Thursday, October 25, 2012

Taking a Look at Me.

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It's about that time of year where my heart starts to ache a bit more as my mind replays the final weeks of our little boy's life.  For some reason it has hit me a bit early this year. Maybe because my heart is actually healing a bit -- the daily pain that once left me breathless each and every morning has transformed over the years into peace -- the grief will always be there but peace has also come along side my sorrow.  Now that November is once again almost here I can't help but relive those last weeks - both the pain and the joy.

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This week at work I have been taking a formal look at my personality.  This test was about 100 questions all concerning how I tick -- where I get my energy from. It took me by surprise at just how difficult this test was for me to take. It made me step back and realize that I really have no clue who I am.  I don't understand what makes me tick and I certainly have no clue where my energy comes from. As I was sitting in my office trying to answer the questions in the most accurate way, feeling completely detached and in a borderline I have no clue who I am as a person crisis God gave me this thought:

It's ok, because I know who you are.

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There is no hiding that my soul is marked some of the deepest scars a mother could ever wear.  I'm coming to learn that those very scars have formed me into the complex and unique individual I am today.  Simple questions such as which word makes you most comfortable: Theory or Fact, are altered in my world.   What I consider fact -- that joy is possible in the trenches of sorrow, most consider to be beyond theory -- maybe even a lie.  Somehow, when we listen to Gavin's body take it's final labored breath, we felt peace.  How?  How does that happen?  I just don't know.

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What I do know is this. We will never understand so many things in this life.  I don't understand why God created me to be the complex individual I am today. I have seen a glimpse -- and honestly I'm not sure my human mind could handle more.  His intricate plans for our lives, our children's lives are often times filled with so much of His glory that if we were to fully have the knowledge and understating that our human minds crave we would simply be knocked to the ground leaving us unable regain composure.  At least that's how I feel.

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I would love to view God's personality test.  Or maybe I don't.  His ways are not our ways -- and that is a really good thing.  


Friday, October 19, 2012

from the outside in.

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I always wonder what people think of our family.  I'm sure it's pretty obvious that we tend to stick out in a crowd.  There really is no hiding when trying to make a quick run into a store. In fact, Im pretty sure a quick run really no longer exists.  It certainly doesn't bother us at all, but it does leave us to simply wonder.

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There are so many categories of looks -- and of course we've had time to pretty much classify them all.  The main look we get is usually of shock and maybe a bit of sadness.  Cause really, people don't realize that Angela and Jayden are adopted, that we chose them, and spend the first few glances trying to wrap their mind around that fact that we have two children who obviously have different types of unique needs but still very affected.  I always glance back with a smile and a don't worry we are very happy time twinkle in my eyes.

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Then there is the every so common glance, turn and wait until I'm not looking and then glance again.  I love this one. I love catching people off gaurd -- maybe I'm a little mean, maybe not.  I just love to show people that it's totally cool to stare, we just would like you to say hi.  In fact I only wish these people would realize that if they hold a short conversation with us and our children they can get a better view than the sneaky stare out of their extreme peripheral vision. I say this all very jokingly with the understanding that some people just don't know how to respond -- and I totally get that.  

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This past Sunday I had to one of the coolest encounters yet in regards to my children.  I was in the lobby of our church, which is very large.  Our church can have a few thousand people on a Sunday morning, so often you will meet people for the first time that may have been there for awhile, you just never crossed paths.

A women came up to me and simply said this:

I don't know his story or your story, but I just got to tell you that my husband and I are amazed at the change we have seen in your son.  I don't know what you are doing but keep doing it!

This made me so excited.  She went on to say that when she first saw Jayden she didn't think he was really in there.  He slept tons when out in public and didn't really have any interaction with other people.  He would basically lay in his stroller and that was it.  She had mentioned that last week she saw Jayden fly across the atrium in his wheelchair and she was totally blown away. She felt she just had to come up to me and tell about the dramatic change she had seen.

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I love getting a glimpse of what our family looks like from the outside.  It's even more fun when that view gives me a fresh perspective and a huge push of confidence that things are moving forward in the right direction.  That progress is being made and ultimately healing is in the works.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

representing legacy.

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I remember after Gavin died one of the most difficult aspects of my grief was the reality that I would meet new people and they would never know of this amazing child I once held in my arms or the story of his life and death. I remember walking into Target one day with this intense desire to have a photo of Gavin blown up to life size and carry him in my cart with me.  I wanted to scream to the world every time I walked out of my house -- I wanted to tell his story.  I didn't want the world to forget.

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Almost three years later and my grief has changed a bit.  I still daily long to tell the world about my amazing little boy, but it seems I have learned to find peace and joy in representing his legacy.  It's no secret that Gavin's legacy is very present in our family, in my life.  As our family grows and changes Gavin's life doesn't get pushed behind but rather seems to keep weaving its self deeper and stronger into our roots and into the very essence of what makes us a family -- a unique beautiful family.

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How cool is it that we all have the opportunity to represent legacy?  The greatest legacy of all -- Jesus.  A legacy that says that hope can be found, that we do not live for this world but something much greater. A legacy that makes us unique and set apart -- to the point where people are not turned off because we scream Jesus but rather are drawn in because His legacy of love, peace and joy flows from our very being. 

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I want our family to represent the life Gavin once lived and the many gifts he left us behind, but more than anything I want our family to represent the Giver of life and legacy.  

I want people to look at us and see nothing but Him.  


Thursday, October 11, 2012

making choices.

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One of the scariest things as a parents is having the understanding that the choices we make for our kids could forever effect their lives -- determine the direction we send them in and mold their inner thoughts and feelings.  Being a parent of children with extra needs takes this concept to a much scarier level.  

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Last year we made the decision not send Angela to a special needs educational program through our local intermediate unit.  We just felt like it wasn't right for our child.  It's a wonderful program for children who need more intensive intervention and programing but it just didn't feel right for our little girl.  Angela was making progress.  She was developing faster than anyone would have ever thought -- we just didn't want to mess with a good thing.  Owens developmental boot camp, as we jokingly call our home, was working!

And oh did people let us now that they did not agree with our choice.

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But we didn't care.  Angela continued to thrive and when she turned four, something happened that we never once imagined would ever happen.  She was ready.  Our girl who once lived her life in a deep stim was now a social happy little girl ready to take on the world.  What was once my fear, that she would be left in a corner to stim with no redirection turned into a fear of her talking during quiet time and turning her card to yellow.

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Angela started typical preschool three days a week over a month ago and she has blown us all away.  I can say with full confidence that we made the right choice.  Angela has found her place, is making friends and maybe even learning the fun things every four year old loves to learn! 

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We walk into school and the children come running up to her.  They ask her questions and wait for her to respond on her iPad.  The other children light up when they hear Angela call them by name!  Angela  has been line leader, pencil hander-outer, calendar kid and lots of other fun stuff.  She is thriving!

And now we want more.

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The idea that Angela will go to Kindergarten next year with her peers in a regular kindergarten classroom makes my heart full.  This is not about trying to make Angela as "normal" as possible.  This is about thriving.  Special education is a necessity and beneficial -- it just looks different for every kid! For Angela, she has lots of supports within the regular classroom, and in November we hope to move her to the specialized classroom for an additional two days to work further on her motor and communications skills. 

Making these big decisions is so hard -- and so scary.  But I love that I have the assurance that even if I mess up, it doesn't change the big plans God has for my children's lives.  I'm sure I am gonna make mistakes, in fact I know I have made so many.  I'm also sure that Adam and I are not doing this alone.  So thankful for a God who cares about the details of our lives and is more that wiling to give direction and maybe even nudge us back on the right path if we get lost.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

{waiting for the miracle}

It's been awhile since I've had time to sit and think and talk to God in silence without the background distractions of kids, nurses and plain old life.  Today Angela stayed home from school, so I had some much needed quiet time during my drive into work this morning.  What is it about the car?  I just know God had his hand in the invention of motorized transportation.  He obviously knew that vehicles would be the ultimate avenue for communion with God.  I can't even being to tell you how many times I've experienced the powerful mind blowing presence of God while sitting in the quiet of my minivan.  

This morning was no different. Things with our house are getting a little bit frustrating.  It seems like every time we make a plan to fix this septic situation, outside authorities put  more restrictions on our plan and make it more increasingly difficult to sell and move on.  We need a miracle -- and today in the  stillness of my van I was assured yet again that our miracle is just around the corner.

In order to sell our house we are going to need a divine intervention from God.  It's not an ideal situation to buy into.  The house is great, but along with buying the house the new owners will now need to agree to continue with further testing to either prove a new septic system can work or eliminate the option.  God's hand needs to be all over this -- and I say with full confidence, that it indeed is.

I was thinking on my drive into work, how in the midst of waiting for our miracle we need to make some difficult choices to change our thinking.  We need to take our feelings of frustration, anger and helplessness and simply give them up and allow God to transform them into sheer excitement.  Cause when this house sells, it will be nothing short of an awesome display of God faithfulness.

He has never led us astray.  His hand is always meticulously working the inner happenings of our lives to play out this amazing story and ultimately show what  a loving and faithful God He is.

As I drove in the car my excitement began to create this ball of inner energy -- a Godly burst of caffeine that is going to help push us to the other side until we can proudly declare to the world, He has done it again!

God is all about taking impossible situations and turning them around to change peoples lives.  I look back at Gavin's life.  As we watched our little boy die in his last hours we had over fifteen thousand people reading this very blog and pouring out their love and support.  People were praying for a miracle -- a last minute miracle that would allow our little boy to wake up and walk out of that hospital.  He never did, in fact his death was more horrific then we imagined.  But almost three years later -- you just can't deny that the miracle indeed happened, just not in way we all prayed for.  But God knew. He knew that out of Gavin's beautiful life and death, many more children would find their healing within  Adam and my arms -- the very arms Gavin helped to shape and train.

But God knew...

So as we wait for our miracle once again, we stand with excitement, believing that it's right around the corner. And in the end, our miracle may look a little different than we would like to see -- but it certainly is still our miracle.  

God is not about giving second best.

Perfect timing.

Perfect precision.

We are waiting for our miracle.