Friday, August 16, 2013


May i tell you that people in just this last week LITERALLY looked at me with a sadness in their eyes as if i was to be pitied because we adopted if 'i took on too much'. I have also been told that the choice to adopt is not really all that radical because it brings attention to ME. I have been told so many hurtful things....through people's eyes, through people's silence, through people's words, through people's looks........ this past year has been the most alone i have ever felt in my life. So, when someone says that it brings attention to me....i am in shock because the attention that i have gotten has not been, for the most part, a kind of feeling that i would want to go out and pay for....even a dollar! The decision to adopt was NOT made lightly! NO, that does NOT mean that we KNEW just how hard it was going to be to parent a child with special needs whose life had only known an orphanage life! JUST LIKE YOU didn't know what it was like to be MARRIED when you said I DO!!!  People say that i took on TOO much! That i am out of my mind. They say that it .....well, fill in the blank but i don't hear much GOOD. We are ones who 'only adopted one' so i don't fit in with the group that is adopting their third child. We have TWO children with DS so i don't fit in with the people who have one. I am in my late 40's and i have children still in preschool so i don't fit in with other ladies in their late 40's. I thought that i didn't fit in BEFORE we adopted Ethan and i DEFINITELY DO NOT FIT IN now!!! All of this to say that ADOPTION IS SO VERY IS radical!!! It IS life changing!!! OUR SON'S LIFE IS DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT!!! MY life is DRASTICALLY different!!! BUT may i just as emphatically say this......with tears in my where i can barely breathe......IT. IS. NOTHING. COMPARED. TO. WHAT. THESE. CHILDREN. LIVE. on a daily basis in an orphanage. WHAT WE DID WAS NOTHING!!!!! I am sobbing is NOTHING!!!! It is NOT radical enough! There are STILL so many children out there waiting for a family! There are STILL so many families out there TRYING desperately to raise the funds needed.  I see what Hanson lived through.....and what he died from.....ears that did not hear.....eyes that did not see......hearts that did not care......pockets that did not give.... IF we could only OPEN our eyes and SEE their day....JUST. ONE. DAY.......IF we could HEAR their SILENCE due to the fact that they learned that it didn't help to cry....IF we could hear their hearts slowly dying, not just physically but also emotionally.....IF we could just TOUCH them for ONE DAY.... We in my age group asked our parents how in the world people didn't do anything about the people who were being killed by Hitler.  Why were people silent? Why, for the most part, was the Church silent? I think that the generations after us will ask their parents why we didn't do anything to care for the orphans, the poor, the sick, the dying. My perspective of what CONNIE is going through has been altered once again (that SIN of comparison again) the perspective is altered because of ONE CHILD with special needs who became an adult with special needs who was RADICAL and thought that ONE orphan who NEVER knew that there was a family who loved him...that there were people trying to save him from across the ocean-died in his crib...should have a funeral. That ONE MAN with special needs changed a BIG chunk of people because HE ACTED on the passion that God gave him.  MY LIFE is again altered because ONE MAN ACTED and then ONE WOMAN WROTE it down and TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE GATHERED and brought a funeral to a little boy that they never met. I am SO VERY GRATEFUL to once again be brought....perspective that is NOT of this world.....but is of the ETERNAL perspective....OH HOW CONNIE FORGETS SO EASILY!!! My sin....oh the depths of it! I. AM. ALWAYS BLESSED

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tomorrow, fourteen months ago....we were HOME with our SON!

Our son, Ethan, was about ready to go on flights that would change his life fourteen months ago.  His life was drastically changed in moments.  It only took less than an hour for us to go into the orphanage and do what was needed and get into the van.  THEN, the changes began.
In these fourteen months, the changes have been HUGE!!!  Four months ago to now, just in THAT time, is a GINORMOUS difference.  Ethan was consistently hurting his siblings.  It was SO consistent and exhausting.  For about six to eight weeks it was so constant that i thought i was not going to make it.  IF i could tell you the reason WHY i would but it would be from cuddling or playing or sitting doing nothing to reading a book to tickling to kissing to all of a sudden BAM!  Nope, it didn't coincide with Scott leaving that time either.
As a mother, i have NEVER been SO consistent with ANY of our other children as i KNEW that i could NOT waver.  I was so scared, lonely, exhausted and felt like no one understood.  In fact, i felt as if it must be all my fault as i looked 'around' and saw that 'everyone else' seemed to be having 'no problems' with their transitions for their children.  What was completely SHOCKING to me was when i FINALLY wrote it out and not ALL of it out but SOME of the tough stuff.  I got SO MANY responses from other moms who were also struggling GREATLY!  REALLY!?!?!  I wish i would have known that. The first year was SO TOUGH!!!
We were nearing a YEAR home and things were NOT looking HOPEFUL for changes for the future.  Ethan RARELY 'acted out' in front of people that would pop in occasionally.  A few people DID see BUT it was RARE.  My helpers DID see and it was overwhelming.

Ethan RARELY and i mean RARELY hits his sisters now, nor bites them (can't remember the last time) and RARELY pulls their hair.  Yes, he is still a boy and throws things and sometimes throws things AT them BUT again, EVERY SINGLE TIME....."Ethan, that is a NO!  We are not mean to our sisters, we are nice to each other.  We do not throw our toys.  You are in a time out (on the bottom step...where he has also learned to stay there until he is done with his time out-AMAZING progress but that took about thirteen months).
Ethan moved to hitting himself over the head whenever he is upset.  SO, again, we are consistent...EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  "Ethan, NO....we are NICE to me nice" and he has to show HIMSELF nice.  THAT is happening a LOT lately.  I am praying that THIS doesn't take thirteen months of training.  I have no idea where it came from...just one day out of nowhere.
I will NEVER forget one of the most HOPEFUL statements that i had ever been told.  'Connie, they say that when you adopt (no matter if it is domestic or international) that your child starts their 'life' all over again.  SO, what does a baby do?  Bites, pulls hair, hits, etc.....'
Well, we have now moved into the throw ourselves down and scream stage....which i guess would be about the correct age ;)  I am praying that this stage will be short but if it isn't.....we will be consistent with this stage too.  
To be able to watch Ethan grow and learn and transform before our very eyes has been an amazing thing.  We cheer louder than we would have had this come easy.  We make a bigger deal out of his making good choices than we would have had it been more 'natural' for him.  We are SO VERY PROUD of what he is choosing to do instead of what he used to do.
He now is acting like a big brother to his little sister (fifteen days younger).  The two of them will often wake up and greet each other with a hug or will hug each other TENDERLY before taking their quiet times or bed times.  There are WAY more kisses that are sweet and tender and his hugs RARELY get aggressive now.  AND Sophina is responding with WAY WAY more trust.  OH how i am so grateful that she is trusting him.  He is showing himself trustworthy and he feels proud of himself as soon as he acts in such a kind manner.

He is growing physically too.....he is 40lbs. at 14 months home.  When we first got him....he drank and drank and drank his water.  We couldn't keep it filled.  Yes, we made sure that he didn't overdo it BUT we were shocked as to how dehydrated he was.  BOTH Scott and i said that in the few days that we had him BEFORE his doctor visit in BG, he had already gained weight that we COULD FEEL in just picking him up.  On that doctor visit he weighed 22lbs. So, i have always said that i thought that he gained two pounds just in hydration in those few days.  He doubled his weight in 14 months.  His shoe sizes are STILL growing SO fast!  I bought him size 8 shoes a couple weeks ago & this week already, they are not big at all!!!  So, i believe he has grown four shoe sizes in these 14 months and is close to going up another size.
He is SO VERY STRONG!  He is learning more and more.  He has ALWAYS loved music....from the first day i met him.  He STILL LOVES music.  He throws 'his tantrum' if the song stops and there are two seconds in between songs that he loves.  He LOVES Signing Time and is using more signs-sometimes surprising us with ones we didn't know he even knew.  He absolutely LOVES anything that is a 'gadget' or has wheels or is technological.  I have said it before and it continues....he knows instinctively how to turn on any clicker or toy that needs it.  He loves to sing and be sung to and we LOVE it when he starts singing and continues.  One time this past month, Sophina was in the bathroom singing at the top of her lungs and i was downstairs putting on oils onto Ethan who started singing made our helper, Alyssa and i giggle with glee.  Oh my word, i didn't want it to stop!  They were a hoot!
Ethan LOVES water.  He loves to splash.  Our neighbor has a system where if they have out a certain flag that that means that the neighbors can use their pool as long as we follow their rules.  It was so cold and rainy for so long this year that the kids have just recently started being able to go over there.  ALL of the kids love it.

One of the biggest things that happened in these past four months is that i one day realized that when i thought of Ethan....i LITERALLY felt that he had been born from my womb.  It was something that i had to REALIZE as i was thinking it was a FREAKY thought that i had heard others say that happens.  I wondered if it would for me BUT IT DID!  He is our son COMPLETELY....yes, born from my heart BUT WOW, it is REALLY close to my womb!!! I know that that may sound corny BUT that thought blows my mind.

Is everything easy peasy now?  ummm....NO WAY!  Are there really hard days....ummmm-YES!  Remember there are four daughters who live here along with Ethan.  Also, remember that i miss my hubby PROFUSELY as he works away for LONG periods of time.  Sometimes, my body PHYSICALLY aches for him to hold me after a long day/hour/moment/week!  The Lord has been faithful.  He has given me a friend who 'gets it'.  A friend whom i have never met but who understands.  The Lord has prompted people and things to happen at just the right moment where i feel like i can't take one more thing (and sometimes....many times i find out that i can't but WITH HIS HELP i have had to take three or four or five more things than i thought i could handle).  
I am so grateful that the Lord asked us to go to Bulga#ia and bring home our son, Ethan.  It has not been easy but it has been SO VERY WORTH it.  Thank YOU for all of your help in bringing him home, in creating quilts with love, bibs with care, garage sales, bake sales,etc....  Thank YOU for whatever part you had in our bringing home Ethan.  
This is NOT something that i am 'good at' or 'Connie can do that' because CONNIE fails.....i am seriously a regular mom who makes a LOT of mistakes.  I desperately need your prayers as well as our entire family does.  There are MAJOR struggles and we sin like crazy.  We are SO. VERY. HUMAN.  PLEASE KNOW that adopting is NOT for the 'perfect family'.  PLEASE KNOW that adopting is NOT for the 'wonder woman'.  PLEASE KNOW that we are NEITHER BUT God amazingly asked us to do this EVEN SO!!!  I am ALWAYS BLESSED

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sundays with Ethan

Ethan did such a great job at church this morning. He was having a hard morning SO i did what i did one other time that i was ready to say that there was no way that we would be able to go to church.....i SLATHERED his ENTIRE body with Young Living essential oils! I covered his back and front with Valor, Peace and Calming and Lavender and on his arms and legs did the P & C and the Lavender. It worked the first time AND it worked AGAIN!!! He only had to leave the service because i felt a very warm wet spot on my pants a little over halfway through the about 11:35am. Victoria asked if she could go and change him! Ummm.....thank you, my dear!
After hearing this past week that he is being expected to sit and be focused at school for 30 seconds to 2 minutes on something and seeing that he was in church from 10:20am until 11:50am......i am a little bit excited!!! Such an incredible blessing!!!
All of those Sundays when i DID try to take him and had to hold him tight in my arms out in the foyer, dripping in sweat, not hearing anything of the sermon(trying to explain to him that the music will come back again just not as soon as HE may like).....discouraged and feeling so alone. All of those Sundays when we stayed home as those days were just too overwhelming beforehand....feeling as if he KNEW when it was a Sunday. All of those Sundays where the Lord met me by using Moody radio......those Sundays where i felt SO very alone and yet...GOD WAS FAITHFUL!!! Those Sundays when i went and Ethan made it so we had to leave as he just couldn't handle the stimulation of so many people and feeling like everyone was staring at me. That recent Sunday when i realized that it was NOT best for us to sit toward the back BUT instead to sit where all Ethan saw was the stage in front of him. It has worked MUCH better. I am SO very proud of him and who he is and how he has grown. It may not show up much on paper but it has been HUGE in my book! I am ALWAYS BLESSED!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I apologize.... and an update on Ethan/family

The past few weeks have been some of the hardest, personally, for our family.  A dear close friend of ours passed away last week.  His decline, from the cancer that he had been fighting for not even a year, was all of a sudden VERY quick.  I was able to be by his bedside and with the family daily.  Our friend has been our friend for over nineteen years.  He and his wife played Rook with us almost every Friday night for the past eighteen years.  Having a 'couple friend' is just no the norm as it is a rare thing to be blessed with and we were very blessed.  Our hearts ached as this last week has been spent with the family and we will continue to be very involved in their lives in the future.  PLEASE keep the Troxel family in your prayers.
Ethan's IEP meeting was yesterday with his amazing teacher, his wonderful gym teacher and the head of the school. I am reading over the IEP report and i am in awe of the fact that Ethan has been able to go to church more often lately. I know that many people do not see what we see here at home (even if you are here for long time periods) but to have what WE see be validated was also, a relief of sorts.
Just a few small parts of the almost 20 page report...."during structured cognitive activities directed by the teacher, Ethan is able to attend for very brief periods of time (30 seconds to 2 minutes)." So my response to that is that if anyone had been wondering why i wasn't at church very often this whole past year, THIS would be the reason. AND the miracle??? ETHAN HAS sat through one full service/sermon once and almost did it this past week ( i was 'glistening' by the time the service was done though). SO, to tell you the truth, it makes me all the more excited over the fact that Ethan HAS done as well as he HAS done in church the past few times that i have felt that we could TRY it. AGAIN, this means that IF you DO see me at church WITH Ethan, PRAY for us as it is a VERY big deal for him!!!
There is so much more and may i tell you that when i read all that he is still struggling with, i am saddened. My heart breaks. I'll get back to my fightin' mama stance but tonight, my heart weeps. He has a long road ahead of him and i am SO blessed to know that he has a family that will be with him every step that he takes....and that that family has me as the 

PS.  Ethan's biting of his siblings and myself has stopped almost completely.  We had a very hard first year and what was really strange to me was that one of the hardest times was for about four weeks starting late in the tenth month.  I also apologize for not doing a special update on his one year but that was the week that our friend was dying.   I am still in grief as it has only been a little over a week.  I will try my best to update you more.  Thank you to those of you who pray for our family.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sick kiddos......

This is a post from my FB wall just a few moments ago.  Sophina was sick last night and it continued into today.  THEN, Ethan got sick near to his bedtime.  It is after midnight......

YAWN.....STILL SLOWLY SLOWLY SLOWLY tube feeding Sophina! We tried to feed her but she REFUSED COMPLETELY! UGH! I was afraid of that as every time that we have to tube feed her, it is a hard thing to restart feeding through the mouth. It was late due to Ethan getting sick so i decided to try to make her MILD food into something that she could have in her feeding tube....ummm, NOPE! UGH! It took me that much longer to make something. I used another batch of ginger tea with raw honey and added a banana, salt, raw sugar, and two drops of Citrus Fresh YL essential oils for the electrolytes. My own home made pedialyte ;) So far, it IS working but i am now fighting a headache. UGH! I have at least another hour and one-half or two hours. PRAYER that i will be able to sleep through the night tonight. I am ALWAYS BLESSED!!!
PS. SO grateful that i get to be the Mommy who loves them and cares for them when they are sick.....i know that that sounds proud BUT rather, it is what i would WEEP and PRAY as i would walk for hours at night with Sophina so sick OVER and OVER and OVER.....she was SO SICK, so often!!! I would be walking her and think of those thousands of children on the other side of the world in orphanages all over Eastern Europe where children just like Sophina were also probably sick but had NO ONE to pick them up to help them when they were gagging on their own vomit (happened MANY MANY times with our Sophina) OR even on her own massive amount of saliva that she struggled to swallow! I would wake straight up in bed and JUMP to her, just two feet away from me. I would walk and walk and weep and pray.
Now, there is ONE of the thousands upstairs having a mommy who loves him dearly and will jump up when he is sick. Even though i pray that it does NOT happen tonight ;)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A super tough 4 1/2 hours tonight

I have never needed two of me more than these last four + hours! UFFDA! (it was from 4-8:30pm tonight)
A few things i learned in that time.....

#1) That i need God's wisdom to know what triggers the way Ethan was

#2) Sophina MUST have a nap

#3) I need to move the laundry room UPSTAIRS somehow, some way and SOON!!!


PS  Thirty minutes after the kids went to bed i heard this on our CHRISTian radio station.

"The answer from God to Paul's prayer request was NOT that He changed Paul's pain but

 rather that He changed Paul's perspective." 

God is good! I am ALWAYS BLESSED!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sophina and then Ethan's ped's appointments

I wrote what happened on the two separate days.  I must tell you that it warmed my heart that my son wanted to cling to me and that he knew that i was safe and that i loved are the stories....

I forgot to let you know about Sophina's pediatrician check up. She is close to 36" tall and weighed in at 32lbs. (i can't wait to see what Ethan is going to be in just about thirty minutes)
Sophina KNEW where we were as soon as we turned the corner and she fought like a bear JUST to get weighed and measured! MAJOR MAJOR fight but NOTHING compared to what happened when she saw us go through thelab doors. PLEASE do not tell me that infants do not remember because THEY DO!!! Does anyone remember her LITERALLY BLOODY feet from all of the pokes that they did OVER AND OVER AND OVER again? Yep, it was TEN MINUTES of screaming where the entire wing heard her. It took THREE of us AND a guard on the chair to get a FINGER PRICK for getting the blood.
Doctor visits will not be fun for her for a very long time.
The good stuff.....i had a hard time not feeling incredible. The doctor was flabbergasted as to what Sophina was eating now. He seriously was at a loss for words!!! He finally said, "if the country was eating like Sophina....the world would be a better place" and went on for awhile. I cannot tell you how much that attitude...the awe of his reaction to what i have been doing and spending so much time on.....did for me. He was thrilled! off to the next appointment.


Well, once again i was shocked as to the memory of my children but sadly, this time, i have no idea as to why. Ethan did great in the waiting room as the area looked, actually as i think about this, like a preschool room. Another thing that was fun was that he saw a baby and was heading right toward her & i chucked my stuff all down on a chair and QUICKLY went over to be RIGHT THERE. HE WAS SO SWEET!!! He went up and looked right into the baby's face AND lovingly patted the baby's hand BUT.....
AS SOON AS Ethan saw the nurse, he started clinging to my leg and pulling me back and i finally had to hold his arm tight as we had things in our hands. He then got more and more upset as we followed the woman and THEN came to the door....oh my, i had to throw my stuff onto the chair again and gently pick him up....more like PRY him up. THIS was just for the eye and ear exam. Here i was so excited that she didn't have on a white coat as i knew that that sends him into orbit SO i was NOT prepared for a nurse's outfit being an issue. IT DEFINITELY WAS! He was climbing all over me as i was trying to answer the nurses questions and we both realized that there was no way that he would even BE ABLE to take either test as that means that he would be able to communicate and understand things that NEITHER of the twins would know at this point. SO, all of that stress for NOTHING! UGH!
We got him back to the waiting room PRONTO! The next nurse came and i thought that since she was dressed more like an outfit that i would wear that we would be fine BUT we were NOT. SAME response.
He was trying to crawl up me just to get him on the BABY scale as we had to give up on the typical scale. I pried him off of me and it worked and i quickly held him close again. Had to hold him, like i had Sophina yesterday, into a standing position so we could get his height.
SO....Sophina is 32lbs. and is almost 36" tall and so her weight is in the 60% compared to other children with DS and she is in the 50% for her height. ETHAN was almost 39 lbs. which puts him in the 77% and he is 37" tall and that is in the 84%! The nurse could barely talk to me as Ethan was just so full of fear of her :( Oh how i wish i knew why!!! Is he scared like Sophina where she remembers pain or is he scared that these women are going to take him away from his mommy???
The same pediatrician, as he is well known for being the Dr. for the kids with special needs, came in. He is a man. My son loves men....especially ones who do NOT have on a white coat!!! Ethan wasn't full of fear now but instead reserved. (it could be because i sang Only a Boy Named David in between the nurse being there and the dr.......i MUST get it on video) Anyway, the change between the way he acts with men and then with women is so .....well, LOTS of things.....interesting, confusing, frustrating (since his Mommy and sisters ARE female), etc.... It wasn't like now he was trusting the Dr completely as i was still holding a soaked in sweat little boy and i DID have to try to hold him down while the Dr checked the ears.....let's just say that i don't know how great he was able to see and that both of us were feeling like it was warm in the room....i told the Dr that i don't need to exercise as i have the two of them ;) (BOTH of them THREW MAJOR fear-filled craziness when he tried to get close....EVEN THOUGH he was really great with 'bedside manner' and took his time 'getting them to know him'. If i thought that the ears didn't get too much time.....i really don't know if he saw more than a couple of teeth when he went into the mouth.....Ethan has a VERY STRONG mouth, believe me.
NOW, for the fun part. When the nurse was done with her stuff soon as she said that she was done, he clapped and said, "bye bye!". I asked him if he could say CHOW and he said bye bye and then she was almost out of the room and he said CHOW! (he hasn't said that for a long while). Another thing that was great was that the Dr was again overwhelmed with how great he is doing physically. He was so thrilled with the nutrition (which was pretty much the same as Sophina's). He was thrilled with well, everything. He said that we were doing the right things on retraining the 'proper behavior' and on the way that his sisters were with him as yesterday i had Victoria and today i had Catherine. He was again just really pleasingly surprised as to how great he looks.
I have to say that i am so RELIEVED as to the response that this doctor has given that i just can't even explain. I AM ALWAYS BLESSED
PS. Follow up things will be with mostly Sophina (as she is the one who had six procedures in her first 5 1/2 months of life....including open heart surgery and a PDA amongst others). She needs to have a heart check up with Dr. Chip and an Echocardiogram in May. She had blood work yesterday and that is being checked with the endocrinologist. They will both need to go to ENT soon and also get their eyes checked. Ethan has an appointment next month for his feet. May is going to be busy!!!