Thursday, July 26, 2012

Learning to ask "How" Instead of "Why"

  Well, a diagnosis for Baby Girl has been given. While I won't go into details out of respect for her privacy, I will say that it is more than what we "feel" equipped for and more siginificant than what we expected when we initially adopted her. I am going to be completely transparent in this post, so if I upset or offend someone, then I'm sorry. I just need to share this, whether it's for my own heart or for others. Someone out there may need to hear this. It is on my heart, so I'm going to get it out in the open.
  First, I will say that we trust God and believe that He put our family together. He knew Baby Girl's needs, and He knew our family. He chose her for us, and I trust Him. That is NOT to say that I haven't questioned Him, been angry with Him, and felt like this is more than what I can handle. There is great pain and hurt at times, yet there is also great joy and blessings to behold. My emotions are on a roller coaster: elated highs and rock-bottom lows. Yet, through it all, I have peace and strength beyond the emotions. I have supportive family and friends, and I know that God also knew that I would be surrounded by help and love from others.
  Second, I do have dreams and visions that I've had to let go...thoughts about what Baby Girl would do, or what she would become, or what "homeschooling" activities I would do with her, or what sport she would play, or if she'd be a dancer or a gymnast, etc. While I'm NOT saying some of these things definitely won't happen, I am saying that, even if they do, they will probably look different than what I imagined. I am learning to trust God with Baby Girl's future, as He knows what He has planned for her. A childlike faith is a "must," and sometimes it takes things like what I'm facing to bring us to that point.
  Third, I am falling in love with my husband all over again. Never underestimate the "romance" that a daddy who loves and spends time with his children brings to a marriage. And, wow, does my hubby love his Baby Girl! When he gets home, he "takes over" with her. She is absolutely a daddy's girl! He is so good and patient with her, and he (along with Jesus) has been my rock through all of this. He has made sure I took time for myself, and he also makes sure I get time alone with my other children. Parenting a special needs child can be stressful for a marriage, but it also brings opportunities to learn how to love each other in a whole new way if you will allow it.
  Finally, I am taking quite a journey of faith and learning to trust God every step of the way. When we as Christians go through painful and difficult times, whether it be the loss of a loved one, or a painful divorce, or dealing with a child's serious disabilities, or any other devastating thing, we are given an opportunity to walk even more intimately with God. A precious friend gave me a wonderful book: What if Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops, based on the song by Laura Story. God is really using it to speak to me. One day the devotional concerned learning to ask "how" instead of "why." So, I am trying to ask "How can our family bring You glory through this?" rather than "Why is this happening to us?" While I don't always succeed in this, I'm learning. And I'm trusting. And I'm falling. And He's picking me up again and again. And He is holding me and guiding me and shaping me into who He designed me to be, just like He is shaping Baby Girl. And that is precious and beautiful. And one day we will understand.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Recent Life

  Hubby and two middle kids have been at church camp this week. They've been having a blast! They will be home later today. My mom came & stayed with me so she could help me out with Baby Girl. We had a lot of fun catching up and enjoying each other's company. My mom is a wonderful lady, and we are very close. We always had a wonderful relationship, and now that I'm an adult, I consider her one of my best friends. So it was really like we had our own little "mini-vacation." We watched movies and TV, we talked, and we stayed up late at night. One of my precious neighbors kept Baby Girl for us one day, so my mom and I went to lunch and did some shopping. It was so much fun!

  Baby Girl is still having some difficulties (I'm thinking it's related to both adoption issues and her special needs), and we have an appointment with the neurologist tomorrow. We will get results from her tests and labwork. While I'm eager to have a diagnosis, I'm also anxious about what it may be. I am just going to trust God with it, though, and remember that it doesn't change who Baby Girl is. She is a blessing and a precious gift. We are so thankful that God has placed her in our family.

  We are looking forward to wrapping up Sonlight's American History (Core D+E) program in the next couple of weeks, and then we are taking a little break before diving into our next school year. I hope to get our house and our school things organized while we're on our break. I also hope to just find a little time to relax, too, but I won't hold my breath on that!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Our Week (June 25-June 30, 2012)

  We are still rolling along with school and life, in spite of the fact that Baby Girl is still having issues. We are waiting for more test results, as we don't know at this point whether her problems are due to her special needs, or adoption issues she may be having, or a combination of the two. We just continue to love her through it all and trust that God has a plan for her and for our family. Adoption is truly a journey that has twists and turns and challenges, but it is also full of joy and blessings as well. We definitely appreciate your prayers as we navigate through each day. Thank you!
  One thing that my husband and I do on a regular basis is to spend some one-on-one time with each child. That is so important in any family, but particularly in families that include special needs children. Often the "regular" children can feel neglected due to the fact that the "special" child requires a great deal of attention from Mom and Dad. So we make it a priority to carve out special time for each child. Yesterday it was Bug's and my turn for a "date." We went to lunch, a movie (Madagascar 3, pretty funny by the way), and then went shopping. We had a wonderful time, and it was so nice to be able to focus all of my attention on him. We alternate parent/child each time so that the cycle is Dad/Doodles, Dad/Bug, Mom/Doodles, and Mom/Bug. Baby Girl does not participate yet, as she is not quite at the stage of needing that type of thing yet, plus she gets our attention for the majority of the time on a daily basis.
  We also do things together at home (cheap or even free) as an entire family. This past Thursday night we played "Scene It." It was boys vs. girls...and we girls kicked tail!!! On Friday night we played "Life: Pirates of the Caribbean Edition." I won...big time!!! So, if this homeschooling mom gig doesn't work out, then I can always plunder and raid on the high seas. Saturday night we went outside after dark and played with glow sticks and blew bubbles. We also used Bug's telescope to study the night sky. We went to church this morning, and then Doodles went home with a friend; Bug had two friends come home with him. Hubby rocked Baby Girl to sleep so I could have some time online.
  We are almost done with Sonlight Core D+E, and I can honestly say I've never learned and understood so much about American History as I do now. I highly recommend their curriculum. My children are able to discuss events with such knowledge. Doodles is looking forward to moving to the next Sonlight core, while Bug will be using this unit study based on The Chronicles of Narnia series. He will move back to Sonlight in a couple of years when I feel he's ready for Core F. Plus, as I discussed in a previous post, it's time to separate those two for all subjects.
  We also did more cleaning and organizing this week. I found these great (free!) printable chore charts. I printed them and then placed each sheet in a plastic page protector so that they're reusable. Just mark on the plastic cover with a dry erase marker to check off your work. No nagging, no's all right there in print!
  Here's a little peek into our week:

Baby Girl enjoys my coffee

Doodles and Bug, truly enjoying each other's company

Gotta love science experiments in which Mom allows you to stand in a chair

Two kids, glow sticks, + bubbles = outside fun at night

Telescope time

Doodles puts a glow stick collar on LuLu...poor dog!

Self-Care That's Not So Fun

As promised in my previous post, I am now going to talk about self-care that's not so much fun. This kind of self-care involves thin...