have months or he could have years. The unknown is debilitating. I now notice when people say, "I can't wait until..." When I hear this, I panic inside; my heart feels like it will pound out of my chest, my head starts spinning, and I feel sick. Why? Because I can wait; I can wait because that's just wishing our lives away. I can wait because life is already too short and so very fragile. I can wait because I want to cherish every single day I have with those I love. I can wait because I wish time would slow down. We spend all our lives hoping and waiting for something else to happen, and some day we will turn around and realize our days are numbered and we didn't even enjoy the ride. Enjoying the ride is so very hard for someone like me, someone who worries constantly about the future and what tomorrow will look like. For someone who worries nonstop, but doesn't even know why she's worried. But I am making a conscious effort to stop wishing my life away, to enjoy and relish every single day. That is so much easier said than done.

Part of enjoying every single day is enjoying every part of our adoption journey. We had our first homestudy visit on Wednesday, August 10, and it went very well, especially for only having a two day notice. With the help of some amazing friends (Kalyn and her husband, Daniel, and Beckie), we made it through. Beckie (a family friend) sent us info on what her social worker looked for, and when I texted one of my very best friends that Monday night, Kalyn told me she would drive an hour to my house and help me with whatever we needed and would buy anything we could think of on her way. Her husband, Daniel, is a fireman and helped us pick out a fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detector and create a fire escape plan. The visit went so well that we do not even need another visit! That was a relief, especially with the stress of school starting and Stormy's health issues.

We got our fingerprints completed last Tuesday, the 16th, and Faith International sent us our I-600A immigration form as well. We just finished our fire inspection today and made copies of our birth certificates and marriage certificate for both agencies. Now all that's left is to mail the last of the homestudy forms to Caring for Kids and the I-600A form and copies of certificates to Faith International. Along with that, we owe the government $850 to process the immigration form, Faith International $8,750 for the first fees, and $750 to Caring for Kids to complete the homestudy. Of course we are also having to pay for Storm's medical expenses on top of this. Once we get the fees paid, and the homestudy approval, we wait for our immigration form to be approved. Faith informed us that we should have our approval and be paper ready by the beginning of November, which means there is a chance we could be bringing our son or daughter home by Christmas!!

So, we made around $360 at our garage sale and have made a little over $1,200 so far on our puzzle piece fundraiser. We have our golf outing next Sunday, August 28, and we are hoping to make enough for the fees we owe above. We have $4,500 in our adoption fund right now, and almost $800 in our paypal account here on our blog page. So in order to get our forms finished that I listed above, we need to raise a little over $5,000 in the next two weeks. So if anyone wishes to play in the golf outing or just wants to eat at our golf outing, or would like to sponsor a hole or donate door prizes, let us know! And thank you in advance! Also, if you would like to purchase a puzzle piece, we still have tons left! Once we get through these initial fees, we can apply for grants because we need to be homestudy approved to do that, which will definitely help us raise the rest of the fees before bringing our baby home...we will need to raise approximately $30,000 more! Oh, boy!

If you're still hanging around, I'm sorry for the long post; I just wanted to fill everyone in on what's been going on in our lives. Everyone says to us, "I bet you can't wait to bring that baby home!" In a way, those people are correct, but to be completely honest, we are enjoying the journey. Every single day is a blessing, so yes, we can wait. Not because we don't want our baby home, but because we don't want to take one single day for granted. Yes, we can wait because we are enjoying the ride. If you are so inclined, please keep our Stormy boy in your thoughts and prayers. We should know more Monday...what a long day that will be for us.

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