Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Home is Where the Heart Is

If that's the case, then I'd say James' heart is still in the Philippines.  This morning he asked me, with a very nice smile, "can please have go home."  This is after yesterday when he was crying and crying for no reason so I asked if he wanted to look at his pictures.  He did, so I got them out and we looked through them.  When he saw Tom, foster dad, he pointed and signed dad.  I responded with spelling T-o-m, and then pointing to Jason and signing DAD.  He wasn't very pleased, but he copied my fingerspelling and after a few times I added a name-sign.  Trying to make the connection that Tom is different from Dad and Diane is different from Mom.  We did this again when we got to pictures of Diane.  And he signed HOME a few times at other pictures in the books.  I tried to explain that that was his home before, and this is his home now, but I don't think he gets it.
When we were looking through the books I realized that yesterday was the anniversary of James going to the live at the foster home.  He was just an infant, and he has no concept of days or dates, so I'm sure he didn't know, but it was kind of ironic anyway.  And I imagine Diane was very aware of the date, and probably his birth mom was as well.  Adoption is such a hard thing.  It's beautiful, but it's hard.  For everyone.  But maybe mostly for the little boy who still doesn't understand why he now lives with us, and why he can't go back to where he lived before.  I can only pray that the Lord will heal his heart, and that someday soon he will have the language to understand why his life suddenly turned upside down.  And I pray that he will see God's hand taking care of him and bringing him to this place, this new family, this new life. 

In other news, this has been a month of illness and injury!  At the beginning of the month both James and Liana were sick, one with another episode of croup and the other with strep.  After that was surgery to finally remove the two bad teeth in his mouth.  Last week he had a random fever with no other symptoms for two days, then a day of no fever, followed by the return of said fever but this time it brought its friends - diarrhea and vomiting.  My favorite.  After a few days, a scary high fever, and a trip to the ER for some very good drugs, it seems we are finally on the mend.  This was the first thing that brought James to a stop and made him actually act sick.  Poor little guy was just miserable!  He's still not 100%, and therefore I had to reschedule the surgery he was supposed to have today to put tubes in and take a skin tag off.  I know it was the right decision, but the next available date the doctor had was July 16th!!!!  So I'm a bit concerned as to what this will do to our implant timeline, but it couldn't be helped, so I'll try not to obsess about it! :)


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Story Time, Zoo, Dental Surgery, and a Book Review for Good Measure

Well, as I expected, Jody Hedlund did not diappoint!  I read my free copy of A Noble Groom from Bethany House in about 3 days.  I could not put this one down!  JH has quickly become one of my favorite historical fiction authors, right up there with Tracie Peterson and Jane Kirkpatrick.  Her characters are well developed; she makes you love the good guys (girls!) and hate the bad guys.  Most romance novels of any time period have some predictable elements, as does this author, but the plot also contains enough twists and surprises to keep you guessing and the story moving along at a nice pace.  She also brings to light the plight of immigrant farmers in that time period (the late 1800s) that I had not known or thought about before.  I look forward to reading more from this author in the future!

Now, back to James and our eventful week.  Yesterday we tried out story time at the library.   I used to take the other two regularly, but we got out of the habit with homeschooling.  With not much work left to do, I decided to renew that activity.  James did great and seemed to really enjoy himself.  I had to keep nudging him with my foot so he would look at me and I could explain the story.  He just wanted to see the pictures and participate in the story.  Our story time lady, Miss Liz, does a great job of involving the kids in the story by doing motions and such.  Neither Aedan or Liana has ever participated in this poart, but James just jumped right in!  And he kept trying to tell Miss Liz things while she was reading.  Sometimes he is such a normal 4 year old, and other times... Anyway, during the stories I kept tearing up!  I don't know if it was just the fact that he was there, (I remember last year wondering what it would be like to bring him.) or the fact that he couldn't fully understand what was going on, nor was he fully aware that the kids behind him were talking and asking random questions like preschoolers do.  I don't know what it was!  But he did well sitting, for the most part, and he made the craft and was quite proud of himself.  We will definitely keep story time as part of our schedule from now on!
Today was dental surgery day, take 2!  Since we didn't have to be there until 12:30, and I didn't want to have to keep telling him he couldn't eat all morning, I decided we would go to the zoo as a distraction.  Besides the fact that about 12 schools had field trips today and the place was PACKED, it was a great idea.  I know James went to a zoo in the Philippines last year, when they got stuck coming home from Manila, but I don't know what kind of animals he saw there.  He knew the signs for some of the animals, and picked up the rest pretty quickly.  Mostly I think he enjoyed running with his siblings and friend.  At the elephant exhibit I met a lady who told me she and her husband are thinking and praying about adopting a deaf child!  We got to chat for a few minutes, and that was very exciting to me.  James was not at all pleased when we had to leave, especially since Aedan and Liana were staying with my friend.  But we got to the hospital and he started talking about getting his teeth pulled, and telling me he was hungry every few minutes.  Surgery was scheduled for 2:00, but they ended up not taking him until almost 3.  Given that he had not eaten anything all day, or had a drink since 11:00, he did very well waiting.  He is such a trooper about things like that, but other things...he can whine and complain with the best of them!  The surgery was quick, both teeth extracted, and he woke up super quick.  But he would not drink the juice they make you drink before you can leave!  I was ready to finish it myself just so we could go home!!  The finally discharged us around 6:00 and we headed home, where James promptly inhaled yogurt, then had carrots and bbq chicken!!  Nothing was going to keep this boy from eating a real dinner, not even two holes in his face!!
Tomorrow we go back to the audiologist to pick up the other hearing aid, so now he will have to squealing ears.  Yippee!  But at least his head will be balanced.  You know how asymmetrical things bother me!! 
Here are some pictures from the zoo today!

This was right in front of us...

And they were all mesmerized by fish and ducks.

Biggest. Puffer fish. Ever.

The polar bear was right up by the glass.

This girl LOVES her polar bears!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day and other things

My first Mother's Day as a mom of 3, and as an adoptive mama.  It came on the heels of a rough evening, that left me feeling very inadequate to raise this little guy entrusted to me.  Some days I just don't know what to do with him.  I mean, I don't know how to reach him, how to communicate with him, what to realistically expect of him, what he needs.  But my hubby prayed with me and said some encouraging things.  And then I started reading a book called Parenting from the Overflow, which also had some encouraging things to say.  And this morning the message was about Jehoshaphat, and about relying on God when we don't know what to do and don't even have the ability to do it if we did know.  Then another adoptive mom gave me some encouragement as well, and it was lovely.  At the beginning of service was baby dedication.  Except that today, instead of babies, there were two very special little boys, both adopted this year.  Our James, and his little buddy Lorvens.  It was so sweet to have them dedicated together, for a few reasons.  In November, on Orphan Sunday, our church prayer for us and for Lorvens' family together, putting both boys' pictures on the screen together.  And today, here they are, together in person.  Such a testimony of God's faithfulness, and hopefully an inspiration to families who may be on the fence about adopting.  Plus, these little guys really are buddies.  Lorvens doesn't speak much English yet, so language isn't so much of an issue for them.  They just like to play together as little boys.  I hope they will grow and become true friends, as they share a bond that most kids can't understand. 
In other news, I'm fairly sure James' tooth is infected, the one that is coming out on Thursday.  Hopefully we can get him an antibiotic or something to make it to Thursday.  I don't know if getting him in any earlier is a possibility, or if they can even operate if there's infection.  So I'll be calling to oral surgeon first thing tomorrow.
And lastly, I have my first book review to give you.  I recently signed up to be a book reviewer for Bethany Publishing.  I don't get paid or anything, but I get free books, and I get to give my opinion on them.  So the first book I received is called These Are the Days of Elijah by R.T. Kendall.  And I must say, I was very disappointed by my first choice of books.  The book was a study on the life of Elijah, but it wasn't anything extremely insightful or life-changing.  It was thorough in it's exposition of the Scriptures, but the writing was weak, the illustrations were flat and left me wanting more details.  Several Christian cliches popped up, and the kindle version contained many typos which is a big issue for me.  Also, the author and I do not see eye to eye on some theological issues, but other readers might not find that to be the case.  Overall, if you don't know anything about Elijah, this might be a good read for you.  But if you have already studied this prophet to any extent, you should probably look for another book.  The good news is that now that I'm finally done with this book, I can move on to my next book by Jody Hedlund.  I thoroughly enjoyed the last book I read by her, so I'm confident that my next review will be a positive one.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Croup is poop.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.  Besides, I hate trying to title my posts.  And James has croup again.  At least I'm about 99% sure that's what it is.  He woke up a few nights ago with a ragin fever, and then the coughing started.  It's not quite as bad as last time, thankfully.  And we have the medications they gave us, so I've been giving him those.  But we've had several nights of not very good sleep, and one incredibly clingy boy during the day.  Plus Liana has been sick all week too, with strep or something similar.  But, praise God, both kids felt well enough yesterday for us to make it to our two appointments that I really did not want to cancel.  (Today they are just laying around though!) 
Our morning appointment was with Dr. Chi, our ENT, to go over the CT and MRI we had done last week.  Structurally James' ears are perfect, which I find very ironic since those are the things that don't work, and he has so many other abnormalities that don't affect much of his day-to-day like.  But it was very good news, because it means he is a candidate for cochlear implants.  (I know some people reading this might not agree with our choice to go this route, and I respect that.  But it's what we've chosen and I hope you will respect that.)  So now we just have to finish out the hearing aid trial, which is completely pointless since they do absolutely nothing!  Dr. Chi did recommend having tubes put in, as the CT showed fluid behind both ears, and he has had no ear infections that I know of since being home.  So that will be done at the end of the month, and he will also remove the skin tag on the inside of James' left ear.
Our second appointment was at the Child Development Unit at Children's.  We didn't learn a whole lot, as she didn't do any actual testing with him.  She just examined him and all his abnormalities and asked me a whole bunch of questions.  She does want to do more extensive developmental testing than what he has already had, and she recommended we do some genetic testing as well.  She is fairly sure that all of his anomalies are connected, and genetic testing could give us that connection, as well as add more pieces to the puzzle that is James.  Having a diagnosis of sorts could help us identify cognitive delays or disabilites, and help us know how to help him.  I really worry that there is some kind of cognitive problem, based on some of the things is he still unable to do, like draw a square or easily trace lines on a page.  He also struggles with simple matching puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles are out of the question.  But he CAN sort by color and shape, and he's mostly able to sort by size.  Counting is still not there, nor are most colors.  It's so hard to know what is just delay from lack of exposure/teaching, and what is a genuine problem.  Hopefully once he starts therapy we'll get a better idea.  In the meantime I beg God for wisdom, grace, and patience!! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Birthday Girl!!

Today my baby girl turned 5!!  She celebrated with a fever and sore throat, lots of movies and books, Gatorade, popsicles, ice cream, and Chick-Fil-A.  But she was so excited that it was her birthday!
I have been waiting since Aedan's birthday to be able to write this post and brag on my Honey-girl just a little bit.  She has been mama's girl since day 1, and has had the hardest time with the transition of adding a new sibling.  But she has adjusted beautifully and is the best signer of the three of them!  She loves her little brother (when he's not pinching her!) and has to be reminded often that she is not the mom!  She loves to help do just about anything, but she's not too keen on doing chores on her own.  If you know her, you know she can't say her L's or R's, and that they both come out as a W.  But lately I've been catching her saying L properly here and there.  It's such a sad thing, because it means she really is growing up, but like I tell people who say they hope she never outgrows it, "It won't be that cute when she's 14!"  And speaking of 14, you'd think she is 14 sometimes, with the drama that comes pouring out of her little body!  We are working to curb that, but mostly unsuccessfully thus far!  Liana is as stubborn as the day is long, as they say; a trait that I hope will work to her advantage in the future in keeping her from giving into peer pressure.  She is very much my child in that respect, and in several others.  She's a picky eater, even been known to gag on foods she doesn't like, and usually decides not to like it before it's even in her mouth.  She loves music and will sing at the top of her lungs to all her "fwavwite" songs on K-love.  (My kids listen to whatever I listen to, and they both love it!)  Her current favorite is the Chris Tomlin Burning Lights cd, but she also really likes the Passion 2013.  She only needs to hear a song once or twice before she is singing along.  Oh, how I love to hear her sing praises to the Lord!  I pray that she will grow and develop a true heart of worship. 
Her newest interest is reading!  Finally, a member of my family who shares my passion for books!!  I have caught her awake until almost 10:00 at night reading her Bible.  She reads it every night by herself after we read together as a family.  And there are usually at least two library books also in her room at any given time, which she reads in bed.  This school year we worked through the Hooked On Phonics program (which I HIGHLY recommend) and she now reads just as well as Aedan, who reads well above grade level.  She asks to do school work, and just wants to learn.  Again, a child after my own heart!  I am looking forward to officially homeschooling her this upcoming year, and seeing how far she will go.  She is SO different from her brother in this area! 
Liana's other loves are Wild Kratts, legos, soccer and baseball, church, and her Pappy Dan.  She loves all three of her grandparents, but Pappy Dan just has a special place in her heart.  She loves to wear dresses, but is not very girly in other ways.  She's the girl wearing a dress (with non-matching colorful tights) while playing Star Wars or Power Rangers with her brothers, or digging in the dirt at every baseball/softball game.  She recently has started letting me actually do something with her wild and beautiful hair, for which I am very thankful!  At one point she was wanting her hair cut like Aedan's, to which I said NO WAY.  She did that once, and I don't care for a repeat!! 
So that's my baby girl in a nut shell.  If you know us in real like, you know what a treasure she is.  If you don't, you'll just have to take my word for it!  Happy birthday, my darling girl!

How did she go from this...

To this???!!!!

Liana with her Pappy

She loves Andrew McCutcheon

Love my girl in braids!

See what I mean about the tights??