Friday, December 23, 2011

{Redefining Home}

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Home is a powerful thing and this past week I've really been hashing out in my own mind what exactly home is.  Since our desire to bring Jayden home is so strong, this idea of home has been running through my mind on a several times daily basis.  The other day when driving to see Jayden I had this vivid memory of a time during the last few day's of Gavin life. 

After we removed life support from Gavin and he didn't die, as everyone expected -- we experienced some intense times with our little boy.  Even though he was breathing on his own, he was not breathing correctly and his lungs slowly filled with fluid.  As time went on, despite our best attempts to keep him comfortable he would wake up with air hunger, in a panicked state trying to breath.  He was very delirious due to the his rising CO2 levels and also the pain medication.  The only thing that would get him to relax was when I whispered in his ear, "mommie's going to take you home."  In the back of my mind I knew very well that he wasn't going to make it home, but I knew that the very essence of what home meant would bring him some sense of peace.

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Even though Gavin had a physical home, his and our families life was lived in turmoil -- home was often in the hospital.  I then started to think about Jayden.  Just because he is not in a physical home doesn't mean that we can't create the sense of home for him.  After all home is so much more than a physical building -- it's peace, security and most of all an intense forever love that nothing could possibly replace or mimic.

The change that we have seen in Jayden over this past month has been pretty darn cool, even the nursing staff notice the marked difference in him.  When we first started visitation last month Jayden was all over the place -- almost crawling out of his skin at times.  He just has trouble finding peace in his own mind, which is a part of his brain injury.  Well this past week we have had numerous moments with Jayden where he will just lay in our arms -- settle in as if the he is feeling true love for the first time ever in his life.  He's still all over the pace as most two year olds are but I can't help but think that his little mind is beginning to catch a glimpse of what home is all about.

Christmas is a bit extra difficult this year.  Not only do we not have Gavin here with us but we also have another beautiful little boy who has yet to come home.  So I find myself going back to this redefinition of home -- taking out the physical meaning of all being together in one house and allowing God to show Adam and I the supernatural connections true love creates -- allowing us all to be together, some in spirit, some through legacy and others through physical touch.

Monday, December 19, 2011

{Preparing to Bring Him Home}

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I'm not so sure life could get any crazier right now.  Our training with Jayden is in full force and between training and visitation every spare moment of our time is filled with preparing to bring him home. Adam and I are feeling really good about our training so far.  The trach doesn't seem much more than any other other the ICU level care we have given both Gavin and Angela in the past.  As I keep telling everyone -- we are cautiously confident.  Obviously, it is airway and even the most skilled individual should always be prepared for the unexpected.  The facility requires us to do a total of twelve trach changes -- three assisted and three emergency, and we each need to do this.  I've had so many trach families tell me this is nuts -- we kinda agree, but we do what ever they ask with the understanding that we are not the typical family they train and some people may need that many and more to feel comfortable.

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Our daily mantra is: every day is one day closer to bringing him home.  I'm sure I'll be saying this until I hate every syllable in that statement.  We love this little boy so very much and as each day goes by it is harder and harder to leave him.  The staff really do the best they can with the kids but it still is a sad situation and we can't help but be anything other than eager to get him home.  I've had so many people ask exactly when this will happen -- we don't know.  We are hoping for January but it's just not in our hands.  But as always we are trusting that God's timing is perfect.  He has yet to fail us so no need to stress, right?

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The girls are doing amazing with this crazy time.  Madsion is just as much in love with Jayden as we are.  She has his photo next to her bed and he is frequently the topic of conversation.  Adam and I have always been very aware of how living with siblings with special needs impacts Madison and her world.  We would never want her to feel like she is second best -- like we never have time for her needs, big or small.  Adam and I both make it a priority to give Madison the time and attention she needs and deserves.  Last week we had a Mommie and Madi date night and we went out to the movies and dinner.  It was so nice to spend one on one time with Madison despite just now tired this mommie is right now.  Adam and I plan on giving Madison one night per week with just either Adam or Myself -- so important for all kids, but particularly those who have siblings with such high needs.

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There are photos that we took of the girls one day after visiting Jayden.  I of course can't wait till I can show you just how handsome our new little man is but you all know the drill.  I hope to be able to show a few faceless photos once we bring him home.  For now just take my word -- he is one handsome lookin' little dude.

Monday, December 12, 2011

{The Owens Take Manhattan}

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Yesterday we packed up the girls and headed up to New York City.  The city is just about two hours from our house which makes it an easy day trip.  Adam and I have always frequented the city since we first met so we know our way around rather well and it's a fun stress free outing.  We were so excited to take the girls this year for a few reasons.  The first is this is probably the last time they will take a trip just the two of them -- next family outing will include a little brother!  Another reason I was excited to go was to see the difference in Angela from her first trip to the Big Apple last year.  

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We took Angela to New York shortly after she was placed in our home.  She was still stimming most of the time and not really able to focus on anything.  I think she probably enjoyed the trip but it was probably more of a light show for her little brain and not really a memory making experience for her.  This year she was all about the city!  She loved riding the subway and gave all the subway passengers a bit of holiday cheer when she giggled non stop each time the train would stop and start.  Last year she just sat in her chair and was rather happy -- this year she was able to tell us when she was sick and tired of being stuck in her chair and yelled and fussed like a typical kid -- loved that!  

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Madison had a great time at the American Girl store and had been planning her trip all month, figuring out what outfit she would choose for Caroline -- her American "Cousin" found on clearance at Target.  Very grateful that she doesn't know the difference and we hope that when she does we would have taught her that price doesn't matter and Caroline is just as special!

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We met up with some online friends and had a blast enjoying dinner with their whole family -- closing the gap in the twitter universe and actually meeting face to face and having real conversation!  We can't wait to take all three kids up in the spring, not sure how we will make that work, but we will find a way to make it a safe and fun experience for our not so little but growing family.

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Thanks so much for your prayers for Jayden's discharge meeting.  It went really well, and I felt a sense of relief as we left the meeting.  The training is crazy, and everyone seems to understand that, which made me feel better.  It's just one of those you have to do it this way cause the paperwork needs to be filled out type senerios. We start training tonight on how to wash our hands and then in a few weeks we will finally be able to learn about his trach care.  The team understood our frustration and is willing to help us through this and make it as easy as possible for both us and Jayden.  We are looking to have him home in January.  I'm hoping mid month but there really is no set date.  

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So excited.  I left New York being so happy and feeling so fulfilled.  I love my family.  I love our life that God has given us.  I'm excited as we prepare to bring our little boy home and start this next phase.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

{Full Speed Ahead}

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Life is going full speed ahead right now.  I find that I'm constantly trying to remember what day it is, not to mention reminding myself to make sure to stay in the moment and not travel to far ahead.  We have been visiting Jayden six days a week for the past two weeks and I am totally in love with this little boy.  It is increasingly difficult to just visit and not be able to take him home with us, or even just out for a few hours.  So very hard.

We are trying so hard to just go with the flow but our hearts are more than anxious to begin this new life with the girls and him at home -- together.  It's not that the facility is horrible, as he is getting good care, but it is certainly not a home but rather very much a hospital or institutional setting.  This little boy needs a family, he needs structure and he needs major love that only a mommie and daddy can give.

Tomorrow is a big day in our process.  We will meet with a few administrators as well as DHS worker and our adoption worker to have a discharge meeting.  I'm very anxious.  We are in need of major prayer -- we need everyone to come to this meeting with a great excitement to get Jayden home -- soon.  The biggest frustration with the "system" is that children's lives are wrapped around schedules of workers.  We can only train when a trainer is available -- if it was up to Adam and I we would train everyday to make this happen faster. It's so frustrating and unavoidable.

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We are trusting yet again in God's perfect timing but also in his ability to give us the peace and patience we need to get through this difficult process.

The girls are handling the chaos very well.  My parents are helping us out with the girls while we spend time traveling each day to see Jayden.  Angela continues to regain her baseline and this week we had her central line pulled and she also got rid of her GJ tube and is tolerating her feeding into her belly rather well.  She still has some issues but we are working through them and moving forward. Her kidWalk finally came in and we are all loving it!  She has lots of work to do before she will actually move in it -- but I have no doubt that it will soon click and she will be off!

Our minds are anxious but our hearts are still incredibly overwhelmed that God would give us this  journey to walk.  Adam and I had a nice talk the one night coming home about just how amazing it is that God would use us -- two people who are no more special or amazing that any other individual out there, and to trust us to care for the amazing children God has given us both through birth and through adoption.

It seriously blows us away.