Thursday, April 29, 2010

The End is Near, or Maybe It's Just the Beginning!

Opening night of Tom Sawyer is tomorrow night. We had/have dress rehearsals last night and tonight. I went last night. It is amazing what these kids (and a few grown-ups) have done in just a few short weeks. Mr. Z is having a hard time containing himself, but he had a bit of reality check last night with a wardrobe malfunction. After the show, he told me how he was 'mortified' and 'THIS was the most embarrasing day of his life!'. I assured him it wasn't, that there would be more. :) And the big faux paux?! Apparently there wasn't supposed to be a split in the back of his pants, that was his "real" underwear, he didn't have TS "underwear" like some of the other cast members...OOPS!!! Hopefully his pants are mended for tonight's rehearsal! But the split showed up in a scene where he was trying to act somewhat proper and so it did make it funnier, unfortunately.
What has all this done for him and us? Well, I think we have an actor in the house...and I'm grateful for the meals we get to eat together as a family now. And as for future productions?...We will have to see.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Results Are In!

After struggling for an hour to get her to sleep, she fell asleep as the nurse came in to give her another 1/2 dose of the medication to help her sleep.
Mr. Incredible and I fled out of the doctor's office for some coffee to help our sleep deprivation. Less than an hour after the testing began, the nurse called us back. The testing was supposed to have taken an hour to 1.25 hours.
The audiologist reported that Elizabeth has normal hearing!
Say what?! No, way!? Your kidding, right?!? These were just some of the thoughts that went through our minds.
So according to the testing, Elizabeth has normal hearing down to 30 decibals (this is as low as an ABR goes) and we need another audiogram (done locally) in 6 mo. to see what her hearing is between 0-30 decibals. Her previous one showed a loss up to 35 decibals.
We are still processing this information because this is good news, but it also has an impact on the services Elizabeth is currently getting or was going to get this coming school year. Though she has "normal" hearing she could still have a loss between 0-30 decibals. Having a loss between 0-30 decibals means that she has a mild hearing loss and cannot hear things such as birds chirping or water dripping, but her loss isn't significant enough to have hearing aids.
It's amazing that we purposefully wanted to adopt a child with special needs when we adopted Elizabeth and she is our most "normal" child yet! :) God is truly working in her life and ours. We are in awe.

In the Big D

Well we came into town last night. Elizabeth is having her ABR in a
few minutes. I could hardly sleep last night. Maybe it was the pot
( 4 cup pot ) of coffee I drank so that I could "safely" drive in or
maybe it's the nerves- hopefully we will get some answers about E's
hearing loss.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life Around Here

There was some talk around the table the other day about children and M pops off, "Why do we have so many boys?" and T without missing a beat or even lifting his head from his activity profoundly says, "Because boys rock!" So true.
Elizabeth and T piled on me this morning while I was still in bed and T wanted to get Elizabeth to play pat-a-cake. So I hear, "cr@ppy, cr@ppy, cr@ppy, cr@p" and then he keeps repeating it! Slightly shocked, annoyed and trying not to laugh, I calmy start the pat-a-cake song. You gotta love kids trying to say the "tr" sound, yep we heard THAT for quite a while when our older ones were younger. Now we are into the "cl" sound... Never dull!
I am trying to be a grace filled parent, but today Mr. T earned a swat because of his pokiness- he's extremely pokey sometimes. We needed to leave and so I wasn't going to take care it until we got home. As we were going out the door, I hear, "How can I unearn the swat?" in his sweet little voice. Made my heart melt. Maybe I could let this one slide?!?

I added a new song to the play list. I love music and so that is why the play list is there. (If the play list ever annoys you, just mute or turn down you computer OR pause the play list. )
Anyway back to the song... love is powerful.
When we first opened our hearts to opening our home (to foster/adopt), I was under the impression that love could conquer all. In all my hours of training through the state over the years, it has been drilled in that love canNOT conquer all. You need ABC and 123, etc. After some years of being on the fence, I will gladly recommit to the camp of love conquering all. True love that is, not what society says is love. See 1 Corinthians 13. We are seeing the effects of love in Mr. M and Elizabeth's lives in a dramatic way lately.
No love doesn't heal a hearing impairment, but love pursues options so that the impairment is not a disability. What I mean by that is we have taken Elizabeth to doctors, had tubes put in her ears, adnoids removed, had two audiograms, done 18+ hours of speech with therapists, work with her everyday on speech and vocabulary (probably in the 100's of hours now) and are preparing for an ABR. All this to help improve her hearing and communication.
Love doesn't work overnight, but applied consistently works. Mr. M could be a holy terror if left to his own devices or simply given over for a school to train. Because of our love for Mr. M we are making the sacrifice to homeschool him- it's hard enough to homeschool "normal" kids, but to deal with everything that Mr. M has going on and homeschool him is taking a whole new level of dedication. But because of our choice to give him that one on one attention he is making HUGE strides and can now read short vowel words. This did not happen overnight, but has taken years to help him learn to focus, control his body, going over letter sounds and finally we got the last pieces of the puzzle with medication and OT and ST. He was the one child I DIDN'T want to homeschool. (I must confess. I was looking forward to being able to keep the house clean and picked up for just a couple of hours everyday with him at school.) and it took the doctors saying that he would be in special need classes and probably spend most of his day in a corner for me to see past my selfishness. I am so glad that I was willing to let God work on my heart. Has Mr. M arrived? No. Still a long way to go, but progress in the right direction is a good thing.

Love sees a need and helps. It doesn't leave someone lying in the pit that they are in.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Our Adoption Story(ies)

It isn't Friday yet on the Pacific coast, so I still have time. ha, ha!

Mr. M's story: Due to the fact that Mr. M is a domestic adoption from our state, not too many details will be shared. However, what can be shared is that it was totally God that M is in our home. God used state workers and worked mightily in M's life to bring him to our home and keep him in our home. The $18,000+ in adoption related expenses were reimbursed to us by God, the state and the federal government in the form of tax credits, grants, and unexpected provision.

If God wants you to adopt, He will provide! Everyday is not full of sunshine and flowers, but God's provision continues 4+ years later. Mr. M may have special needs that we didn't know about at the time of his adoption, but God's faithfulness continues. There are days when my life would be easier without the "extra blessings" that Mr. M does, but my life wouldn't be as rich. Mr. M has made me evaluate myself as a person and parent and humble myself so that I can only say this --- is because of God, not me. He fills our lives with spontaneity, humor and we look forward to helping him become a man of God that fulfills the desires and purpose that God has for him.

Elizabeth's story: Well this blog was started because of her adoption so read the past postings, I'm not going to list all the links here, sorry. But again, God planted a desire. God refined His desire in us- we were not initially intending on adopting special needs from China. God provided the funds for the adoption and continues to provide the funds for the medical testing that we are still undergoing. Going from 4 to 5 children hasn't been especially easy. Elizabeth has had and continues to have A LOT of catching up to do, but she is. Having a daughter finally is wonderful in and of itself, but she is just so super sweet. Everyone dotes on her, even Mr. J, who was a bit reserved about adopting again.

Having children has made me a better person- more patient, kind, graceful, less self-centered, etc. Kids do that (or at least they should, IMHO). What I truly appreciate about adoption is that I am having a positive affect on what could be a very bad/sad situation. Elizabeth spent the first 26 months of her life in an orphanage, she could have lived her whole childhood in an orphanage to only then have been kicked out at 16 without job skills and expected to survive on her own. Not good. But that is no longer her future, she is Loved! Mr. M's biological parent's past doesn't need to dictate his future, because God brought him into our home and he is Redeemed!

We have been adopted into God's family because of the work that Jesus did on the cross, if we are willing to repent and accept God's love. How can I not turn around and do likewise and show love to hurting children?! Whether you simply foster or you adopt or you are the go to person for a family that fosters or adopts, God can use you and your life will be so much the better. Ours is!!!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Adoption Blogger Day- Thursday 4/15

From the Joint Council on International Children's Services:

We Are The Truth
– an adoption blogger day
: To ensure the world knows about every successful adoption, on Thursday, April 15, 2010 blog about your adoption or the adoption of someone you know. It doesn’t matter if your adoption is with Russia, domestic or otherwise international. Let the world know your truth!

Read more about what they need from YOU, especially if you have adopted from Russia, here

Please repost this on your own blog and spread the word!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Is That You God?

There's a longing in my heart, several actually. One is about a different home for our family. Our current home has served us well for almost eight years and there are things I love and things that frustrate me. First and foremost, it a 4/2/2 with a fireplace and a pool- love that! ...but, Mr. M's family knows where we live. There's never been a problem, but it is still a niggling thought. However with a dog, a garden, a pool and five kids our backyard, though large, seems really small. We have 20 acres (not at our home) that we bought to eventually build on, but do we really want the stress of building? Then we could get what at least we think we want, maybe. Or should we pursue some other option? Or am I just being discontent and unthankful for what we already have?! Or maybe God is calling us to something more, bigger than I could imagine or even dare to dream.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What's in a weekend?

Ever feel like your weekends are more exhausting than your weeks sometimes?! Well this was one of those for us. It started by Mr. Incredible taking Friday off so that we could visit an aquarium 120 miles away. We have come a long way with Mr. M, but field trips require a minimum of two adults, period. We also went back to the PF Chang's that helped us celebrate Elizabeth's birthday while she was still in China, see We Got In!. Saturday wasn't extremely full, but had enough since the aquarium had zapped everything out of me- maybe it was that we walked up and down a three story building multiple times, I was carrying Elizabeth (the stroller thing just wasn't working for us/her) or that I was still less than a month post surgery. Whatever it was, it WORE me OUT! Grocery shopping HAD to happen on Saturday, the cupboards were getting bare and we were completely out of Chex! Horrors! (lol) Today was the typical church/AWANA full day with one exception. Instead of Elizabeth and I going and sitting in the foyer during the sermon, she fell asleep in my arms and snuggled me the whole sermon. I really needed that and I think she did too. I feel like a need this week just to recover from the past three days.

Unfortunately this week is extra busy- more than just our "normal" six appointments... I could become very discouraged-never enough of me to get done all that needs to be done, our "normal" is now six appointments every single stinkin' week, committees, health food co-ops... But then I stop and think of how bad it could really be. My child could have cancer and given weeks to live. Celiac Disease is nothing compared to that. My child could be so far gone mentally that they just need to be institutionalized. ADHD is soooo minor if I think about it that way. My child could be totally deaf and blind. Elizabeth can hear some and her vision appears to be correctable with glasses. We may have obstacles in our way and our path may not be as smooth as others, but God doesn't call for me to jealous because someone else seems to have such a "better" life than me. God wants me to be thankful,
1 Thes. 5:18a- "give thanks in all circumstances".
He has given me these children. He sees their needs and mine.
Matthew 6:31-32-"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them."
I think this also applies to scheduling, schooling, medical diagnosis, not just having clean clothes and gluten free food (I don't need the latest fashions, just sometimes finding clean clothes is a feat in itself). My feet may be stuck in the mire of gunky banana on my living room floor (don't ask), but my arms are uplifted to my Father who knows all, sees all and has a plan in all this mess.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

She Points!!!!

There was some definite reaching in the pictures in my last post. But right before we left to take Mr. Z to his Tom Sawyer practice. SHE POINTED!!!! It was our change jar she pointed at, could that mean anything?! Now if only we can have a point and a vocalization! She has been quite a laid back little girl so far so this is HUGE!
And as for those inadequacies mentioned in Crazy?!, yep, the kids are having PB&J (AB& J for Mr. T) for dinner on Tapioca bread. Time got away from me. Oh, well. Mr. Incredible isn't even out of town....
Here's to tomorrow and getting the summer clothes out, school done, laundry done, and maybe even dinner made :)


I have been told that I am (we are) crazy. Not because of some psychotic episode or anything, but because we have chosen to adopt. Yes, there are many crazy days because of lots of reasons-doctor appointments, sick kids, life, etc., BUT as 1 Corinthians 1:25 states so well, "For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom..." I would rather be considered crazy any day than to somehow deny God's call. James 1:27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

In my "spare time", I have started reading A Special Kind of Love by Susan Osborn and Janet Mitchell. It's purpose is primarily to encourage those who have or who work with special needs kids. (who doesn't need some encouragement sometimes?!) Within the first few lines of this book I knew I had picked up a good read, it says, "The awesome reality is that long before this child was born, God chose you to be a part of this child's life. Yes, God chose you with your talents, abilities, temperament, and INADEQUACIES- knowing that you were PERFECT for the job." (caps mine)

To know that God sees my inadequacies and still thinks I'm perfect to raise these special blessings is so awesome (since I am a recovering perfectionist).
When I look at my children, I don't see their "special need". I see my child. Whether adopted or homegrown they all have some sort of specialness. But don't we all if we look deep inside, past the walls we've put up and the masks we've put on?~ I digress.

It's easy to see with our homegrowns that we are a good fit to be their parent (even when parenting is not easy), but what about our adopteds...

God's heart is not for families to be separated, but sometimes because of sin, human depravity or the choices that are made a child is placed for adoption. It's mind boggling to me that God saw Elizabeth or Mr. M in their mother's wombs, He knew the choices that would be made, He put a desire in my heart and He thought that I would make a better mother for them than someone else out there. What an AWESOME RESPONSIBILITY!!! Yikes!

God and His ways are truly amazing.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter! (cough, cough)

Today is Easter, I have really wanted to start/have some Easter traditions, but the only one we seem to have is that somehow we miss church. :( Either we are traveling to spend time with family or we are sick. This year once again it was the latter of the two. Two of the kids are down with bronchial issues- they are our spring born babies (connection?!). This combined with having a busy week (or at least what felt like a busy week) last week, fritzy internet for six days (one of the reasons I haven't been posting), our main computer dying (another reason I haven't been posting) and satan rearing his ugly head at a function yesterday in the form of ill spoken words and I am beat! I don't want tomorrow to be Monday, I am fighting some sickness off myself, sitting here posting, drinking Vitamin C and ignoring the piled dishes in the sink.
So it's at times like these that I check my vision. Right now I am staring at the bumper in front of me (not literally). I am on this road of life and there are things that are causing traffic. But instead of looking up and planning a better way around the obstacles, I choose to simply stare at what is right in front of me. My dad when teaching me how to drive would say, "Look at what is happening 1/4 mi. up the road so you can prepare." How this has served me well in driving, but it is easy to forget when a HUGE semi is in front of you and you can't see beyond his bumper. It also applies to life. If I spend my energy on what was said to me, I will only be making myself and those closest to me miserable. If I stop and think about how many diapers I've changed or Gluten Free meals I've cooked and will yet have to continue doing, I could get depressed. But I need to take my eyes off that bumper in front of me (whether a semi's or a compact's, and sometimes they all seem big) and look ahead at what my goal in life is. Is it to be the fastest one on the road, cutting other off and squealing my tires to show off? Or am I in a season of service right now, not only to my husband and children, but also to my community?
Lord, may I have my eyes fixed on you this coming week and not look at all the obstacles surrounding me.