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 him......here 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 earlier....as 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 day....at 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, "again.....again.....music.....again" 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 predicament.....do 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 miracle.....an 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 you.....do NOT take it for granted.....it 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 again....my 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 blessed.....as 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 goodness.....you 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 them.....at 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 this.......it 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, etc.....to 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 that....it 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 home....to HIS home!  God is the One who will USE Ethan's life....as hard as it is, for HIS glory!  GOD is the One who called us to THIS BOY....to 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!)