Friday, November 15, 2013

The Last Month, Some Pictures, and ALMOST There (Boden/Heath)

One little girl is walking around with her sweet finger to her lips since her words were not chosen well (short talking time out).

One princess looks at me with wide saddened eyes....from a time out spot (time in doesn't work with this blessing, so we have a time out in the same room).

One awesome boy made a decision not to obey and needed to put his toys away for awhile.

Anna is curled up with pink cheeks, sick on the couch.  She caught the virus that had me in a fetal position on my birthday.

Our Ben gives me a run for the money.  The surgery (over a month ago) having brought him back behaviorally to the point he was when he arrived home...though adding some new behaviors.

Strangely, it's ok today.  Not all days is it "Ok".  Some days I'm psycho mom (with, as you know, eyes glowing red and head spinning on shoulders). 

Being a mom of many isn't always easy.  It is ALWAYS blessed.   

Day to day there are different struggles and celebrations, different anniversaries of trauma where feelings come up with the children that they just don't understand.  We exit one trauma anniversary, only to enter a 2nd with another child (not all of them seem to have the same residual memories, so not all of them have trauma-versaries).  I remember my own times though.  Instances of trauma in our lives that bring back the emotions at certain times of year we may not understand...until it all clicks. 

Trauma-versaries are hard.  Two nights ago, I hadn't realized the second child had started, though I know it's that time of year.  Today I do.  Lying, not taking responsibility, usually food issues (sneaking food), increased lack of impulse control....are all things that can happen.  It's understandable, but wearying at times. 

Sometimes I react remarkably human and non therapeutic. Sometimes I ROCK the therapeutic (though not always natural) response. 

Today I just breathe and update our blog.

Benjamin had a big appointment last week.  Jael's hospital.....

Side note: Yup, that's what we call it.  We were even surprised to find Jael in the hospital calendar this year.  She's an amazing little girl.

....saw Ben in their Pediatric Disability Clinic.  We talked a lot about therapies.  Truthfully (wow, I say that a lot) I wanted a few more ideas to aid some of the negative attention seeking.  He's such a cutie though!
When Ben had surgery over a month ago,  he started to wake up before they called me back.  This was just not good for our newly attaching son.  It was terrifying for him. 

He regressed big time and behaviors we have never seen before surfaced.  They primarily seem to revolve around me, though be directed at everyone.

Ben is SUCH a precious blessing.  He is our son that has been through some horrible and neglectful situations in his life.  This is to be expected.

He currently wants MY eyes on him 100% of the time.  This is just not feasible...oh, he's 100% supervised, but I do have other children who need to look me in the eyes and hear how treasured they are.  If my eyes are not on him he immediately negative attention seeks.  He lightly pinches, scratches, shakes his fist at people (we witnessed this behavior from others in the institution as well), shoves things over and occasionally shoves a child smaller than him.  He punches himself in the chin...hard.  These are just the things I can think of offhand.

The hardest is the manic laughing and improper emotion because he knows no better.  Ohhhhhh, THAT is a hard one.  Picture your child walking over to a sibling and pinching them and laughing.  It was a behavior we had almost completely gotten past...and we will again.

Back to the doctor appointment.  Our doctor TOTALLY got it.  She was amazing, wonderful, and just about fantastic.  She understood that many of the issues stemmed from neglect and institutionalization, not Down Syndrome. 

Yet apparently we are extremely experienced (their words).  We saw OT, PT, and will be seeing Speech Therapy soon.  It has been shared with us that we are doing exactly what they would be doing in our home...already. 

I say this NOT to brag on ourselves.  I know many of you have experienced this.  You want suggestions because you occasionally feel like that kitty holding onto a rope with all your might so you won't fall.  You want a magic wand waved ("Oh! This is what you do and the behavior will be gone!"), but you are already doing what is right.  It's's daunting....

I came out with a few ideas, not so much new to us, but reminders. 

We will still seek Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy in the Home, but Physical Therapy is not needed.  Ben has made so much progress.  OT may or may not be needed, but we will let them decide.

We now just wait for his rescheduled (because of illness) Ophthalmology appointment and his surgery in early December (tonsils and adenoids out, tubes in ears and a intensive hearing test).

As we wait we are constantly busy.  We are full on into home school.  Usually it takes about six weeks to find our rhythm, but this year we still haven't quite hit our stride.  I think part of the reason is a new computer based curriculum this year for Math (with two of our middles).  It just did not work.  It's too hard when they cannot easily flip back to a physical page in a book to refresh themselves. I've had to get new curriculum, though they won't have to review what they've already learned.

Our Autumn celebration has come and gone.  I have a great internal debate each year.  I hate the evil and death celebrated on Halloween...I just do.  I have seen so much real evil, darkness, that I really struggle with this.  The blood, when real families are mourning the murder of people they love.  Sigh....

I love the creativity and pretending though!  I know Jesus conquered death and I love being open to neighborhood children!

Last year...we didn't do anything.  The blood and gore in our area...even at the store...was extensive.  I couldn't take our children to the grocery store without nightmares. 

This year it was a lot more toned down.  We went to a small Trunk or Treat and on Halloween night we turned on every light in the house, blasted praise music (until my husband got a migraine...NOT that praise music caused, and handed out candy while having a family movie night with friends. 

We decided to go to Trunk or Treat at the last minute and had to dig for costumes at home, because it's just not something we spend money on.

Gabe/4/"Drop and give me 20!"


Bekah/7/Following the Yellow Brick Road



Ben/10/Quarterback calling a play

Anna/12/Sword Maiden

Tom/19/Willie from Duck Dynasty
The next one is a flashback of Gabe and Rachel at one year.

I'm NOT judging others in their decision.  I'm not going to shake my finger at people for having  different thoughts on the Biblical perspective of this...especially when my internal debate seems to go on each year.  In the same way I'm not going to say my way is right...just us praying and trying.

See our precious daughter Sarah/17 (Sauron's girlfriend...notice the "One Ring").

She got her braces off right before Trunk or Treat after 2 1/2 years.  Her caged teeth are LIBERATED!!!!

In more news....
See this.....

This is me setting on the side of the road because our gas tank gauge is broken.  We can't let it get to a quarter of a tank.  We (I) learned that the hard way after being rescued by my husband, mom, and my best friend's husband (don't judge me).  This from someone who had never run out of gas in 41 years.

We've even spent some time with friends lately.  They invited us (very brave) to their house for a BBQ after Church.  She actually also teaches my middles History.  They're pretty awesome actually.

This is the dad, James.  Can you see him?

Yup, you can see why we like them.  Their daughter Hannah climbed up their too, but I didn't get a pic.

That's our Sarah.

We headed to the park after eating.

Even our eating is crazy.  Poor Kimberly and James...bwahahahaaa.
Jael, Rachel, and Gabe
Anna (almost 13)...she has SO much beautiful hair!

Ben...this picture just says "redemption" to me.

Gabe, Max, Bekah, and Anna
I love this picture (below) of Gabe (4) AND Hannah (our friend's daughter...and friend).

As you've figured out by now, this post is mostly random and our family "doings".  Thank you for having patience with me as we figure out our new "abnormal" (we were never normal).  It's taking a little longer than usual, but we'll get there.

I'll leave you with some random pictures, an update on Boden/Heath and a some prayer requests!

Now I need to just get Jael in a Chargers' Jersey.

Our two year old puppy Samson...he's tiny and thinks he's a lapdog.
Entertainment of the night.  We call this cat "Surfer Kitty".  His name is actually Sienna (after the engine we found him in). 
Guess who will have custody of Boden/Heath on Sunday?  Yup, our precious friends Caleb and Mehgan in the "U"!  We are so excited for them.  Currently the "U" is out of TB tests, so they are waiting to find out if the test will be waived or they will have to wait until mid next week to get it.  The schedule looks something like this.
Wednesday TB Test, Friday test is read and Embassy date, Saturday morning fly home....prayerfully they will get home even quicker.  Please keep them in your prayers for everything to be without a hiccup.  There are several beautiful pictures I can't wait to share...but I want Mommy and Daddy to be able to share them first.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Prayer Requests for Our Family and Others

Our Family

We would appreciate prayers for a break through with Ben and patience on our part.  It has been rough as of late, worth it...but rough.  Please pray for protection against satan's attacks. 
At Home:
*Please pray for our family to get and stay healthy.
*Please pray that Ben continues to seek love, attaches, and finds a healthy stranger anxiety.  That he learns to stop aggression to himself and others.  That he learns the value of listening to mommy and daddy.  This is so important for safety.  Finally, that he learns to play with toys (imaginative play) and be a child that he has never had a chance to be.
*Please pray for each child's emotional, physical, and spiritual health AND PROTECTION 
Prayer for the Future
*PLEASE pray we hear and follow God wherever HE leads.
*Our house needs to be fixed (foundation and roof) and has for awhile.  Other things have taken priority (our children coming  They need to be fixed.  We also hope/pray (IF God wills) someday to expand (possibly convert the garage) in order to have the room if God calls us again.   We don't want new or perfect, just room IF God wills. 

Prayers for Others
Please forgive us if your prayer request is not listed.  We may not be sure if you wish us to share it.  Please shoot us an email and let us know!  We'd love to share your prayer request here if you wish or pray privately for you.

*Please pray for a precious friend of mine (the "A" family).  Their newest blessing has some serious medical issues and they could use prayers for discernment and for the medication to work without the side effects. This is all I am able to share right now, but please petition God on their behalf.  He knows who they are. 

*Please pray for Selah, who had a very serious stroller accident.  Please join us in storming Heaven for a miracle of complete healing.  Please also pray for peace that passes understanding for her family.

*Please pray for Tommy, a tiny 15 year old from Eastern Europe.  He is very special needs and has only recently come home. 

*Please pray for Eden, a little blessing from Ethiopia, who has a life threatening disorder.

*Please pray for Henry, Teresa, Joey, and Rex's families as these precious ones went to be with Jesus within this last year. 

*Please pray for a friend's wife from college.  Her cancer has returned.  Please pray the "N" family.

*Please pray for my friend "L".  She has dealt with some extremely hard and painful stuff with a family member (really ugly) and this family member has been diagnosed with cancer.  Please pray for her as she travels this hard road.

*Please continue to pray for Ruby, Jeremiah, Katie, Carrington, Selah, Daniel, and Wes.  These little ones came into their families with health difficulties (this is an understatement).  A few were caused by severe situations of neglect or malnourishment (or both). 

*Please pray for our friends the “K” family who is struggling with attachment and other situations.

*Please pray for my friend Jodi (and family) as they struggle with the brokenness that some of our children from hard places face.

*Please pray for Eliz and her family as they transition with their many new blessings.  Also for her grown children and their healing as well.
*Please pray for Gena (and family) and their teen son. Please pray for him to come to know CHRIST.

*Please pray for the "S", "P", and "D" family.  Members of their families are fighting for their lives against drug addiction.

*Please pray for young Emma as she has recently moved to Uganda to minister to those beloved children of God and now has a precious son through the blessing of adoption.

*Please pray for Molly and her family as they seek a precious one from the "U".  Please pray for the process to be smooth.  Please pray for their son, their family, and the finances as they continue.

*Please pray for a Lesya and family.  They are currently out of country and shortly bringing their three children home.  Please pray for the transition of their children and for their wisdom as parents.

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