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!!!


Sunday, April 28, 2013

A day of miracles-THREE posts in one

This morning, the girls were shocked that we were going to try again to have us ALL go to church.  The morning was full of us all working together to bring it about and what was amazing was that there were no massive meltdowns, no overflowing needs of diaper changes, but a day where we had just a few issues that were short lived and taken care of quite simply. (i didn't even have to put my hair up in a clip but got to CURL my hair!!!)
We thought that we were going to be SUPER early BUT by the time we finally got out the door and got there.....  Ally decided to drop us off and she would keep Ethan in the van with her until she parked the van & came in.  The other girls and i went in, heard the pre-music already playing and immediately went to seats in the foyer.  The plan was that Victoria and i would take care of the twins and the other two girls would then be able to sit with their friends.
SINCE it was music time we knew that it should be fine for the twins but, after getting Ethan from Ally (as soon as she walked into the sanctuary), we decided that we should probably just stand at the back of the sanctuary and have the twins 'sit' on the 'wall' that surrounds the sound/light system area.  Well, that lasted for about 1 1/2 songs and then SOPHINA got antsy to go up to the balcony.  We got up there and it was announcements and i knew that there would be no way that we could sit with the other people SO Vica and i HELD the twins in our arms and stood at the back.  I had the ever-growing Ethan and she had Sophina.  Then, there was a beautiful presentation for Compassion Intl. where three ladies were up front & an amazing story was spoken.  There was no video or music, just speaking and i was nervous that i was going to 'lose Ethan' BUT he stayed quiet in my arms and SOPHINA was wiggly and wanting to get down (but there was no way that i was going to switch and risk losing Ethan's calmness)!
I figured out that there was now NO WAY that we were going to be able to hold the two in our arms standing up through the whole music time as it had been quite a long time already and Ethan was getting VERY heavy.  The place was pretty packed and we saw that the other side of the sanctuary, on the far side, had a couple rows of open spaces down on the floor of the sanctuary.  We went all the way to the other side and went to the very front on the FAR side.  All that was in front of us and the platform was a big pot full of plants.  Ethan did fantastic during music.  I sat so he could stand next to me and i could be right at his level.  He was very comfortable and calm!!!
The music today was very different than normal.  It reminded me of the music that i grew up with down in Denver....almost a Southern Gospel feel.  SO, there WAS lots of clapping.  There was quite a bit of space in front of us and we were off to the side and Sophina was DEFINITELY LOVING the music with 'flare'.  My thought was that this is absolutely amazing......BUT, this is the way that it has been before....they BOTH LOVE music!!!  It just seemed so different THIS time!  Ethan came across as feeling.......well, like...... he was HOME!!!  As if he had always been coming to our church every Sunday.  YET!  i didn't want to get my HOPES up.  I DID love it...LOVE it in the time of it happening!
The music today seemed to be longer than the typical and i was loving that we were going to be able to be in with the rest of the church body for a longer time than i had before.  Finally, the music stopped for prayer and offering and i was prepared.....but i didn't need to be.  Ethan prays multiple times a his meal and when i put him to bed.  He also hears men pray on the CHRISTian radio station and as soon as he hears it, he yells out "Plray.....PlrAY......PLBRAY!!!" as he waits for me to fold my hands on his tray so he can fold his hands over mine.  I told him that we were praying and he immediately folded his hands over mine.  Well, he is NOT used to a prayer that is longer than two sentences and so i was getting concerned but again didn't need to be as he was quiet.
Thankfully, there was yet another song which he loved.  I loved how relaxed i was able to be as he was just SO CALM!!!  The music ended and this was it.....was he going to have a meltdown and scream for more???  BUT, I really thought that he was in a good place and i was right!!!  He kind of turned to me a little and quietly said and signed, "" and i lovingly replied, "no honey, we are all done but we will sing again, you just have to wait a little bit" to which HE signed and said back, "all done" ....'yes sweetheart, all done'.
The sermon was amazing, as usual.  What is amazing is that Ethan sat sweetly in my lap!!!  SOPHINA was starting to get VERY wiggly, as in TRYING with ALL of her might to get out of her sister's lap!  I now had a i give up sweet little Ethan to calm down Sophina OR what!?!?!  Vica whispered that she needed to go get Sophina's blankies and nookies!  We had saved a spot for us to go back to in the foyer and had left all of our items there to be there when the music was done.  Vica quietly slipped off the side and Sophina tried to make a run for it.  I was thankful that i had NOT gotten the twins all dressed up but had them in Osh Kosh B'Gosh overalls so i grabbed Sophina by the back of hers....with a TIGHT grip which held her on the seat.  All of this is sounding like it was all a big deal but it really was not, in fact, i was able to focus on the sermon through all of this.  Even though i am "fed" at home, there is nothing like being in one's home church and i was NOT taking it for granted for one second!
Through all of this, Ethan was calm and wonderful as i softly stroked his legs through most of the time of preaching.  Vica came back with the needed items and Sophina was immediately quieted!  She had asked to sit in between Vica and i in her 'own chair' and i had even let her BEFORE Vica left.  Ethan saw this change of spots and then quietly let me know that he wanted to sit next to me on the other side.  Another change of scenery.....he sat WONDERFULLY-EVEN THOUGH the seats are the kind that flip up if you don't weigh enough, don't have long enough legs or happen to get off the chair.  HE WAS AMAZING!!!  He didn't fool around with the chair.  He sat facing forward as if he was intent on listening!  I got to hear the sermon!!!  Every little bit of it!!!!
Pastor Matthew called the music team to come up, sooner than i had anticipated and my emotions were NOT prepared for it.  When i realized that i had just sat through an entire service with my twins and Victoria....i IMMEDIATELY felt the tears fill my eyes and felt like i was going to be weeping, HARD.
THANKFULLY, it all went right back in as Pastor went into a part of the sermon that was COMPLETELY POWERFUL!!!  What was AMAZING was that he was saying what i had been thinking just moments before (when i thought that the sermon was over and the music team was coming up)  -i got to hear every word!  I KNEW that i WANTED to hear EVERY. SINGLE. WORD.  i was coming THIRSTY and HUNGRY for the Word of the Lord being preached.  He spoke for probably another 5-7 minutes and Ethan STILL did great!
The music played in the background as Johnny told us that we needed to NOT think of this next song as a 'children's song' BUT to think of the power of the words!  HOW PERFECT!!!  Yep, we all sang, This Little Light of Mine!!!  The twins LOVED it!!!  It, to me, seemed like God was putting the icing on the cake that He had created just for ME!
A friend came immediately over, after the service and i tried to speak without crying but i failed......she had not been at church for quite awhile and she was coming over to say how pleased she was that he had improved so much!  I was in complete awe in telling her that this was his first Sunday in a long time (since Palm Sunday).  The family that had been behind us was a friend and i was so glad that she got to see the incredible miracle happening right in front of her as i know that she has read enough of our story!
IMMEDIATELY putting Ethan down on the floor, he went running off to explore!  He was zooming right up onto the platform, checking out all of the musical items and even got introduced to a new friend.  SO....THAT whole story was my FIRST MIRACLE!
It was lunchtime for the twins, in fact, it was already thirty minutes PAST and since i know that THAT fact could become a REALLY big deal, i tried to get us out of there ASAP!  I gathered all of us together when Liz came walking by to let us know that they had just had Sophina and she was WET!  Ally & Ethan went to get the car, Vica & Catia were going to take Sophina and while they got the kids in the car i was going to run all the way to the end of the church to QUICKLY say hi to our chef from the restaurant that i worked at for over five years.  I was a poor example to children everywhere as i RAN down and got into the kitchen to give hugs, thank him for his incredible gift and tell him of my love and how much i missed working and being with all of them there. Seriously, that was all i knew i had time for.
I got out to the foyer & was quickly making a bee line for the door when i saw that our Victoria had been changing Sophina and had just gotten done getting her dressed into new clothes! A dear friend was then able to share an incredible story in her life with me while Victoria finished up.  We all finally got into the car and made it for home.  I got the kids all set up with food for the twins as i ran for a special treat of Papa Murphy's pizza (with a coupon to boot).  I got back in time to oil both kids and get Ethan down for his rest time.
THEN, time for the second miracle.  Going back to the fact that we had our Cafe Renaissance Chef in the church :)  My friend, Ahmed, donated his time and made enough food to feed 350 people!!!  One of the announcements that was made at the beginning of the church service was the fact that there were only 70 openings left to fill the 350 spots.  The pastor made a long and great PLEA for people to go to the 'table talk' time (where the people spend 1 1/2 hours eating and discussing the sermon that was just preached).  (our church, i believe, is in the size now of about 600-700 people) When we were just about to leave the church, you could tell that the line was long and the people heard the plea and obeyed and WENT! ;)  I knew that by the time i would get there the food would be gone but i wasn't going back to church for that....i just wanted to be able to see how Ahmed was (as it was already 1:20pm when i got there).  As i was walking to my van in our garage, a voice in my head said to take some containers.  I took another step and went back inside and got four containers that Scott had had out in ND but had never opened.  He had brought them back with him a few times back ago.  I got to church, left them in the van and ran inside to talk to Ahmed.  I was shocked to see that he not only had leftovers but a BUNCH of leftovers and his first words to me were...."do you have any containers that you could take some home with you?"
You see, i knew this week that there would be no way that i could go to the 'table talk' as that is the EXACT time where our family is at its busiest season....feeding, pottying, oiling and resting.  Yes, it takes that long to do that with the twins AND at least three of us all helping at once.  I tried figuring out a way that a couple of us could get there but there was no way.  I was bummed but i have really gotten used to having losses as i know that this is just for a time and I was fine in the end.  GOD HONORED THAT and not only gave ME a plateful but filled me up to overflowing! (Ahmed gave the rest of the food to Place of Hope!) I got to talk to Ahmed for almost a half hour! I went home and dropped off the four containers AND Ethan's glasses that i found on the floor of the van ;)  THAT story was MIRACLE TWO
Now, for another big one.  My girls know that mommy doesn't get out (unless you count grocery stores, doctor appointments or Sam's Club and if i am blessed, CHURCH) SO when they heard that i could go out with a dear close friend this afternoon....they shooed me out of the house!  (Vica & Catia were concerned as to why i was home already when i brought back the food from the church & were relieved as I dropped off the items and left for my time with my friend- they were so sweet as they thought that my time had been cancelled).
My friend and i took our time, enjoying each other's company.  One and one-half hours into it, Vica called to say that she had already fed Ethan his supper and asked if she could give him a bath!!!  Ummm......let me think about this!  SURE :)  She told me that we could take as long as we would like and that THINGS WERE GOING WELL AT HOME!!!  I called an hour later and all was STILL going well!!!  They ALSO had given SOPHINA a bath (which is MUCH harder than Ethan-as Ethan LOVES baths)!  I called another hour later as we had walked out of the restaurant and my friend had asked me if i wanted to go shopping with her as she needed to go pick some things up.....the girls AGAIN said....."Mom, as long as you are home before it is time to get Ethan his night time meal, have fun!!!  The twins are doing great!"  Mind you, Ally had not been home this entire time!  This was just the two middle daughters....Vica and Catia!!!
May i say that i got a respite!?!?!  May i say that i was COMPLETELY and OVERWHELMINGLY blessed beyond what i am worthy!!!???  Oh my goodness!!!  WHAT. A. DAY!!!  I am ALWAYS BLESSED!!!
THREE miracles in one day!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A incredible miracle!

I have to tell you that yesterday and the day before that were EXHAUSTING and made my back side HURT and my back feel like it was going to break.  Neither Ethan NOR Sophina were going to the bathroom well AT ALL!!!  Sophina is STILL REFUSING to go poo poo on the toilet due to an earlier time on there that seems to have scarred her for awhile, at least and Ethan just seemed to refuse to care.  I would sit there for forty-five minutes as they would stink up the bathroom (obviously trying to hold it in while yet leaving the aroma of what was being held in!!!).  My bumm was killing me.  
If you read my FB posts yesterday, you realize that yesterday was quite the day in and of itself and to have literally HOURS spent on a little tiny plastic stool that my bumm barely fit on for two days was EXHAUSTING!  Also, the exhaustion was due to the fact that i was beginning to wonder if i had just started too early!  WHAT WAS THE POINT!?!  Sophina, for three days now, has waited me out (except once, a little slipped out because i had her so distracted and when she realized it......let's just say that she was HORRIFIED and begged to get OFF the toilet-IMMEDIATELY---as she was turned COMPLETELY backwards lifting herself up into the air like one of those acrobats that can lift themselves on one arm).  THEN, i would finally give up after waiting as long as my old body could handle, only to have to change her diaper three minutes later.....EVERY SINGLE TIME (yes, even the time with the slippage).
SO, THIS makes THIS afternoon all that much better!!!!  You see, MY Ethan....OUR Ethan........HE NOT ONLY POOPED BUT KEPT pooping like he did in those first two days when i thought he "got it" and LOVED my cheering for his pooping abilities.  I have no idea how he does it!  SO, this afternoon, instead of sitting there for forty-five minutes in complete HOPE of ANYTHING to happen, i was sitting there in complete awe as i continually THOUGHT that he was done only to realize well, that he wasn't!!!  THREE times this happened, in a time span in between 4:30pm and 8:45pm!!!  YEP, i DID let him stay up 45 minutes PAST his bedtime!!!  Are you kidding me???  Poop all you want and you can stay up!!! ;)
Victoria and i oiled his precious little body.  I was completely amazed that he wasn't having a massive melt down as is his typical if he is even up ten minutes past his scheduled time for bed.  Catherine and i took him up to my room where Ethan sleeps in his crib, just a few feet away from where Scott and i sleep.  He got into my lap for our nightly time in the old rocker. He immediately curled into me (which i don't think will EVER get old and has only happened since a friend of mine told me a great tip for bonding).  I was expecting him to also be his typical wiggly self yet was surprised to have him STAY in the cuddled position......which was also not lost on me.  (I never understood the gift of cuddling with my girls until i didn't have it with my son......cuddling with your child is a GIFT!!!  PLEASE, if you have children and they cuddle with NOT take it for is an incredible BLESSING!!!)   Anyway, Ethan stayed cuddled right into me with his little legs wrapped around my body and his face right against my chest, looking right up into my face.......THIS is the reason that i have WORKED SO HARD to bond with him!!!  (i am shaking as i write this....i am choked up with tears as the gift tonight was amazing)  He continued to stay that way for the five minutes that Catia was in the room, preparing things for bedtime.  She did what she does EVERY SINGLE TIME that she leaves the room with Ethan.....she went through the doorway and said, "Good night, Ethan........I LOVE YOU"  Ethan turned then, toward her voice and then turned right back and looked up into my face, just as she turned off the light and the room went into pitch darkness.
Now, i have to be completely honest here.  I had a TON to do yet and i was already an hour late by now.  I had meat that i had to cook up yet and more things that i should do and then there was Sophina who hadn't even started to eat yet!!!  I was rushing through the songs that i sing to Ethan every single time i hold him in this rocker that i had rocked our other babies in.  THEN, all of a sudden, i remembered that Catia and i had decided that i should oil Sophina BEFORE i had taken Ethan up to bed as he had been on the toilet with Victoria watching him that time.....and i had taken Catia's advice and oiled Sophina.  I KNEW that the girls COULD feed Sophina as i HAD already made her food and they WERE giving her her milk.  I IMMEDIATELY slowed down my songs and then as i realized that Ethan was getting even CLOSER to me....i went SLOWER.  Less of me was thinking about what i needed to get done and more of me was focused on this precious boy in my arms.....the nagging thoughts about the house and the meat and even the girls......were going farther and farther away.  I finished my last song and by now had his face almost to my own and i didn't care that it was killing my back.  (weeping right now)  I realized that his even breathing showed me that this was one of only three times that Ethan was falling asleep in my arms. I sat there for a minute more, drinking in this precious time and leaned to get up when he jerked his body to try to make me sit back down!!!  I did!!!  I cuddled him up to where our faces were now touching and his body LOVED it.  His breathing slowly went back to its evenness of sleep. I waited a little more then got up and took the three steps to his crib where he started to cry.....not in his typical anger tantrum cry but rather, he sounded like a baby.....a baby who wanted his Mommy!  A baby who wanted his Mommy to hold him longer.  HONESTY mind thought this thought......"if you go back to the rocker, you are going to teach him that you HAVE to be there with him until he is COMPLETELY asleep and you do NOT want that" to which i walked right back over to the rocker and sat down.  To which in response, my son stopped crying a cry that i have hardly EVER heard.  I decided that i would sit and enjoy this incredible gift that was lasting way longer than i ever dreamed possible!  We cuddled close together in the same way as before and i KNEW that he was in a place of TOTAL REST in a way that he had rarely allowed himself!  OH MY WORD!!!  I cannot begin to tell you what it was like!!!
I finally went to put him into his crib where he again started to cry as his head hit the pillow but i played with his hair and cuddled up his blanket that was made just for him (and that we left with him after our first visit to be with him in the orphanage in Bulgaria and then brought home when we took him with us on the second time) up against his face.  I scrounged in the dark for a stuffed animal that had been thrown out of his crib for his sleep.  I stayed for a few moments longer and closed the door with a heart that was feeling COMPLETELY and UTTERLY i ALWAYS am, you know!!!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Had an interview with a woman from Ukraine

We had a VERY busy day today! We had LOTS and LOTS of snow to move, not only in our driveway but also our deck. Plus, i needed to get some food so we could actually HAVE those Swedish Meatballs that we were SUPPOSED to eat last night (but couldn't leave my house due to the amount of snow when i FINALLY had time to go get the potatoes and vegetables for the meatballs).
Lizzie had seen the meatballs on FB and had been dreaming of having them since last night SO i told her to come over for 'lunch'. Our lunch at our house is closer to 3 than it is to 1pm and today i was hoping for eating time to be 2pm BUT due to the fact that Sophina was REALLY struggling with eating this afternoon, we were late.
Also at about noon, i realized that i had set up a meeting with a lady who wanted to interview me about our two children with Down Syndrome. She was originally from Ukraine and i HAD been thrilled but i got a little panicked as my house was not ready and it was time for the twins to eat AND i was trying to get the food for the rest of us ready for our '2pm' eating!
Well, with a LOT of help from everybody....we did NOT eat at 2pm but at 2:25pm- i actually had to ask if we could start fifteen minutes late! NOT good! (the food however was AMAZING!!! Oh my should have heard us......we were noisy eaters! ;) )
As soon as i saw Alla, it was as if i was back in Bulgaria.....she was obviously from Eastern Europe (so beautiful) and her accent was just as beautiful. It was SO good to have her in our home! i LOVED it. I introduced her to our girls that were at the table. Then, I had a few bites left so i finished that in the kitchen and had our Lizzie talk with her since our Lizzie has been to Ukraine on multiple missions trips. Alla got to meet Sophina and Ethan too (later). She was in our home for over two hours. She heard lots about our family. She was in awe that our faith in Jesus Christ and that it would be one of the main reasons that would affect us so much that we would bring a little boy HOME. She was shocked as to what we do here at home. She just kept asking me about things and her interest was SO exciting. She is a very special lady whom i hope will come back to visit. What was fun was that we just told her about our daily lives and to see someone, outside of people that know us, see our lives brought us all a different perspective. It was refreshing and invigorating and fun and delightful!!!
It was also fun to see her face LIGHT UP when she met Ethan and then Sophina at the end of the interview. She even bent down to their level and spoke with both of them. She was so excited over the information that she had gotten from us.
Ethan seemed out of sorts while she was here (he was only with us for about fifteen minutes) AND after she left. I am still trying to figure out if it could have been from his meeting a woman who brought back memories or if it was just a hard night BUT things were definitely DIFFERENT for the whole rest of the night. Things that are not even typically an issue. What was interesting was that Ethan got "clingy", which is rare. He wanted MOMMY and ONLY Mommy to hold him and he started acting out. SO, she did get to see more than most people do but she seemed unaffected.
It is another case of being so frustrated that i can't KNOW what is going on in his head yet. He IS doing MUCH better with communicating for what he is wanting but it was not that kind of communicating that was needed. I think that it was more about 'emotions'. It is just a really hard part of being unable to figure out the needs of one's child so you can disrupt the stress that the child is feeling. It went on all night too so that is why i am wondering if it WAS a subconscious deal with hearing the accent again. hmmmmm......
So, this was our VERY unique day and was one of the most beautiful days to wake up to the scenery outside....just stunning creation from a Creator who LOVES humor :) I am ALWAYS BLESSED

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I learned even MORE.....

The outpouring of responses from my last blog was COMPLETELY and OVERWHELMINGLY shocking!  I am a little person in the land of blogging.  I have learned a lot of things that have changed me already.
When Scott and i were being led to adopt, well, the timing was HORRIBLE!!!  Our eldest daughter was getting married, Scott had just started a job that was nine hours away and would mean that he would only be home for 6 days every 6-8 weeks, our toddler with DS had MAJOR eating issues, and the list was a MILE long!  It just did NOT make ANY logical sense!  It did NOT make any person who likes their 'ducks in a row' kind of life feel like it could be right!  YET, we kept going back to what the Lord was saying.....and over and over and over and over again....we were to adopt whether it made sense to anyone else or not!!!  The verse just kept going over and over again in our heads and out of our mouths...God's ways are NOT our ways!!!
Well, i have to tell you something that was going on in my mind since Ethan has been home and i have seen multiple families ALREADY going back to bring more children into their lives.  My thoughts went something like this.  WOW!  I wonder what i am doing wrong in that there is NO WAY that i could EVER bring ANOTHER child into our home when Ethan isn't really where he should be in his adjustment, our family life is just crazy, Sophina is still having eating issues that take hours a day, and we have had enough craziness.  What i found out through MULTIPLE messages, messages in a private group, FB responses and your responses on here is something i never would have guessed!
I heard from many people who have already adopted and have adopted recently and people who adopted more than one child at a time and do you know what was AMAZING TO ME!?!?!?!  Their children were still struggling with adjustment, were still having major affects from the orphanage, were still trying to figure out how to live in a house with a family, etc..... THEIR LIVES WERE NOT ALL back to 'normal' yet.  "Ducks in a row".....well, that went out the window!  Where is that in the Bible anyway? ;)
Another amazing thing is that i have quite a few friends who are adopting again and it makes absolutely ZERO 'logical sense' or 'earthly sense' BUT when it is put into God's perspective- it is PERFECT!!!  Shannon, with her family, are adopting again.......and are at peace in knowing that this is what God has asked of a time that to the outside world -doesn't make sense.  Another friend, whose daughter was at the same orphanage as our Ethan and also adopted two others on that trip AFTER we brought home Ethan, is also adopting again!  People are surprised as it has been a life of adjustments YET GOD ASKED!!!  They answered with obedience!  Another dear friend is one who i have also asked prayers for as her son went to Jesus almost five months ago.....and in the middle of their intense grief.....God has asked them to bring home a sibling group of three children home!  God called them, they obeyed!!!  What i have realized is that the outside world may think that this is crazy BUT get isn't about what the outside world is believing is best for a family, it is what GOD thinks is best!
This past group of times at our home school group i have been a helper in a class that i have an absolute PASSION for and that is the Heroes of the Faith series which shares our forefathers (foremothers) in a biography form from their childhood and throughout their lives.  Well, this class has been doing Gladys Aylward -  a single woman who took care of over 200-TWO HUNDRED orphans!!!  The first child was a little girl who was being sold right before her eyes.  She didn't have food, she didn't have a room, clothes, or ANYTHING for a little girl and YET......she adopted her on the spot!  Yes, do not give me all of the excuses as to why that couldn't work today as the POINT is that it did NOT make sense LOGICALLY YET God asked her and she INSTANTLY said YES!!!
God does NOT make sense when He asks MORE of us than we are capable of!  What is amazing is that i think that He does it all the time and we get too full of fear, fear of failure, what others will think of us, fear of messing it all up and hearing our friends say-"i told you so".  What Gladys Aylward and what some of my friends are finding is that instead of getting PRAYER support and encouragement from the people who believe in the God of miracles.....they are getting told all of the reasons why the timing is NOT right, why it can't work, a sense of gossip happening etc.
The FORTY plus books that are done by YWAM are called Christian Heroes: Then & Now and are FULL of people who make absolutely ZERO sense to the world around them and do you know what? GOD USES THEM!!!  God, in fact, blows the minds of people all around them as no one can understand!  No one could figure out HOW Gladys could care for over 200 children AND do all that she was doing besides that,  Eric Liddell did NOT make sense in refusing to run on a Sabbath, George Muller cared for over ten THOUSAND children in Bristol,  Jim Elliot said a famous quote that we all love to say BUT it is one thing to say it and another to LIVE it (or to watch as someone ELSE does it) "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose," and MANY MANY more names that you all would know!  What is 'funny' to me is that we all LOVE to read about them BUT IF we were to have lived back in their day.....what would my response have been to them when they told me what God had asked of them!?  What would YOUR response have been?
SO, all of this to say......if God is calling you to DO SOMETHING that is NOT making any sense here on earth.....i PRAY that you will DO. IT.  AND i am also going to add this......i pray that not only will people SAY that they are supporting you BUT WILL support you through words of encouragement, financial, PRAYERS and ways of DOING WHAT THEY CAN!!!
The Lord does not ask us to be perfect BEFORE we have Him in our life- THAT is what HE is all about.....perfecting US!  It is just like this in our LIVING OUT our CHRISTian walk....He doesn't ask us to have everything all 'set up' so we are "ready to DO His will"......we just need to DO IT WHEN HE ASKS!!!  No matter if our neighbors, friends, family and acquaintances think that we are NOT doing what we SHOULD be!  GOD is the ONE who we will stand before someday and HE is the One we will have to answer to!
This was written on Saturday night and this morning i heard a sermon which the pastor was talking about Abraham and how HE OBEYED God in such a way that was NOT easy and was FULL of faith YET, get this---AFTER he obeyed Abraham was living in a time of HORRIBLE famine!  The pastor said something that i also want us ALL to remember in OUR times of doubt AND for those who are watching someone step out in faith.....JUST because someone followed God in obedience and faith does NOT mean that all is going to go well!!!  We or they may be put into a famine!!!  Amazing how God brought that time for me to be able to hear that part of the sermon ( a miracle in itself this morning ;) )
PS  I have permission from the THREE SPECIFIC families that i spoke of and i will be continuing to show US how we can HELP them in their OBEDIENCE!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Do we believe in God's Redemption Power?

The past many months i have been quiet.  I have been quiet because of many reasons. People don't believe this but i have even been quiet on FB.  Comments were made over these eleven months that hurt. People said things that made me go further and further into quietness. What is amazing is that TODAY i have decided WHY i no longer CAN be quiet.  I believe in God's redemption power!!!

Let me explain and yes, i am sorry but, this one is going to be LONG-VERY long!  When Sophina was in the Children's hospital, many people asked why i would show the pictures of her looking so horrible.  THEN, when she had her surgery some people were horrified that i would take pictures of her coming out of surgeries with all of the gadgets....with her looking so terrible and blood everywhere.  I told them the reason and now it is applying in my life again.....because i want to be able to show her where she came from.  I want to be  able to show her how far she has come.  I want her to know what she went through.

Another background that i feel comes into play here is in the Christian realm.  In the Church as i was growing up and even now, as a whole, on the average, we say that we want people who are searching, people who are living on drugs, sexual sins, struggling with addictions, come through our doors BUT our human response to people who may smell of alcohol, or dress inappropriately, or just plain ole stink are NOT the ones that we all run to embrace on a typical Sunday morning where we come with our own masks of what we ourselves are struggling with.  The depression, the anger issue, the pride, the swearing, the things that we watch when no one is looking, the sins that no one can see....those are the things that we can hide......and that is EXACTLY what the evil one wants.... HIDING.  BECAUSE when things are brought into God's light....that is when the HEALING happens, THAT is where God is, that is where TRUTH is dealt with- in the LIGHT.

Now, for what i believe about international adoption, as that is all i know AND at is only my child.  From the very beginning, i was warned that i probably should not be sharing what i had shared.  So, i closed it down a little.  Someone else said that i was sharing too much.  Someone else said that my posts were too long.  It continued to where now i have been sharing very little of my heart AND thus, my heart has been getting covered in layers of protection from pain instead of vulnerable and open.  THAT is who God made ME.  I have always been an open book.  It has been since i was young.  Victoria reminds me of ME when i was her age and believe me it doesn't get her a lot friendships either.

This week is marking eleven months of having Ethan home with us....being in our family.......being my son!!!  I believe that HIS LIFE is going to have God's redemptive power written all over it one day BUT until then......his life.....****tears****.....his life has been a very hard one.  His life is NOT one that everyone WANTS to see.  His life with us is HARD.  His life with us is ugly.  His life with us is TOUGH!  His life with us has moments of pure joy for something that other people see DAILY, several times a day even. Yet, his life with us has taught me more about God's love than anything else in my entire forty-seven years.

Our son bit me HARD within the first few hours of being in the van leaving his orphanage.  My thought was that he was teething BUT I was immediately shown his teeth chart showing that the teeth were all in.  I had a bruise for a week.  Those days in the hotel were scary to both Scott and i as we watched a little boy be so scared and not knowing how to be in a family as all he had ever known was a big cold building with workers in uniforms and dozens of other children.  I was completely exhausted when we landed and couldn't wait to collapse into someone's arms.

Scott was only able to be home for seven days and we knew that it was going to be TOUGH that very next morning home as we prepared for Mother's Day service.  What i know now is that what we experienced that morning was NOTHING.  It was so hard to have Scott leave and Scott hated it just as much as i did (and still does).  The hitting happened the very first morning with Sophina getting hit in the head HARD with a hard plastic cup.  Sophina, on that first day, was HORRIFIED that anyone could ever be mean to her.  We made him ask her for forgiveness.  She struggled for only a moment to forgive but we have it in a picture.....her eyes red (showing the long sobbing that she did of a broken heart more than a bruised head) but she held him entirely, without holding back.  This month, whenever Ethan gets within three feet of her she instinctively backs up to protect herself.  She has been pushed, hit, had her hair pulled and on rare occasion, has been bit by her big brother.  One day, i pray that he will do the opposite.  That first day when he hit her over the head, he didn't like it that she cried....he STILL can't stand it when she cries.  He almost always wants to comfort her but many times will push her hard again so we are ALWAYS standing RIGHT THERE when forgiveness is being 'asked' for!

Ethan pulled hair like crazy.....of all of us females.  For some reason, Ethan tends to do things in spurts and right now that is on the last of his list of 'tools of owies'.  He would pull Sophina's hair when we would have it in a pony tail or when we wouldn't.  All of the females had long hair when Ethan came.  Ally cut her hair first, then Catia and Vica and i haven't yet.  He does not pull hair at school.  Nor does he hit, bite or hurt others physically.  Of course, it could be because there is almost always an adult nearby him at all times.  Adults are not ones that he messes with too often, except maybe to pull off their glasses.  We were also told that that is not a place where his attachment issues are struggling within him.  Also, we have found that he instinctively knows who he can 'control' and who he can't.

The hardest part of all that Ethan does is not the poop issues (it happened too many times where he would get the diaper off and eat what was in there BUT Mommy is smarter now AND will never again allow him to be in his crib with a non-duct-taped-diaper with his pj's on the correct way EVER no matter how much i need him in a time out), not even the issues of the physical stuff but rather the laughter in his eyes and his laugh when he does it.  It has been eleven months now and yesterday was probably the hardest day so far.  It was just so continual.  He seems to take pleasure in his painful ways.  One of the things that we heard and i personally saw was that when a child SMACKED a worker HARD across the face, the response was laughter and going on with her conversation.  My thought was that i was PLEASED!  I was thrilled in fact that they hadn't beat her (that particular child) up.  I now no longer am PLEASED.  I am horrified that our son believes that it is FUNNY to hurt another person.  I have been told that it will take as many years as our son was in the orphanage to unlearn what was put into him BUT when it is the first three years of life.....i am wondering if it may take longer.

Ethan has had tantrums since day one that blew my mind and still do.  This past Easter was one of the worst!!!  He was mad at me that i didn't have his banana ready for him when he came up to his high chair to get in and started yelling at me in his gibberish and not just yelling at me but SCREAMING at me.  I then told him calmly that he was NOT going to get a banana unless he stopped screaming at me and now had to ask nicely for a 'banana please'.  It was forty-five minutes.  Forty-five minutes of LOUD screaming at the top of his lungs.  (he has amazing lungs)  We had to take Sophina out of the room because it was too much for her.  Then he finally calmed down and ate his banana, after asking nicely for it.  I had his beloved hot cereal ready for him and he pitched another fit and for the first time, i took him out of his high chair and put him in a time out.  It was another hour.  Meanwhile, the girls were trying to get ready to go to church.  It was utter chaos even though we had been 'ready' the night before.  I knew the night before that Easter was not going to work for Ethan and had told Ally who then told Nate (our son-in-law and father of our grandchild ;) ).  Nate came in to pick up the girls and to give hugs to Victoria and i as we were staying home with the twins.  When Nate saw me he looked with a question in his eyes as to what was wrong and then hugged me to which i collapsed into tears.  The past three weeks have been the most exhausting of the eleven months.  To receive that hug was an answer to prayer as the Lord KNEW i HAD to have touch right then.  It was a treasure to me.  The girls went to church.

I have missed more church than i have been to.  WHY?  I know that our pastor would be fine with our being there BUT may i tell you what our Sundays looked like.  It was CHAOS, no matter how much we prepared the night before.  One of the twins would either poop out an outfit or refuse to eat or would wake up so crabby that we would be exhausted in the first hour and know that there was no way that anyone would hear the sermon in the foyer as it echoes in there.  Or....we would finally get everyone into the van and into church but the noise would be too much for Ethan even though my soul NEEDED to BE WITH these people.  By the time that the hundreds would get into the service, Ethan would be worked up.  SO, we learned to go 'late' so that the music would be started already as Ethan LOVED music!  BUT, what we found was that IMMEDIATELY after the last note was sung Ethan would start SCREAMING loudly.  Of course, everyone would turn around instinctively.  SO THEN, i learned to leave when i felt like it was the last song and go to where i was right next to the back door.  THEN i would try to hold him or have him sit next to me out in the foyer.  I was wanting to teach him, like he learns in school, that there is a time for quiet.  I would literally and i MEAN literally be in a MASSIVE sweat by the time the service was done.  THEN, Ethan would be seeing men and women talking in the foyer and children running around and wonder why i was holding onto him and making him sit.  It happened the same way on the last Sunday i was there....Palm Sunday.  The reason that i MADE us go was because it is our daughter Catherine's favorite church day of the year and she wanted us to walk in with palm branches as a family.  I walked in with Ethan holding his branches for just moments before dropping them and Victoria had Sophina with Catherine behind us with a friend.  IT WAS SO WONDERFUL being a family praising the Lord and not having to worry about Ethan making a scene.  A treasured few minutes.  Ethan did a FANTASTIC job that morning at church even though he had woken up in one of the grumpiest moods ever and THAT my friends is GRUMPY.  I had run with him (SCREAMING) over to where i put oils on him twice a day and instead of just on his feet, spine and chest....i SLATHERED him in all of the 'calming oils' all over his arms, legs, back, chest, neck-EVERYWHERE.  HE WAS CALM and i couldn't wait until Easter Sunday, the next week!  One day we will get there and i know one day even further down the road, HE will be LOVING to go there and even further i pray that he will be loving the Jesus who loves the unlovable, the sinner, the outcast.

You see that is what CHRISTianity is all about!  CHRIST did NOT come for the healthy!!!  He came for the sinner, for the one who stinks, for the one who strays, for the one that no one else wants, for the one who is dirty and broken AND CHRIST brings LIGHT into that darkness and that filth and He changes hearts and heals what is broken.  What i have FINALLY decided and now do not care if anyone else agrees is that my son, whom i love dearly and would protect completely, is my son.  I will be sharing the whole picture because i need to for what i believe is right.

He may not be a child that you want to hear about or may scare you from adopting yourself BUT I PRAY THAT THIS IS NOT SO!  We did NOT adopt because it was EASY!!!  We did NOT adopt because we wanted a perfect child!!!  The last reason that i am writing what is going on here is because when you feel like God is calling you to adopt....i want YOU to be READY!!!  I want you to know that it is HARD!!!  IT IS TOUGH!!!  IT IS EXHAUSTING!!!  IT IS GOING TO STRETCH YOU TO WHERE EVERYTHING IN YOU WANTS TO GIVE UP!!!  BUT IF GOD CALLED YOU....THEN DO IT!!!!  God is a God of redemption!!!  He is a God who makes things NEW!  Our son may struggle with control, with being kind to his sisters, and may struggle with even knowing how to love for YEARS and i pray not BUT maybe even the rest of his life!  YET, GOD is the One who kept opening the doors for us to GO and bring our SON HIS home!  God is the One who will USE Ethan's hard as it is, for HIS glory!  GOD is the One who called us to THIS be HIS family!!!

I am NOT a super human!  In fact, i feel like a complete failure in being a mother to a boy let alone to my daughters!  PLEASE do not idolize me because i am NOT worth idolizing!  GOD IS!  IF you do not want to see the ugly, the sinful, the messy life that i am living than please just let me go.  BUT if you would like to be with me on this messy journey of my new life....then PLEASE try to give me an encouraging word, a Scripture, a song or a prayer because it is needed.  I cannot do this alone!  God did not mean for us do LIFE on our own OR even with 'just' Him!!!

PS  I will also be writing all of the things that are NOT hard in our adoption process.  I didn't have time for this post BUT God was screaming it in my ear this morning as i was on my hands and knees cleaning up poop from Sophina!!!  Yep, last night it was Ethan's and this morning it was Sophina's (both were my own fault and BOTH brought me a LOT of learning... God is like that....He even uses poop to teach me a lesson!)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My five long days in the hospital is my hospital story. UGH! On Dec. 31st i was having bend over pains in my abdomen to the point of where i was not enjoying the end of night munchies as i had no appetite to WANT to. It had started at about 7pm. The pain woke me up @6am on a day that i could have been sleeping in :( I went downstairs to try to be able to curl more into a ball, walk, do something to help but nothing helped and i finally crawled back into bed and for the first time since i can remember.....i told the girls that i would not be able to get out of bed.....too much pain. It was bad.
I tried toast with butter and honey with peppermint tea....only got in one bite and a few sips of tea. I am forgetful of order here but i know that i heard the girls struggling with Sophina's eating and i knew that it would not be long and i would have to help. Sure enough, Ally came up and said that Sophina would not eat or drink for any of them. I took my heating pad with me and put it on my belly then my back to try to help with the pain. I was hunched over trying to feed Sophina.....i got her fed and got her to drink quite a bit of milk but just didn't have it in me to fight her anymore. I went back up to bed and tried one more bite of toast and another sip of tea and promptly went to sleep.
It was lunchtime and there was a need for mom so i woke up. The phone rang....Bob was on the phone and said that i should probably go in. LeAnne called the medical group for me while i was on with Bob and found out that the one i go to was closed for New Year's and the other one was already past booked for the whole rest of the day/night....the only choice was the ER. The girls said that they would hold down the fort.
SIX HOURS of waiting in the waiting room in the ER. Bob and LeAnne were with me the entire time. I finally got into the back where they did all kinds of tests. Tests were showing that something was wrong.....several tests were coming back WAY out of whack and i remember one test was SEVENTEEN times what it should be. They did a cat scan and had me drink some awful stuff......i had not eaten and i had hardly drunk anything due to the fact that the nurse told me that i couldn't in case they had to do surgery! UGH! I drank the stuff as fast as they told me and after the first scan on the Cat scan...i threw up all over the floor and into the lovely TINY bag put in front of my face as i lay there on my side on the scan table. The scan came back that my colon was VERY inflamed.
I was admitted to the hospital 12 hours after i had come into the hospital. LeAnne was with me the entire time and Bob (who is fighting cancer) was with me for eight of those hours as i didn't want him to be back in the room where they did the tests.........YET, he sat in that ER waiting room for a couple hours waiting. He came back to the hospital VERY late in the night with a few items he got from the girls for me. Scott was on his way home from work...a day early as he WAS planning on coming home for our only family CHRISTmas celebration with his side. His family had not seen Scott for a full year.
Sophina got very sick, coming off of the bus from preschool with a NAP on the way home. Scott said she had a near 104 temp. The doctors could not understand why i was still having pain....NOT as bad as before but it was still there AND i was having slight nausea after eating the little bit that i tried again to eat. They decided that i needed a colonoscopy to see what we were dealing with.
I dehydrate VERY easily and get migraines when i do. Thinking that since i had the IV, i should be fine....they started me on the horrible Crystal Light Drink that would "make my BM's look like pee". I had learned to SIP it SLOWLY from the cat scan.....SO i drank slowly from 2:30pm until i showed them that i thought i was done....MANY hours later. Again, i couldn't eat or drink. I had gone many nights without food, drink or sleep. The IV must not have been giving me enough because i wrote a note on FB that i could tell that i was fighting a migraine......hit POST and BOOM i fell onto the partially upright mattress in a ball and never moved a muscle for the next four hours. I never ever in my worst imaginations had ever known that a migraine could be so overwhelming. The half of my body closest to the mattress was falling asleep and there was nothing i could do about it. I was alone and in the worst pain and nausea i have ever experienced in my life. They gave me TWO Imitrex and it did NOTHING. The nurses were amazing. I could not see anyone as i couldn't even open my eyes and my body had collapsed with my head looking at my knees if i had opened them....i was in a ball. The RN was getting frantic as i could hear it in her voice....she needed to get me better before this colonoscopy! There was another nurse who was AMAZING in that she rubbed my pressure points in my head! She could only do it for a few seconds BUT i got some relief. That same voice got me an ice pack and put it on my head....again SOME relief. OH how i was longing for someone to come and rub my head with the oils that i had seen across the room before i fell onto the mattress so many hours before. They gave me another Imitrex....this time in the form of a shot in my belly. NOTHING The nurse was now getting angry as they were short staffed and i was not able to help her get me ready and she was getting called that i was late. She was doing her best but there was no one available to help her. I had had to go to the bathroom for a long time......i was now feeling very drugged, lightheaded and like i couldn't walk. I got to the bathroom with much help and another nurse came for a minute to help get me onto the bed for traveling. The ice pack/massager of my head nurse was the one who took me down....oh my....i felt like someone had given me bad drugs....i felt a different kind of awful.
They got me down there......i was now in tears.....i felt so alone as no one even knew what the last four hours had been like and no one knew that i was going into the procedure in a way that was NOT ideal. I laid on that bed with tears streaming down the sides of my face and no ability to wipe them......they had to actually help me sign the paperwork......i could barely lift my arm. i MADE SURE that the anestheseologist knew that i had had so many drugs just moments before and i told him that i was NOT used to it.
They contemplated not going ahead with it. I begged them to do it because i could not ever go through the whole process that i had endured again! They decided to go for it. They told me that they were going to give me a relaxer before they gave me the 'real stuff' and i told them to not give me too much because i knew i would not need much. I made it maybe thirty seconds and never even saw the doorway as i was OUT! Next thing i knew, i was awake and felt like i had had the deepest sleep of my life and then felt weird.
Dr Liveringhouse (?) let me know that they found no cancer or any other serious thing but next week would let me know the findings of the biopsies. I called them this morning and saw the findings this afternoon at the check up.....NOTHING! They decided that it was a bad viral infection!!!
The nurses laughed during my five day stay when people would tell me that i should be there to rest! HA! There were so many interruptions in sleep....1:30am/4am and 7:30 there was blood pressure, temperature, etc..... my blood pressure would take 3-4 tries and i would struggle to get back to sleep. The day time was no different. PLUS, the alarms, the hacking of people all around in the rooms around, the throwing up.....all of the noises i could hear. The fact that my arm had to be kept in a straight out position didn't help sleep at all AND then there was that long tube attached too. The nurses and doctors all agreed that this WAS NOT the place to get 'rest'.
SO....five days in the hospital.....horrible and painful things that would not have happened if i had been home.....i can't imagine the stopped our family CHRISTmas gathering......our family was in three different places......ALL for the outcome of a 'nasty viral infection'. i will never understand.....but i guess that i don't need to. I AM ALWAYS BLESSED

Friday, January 11, 2013

LONGEST one i have ever written....worth it

OK....I am going to try to put all of the story of our roof and Amara's Acts of Kindness into ONE story so you all will read the WHOLE thing.....WHY!?!?!  BECAUSE IT IS AMAZING!!!  On so many angles.
 I find it amazing that yesterday is the 'anniversary' of the family finding something wrong with their precious daughter.....yesterday was four years.
Here is what they found on that day.....i can't imagine the emotions.
"Our little girl, Amara, went in for an MRI scan of her brain and spine on January 9th, 2009. The MRI was done to just make sure that nothing was causing some motor delays and her occasional toe walking. The MRI found a "mass" in her spinal cord, and some "stuff" on her brain, and some nodules around the outside of her kidneys. She was immediately admitted to Children's Hospital where a large group of doctors did many test on her, drew lots of blood, and preformed a spinal tap. The oncologist told us that Amara is what they call a "Medical Mystery" to a lot of different specialist. So far all the test results have been normal. However, the group of doctors are all in agreement that the "mass" in her spine needs to come out. The surgery has been scheduled for Monday, February 2nd, at 7:30a.m. at Children's Hospital. This surgery will determine the next step of action, if any!  This was a complete incidental finding. We know that this has all been in God's timing and we have complete faith in the neurosurgeon that the Lord has hand picked for our little girl! As we are on our knees for our daughter, the Lord has picked us up and has taken us to a place of comfort, peace, and assurance! God is in control, our Savior, our Creator, and our Healer! This is the verse on our refrigerator, the one our daughter has memorized in heart, the scripture for the month of January. Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and courageous! Do NOT tremble or be dismayed! For the Lord, your God, is with you WHEREVER you go! " God bless you all! The Weidinger Family Matt, Molly, Amara, and Lydia"
 On July 26th, 2012.....Amara went to be with Jesus....she left an amazing testimony that will be worth the time to read

Well, it looks like everything has been set for Amara's Celebration of Life Service, thank you for all your prayers as they make final arrangements for this special day! Everyone at Plymouth Covenant has welcomed them with open arms, and are excited to be a part of such a special event! Praise God for such an answer to prayer!

Even though Amara was never a mystery to Jesus, she went to Heaven being a 'medical mystery' to some of the best doctors in the world...and because of that Matt and Molly allowed the hospital to do a full autopsy on Amara's body, in hopes that they will solve her 'mystery' and in turn be able to help the lives of many other children. So please pray for this process and as they wait for answers, that God will cover it all, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Here is a preview of Amara's obituary that will run in Sunday's Star and Tribune....and many of you have been asking for their address which is:
10051 Troy Lane North
Maple Grove, MN 55311

“Amara Susan Weidinger went to dance with Jesus, her best friend, on July 26th, 2012. She lived her life for the Lord and always found ways to SHINE FOR JESUS! Amara will be soarly missed here on earth, by everyone who crossed her path, however, we know that Heaven gained a MIGHTY warrior, that will continue to help lead the Army of Jesus! Her purpose in life was to make “fishers of men”, and she did just that while wearing her bright smile, colorful hats and fancy sunglasses! Amara spent her life dreaming and thinking about Heaven, and now she is finally HOME, in the arms of her Savior! You can learn more about her journey and how God used her kindness, love, and amazing faith to impact others, at . Amara, Daddy and Mommy “love you to the moon and back and back again”! Keep SHINING ON, sweetheart!

Survived by loving parents, Matt and Molly; devoted sister, Lydia; loyal dog, Haley; beloved grandparents, Tom and Susan Mickelson; (Bapa & Nana)Roger and Charlene Weidinger; Great Grandma, Mary -Charlotte Crill; Uncle Jeremy Mickelson(Teresa), cousins Owen(10), Nora(8), Finn(4); Aunt Anne Lenneartson(Jason), cousin Ellie(2); Uncle Steve Mickelson; Uncle Tim, cousins Timmy(11) & Taylor(11); Aunt Renee(Guy), cousins Randi(17) & Payton(5); Uncle Bill Shipton & Uncle Jack Rhodes; Uncle Dick Mickelson; Uncle Jerry Mickelson(Becky). She was also survived by many other, very special relatives, teachers, doctors, nurses, therapists, classmates, and numerous friends who loved her dearly, and who she loved SO much!

Amara’s Celebration of Life Service will be held on Thursday, August 9th, @ 2:00p.m. at Plymouth Covenant Church, 4300 Vicksburg Lane, Plymouth, MN, 55446. Please feel free to dress in your favorite color of the rainbow, as we CELEBRATE this special day!

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the “Amara Weidinger Fund” at any Wells Fargo.”

From ME now....Connie.....
"The last six weeks have been past overwhelming here at this house. Sick children, a friend with a son who was near death and is STILL fighting MRSA, without my hubby here (until this last week) and then finally me being in the hospital (a story for another day) but THIS story HAS to be told before i do one more thing!!!
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read this post - I am in tears already and that is another reason i just couldn't write....i am just so completely overwhelmed....
ok....deep breath as i sob. I pray that YOU are moved to DO SOMETHING because of what you next read here"
In the middle of these past weeks, a miracle happened! It was a "little" miracle at first. We found a roofer who said what i have been thinking for twelve years....the roof needed to be completely redone. The miracle in that.....the roofer was no one that i knew and i never WOULD have known had my cousin not been coming to visit our house often. I had mentioned about our roof HAVING to be done. There was no more putting it off! I had forgotten about her even mentioning that she knew an incredible roofer. A roofing company came to the door and i LOVED them! My cousin saw that and stepped into action immediately. The history BUT worth "the rest of the story".
The next miracle is one that God knows......God CHOSE this roofer for reasons that still amaze me! GOD'S TIMING BLEW MY MIND!!!! (crying all throughout writing this but really crying now) You see the timing of this was NOT just for me but also for the roofer. God knows EVERYTHING!
This roofer had children who went to the same school as Amara and my cousin's children. The roofer donated all of his time. What is amazing is that he did it with complete JOY! Just so very blessed!
The next miracles just kept growing and growing and the point of i still just cannot wrap my head around it.....oh my goodness.....i don't know if i can get through this.....sobbing. How can i see to write this!?!?!!? 
My cousin told me about this little girl named she had a friend whose little girl just passed away a few months the family started this amazing 'group' that does 'acts of kindness' so that Amara is never forgotten because she was just an angel with a heart that reminds me of our Sophina. I listened and heard of ANOTHER child who had passed away so young and it broke my heart BUT never dreamed that we would be the recipient of an 'act of kindness'. I was wrong!
Oh good grief.....whew!
My cousin was all excited as she told me about how this group was going to help us. I never ever could have imagined how much they were going to 'help us'. 
If you see the picture of our roof now....there are vents that are sticking out of the roof that are going to be a HUGE help from now on. THAT is the biggest difference between what was and what has happened. 
Our roofer found things that i think made his blood boil. The roof that had had to be put on in order for us to accept the price of the house twelve years ago.....was HORRIBLE. Our roofer took pictures since i was in the hospital and i have not been able to see them yet because there were just so many. Simple things that any roofer would know were done wrong and not done well at that.
(i am going to be exhausted after writing this all out)
Another miracle......having someone who cared enough to do it RIGHT! He was passionate about it. His crew came while i was in the was done in a little over one day and it came on a day (another timing miracle of God's) when Sophina needed something to have her mind on besides the fact that she was very sick and her family was all gone except Daddy who she doesn't get to see very often. Scott said that she LOVED it and 'talked' to the 'boys' out there all throughout the day. (another miracle......she is usually freaked out by loud noises)
Our roof takes my breath away. The color is so perfect.....the roofer picked it out......and it makes my house MATCH!!! I get weepy just pulling into the driveway. I don't know if there is anyone else on earth who is as grateful for a roof as i am. There are NO WORDS to describe what a new roof means to me. It has been a REAL burden for twelve years....a burden that became REAL every time i would pull into our driveway and SEE the shingles all curled up all over our roof! THEN there was the rain in December....for over thirty years i PASSIONATELY LOVED rain storms....the louder the better!!! I ADORED them! They made me giggle with delight! I doubt that any of my children will remember me like that as i have DREADED rain storms for TWELVE YEARS!!!
Ok....i've been trying and trying and trying to figure out how to share what was given to us but i have no easy way of doing it. I am sure that Amara's family was BLOWN AWAY by what was coming in for our roof (no pun intended). HALF of our roof costs were paid for. The roof costs were more than the other company had told us but that is because of the vents that HAD to be put in so the air flow worked for our vaulted ceilings. For those who saw what that cost was.....well, it was a LOT! FOR REAL, HALF of the cost of this beautiful, amazing, and fantastic roof was paid for. It was paid for by people that i don't even know! It was paid for by people i do. 
My family will try to honor the LIFE of Amara as these people have honored HER LIFE by blessing us with a gift that just can't be understood! Oh Molly......your daughter is smiling her beautiful smile on what is happening here on earth in her honor. You should be proud of your daughter, her legacy, her friends, her school, your family, your sacrifice of giving out of grief, your friends......i am ALWAYS BLESSED!