Thursday, April 24, 2014

Update on Emily

We are working away to get Emily home as soon as possible.  Things have moved along really well.  We have had a great social worker who has really been helping move the home study along.  We already had much of the paperwork gathered so that was helpful.  Our medical forms about drove me to drink but we finally got them done right.  Directions people.  Read them.

We got word yesterday that the home study is written and is being approved.  That is great news because I was hoping t apply for a grant with an April 30 cut off date.  We will cut it close but I think we will make it.

What's next?  Immigration.  Many people have asked if we had to start completely over since we just did all  this and the answer is pretty much yes.  Our home study was shorter because most of our education was still good.  We had to redo all our clearances and medicals, but since it was already written it just had to be updated.  We shaved about a month off there.  This fist round of immigration will be another place that is not a total redo.  We were already approved for 2 children so we have to file and extension and an updated home study and wait for approval.  We will have to be refingerprinted but don't have to do that now.   After that it is the same process as last time.  We will have our dossier authenticated and then sent to China.  We will wait for a Logan date and then start the dreaded LOA wait.  We are hoping to travel between October and the end of the year.

A sweet family traveling a few weeks ago took a few pictures for us.  It is such a gift to get these pictures.  We received pictures several times with Sarah's adoption and some of them were much to difficult to post.  All of Emily' pictures have been good and we know she is being taken care off.  We are anxious to get her home and get her healthy and the help and school she needs and deserves but we are not fearful and that is a nice change.

Here are the sweet pictures we got.

We were happy to see her sitting up in chair.  Our previous pictures had her sitting on the floor or in her wheelchair so this is good.  We also have precious video of her doing embroidery work.  What a girl!!

I spoke to someone the other day hat has spent a good amount of time with her and she just went on about how sweet she is.  About how she is the kind of person you just want with you.  We are so ready to have her with us!

5 months

On April 5th Sarah had been with us for 5 months!  I can't believe it!  What a 5 months it has been.  The very most exciting thing to happen was this!

Hearing Aids!

We are so very excited that Sarah finally has her hearing Aids.  She is doing so well with them and we can tell a huge differencr in what she can hear.  I am getting better at putting them in and she is getting better at letting me.  She is good about leaving them in and she wears them all day.  Lots of people have asked me if she is speaking English now that she can hear.  The answer is no.  She has never hard language clearly before now and we are still assessing what she can actually hear.  It helps to think of her language abilities like a newborn.  Think of how long it takes a newborn to aquire language and that is what we are looking at.  She is understanding a lot of what we say and she has some signs that she uses.  We are making signfigant process but we have a very long way to go.  We are so proud of her and so glad she is able to hear now!

Also this month we went to the Memphis zoo during spring break.  If you are wondering f the Memphis zoo during spring break might too muchfor a newly adopted child the answer would be yes.  Yes is is, as evidenced by the ever increasing zoned out look on her face in these pictures - which is better than the screaming.  It was a long day.  But we saw Pandas.  

Also on the zoo trip my 13 year old complained, um..constantly, that she was tired.  So so tired.  So tired mom.  That combined with a few days of finding her like this:

Combined with a yearly check up ended us up looking like this:
This is the look 13 year olds give you when you take their picture in the hospital

 Jenny has been diagnosed with type one diabetes.  To say we were shocked is an understatement and we are still reeling somewhat.  She is an amazing kid though and has taken the bull by the horns and is managing things very well.  We are still working it all out but we are so proud of her.

Just a few days after we got home from the hospital Jenny was in the school play.

All of that was a lot of excietent for one month so we hae been taking it easy for a few weeks.

Playing with the Weeble treehouse
Whoever sold this at the Little Feet sale… thank you.  She couldn't love it more!

 Reading Frozen at Barnes and Noble.

Hanging out on the trampoline at Pop and Peanuts.

Taking selfless while we wait for Jenny at piano.

It has been a trying, hard, busy month for my girls but we are haging in there.  Will had a good month too.  His show choir went to a national competition in Nashville and had a great time.  We didn't get to go so I don't have pictures.  Fun was had by all though.

We are praying things begin to slow down a little but we are headed straight into May and anybody with school age kids will attest to the fact that May is otherwise known as "Please no more programs, concerts, testing, parties- just let me make it to summer" month.  

It's all good though.

A trying month

I am way over due a 5 month update.  Not that I think everyone out there is dying for an update every month but this is sort of like my baby book for Sarah.  A place to look back at everything that had gone on during each month.  Six months is just around the corner so I am way behind, but in an effort to keep it transparent.  I am weary.

These last 2 months have been the hardest of all my 16 years of motherhood.  My precious 5 year olds is working hard to heal a broken heart and learning how to be a part of a family.  As beautiful as it is, it is hard and it is messy.  We have had some hard hard days.  My precious 13 yr old, Jenny has had a major, life altering medical emergency.  We are still reeling a little from that and learning how to manage her new diagnoses.  And my almost 16 year old, is well…..almost 16.  Enough said.

And I am working to get my 4th child home.  I long for her most days.  Her sweet spirit shines through her pictures and the reports we get.  I am anxious to get her here.

I am struggling too.  Finding where I fit and finding where Sarah fits.  I tire of the looks she gets when she doesn't answers some one's questions or makes noises some don't understand.  She is such a joy but I do get a glimpse of what the world sees sometimes and it hurts my mothers heart. I still feel very disconnected from things and am struggling to find a place to fit.

A few years ago I complained to the Lord that I was bored.  That makes me laugh today.  The truth of the matter is that what God loves Satan hates and he attacks with fury.  Shane and I both feel like we are under attack.  We are buckling down to protect our children, our marriage and our family. He may sling a few arrows and hit his mark form time to time, but he will not win.

We did have some very good and exciting things happen during Sarah's 5th month home and I will write about those soon.  We are getting into good rhythm and for the most part things are really good, but my heart is so very heavy for my children these days.  We covet your prayers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Where God is working

Most of us live in a bubble.  We may get outside that bubble for short periods of time but it is so easy to slip back in.  I sat in a waiting room today and listened for 30 minutes while 2 mothers complained about how busy they were.  Kids to take here and there, no time to shop for clothes, no one had booked the hotel for the baseball tournament and now the best hotel was full and whether to stay in a bigger house a mile from the beach or stay in a smaller house on the beach.  First world problem, we all have them.

But I have seen.  And when I slip back into my bubble full of first world problems I force myself to remember what I have seen.  I have seen a room full of cribs with only plywood for mattresses.  No place for an adult to sit or sleep….who stays there during the night?  I've seen children with towels instead of diapers tied around their waist with ropes. I have seen older children who have never spent a day in school.  Never.  With gray teeth, unable to speak.  I've seen a child sitting with their legs through the bars of a third story window watching me look over the only place he has ever known.  Watching me hold children and pass out lollipops and leave.

When I lay by my beautiful daughter at night I see those children.  So thankful for the ones who are home now, Susan, Sarahbeth, Sophia.  So thankful for the ones coming home soon, Stewart,Sean, Suzie.  But I hurt for those who aren't home.  Who may never be home, Samuel, Susanna, Seth.

Lifeline Children's Services has a partnership with this orphanage.  The orphanage my daughter once lived in.  They have worked to help and have prayed for the Lord to open doors and He has.  In a might, mighty way He has opened doors for Lifeline to establish a foster home for 14 of the babies at this orphanage.  Fourteen children able to sleep in peace and safety in a suitable bed with plenty of food.  Able to get interaction and love and touch everyday. Given the medical treatment they need.

The challenge of course is money.  Always isn't it!?  But God is so much bigger than money.  Lifeline needs a lot of money in a short amount of time to get this foster home off the ground.  God has made the path smooth through the hard things like an apartment, a manager and government approval, I have no doubt that He won't let a thing like 40,000 stand in the way.  But how awesome that he allows us to be a part of His work.  He allows us to be blessed by being obedient to help to fatherless.  Do you have $5? $10? $25?  Maybe more?  Would you be willing to help?

You can click on the link below to hear more about this opportunity and how to help.  Nothing is too small.

To see these children's faces you can click on the link below.  Pick one out and pray for them.  Pray that  they will know the love of a family.  Pray that the Lord will guard their future.  It is dim without Him, but He is big God.  I have seen these children with my own eyes.  They are not just pictures, they are as real as the children you tucked into bed tonight and just as fiercely loved by our creator.  One of those children, Susan on the list, is home now.  Sleeping in her bed in the room next to the one I'm sitting in now.  She is safe and loved and home.  They all deserve that.  This foster home is gigantic step in the right direction.

Many years ago I took part in the Experiencing God Bible study.  I remember Henry Blackabey saying that if you wanted to do something for God to look for where He was already working and join Him.  He is working here, Join Him!!