Sunday, November 29
One of Emma's diapers made it into the washing machine!!!!!!!!!
Not just any diaper. No, this is Emma's diaper. You know, the ones with a super capacity to hold pee. The ones that are made to wear overnight (tho she wears them in the daytime and we add a booster pad in the nighttime). The ones that expand to three times their size. Yep, those.
And now the entire load of laundry is covered in that gooey gel stuff that's inside of diapers!!!!!
I've split the load in half (but left the load size as extra large so there's extra water) and I'm re-running half of it in the washer. If that doesn't work I have no idea what to do!
Saturday, November 28
I have to say, we had our hesitations about bringing our family of 7 into the home of another family of 7. BIG ones. Especially, when we've never met a majority of their family (just Shelley)! But Shelley and Robert both are such sweet and easygoing people with HUGE hearts, and their children opened right up as well :)
I'm afraid Kristopher and Zoe might have a little something going on... They are LOL! And Kristopher asked at dinner this evening whether he could marry someone from a different state. I said yes, why? He said he's thinking he'd like to marry Zoe. I told him that would be wonderful, but he has a looooong time to decide who he wants to marry. He seemed ok with that :)
Xander and Emma are also so very much alike. They definitely have their distinct little personalities, but so many of our joys and struggles with those four kids are alike that it's so easy to openly talk and be able to honestly have someone respond with "I know just what you mean." Micah is such a little lovey kid and he took to Shelley really well. He wanted to win her over I'm pretty sure! And Brianna took to Robert really quickly. (And I am now sure he really does like baby girls, he just doesn't want another one!)
Kristopher was in heaven both with Zoe and Jakob to play with. A big boy with play guns (we had about 4 conversations about not talking about guns at school) and a little girl who was just as bossy as he is :) Pure joy.
And not to leave out Olivia and Grifyn! Grifyn was right in with one group or another and switched off between the "big kids" and the "little kids". He and Brianna played a little and he played with the older kids some. He's much tinier than I had thought from pictures! But he's SO sweet and loving and goodness he understands a lot!
Olivia... she's going to be a wonderful mommy one day :) She decided Lynae was the neatest little person ever and after she figured out how to hold her without her arms getting tired, there was no getting the baby away (until she cried or pooped or puked!). Shelley had to quick and sneak in some snuggle time when Olivia wasn't looking or she lost the chance to hold her LOL.
Early mornings (WAY early the first morning... 5am is earlier than I ever want to be up!) with little ones, late nights talking and watching movies and just hanging out together, and fun relaxing days... that's the best way to spen a vacation.
Not only that, I'm home, it's 10:20 at night, and I don't feel like we just ran a marathon. It was relaxing, refreshing, and I hope we can talk the Bedfords into coming down here before too long (at least we know we'll see them in July for the conference!) to spend more time with their family.
We had a great time. I only wish we lived closer so we could have this fellowship more often. But a refreshing weekend away is just fine too!
I'm so thankful for each of my kids, too. We have surely been blessed. It took us 10 1/2 hours to get to their house (6 hours away) because of awful traffic and a wreck that had us sitting parked on the Turnpike for over an hour on the way up. But we had no problems in the car and the kids were great when we got there an hour after their regular bedtimes.
Then 3 nights (and naps and everything) in a different house and we really had no qualms. Two full days with an additional 5 kids and in someone else's house with different boundaries... and really no big difficulties. Then after we left the Bedfords around 10:30 and got to Jacksonville at 5:30... 7 hours later... we ate at Applebees with my older brother, Bruce (who hadn't yet met the 3 newest kids), and the kids were awesome. Seriously, they were GREAT. It always makes me feel good when the waitress comes over and makes a point of saying how good the kids are. Not to praise them or say "wow you were good!" to them. But to me, quietly, and to say "with so many little ones it could be so different, your kids were great, you're doing so well with them." That is the best way I could have chosen to end a 4 day trip.
We had a wonderful visit with Bruce and the kids all loved him. We hope to see him next month when he comes down for Christmas!
Better run... baby is ready for some snuggles after a long (sleeping) trip in the car.
Friday, November 27
Thursday, November 26
Tuesday, November 24
Knowing that I needed still to pack clothes for 6 people, clean out the van, and get the house under some sort of order not to mention gathering activities for the car, 2 playpens, etc... tonight, I asked Mike if he'd bring home dinner if I ordered it around the time he gets off work.
I got online at 4:30 and found a coupon in my email. Around 12:30 today they sent me an 'online coupon' for $5 off any $15 order placed online. Sounds good... So I put in a large stuffed crust pizza- half cheese, half Hawaiian. The total? $10. Because there's another deal going on that's ANY pizza ANY size for $10. Ok, so whatever else we want will be $5 off of it. Some wings are $6.99. $2 wings? Sure! Plus tax of course.
Well, as you might have noticed, Mike brought home the pizza and Kristopher was interested in finding out how they made it half with stuff and half without. He was pretty disappointed when he opened it to find his beloved cheese pizza was non-existent. In fact, so was our Hawaiian. With 6 of us sitting at the table ready to eat, I didn't have much choice but to say "pick it off". I did call them, though, to let them know there had been a mix up.
They put a $10 credit back on our phone #. So though our pizza tonight was still $12.79, We now have $10 toward a pizza. Maybe we'll slide in another dine-out night while they're doing the $10 any pizza deal.
Monday, November 23
What do you do for your kids to keep them entertained in the car? I have coloring books and crayons and stickers for K and B and a magna doodle for E. Everything Micah likes to play with makes repetitive sounds and though he can have some for a little while at a time, it will quickly drive the rest of us nuts. Hence my DVD idea. Maybe we'll put Emma in the back with Micah and just put the DVD player back there...
We really are going, though there's been several brief pauses to say "should we really go" with the family we're going to visit with, we really ARE going. Which means I really do have to pack up clothes, food, snacks, and gear for all 7 of us (ok, Mike can do his own clothes...) and we're hitting the road on Wednesday morning to go stay the weekend with friends. And yes, they, too, must be nuts to be having the 7 of us come up on a holiday weekend and join their family.
The bags of groceries (for Thanksgiving dinner!) are by the door and my children keep snatching the bag of marshmallows out of the top of one thinking they might be allowed to snack on those. Um... no. I found the bin in my closet with warm accessories in it and bout $1 hats at Target. Though we were thinking it would be in the 70's... there's a nice cold snap coming through and it's looking more like 50's. Still not cold, but to these Florida kids, it IS!
I just got done wearing out Lynae by dressing her in 4 different outfits trying to make sure the 3-6 month size clothes that I'm going to bring along won't completely swallow her whole. They are definitely a bit big still (she'll be ELEVEN weeks on Wednesday, hard to believe isn't it??) but I only have about 4 warm outfits in 0-3 months size so big and warm is better than cold :). She didn't mind the little mini-pageant too much. One of the warm outfits I just tried on her brings back memories :) I bought it for Brianna to wear for her first Birthday. I didn't think Brianna was that tiny as as were in that stage... but now seeing Lynae in the same outfit 9 months earlier... Yes, she was that tiny.
Off to get some things accomplished. Or at least try :) The kids have been thoroughly enjoying some new activities we have on the porch (one gifted and one loaned to us) and have been happily jumping, climbing, and playing all morning. Not sure how much longer it will last though!
Saturday, November 21
You know, those little bumps we saw on August 20th when Emma was brought to the doctor and had Strep (the first time). That was after a rough few days at school. Then, October 8th I blogged again about... Strep.
Go ahead, act surprised.
Emma and Micah both have strep. Brianna and Kristopher went to Sea World with Mike while I went to the ped with the other 3 kids.
They tested E for Strep and the flu. Strep positive, flu negative. Then I asked the nurse if they'd please also test Micah for Strep because if Emma has it... he probably does too! (I'd also mentioned this at check-in that if she was positive I wanted M tested also). The nurse says of COURSE and brings us back to a room again since they'd let us wait out the 10 minute test in the lobby instead of the room where Emma screams constantly. The dr comes in says the nurse already brought me a script for Emma, have a good one and is about to leave. Uh, wait!
I asked her to test Micah. There's no need. Seriously, that was her answer. Yes, there is a need. This is the THIRD time in 3 months that Emma has had Strep and both times Micah has had it too. I bet he does now. No, no need. Can't do it. I held my ground and said he has a runny nose, and I'd like him tested. She left saying they'd need to draw up an appointment for him too (so she can charge me for it). Fine. We wait. Nurse comes back. She asks if the dr swabbed him. Nope. WHY??? Then we weigh him and wait for the dr again. Finally she swabs and leaves (obviously miffed). The nurse comes back in and says that Micah's positive, pick the script for him up at the front. The dr didn't plan to come back in. Stinks when Mom's right and her child has a contagious infection that you didn't want to test for, doesn't it?
Now we have 2 kids on anti's. When they filled the scripts they gave us 250 ml for Emma and 100 for Micah. Emma only needs 150 for her dosage, though. I am VERY tempted to give the other 100 ml to Brianna rather than waiting for Monday to find out that she, too, has Strep.
I think I'll be calling the ped (our regular ped, not this person that happened to be on call from that office) and finding out what I need to do to get the kids tested to find out who's the carrier. Emma has her tonsils and adenoids out already and seems to be the one getting the most sick from it (twice anyway) so I'm guessing it's Micah or Brianna. And I lean toward Micah because he licks EVERYTHING so he's the easiest one to spread it to everyone else all the time. But Brianna sucks her fingers so who knows. Brianna's had her adenoids out already but Micah hasn't had anything done with his tonsils or adenoids.
Anyway, I now have a house full of Strep for the third time in 3 months time and I'm pretty tired of the smell of Summer Breeze. I suppose I should go buy some different scented Lysol to clean the house with this time? Thankfully the weather is now cool enough that we have the house open some and it's not nearly as stuffy with the scent of Lysol as it has been the last two times.
I really don't like Strep! (And of course I feel bad that the kids keep getting sick and that E DOES feel pretty miserable this afternoon because for some reason the doctor's office is like torture and after you've cried for so long and your eyes and nose are all red and swollen you have to feel miserable. It's a requirement.)
Friday, November 20
My answer: For us we brought home 2 children we weren't expecting to bring home. We went over for 2 preschoolers, we came home with two children at an infant level. Though we weren't prepared for infants, our transition home went wonderfully! The hardest thing was (and still is) bonding with an older child Something I didn't expect was autism or at least autistic tendencies. I, in fact, always said I couldn't deal with that ONE thing. Don't ever say never :) God doesn't call the equipped but equips the called and we love Emma without question and continue learning how she ticks and what we can do to help her as well as continue the process of trust with her.
From working with other families: In general families that have difficulty upon coming home (which I'd say about 1 in 10 have significant enough difficulties that they share, and others have adjustment issues but quickly resolve) it's based on behavior or a lack of connection.
Those are great big generalizations, but sometimes the behavior of the child- like Emma- is more affected by their time in an institution. Some children may have true autism. But a general thing that can be overwhelming is either 'orphanage behavior' (hitting, kicking, biting, pushing, never saying thank you, demanding things, jealousy of other children) or institutional behavior (stimming, rocking, grinding teeth, not doing well in new situations, spinning, hitting self). And then the lack of connection is generally the parent's side, but it's another thing that I've heard several times. "I love her but don't feel connected yet" I've heard twice this week. Sometimes it feels like you're babysitting someone else's child when you come home. Love is work. It will come ;)
I think families that expect instant love and gratification generally have a more difficult transition time, but some people definitely DO find that quickly as does the child! Some families that go in without expectations also find an instant connection and reward whereas others do feel the disappointment or difficulty with some things. A LOT just depends on the child/parent interactions and 'chemistry'. Some parents and children mesh immediately whereas some take a lot of time and effort.
Other ideas from post-adopt parents: Many people commented that their transitions home were easier than they'd expected. They found their medical info on their child was sparse and often inaccurate. Depending on who gave the information on the child and what the original intention of the description was for (funding or to find an adoptive parent or to dissuade people from adoption), the description may hold a completely different tone.
The question was also raised about previous descriptions and the expectations that come with it- giving a child character traits based on their photo or pieces of the description. That's definitely something to consider. Words can paint a picture, but not necessarily an accurate one :)
Feel free to add to this in the comments! This was a conversation going through RR today and I think it's a good one to share! :)
Emma was in the school clinic just crying and crying away... During speech she got mad that another little girl was doing the signs and getting the toy and she refused to cooperate and got mad. And cried. And cried. And cried. LOL She's had a runny nose for a while and the ear thermometer showed she was over 101 temp. Unfortunately with her teensy ear canals, they rarely read right. But the teacher sent her to the clinic and they took the temp again and it was somewhere over 100. Mike just brought her home. Happy. Carefree, and right at nap time.
Emma doesn't usually nap. But, if she is "sick" then she will nap!
I took her temp, 99.8. Maybe she's coming down with something. And obviously she was really upset (until Mike got there and calmed her down). But can you get so worked up that you run a low-grade fever? I have no idea, but her body doesn't feel warm just her forehead. I suppose her nose gook could have had her running a low grade temp already and we just hadn't noticed because she didn't feel warm and there was no reason to take her temp until she was uncontrollably screaming! LOL
I guess we'll know after she gets up from nap and I'll take it again. I was just putting M and B down, though, so down she went too. And she was none too happy about that. Her teacher is great and just called to fill in the gaps and let us know the circumstances surrounding her being sent home. I really don't mind them calling us to get her. I'd MUCH rather they call then have her screaming nonstop and just miserable at school. Then again, she won't be playing this game and doing this just because she didn't get her way either! We shall see....
I was going grocery shopping and had to get the groceries home but then I went straight to the church. Mike and I drove it around a while over the church speed bumps and through the parking log, through the grass parking lot... it kept doing it and it sounded awful! And... sometimes it came from the BACK of the car, other times further up the car.
We had just about decided to take it in to the shop when we discovered that the awful squeaking noise... was coming from INSIDE the car. Then it only took us a minute to locate it.
Earlier in the week I'd uninstalled and reinstalled Brianna's carseat because it had loosened some. When I reinstalled it I used the clip (as always) but I hadn't 'locked' the seat belt otherwise. You really don't have to, so no big deal. BUT... the mechanism that attaches the seat belt to the car, because it wasn't locked, was swinging slightly as we turned or hit bumps or started or stopped the car!! I pulled on it to lock and... voila! Car problem fixed.
WHEW! So very thankful that there's not an issue with the van!! (what would we do if it needed more than a day of maintenance?? All the carseats don't fit in our other car!)
Wednesday, November 18
A claim, I may add, that's 2 months old and that they'd held because they wanted to know if she had any other health coverage. Yet they've processed everything else and paid it out.
What will they tell me after these 3 minutes on hold that are wasting my time?
Hmm... it's been almost 3 minutes...
Should I be surprised that after 3 minutes all they told me is that they sent it back to the inpatient claims center and they'll pay it for me? Wow, what a waste of time...
Tuesday, November 17
My chocolate last night... well, I made some chocolate covered Oreos the day before and decided that I had a bunch of chocolate chunks and wouldn't it be fun to mix it in with the white chocolate. Thankfully I decided to melt them separately. The white chocolate was intended for melting and making candies and such out of. The chunks... not so much. So instead of a nice puddle of chocolate ready for me to dip the Ritz and peanut butter sandwiches into, I had a burnt heap of chocolate 'dirt' that seemed to be alive. If you ever need a smoldering volcano, this is your stuff! It wasn't liquid by any means. It really did turn into something that much more resembled wet dirt and grained off like that. But it was moving. Literally moving. Almost as if it was physically on fire.
I believe it may be a talent to be able to catch chocolate on fire in a microwave.
Kristopher, however, thought I was making brownies. I guess burnt chocolate doesn't smell so bad to a 5 yr old.
(The chocolate dipped Ritz peanut butter sandwiches were done with just white chocolate and are delicious, in case you wondered.)
This morning I sat down to nurse Lynae and even though I don't usually turn the computer on before school unless it's to check the weather, I did. And I even thought before turning it on that I was going to have to deal with Mike rolling his eyes... :)
So I turned it on and in my inbox found... 6 emails from my bank. Never a good start to the day.
This morning at 5am they were having fun without me. Apparently I wrote my homeowners insurance check from the wrong account. Not the end of the world, we have overdraft protection and it's a charge I didn't want, but it's just one check, right? No. Apparently they process the large amounts FIRST. So... Sunday afternoon's dinner from Panda Express $12. With a $34 overdraft fee. My $2 stop at McDonald's yesterday at lunch time? Add a $34 overdraft fee. Yes, this happened with SIX transactions!
And I get that the check was my fault. I have no problem with a $34 overdraft fee ONCE. But within 15 minutes they filed 6 transactions and put the one that was for over $3,300 FIRST so that all the others had insufficient funds... when in reality my account was just FINE when I made the other purchases.
I transferred the funds to the right account immediately this morning so there wouldn't be any other issues. Then I had to take the kids to school.
For whatever reason, 2 of the overdraft charges were gone when I got back home. YAY! That's $68! Then I called the bank. I explained that I understand why ONE charge is there, but that there's no reason for me to have insufficient funds on purchases made 2 days ago when they held that charge until after this large check went through. The funds were there NOW, so it's not like I'm trying to get off without paying something. I just think it's immoral to charge this way!
They reversed $70 of charges. I accepted that. It means 2 overdraft fees were removed and I was charged only 2. Still $68 I didn't want to donate toward my bank's pocket but it was definitely my mistake in writing the check from the wrong account and I completely understand ONE fee.
Better a fee from the bank than the government (for not paying the taxes). But even better if I just had my act together in the first place! I guess that 'savings' of a little over $100 for paying my taxes early is a bit nil now?
This morning when I brought the kids in to school I stayed around for 20 minutes then went to Emma's classroom to show her teacher how she's doing with the Pony Walker. She's started to use it appropriately some and we've brought it to the Special Olympics Young Athletes meetings the last 2 weeks. Her teacher brought in the gait trainer they're using at the school for me to see as well and to show me how she's doing in that. She does all right but there's still limited control when she does it. The biggest thing is that she wants to "slink out" of the gait trainer and her super lax joints just might let her do that! LOL
Emma signed more for me at school! She signed baby for us several times and she told me all done when prompted. She listened when I told her to stand up in the walker and to stop 'cruising' by shoving off with her feet. That little girl never ceases to amaze me :)
I spent that first 20 minutes in the preschool class and Brianna told me she needed to go to the bathroom and then went. She's become so independent in so many areas, I'm just waiting for it to 'click' to her that she can go to the bathroom by herself and stay dry all the time. Walking in to the school in the morning I was carrying the carseat and holding Micah's hand. Usually I sling Lynae but today knowing I'd be in Emma's class I brought in her seat, which meant that Brianna just walked with us without holding my hand. I crossed the line of kids coming in from the buses with Lynae and Micah and she stopped and waited for another opening. She even said "NO!" to a girl that turned and bonked her with her backpack (on accident, Brianna was standing just on the other side of a bush and she's REALLY TINY! LOL, the girl didn't see her until she said something). Then when she saw an opening (I really thought she was going to wait all the way until the END of the line...) she ran across! Big girl! I'm so glad she was assertive to the girl that bumped her too. She's little and is going to HAVE to say something or she'll get run over!
In just a few minutes I'm headed down to Lynae's 2 month check up. Then school pick-up and three kids are going to play at my parents' house for a little while. I'll be headed down with Micah to the orthopedic doctor for (hopefully his LAST) checkup on the curvature of his back.
Tomorrow morning is Brianna's IEP, and Thursday is the Kindergarten Thanksgiving Play as well as 'lunch with your child' for every class in the school. Seriously. They invited ALL the parents to lunch tomorrow. Can. We. Say. Hectic?? I'll be having lunch with Kristopher and Emma, and depending on what time that falls I'll eat with the preschoolers too, but I won't tell them I'm coming unless I show up :)
Next week we have Emma's IEP on Tuesday and I'll be spending the afternoon packing. Yep, we're hitting the road for Thanksgiving and visiting some friends :) Kristopher and Brianna are really excited about our little road trip, and Mike and I are ready for a little time away from everything as a family. Not sure yet whether we're leaving on Tuesday afternoon or waiting until Wednesday morning.
Off to the doctor's....
Monday, November 16
Sunday, November 15
Friday, November 13
Thursday, November 12
Emma's peeing out of the overnight diapers. She had to have her pants changed all 3 days of school so far this week. Overnights are already super absorbent! We tried UnderJams at night (she's leaking out most nights too) but the smallest size is too big on her.
Any suggestions?? She's in a size 6 Overnight right now and weighs 32 lbs.
Tuesday, November 10
Unfortunately, when she gets a little around her lips and on her sweet pink lips... she then looks... blue in the mouth. AKA: dead. Not a good look I don't think. I hope it's all better soon!!!!
And thanks for the tip about the grapefruit seed extract! I hope there's never a need for me to use anything more than the little bottle of purple stuff that we already have, but if there is then that is what I'll try.
I worked HARD for this little bottle though. You have no idea...
On Friday we brought Micah and Brianna to my parents' house and then went to the school. Mike and I checked in at the office and Emma and Kristopher went off to their classes then we waited for Kristopher's 1st 9 weeks award ceremony. He got an award for "Outstanding performance", which is an alternate to the perfect attendance since the Swine Flu allowed for an absence or two I think.
After the ceremony I picked up the little ones and dropped Mike off so he could go to work then went to GNC to see about getting some Gentian Violet. I drove by the window looking for their hours. None posted. It was already 9:30, the light was on, and there was a man at the counter at the back of the store, so I figured it must be open. I didn't have any strollers with me, so I ventured out with two 3 yr olds and an infant carrier and my purse across the parking lot to the store. (this was the beginning of my thoughts of wanting the monkey!) I got to the door, and it was... locked. Yes, they don't have hours posted but they don't open until 10am.
We went home.
I then called Wal-Mart to see if they had it. Nice pharmacist answered the phone. Said they have to special order it. Then said no, it's on the herbal aisle. Then she hung up. Before I could ask if it was in stock.
Mike's mom came over after lunch and kept M and B so I could go back up to the school and meet Mike for Emma's award ceremony. Emma got a teacher's choice award for the most improved in the lunch room :) She is now completely feeding herself with a spoon and fork for most meals!!
On our way home from school I stopped at Wal-Mart, put Emma in the cart seat, Lynae's carrier in the basket and Kristopher walked and in we went. We walked the aisles of the store. Twice. Then we found a helpful pharmacy worker. She told us she was 99% sure it wasn't stocked and had to be special ordered. She checked the computer and said she could order it for a few days out. Sure enough not in stock.
I went back out to the car and called my house then asked Mike's mom to look on the medicine bottles on the counter so I could call Walgreens. As I loaded the car back up I dialed then listened to the answering service:
"Thank you for calling Walgreens, Main Menu: If you'd like to speak with... I'm sorry. I didn't understand you. Let's try again... Main Menu: If you'd like to speak with... I'm sorry. I didn't understand you. Let's try again... Main Menu: If you'd like to speak with..."
I hate voice-prompt menus!! They always think I'm talking to THEM just because the person walking by made a noise or I closed a car door or... whatever! I dislike the system and it doesn't WORK!
Finally I hear "Let me find a representative to help you." FINALLY!
Then she puts me on hold. One minute. Two minutes. Three minutes.
And I hear.... "Thank you for calling Walgreens. Main Menu: If you'd like to speak with... I'm sorry. I didn't understand you. Let's try again... Main Menu: If you'd like to speak with... I'm sorry. I didn't understand you. Let's try again... Main Menu: If you'd like to speak with..."
Then I got a representative again. The same one. She said "just a minute." I went on hold again. One minute. Two minutes. Three minutes.
And I hear.... "Thank you for calling Walgreens. Main Menu: If you'd like to speak with... I'm sorry. I didn't understand you. Let's try again... Main Menu: If you'd like to speak with... I'm sorry. I didn't understand you. Let's try again... Main Menu: If you'd like to speak with..."
OH MY! The third time I spoke with the lady she answered the phone apparently knowing it would be me.
And guess what? They don't have it either.
I decided to try again at GNC. Three kids and I truck on in only to find out that they don't carry it either.
We went home. Then as a last resort I called CVS. Not only did they answer the phone when I called, not repeat the menu 3x to me, and didn't keep putting me on hold, they HAD ONE BOTTLE!
Mike's mom offered to go get it for me so I didn't have to haul the kids around again. That was MUCH appreciated.
So you see, I worked HARD for this little bottle of purple liquid. And we will be using it as long as it is working!!! :)
Sunday, November 8
There is SO MUCH that I'd like to share about orphans and ministries to get involved with, both locally and internationally...
Have you a heart for orphans? We are commanded to care for them...
Here are 10 ways (and the scripture that supports them) that you can, EVERYONE can, care for orphans:
- PRAY: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. -Matthew 7:7-8
- SPEAK UP for them: Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. -Proverbs 31:8-9
- PROVIDE for their needs: If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food…and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? -James 2:15-16
- SUPPORT those who support them: …and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds... -Hebrews 10:24
- PROTECT them from harm: The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, but He thwarts the way of the wicked. –Psalm 146:9
- VISIT them where they are: Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. -James 1:27
- GIVE sacrificially to them: Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. -2 Corinthians 9:7
- ENCOURAGE them to press on: We urge you brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. –1 Thessalonians 5:14
- ADOPT them into your family: A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God is His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families… -Psalm: 68:5-6a NIV
- MOBILIZE your church for them: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. -Matthew 28:18-20
These are from the "10 Ways" list made by Orphan Sunday.
Loren Eiseley wrote a story about a little boy with the starfish... it goes like this:
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?" The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean." "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man. To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die." Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!" At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."
Oh, how this story speaks directly to our impact on orphans! No, we cannot individually care for them all... but together we CAN, and when it begins to look overwhelming... remember, it made a difference to that one. And that difference is HUGE!
I want to tell you the story of a recent couple that went to Eastern Europe to adopt their son. It may sound strangely familiar... but no, it's not us.
J and G went overseas, had an appointment and received permission to visit with the child they've called their son. They met him, played with, and signed paperwork stating their intentions to adopt him. In the location of this child they would have to wait a week or more to receive a date for court, so the husband boarded a plane and came back to the US to await that date and return.
Their joy quickly was replaced by shock and fear as their dreams were brought crashing down. A year and a half prior a new document had been made about this child and in it many facts were misrepresented such as misspelling of names. This one document overrode all previous documents, and because of it being incorrect, this little boy whom the family had already named, had clothing monogrammed for, and had hugged and welcomed into their family... was not available for them to adopt.
The days were bleak as things were worked out, but in following what they believe God had for their family, this family decided to continue to expand their family on this adoption trip and determined that another young boy that would also be aging out of the babyhouse soon would be coming home as their son. Such a difficult decision, but it does mean LIFE for one child.
This little boy whose paperwork is wrong is now unadoptable. It's a sick and sad reality that paperwork can be what dooms a child’s future. But thankfully, we have a wonderful team in this country and they are working fervently to get this paperwork straightened out!! We hope and pray that this little boy will soon be available for adoption again and that he WILL be brought home!!
He has three things going against him right now, though. One is simply that he is a BOY. People are less likely to commit to adopting a boy, and I’ve seen statistics that suggest that more than 70% of the orphaned children are BOYS. The second is his AGE. He’s over 3, which makes him less likely to be chosen :( He needs a family that will not look at the birthdate and say “we’ve missed 4 years already” but instead look at his eyes and say “he’s missed us for 4 years already!” and bring him home. The third, is time. Because Joseph WILL be transferred before too long. We have a pretty good idea where he will go and it’s not a good place. BUT, it is somewhere we’ve had a successful adoption from! So there is still hope for him so long as he has life in his body.
Those 10 things that you can do for orphans, please go back and read them :) See what part you may plan in Joseph’s homecoming. This little guy is especially close to my heart because he is in the same situation my Sasha was in… but he has a second chance.
I don’t often fundraise long-term for specific children, but this one has me. Once a family commits to his adoption the process can be QUICK. Less than 6 months before he walks in the door of their home. And he doesn’t have a moment to waste… Let’s raise up a fund to help a family that desires to bring him home so that there won’t be any time wasted waiting for them to raise funds!!
Girl, Born August 7, 2005
And if this one specific child doesn't have a family committed to her adoption within the next few days, she will be sent to a mental institution where she will then be unadoptable and 'sentenced' to a crib for the rest of her life.
Here's a little about her: Lera is a gorgeous little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. She is 4 years old. She is quite high functioning, and doing very well. She has flat feet and a systolic heart murmur, but no major heart conditions. She is able to walk and climb, she eats by herself, dances, and understands and follows directions. She has also been transferred to the regular class, so she living and learning with her typical peers.
There's a grant of $1,000 available to the family that adopts her. It's so sad that she's run out of time. She is in RUSSIA and those are closed institutions. Here's the info about adopting from her region of Russia:
- 2 trips
- Both parents for first trip, about one week
- Both parents travel for 2nd trip, approximately 14 days (One parent may leave after the court proceedings are finalized, after about 5 days.)
- Total program and travel fees under $25k
- Fee includes a $1000 orphanage donation
- Only one child can be adopted at a time
- Married couples and single mothers may apply
Saturday, November 7
Ok, so I know these things are super controversial and I won't pretend to be 'for' or 'against' them because I really do understand both sides of the coin... But the thing is, we've never used one of these. We bought one once when we were going to be in the Chicago airport and we wanted to make sure there was NO way for Kristopher to get separated from us while we were trying to haul luggage and a 2 yr old and an infant through the airport. But Kristopher wore it once and decided if he had 3' to get away from us he would be that 3' away ALL THE TIME and we never again tried to use it.
But for the last LONG while it has been in the garage, LOST. We loaned it to a friend that was taking her 2 yr old twins on a cruise and after that misplaced it and haven't seen it since. Mike just came across it today. Ironically, he came across it today after I spent the last week intentionally looking for it.
And today I decided I'd buy another- that we must have gotten rid of it. So now we have two. That Micah is horribly afraid of!
I didn't put it on him. He didn't even KNOW what It was for. I simply walked over to him while he was playing on the porch and he looked at it and broke out in HYSTERICS. Then I showed it to him for a second and decided he was going to have to get over it and I put it on him. Mean mommy, I know. He stood there with his arms out and screamed at the top of his lungs. I didn't laugh. I promise. But I thought about it! I did go alert Mike to the situation- he was just outside the sliders grilling burgers- and he came back in with me. We found that Micah's tongue was bleeding (he bites it regularly, so it wasn't a big surprise), and Mike thought that was the cause of the freak out. I begged to differ.
Later tonight Mike took the monkey over to Micah and as soon as he saw it HE FREAKED! Again! We played around with it, let Brianna wear it (who loves it, by the way!) and let him just hold it or let the kids hand it to him to play with... most of the time he was somewhat ok with it. But every once in a while... he freaked! LOL No, I'm not laughing... but seriously it WAS funny!
Well, we'll work on him here at home because it won't be very helpful to me in the parking lot to have my son freaking out about the monkey (without it even being anywhere NEAR him!). It also will not help me to cross the parking lot or take him into a store without the stroller. And that is the goal.. to have him learn to stay near me in stores rather than to wander. I thought the monkey would be more 'fun' than the traditional harnesses. Maybe not. *sigh*
Earlier this afternoon we went to the Special Olympics Young Athletes meet and we happened to be the ONLY ones there! We've missed the last 2 weeks because of other obligations, but we did the entire 30 minutes just us, our kids, and the two 'instructors'. Oh, and grandpa too :) I have no idea whether it's because we were the only ones there and my kids didn't get distracted or play 'shy', but oh my, they did great!
We brought in Emma's Pony Walker (gait trainer) that she usually only kind of uses correctly... but she decided to use it right! She usually pushes off with both feet together but no... today she was walking :) She 'fishtails' in it, swinging the back end back and forth as she shifts her weight, but hey... she's trying! The first things they were doing were running to the other end of the room and getting a scarf, then a ball, then a bean bag and running back between. Emma and I "ran" down and twice (we let the rest of them go ahead because it was taking me some time to convince E she wanted to walk again after a minute of doing it LOL). She did so well!
Then, they were doing kicking a ball down a straight line, and Kristopher did it fine. The other three weren't quite so sure what to do, but by the 4th time through the 'line', Brianna was kicking the ball just with a hand held for balance, Micah was doing it with just his hands held to keep him from picking the ball up instead (to lick it nonetheless), and Emma even managed a kick on her own!
They had hula hoops to crawl through and all four kids crawled through those as well!
We also did some jumping over sticks, but none of the three of mine jump. Kristopher showed them all how and we did some pretend jumping with Emma and Brianna and mostly worked on just walking over them with Micah :) We let Emma sit out on the other jumping activity since she was pretty worn out from all the time on her feet already.
SO PROUD OF MY LITTLE YOUNG ATHLETES!!
This definitely doesn't fit on the exciting day post, but it's the other part of our day. After the SO YA program we went to Wal-Mart. Not a big deal, just needed a few things and a dr's appointment for 3 kids is going to keep me from my regular grocery day so we decided to stop. As we were getting the very last item we needed a lady stopped, counted the children in the stroller (3) then made a few remarks about "three at once" and such... no, they're not all the same age is all I replied with. Then she took another two steps to literally be RIGHT against my face and said "A baby too?? What, are you trying to overpopulate the Earth or something???"
Seriously, this lady had some GUTS to say that, but what in the world??? Was she really that outspoken in a generation that doesn't really accept people with disabilities that she has an issue with my three that have Ds? Or does she think I'm actually 18 and have birthed 5 children through different fathers and haven't figured out how that happens yet (Tho Mike was with me)? Whatever her reasoning, she judged my family IMMEDIATELY without knowing a single thing about us except that we have 5 children.
I have NEVER gotten so outwardly RUDE of a comment (tho we've had many that come close) to my face. But my response was "no, actually we brought two home from Ukraine." Then turned around. Kristopher said "What mom? We have to send them back??" LOL I said no, they're ours forever and he replied with a nice comment about wanting them to stay. This entire time the lady is standing there staring at us. We turned to leave.
"Well, God bless ya with all those kids," a sarcastic reply came down the aisle.
"He sure has," and we left. But she wasn't done. Somehow my reply at the end took her off guard. Wait, someone that recognizes God, adopted kids from overseas, and has multiple disabled children... maybe I've unfairly judged? Seriously, it was as if this whole toll of thoughts ran across her face in a 2 second time as I turned and went around the corner.
"Wait, I didn't mean any harm when I first commented," she said.
"I understand. You're fine." And I turned and walked away. She stood saying things like "I was only kidding" and such as we walked away. We weren't rude or ignoring her, but we were done.
I do wonder, though, whether she is one of those people, you know, the ones that call themselves a Christian and go to church. The ones that have good intentions, but they know all about other people's intentions too. The ones that act high and mighty thinking that someone else is in the wrong. Then when they learn that they've misjudged they try hard to make it look like they did nothing wrong. They don't apologize, but instead they make excuses for their behavior. They weren't wrong, they didn't judge, they have no fault.
It's a sad reality. And unfortunately we all, at times, put the wrong 'label' on a person that we shouldn't be labeling in the first place! We sometimes treat people differently because of something we assume about them, then find out we were all wrong.
And sometimes it's not the wrongly assuming things that is the worst offense. It's the inability to admit to faults, admit when we're wrong, and apologize and ask forgiveness.
If this woman had said she was sorry, mentioned that she felt remorse... I would have felt like maybe she 'learned' not to judge too quickly (or not at all!). I might have thought she'd had an actual change of heart. But no, there was no remorse, no apology, just an excuse and an explanation. Yeah, she thought I was some "lesser person than she is"... but WHY should she treat any person actually IN those circumstances that way either?????????? It's simply WRONG!!!!!!!!
Ok, all that to say, please consider how you treat others :) Because though they may seem irresponsible or unfit to parent or too young, or they may seem to not have their morals in a good place because of something in their life according to YOUR expectations of them... there's really still no reason to treat them as a lesser person or comment rudely to them. There's no reason to judge them. And if you find you've treated them unfairly... be big enough to fess up to it and make things right.
Off my soap box :D
Friday, November 6
Micah came to us at 18 months old not even being able to suck from a bottle. Seriously, w e had to cut the hole so large that it just drained out into his mouth when he clamped down a little. He wore more of his bottles than he drank. And what he didn't wear, we later learned, was partially going into his lungs. His first 18 months we are told he had constant pneumonia. At first we thought "sure, right" but after we learned he was aspirating thin liquids, we realized that he likely DID have pneumonia since birth since every four hours he was pouring more fluid down there.
Micah also wasn't strong enough to hold a bottle. He had no energy whatsoever when we met him and we believe he was sedated a good portion of his life because he would cry and writhe then they'd give him 'a little something' and he would just go off to sleep. He often slept through portions of our visits with him. But once we left that orphanage... he just screamed. Constantly. For Days.
Anyway... that's another story :) But that's where we started with Micah about 20 months ago. A bottle that we had to hold and he was aspirating it.
We did eventually get Micah to take baby food though it took quite some time. He got pretty proficient at it and also developed some of a suck on the bottle (we still do have to cut the nipple some as his suck is still very immature and not very strong). When we learned he was aspirating we began thickening his bottles. That was almost a year ago now!
Over the last 6 months or so we've gone from little bits of babyfood trying to sneak them in and not have him spit them out to where he is a very good eater-- as long as it's pureed and not liquidy at all, no chunks or weird textures in it, and nothing that's dry at all.
Micah has some sensory issues in other areas, and the main issue with his eating revolves around sensory difficulties for him. Micah has a STRONG gag reflex and even just touching something slimy will cause him to gag. Looking at a cheerio on his table will make him gag. He throws it. That's the behavioral side of it, which yes, of course is also involved. So the function of the swallow and chew is an issue, the sensory issues with texture, the gag reflex with even touching things-- and you should see that gag reflex when we put something that he'd have to chew a bit in his mouth-- or rather you probably would not want to. And the behavioral side of "I don't like this why are you making me do it??". It all factors in!
We had speech therapy that we were working on feeding with and had made some gains, but unfortunately we don't have access to that through our insurance until January again. He has OT and ST at school but they do NOT work on oral motor or feeding. The OT does work on some sensory stuff though. Micah had a swallow study done a few weeks ago and I received the results soon after. It goes into detail about his dysphagia in swallowing with each different thickness of food and how his tongue moves inside the mouth and then said that we do indeed need to continue thickening his liquids so that he doesn't aspirate. Even in just the few sucks he made during the study with thin liquids he brought some down into his lungs (aspirated). He also had many penetrations where it begins to go toward the lungs with even the next thickness up but since he cleared them we are now directed to do nectar thick liquids. I tend to the side of caution and we generally are still doing honey-thick if we're not watching him eat it (such as at school) to make sure he's fine with it.
The drinking part, though, is another story all together than the eating... I truly believe that it is behavioral that he won't take a sippy cup. It may be a bit of "I don't understand what you want me to do with this" but I think most of it is that he wants and expects the comfort of the bottle. And herein lies the problem with just taking the bottle away and saying "you'll be thirsty, you'll drink"... Since his liquids are thickened, they're not much thinner than his spoon fed meals, and he doesn't actually get thirsty because his drinks and food are the same consistency! We also have to use cups that will allow the thickened drink through them, and with his weak suck it has to be pretty easy for him to get it out or he'll just get (more) frustrated and give up.
And so... he drinks bottles and he eats mostly stage 2 babyfood or food that I make that is about the same consistency. But we are about to get on a list for outpatient OT monthly and ST will start back monthly for consults on feeding in January...
And that is the story of Micah and his awful eating :) One day we'll get to where he's chowing down hamburgers and steak and we're telling him he can't have any more to eat and these days will seem like they were short :) Until then, we'll fight through it one week at a time and not stress over the little things. After all, eating babyfood and not hotdogs is actually healthier in some ways! LOL Veggies or greasy beef parts? Hmm... :D
Thursday, November 5
Yesterday when I brought the kids to school it was picture re-take day and I offered to get the kids' slips for the preschool rooms. Little did I know this 3 minute task would keep me at school more than forty minutes! LOL. It was fine, though. Thankfully though I had things to do, I don't have a time frame of appointments usually during the day.
After leaving the school I went to the mall right down the road only to realize they don't open for another 90 minutes. I came home then and answered emails and worked on some quick projects at the house then went up to the church to eat with Mike. I left the church at 1:15 and managed to go to the post office, bank, and JCPenny's all before getting to the elementary school by 2:05. Then we went by a friend's house to drop off some pants for their boys and to my parents' house to pick up some pumpkin she boiled down for us, and our last stop was a friend from church to drop off a gift. Whew!
We came home finally and by the time Mike made it home we were still in 'after school' mode. We had some leftovers that we ate and headed to bed.
Today Mike brought the kids to school so I could get started on things around here. I did laundry and dishes and answered emails and although the morning wasn't packed full... it was still not just downtime. Around 1:30 I took the last load out of the dryer then went out the door to get to the school by 2:05.
We decided to go visit Mike for a minute then drove down to where Emma has therapy. Her PT came out and got her and we headed home for about 20 min before turning around and going back to get Emma. Just enough time to get everyone in the house, change diapers, and nurse the baby then back in the car!
When we got home from PT we didn't come inside but instead dumped a bag of small toys that are in the garage into the grass and the 4 kids played with that while I cleaned the trash out of my car and vacuumed it out. I feel MUCH better when my car isn't littered with pretzels, tissues, and gatorade bottles! :)
I knew it would be a busy afternoon and sent a coupon for a free pizza that we'd been given with Mike to work. He got home about 45 min after we went inside with a nice hot steamy pizza! We actually FINISHED a large pizza! Kristopher ate TWO big pieces, I had two, Emma had one, and Mike had three. Wow, not too long from now (hopefully!!) Micah will be eating and we'll be on to more than one pizza at a sitting! Oh, and Brianna ate a little bit of my piece then went on to other things. She at least tries pizza!
Tomorrow morning is Kristopher's award ceremony first thing and my parents are watching Micah and Brianna while we go to that. Then I'll bring them home for the day and at 1:30 is Emma's award ceremony! Mike's parents will watch the preschoolers for that one.
So, we're just making our way through the busy days! My house has been getting all my spare time and yet... it's not noticeable! LOL Somehow the dishes continue to undo themselves, the laundry pile never goes away, and the table is dirty just a few hours after I cleaned it. The stack of mail and school work that I just cleared off of the dining room table magically reappears day after day after day and the trash cans don't stay empty. No matter what I do the diaper pail is always full in just a day or two and the sheets need changing and towels washing so quickly... I'm sure you can relate :) I'm not a picky cleaner... I don't mind when things aren't sparkling. I admit to the public that I have 5 kids and I don't mind the house looking like it! But I still try to at least stay afloat of the big stuff that needs to be done, and that is making me tired.
(or maybe I'm tired because there's a sweet little girl that likes to smile at me every 2 hours all night long...)
Tuesday, November 3
I was also surprised to hear that I'd WON something! I don't ever actually win anything! I enter in give-aways on occasion but seriously, I just don't WIN... ever!
I entered what I could in to win a pair of Specs4Us glasses frames for one of the kids. There were two pair donated so that doubled my chances at least! Specs4Us are glasses designed to fit the facial characteristics of a person with Down syndrome. With low- set ears and a flatter nasal bridge, these glasses are adapted to those small differences and don't slip down the kids' noses :).
I've looked at these glasses a few times but without vision insurance I just couldn't swing the cost. They're not expensive by any means... but they are more than I could afford for two kids to wear. I'm so excited to have won these!!
So, which kid gets the Specs4Us? Well... they both do! My parents saw the post on my blog about the auction (as I'm guessing a few others of you linked over because I think I saw another winner that's a local friend of mine!) and also put in to win the Specs4Us. And though neither of us ever win anything-- we both did!
Take a look at the website for Specs4Us if you have a child with Ds that wears glasses! They are really neat!
And take another look at the auction to see if you're one of the winners! If you've never been to that blog before, take a good look around there too :) The T21 traveling afghan is pretty neat!
Sunday, November 1
We don’t do trick or treating usually, but we do dress up! Here are a few pictures of the kids in costume during their storybook parade on Friday!
These are from a few days ago to show the costumes they wore for the church festival. Micah’s outfit lasted about 5 min… it was hot. Kristopher wasn’t around when we were taking these, but we’ll have plenty of opportunities to take his picture in his costume since he wears it pretty much every day :) (and I have to mention that Lynae’s t-shirt is a $1 Target buy- isn’t it cute!?)
The 4 older kids all took a ride on the horses- Emma was the only one that refused to sit on it alone and Mike rode with her :) There are pictures… but on a friend’s camera because for some reason Mike put the camera in his pocket before trying to get Emma on the horse :)
Mike, Kristopher, and Grandpa worked for the last 2 weeks building a trebuchet (treb-u-jay) to launch pumpkins with! Theirs is the furthest one in this picture. They got 2nd place, the one in the center was built by the church youth team and they won. Our guys’ broke a piece on the 2nd to last throw and the last one actually went… backward :)
My parents helped us out with the kids, which was WONDERFULLY helpful since they all wanted to get down and play the games and have fun! My dad held on to Lynae for a rare granddaddy/grandbaby time :) Here they are watching the horseback rides.
Emma hung with me and she did great doing several of the games like “plinko” where you drop a token and it goes down to get points based on where it lands… and she played in a pool of balls and another pool with ducks and water. Lots of fun!
These I hadn’t had a chance to post- they’re from Kristopher’s class trip to the pumpkin patch a week ago :)
This morning at church we dedicated Lynae to the Lord and publicly committed ourselves to bring her up in a Christian home and to teach her of God’s love for her both in word and in deed.
Her gown is one that my grandmother made for me when I was about 6 or 7 weeks old (Lynae is now 7 1/2 weeks old). I wore it for my infant baptism. Brianna also wore this gown for her dedication (she was 5 months old and it was pretty big on her).
Some of Lynae’s little friends were dedicated today too… You might remember that there were 5 church staff members all expecting at the same time? Well, it just so happens that those are the 5 babies that were dedicated this morning :) In birth order (right is the oldest, the perspective throws you off on this… I was standing at one end not above them, so the ‘biggest’ looking baby is in fact the smallest. Ok, I take that back, he’s the youngest but he’s quite a bit bigger than Lynae! LOL Right to left their birthdays are July, July, August, September, October :) Too cute! (a few had their ‘oops’ moments this morning and lost their dedication clothes before the photo… :) ).