Just weeks after my last blog post we were matched with a terminally ill baby just days after Finalizing Andre's adoption. Caleb came home just after Christmas and life got busy and hectic with a very high needs baby. We nearly lost him to a respiratory infection after 3 months, but after 2 weeks of intensive care he pulled through with a couple new diagnosis, one of which was tracheomalacia....basically he had a very floppy and small airway, and this coupled with chronic lung disease left us with two options, a trach, or take his tonsils and adenoid out when he was health. The latter was performed in August and life improved dramatically. Caleb's adoption was final in September and in October we made a HUGE life change, we moved to 7.5 acres east of Snowflake and began to homestead. This life has agreed with all the kids and the rural mountain air meant healthy respiratory function for both Andre and Caleb.....and the tiny school is AMAZING most especially with regards to our disabled children. They have THRIVED. Ethan went from a self contained class for moderate to severe mental/learning disability to almost fully mainstream honor roll student. Andre has gone from nearly catatonic (before we brought him home) to learning to communicate with PECs, saying a few words, making choices, singing and dancing to the best of his ability and being included and loved by his typically developing peers.....and Caleb started preschool and just blossomed. I attended school with him every day for his first three months, so that he could learn to eat with his peers who were very motivating for him, until he was able to pass a swallow study and be cleared for the aide and staff to take over. Caleb had not had any significant illness or any hospitalization in his last 18 months. He passed away peacefully in March 2015 at 3.5 years old. This has been an amazing, wonderful and heartbreaking experience for our entire family. Just the other day we were out to a restaurant for my birthday and Andre kept turning to look at a rambunctious little blonde toddler with a look of curiosity and concern on his face, since he doesn't quite understand where his little brother went. We have spoken often about adoption again. It is complicated for us. We are not wealthy, we are not young, we already have what is considered a large family with five children at home, we don't live in a big city, etc. The cards are stacked against us but we still hope beyond hope that we will find the child we are longing to love and nurture. Our experience with foster care/foster-adoption has been bitter sweet and left us questioning if that route is right for us. And my desire at this point is to adopt a baby, so we are going to try for an independent adoption.....meaning we hope to connect with a woman hoping to place her child. We are open to either gender, or even twins, we are open to disability, we are open to any level of post adoption contact, we love Caleb's birth mom and still talk to her regularly, our only really strict requirement is the must be in AZ. We are not prepared for an interstate or international adoption. I just hope we can be as big of a blessing to a woman who needs a loving home for a baby she can not parents as this child will be for us.