Monday, December 31, 2012

God's ways are NOT my ways but they are BEST


The Lord has shown me in the past twenty-four hours of His providence.  He has shown me that His timing is NOT my timing. 
I have to tell you two stories. One is about our roof.  Our roof, as our closest friends will know, has brought much heartache and grief.  I used to LOVE rainstorms and would cherish them greatly but for the past TWELVE YEARS, they only bring me dread as i would wonder if it was going to be a hard enough, or angled enough or certain kind of rain that would come pouring into our living room.  We have a BEAUTIFUL home that has MANY issues.  The roof has been the biggest.
I have wondered many times as to God's timing but no more as God showed me that the person who is to be doing our roof is the one who is supposed to be doing our roof.  IF we would have done our roof two years ago, it would have been someone different and then we would have just been getting our roof done which is NOT what is happening.  You see, God ordained that life is not about the roof BUT about what God is doing by USING the roof for His purposes!  
What it taught me is that TWELVE YEARS is NOT a long time to God even though it is to me BUT when i saw a little tiny glimpse of HIS PLAN....twelve years REALLY isn't all that long.  It is worth the pain and heartache.
THEN, just an hour or so ago, again God showed me His providence.  I was reading on the site on FB that i am helping with for keeping people up to date about Shannon's Ethan.  What is amazing is that today God showed Himself again. 
You see, around four years ago, our family was in a PICU with our daughter Sophina (ugh....crying at the thought) and on the day when we didn't know if she was going to make it and thought that we may lose her, there was another Mommy who was right next to me watching her little girl.  My hubby was gone for an hour or so when the whole thing started with Sophina and there was no one else with me....but this woman who was sitting with her daughter just a few feet from me was there to give me a hug.  What i found out was that there is a bond that happens when you think you are going to lose your child in the PICU.  It wasn't long when it happened the opposite way too.  This mom who had helped me had the curtain pulled on her baby too (a sign that all is NOT well with your child and is supposed to give some sense of privacy but i KNEW that her daughter was fighting for her life as every doctor and nurse had their eyes on HER baby girl this time).  Again, there was a bond that formed.  They had to leave our PICU and fly out her daughter and i thanked God for FB as i later found out that her daughter had received a new heart within twenty-four hours!

Well, fast forward to today.  You see, that mommy is a woman who is friends with me still on FB.  We have MANY opposite things that we are passionate about BUT we are ones who are unlike almost anyone else when we understand the pain of the PICU.  There is a bond that is unexplainable.  This afternoon, i took three minutes to read on the site for Shannon's Ethan.  There on the site was my Mommy friend.  You see HER daughter was on ECMO.  SHE KNOWS what it is like to go through having a child on ECMO.....whereas i CAN know what it is like to have your child in the PICU for a VERY long time BUT i CANNOT KNOW what it is like to have MY child on ECMO.  There on the site was my Mommy friend, Linsey explaining to people about what happened when her daughters (yes, their second daughter who was just a baby when their firstborn went through the heart transplant, ALSO had to have a heart transplant just this past year...at the same age as their firstborn).  LINSEY is the one who brought HOPE to people who are now praying for a little boy that i love dearly!
God's timing is NOT my timing my friend BUT i was reassured today, which is a day that i DESPERATELY NEEDED assurance, that God KNOWS what He is doing.  You see, today i wondered how i was going to make it as i saw our son revert so far back to what used to be 'normal'.  What i realized today was that if God chose to have me/us live like this for the next TWELVE YEARS THEN He has His reasons!  THAT made all the difference in the world to me.  God's ways are STILL NOT my ways BUT GOD KNOWS BEST!!!
ALWAYS BLESSED
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

MERRY CHRISTmas!!!


Today has been another day of highs and lows....just the kind of roller coaster that i am not apt to get on if it were at a fair BUT this is REAL LIFE.....and it IS what i would get on.
Today was a day that took me to my limits....well, actually WAY WAY WAY beyond my limits so i would run to God's limits ---of which there are NONE>>>>>ZERO!!!  I wept as i poured my heart out to Scott.....i feel like such a failure as i just can't seem to keep up with anything.  He knows all of the failures...the things that i can't keep up with....you all think that you hear it all but there is just SO MUCH MORE!  There is such guilt that i FIGHT as i go through this journey that i am on.  I have to fight it with all of me or the guilt overtakes me.
I feel like a failure to my friends.....there are SO SO SO MANY who are in crisis RIGHT NOW!  I SO wish that i could do MORE BUT GOD.....reminds me to not just wish i could do more BUT DO WHAT I CAN!!!   I feel like a failure to my children....each of them for different reasons.......to my husband......to SO many things.......tonight, i was hurting so deeply.  
What is amazing is that God seems to always wait until i am on my last tiny little bitty intsy weeny small bit of string before -BOOM.....what i need.....first i got a card in the mail.  I thought that it was a 'typical' CHRISTmas card but my daughter brought it to me so i would read it RIGHT AWAY....it was instead, an encouraging note!  SHORT but JUST WHAT I NEEDED!!  My hubby and i got to actually talk for longer than a very disrupted short amount of time and i NEEDED that!  THEN, i got a text from someone else that said that they had friends who were talking about me to her and it made her feel as if i were right there with her.  It brought tears to my eyes.  THEN, only thirty minutes after that one....as if God wanted to make sure that i got the picture.....He sent another message that brought tears just FLOWING down my cheeks.  GOD knows our needs....He loves us.....His ways are NOT our ways BUT GOD.....
May i tell you that we talked many times today that THIS year is Ethan's first CHRISTmas with his family!!!  OH how we are thrilled that he has a family and that he is HOME with US!  We can't imagine what his life would have been like....we see MANY HUNDREDS of other children who are living in orphanages even now...children who are 5,8, 12, and even 15!  Ethan is worth the sacrifice that each of us have made.  A sacrifice makes life 'tastier'....more flavorful.....more alive when those moments of beauty come.  Right now, they may be coming farther apart then we would like BUT those moments are there....little memories as to what this whole adoption thing is about!  God sacrificed ........Jesus gave up His life in absolute perfect surroundings to come down to a place that smelled of cow manure and donkey dung!!!  I think that i can eat poorly for awhile, sleep less, not keep up with pretty much well, anything for a little boy whom i love dearly....you see, he is my son.....and this is his first CHRISTmas HOME with his family!  
ALWAYS BLESSED -----MERRY CHRISTmas!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's been over a month! UFFDA!


Since my last blog post..... well, i have really been struggling......i needed to write some thoughts and it came out onto FB and since it has been awhile since i have shared in depth on there even....i thought that this should be also shared on here.
For the past TWO WEEKS, i have been so badly wanting to write....there has been SO VERY MUCH forgotten because i haven't been able to.  We have been reading the Advent OR our lives have been CRAZY until late into the night and i have nothing left to write it.....and just HOPE that the next night, i would have the stamina to WRITE my thoughts.  SO, due to the fact that there are literally WEEKS of thoughts in this brain....oh my!!!
TODAY, well, now YESTERDAY was the day one year ago that Scott and i got onto an airplane and flew for the very first time over a huge ocean.  We were on our way to meet our son for the very first time!!!  
Ethan has been home here for over seven MONTHS now!  Yes, he has GROWN!!!  OH MY WORD!  He is SO BIG!  He is getting to where i don't think his 3T Carter sleepers are going to fit him for much longer!!!  THE 4T's looked JUST FINE on him already!!!  He is still blowing out diapers like no one's business BUT it is NOT as often.  He does his a, b, c's in his very own way and it is ADORABLE!!!  He just keeps moving his fingers as if he is doing what his 'twin' sister is doing and babbles with a lot of a's and b's and throws in another letter every once in awhile!  He LOVES music.  He loves to dance.  He will throw the biggest fit that he can throw over our Kirby vacuum cleaner.  He is STILL scared if i have to get up from feeding him to add more rice milk to what i am feeding him as he STILL wonders if i will feed him enough!  He knows his schedule enough to also be absolutely CRYING with fear if i have to oil him BEFORE his bedtime meal....it has only happened four times and ALL four times it has been VERY HARD on him....he thinks that i am going to send him to bed without food!!!  IT BREAKS MY HEART!!!
Ethan has NOT been an easy child for me to mother....in almost every area.  It has been a VERY hard seven plus months.  I have thought that i was alone before in my life but THIS has brought me to the most alone spot...these seven months....in my life.  It has been a very lonely time.  It has been a very stretching time.  It has been a very trying time.  It has made me question as if i was a teenager again....so full of doubt in my very being....so full of doubt of so very much. (yes, i know that i am using the word very a lot)
With this LITTLE bit into my life said.....i need to ALSO tell you something.....I WOULD NOT TRADE IT!!!!  I am overwhelmed MOST of the time!  I am exhausted OFTEN!  i am mentally spent!  I am begging God for mercy often!  YET!!!  THIS IS ONLY FOR A TIME!!!   Just because it looks like WE chose this instead of us BIRTHING our son....it makes it as if people think that we should have never CHOSEN this!  What i have to keep reminding myself is that i DID NOT CHOSE THIS!  We had NO DOUBT that GOD DID!!!  
Again, i had to be reminded this morning of my forefathers in the faith of REAL CHRISTianity!  LOOK alone in the Scriptures.....do you see people living lives of EASE!?!?!  Do you see people only doing 'just enough' OR do you see men and women all throughout Scripture being asked to do INSANE things????   THEN just look at ALL of the missionary biographies that we have read to our girls!  TELL ME....does that sound like something that is EASY!?!?!  NO!!!  GOD calls us to the end of ourselves ALL THE TIME!!!
I do NOT know WHY in the world i keep on thinking that my life should somehow get EASY!  WHY on earth would i WANT easy.....i WANT OBEDIENT!!!  UGH!
SO, i just wanted to clarify again......THIS is the LIFE that GOD has CHOSEN for me!!!  It may be VERY VERY HARD BUT it is NOT forever because THAT will be heaven!  I am going to love our son, our daughters and my husband in the very best that i can.....and i WILL FAIL OFTEN!  BUT i want to say this......i would rather fail than NOT obey what He has asked of me.
IF God has asked YOU an INSANE thing.....for YOU, it may be that you do NOT go to college but instead go to a foreign mission field OR you are to go to an inner city mission or you are to stay home and help your parent's on the farm that is really struggling.....THINGS THAT ARE, to the WORLD'S standards...insane.....BUT to God's standards-OBEDIENCE!  DO IT!!!  If God is calling you to do a ministry that you NEVER dreamed that you would ever do.....YOU, who has always been BEHIND the scenes but God has called you to the SPOTLIGHT!  DO IT!  If YOU have always been in LOVE with the spotlight...it is where you are comfortable BUT GOD has called you to the background.....DO IT!   If God is calling you to minister to the single moms out there, to the poor, to the orphan, to the widow, to the broken teens, to the depressed, to the suicidal, to the drug addict, to the HIV child, to the....fill in the blank.....DO IT!!!
GOD HAS CALLED US TO BE DOERS of the WORD NOT hearers who are getting 'fat' in the pews!  WE are to be CHRIST to the lost....to the hurting....to the different.....to the broken....to that cashier that is helping....to that mailman that is crabby....to that gas station attendant....to that teacher......we NEVER know what that other person is going through....TAKE an extra second of forty and say a sentence of encouragement!!! LOVE like Jesus!!!
My passion has been changed from these last seven months.....my eyesight has been changed...my eyes are more open to that struggling mother of two and no husband......to that single mother of a child with 'special needs'......to that widow who is trying to bring up her teenagers without a father.....to that woman who is struggling to keep her life together with all that is needed of her but she humanly cannot do on her own.  I AM NOT SINGLE but NEVER in my life have i ever had EYES like i do now for what they go through.....NEVER has my heart HURT for their daily life of RARELY being able to be WITH PEOPLE.....or to REALLY be HEARD or listened to on a DAILY basis, like a wife does.  NEVER have i ever come close to what it must be like for them.....until these past seven months.  
I am so grateful to God for bringing Ethan into our lives as because of him....my life HAS been changed.....yes, WAY WAY WAY more adventures BUT it has brought me a WAY WAY WAY wider perspective that i would have NEVER had without him.
As ALWAYS.....i am ALWAYS BLESSED 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A new perspective of a Bible story that i KNOW



Tonight, i was reading the Bible story about the life of Moses, to Sophina.  It was starting from Miriam's life and taking it almost from her perspective. As i was reading the story THIS TIME as a mother of a son whom we adopted, something hit me.
First, you have to understand that i have been in church a LOT since the womb!!! I KNOW this story (not as in a fable but as it REALLY HAPPENED kind of story). BUT i thought of something that i NEVER EVER would have thought about unless i had had Ethan!!!
The Egyptian's Pharaoh's daughter went down to the river for a bath and there found the Hebrew baby Moses in a basket that had been covered in tar. The Princess' father had made a proclamation that ALL of the Hebrew baby boys were to be drowned in the Nile BUT his daughter instead ADOPTED Moses! THAT part i HAD thought of before but never had DWELLED on - that is NOT it though.
Moses grows up and i can just imagine that Pharaoh was NOT happy that his own daughter had adopted this little boy....what a laughingstock and a fool and a pushover he must be looking like to his friends and people around him or even in other countries. I wonder if he said things like we have heard...."what happens if he grows up and does something horrible". THEN IT HIT ME!!! IF you were an Egyptian....THAT ADOPTION was HORRIFIC!!!! BUT IF you were a Hebrew.....THAT ADOPTION saved MILLIONS of your people's lives!!!! BECAUSE SOMEONE ADOPTED A LITTLE BOY.....COMPLETELY going against what i am sure EVERYONE but a small handful were saying.......MILLIONS of lives were saved.
I just thought that THAT FACT was AMAZING!!
ALWAYS BLESSED, Connie

Thursday, November 8, 2012

PICTURES of the last six months!!!

Make sure that you also READ my last post about the last six months too!






























R U KIDDING!?!?! SIX MONTHS ALREADY!?!?!

Ethan seems to have been a part of our family forever and we are so blessed!  Here is what i wrote this morning on my wall on FB......

I'm thinking over the past six months.  I am not at all proud of the way that i have handled things as i obviously was NOT ready for a BOY even!  Let alone a little boy who has NEVER EVER been in a home, a family, or probably even a car!  WOW!  I weep just thinking about my lack of parenting skills of a boy....such a learning curve.  I choke back tears now as i see.....OH how i struggle with COMPARING-such a SIN that i struggle CONSTANTLY with!  Yet, i am REAL, if nothing else with all of you.  I see others---SO MANY others who just seem like they would have been so much better at bringing in a boy into their home.  UGH!  tears are hot and fresh as i write this..... SO weak i am.
I think of how organized a person should be and how SO many are WAY more organized and would have had no problem with all the paperwork and Dr. appointments and bills and such.   I think of how other women have their husband gone for even one and one-half years and yet they make it.
I think of anyone in this household who has learned the most is ME!  STILL learning in BIG ways too!  I am learning that there ARE going to be HOURS and maybe even DAYS when Ethan just will NOT be an 'easy child' and i will have to struggle to 'figure his needs out' BUT i WILL struggle!  This boy....takes my breath away just writing those two words....our precious Ethan is a BLESSING!!!  
I have learned so much about God's love in these six months!  I have learned so much about God's GRACE!  I have learned so much about God's MERCY and COMPASSION and LONGSUFFERING!!!  I have also learned that i FAIL at being like Him WAY too often!  THAT fact has made me ....THAT FACT makes me way more grateful for Christ's gifts to me!

Our Ethan is learning so much.  He has learned that i am his Momma!  THIS morning he woke up and when i got him out of bed he said, "Momma"!!!  UGH! Weeping again.  You see, Ethan always says, "hi E" to all of us because that is what Sophina has said to him since he came and so that is what we all say is "Hi Ethan".  Ethan hasn't been able to figure out that he needs to say, "Hi, Sophina or Hi, Momma" and so on instead of "hi E". Ethan is having more times of being 'NICE' than being trained to be 'nice'.  THIS Momma is also finding out that his actions are just way more typical than i ever dreamed.
Ethan knows the number 1 and 5.  He LOVES and i mean LOVES music and when he wants to, he sings 'words' with me, when i sing my songs to him.  He knows the letter B in saying it AND in signing it.  He knows the letter A and E too.  He loves patty cake, round and round the garden, this little piggy, if you're happy and you know it, Jesus loves Me and the other songs i sing to/with him every night. 
He knows the words and "says" - OK, Bye-Bye, Ow, Nice, Sorry, Please, (starting to learn to put his hand up to his mouth to say Excuse me), Chow, Bravo, Momma, Night-Night, food, DadT, more, spoon, signing time (in his own way), NO, Yah (for yes) and probably more but we can't think of anymore right now.
He LOVES Signing Time.  I think that the reason is not the same as Sophina's as she LOVES learning the language but Ethan LOVES the music part.  They both will do almost anything to get to watch their one movie a day.  
Ethan will give us a hug or kiss if we ask and THAT is HUGE!!!  OH how i KNEW that it was something that i would LOVE.  He gives high fives and low fives, and knucks. He knows where his eyes are and where his nose is.

He is precious.  PERIOD.  On hard days which this past week seemed to be MANY....are exactly that....HARD!  I am beginning to realize that the hardest thing of this adoption isn't Ethan and all the changes that he has had to make but more than that, the fact that Scott is working so far away.  When Scott is home or for that matter when Scott's dad was here...there IS a big difference!  Ethan LOVES men and respects them automatically! 

Ethan is a treasure that i am loving to watch come more and more into the reality that he is in a family!  I think of how Ethan came to us so scared and small and unsure of what this new life was.  He is understanding that he is staying here.  He is so handsome and strong and is ALWAYS and i mean this ALWAYS moving!  He is a boy who needs to climb, run, push, carry, learn, and do things with his hands but for that matter, HIS WHOLE BODY.  He is a BOY!!!  He is a TREASURE!!  He is a BLESSING!  He is our son....he is my son and oh how i am well pleased!
I am ALWAYS BLESSED!  

Friday, November 2, 2012

ADOPTION IS HARD....but so good

Ethan is FINALLY asleep......WE are all completely and utterly DRAINED. 
While i was holding him in my arms for just a few minutes as i figured out that not only was i not going to be able to oil him, nor sing to him....i also wasn't going to be able to even hold him. SO....in that VERY short time of holding him....i thought about something VERY important.
Today, from the time Ethan woke up, Ethan was very unhappy, grumpy, angry, and was screaming for 30-40 minutes straight. There was nothing that we could do to keep him 'happy'. We couldn't even 'love on him' as he wasn't accepting it as we weren't doing it right. He was what many would say was 'unlovable', 'unworthy', and.....well, you get the idea.
Ethan has only been this bad one other day....the infamous day after the grandparents left. Like that day, the day was VERY VERY long, exhausting, overwhelming, and draining.
My thought went to our adoption. Ethan....gave us nothing, he did nothing for us to deserve adoption......and he cost us a LOT.....emotionally, physically, monetarily..... and we loved him. We brought him into our family.......for the rest of his life......he will have our name......he will be our son...he will be loved, no matter what.
God came to us.....when we were filthy, giving Him NOTHING, maybe even yelling at Him, pushing away His love, maybe even wanting to physically hurt him! He chased us when we gave him NOTHING! He reached out His hands when we pushed them away, slapping them with attitudes that what He was giving wasn't what WE wanted. YET, HE GAVE!!! HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON....who obeyed Him, who loved Him, who adored Him in every way.....so that we who were unlovable, ungrateful, uncaring and filthy could be HIS!

I pray that if you have been pushing Jesus away for weeks, months and maybe even years....that you would think of how much He loves you....how much He has sacrificed so that YOU can be His child! So that YOU can have His name.....a CHRISTian....a Christ follower.
I love our son.....yes, even on these VERY VERY TOUGH days but i fail......i do NOT always do what is BEST for him...as i do NOT always KNOW what is best for him. Jesus LOVES YOU and does NOT fail, He ALWAYS does what is BEST for YOU! HE KNOWS! 

I beg you to go look for a Bible or one of those Christ followers and ask questions.....dig deeper....search for answers....and stop pushing away the one who wants to adopt YOU!
I AM ALWAYS BLESSED (yep, even on FULL days/nights like this)

Friday, October 26, 2012

My take on the "R" word


*****I may lose friends over this post but please hear me out*****
The topic of the "R" word is rather HOT right now.  A friend of mine was over the other day and she said exactly what i felt but hadn't put into words out loud.  I will tell you that part a little later.

 Ann Coulter is someone who just doesn't get it in one way.  I just listened (for as long as i could) about her response to Piers Morgan and was shocked that she doesn't think that her use of the "R" word was offensive to people with disabilities.  WOW!  She is DEFINITELY wrong on that one.  It was like wild fire all over my FB wall with my friends who have children like i do with special extra chromosomes!

I believe though that there is something that is DEEPER for me that is MORE offensive.  I have seen people have signs on their walls that inform people that they need to go to their thesaurus and look up another word instead of using the "R" word.  I am so sorry but i COMPLETELY DISAGREE!!!

Back to my friend.  She grew up having an uncle, who is still alive and is "old" for having Down Syndrome.  She just went on a long road trip with him last month.  She loves him very much.  She let me know that when they were growing up their whole family knew that their uncle was mentally retarded.  It was a medical term to them.  NOTHING MORE.  It is not a word that i can say that i am comfortable with BUT i can tell you that what she said next is the way that i feel.

She said that she is not offended when people use those words in that context as she doesn't believe that the person who is using it in that context is meaning it to be rude, mean or offensive.  I agree.  I also agreed with what she said next.  She said that if she was to have used the "R" word as in calling someone that word that she would have been in HUGE HUGE trouble!

THIS is the part that i am having a hard time with AND it is one that many may not agree with.  My problem with the word is the WAY that the word is used!!!   My problem with the whole thing is that someone is calling another person ANY name that is not respectful of that person.  Calling someone retard, moron, dummy, stupid, etc...... is plain ole' WRONG!!!  WHY are ANY of those words acceptable?  I can disagree with Ann on this angle here too.  If she thinks that people do not call people with disabilities "retarded" in the way that is rude and mean then she doesn't have any friends who have disabilities!  I am going to go against the norm again though and say this.....i also don't believe that those same precious people aren't called stupid, moron, dummy, etc......  I am sorry, but PLEASE do not go to your thesaurus and look up ANY names that are saying anything like these words!  ALL of them are WRONG!!!

I don't care if you are a Republican and can't stand the president who is in office right now.  I don't care if you think that his policies are ridiculous.  I don't care if you think that he should be taken out of office and believe that we need changes.  I don't care if you believe as i do that the policy that allows a full term baby to be partially born and then be aborted is disgusting and outrageously WRONG!  What i DO care about is....and ESPECIALLY if you call yourself a Christ follower....that you are calling a person, that God created, a name that shouldn't be on ANYONE!  You can despise the policies but you do NOT call the president of the United States a name! PERIOD!  NOR should you call your sister that, or your mother, or your cousin, or your teacher, or your student, or your co-worker, or your grandfather, or your pastor, or your parishioners, or your boss, or your neighbor or even your enemy!

SO, in my book.....PLEASE.....just stop calling people names that are offensive!!!  To me, ALL of them are!!!  I am ALWAYS BLESSED
PS I AM going to tell you this though....if i EVER overhear a person call either of my two children with Down Syndrome ANY of the words that have been used in this post as offensive OR for that matter any of my other five children...it will be VERY hard for me not to be VERY passionately offended and angry in teaching that person a lesson in being respectful of their fellow human beings.  PLEASE guard your words.  TEACH your children to be KIND and RESPECTFUL!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Our birthday

I am just going to post what i wrote LATE tonight on my FB wall as i thought that you all may enjoy this!
I am WIDE AWAKE as the night was just amazing AND the fact that the "TWINS" keep waking up every twenty minutes or so!
I got to watch our daughters bring Vica's wishes to life as they gave her what she has wanted since Liz got HER first camera! ALL of our girls have LOVED photography so far (and History and Bible but THAT is another topic altogether ;})). Vica is just going to be a shutterbug wh

ich will teach her HOW to take improving pictures! She was the one who took MY picture when i opened MY presents. (in case you missed it....Vica was born on MY birthday, fourteen years ago ...on the 25th) OH!  Vica was given Liz's first REAL camera that SHE had ever bought...a REALLY nice camera!
You have to understand something....the last thing on my LOVE LANGUAGE list is 'gifts' SO to buy me something that makes me get REALLY excited is pretty hard! Tonight, our Catherine got me a HUGE chocolate candy bar...HERSHEY's! Chocolate is a good gift ANY day!!! LOVED her heart as she gave it to me!
Nate and Liz just about overdid themselves but oh my word....they hit the nail on the head for me! I got CHOCOLATE...dark at that...with Sea Salt ;}) THEN, if that wasn't enough....i got a hot rock back massage!!!!! OH MY WORD!!!! SO STINKIN' excited about that!!!!!!! THEN, i am NOT kidding you.....i LOVE this next gift BECAUSE it shows that our daughter KNOWS me!!! She got me a specialty mustard....I LOVE UNIQUE mustards!!! NUMMY!!! WHAT. A. NIGHT!!!
Later, after the 'twins' were asleep, the rest of us were all around the kitchen table (that was heaped high with paperwork that needs going through)....just chatting and gabbing and laughing. Just about the time that Liz and Nate were going to get ready to start going ...i realized that i needed to have us tell what we are thankful for for our Victoria on her "birthday" celebration. (the 25th) SO, we spent quite a long time sharing with Victoria the blessing she is in our lives and the blessing of the creation that God created her to be. As soon as we were done....Ethan started with his FIRST crying of the night....so i ran up to comfort him as this was highly unusual. I came back later, expecting Liz and Nate to be standing and ready to go BUT instead all were still sitting. I went to the table and they said that they decided that they were going to tell ME what they were grateful for......well, did you see how excited i was over my precious gifts???
WORDS of encouragement.....where i didn't say a thing.... where i didn't have to help with... where it was from my very own family who knows me warts (i have MANY) and all....STILL able to find something to encourage and love and give this Mommy and WIFE enough LOVE in my LOVE TANK for a LONG LONG time.....WOW!!! WHAT AN ENCOURAGING NIGHT!
What was so encouraging to me was that they weren't just 'regular' kinds of blessings and encouragement....they were deep and detailed and Ally's floored me specifically ....she was grateful for my love, devotion, passion of .....YOU ALL and that i am using my gifts for other people that i don't even really know and that i am encouraging and helping people with their adoptions and their heartaches! JUST FLOORED me as i have felt SO very alone and disheartened!
I think that the reason there aren't nights like this more often is that i would NEVER sleep AND i would probably be up in the sky somewhere from flying so high in pure joy that i got to be the Mommy to these two boys and five girls and wife to one man that i will have been married to for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS next month! I AM ALWAYS ALWAYS BLESSED!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Miracle at a preschool...OUR children's and OUR miracle

 ***MIRACLE ALERT***
....one of many that have happened to me today so there will be more postings coming, i hope....we will see how long i can stay awake ;}) THIS HAPPENED IN MY PRESENCE TODAY!
Last night, Liz and Nate came over for supper and time with Grandma and Grandpa. It was a wonderful time & Grandpa bought us all Pizza AND had it delivered (NOT something that we have done....in a VERY VE
RY long time). Lizzie knew that Grandpa wanted to go to Barnes and Noble (a bookstore) to look at and order a Nook. It was decided that for the first time, we believe, since Ethan was home....MOMMY-that is ME was going to be ALONE in our house for 90 minutes!!!

After Liz and Nate left, it was decided that they would have Lizzie drop Grandpa, Grandma, Vica and Catia back off at our house at 11:15am as Grandpa would be done in by then AND then someone could go with me to get the kiddos from preschool.
Let's just say that when one cleans with three other people for fifteen minutes.....things get done WAY faster!!! When one hour went by, i could not believe how little had gotten done! It didn't even look like i cleaned anything and i had been booking it through the house room by room the whole time (except for the time when i had to go to the bathroom and at that exact moment someone was knocking on our front door....let's just say that there were some tears of laughter when i told that part of the story to Grandma). I only had time to put in ONE load of laundry and that is a HUGE problem as my laundry is down where Grandma and Grandpa take their naps and my laundry is multiplying as if it was a pair of rabbits making babies!!!
My house was cleaned up and i noticed that they had five minutes to get to our house and i had a feeling that no one had told Lizzie about what time they needed to be back. It was true SO i asked if they just wanted to meet me at the preschool. YES....great new plan! SO, i said that i would meet them there in ten minutes.
As i was pulling up to the parking spot, i saw that they were all marching up the walk to the preschool. I hurried in and got to the door in time for Liz and Grace to let me in and they let me go into the preschool first.
OK....my mind is screaming to let you know MORE details....
ok, remember that these are Scott's parents who will probably ONLY be here on this ONE day at this ONE MOMENT of time that would equal probably five minutes IF what happened next had not happened.
OK...back to the story....are you imagining me coming through the doorway and into the hallway and then you will want to see me scream out "STEVE"!!!! As i am hugging Steve profusely, i hear Grandma behind me tell Lizzie...OH! THAT is what you were telling me....it IS Steve!!!
More background....travel back with me in time. There is a man whose wife has passed away and there is a woman whose husband has also passed away. Later they fall in love and they become husband and wife. They unite in matrimony with their adult children's blessing. Their adult children got along and got together a couple times a year. Later...much later, i come into the picture and fall madly in love with this couple who are my husband's mother's father and step mother. This step mother is the woman that i have talked of JUST RECENTLY....i miss her so desperately as she passed away over eleven years ago. Her husband, Scott's grandfather, passed away on Good Friday the year before she had passed away. Harvey and Lillian were one of the best blessings in my life. They were BOTH AMAZING grandparents! OH MY!!! JUST AMAZING!
Ok....MORE background....i ran into Lillian's granddaughter at our preschool on three different occasions since bringing the kids to school. I was so thrilled that God even had us see each other on our first day! THIS day, was even better, because you see.....for the first time in eleven years....step brother and step sister saw each other!!! In a preschool five hours away from their home at a time that they never had planned on being at...at the EXACT time as Lillian's son who was picking up his grandson! (i had never seen Steve there before this date) there stood step sister and step brother catching up on the last couple years!
DO YOU REALIZE JUST HOW MANY MIRACLES HAPPEN EVERY SINGLE DAY that we take for granted???? NOT THIS ONE....this one, i have savored, relished and talked about over and over and over and over again! We serve an amazing God, don't we!?!?! I am ALWAYS BLESSED

God's miracles that we take for granted-NOT HERE, NOT TODAY


ANOTHER miracle?  I have never had a meeting where i know that it may be uncomfortable and come away from that said uncomfortable meeting feeling COMPLETELY at peace and having NO IDEA as to why.  MIRACLE!  I mean, COMPLETELY at peace with ZERO reason for the peace!
Then i came home and found out that Bonnie had a solution for our Ethan's destruction of his crib! She called me and let me know that she not only had the solution, she was willing to COME OVER TONIGHT and DO IT!!!  She is one of those who has been a blessing in our lives throughout our adoption of Ethan.  SO grateful.  YOU should see the crib too....just amazing!  What a gift she has and she used it for our family!  Have i mentioned that i am grateful!?
THEN, my phone rang AGAIN!!!  NOT a telemarketer either!  WOW!  It was Liz to tell me about an oil meeting where they would be giving me more information about stuff...you know the info that i am eating up like crazy.  What was amazing was that she ENCOURAGED me as i told her how the oils were being used to help THREE of my friends.  She told me, WITH EMOTION, that i was a blessing to these three friends that i had just loved on.  No big deal BUT Liz told me that it was a blessing that i was putting on these people in more than just oiling their feet with the YL product.  I came away from that conversation feeling so wrapped in well, LOVE!  I felt cherished and as if i had a purpose that was valuable to others than my own family.  SUCH a blessing....more than she even knew.
THEN, my phone rang AGAIN!!!  THIS time, it was a call that brought me to tears as i heard a man from our church....i am weeping right now as only God knows how much this call meant, again, WAY WAY WAY more than he will ever know.  This was a call from a man that i have always greatly respected.  He called to tell me that for the past two weeks, the Lord has been laying our family on his heart.  You see, he has been reading a book that was about a VERY educated, highly smart family having a child with DS.  You see, this book had convicted this man in our church and TONIGHT, GOD asked him to call...TONIGHT!  OH MY!  GOD knows that my heart NEEDED this call TONIGHT!  I wept as i heard this man not say, I'm sorry BUT INSTEAD, WITH EMOTION, "i want to tell you that i have not done well with the way that i have treated you and Scott and your family.  I have not appreciated the 'crazy love' that you have had for not only your biological child with DS BUT THEN to go and bring home a child from another country who also has DS and i did not appreciate what you did.  I have not supported you in the way that i should have and i it was so wrong."  I wept and i gasp for a breath right here again!
GOD IS SO AMAZING, my friends, because GOD's TIMING is THE BEST!!!  It is NOT on MY terms, it is NOT convenient for me, it is RARELY when i think that it SHOULD be BUT GOD has just BLOWN my mind on this incredible day of blessings!  BLOWN ME AWAY!
To top it all off, my son...you know, the one whom many (MOST) have not understood as to WHY God called us to have HIM as our son....well, (i am weeping again because it was another miracle in my life tonight) ...my son, after all of the night time singing was done....i tried to see if he would "melt" into my body in a cuddling position that was COMPLETELY curled up against me....and he did.  He did it for a very short minute BUT.....that minute was one that i am VERY VERY grateful for tonight.
i am ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS blessed

PS (i am gonna say...tomorrow, would you please PRAY for our family as the evil one will probably NOT be too happy that THIS day was SUCH a blessed and grateful day!  Thankfully, the Lord has supplied me with some pretty big amounts of HOPE, encouragement, love, and JOY!)


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Suffering and the American Christian-the updated version

This blogpost has been rambling in my head now for several months and i've decided that i'm just going to start writing it out as i have MANY times during this time but this time i WILL finish it.

I have so many of my Christ-following friends who have been going through unbelievably HARD situations for LONG periods of time.  You DO know that when one is in these kinds of situations that an hour feels like a day and a day feels like a month...a month feels like a year and a year feels like a lifetime.  There have been moments where we have wondered what in the world God was doing.  The deal with God is that He often doesn't make sense!  The deal with God is that He often doesn't let us know WHAT He is doing nor why He is doing it!

For us, the first four of the past five months of our bringing home our son have been MOSTLY tough mixed with moments of HOPE, delight, joy, and pure amazing love being given!  The Lord has given me moments where i felt like i couldn't move a muscle or else the moment may end as it was just so precious.  Those moments had always been followed by some of the hardest and LONGEST moments of these five months.  It got to the point of my knowing that the Lord was giving me a blessing to hold onto for the day ahead that was coming. I thank the Lord for those times but to tell you the truth this blog post is going to try to tell you why i believe and KNOW that we are ALSO supposed to thank the Lord through those HARD LONG days, weeks, months and even years.  We, who follow after Christ and His teachings SHOULD NOT be shocked BUT RATHER, isn't that supposed to be the 'norm'?James 1:2-3 have been my 'life verses' since i was...well, a VERY LONG time...since childhood.

I have to tell you that i am appalled CONSISTENTLY by what i hear the average 'American Christian' believe and say what their lives should be looking like especially when i compare it to what the average American follower of Christ believed just one hundred years ago OR when i compare it to what believers in other parts of the world are going through on this very day (as i read ((with the LONG E) in the Voice of the Martyrs magazine or hear on the Mission Network News program on our Christian radio station).  I am appalled by what I think that God should GIVE me or DO for me!  UGH!

People are continually appalled that Scott and i adopted our son AND that he is having 'issues' that we will have to 'live with'.  The idea coming across is that WE have taken on 'too much'...WE.  Lately, my heart and mind freak out every single time i hear this idea (EVEN though there are many times where my flesh also wants to agree with them).  ARE YOU SERIOUS???  SO, am i supposed to be EXPECTING that my life here on earth is supposed to ONLY be easy, happy and full of sunshine and roses?  WHERE IN THE WORLD do we find that in the Bible?

What i am seeing is the Church (the American followers of Christ) is coming together to go golfing together, have swimming parties, have fun, just hang out, and do the things that just feel great and are thinking that "THIS is the life".  It seems that THAT is what Christians in general are feeling that life is supposed to be like....as if God could ever ask US as believers to do something that would cause us to CHANGE OUR LIFESTYLE!?!?!   Why would God ever ask us to be stretched?  Why would God ever ask us to go through a serious health issue that could alter our lives forever OR end our lives for that matter?  Why would God give a family a child that had health issues that made it so their lives had to be altered, not only for a few weeks but for the rest of their lives?  Why then would God ask THEM to take on ANOTHER child that has health issues?  GOD would NEVER ask a family such a thing, WOULD He??!


SERIOUSLY!?!?! Have you read any missionary biographies lately!?!?!  We are reading a biography on Jonathan Goforth....so far this family has lost FOUR children to death that would probably NOT have happened had they stayed in North America but it DID happen because God had asked them to go to China as some of the very first foreign missionaries ever to enter China.  This wife and mother was asked by God to have HUNDREDS of people go through her home on a DAILY basis  (six days a week ever since THE day that they came back from their furlough back in Canada for SIX YEARS and from daybreak to dark- you may want to read this last sentence again).with people who would steal anything and everything that wasn't bolted down.  On one day that was in the same month that she and her husband had buried their THIRD child AND in the ninth month of a VERY difficult pregnancy for her...they had the MOST people come through their home. On this particular day though, they had 1,800 men and 500 women who had gone through their home.   Haven't THEY already done ENOUGH!?!?  WHY would God ask such a thing of a family???

BECAUSE THIS LIFE IS NOT ABOUT THE THINGS ON THIS EARTH BUT ABOUT THE PEOPLE ON THIS EARTH!!!  JESUS came to save PEOPLE NOT things!!!

I have been STRUGGLING SO much as i see what we are going through and fighting my flesh for thinking that THIS is SO hard but THEN i see another family who IS getting it and who IS ACTING out their FAITH, a family who is acting "crazy" when the world sees them, or i read a biography of a past follower of Christ who LIVED as if THIS was NOT the life but rather what is to COME, is!

For the most part WE aren't coming together to DIG in the Word, to meditate on His precepts, to help the widow on our streets or in our pews or the orphan or the single mother who has three children and no break, or the least of these or the untouchables of our day.  For the most part, we aren't hungering for the things that are eternal BUT for the things that satisfy our flesh....THIS IS ME!!  I could sit here and think that we have done enough of the changing our lifestyle and feel let off the hook BUT what i have realized is that....THAT is NOT true!!!  There are SO many people who are hurting and need ME and our family to change our schedules to care for the hurting around us.  THERE ARE SO VERY MANY too!

I have never in my life known how much i have been sucked into this American Christian belief that God would NEVER ask us to do "THAT" as i have from this adoption!  I would give excuses and i hear excuses -THAT would be too hard on our family, too much money, too tough for us to handle, an area where i am NOT qualified, and the excuses go on.  What is SO SAD is that we BELIEVE IT!!!  We don't even give it a second thought!  We hear God ask us to do something as simple as smile at the person in front of us or to open our mouths to be kind to a stranger even or to make a meal for a family we don't know or to shake the hand of a person in uniform and thank them for their service, tell someone about Jesus being the ONLY way to God/heaven.....the list goes on as to what takes us out of our comfort zone.  You know, the areas where we KNOW that the Lord would NEVER ask us to go to! SO we just dismiss it and don't give it a second thought!

GOD HAS ASKED OUR FAMILY TO ADOPT!!!  Yes, it IS hard!   BUT, my goodness guys!  LIFE is hard!  Ethan is a child....a child i might add who was created with a PURPOSE....a child who had NEVER been into a HOME where there is a kitchen, a living room, and for that matter had never been in a church!!!  Our son is NOT a burden even though he has brought me to my knees wondering WHY God has chosen ME....our family.....he is our son, our SON that GOD gave us!  IF he had been born from my own womb would people be acting as if it is too much for us to take on?  GOD is the One who chose our son!  GOD is the One who gave us/ME this opportunity to realize MY selfishness, MY pride, MY concerns about the THINGS of this world as being more important than JESUS and the PEOPLE of this world!  I have never been so convicted as i have these past five months and now a few days since we brought Ethan into our lives in Bulgaria and then home.

WHY is it that we think that when someone does something CRAZY that it couldn't be from God WHEN THE BIBLE IS FULL OF THAT KIND OF LIVING!!!?!?!  When our forefathers LIVED that way!?!?!   When there are men, women and children TODAY giving their VERY LIVES so that they can go and hear about Jesus with a group of other believers!!!  There are churches that will be FULL here in the US where people can't WAIT for the sermon to be done so they can watch the football game and won't remember what the sermon is by the time the game is done.  NOR will we take the time to digest and meditate on it long enough to have the words from our pastor that GOD HAS GIVEN him to actually CHANGE our lives!  Again, THIS IS ME!

MY challenge to you and CONTINUALLY to MYSELF is how is my life acting like Christ's?  How am i acting like the men in the Bible who were doing things that made NO sense to the world that they were in.....BUT GOD asked them to do it.....you know, let's see....men like Noah!!!  Elijah, Abraham, Ruth,  HELLO...MARY, the mother of Jesus, and the list goes on!?  How am i being MORE like Christ and less like the world?  How am i caring about the things that matter for eternity more than the things that will pass away?   How am i changing MY plans to be what God's plan is for me!?!

My prayer is that if you and i were to hear that still small voice ask us to change the plans you or i have for the evening and to do something that TOTALLY takes us out of our comfort zone OR just makes our night NOT be what you or i were planning....that we would say YES!  My prayer is that if God is asking you or i to change our plans for this week or this month or even for our LIVES...that we would say YES!!!  I pray that the people in our lives who see our lives will see JESUS in us because we are living SO DIFFERENTLY than the rest of the world!  Remember that the Lord told us that we are STRANGERS in THIS world!  THIS is not our home so DON'T get comfortable!  God asks us to take up our cross and follow Him!  THAT does NOT sound easy to me!

My prayer is that people will ASK us WHY we are different and that we will be able to tell them that the things of this world are NOT what matters to us....but JESUS does and THEY do!  I pray that we will be able to tell them about having a relationship with Him that isn't that it will save us from pain, hardship or heartaches but rather that there will ALWAYS be ONE who will WALK THROUGH those times WITH us!  I pray that they will then be able to hear that we followers of Christ are SO NOT even close to perfect BUT we DO have a PERFECT Christ that we ARE following and who has brought us to Himself as His child AND He desires that for them too!  I pray then that they will repent.  Repentance isn't just feeling sorry that we made a few mistakes but actually understanding the depth of our sinfulness, disobedience, and pride and the amazing response of sacrifice, forgiveness and love that God has mercifully given to us.  I pray that MANY will desire the Lord and His forgiveness and His work in their lives to be what He wants from that day forward.  I pray that they will become followers of Jesus Christ.

REPENTANCE...something that i am convicted of lacking in understanding and pondering on-i wonder when the last time I(we) really thought about what REPENTANCE even truly is?  I pray that i(we) who call ourselves CHRISTians would also repent of my(our) lack of zest, my(our) lack of passion, my(our) lack of taking Jesus seriously, my(our) lack of OBEDIENCE, etc....that i(we) would TRULY REPENT and turn from my(our) wicked ways and NOT listen to this world and its toys but instead listen to what GOD is asking me (us) to do!  FOLLOW HIM!  He did not call us to a life of ease but a life where we will be on our knees asking Him how in the world we can do it and He will respond...ONLY WITH me!  GOD uses our weaknesses, our hardships, our heartaches, our struggles and will bring miraculously GOOD out of those times.....even death.  We serve an amazing God who uses even our hardest moments to bring amazing good to Himself, to us and to others.  Remember that God ALWAYS gives us more than we can handle OURSELVES BUT NEVER more than He can handle FOR(with) us!

THIS did NOT come out in the way that i have been wanting BUT i pray that whatever reason that it is out there will be for God's glory and for His good as i feel as if i have slaughtered THIS post!  UFFDA!  I pray that you see it as a heart of a mother who has been convicted and also prays that others will join me.
I'm just going to quit now.....
but know that i am ALWAYS BLESSED


Sunday, September 9, 2012

That Monday, four months ago!


At this time four months ago....we were in the same city as our son Ethan and i was WAITING eagerly to get going!  I remember the view that we had of the incredible Bulgarian creation.  I remember тихомир колев and his amazing wife, Nusha, giving us the honor of the best room in the bed and breakfast and the pure joy on her face.  OH how i miss her! I SO loved her instantly....as if we had been friends for life!  Her cooking was amazing and ADORABLE was she!  That morning was my last time seeing her!  I held her tight letting her know that i would never forget her.
THEN, we got into the van and we were on our way.....for our life changing union of our son coming into our lives!  My joy was overwhelming as i had my rose colored glasses on as to what our future would like.  The overwhelming and bubbling joy as i changed our son into the outfit that i had brought for him not even noticing the skinny little body i had put the clothes onto.  Not until later that Monday when his pants fell off in the van and even then we thought that he must have pulled them off quickly.  Ethan bit me in the van....it was the only time that he ever bit me hard but i was bruised for over a week...it was DEFINITELY memorable.  I will never forget how our interpreter let me know when i told her that he must be teething that he had ALL of his teeth!  That night his pants fell down in our hotel room and again, i thought nothing of it.....UNTIL Scott brought him onto the bed after giving Ethan a bath.  Scott didn't know what to say and i just wanted to weep at what we saw....he was SO SO skinny.  I wish that i would have taken a picture like all of the other people that i had seen do but we discussed it and Scott just didn't feel comfortable letting people see it.
I remember that our rose colored glasses came off almost instantly at the hotel.  We were not prepared for the way that Ethan was....his behavior was not what we were expecting.  It seemed that he took joy in hurting or trying to hurt us.    We got wise to his moves VERY quickly!  We also realized that the room was VERY small for a boy who was used to having LOTS of room to run and we also then knew that we had not brought the items that he would like to play with.  We were overwhelmed on this day mixed with HOPE and joy and fear and love and all kinds of emotions.  
When i look back now.....i wish that i could go back and have a redo as we know him a little better now.  We had no clue as to who he was!  We had NO CLUE as to the things that most parents take for granted!  I KNOW things that would have helped that mom and dad out those four months ago...i would let them know that he really DOES sleep that way!  I would have told them to have brought Puffs Plus and to have put Myrtle oil on his nose....IN THE VAN when we got him! I would have told them that he loves to have his hair played with when he goes to sleep. There will be a day where he will gain weight (over ten pounds so far) and not to worry. I would have let Mommy know that his future will not look like this one day....there will be a day where he will call you Mama and he will kiss you!  I would have told that Daddy that his son will learn to feel safe in his presence and just his voice and a look will be enough to have his son obey. There is so much more that i would have told that Mom and Dad but.....i can't and so...we learned the long way and some hard ways.
I'm going to try to remember our days without looking back at my posts from back then...not tonight at least.  I do want to say that i am fully Bulgarian loving that is for sure!  Bulgaria is in my blood!  I love that country, its people, its food and the son that that the Lord brought to me through its country!  I remember that i am ALWAYS BLESSED!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

THREE MONTHS!!!!

These past few days i have been going over these past three months a lot.  These past three months have been some of the loneliest in my entire life.  It was exhausting, draining, so lonely, intense, and some of the hardest days of my life AND i have had some VERY. HARD. DAYS. in my life.

We came home on May 12th....worn out, exhausted, jet lagged, tired, drained, and as i told someone today who just came back from a long missions trip....there was really NO TIME for recovery from any of the week that we had just experienced.  We were both shocked over Ethan's weight, malnutrition, but especially his attitude toward us.  We were shocked as to how much he ate AND how much he drank as it seemed almost non stop BUT what was also a wonder to us was that he didn't gorge himself....he ate a LOT BUT he DID stop too.  The hardest thing was the biting, hitting, pulling hair and pinching that started well, on the ride away from the orphanage.  I had a black and blue mark for the entire week that we were there as it was a bad bite.

The first night we were even more surprised by the way that Ethan slept or should i say...DID NOT SLEEP.  We just assumed it was because everything was new and different and he had never slept with a mommy and daddy. (the play pen that was in the room had no way to zip up the side of it as it had an opening to zip but no zipper.  we had put Ethan in there to see if it would work and he was TERRIFIED and crawled out so quickly that we couldn't figure it out----it was dark and very late so we didn't see what had happened until we figured it out in the morning!!!)  Ethan would get to sleep BUT he would hardly STAY asleep....he would sleep up against the wall SITTING UP then he would lay across us and then i would awaken to his NOT BREATHING!!!  THEN he would snort and start breathing again.  Needless to say, Scott and i didn't sleep well then either!  We assumed that when he got home and into his crib that he would NOT be doing this anymore as we assumed it was because of his sleeping conditions.

WE WERE WRONG!  The day before we got home we FB messaged our kids and let them know that plans had changed and so we decided to have Ethan in OUR ROOM and Sophina got kicked out into her sister's room.  We thought that we should at least check more on Ethan than we were needing to for Sophina.  WE WERE RIGHT!!!  Ethan continued to stop breathing AND i HAD to get a video camera as we would hear all kinds of things while he was napping.  The video camera showed that he was not only doing EXACTLY what he had been doing with his parents in Bulga*ia BUT it was even worse as i watched him running around his crib in order to find a better spot to sleep.  He was doing the backward somersaults still and he was stopping his breathing and he was sleeping sitting up in the corners and he just was NOT getting sleep.

Ethan was also hitting, biting, pinching, slapping, and acting out against his sisters DAILY and OFTEN!   It was SO HARD!!!  Sophina got a black and blue mark across her forehead from him hitting her over the head with his hard plastic cup.  THAT was one of his first meetings with her.  It was often that he would hurt her BUT it was DAILY that he would hurt the girls.  They would have bite marks that would look like welts on their shoulders, legs and arms.  It was SO DRAINING to watch as we would all be excited as he would cuddle and then our shock would turn to HUGE disappointment as his cuddles would turn to pinching or biting or any form of pain that he could inflict. He didn't do it in front of strangers SO he wouldn't do it in front of Liz or Nate as they were here a few times or people who would stop by.  He ONLY did it to people who were there in his life daily.

Scott had only been able to be home after coming back from BG a few days so it was me without our PCA helping with Sophina as she was in Africa on a missions trip.  THEN Ally left for her missions trip and that same week was VBS.  Let's just say that it was a really hard time in that time period.  Having Scott gone SO LONG was and is inexplainable to anyone.  It is one of those things that i kept trying to explain but it is inexplainable because one has to experience it in order to understand it and what those almost three months were like.....is not able to be explained.  ALONE.....OVERWHELMED and wondering if it was always going to be like this or not.....how was i going to do it!?!?!

THEN....Ethan had a surgery that was supposed to be a 'typical' surgery.  It was being done at the hospital instead of the surgery center only as a precaution AND it was only a precaution that we were going to be there overnight.  Ethan had other plans.  It was almost a week.  Ethan's oxygen levels were not good AND he only stopped breathing one time while there.....as soon as i left the surgery room after seeing that he 'went to sleep'.  I had warned the Dr that he did that so they were not surprised.  He didn't ever do that while in his room however and even still his oxygen levels would be at the 70/80's range when he would stick his tongue back in his mouth OR when he wouldn't swallow his med and so it affected his breathing as he slept!!!  He also would NOT drink....PERIOD!  He still isn't-btw!  He was called "FIESTY" and "STRONG" by every nurse who would come in.  We had amazing nurses and several who went above and beyond.  They were so busy though and i was so overwhelmed that it would happen that Ethan's meds would be past due and then....it was NOT pretty.  One of the first days as i was all alone then...i held him for almost ten hours with him screaming for a big part of it.  He would NOT sleep....even with the pain meds.  That poor nurse was trying to find ANY way to help us as i am SURE that Ethan was NOT making a pleasant experience for ANYONE in our area.  We finally just figured out that Ethan's NOT going to have great oxygen levels as he has lived like this his whole life and my putting the oxygen 'tube' blowing over his face didn't even help as he HAS to get his tongue down.  We also knew that there was NOTHING that we could do to MAKE him swallow his med as he would hold it in his upper neck!!!  I still don't think that the Dr's believed me BUT there were witnesses who heard it with me and WATCHED him and THEY believed me.  I went home knowing that there was nothing more that could be done in the hospital that i couldn't do at home.

Toward the end of our stay our pastor found out that we were STILL there and he called and got the church secretary to let out a shout for our need.  One mother of MANY children came to the hospital with FOOD, TREATS but the best.....a foot massage......(brought tears to my eyes writing this) A FOOT MASSAGE!!!!!!  OH MY!!!  Then other BUSY moms brought food and hugs and love and listening ears....one, cried with me as she understood our son more than most!  OH!  To be understood!!!!  Even got a visit from some old college friends that popped in for a visit....hadn't seen them in 23 years!!!

I will let you know that the two weeks of this past three were even harder than i could have imagined as a LOT of hard things were also happening in our lives OUTSIDE of Ethan's surgery.  REALLY tough stuff.  I explained many times over these past three months that it felt like i couldn't come up for air....i couldn't breathe as i felt pushed down every time i tried to come up for air.  Those two weeks were some of the HARDEST of the past three months.

WHAT IS AMAZING????  ETHAN IS TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!!!  I said that on my hardest days and i will continue to say it!!!  I am going to write the incredible miracle of the past THREE days.  SO, make sure that you read that too.

I am ALWAYS BLESSED, Connie for the crew!!!


These past few days

PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOU READ the other post FIRST before reading this one.... it is called THREE MONTHS!!!!

First, i will tell you that God is faithful.....even when i am NOT!  My God is an amazing God and He has been One who has brought me such amazing times with Him through avenues that are not the 'typical' avenues.  A verse or a song on the radio or even on FB or messaged to me were like rain on a parched soul.  There was the VBS cd that Victoria was given early as she was a helper and was able to have it come home with her from her helper meeting.  Those songs had meanings that no one could have known.  DEEP meanings where when my friend was sitting next to me at the much later last day of VBS performance heard my heart over the words that were being sung....she was seeing what i had heard and it moved her.  GOD IS SO FAITHFUL isn't He???

One day is one that is embedded into my heart as a Mommy....a time when i was putting Ethan to bed and he was SO very sweet and our time together was SO amazing....he called me MaMa too that day.  The Lord gave me that time as a true gift as those next weeks were some of the toughest that i could have dreamed.  Another thing that brought me through my toughest days....a friend whom i am most grateful for told me that she had been told that when one adopts a child that that child is NOT the age that the paperwork says they are RATHER they are a BABY emotionally speaking SO BABIES bite and hit and pinch and pull hair!!!  THAT FACT went through my head MANY MANY times!!!  SO grateful that she shared that with me!

Bonnie is a friend who would just pop in and drop off a bag of chocolates or a great find...a tool toy for Ethan.  She would text me a message.  A friend fb messaged me verses to meditate on and oh my it was SO needed!!!  Another friend came over and brought a pizza and ate with us.  Several women let me know of their love and prayers....mostly women that i have never met before.  One woman prayed 'out loud' on FB for our family and she did it often.  I am grateful for these things and more.  My dear Mother-in-law....a blessing to me as she wrote every single day on FB....her support has meant the world to me.

Through all of those VERY hard days, weeks and these months....our girls were IN the thick of the craziness.  Ally was gone for six weeks of this and she was preparing for a lot of that time before that.  Vica and Catia had their lives changed in a WAY bigger way then we had prepared them for and thankfully they have stepped WAY up to the challenge.  I am forever grateful for their VERY INVOLVED help on a daily basis.  Liz and Nate stepped up to the plate and when i found out that we were NOT going to be just one night at the hospital they volunteered to spend the nights with our younger girls!

This past week has been amazing and a lot of it has to do with friends that answered the request for help.  Women came and helped with laundry but especially with meals!!  OH MY how that helped me out SO MUCH!  Ethan was NOT eating and Sophina was NOT doing well with her eating either and to have time to also take care of the eating of the rest of us....UFFDA!  SUCH a blessing!

These past four days have been as if i had not been breathing before and i finally am able to now!  I have been able to have alone time with three of the girls in these days and OH how i had missed that!!! I was able to get caught up on laundry.  Today, i am in the weeds on that AND dishes but i HAD to write this update and the other post as i PROMISED myself that i would on Ethan's three month anniversary.  (i missed the other ones)  I feel like baking and cooking and visiting people and getting out and being ALIVE!

Ethan has been wanting me to hold him and he is allowing me to cuddle him and he is reaching out to his siblings and being WAY WAY more loving.  He IS still doing SOME acting out but NOTHING like before!  He is EATING!!!!  He is NOT drinking BUT i am figuring out MANY things that can be doused in his rice milk ;)  He is sleeping more often in the laying down position!!!  He is more content!!!  He is acting as if he has given in to the fact that these 'workers' at his new 'orphanage' are NEVER going to leave him alone SO he might as well accept them and treat them as if they are FAMILY!!!  Even a week ago, i would have never thought that i could feel like this again BUT i am THRILLED beyond belief that we are where we are at with Ethan in our family!  I have always known that we did what God asked us to do and that it was WORTH IT BUT i LOVE it....i absolutely LOVE it that we have Ethan and that he is our son!  Our daughters are LOVING their brother this week and are warming up QUICKLY with HOPE that this trend is continuing and will just grow in leaps and bounds!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if God is calling YOU to adopt.....YES, it IS hard!!!  SOME harder than others BUT it is OBEDIENCE that God has called us to....NOT easiness!   IF God has laid it on your heart to bring home a child who is in need of a family.....DO!!!!!  IT!!!!!  God is faithful and even when He is dragging you through the sand of your life where those footprints once were of yours and then just His.....LET HIM drag you at least BECAUSE one day again....YOUR footprints will be back in the sand SKIPPING beside His!!!  THANKFUL that He is ALWAYS FAITHFUL!!!  ALWAYS even when YOU are not!!!

ALWAYS BLESSED!!!  Connie for the crew!