Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Trenches.

I've struggled so much with blogging despite the fact that this is something that I love so very much.  I think about it all the time, trying to pin point the exact reason why I just can't seem to write.  I think I've finally figured it out.

We are in the trenches.

Walking through the death of our son Gavin was a horrific experience.  As a mother, I'm not sure there is a deeper pain one can possibly experience -- my own flesh and blood gone. Although four years have gone by the pain is still very real.  Not a day goes by that I don't long for just a glimpse of his sweet face.

With that said after his death Adam and I had an amazing epiphany -- this was our story -- what looked like an end was actually just the beginning of something amazing. Through tears and pain we saw hope, hope that our little boy left us behind.  Then started our journey to adoption -- and the first few years we still were kinda on that epiphany high.

Four years later and we are now in the trenches.

Don't misunderstand what I'm saying -- this isn't a bad thing, rather it's really an amazing place to be.  We have made the sacrifice we felt we were called to make and now we get to care for these amazing kids.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  But being in the trenches mean that some of the frill is also scarified.  The luxury of taking photos on a daily basis, and blogging about our daily life gets pushed to the side.

And that's ok.  

But today I was somehow able to have some beautiful sacred time to write.  Ahh.  It's feels great.

Have I ever told you how difficult the system from which we adopt our kids, is to work with?  It's so very difficult.  Before adoption is finalized you literally give up your life and become an open museum for people to frequently visit and browse.  It's really tough  What is even more difficult is seeing kids, who so desperately need homes, and a system who tries to keep the child's best interest in mind -- keeps kids from actually ever finding a home. Again, so difficult.

In my last post I had mentioned that Adam and I were matched for our last adoption -- a beautiful little girl.  Well, after five months waiting to meet her, the county she is in changed their minds.  Ugh. They gave us all kinds of reasons, and none of them really make sense.  Our hearts were and still are broken.  Once you see the face of a child it's hard not to immediately attach and start dreaming of what life could be like.  We have moved on and are continuing to match for another child, but this little girl will always have a place in our hearts and dreams.  No child should have to live life in a nursing home -- just typing those words just makes my soul cringe.

Living in the trenches means that a lot is sacrificed.  We daily need to put ourselves in check -- it's not about us.  It's not about what we want or what we think is best.  It's all about being Him -- His hands, His feet and trying desperately to show a fraction of His love to the world.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Little Update.

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I must say it's been the most amazing time not being in the blogging world.  I've learned so much from people in the past few years and the one thing I've seen the most is that people are addicted to other people lives.  Sounds crazy, but I'm sure many of you know exactly what I'm speaking of.  This phenomena has really turned me off to the blogging world.  It makes me cringe to think that people get so invoked in others lives that they fail to live their own.  I don't want this blog to be entertainment -- I want people to read and then go live out their own lives -- to be inspired and then go find their own ways to inspire others.

Don't get me wrong.  Just because you read or write a blog doesn't mean you don't know how to live your own life, but families like mine attract a lot of attention from people -- and most are so amazing and supportive, but there are also so many people that give my blogging break a reason for me to smile.

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Anyway -- we have been busy living life! A really good and amazing life! Let's just go down the list shall we?

Madison just turned nine is still our amazing girl full of spunk and personality.  She has begun taking cheer dance lessons and is keeping us very entertained! 

Angela is doing amazing in school.  It was a rough start but the school district seems to be catching my vision of inclusion and Angela is totally taking off! She now knows most all of her letters, shapes, colors and can spell her name!  We are starting to teach her how to use switches to access a communication device that can help give her even more independence.  She has mastered saying yes and no with her head, but its very obvious that she has so much more to say!  She has full use of her one arm to propel her wheelchair now and is very fast -- though she mainly goes in circles!  Having Angela in regular education -- fully inclusive, was the best decision we ever made.  Everyone benefits from inclusion!

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Then there is Jayden -- He is a busy little man.  He is an almost full time walker these days and maybe even a bit of running! He only uses his wheelchair for transport and for long outings -- such a miracle that kid is! Jayden is now able to use his iPad to talk to us.  He is doing great with Proloquo2go and can do as many as 4 steps to make a sentence, like "I want", "to watch","Jake!".  It's amazing to watch his little brain work.  He is also in regular preschool with supports from the IU.  He has come so far in the past few months and is now using his hands more and also to sit and listen for an extended period of time, like circle time.

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Our tiniest Owens is also keeping us busy!  Her adoption is not yet finalized -- taking much longer than we ever thought it would.  But no worries -- it's gonna happen!  She is making slow progress but progress none the less!  She is able to walk but will only show her skills if highly motivated!  She is a girl with a strong will -- difficult to deal with now, but I'm sure will serve her well some day!  She is such a fun little girl and when she flashes her little smile it melts your heart.

One last Owens will hopefully soon join our family -- fingers crossed!  We hope to continue to move forward with a 5 year old little girl who has totally captured our hearts, but things have been moving so very slow.  Our hearts are already totally filled with a ton of love for this sweet child and are praying very hard that the time will come soon for her to come home -- forever! She has CP and is very similar to Angela, which Angela is very excited about!

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Adam and I have been busy with our new found love for Crossfit and Corps Fitness.  Feels great to be in the best shape of our lives and have the strength and energy to care for our growing kids! I've learned to push myself beyond what I thought was possible and to expand my vision from not only having hope for my children but also myself and set goals for my life.  It's been an amazing journey.

Phew.

What a life we live. 

It's certainly not easy, but filled with some many victories both big and small.  I wish I could take each one of you off the pages of this blog and into our real world for just a few hours and show you how good God has been to our family.  It would take your breath away. 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Simple Blink.

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Life is moving faster than I can document.  My time to sit and write gets less as less as the weeks go on.  This week however, my emotions are so stirred that I felt like it was time to just simply sit and write.

I love these kids.  

I obviously have always loved my children, but as time goes on, the deeper the love grows, as if our lives become further and further entwined – a bond only a parent and child can possible reach.

It’s so hard to love at times.

Let me explain.

With love come such a huge risk of pain.  The greater we love the greater the risk.  At times, even as a mother, I would love a second to simply blink -- to close my eyes to the bright light that draws me to my children.

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You see, when I look at my children I see a little more than most parents.  I see loss but also so much hope, I see pain but also see healing.  For some of my kids I see children with no voice longing for someone to give them sound in a very noisy world. I see children who live trapped inside broken bodies, who are crying out for someone to see a spark inside their broken shells and pull them out.

Dang, it’s so heavy. 

This week my heart has been so broken as I fight for my children and their needs.  The pain goes beyond just the struggle, the fight -- but I mourn the very reason I’m fighting -- the loss, the pain, having no voice -- witnessing a beautiful spirit trapped within a broken body.

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Today I’m trying to rest in this truth…

I can close my eyes for a bit and rest, because although it feels like my love for these beautiful children could not possibly be stronger, I’m taken back as I’m reminded that God’s love for my children runs much deeper, so deep that human minds could never comprehend the passion He holds.  And as I rest, my soul can find peace as He takes over – His strength is made so beautiful in my weakness.  

So very beautiful.


Blink.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Another Year.

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The days around here tend to be long.  Don't get me wrong -- they are amazing, but we are not your typical American family which means our everyday living looks a whole lot different than many families. We work hard.  Our kids work even harder.  There is no taking off a day.  Each and every day we are working hard to all move forward and grow.  We have a strict behavior modification program that we use and with that comes moments where we feel like we just can't say, "put your tongue in your mouth" one more time.

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But then there are days like today when we are reminded why we choose to live this life.  Today we celebrate another year of life for Jayden -- four years to be exact.  His celebration of birth is so much more than just a symbol of another year gone by -- it's a celebration of life, healing and hope.

Truth is, Jayden shouldn't be alive.

But he is.  

This kid is teaching us all so much.  He has amazing purpose for his life -- most of which I probably don't even fully understand.  

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This next year is going to hold lots of big changes.  Jayden will be starting preschool in the fall, in a typical preschool setting.  His nurse with go with him and we will have all the support of his IU team in this environment.  It completely blows my mind that we have come to this point.  I remember last year thinking that Jayden probably wouldn't be able to do a typical setting -- and that was totally ok, after all I want what is best for him.  But so much has changed.  He has changed.  He is thriving.  Mentally he is finding focus.  He is walking.  He is beginning to use his hands and fingers.  He is saying yes and no using his head.  He is using hand over hand ASL.  

He is amazing.

He is ready.

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Sometimes the days are long, but long days are totally worth it when they are filled opportunities to serve kids like ours.   Today we are thanking God for another year; another year to be part of this beautiful boy's story.


Happy Fourth Birthday Jayden!


Friday, August 2, 2013

Parenthood.

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This was supposed to be a week of rest and relaxation.  I guess it actually ended up being just that but not in the way we had planned. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe it was even better than I had planned.  On Saturday our family packed up and headed to the beach where we were meeting my parents to send the week together.  

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The first few hours were great.  We got all settled in, had dinner and enjoyed some time just hanging out.  But then it went bad.  Real bad.  We have a drastically different group of kids we are trying our best to parent and not totally screw up.  Each of our kids needs something different -- very different.  One can't see, one can't hear, one doesn't understand everything being spoken to her and one is  genetically identical to her mother; which happens to be me.  Because of this our parenting styles for each child varies greatly.  Each of those styles has it's own set of difficulties but none compare to parenting a child who greatly resembles her Mommy, in every way, shape and form.

Madi is an amazing kid -- hands down, she really is an amazing creation with a future that screams world changer.  But she also is our most difficult kid -- and no, it's not just because she is our only typical developing child.  My girl has a temper and a will as strong a steel.  She is an emotional child but doesn't really understand how to express of handle those emotions.  Happy crosses over into excitement which eventually blurs somehow with anger and a surge of adrenaline. Again, I know these details because she is just like me.  

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Anyway, things went bad and she mad some really bad choices.  Really bad.  I'm not gonna go into details -- you just have to take my word for it.  In our house every bad behavior results in a consequence.  We are a tough family, but we also have amazing kids who I refuse to let slide into a sub par way of living.  We push for excellence because they all have amazing potential and we want to push them to be all that God has created them to be.

Long story short. Madison was punished and lost the beach for the week.  No sand, no water, no rides, no boardwalk treats.  It really stunk -- for all of us.

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Life went on and we all got over the bad choices that were made, but we all just ended up totally board, so we came home the next day.  Parenting really stinks sometimes.  Parenting with a greater purpose -- pushing our kids closer to God can, in the moment, stink even more.  

But in the end we all had an amazing week.  We came home and took life at a slower pace.  Had a chance to talk to each other, laugh and enjoy the simplicity of home.  

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Parenting is a very scary thing. God gives us these beautiful children and somehow we are not only supposed to keep them alive but also help them find their purpose and destiny in life.  

Phew.

Thank God we do not do this alone.  Seriously.  I may not be the best parent, but I'm learning that my skills coupled with a whole lot of His grace, provision and love makes for a pretty good team.

And in the end, His plans for our week turned out better then ours!