Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Need In Our Life

I have put off writing this post.  I don't like sharing our needs.  It is humbling for me.  

Every once in a while we have a big need in our life we can't meet no matter how much we want to, or try.  Usually, it is for equipment for Antonio.  It usually is something that cost a few thousand dollars.  We are average people, living an average life.  Tim is the manager of our local Chick-Fil-A and I am a stay at home mom.  We live modestly and all our income is funneled into caring for, providing for and raising the family God has given us.

We rarely eat out.  We do inexpensive, special things as a family.  I don't buy the newest latest fashion in anything.    We use everything from clothing to items, till they are plum worn out.  What we don't need and is still good, we give to others.  God freely provides for us, we freely give to others.  I don't buy and wear make-up.  I don't buy jewelery.  I cut most of the children's hair.  Tim and I...we rarely buy new clothing.  Most of our clothing we have owned for many years and was bought from thrift stores.  We are careful with our budget because we have to be.  We never know when we are going to have a surprise hospital stay or surgery for one of the children and that could eat what we have left for a month and sink us financially.  We have to try to be prepared for the unexpected because our life is just one big unexpected event after another.  God provides time and time again. He sends wonderfully, kind, people along, that feel led to donate gently used clothing to us, in just the right sizes we need for the children.  People share from their gardens with us.  We live very blessed and happy but simple lives.  It does not take a lot to make us happy because we have lived the extreme of serious times and know the full meaning of a good day.

When we have one of these large needs come up, we usually just share the need with a few people, so they can keep it in prayer...we pray fervently about it and in Gods time and in Gods way, things come together and God provides mightily, amazingly and abundantly.  He is always faithful.  He is always with us.

This blog has been a blessing to me.  It is an outlet for me to share my heart and life with family and friends around the world.  I have met some amazing people thru this blog.  Made some great friends.  I needed that.  I have been blessed every day by this blog.  God has used many of you to regularly encourage me.  Often when I am having a hard day, God will impress upon someone to send me a message and it is just what I needed, to feel encouraged and get thru the day, without staying discouraged.   I have had people write to me, to have me join in prayer with them, for huge things in their lives.  In return, I have shared things with them we also needed extra support in prayer for.  It has been a huge honor.  God is so good.  People have been extremely kind.

Today, I am going to share with you our vehicle situation.  The van we have now has served us well for many, many years.  God brought it to our attention, when we were in just the situation we are in now.  It was just what we needed when we needed it.

We had stopped doing foster care and had moved into a small handicap mini van.  We used that van for a year or so and then Antonio got a new wheel chair.  It was larger than the one that fit in the mini van.  So we had to literally pick him up, in his wheel chair, to get him into position and facing the right way.  Tim, William and I, at one time or another, threw our back out, getting Antonio in or out of that mini van.  We were in desperate need of a bigger handicap van. 

I was daily praying and searching the internet for larger, affordable,  handicap vehicles and one day, when I checked, there was the large grey van.  A man had just listed it.  It was in great condition and for a fair price.  I called immediately and he answered the phone on the first try.  I said I was calling about the grey van...he interrupted me, stopped me short and said..."Do you have a handicap child this is for?"...I was taken aback by his interrupting me and stammered out yes.  He said, "Than you can have it for less than what it is listed for."  I was not even going to ask him to lower the price.  I told him it was a very fair price.  He proceeded to tell me that everyone that was calling him about it, wanted to tear out the lift and make it into a cargo van.  He said..."That lift was put in for my daughter and she just passed away and I want it used for a child who needs it."  We talked awhile about his daughter and I made arrangements to make the three hour drive, with my dad, down to see it.  It was such a fair price, Tim and I, at that time, were able to get a loan from the bank with payments we could afford.  It is the nicest large vehicle we have ever owned.  It has never broke down or left me stranded, like our other run down buses and vans, we could afford, in the past.  This truly was a blessing from God and has been for all these years.

Antonio just got his new adult wheel chair.  It is just what he needed.  It took a long time and a fight with insurance to get.  Antonio is going to be 20 this year, so this is the size chair he will need the rest of his life.  The down side is... it does not fit safely in our current van.  The van we have now works very well for a small child and their small wheelchair because it only has a small place for a wheel chair.  The man that we bought the van from, had a large family and he had the lift put in himself, as a solution to his need.  He did not have the roof raise or the floor lowered for adult head room.  Sadly, his daughter was terminal and they knew it, so did what they needed for their daughter.  They put in the lift.  They also didn't remove the seat ahead of the wheel chair position (like it is normally done) because he had children he needed that extra seating for.
God knew we needed that too, so I believe God directed us to this van.  We would have had to be in a bus all these years.  There is no van that would have fit our sized family and Antonio, in his wheel chair but this one van... that this family had put together for there sweet daughter.  We so appreciated his kindness in selling it to us.  It has been such a blessing to us all these years.

But... with Antonio's new chair, it has been a struggle.  I can not get him in and out of the van myself.  I have to have adult help (Tim or William) and then one small child to hook the straps.  If they are not with me, I can not get Antonio anywhere alone anymore.  It takes two adults because we are back to lifting his chair, to shimmy it in.

In the above pictures, you can see that there is not much room for his wheel chair.

There is a jump seat next to where Antonio's chair goes, that we need to use when Tim is home and with us.  We used to be able to fold that down.  We still can but have to lift Antonio, in his chair, over, so it will have room to drop down.  A very difficult and unsafe feat.  He weighs 120 pounds plus his heavy wheel chair.

An adult has to let the lift down and a small child has to get in.

Once we get Antonio on the lift and raise it up...there is no head room to push him in because there is no raised roof.  Once the lift is up in the proper position to push him in, this is where his head comes to.  We have to tilt him back and push him in and then his feet hit the seat ahead of him and his chair is still hanging out and we can't close the door or fold the lift.
We have to move him an inch back and sit him up a hair and push him forward... back and forth several times while sitting him up a bit more and more till he is in the sitting position and then we still can't fold the lift.  We have to push him forward till his feet are under the seat ahead of him to get the few inches needed to fold the lift and shut the doors.
Once we have him in, we are exhausted but he looks like this.  Always the happy young man but his head is less than an inch from the ceiling.  Not safe at all.
Then there is this.  He is squished so tightly in there that we can not tie down his chair.  One of the middles has to climb around and under him, with their body doing contortions, to reach the straps and strap him down.  Those are Zeke's shoes in the below picture.  He gets in before we load Antonio, stands up tight against the wall and once Antonio is loaded, he bends all different ways around to reach and hook the tie downs. He then climbs over the seat to where his assigned seat is.  When we are ready to unload he climbs over the seat and back into that spot and undoes all the tie downs.  If it is rainy or muddy outside, he gets mud from Antonio's wheels and his shoes, all over himself and in the van, on the seats and such but it can't be helped.
Then there is the flip down seat.  If Tim is home and we want to go somewhere as a family or to an appointment far away, we have to all manually try to lift and shift Antonio in his chair, over inch by inch, till he is far enough away to drop this flip chair down so Carolyn can sit in it.

That's what we are facing right now to load and unload Antonio.  I am trying not to take him anywhere unless I absolutely have to because even though we can make him fit, it is not the safest or best for him.  Also, we are harming our bodies trying to lift and shift his chair around and shaking his new chair around a lot trying to get it to fit, which could bend or break his new chair over time. 
We got him in!  Thanks guys!

We have been looking at used mini buses.  To get one with air conditioning and that will be reliable for me and the children, they cost about $30,000-$35,000.   Our bank said they would give us a loan but because the ones we have found, in that price range, are older and have miles on them, they would only loan for two years.  Our monthly payment would be around 800 dollars a month.  We just don't have that.  Tim and I prayed about it and started a Gofundme account.  Our neighbor asked the local paper to do an article on us and last Wednesday, there was a very nice article put in about Antonio and our family.  It was very kind of our neighbor.  We found a place that had a good used mini bus in North Carolina that said they would give us $7000. trade in on our current van.  So that would help a lot in coming up with what we need.  Also, I feel good about it as they sell handicap vehicles and I know they will sell our grey van to a family that needs the lift, for someone in their family.  So it will still be used as the original father/owner wanted.

Please keep us in your prayers.  God is so good and His provision and timing are always perfect.

May God bless you and meet your needs He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and the wealth in every mine...May He be with you now and always.

Hebrews 13:21  Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.






  1. Susan, I'm older than you, but you know that I have walked in your shoes! :o) I've been there and done that! I love watching you! Except that I have had to work and Tom has only been employed 11 yrs out of our 38 years of marriage. Last year when MA nearly died we lost a lot of income. The Lord has blessed us with another year with her, each day a gift. He covers our needs, but we never could afford any type of van with a lift. But we've done the wheel chair dance till Jesus took Molly home at 27. She was "only" 85 pounds but the darn chair weighed way too much! LOL!!
    Right now we can "lift" MA and fold her chair. A little easier! :o)
    Because God has always covered our needs with His money, we were thankful to Him that we could help. He gives us great JOY!! He is so good!!
    (((((HUGS))))) and LOVE!! :o) from the Archers & MA & SP

    1. Oh Elizabeth...You and your family have always been so encouraging to me and kind. God is so very good. Your blog is one of the reasons why Tim and I finally decided we could go back into foster care. I saw what you and other people my age are doing in the adoption world. Still adopting and making a difference! Tim and I thought we were getting to old to keep taking in children. I really thought that God was done with us but could not resist the constant tug on my heart to adopt more children that needed homes. Then I saw people like you and your husband and a few other blogs, where people knew and lived... that we are never retied from the work God has called us to. Age really has nothing to do with service to the Lord. That we can still parent way past what the "norm" in our culture is, if God asks us to. That if God is saying do this...I have seen Him be faithful and provide for you and us and many others. The need for homes for these children out there is so great. Thank you for your most generous gift to us and being faithful to follow Gods calling on your lives. May it continue to inspire others to get back into the adoption calling at any age! God be with you all. A big HUG from me in the North Georgia Mountains!