Saturday, February 10, 2018

My Right Hand Girl!

This week I decided to do an update on my sweet, sweet, daughter, Carolyn.  I have no way to put into words how dear she is to my heart.  I could ask for no better daughter or friend. She is reliable in temperament and behavior, most of the time, so is a child I don't have to worry about misbehaving or causing trouble when out in public, or at home.  We work very well together and enjoy each others company all day long.
She is a huge help with the children and has a gift when working with them. She has compassion and a gentle, patient, nature with any person or creature.
Carolyn is doing very well and is at a time in life that she is on the cusp of being an adult.  She is 17 years old, soon to be 18 within a few months.  That in and of itself is just beyond grasping.  She came to us when she was just 10 weeks old.
She has FAS, so had many sensory, emotional, and learning disabilities. She cried a lot as an infant and was my only child I had to wear, to keep her from crying and being so anxious all of the time.  As long as she was held, or very close to someone, she was fine., put her down and she was terrified.  She was very tiny and grew slowly.  She was fun to dress cute and cuddle with.
Don't get me wrong...I enjoyed her immensely and was so grateful for her but her behavior could and did easily escalate and become over the top when she was little.  When she was about six/seven years old, all of that changed.  I seriously don't know if it was all of my prayers being answered, she truly understood the gospel and got saved or what... but a u-turn, life changing, occurrence happened in her life and heart and she stopped the tantruming, bad behavior and rebellion.  She became very compliant and I could see her try so hard to control herself in all areas.  At that point in time, we both started a wonderful relationship and bond, that I can not explain.  She tries so hard to please me, be helpful and learn skills that I do daily.  She is just a precious soul.  She still struggles with learning disabilities, her emotions, her nerves, and how to behave socially but knows she has these issues and what is expected behavior...she tries so hard to keep herself acting in a kind and exceptable manor.

Carolyn spends her days working on daily living skills, helping with the children, loving on her animals and dancing.  She has just started to understand math for the first time in her life.  She has never been able to grasp the concept at all.  She has started doing simple math books, for fun, in her free time.
She rides her pony (Millie) about once a week.  I will not let her go out and ride alone, so I pay William to go out and watch her ride.  He usually brings out a chair and good book to read, while out there.  She usually rides about an hour.

She also has a leopard geko,  a Guinea pig and two companion dogs.  She totally takes care of her own animals and her dogs are on her lap or by her side pretty much at all times.  The dogs really help with her anxiety.  She has had a companion/therapy dog since she was very young.  Her first dog passed away after eight years of service to her.  We had to go right out to get another for her as she did not do well without one.  She has had her new dog (Bella) for two years now. 
Recently, she was gifted a second dog!  I know...what was I thinking!   Our neighbor is a vet tech and had bottle fed a litter of puppies and begged us to take the last two she could not find homes for because they were so dear to her heart and wanted to know where they went.  One (the runt) had a cleft pallet and since Carolyn always spoils and takes such doting care of her dogs, I allowed Carolyn to have that one.  She has had the new one Sadie about seven months.
It is almost house broken.  I know Carolyn will most likely live with Tim and I most of her life so we allow her to have her "babies" to smother with attention.

Carolyn's dream since starting to dance as a little girl was to be on point.  Last year she was graduated to point.  She is so beautiful and graceful when she dances.  She practices almost daily and I know she looks so small but that compact little lady is all muscle!  This picture is from the girls most recent recital in January.
We don't wear make up but for the recital, they wear stage make up.  Boy, does it make her look much older!
Our plans for her future are a bit sketchy.  I would love for her to find some kind of employment at some point in her life but has to be supervised closely because if something out of the ordinary happens, she does not know how to reason to make a good decision every time.  Also, because of the FAS, people can manipulate her and talk her into and out of things easily.  She really tries to please people around her.  I would also love to see her have social outlets at some point as well.  Right now, she has dance and all the girls at the studio that she has known for years but at some point she may not be able to dance there because of her age.  So having a safe group to go out and do things with would be nice for her.

God is so good to us and we feel so blessed to be given Carolyn to be our daughter.  We all love her dearly and it blesses my heart to see her grow into such a lovely, godly young women.  We love you girl!

Isaiah 60:1-2  "Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.



Saturday, January 13, 2018

Another year older!

Antonio had a birthday at the end of the year last year, in December.  It is hard to believe he is now 23 years old.  We are grateful for every year!  Praise the Lord, he had a good birthday and was in his right mind for the day and celebration.  He wanted to go to a local "all you can eat" Chinese restaurant, for his special meal.  He has a feeding tube for all his liquid needs, as he aspirates on any fluid taken by mouth.  He does like to eat but often tires after a few bites or just can't eat because of his health or state of mind, so at those times, we blend the food he wants to eat and put it in through his feeding tube.  Lately, he is into eating cream cheese wantons for some reason.  So a Chinese restaurant was his choice.  He also wanted cheese cake, like Zeke had on his recent birthday.  My sister did a wonderful job once again and made a delicious cake for him.  Thank you Aunt "S"!
Antonio is still cycling through good and hard spells... you can read about them and how they came about here.  He will be in his right mind and happy and sweet for several weeks and then totally opposite for a few weeks.  It is very hard on the whole family when he is not in his right mind.  For the few weeks surrounding thanksgiving, he was going through a hard spell and could not even come out and be around people or enjoy the meal he had looked so forward to, just a few weeks earlier.  He says horrible things and tries to hurt anyone who comes in arms length of him when going through a bad spell.  It makes me so sad to see him like this, as I know this is not who he is.  God is so faithful and helps us through it all.   We all become very happy in our home, as we see Antonio emerging out of this phase and becoming himself once again.

When he is himself, he is the sweetest, best, son and brother to all the children.  Loving and tender.  Here I caught him playing with Kinsley on his I-pad.  So very tender.
We love you dearly and always Antonio!  May God grant you health and pour out His healing power upon your body and mind.  You are an inspiration to all and are a wonderful son.  Happy Birthday!

Isaiah 60:1-2  "Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. "For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you.

Love, Dad, mom, Stephen, William, Carolyn, Zeke, Elizabeth, Billy, Timmy, Kinsley and Anna-Kate

Saturday, January 6, 2018

16 Years!

I am so behind on blogging.  "Busy" has hit our home once again and I am doing my best to get everything back under control and into some type of routine.  Hopefully, by February, we should have fewer appointments and calmer days again.
In November 2017,  Zeke had his 16th birthday!  Happy Birthday Zeke!! 

Zeke came into our home when he was 8 days old.  I cut the hospital band off his little leg myself.  God brought Zeke into our home in one of the most miraculous ways.  In a way that I knew, beyond a shadow of doubt, that Zeke was to come into our home and be our son.  Through a dream (read about it here) given to me by God.  He has blessed my life and heart every day of his life.  I am amazed at how quickly 16 years have went by.  He is growing into such a nice young man.  He is quiet and kind.  He is helpful and always does his best at anything we ask him to do.  How I love this young man.

Zeke is still attending public school.  He loves going and his teacher is absolutely wonderful.  He is very close to the two para pro's in his classroom and thinks the world of them.  He spends some time doing work in his classroom.  He goes to two main stream production class and social studies.  He is doing very well in the work program at his school.  His first year in the program he worked at our local farm store.  At the beginning of this school year he worked at a local steak house.  This second half of the school year he will be working with his dad.  He is looking forward to that. 
This boy loves to eat!  He now can handle all foods without reactions and is enjoying the broader pallet!

Zeke spends his time, at home, making movies.  He has his own little 10 by ten area, that we set up for him on the enclosed front porch area, of our home.  He has a computer for making his movies after he films them.  He has all his legos and wooden railway train things for filming as well and many tables for making scenes on.   He tries to have a new movie for Tim and I to watch every Friday for movie night.
Zeke is a good brother to all his siblings.  He often stops to tickle and tease his younger siblings.  He gets along well with Billy and they play legos together.  He also helps us load and unload Antonio onto the bus or helps with transfers when we have to lift Antonio.  Zeke will have to live with us always and none of us have any complaints or concerns about that. 

Zeke loves animals.  He still has his little therapy/companion dog, Roo.  She is getting very old.  He has had her since she was six weeks old.  He also has two little Guinea pigs and a very old pony from his childhood , Dixie.  She can not be ridden and he tenderly grooms and cares for her daily.

I love Zeke dearly.  He is such a sweet, gentle soul and brings us many blessings by just being here with us...Just like God told me in that dream about him, those many years ago.

Zeke wanted a cheese cake for his birthday.  So my sister made him a delicious home made cheese cake.  He was so happy.  Thank you aunt "S"!  Aunt "S" and Uncle "B" also took Zeke and William to the Lego store for Zeke's birthday!  Very happy young men! 
Happy 16th birthday Zeke!  You are a truly wonderful son and blessing to our home.  You love the Lord and always try your hardest at all you do.  You inspire me.  May God have His mighty hand on your life now and always.  May you always serve and love Him!

Psalm 90:16  Let Your work appear to Your servants And Your majesty to their children.

Love, Dad, mom, Stephen, Antonio, William, Carolyn, Elizabeth, Billy, Timmy, Kinsley and Anna-Kate.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Whats Up With William!

I have been slowly writing an update post on each of my children, as friends and family have been writing and asking for an update on different ones.  Today, I decided to do a "catch up" post on William, as he has had a lot of great things going on lately.

William is doing great in all areas of his life, Glory to God!  I guess the last update I did, was when he had passed his GED test and been inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society. 
Since that time he has started college.  He signed up for college, wondering if with his autism, learning disabilities and health issues, he was going to be able to learn the material and keep up with the classes.  He took two classes for fall semester and it was hard.  He worked extra hard every day, studying, reading and going over the information presented in class.  Even on the days he did not have classes, he studied, to try to learn and retain the information.  He just finished his first semester and did very well.  He is going for a degree in the area of computers.

He was nominated by a teacher for the colleges E.A.G.L.E (Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education) award.  He had to meet certain qualifications, write a report and give a speech in front of a panel of three judges.  Writing is hard for him.  It is very hard for him to get his thoughts together and put them down onto paper in a way people can understand.  It is very uncomfortable for him to speak in front of people, so giving a speech is very hard for him but he was motivated and determined.  There were two other young college students that were nominated as well.  He went and gave the speech last Wednesday and glory to God, was selected to receive the award.  He will  now represent the colleges Adult Education Department for the 2018 year.  If they have a conference or meeting, he will be invited to give a speech.  Also, because he won the award, he will be going to Atlanta in March, to speak in front of a panel of judges, along with the other regions winners and they will  pick one state representative from among them all.  So he is excited about that.  William went on the colleges website to check on something and they had an article posted about him.  He was very excited.  The next day, I got a text from my sister and then my dad, saying William was on the front page of our local news paper.  The article was about him receiving the E.A.G.L.E award.
All of these wonderful things have really boosted his self confidence and made him feel very blessed.

In other areas of his life, his health is doing much better.  He had been suffering from chronic fatigue, heart palpitations,  low blood sugar, spells of not being able to think straight and whenever he would over exert himself, even in the slightest way, would take days to recover his strength.  Also, stress brought on these symptoms.  These symptoms all started when he was in his early teens.  I have had him to every specialist I could take him to, for help.  Finally, one stated it was most likely inflammation related and auto-immune in nature.  I did a huge diet change for him over a year ago and put him on many supplements.  He is doing great.  Eating whole foods now, he has lost weight to a great weight for his height.  He feels well most of the time and has fewer spells, that he recovers from much quicker.  I am grateful to God for His wisdom and healing power in this area of Williams life.  He never would have been able to go to college, the way his health was just over a year ago, as some days he could not drive or think straight.  I started our whole family on a new protocol I learned about a few weeks ago.  It seems to be making even more positive changes in him and many of the other children as well.  God is so good.

William has been working at getting his VW bug fixed up and running again.  He has also been working on monthly stop animation videos for his Youtube channel  Legobro4studio

William is a wonderful son that is one of my best friends.  He lovingly helps care for Antonio every day.  I try not to ask him to help with as much as he did in the past, as I know he is working so hard every day to read and retain his college work but he very willingly helps around the farm and with the children when needed. 
Helping to take a deck off the back of the house!
He daily spends quality time with his siblings, teasing, chasing around and loving on the little ones and taking the older ones out to get a coffee, a treat or putting together a nice movie night for them all.

When William was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, I always prayed and wondered what kind of future he would have.  He never talked so we could understand him until he was six years old.  He had huge sensory issues, he struggled to learn.  I hid all these things in my heart and just prayed to God and kept teaching him, taking him to therapy and trying new protocols with him that were supposed to help his body detox and heal.  God has done a mighty, miracle, work in William.  I am forever grateful that God blessed us with William as our son.

Isaiah 60:1-2

60 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.



Saturday, October 21, 2017

Happy Birthday To My Youngest Son!

To my little man that has been through so much and come so far.  Happy Birthday!!!!, my big five year old!

Timmy and Billy came to our home as a sibling group when Timmy was only 1 year old and Billy was 2 years old.

I had tried to suppress a deep desire to adopt more children and move into a new season of my life but just could not.  We had not had any small children in our family for years, so it was very nice to have little ones in my arms again.
They both had extreme issues from the abuse and neglect they had went through before coming here.
They were both exposed to drugs in the womb.  They also both had meth smoked around them regularly.  There were many more issues with Billy as he was a year older and had gone through a lot more.  Also, there personalities are very different and they learned to cope with things differently.

Timmy is a sweet, sweet soul with many issues.  He was heavily drug exposed in the womb and has autism.  Combine that with the neglect and abuse he want through and we have one sweet little boy, who is stuck as an 18 month old child.
Most of the behavioral issues he had from his past, have resolved over the years, glory to God!  The things he is struggling with now, are from the damage done by drugs.
He fusses when he has to make transitions throughout the day and when he has to do something he does not want to do.  When he came here, he used to throw many, terrible, long, tantrums daily but now he just cries it out and is over it.  Praise God.
He used to pull his hair out, not play with toys properly, kick everything hard so he could hear the sound of it for long spells, repetitively bang his head on things when upset, pull strings out of clothing and cry a lot.   He still fusses a lot but now can play with toys properly for the most part, if they are age appropriate for his mentality.
He can play with others, if supervised for redirection in sharing and not hitting and hurting others with toys, like a toddler needs.  He is potty trained, in that if we take him frequently, he does good but has trouble telling us if he needs to go.  He has several accidents a week.  He can not use metal utensils as he pokes himself with forks leaving marks and can not stop looking at the reflection in a metal spoon and waving it before his face back and forth. (self stemming with it from the autism)  It is such an issue, it slings food everywhere and keeps him from eating his meal. 

He has very little danger awareness so needs to be closely supervised or shadowed by an older child/adult when we go places in public.  We just recently graduated him out of a stroller as he will hold someones hand now and not jerk it away and run.
He has trouble learning but does learn with a lot of repetition and structure.
He really has a sweet and loving heart.  He makes me cry almost nightly.  He wants to kiss me good night.  I will squat down to his level and he hugs me and kisses my left and right check and then takes his little hands and rubs those kisses in a circle and says..."rub rub rub...stay forever"  I tear up every time.

He is doing structured school work daily.  He is doing Pre -K and really enjoys it.  Carolyn partners with him and they work very well together.  He get discouraged and needs frequent breaks.  He can stay focused in short bursts but gets distracted very easily.
We try to keep it light and fun with lots of positive reinforcement and verbal praise.   He just beams when you tell him you love him or that he is doing a great job.

He loves all things, trains and things with wheels, machines and robots, dinosaurs and sharks.  He likes to color and build with toddler duplos.
He loves to ride ponies but has very poor balance.  He can not seem to tell where his body is in space and trips and falls a lot.  When we ride ponies, I have one of the other kids lead the pony, while I spot him and have a hold of him, so he does not fall off.  I have to do this with all three of our youngest for various reasons.  I am hoping in time the riding will help with their balance and ability to walk and run better.
 He tries very hard to please us but has a rebellious side that will not budge at times.
He is very bonded into our family and loves his brothers and sisters.
Sometimes it is hard to get his attention, as he spends a good deal of time, if not kept engaged, playing with his hands in the air.
He loves to be read to and has a ready smile.
Even though sounds, some contact and clothing is irritating to him, He is cuddly and loves to be held and hugged by us all.
He is growing up so fast.
He does have a sense of humor and tries at times to say funny things and make us laugh.  :)
He had a very hard time when we went on vacation.  He had a fun time while we were out at the beach or were busy but back at the vacation house, he really struggled in all areas and his potty training, eating and behavior just fell apart.
As soon as we got home everything just fell back into place for him and he was fine.
He does not like showers or water being splashed around him but did really well at the water park we went to on vacation.

Timmy is a joy to have in our home and a sweet child who tries hard to be a good boy.
We all love him dearly and want the best for him.  I pray he keeps learning and growing every day.

For our children's birthday, we let them either choose a place to eat out at (as we hardly ever eat out) or a special meal to eat at home.  I have been having conversations with Timmy for about a month, trying to help him understand favorite foods or a place he likes to eat at and he just did not understand.  We finally decided to take a picnic to a local park and let him play on the playground.  He is so easy to please and that just made his day. 

We don't encourage superhero type play but this year he wanted a certain superhero cake.  My sister did an excellent job making a happy cake for him.  It was perfect and made him feel very special.  Thank you Aunt "S", for your loving care in what you do for the children, to make them feel special.

Happy birthday my sweet boy!  We love you so much and I am so pleased that God brought you to us to be our son!  May God bring healing and health to all areas of your body, mind and life.  May you learn to love and serve Him with your whole life and heart.  May God always have His mighty hand on you, my youngest son!

James 1:17  17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Love, Dad, mom, Stephen, Antonio, William, Carolyn, Zeke, Elizabeth, Billy, Kinsley and Anna-Kate