Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Billy Is Four Years Old!

When you came to our home you were just 2 years old.  You were scared, hurting, delayed and so very sick.  You and your brother had just gotten out of the hospital from having I.V. antibiotics for staph infections in the diaper area.  You had surgery to drain a staff abscess in your hip.  Those ice blue eyes, sweet face and blonde curls just melted me from the start.

I did a lot of praying, holding and comforting.  There was a lot of screaming and crying as you and your brother detoxed meth.  It was exhausting at times. 

You and your brother could barely chew food and had been tied in car-seats your whole life.  Bottles were your only nourishment and comfort.  I used them for bonding and weaned them very slowly.

You knew only 20 words and most were not good words for a toddler to know.  Toys were for breaking and using as weapons.  You had enough anger and energy for 50 kids are so very smart, you wanted to learn.  So we began to teach you about God and life.

You learned about meal times and how to eat and chew.  You have come so far but still have a ways to go in this area.

We have all taken turns sitting and teaching you how to play with toys appropriately.
You have had a lot of firsts here.  Like bowling.
Kidz play.
and going to the Dentist.

You have had your first ever Thanksgiving, trip to the zoo, the aquarium and so many more field trips here with us.  Your behavior has been "over the top hard" most days but you love us all and have come so very far.  Its been a long hard road but you are worth it!  We love you so much!  God is doing a work in you!

You have grown from a toddler to a boy!

 You have matured...some.  :)

 You have your own daddy for the first time ever!

And so many siblings that love you!
Adoption day was such a joy!
When your birthday was approaching, we asked you what you wanted to do for your big day and you said...Go to a museum to see dinosaur bones and go back to Chuck E. Cheese!

So we took you to Chuck E. Cheese and the next field trip we try, when things slow down, will be a museum.  (I have to find one close by with dinosaur bones!)
Look at Carolyn being so brave!!!She has a fear of mascots!
Billy's favorite cartoon right now is Paw Patrol.  So my amazing sister made this cake for him this year!  Thank you Aunt S, you and Uncle B are the best!
We love you so much Billy!  I am so happy, to be blessed to call you my son!  I look forward to the many years of raising you, as unto the Lord, that lay ahead.  You have a wonderful future ahead of you!  Happy, Happy, birthday my big four year old boy!

Romans 3:20-24  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Love, Dad, mom, Stephen, Antonio, William, Carolyn, Zeke, Elizabeth, Timothy, Kinsley and baby "A"

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Night At The Fair!

Here in the North Georgia Mountains, with fall comes... festivals, Pumpkin Patches, hay rides, apple farms and the fair!  We have not been to the fair in a while but I knew our youngest four had never been to one.  So I had it in my heart to take Billy and also some of the other children, as a reward for all the hard work we have been doing lately.  We have been very busy and have a lot going on, so I did not know if I would have the energy or time to take some of the children to it.  It was definitely a spur of the moment decision.  Tim stayed home with the babies and Elizabeth, as Elizabeth is on restriction and Zeke, as he is terrified of amusement parks and fairs.  I took Antonio, William and his friend "J", Carolyn, Billy and Timothy.  I was not planning on taking Timothy but all thru dinner, I kept trying to encourage Billy to eat fast and told him I was taking him somewhere special if he ate quickly. I guess Timmy thought I meant him too, as he ate his dinner in record time and kept saying "bye, bye now?"  How could I not take him too?  :)

Antonio loves going to the fair.  He loves watching everyone ride the rides.  He enjoys the petting farm and eating a little bit of fair food.  His favorite is cotton candy!  Carolyn wanted to go so bad but was very worried someone might accidentally bump her in the mouth.  She decided to come along anyways, just to see the sights, as she could not chance riding any rides.  Even though she still could not smile much yet, she had a very good time.

Billy and Timothy had a wonderful time.  I stayed in the kiddie section with them for most of the time.  They had a great selection of rides for their age group.

William and his friend "J" had a great time.  They would go ride some wild rides together for a while and then come back and take the toddlers on a few rides that needed an adult with them.  I don't ride rides.  It messes up my balance for a few days.  So I was grateful they gladly did this.
They made it a lot of fun.

Carolyn and I took Antonio and the toddlers to the petting farm area.  They had a ball feeding all the animals.

Billy and Timothy had a camel ride.  Billy is very ruff in all he does.  Even his love.  :)

As the sun set and it got late, Antonio, Billy and Timothy began to show how tired they were, from staying up past their bedtimes.  Antonio's eyes look tired in the picture below.
I brought the double stroller in case the toddlers fell asleep but they didn't till we put them in their car-seats.  Then they were out!

Thank you Lord for the funds and energy to take the children out to make this memory.

John 16:33  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.




Saturday, September 19, 2015

By The Grace Of God

Many people look at our family and ask how we do it.  The absolute truth is we don't.  It is truly by the grace of God, that the children are cared for, all needs are met, all house hold duties get done and all barn chores accomplished.  Tim and I work very hard from before the sun rises, till way after it goes down,  just to meet the necessities.  We try to squeeze in fun times amongst busy daily life, home schooling and the many appointments we have. 

We in all aspects are a normal family, plus some. 
Some of the children relaxing and watching a cartoon. 

I try to keep things real here on the blog.  To let people know what it is like to have a large family, foster, adopt and care for children with specific special needs but truthfully, I could never squeeze it all in.

I could never portray us as always happy and never with out great struggles.  I could never portray my children as always happy, well behaved, easy going children, as that is just not reality. 
Our life is happy and blessed but at times very hard.  We live daily with more than the average amount of behavior issues, tantrums, Dr/therapy appointments, surgeries, hospital stays and childhood emergencies.

When I say it is by the grace of God that we make it thru every day, week and month, I mean it with my whole heart.  My husband and I rely on God daily for strength, energy, sleep, peace, joy and all that we need to get thru each day and God always provides just what we need.  When I say we are blessed abundantly, I feel it daily.  God is so good.  We are happy and content.  We just have to take certain parts of our life in stride and except it as part of who our children are and the seasons we are going through right now. 

This week started out with yet another unexpected emergency.  Carolyn has low muscle tone, from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.   She and the other children with low tone, in our home, trip and fall often.  On Monday morning, Carolyn was just walking across her room and tripped.  She hit her mouth on the corner of the blanket chest.  It bruised and scraped up her mouth, knocked out her front top tooth and hit the roof of her mouth hard.  I quickly called Tim so he could head home to watch the children, called the dentists office, to find out what to do and tended to her. 

I was amazed at how huge the root is in a front adult tooth.  She was in so much pain.  I put the tooth in milk and took her to the dentist.  They were able to re-implant the tooth but don't know if her body will reattach to it or not.  Only time will tell.  Because it was an emergency situation, the dentist just glued her tooth to the teeth on each side of it to stabilize it.  We  made an appointment for three days later, to let some of the trauma heal and then they were going to do a more permanent and aesthetically pleasing job. 

She was in so much pain that she started vomiting and could not stop.  She shook constantly and I could not manage her pain, so I had to take her in to the ER.  We were there till almost midnight before everything was under control and we had a way to manage it all at home.  She was also very dehydrated so they did IV's.  This all  happened on the day she was supposed to start back to ballet, so she was very upset and miserable. 
The next day I was very busy caring for the whole family and trying to keep her fed, hydrated and comfortable.  She does a lot around here and we have all had to chip in to pick up the slack and give her a chance to rest and heal.  She can not chew, bite down or use a straw for six weeks!  Any of those things can put pressure on and move her tooth and prevent it from reattaching.  So I am pureeing soups for her to trickle in thru the side of her mouth.  My sister bought her a huge box of puddings, yogurts and soups.  Thank you Aunt "S" and uncle "B", that gesture blessed her heart. 

Tuesday evening, just before bed time, she came into my room and said she thought one of the glues had popped off.  I looked and it had.  There was now only one glue holding her tooth in.  It was now much more painful as it was not as stable and moving some.  The dentist office was closed that could fix this.  I told her to be as still and careful as possible and I would get her into the dentist as soon as they opened.  I did not know how on earth I was going to manage, as all of the other children had to be at therapy by 8:00 a.m. the next morning.  Tim could not help me, as at work, he had a huge order that had to be filled.  Glory to God, William was able to help me out and did not have to go to his GED program.  He watched the children at therapy, while I took Carolyn in to the dentist.  The other glue fell off in the dentist hand while we were there.  Thank you God for keeping that tooth in thru the night. 

They put a metal wire behind all her upper teeth and glued it down well.  From the front, her teeth look as it did before the accident.  We pray her tooth will reattach and be fine.  If not they will have to do an implant.  Her mouth and face is very swollen but it is going down every day.  The pain is manageable with regular Tylenol now.  Praise God.  She is eating and drinking a bit more at a time but lost four pounds since Monday.  She is sleeping in the recliner, as she says if she lays down flat, her mouth throbs.  Bless her heart. 

I am way behind on blog posts and have a lot more to share...all in good time.  :)

May the One True and Only God, Maker of heaven and earth and all that is there in, be with you this fall and guide you in all you do. 

Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.



Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Day At The Lake

The past few months have been a bit overwhelming.  We have had two virus's go through, Antonio's' health crisis, a huge amount of appointments, testing for Carolyn and a lot of paper work and appointments to be met for the recent adoptions.  Add to that, our every day life of home schooling, farm work and living in a very large family, with many special needs.  We just needed to take a down day for fun.

We got up Monday morning and the weather was comfortable and overcast.  Our schedule was clear of appointments and commitments.  We got everyone up and around, went to town to buy gas, food, junk food and ran away to a nearby lake for the day.  It was wonderful!
I told the children that this was a day of celebration and just having fun.  To celebrate the ending of summer and all its business and that hopefully fall will be calmer.  We were in no hurry.  I let the children eat whatever they wanted and play long and hard.  They all had a blast.
Just so no rumors get started about me...the open bottle on the table is Kombucha...we brew and bottle our own.  :)
Three girly girls!
We rented a jon boat for the day and the children took turns going for a ride, with William rowing them all over the lake exploring.  After about two hours, he started having one of his sugar crashes, so he gave Carolyn some rowing lessons.  Even though they are both very physically active young people, there arms were sore for days afterwards.  :)
This was his last trip out and you can see him getting very tired out.
Timothy loved it but refused to touch the water.
Billy spent most of his time laying on his tummy with both hands in the water splashing!
William really enjoyed doing this.  When he was a little boy, we would go to this lake and he had a little rubber boat.   I would tie a 100 foot rope to it and the other end to a tree and he, with a life jacket on, would row around all he wanted and not get to far away.
There is a huge playground there.  They all played for hours.
Billy and Timothy.
Carolyn and Kinsley.
William keeping an eye on Billy.  You can see in most of Billy's pictures he has food pocketed in his cheek.  He is in feeding therapy.  It takes him at least two hours to eat each meal.  He has such chewing issues.
Timothy and Carolyn.  Carolyn is so good with all the children.  She loves them all dearly and enjoys playing with them.  They all love her.
We just spread out all our things, under the trees at the picnic tables and let the kids come and go, playing, snacking and resting. 
Elizabeth and baby "A".  Baby "A" is now our only foster child.
Kinsley has a lot of sensory issues.  She did not like the feeling of the grass on her bare legs.
My sweet Timmy!
The children didn't take a break all day!  When it came time to leave... Billy, Timothy and Kinsley were all asleep in less than a minute, once we loaded into the bus!  We had such a great time, we might try to do it one more time, sometime this fall, when it is even cooler.  Hopefully Tim will be able to come with us next time and maybe grill out.  With Antonio's CP and lung disease and Elizabeth heart condition...they do not handle heat well at all.  So the weather was nice but a little cooler would have been even better for them.
My happy young man is back and doing so much better, Glory to God!!!
Kinsley had enough of that prickly grass!
My sleepy Billy after a long day...But mom...I want to go back out on the boat!

Thank you God for such a day of rest and joy at the lake!  For your beautiful creation and the blessings of family!

Jeremiah 32:17  Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: