Saturday, April 30, 2011

Up and Running!

Oridinary Hero Store had some “technical” issues with their site, so they just extended the GRANT contest until Monday night! If any of you tried to order, will you please order NOW!!!! We really want to win the $500 grant for our adoption!

Mother's Day is right around the corner and these cuff bracelet's would make great presents!

Not into jewelry, bags or shirts, donate a sheep and make your mom a beautiful card telling her she's feeding over 40 children in Ethiopia this year! I know my mom would love that!

Father's Day, birthday, graduation.... lots of reasons to shop Ordinary Hero!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Midnight Musings

I am not a night owl by any means. And I'm truly not a morning person either.... so the fact that I'm up wide awake after the men in my life are fast asleep is crazy. Coupled with the fact that my lovely may wake me at 5:00am with a phone call to come over and watch the Royal wedding makes me being awake absolutely insane.

Yes, if Sondra calls because she has no power I will be one of those crazy Americans up watching the Will and Kate wed. If she doesn't call, I'll sleep blissfully until Matt's alarm wakes me up and then I'll doze until Gabe wakes up.

Next week the weather man is forecasting snow for northeastern Ohio. Now I know it won't stick, but snow in May!!! C'mon, that's just nuts. What seems even more nuts than snow in November, is the fact that Matt, Gabe and I will be flying to Houston to house shop! And in Houston, it's in the 80's.

And no, I have not yet adjusted to the fact that we will soon be taking up residency in Texas. But I am working on it. I'm working on my feelings about Houston and a blog post in regards to Houston. God is definitely working on me, but the work is yet to be finished. But is God's work ever finished on someone? I don't think so.

If you tried to buy something from Ordinary Hero today there have been a few problems with their check out process. Never fear, the people there are working it out and it should be up and running soon... or right now!

Good news is that we have a renter for our house. Said renter will also be staying at our house while we visit Houston. I like that our house home won't be empty when we're gone. I like even more that we know (and love) the person (or people) renting our home. It makes it a little easier to leave the memories housed here.

Memories like bringing Gabriel home from the hospital and having absolutely no clue what to do with a newborn [SMILE], Gabe's first Thanksgiving here, Gabe's first Christmas, lots more Gabe firsts', family dinners, life group memories, friends visiting, etc. We'll carry these memories in our hearts, but the walls of our home will hold them forever as well.

Speaking of memories, I'm working on making a lot of those before we leave. Every spare second will be spent with our family, friends that our like family and friends creating memories. Memories like coloring on the couch with my 5 year old nephew at 8:30 at night, shopping at Crocker with my mom or walking through our neighborhood stopping to see friends along the way.

Gabe spent the night at my parents house on Tuesday night. It was the first time in over 20 months that Matt and I could have slept through the night. I didn't; I kept waking up expecting to hear Gabe. And waking up without seeing Gabe's smile is definitely not as beautiful as waking up with his smiling face. Gabe did great though, which is the big thing. He didn't do so great last night though. Whether it be his confusion from his night away or the horrible winds; I'm not sure.

I do know that our horrible winds were nothing compared to those in the south. Our thoughts and prayers have been with those in Alabama who's lives were affected and forever changed by the severe weather there.

Grateful, oh so grateful for my many blessings....

Adoption Fundraisers

We emailed this out to friends and family last night and I thought I'd post it here as well :)

As most of you know by now, we are moving to Houston Texas. And if you didn't know, Matt received a job offer from a company in Houston. And while it pains us to have to move away; after many prayerful conversations we know that this is where God wants us to be.

Moving to Houston will have very little, to no effect on bringing our baby home. We'll have to have a new home study safety audit done and perhaps fill out a few papers again, but other than that, we'll continue on status-quo.

One thing that will change is our summer adoption fundraiser. Depending on when Gabe and I join Matt in Houston, we may still have our garage sale fundraiser. We will not however be having a dinner and silent auction like we were planning. I am corresponding with a friend about having an online auction sometime later this year, but that will take a lot more time to prepare then we have available right now.

But we still have two on-going fundraisers that you can participate in at any time!

We have a Just Love Coffee fundraiser going on here. I hear the coffee is great (but don't ask me, we don't even have a coffee pot!) and it's a great cause. Not only are we receiving a percentage from every purchase ($5 a bag), you are also participating in a fair trade transaction. Fair trade purchases ensure each worker receives a living wage.

Our other fundraiser is the Ordinary Hero. Ordinary Hero Foundation was started by an adoptive mother who when traveling to Ethiopia to pick up her son was changed by the vast expanse of poverty, orphans and need. This past winter, after her foundation was firmly in place, Kelly Putty began an affiliate program for families to raise money for their own families adoption. Through Ordinary Hero, we receive 40% of the proceeds from each purchase made at the Ordinary Hero store. Not interested in t-shirts or hats, Ordinary Hero also has product donations you can buy for children in Africa. Things like shoes, raincoats and even sheep (yes, sheep) will be given to children in Ethiopia. And we receive credit as well.

From now until Sunday, Ordinary Hero has a grant give-away going on. $1000 are up for grabs to the top 3 sellers from now until Sunday. And we want that money!!! To top it all off, because our account has such little money in it, they've offered an additional $250 grant to a family that has not raised a lot but raises the most money by Sunday. And we'd love to win that too :) Plus, Ordinary Hero also has some clearance items for sale! Super handy tote bags, a zip-up hoodie and t-shirts are all on clearance for an unbelievable price!

Thank you for your continued support of our adoption, and our family! And if you're ever looking for a warm place to vacation; think of us in Houston.

God Bless,

**I forgot to put 2 things in the email: to forward this to anyone that you'd like and when checking out at the Ordinary Hero store, choose Meredith LaGorga as the affiliate so we get the credit from you purchase!

Lots of love, and a real update is coming soon!

Monday, April 25, 2011

CIMT - check!

Friday was Gabe's last day of Constraint Induced Movement Therapy. And while in many ways it was a long 3 weeks (waking up early, the drive, Gabe hating stretching his left shoulder), it was so worth it.

Gabe worked so hard and it has been so amazing and rewarding to see him use his left hand. After months of his arm being stiff, tucked and ignored, Gabe now attempts to use lefty when prompted by someone and occasionally on his own.

I am so proud of how hard Gabe worked during CIMT and although the intensive part is done, we still have a lot of work to do. Daily constraint therapy at home, stretching and brushing lefty and lefty jobs will be the regimen to help lefty to continue to grow and develop. What are lefty jobs you ask. "Lefty jobs" are things Gabe must do with his left hand. Activities that he will be successful at, gain confidence with and continue to strengthen his left side. Eating his favorite snack, Annie's Graham Cracker Bunnies and turning pages in books are 2 of Gabe's left handed jobs. Gabe also needs to use lefty as a help; when he's crawling, drinking from his cup, playing with toys we'll work to keep lefty involved and in Gabe's frame of reference so he continues to use it.

So while we're thrilled with Gabe's progress, we still have a ways to go. But with practice and Gabe's perseverance, it may not be a piece of cake, but he'll get there. And we'll cheer him on as we go!

Now for the pictures; Gabe's last week in CIMT in review:

All smiles while in the waiting room...

Stretching to reach the pin wheel!

Racing to remove the pegs. Miss Jessie was great at making work seem like fun!

Working out on the swing...

Working with the cast off! Drinking from a cup with lefty helping!

Using righty and lefty to pull putty.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again"
Casting Crowns - Glorious Day

Today may you remember the life the empty tomb offers you. Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A change of plans...

A few weeks ago Matt and I purchased a new shelf for our living room. And with that furniture purchase, the first floor of our house was complete. Everything had a place; the first floor of our home was in order. The next plans were to re-finish a dresser for Gabe's bedroom and renovate our bathroom.

But then the plans changed.

Everyone has heard the adage "If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans." And I am becoming God's poster board for it.

My plans were to live in our comfortable house on Oxford Avenue waiting to bring our baby home from Ethiopia. Spending the summer enjoying our front porch, grilling in the back yard and fundraising to earn the funds needed to bring LaGorga baby #2 home.

Insert laugh here....

After graduating with his MBA in December Matt had begun looking for a new job opportunity. It was a needed change for him and our family. He applied and interviewed at many places in Northeast Ohio (all over Ohio actually) and for one reason or another, God closed those doors.

Unbeknown st to us, God was opening a door somewhere else, somewhere far away.... some place I never considered moving. A few weeks ago, a company contacted Matt out of the blue and after a few phone interviews and a skype interview, he was asked to fly out for a personal interview.

Yes, I said fly out.

And the interview went so well that Matt had an offer in his inbox before he returned home. After lots of prayers, conversation and tears (from me), Matt accepted the offer.

I am so proud of my husband. He works so hard and deserves this job. It will provide our family with many new opportunities, and I intellectually I know God will use this time to grow us, stretch us and strengthen our faith.

Emotionally though, I'm not there yet. I'm actually a complete wreck about the prospect of moving almost 1,300 miles away. 1,300 miles away from our family, friends, church, community and Gabe's medical services. Leaving my family (and my friends that are like family) in Ohio will be like leaving my left arm; they are so much a part of me, my heart aches at the thought of not physically being with them.

In the next couple of weeks we will be boxing up our belongings, saying "see you later" and moving south to Houston. This is the most abrupt change of plans I could possibly imagine but God knew it was coming.

And that is the only place I can find any comfort; knowing that God knew we would be moving to Texas and that God is in Houston right now, preparing our way.

Proverbs 16:9 "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord guides their steps."

If you think about it, will you please keep our family in your prayers. Wisdom, safety, peace of mind, a smooth transition for Gabe, our hearts as we miss the people we have to leave behind, good and quick connections to the medical facilities and doctors/therapists Gabe needs... those are just a few of my concerns.

One thing is certain, although we'll physically be in Texas, my heart will be in Ohio.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Today I am humbled by the sacrifice, grateful for the grace and filled with awe of my Savior that died for me.

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:24

We have lots of news in the LaGorga household, but today we just want to wish you a blessed Good Friday.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Today I needed a little reminder, and thought maybe someone else may too

Monday, April 18, 2011


No, we absolutely did NOT get a doggie, no matter how cute it sounds when Gabe says it.

And believe me, it's absolutely adorable. Just like when he says "hi, bye, daddy, bookie, blankie, wee (for swing), please, monkey, yes, papo, bubble, pop (for popping the bubble not the beverage), milk" and a few more words that I can't remember at the moment.

After therapy Gabe made it all the way home before he fell asleep. I think Gabe realized that cuddling with his doggy is much more comfortable then car seat sleeping. Although, I do have to agree with him on the point that sleeping in the car is very nice. When Matt's driving, obviously [smile].

We could not love this little boy any more... this 20 month old holds our hearts in his hands and we marvel at God's goodness at choosing us for his parents. Happy 20 month birthday, Gabriel! We love you!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I have approximately 7,834 feelings swirling in my heart right now. Feelings like desperation for sweeties like Vanya and Kirill, overwhelming sadness for orphans, the unloved and those that don't know Christ's love. Ones of gratitude for the strides Gabe continues to make with his cast but sorrow for the way he's lost most of his independence these past weeks. Excitement that our I-600A will be in the mail tomorrow bringing us a few steps closer to our little on in Africa and longing to hold him in my arms. Thoughts of where and why. Confusion and uncertainty in knowing God's will for our future and fear of what the unknown may hold. Concern for a close friend and hurt over what seems like a lost friendship.

However, my thoughts are also on Easter and all the hope that brings. Knowledge that when Jesus died on the cross He paid the debt for my sin (and yours). Gratitude that God loves us so much that He gave His son, an act of love that I know I could not do... I do everything in my power to keep Gabe safe from pain and God knew exactly what Jesus would endure when He sent him here. Security in the fact that when Jesus rose from the grave, He brought new life for us all.

And while that provides me with comfort and relief, I also feel a little regret and guilt. Regret for missed opportunities and guilt over mistakes.

Like I said lots and lots of feelings. And while they all don't make sense, they're all jumbled up inside (and now out on the blog).

I'm hoping a little Harry Potter will help relax my body and ease my mind.

Yes, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 came out Friday. After therapy on Friday Gabe and I stopped at Best Buy to pick it up and Matt and I watched it Friday night... and yes, I'm watching it for the second time this weekend. Don't hate!

Gabe's "I stayed up the whole way home from therapy and desperately want to take a nap and you want to take my picture" look. I love it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lots of Stuff

Do you know Adeye? If you do, then I'm sure you've been blessed by her sweet spirit like me, but if you don't, then you are missing out! Right now Adeye has a HUGE (and yes the bold faced italics are necessary) fundraiser/giveaway going on until tomorrow! (Yes, I'm a little behind on blogging... but this is important so please keep reading.)

Imagine yourself half a world away living in an orphanage. Every day people come and take children away, take them to a place called home. And more than anything that's your wish... to have a Mom and Dad, a family... a home. But you keep getting passed by, and years go by and now you're no longer the cute little baby or toddler most people want but a young boy. A boy who knows that your days at the baby home are numbered and soon you'll be unadoptable. You'll be transferred to a mental institution where you will spend the rest of your life. The rest of you life alone, without a family, without hope.

That's the fate that awaits sweet Vanya. He has a dream for a family, for a home, for hope. And Adeye has made it her mission to help him find his way home. And families have shown interest in him and now we just need to pray that the Lord directs the right family to him. And quickly, as Vanya's days are truly numbered. Besides prayers for Vanya, you can help in a more tangible way.

As I've said adopting is expensive. It's a disturbing, disgusting but necessary fact that capable people feel unqualified to adopt because of the expense. The ransom.

Vanya needs a family now and to help his family get him home as quick as possible without worrying about the financial hurdles (and believe me, there are lots of financial hurdles when adopting) Adeye started a giveaway to provide relief. Click here, donate any amount and be entered to win one of many gifts. Any amount you can give would be appreciated and such a blessing.

**Even if the paypal says it's reached 100%, you can continue to donate as Adeye picked $15,000 for the goal, the actual adoption will be more**

Speaking of blessings, remember when I posted about the changes Ethiopia was integrating into their international adoption policies? And I mentioned that we I wondered if God had actually called us to adopt from Ethiopia or did human desire do that. Well shortly after that I typed that out we received an email from AGCI. An email about an anonymous donation to us made directly to AGCI. Not only was the donation a fabulous blessing for our adoption fund but also a wonderful confirmation of God's will for our lives.

And while we will never be able to thank you personally, we want to say thank you. We are grateful and humbled by your donation. Thank you for your support in bringing our little one home.

Speaking of fundraisers....

  • We'll be having a garage sale June 24 & 25. If you live in the area and have anything you'd like to donate, we'll take it! The only stuff we don't want is clothes. We didn't sell much of that last year, and it was so hard to organize that my OCD was in over drive and I went a bit crazy trying to organize it [smile]. And even though I said we'd never have another garage sale; it was a good fundraiser, helped us live a little more minimalistic and spread the word of adoption.

  • We're also trying to plan a fundraiser dinner/silent auction. If you have any suggestions (i.e. locations, how to solicit for donations) please feel free to share them.

  • Lastly, Ordinary Hero has $1,000 of grant money to give out this weekend. The top 3 sellers from yesterday morning to Sunday night will get there share of the pot. So if you've been planning on buying a t-shirt, now's the time! These shirts are a great way to raise awareness for orphans and they're comfy. Matt and I love ours! So does Gabe! Not only do we get 40% of the proceeds; the remaining proceeds go to projects Ordinary Hero supports! So buy now (if you'd like!), Mother's Day is coming, stock up for Christmas.... you get the picture!

Earlier this week I was contacted by someone with an awesome opportunity. I am super excited about it and although Matt and I haven't really had the chance to really talk about it.... it's one of those times where I could just feel God's work at hand. It is going to be amazing... if everything falls into place. More on that later, I'm sure.

And a few more pictures of Gabe at therapy. Miss Jessie used the net swing as a distraction to cheer him up (he was a bit grumpy yesterday) and then worked him on his belly to encourage him to weight-bare and move on his left arm.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Can I tell you that waking up at 6:00 am is exponentially more challenging now than it was to wake up at 5:00 am 20 months ago. I'm not sure why; it could be that I'm out of habit getting up that early or the 19 1/2 months of waking up at night has finally caught up with me. I am just spent. And after therapy so is Gabe. Which is really nice because then we are both able to take a nice nap once we get home.
But it's all worth it. Half-way done.... and Gabe is doing remarkably well. See?

Gabe is able to use lefty to open and close the piggy's door. And put the coins (or cookies) in the slot!The sky is the limit for this little man! I'm telling you!

Friday, April 8, 2011


"Courage doesn't always roar.

Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says,

"I'll try again tomorrow."

- Mary Anne Radmacher

The past 5 days I have watched tremendous courage in the shape of a mighty 19 month old. Gabriel has been so courageous as he encounters many new things in his 3 week CIMT course. Gabe has quickly accustomed himself to a new therapist.

In his chair, ready to work after stretching!

For Gabe that is more than just courageous it's remarkable. After going through months of anxiety with Miss KC and Miss Danielle (both whom he now adores), made me extraordinarily anxious for Monday morning. But Miss Jessie came in to the waiting room, scooped Gabe up and while he's had a few precarious moments, he's truly been mostly at ease. Although he does seem to look for Miss Danielle the every morning after seeing her Monday morning.

Reaching for the pinwheel.

Gabe now wears a constraint cast 24 hours a day. A cast on his right arm - his good arm. So we essentially took away almost all of his independence and he pushes onward. Gabe tries new ways to do things and works so hard. You have no idea how hard. One week in and Gabe's left hand is no longer fisted. Relaxing muscles after nineteen and one-half months of them being tightly fisted is no easy feat. But Gabe made it seem almost effortlessly.

Reaching for and trying to grasp and remove pegs. And yes he did it!

Retraining your brain to use your left arm; an arm he's ignored and not used for 19 months is extraordinarily difficult. But Gabe continues to persevere. Gabe's faced unknown fears like swimming in the therapy pool, using different toys and being with new people and he championed. He may not have liked it, he may have fought or argued, but in the end he did it.

Look at that reach!

After a week of therapy Gabe can use lefty to help push himself up into the crawl position, weight-bear on his arm, turn pages in a book and move things with his left arm. Gabe has started communicating with lefty to point at items he'd like or to tell us he's all done.

Turning pages in a book

While Gabriel has a 2 day reprieve from three hour therapy sessions he'll still be required to wear his cast at ALL times and will still have to work on using lefty with his mom and dad. Then Monday morning, Gabe will wake up with the same sweet as honey smile, eat breakfast and then get excited when I ask if he wants to go bye-bye.

Weight bearing on the swing.

As Gabe faced this week with a zealous courage that I know I don't have, he'll greet next week the same way. Gabriel may never remember how hard he had to work, how brave he had to be or the resilience that is his never-dampered spirit, we will. And while he may never remember the courage he faced each day with, we will. And the courage of this little 19 month old will help me to face each day a little more courageous, a little more zealous and a little more joyful.

Minutes after leaving therapy

Sweet Gabriel, While you may never remember this time in your life, we will never forget. Mama and Daddy couldn't be more proud of you. Love you to the moon and back!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

March Madness Winners!

No coffee can be good in the mouth that does not first send a sweet offering of odor to the nostirls. - Henry Ward Beecher

Jason, from Just Love Coffee, contacted me Tuesday to confirm our March Madness win! We won 4 bags of coffee and a coffee mug.

As previously stated one bag of coffee will be going to Gabe's therapy office... whenever we make it back there :) For the other 3 bags and coffee mug I used to determine the winners.

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2011-04-07 16:22:34

The first 3 numbers will receive a 13oz bag of coffee, while the fourth number will receive the coffee cup. The winners of the free bag of coffee are Carrie, Becky, and Christy. The winner of the coffee cup is Sondra.

Coffee winners expect an email shortly to see what type of coffee you'd prefer.

Thanks to everyone for their continued support of our journey to our baby home. Hope you enjoy your Just Love Coffee winnings, ladies!

Monday, April 4, 2011


Today marks the first day of Gabe's new 3 week therapy regime. Gabe will go to Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) Monday through Friday from 9am - 12pm until Good Friday. CIMT uses a system of casting a patients good side (Gabe's right) and doing intensive therapy on the child's bad (Gabe's left) side.

Gabe did great today. It was pretty much an overview of the program and then casting Gabe's right arm. Miss Jessie, Gabe's new therapist for this adventure, made two casts for Gabe, one to always have ready after swim days. Yes, water therapy will be part of Gabe's sessions three times a week.

Gabe hated the casting of course but left with a pretty cast on his right arm. Until we made it home, I set Gabe on the floor to go to the kitchen to prepare lunch. Upon coming back into the living room I see Gabe sitting on the floor, red cast in hand looking oh-so proud of himself. Contrary to his self-satisfaction, I had to put it back on. And he was definitely not happy about that! I managed to wrangle him down and slip it on... only for it to come off again! Another disastrous 5 minutes of trying to get it on, it stayed on for a while and came off again.

Ack! The pattern continued! Right now it's on! And hopefully it'll stay on for a few hours.... Today also marks the day that are home study was APPROVED! Woot, woot!

Home study approval brings us a few steps closer to bring our little one home. Once we receive an official copy in the mail, we can apply for our UCIS appointment to get fingerprinted (one last time!) and await our letter of favorable determination.

All in all, a good day in our household. Albeit stressful for me and Gabe with the crazy cast business but good all the same.