May 25, 2012

We’re recovering…

I know you’re waiting to hear Part 2 of Quint’s story, but I have another story to share with you.

Anton got sick this week.  Really sick.  Monday he was doubled over in pain.  By early Tuesday morning he was in the emergency room, by the mid day he was receiving emergency surgery.  He had developed a hernia in his small intestine that had ruptured.  They thought they could repair it laproscopically, but it didn’t happen.  They had to back out and open him up.  They removed the “dead” portion of his intestine and re-sected it. 

Anton's Surgery Pic

Here were are, it’s Friday.  I’m sad to tell you that progress has been excruciatingly slow for him.  He cannot tolerate much of anything.  We’ve tried to get him up on his feet, walk him around, etc.  But it’s a slow process and he is sleeping most of his days.  His pain is high and his spirits are low.  Every time we move forward a couple steps, something happens to set us back.  He had a good day, and the next he spiked a fever and had to be put back on oxygen.  He perked up for a bit, but tonight he has fluid on the lungs and can’t breathe well.  He is as weak as a kitten and can only handle the smallest interactions.  He’s depressed.  He’s sad he won’t be able to finish the school year strong.  He misses home, his kids, his students, and his dog.  He misses fresh air and swimming with his kids.  It breaks my heart every time he is lucid enough to share his sadness with me.

For myself, it’s harder than I ever thought it would be.  Not because we haven’t had many helping hands carrying us through the week – because we have.  Meals have been set up.  Friends have come and loved on us.  Cards and gifts have been received; such generosity in our time of need.  The children have been well cared for, and Anton’s parents made it into town last night. 

No, the support is amazing.  The hardest thing? 

I miss my best friend. 

I haven’t had a solid conversation with him since Monday.  (read = lucid)  I go home each night, and I cry my eyes out (just keepin’ in real folks) because he’s not there.  The house doesn’t feel the same.  It’s our house, but it’s not home without all of us there.  We can’t sit on the couch and talk about our day, we can’t watch our favorite shows, we can’t cuddle up in bed, we can’t kiss each other good-bye in the morning, or send all of our little texts throughout the day.  All that’s just gone.  For now. 

I know he’ll get better.  I do.  I know he’ll recover in time and we’ll look back on this as a trial that we weathered together.  I know this.  God is good all the time.  We are in loving hands.

But for today?

I cried.  And I miss him.  And it’s hard to parent my babies alone.  They miss him and they don’t understand.  When they see him, they are scared and confused – but put on their brave faces and love on him anyway. 

Today it’s hard not to hold his hand and get those return squeezes that I so love.  For today we’re not deciding what’s for dinner and talking about our week and giving big hugs.  For today.

Can I offer you some precious advice?  Love your family.  We lost a dear friend this week to a diving accident, leaving her husband and two daughters behind.  She and J were best friends.  Inseparable.  Now she’s gone and he’s overcome, understandably, with grief. 

Life does turn on a dime, and you never know how things can change day to day. 

I’m grateful to God for the skilled hands of the medical team, the excellent care, the beautiful facility AB is recovering in, the friends and family who love on us, the words of encouragement – all of it.  Such a blessing day to day.

But for right now?

I miss my best friend.

I miss him so much it hurts…

May 17, 2012

On being a blessing

Recently, I was asked to share how being a part of a mom’s group had encouraged me over the past year that I had been involved in it.  My immediate response was “I’ve been so blessed by it”.  I had been supported and loved on and prayed for and listened to.  I had felt cared for.  I had been blessed by these women.  Then I second guessed it and thought that the word “blessed” was such a cliché and I didn’t want to use it.  Then I felt bad for feeling like a word such as “blessed” would be considered cliché at all!  So I found myself doing a small word study on it.  What does blessed really mean…

Webster’s Dictionary defines Blessing as “the act or words of one that blesses” and “b. approval, encouragement” and “c. a thing conducive to happiness or welfare”.  It went on to give the following description “something that provides happiness or does good for a person”.  Synonyms were benefit, felicity, godsend, good, manna, windfall.  Grace, mercy, favor, kindness, advantage, aid, assistance, gift, help, relief, support, comfort, consolation, solace, delight, joy, pleasure….on and on.

All that for the word Blessing.  Quite a lot of definition for such a small word.

Which got me thinking…are we being a blessing to others?  Or are we so caught up in our lives that we forget.  It’s easy to do.  I’m guilty of it.  Are we so caught up in work, stress, day to day, schedules, running errands…that we forget to reach out and connect to people.  Not just on social networking - although it can be a great tool for that as well.  But actually reaching out and being a blessing.  Friends, family, and strangers alike.

Did you read all those words that being a “blessing” can mean?  We have so many options to choose from…

Showing grace.
Giving mercy.
Doing a favor.
Extending kindness.
Giving advantage.
Lending aid.
Offering assistance.
Supplying help.
Providing relief.
Sending support.
Creating solace.
Delighting in.
Expressing joy.
on and on…

Take your pick!  We don’t have to do them all at once – but look how many ways we can truly be a blessing to others!  It can be a small gesture that reaches out in a BIG way.  Just the simple act of expressing joy for others can really bless someone’s heart.  It costs us very little in the way of sacrifice – but it takes us out of “self” and puts our focus onto others.

My worries don’t seem nearly as large when I stop focusing on ME and start finding ways to reach out to those around me.

Have you ever had a bad day…everything is going wrong…and then the smallest gesture of kindness can turn it all around?  Your faith in possibility is restored and you find a way to keep on moving forward?  I have too!

How about when life seems upside down and nothing is going right.  Then you get a hard smack of reality when you see the struggle another is facing – and you realize “things could be so much worse”.  I can only speak for myself, but that has happened to me too many times.  Nothing like a nice cold dose of reality to cause me to sit up and stop moaning about my little problems.

The truth is, we are called to be a beacon on a hill.  A light in the darkness.  (Matthew 5:14)  Being a blessing to others should be a natural part of that light in us.  Reaching out, serving, loving – this should be like breathing. 

Be a blessing.  It’s not cliché.  It’s exactly who you were made to be…

Philippians 2:1-4
If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

May 14, 2012

Wonder Boy–Part One

I get lots of e-mails asking me all sorts of questions – from blog design, to challenge related, to camera questions, and adoption questions – definitely those.  But the questions I seem to get the most of lately are about Quint.  With that in mind, I thought you might like to sit in on a bird’s eye view into our life this past year…


I’ll say this upfront as I do with all of my heartfelt and very personal posts:  No judgment.  No advice.  Just me sharing with you.  OK?

Many of you know that Quint has struggled tremendously since infant-hood.  We have been through many processes to weed out the theories and cling to the truth for his sake.  We have pursued with dogged tenacity his health and well-being.  If you’re new to the “show”, Quint has always been a handful, to put it mildly.  Despite being a happy boy, as he has developed we have noticed many challenges rise up from the backdrop.  If you were to read through the history of this blog, you would find posts written in angst about his stubborn will, posts about his poor health, posts about his surgery, posts about his sensory issues.  Posts and more posts…on and on. 

Still, I just can’t help but talk about it for those mothers out there who are in the same boat and just don’t know where to start.  I should say that every child is so different.  Yes, some symptoms can be the same – and some behaviors can be identical.  But the overall picture is rarely a carbon copy.  You may read this post and “see” your child, but more than anything, what I urge you to do is find a starting place and start pursuing.  Wherever that takes you – just find a place to start and don’t give up!

We have tried for four years to understand what our boy was facing.  Particularly the last two years, which were spent in almost a constant state of frustration, upset, tears and wounded spirits.  Let’s re-visit:


  • Adopted at 6 months old.  When we received him into our care, he was diagnosed with double perforations in both eardrums, was oozing green from his ears, and was placed on breathing treatments.
  • At 9 months – a very stubborn and strong willed child emerged, taking over our lives.  He dominated us.  We are strong, stubborn adults.  He still took us to the mat every. single. day.
  • By 12 months he was walking and showed signs of being highly intelligent, but he was non-verbal.
  • By 18 months, he still could not say “mama”.  He could say Dada, but only when prompted.
  • He was put in Early Childhood therapy with twice weekly visits to the home.
  • By age 2, he was still essentially non-verbal.  He would use some basic words, but did not use sentences.  We enrolled him in private school two days a week which helped tremendously with his speech and understanding. 
  • His sister came home from China and he became physically aggressive and very combative.  It was totally unpredictable, and he could not be left alone with her for even a moment.
  • At age 3, he started to speak in two to five word “sentences”, but still extremely difficult to understand.  No annunciation present.  Only sounds you could partially make out as words.
  • Significant testing leads to a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder.  We are skeptical, as all of the symptoms don’t fit – but we enroll him in a special education school to get him hands on care for SPD.
  • Nine weeks into the program, we see no change and instead, a frustrated and angry 3 year old who seems worse than when he began the program.  We un-enroll him and move on to more testing.
  • Age Four and after months of testing, doctor appointments, specialists, and more tests, he is diagnosed with bi-lateral recurrent eardrum perforation.  His hearing was below 60%.  We are told he has likely never heard a consonant sound.  He is found to have abnormally large adenoids and tonsils, and constant mucus blockage in his ears and throat. 
  • September 2011 – he begins Speech Therapy twice a week.
  • November 2011 – he has surgery to remove his tonsils, adenoids, and have tubes placed in both ears.
  • Post surgery: Despite an improvement in his speech through therapy and his surgery (which rendered him in the top 90% for hearing) his combative behavior does not stop, and in fact, becomes worse.


We desperately needed a new plan and new hope.

And this mama was not giving up on her boy…

There's another post coming that tells the beauty of of our progress and some solid solutions that have worked for our family and for Quint. 

Just need some time to write it all out...

{to be continued}

May 9, 2012

The Point is…

I’m not sure I get it.  I’m not sure I get the motherhood thing to its fullest.  Most days I’m incapable of slowing down long enough to check myself: am I doing this right, do they have what they need, are they getting enough of me?  All that.  And then when I do let myself go there – go to the questions, and take the time to answer them, I’m not particularly happy with the answers.  Not at all.


The truth is, as far as I can tell, motherhood is a blur.  The mothers who have grown children say “slow down and enjoy every single minute because they will be gone before you can blink”.  The mothers living in the trenches are shoveling mud and can be heard hollering things like “CLEAR” and “INCOMING”.  They’re exhausted.  They’re spent.  They’re immersed in the moment.  Slowing down does not seem a viable option.  In fact, everything in you is screaming “hurry…next stage, please!” 

I live in between the two.  Wanting to savor it, but longing for parts of it to be over.  Is it ok to say that?  Probably not.  But I don’t care.  I gave up apologizing for my parental apathy a long time ago. 

This is for you.  You, who share my rock and my hard place.

What is the point?  The point is, try though I might – nothing – NOTHING – nothing stays clean in my house for even 2 hours.  The point is that the nature of my accounting job means that my work is never caught up.  There is always an influx of work coming in.  The point is, my obligations in life and serving in my church, and reaching out to friends and on and on…there is no end in sight.  What is the point in killing yourself over it?  Maybe that’s the reason we can’t slow down.  We’re trying to do all this other stuff and maybe we should just be playing Hi-Ho-Cheerio. 

I miss a clean house.  I truly do.  But as far as I can tell…there is a HUGE population of “been there done that” moms who are saying “forget that”.  Walk away.  Just walk away.  You will get 18 years to be Mom in different capacities and then you will have the rest of your life to have a clean house. 18 years to influence, love on, support, raise up, play with, connect to, and bless your children with YOU. 


I guess I’m just saying, wouldn’t it be nice to set aside time everyday to just be Mom instead of organized/do it all/cooking/working/laundry/clean house/sports Mom. 

Read books for a half hour.  Play games.  Get on the floor and play with all those Little People sets.  Build a fort.  Have a picnic.  Whatever.  Just have fun.


I think that’s my biggest struggle.  I know how to live in the trenches…digging, digging, digging. 

But do I know how to just be still? 

Do I know how to just reach out to my kids right where they are and enjoy who they are right now?

Starting now then?  You and me?

May 7, 2012

Come On Summer!

We had our first swim in the pool this season and I’ll sum it up for you in a word: cold.  Ha!  Yes, it was cold, but we didn’t care.  At least – they didn’t care.  I didn’t get in because I am a chicken and all that…

Keira - Swimming-2

We’ve been talking more and more about our plans for the coming months and I have to say, they are shaping up quite nicely.  We have some really fun trips planned and for the first time, we’re hitting the road with the kiddos.  This makes me ecstatic, because I know it marks the first of what will be many, many road trips over the years.  We’re excited to explore and check out some fun spots on our way to see friends.  We’re looking forward to being together.  We’re looking forward to quality time and adventures.

Quint - Swimming

What are your plans for the summer?  Can you squeeze in a trip somewhere on a budget and make it fun? 

I know for us, sometimes just staying at the Holiday Inn and swimming in the hotel pool at night is an adventure!  Someone else makes the bed, people.  What else is there?