Monday, February 29, 2016

Rare disease day

Hi family and friends, it's Leah.  I wanted to take a little time today to write about our sweet Eliana Jane.  She has been such a joy to add to our family.  Jeremiah loves his little sister, and she is finally getting big enough where we don't have to worry about him rolling her around and driving cars on her. :)  She was 8 months old on February 22 and the light of our life.
We have had some news in the last few months though, that has opened our eyes to new experiences in our family, and our new "normal. " Let's go back a few months.  When Ellie was 2 months old, her pediatrician detected a slight heart murmur.  We have since found out that it was pretty impressive she would notice this on a 2 month old.  So we were referred to a cardiologist at Beaumont Children's hospital.  We took our 2 month old down for a echocardiogram and EKG.  They discovered that she has PPS (Pulmonary Stenosis-can't remember what the other P is for), where her heart pumps the blood too quickly through channels in her heart.  It's ok, she might outgrow it.  2 Echos later every 6 weeks, it's still there, but nothing worse.  Then he suggests we go see a geneticist to rule out some genetic conditions that could cause this.  We go there and they send us to more specialists - an eye test, X-ray, abdominal ultrasound - fun stuff. :)  Finally, we got clearance to do a chromosome blood test.  Well, the pieces of the puzzle come together and we find out that Ellie has been diagnosed with Williams Syndrome at 4 months old.  This is a chromosome disorder where she is missing part of the genetic sequence on the #7 chromosome.  Now, this is where I must say - please don't Google Williams Syndrome.  We haven't said anything about it to people really, because we don't want Ellie to be Ellie with Williams Syndrome.  We just want her to be Ellie - God's perfect gift who is "fearfully and wonderfully made."  She is not doing to be defined by this diagnosis.  God has a plan for her, and He will see that plan carried out, we are sure.  
So, having said that, this diagnosis does come with some health complications.  But, it also comes with some facial features and personality traits that make her who she is.  Those beautiful eyes and face like a doll?  Yep, that's a Williams characteristic.  Her ability to make anyone and everyone smile when she smiles at them - also Williams.  The fact that she is the most social baby I have ever seen, also Williams.  She may also get a special love of music and ability to see the best in people and all situations.  That's pretty cool too.
The heart thing is staying stable, so that's good.  The eye test and skeletal X-ray came back fine.  Last week we got a call that her calcium levels were way too high from a recent blood test. (we knew there was a chance of this happening)  This can be very bad, so we had to take her to ER at Royal Oak Beaumont and she was hospitalized for 5 days as they flushed the calcium out of her system.  While we didn't love this complication, God took care of us and we had wonderful friends who watched Jeremiah and took care of things so we could be with Ellie.  Now she is on a low calcium formula and we have added an endocrinologist and nephrologist to our cardiologist on her doctor list.  But it's going to be ok.  Ellie is ours for a reason and we will do everything within our power to be sure she has the best care and gets the best services.  On Thursday a nurse will come and evaluate her in 9 different areas of development to see how she's doing.  I think she's pretty remarkable, but I guess I'm biased.  If there's anything that's not developing, we'll seek therapy for that.  
So there you have it, a quick introduction to Williams Syndrome on Rare Disease Day.  Our sweet daughter has a diagnosis, and two parents that will fight and advocate for her for the rest of their lives.  Oh, and a big brother with a heart of gold that will love her and defend her.  Along with a wonderful network of family and friends for support, Eliana Jane Meyer has a great big God that made her perfectly for us and will give her a testimony that she can share about a diagnosis and how His perfect plan gave her an amazing life.  We didn't get a "special needs child," we got a gift from God name Eliana Jane.  And that's pretty special. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Happy birthday to me!

35 ...  I'm 35 today.  It's amazing how birthdays change as you get older, and how life gets so busy that it's hard to stop and reflect on the blessings that you've received in those years.  So I'm going to do my best to stop and reflect for a moment.

Up until a few years ago, I had never known someone that shared my birthday with me.   It was a day of celebration, sometimes a few more, and always great with friends and family.  And now with FB reminding everyone of birthdays, I'm so blessed by all the amazing notes I got on my special day.  But this year, September 15 has an even more meaning.  Let me explain...

Last year, we had our "match" meeting with a young couple that was placing their baby for adoption. They were 15 and 16 years old.  We smashed into a conference room with their families and promised to accept their baby and raise her as our own.  I thought it was the best symbolism that this meeting would be on my birthday of all days! It must be meant to be! We went to dinner after and got the call that they liked us and we were matched!

Then as most of you know, and have read, after getting to know them for the next month, a baby girl was born on October 5, sent home with us on October 7, and asked to be returned to her birth parents on October 8.  From the outside looking in, many would think that was the end of the story.

We are proof, that God never leaves us hanging in His plan for our lives.  We named Jeremiah after Jeremiah 29:11 because God knew the plans He had for our lives, and they were plans to prosper and not harm us - give us hope and a future.  Well after returning her, we waited longer than we expected and longer than we wanted ... but God matched us with an amazing young woman who noticed our story because we had a baby girl taken from us, and she could give us our baby girl.  On June 22, she gave birth to that baby girl and on July 22, she signed the papers that placed Eliana Jane with us forever.  I am amazed as I look back and see God's handprints on our entire story as He put together our family.  Oh, and by the way.  Eliana's birth mom turns 19 today, September 15 ...

Happy 35th birthday to me!  I am blessed. :)


Sunday, June 28, 2015

She's here!

I have been thinking of how to put the last few weeks into words, and I am just overwhelmed with God's love and provision. So here is my attempt to explain.
We met our second child's birth mom in March and were fortunate to be chosen by her. We had 3 months to get to know her and her family before the baby was due on June 10.  We met for dinner, did play dates with her nephew and family with Jeremiah, and truly enjoyed spending time together and getting to know one another. After such a heartache in October, we stayed cautiously optimistic. Eventually we realized that we couldn't let the last attempt take the joy out of this one. It is a very emotional journey on both sides, as you can imagine, and we held on for the ride.
The amazing birth mom's name is Brianna and many were able to meet and see her when her family attended our fundraiser in May. She stood up on stage with her family and Stephanie's family to show how open adoption has grown our family exponentially and the power of their decisions.
I also had the privilege to go to an ultrasound. So cool!
Brianna asked to be a part of naming the baby. When we gave her our list, she took the names into consideration but nothing really stood out. So we prayed and asked God to give us names with meanings that would belong to our daughter. We sent some more suggestions, and Brianna chose Eliana Jane for her name. Eliana means God has answered, and as beautiful as that was then, we had no idea that that meaning was going to be even more amazing in His time.
Eliana was due June 10, as I mentioned before. So we cleared our schedules and got ready... Brianna's wish for Ellie was to have breast milk exclusively and she would provide milk for her as long as she could. Isn't she awesome?!? I was set up by a good friend to get donor milk (another amazing donation I never knew existed!) and we had a deep freezer full all ready for the big day.
June 10, no baby.
June 11, no baby ... I will spare you the rest - June 17, back to dr and no baby. June 18 Brii went in for a procedure to get things going, still nothing.  Needless to say we were getting anxious and wondering when she was gonna make her entrance! Everyone we talked to said they couldn't believe they were waiting for 2 weeks to induce. This was so hard for us, because our hands were tied! But we waited.
Monday morning at 1 am I got a text from her sister that she was in labor. We waited for more news and heard that Eliana Jane was born at 7:18am on June 22 weighing 6 lbs 7 oz. (and I thought my newborn clothes wouldn't fit when she was so overdue!!) Brii and her family took Monday with Eliana and we were able to go see her on Tuesday. We had a great visit and returned Wednesday to take her home.
Now I can tell you why God made us all wait so long ...
Our adoption journey truly began the summer of 2009 when David had his colectomy. If you haven't heard that story I'd love to tell you all about my miracle of a husband. But after sepsis, pulmonary emboli, 6 day coma and 2 month rehab, David wasn't able to father children anymore. David was not even expected to live through that. But 3 years later we were blessed with Jeremiah, who is named after Jeremiah 29:11 and started seeing God's plan for our family.

June 22, 2009, David's surgery. 6 years later ... June 22, 2015 Eliana Jane is born. God has completed our family and  "God has answered". I don't think anyone could have planned it better.
Thanks God. ~ Leah 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Heading into a new season!

Keeping up with this blog sure was easier before our first gift (aka Jeremiah) became a very busy two- year old and has been keeping us on our toes!  He is such a joy and we love every minute of being his parents.  In fact, I just saw on my Timehop that it was 3 years ago tomorrow when we met Stephanie for the first time.  Now three years later, I am literally living my dream of being a stay at home mom with the coolest kid ever.  I really realized it yesterday when we took an impromptu trip to the Toledo Zoo with my best friend for the day ... something I never could have done if I was still working.  It's the little things that I have really been reflecting on lately and the amazing love of God.  Now we await another life changing event!

What an amazing few weeks it has been!  As many of you know, we have been matched with an amazing expectant mom since March, and she is due with a little girl on June 10!  It is amazing to look back over our adoption journey to all the ups and downs and see where He has brought us up to this point. In October, we were asking Why? and How could this happen to us? as we had to endure an "interrupted adoption."  Now we see that we have a complete picture of what can happen with adoptions and we feel better equipped to help others that may be looking into adoption.

Last Thursday was our fundraiser at church.  What an incredible night!  It was a night that would not be possible without a supportive church, amazing friends and musicians and the best bakers around for some yummy desserts.  If you were there, you saw the power of adoption and how it can change and grow a family exponentially.  If you weren't there, I'm working on getting the video up so you can see what you missed.

Our heart is to share the beauty of not only adoption, but open adoption.   In fact, we even introduced a non-profit organization we are starting called Miriam's Watch.  Stay tuned for more information on that and check out as we grow this organization.  Our first event will be a golf outing on September 12 at Heather Highlands in Holly!

But back to Thursday night, we were truly blessed from the fundraiser as we were able to raise three times as much as we did in the fundraiser we had for Jeremiah's adoption.  It will go a long way in easing the financial burden that goes along with an adoption.  So thank you to those that have supported us prayerfully, emotionally, and financially.  We are continuing in our fundraising endeavor, so if you do feel led to support us, you can visit  Thank you so much for following our story.

Then for the icing on the cake, last night we visiting Bethany Christian Services office to listen to Stephanie speak on a panel with another birth mom to "waiting" adoptive families.  She is such an adoption advocate in so many ways, and really shows the reality of the birth mom's choice for their child.  We are so blessed to have her in our lives, and it continued to push us toward our mission to show the beauty of open adoptions.  We met another courageous birth mom who was there with the adoptive parents of her daughter and heard their story of open adoption, too.  We never can get enough of hearing the amazing success stories!


Saturday, April 4, 2015

We've been a little busy...

The last few weeks have been an absolute blur.  We have been busier than I can remember.

First, We have been keeping a little secret, but it's time to let the cat out of the bag.  Some of you may have been able to pry it out of us by asking the ever so invasive question (pick up on sarcasm), "what's going on with your adoption?"

A few weeks ago we were matched again, to another wonderful young lady.  She is pregnant with what we are mostly sure is a baby girl; due June 10.  Last night, we had the pleasure of hanging out with her and her parents again.  It was great to be able to talk and get to know them on a more personal level and in a more relaxed atmosphere than the adoption office.

We are so excited to expand our family exponentially yet again!

Second,  the match has gotten our act in gear in raising funds for the adoption.  If you would like to join us, we are going to be hosting a fundraiser at Faith Church in Waterford.  The event is going to be a concert with desserts and prizes.  We are still kind of putting it together, but are envisioning a celebration of adoption, with resources available to anyone who may be considering taking a leap themselves.  It is going to be a free event and a love offering for our adoption fund will be taken.  If you are interested in coming, you can find a flier in the sidebar

Finally, we have been dreaming of someday starting a nonprofit to grant funds to couples seeking open adoption ever since we began the adoption process with Jeremiah.  We have tossed around ideas of what we could do, and what we would offer when that some day came when we were finally motivated to launch the organization.  Well, it turns out that the some day is now.  We are currently in the process of organizing our nonprofit, and hope to provide more information the night of our fundraiser.  We are planning a golf outing for the organization on September 12, 2015, so mark your calendars and dust off your clubs!  Thank you to everyone who has followed our story, given us words of encouragement, prayed for us, and/or donated.  We appreciate the support so much!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Peace that transcends understanding

How are we doing?  We are doing well.  Strangely well.  Many people have approached us with this question, and are usually surprised by our answer.  

We had a really bad day.  That was about all it was.  Our hearts were broken for about a day.  Some of our healing has come from a switch in the way we look at our situation.  We choose not to be upset, but emotion just about always overpowers logic. 

It's not that we are doing well because we didn't love that little girl.  We did.  There is only really one explanation as to why we are doing so well.  That reason may be obvious to many that read this blog.  There are some, however, that don't know my God.  He is the only reason that I can smile, joke and laugh. He has granted us peace that transcends all understanding, just as He promised he would.

Philippians 4:6-7 says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.  And the peace of god, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." NIV

Paul wrote that after spending 2 years in a Roman prison.  I think his troubles were at least as great as mine.  He not only had peace, he spoke to others about how great it was.

In my last blog I wrote about the support all of our friends have given us.  I don't want to diminish that love and support in anyway. However, I said that we could not have made it through without you, and that is wrong.  No matter what our personal situation, we have a friend in Jesus.  We have a friend that will never let us down.  We have a friend that can carry your burden no matter how great.  

This peace that Leah and I have is miraculous, but it is probably the least of my God's promises.  If you don't know Him and want to, I would love to introduce you to my Best Friend.  Please email me at

Friday, October 10, 2014

The power of love, prayer, and positive thinking!

Yesterday when I came to work, I had to gather myself in the parking lot before entering.  Once collected, I walked through the doors and was greeted by hugs, one coworker gave me a note that her son had written for Leah and me.  So much for trying to be professional.

Leah's announcement on Facebook has currently received 136 comments of love and support.  My last blog post has been read over 500 times, almost double our previous most read blog, Jeremiah's announcement.  I came home early yesterday to a house filled with flowers and fruit.  We have been blessed by so many well wishes from calls, emails, and visits.  One of our neighbors dropped off dinner for us last night.  Needless to say, the outpouring of love from our friends and family has been overwhelming.

Jeremiah's birth family has had a saying as long as I've known them and I'm sure longer than that.  Perhaps its not theirs, but they were the first ones I ever heard use it.  One person would say "God is good!" to which the other responds "All the time!"  I've always known it true, and thought it cute, but honestly it never really resonated with me until I needed to hear the "All the time!"  Fortunately, these last few days we have heard it not just from Stephanie, but also her mother and father.

As I said in my last post, I know God has a plan, although sometimes its hard to see, but perhaps we have already seen it.  If Leah and I just needed to endure this pain to see how loved we are, to witness our community come out in droves to show us that they care, that would be enough reason to me.  I cannot tell you how wonderful you all have made us feel.

Yesterday afternoon, after much thought and prayer, Leah and I decided we were no longer going to be sad.  We talked about how while we miss the sweet child we brought home, and we thought she was ours, she never was.  Our child is out there.  We, instead of being sad, will look with excitement to the day we get to meet him/her (hopefully her, we have a lot of pink now).  Once we made this decision it was like a light switch.  While we still get emotional when we see and hear your sweet thoughts, they are tears that stem from joy, not sadness or regret.  We know this has a little to do with our mindset, and a lot more to do with the blanket of prayer you all have knitted for us.  I cannot thank you enough.

I tell you all of that for two reasons.  One, to try to show some minuscule portion of the gratitude that we have for all of you.  Unfortunately, the English language (the only one I know) does not have the words to express how thankful we are.  And, two, to tell you that we will try again.  We originally wanted to wait for a couple of months to heal, and prepare to accept another family into our lives.  However, thanks to all of you, we are ready.  We don't want to miss out on any blessings, and we would much rather risk loving and losing again.  I would write more, but I have to call our social worker to let her know the news, too.

Thank you again.  We love you all, and would not be where we are now without you.

God is good...  All the time!