Monthly Archives: January 2013

Finalizing Finances?

As I shared in an earlier post, Rhea has decided to move forward with our scheduled appointments as planned. We went over all of our expenses to date and all of our donations & total of our personal savings given to date and came to the new total we need to raise by the end of February.

Our total adoption expenses including travel come to $ 13,818.00
Our total adoption expenses that are still outstanding $ 10,572.00

Our total donations/personal savings given balance: $ 9,033.26
Our total donations/personal savings used so far balance: $ 3,246.00
Our remaining adoption funds to use: $5,787.26

Additional funds needed by 3/1/2013: $4,784.74

Rhea’s work is at a STAND STILL. We have no extra resources to draw from. We are organizing to get ready to prepare to collect items for a garage sale. We will be selling school books and small items on eBay/Craigslist and whatever else we can think of. Please join us in prayer as we prepare to bring these precious babies home out of the freezer!

Thank you so very much to each and every one of you who have purchased items, donated your own personal money, and supported us through prayer and encouraging emails throughout our process. We are so very grateful for family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers for their support and love of our frozen little babies.

Travel Plans to NEDC for Mock Transfer

Well, we booked our flight and made all other travel arrangements for our trip in February. After searching for the best deals possible, we came up with the following:

airfare for two leaving on 2/5 – returning on 2/6 to Knoxville    $786.20
Rental car for 24 hours                                                                       $  49.28
Hotel stay for one night in Knoxville   (used hotel points)          $    0.00
Total for travel:                                                                              $835.48

We will have free breakfast on Wednesday morning at the hotel and I have a gift card for Outback steakhouse for Tuesday night. That leaves us needing to pay for lunch on Wednesday before we fly home.

Our trip in March will be more. It is Spring Break week and our tickets alone will be  $20 more and our car rental will be more since we will be staying an extra day. Our hotel though will be free again since we have plenty of points to cover that stay.

Oh, and I am still waiting for my body to adjust to this Estrace. I am still finding I am off and on queasy most of the day. The nurse at the NEDC, said that the queasiness is normal and my body should adjust soon.

Next post: Adoption Finances. So where are we? What do we have? What are our needs?

Why Two Trips to the NEDC?

If you want to see how we ended up going to the NEDC to begin with, please see yesterday’s post.
We indeed have adopted our little babies from Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency’s Snowflake program. We will be traveling to the NEDC though for our Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET). 

In order for a  Reproductive Endricronlogist (RE) to do an FET, the doctor schedules what is called a Mock Transfer at least a month prior to the actual FET. At this appointment, the doctor will visit with us about the upcoming transfer, the embryologist will discuss the protocol for thawing our little ones, I will have blood work drawn, and then an exam with the doctor including an ultrasound. During this exam, one of the things the doctor will be doing will be measuring the thickness of my uterine lining. The RE wants to see this lining super thick. To assist in the lining being super thick, the RE precribes estrogen for me to take leading up to this initial appointment. Some REs prescribe estrogen in patches and others prescribe oral estrogen. 

My first RE with Sarah’s transfer prescribed estrogen patches. I respoded well to those. They were inexpensive and did the job. Dr. K prescribes the name brand estrogen pill Estrace. I take 2mg a day for the first 9 days and then I add an additional 2mg a day until my appointment in February. At that time, I will be given the rest of my prescription protocol for the actual FET in March.

I started Estrace last Thursday. It has made me nauseous. It isn’t bad, but it is there and I am hoping my body adjusts to the medication and the nausea will subside sooner than later. February 5th we will be on a plane to Knoxville, TN for our appt at the NEDC February 6th. It will be here sooner than later. It is time to fonalize the airline arrangements and reserve our rental car and hotel. Wow. We are getting closer than I thought.

Next Post: travel arrangements for trip #1

Snowflakes & The NEDC

We have been asked, “Why is that you adopted your babies as embryos through the Snowflakes Program with Nightlight Christian Adoptions, but are traveling to the NEDC (National Embryo Donation Center) for the Frozen Embryo Transfer?”  This is an excellent question and we know that our situation is definitely out of the norm here. Let me explain how we came to this special arrangement.

When a family goes through the Snowflakes program to adopt babies as embryos, Snowflakes allows the adopting family to choose the clinic and doctor of their choice to perform the Frozen Embryo Transfer. When we adopted Sarah and her siblings we had trouble finding a clinic here in Houston and a doctor who would do the transfer for several reasons. One was that because Sarah and her siblings had been frozen close to 12 years at the time of our adoption, the genetic parents had not undergone STD testing since it was not required back then. Now, because of regulations, STD testing is mandatory for all genetic parents before they undergo IVF. The second reason we couldn’t find anyone to accept our precious embryos was because after viewing the paperwork on our little ones, no clinic wanted to perform the FET. It came down to where the  doctors saw that there was such a minute chance that any of the embryos would survive the thawing procedure, why bother with harming their competitive and positive statistics? They also continued to try and talk us out of “using” as they put it, “these embryos” when we could use donated eggs with Rhea’s sperm and do IVF? We would explain why we did not believe in IVF and we continued to look for another doctor. Finally, Nightlight assisted us in finding a clinic and a doctor who would accept our tiny ones and perform the FET. We traveled to Dallas which was only three hours away. You guys all know the rest and Sarah is here with us.

So jump forward to our current adoption through Snowflakes. We were chosen by a couple to adopt their remaining 8 embryos from 2008. The necessary testing had indeed been completed, but because the genetic mother tested positive for being exposed to the Hep B virus at some point in her life, these little 8 lives were quickly labeled “high risk” by the original clinic. Because of this label, it was very difficult to find a clinic locally who accept our newest family members. Nightlight came to the rescue again. They made a call to Dr. K at the NEDC and Carol the embryologist at the NEDC. After consulting with both Dr. K and Carol, Nightlight called us to tell us that the NEDC would accept our embryos and would accept me for a transfer.

The NEDC has their own EA program where they match families and then do transfers for the adopting parents. Having us come in is an exception and we are grateful to the NEDC and to Dr. K for taking our family. I had a phone consult months ago with Dr. K about the Hep B test results on the genetic mother. He went over all the paperwork and said he saw nothing to concern him that the babies would have any risk of having Hep B.

So, there you have it. The story of how we adopted embryos for our second adoption through Nightlight again, but are having the babies transferred at the NEDC in Knoxville, TN.

Next post: Why do we have to go to the NEDC in February and then turn right around and go in March? What is a “Mock Transfer”? What kinds of medications do I have to take?

Moving Forward

Somewhere during the last couple of weeks of the flu, Rhea decided that even without the necessary funds, we are going to move forward with our schedule that is in place for our FET! We have seen The Lord provide in even small amounts these last couple of weeks. We have had a preschooler give some of his own money to our adoption fund, another one of Rhea’s clients gave him a bit of cash for the fund, a couple of strangers gave to our fund this week too. All in all, in giving this week, we have received $123! That may seem a long way off from the close to $5, 000 we need, but we are stepping out in faith that The Lord will provide a way.

I started Estrace (brand name for Rx estrogen) on Thursday. This is the first of several hormones the doctor will give me to prepare my womb to recieve our babies. I will take one 2mg Estrace 2x a day. until next Saturday. Then I will add another 2mg per day until my appointment with Dr. K. Each doctor in this field uses a different protocol it seems and from visiting with the nurse on the phone this past week, Dr. K’s protocol is a lot different thatn the one I followed for Sarah and her siblings’ transfer.

Rhea and I leave for our Mock Transfer appointment at the NEDC in Knoxville on Feb 5. Our appt is the 6th at 9:00 a.m. and then we fly back to Houston late that afternoon. Our FET will be scheduled on one of the days between March 19th – 21st.

Tomorrow: We adopted from the Snowflakes program with Nightlight Christian Adoptions, so why are we going to the NEDC (National Embryo Donation Center) for our FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer)?

The Flu

Uh, no, sorry, no pictures taken over the last 2 weeks. The flu hit our house and hit it hard. I don’t think y’all would care too much to see a bunch of pictures of coughing, feverish, hair-tosselled kiddos would you? Well, even if you did, I was way too busy tending to everyone’s needs the week before last to take pictures even though Sarah is growing and going nonstop even with a cough and sniffles. The days over the last two weeks all swelled  in to one it seemed. Everyone was in some stage of the flu except Dustin a couple of weeks ago. Rhea had a mild case and I, like Dustin was still waiting to see if I had received a “pass”.

Then, last Monday came. I woke up overwhelmingly tired and with a scratchy voice. I thought that I was just tired from caring for everyone over the last week. By Monday evening, it was evident, this was not the case. I started running fever, the body aches started, and I will skip everything else, but know that it was the worst illness I do believe I have felt in years. In fact, this home has not seen the flu in eleven years. So, today is the following Sunday. One week since I fell down hard. I am still not up to speed or even close. This thing wiped me out. Some of the kids are still dealing with “aftershocks” of the flu too.
Rebecca came down with it first and somehow was able to take over once I went down. She fought her own relapse, but kept the house moving to a point. We had a dear friend drop off a meal this week and run (literally). Do you blame her? It was that meal that really gave me the substantial protein my body was needing to fight. The children all seemed a bit better after having some “real” food as we all called it. Chicken broth and applesauce was getting quite old.
While I was down, I started getting a lot of spam comments for the blog in my inbox waiting for moderation from me. I am talking a half a dozen a day at least. Some on new posts–other spam on older posts. So, because of this I went back to the word verification option for posting comments. For those of you, who like me, can’t stand trying to figure out the numbers and then letters in the box and picture, I am so sorry. I really didn’t see what else to do besides to make the blog private and at this time, Rhea and I see no need for that. 
 I am still resting today. I am talking to Rhea about my upcoming week. What “must” be done, what would be “nice” to have done, and what can flat “wait” to be done. With this flu, we not only have been told relapsing for an entire other week is common, we know a family where this was the case. I have seen a few of our children relapse. I certainly do not want to go down that road. 
So, this afternoon, I will continue to rest, sip my hot tea, and I will write a few blog posts for the upcoming week. I will schedule them to come out this week so while I am tackling the “must” dos, you can catch up with us and our Embryo Adoption plans. Sound like a deal?

To The Family in Florida:

Dear Family from Florida,

You reached out and gave $5 to our adoption fund today. I do not recognize your name, forgive me if I should. I want you to know what your $5 gift means to us this very day.

You may have read that we are close to $5,000 shy of being able to pay for our adoption. You may have read that our savings cannot even cover such an amount. You may have read where we wrote that even $1 is a huge help and brings us closer to our goal of bringing our babies home, but I want you to know how your timing of your donation was God’s timing.

I have been struggling with patience in waiting on the Lord to provide in His timing. I have been anxious that it may very well be God’s plan that we postpone our transfer because the funds are not there just yet. I know both of these areas are sin and I continue to confess these to the Lord and have asked a special friend to even pray for me in these areas of weakness for me.

I was on the phone this very morning with our agency letting them know that we would keep them posted, but by the 17th of January, we had to make the decision whether or not to keep the date for our transfer in March or postpone to the earliest after that in May due to lack of finances. I asked for their prayers.

It has been RAINING (yes, I shouted that 😉 here in our area in Texas non stop since Sunday night. The super cold weather in the 30’s and 40’s has left temporarily or maybe for good. I even saw a mosquito today 🙁
I don’t love winter, but I do like the cooler temperatures since most of the year it is unbearably hot and humid here.

So, today it continued to rain. Sometimes, weather with no sunshine and constant rain can be a struggle too for my demeanor. So, though, it was not a day of self pity or despair, I did find it a struggle to be productive and glorify the Lord by giving Him my best.

As I was pulling into the driveway to pick up our children from piano lessons, my phone beeped I had an email. I had a minute, so I looked to see what it was. I saw your $5 donation. We have not received a donation of any size in a few weeks. Then, I looked to see who it was from and saw that it was from one of our favorite parts of Florida and one of our favorite beaches.

So, thank you for sending me sunshine in the form of remembering the beautiful white sand and crisp blue waters our Lord created right in our very own country. Thank you for the sunshine of hope for these babies coming home. Thank you for the sunshine of promise that our Lord has this all in His hands and in His timing.

Yes, $5 meant a lot to our family this very day. Thank you. We are grateful for you.

Happy New Year Adoption Update

We had a wonderful Christmas. I admit, once again, I enjoyed the Christmas festivities myself and was not behind the camera as often as I had thought.

We did capture a few moments of the morning:

The kiddos put together one final update video for the Give1 Save1 fundraiser website. Follow THIS LINK to go see the video and the grand total. What a wonderful gift the boys gave in making this video with their friends and what a tremendous blessing Give1 Save1, our family, friends, and so many we have never met have been as they gave to us this Christmas to help bring our babies home. 
We have had many people ask how things were going with our adoption. Here is where things stand at this point:
Our adoption is finalized between the genetic family and our adoption agency, Nightlight Christian Adoptions. Nightlight needs a final payment and they will ship our tiny babies to the NEDC in Knoxville, TN where Dr. K will transfer our little ones to my womb. 
Rhea and I need to make a trip to Knoxville for a mock transfer and check up with Dr. K. Currently, we have an appt. set for Feb. 6th.
We need to pay our agency and the NEDC all final fees by March 1st
Dr. K will schedule us the week of March 19-21 for our Frozen Embryo Transfer.
Pretty exciting huh??
____________________
You guys have also asked how do the expenses break down for this type of adoption and do we have all the funds necessary for our adoption? 
We started this journey needing $15,000 and then found out recently that we were in need of $2,000 more. From the beginning, we have put in money from savings and have been blessed in so many ways by others who have helped us bring these babies home. Here is where we are:
Application Fees/Homestudy Update/Fingerprints & other official docs: $1,350
Nightlight Snowflakes Agency Fee: $8,000
NEDC Program Fee, Dr. K fees, labs/meds to prepare my body to receive our babies: $4,847*
Travel (trip 1 for Mock Transfer) $1,100
Travel (trip 2 for FET) $1,750*
Grand Total: $ 17,040
What we have (personal savings, fundraising, donations) $12,005
What we still need to come up with: $5,035 
We are in need of funds for the “*” items above. The fees to the clinic are due March 1st. The travel funds for the second trip will be needed 
around that time too to purchase airline tickets. We have hotel points saved and our hotel stays will be free 🙂 
We are praying we do not have to postpone our scheduled appointments. Dr. K is booked for months out and we may not be able to get on the schedule again 
until May or later. 
We are still hopeful and praying. 
It is hard to imagine that if we are able to raise the needed funds, I will be on Estrace in just a couple of weeks to prepare my body to have the best possible environment to accept these little lives. We are getting pretty excited around here at the Robison home!

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