Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sweet Sixteen!

Carolyn just had a birthday.  Every birthday is special but this year was extra special in my book.  Sweet 16!  I can hardly wrap my mind around it all.  Carolyn has grown into such a sweet, God loving, young women.  She is a hard worker, huge help, wonderful companion and treasured friend.

Tim and I concocted a plan to try to make this birthday extra special.  Tim told her, he took her birthday off so he could spend the day with her.  She thought as a family.  Her birthday fell on the day we take all the children for PT, OT and speech at the clinic.  We are there all morning.  That morning he asked her out for a special father daughter sweet 16 birthday breakfast.  She was so excited to get "one on one" time with dad.  Little did she know, she was being whisked away to spend the whole day, alone with dad in Chattanooga, while I took the other children to therapy.

He did take her out to breakfast.

Then they headed to Chattanooga to go to the aquarium together.

After the aquarium they had lunch and ice cream.

Then Tim surprised her with a boat ride down the river.  She was so excited.

They had the best day, making happy, Sweet Sixteen, memories together. :)

They came home in time for supper.  On the children's birthdays they get to choose where or what they want to eat.  She chose to stay home and have pizza, soda, Doritos and biscuit bombs.  Also to watch a show with the older children once the younger ones were put down to bed for the night.
My sister always makes a cake for each child on their birthday.  This year Carolyn wanted Homemade cheese cake.  My sister experimented and took my mothers recipe and modified it to make it gluten free.  She is most thoughtful.  Thank you Aunt "S"!

Daddy also brought Carolyn flowers home the night before.  :)

Carolyn we love you so much!  You are a treasure close to my heart.  May God bless you and keep you strong and living for Him your whole life through.

1 Peter 3:3-4  Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.



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

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Forever Family

The Bible says that children are a blessing from the Lord.  It commands us to care for the widows and orphans of this world.  Adoption is near and dear to Gods heart.  After all...His only son died, so I could be adopted into His Kingdom and family.  I am forever grateful.

There are so many children around the world that are orphans.  So many children who need homes and the security of a forever family.  I look at there pages often, to remind me of the urgent plight.  To remind me to advocate and to pray.  I have literally watched children grow up, over the years, on these waiting lists.  There picture being updated every few years as they grow and wait.  Many knowing their time is running out to be adopted.  The "aging out" age for each country is different.  Many of these children pray to be adopted.  Pray for a mom and dad to love them and come and get them.  Many have watched their friends being chosen around them, over the years....Sometimes the biggest hurdle for a child, is to be the one that is chosen.  Often because of their age or because of a special need they might have, they are over looked time and time again. 


Here is the plight and prayer of one child. Annie. Her urgent story.  She has been waiting and waiting.  She has now been chosen!  But if the family that has chosen her does not get the funding in the next few weeks she will age out and nothing can be done.  Please join with us, in prayer and support, in any way we can, to help Brian and Stephanie Carpenter bring Annie home, before the door is closed for her forever.

Please take the time to share Annie's story on any social media you have access to.  It will mean the world of difference to this child and family.  It will be the difference between having a forever family and never having one.  Ever.

Their youcaring page...

May God bless you 100 fold for your faithfulness.



Saturday, April 23, 2016

Another Teen In Our Home

Elizabeth with her companion/therapy dog Mia!
It is very hard to believe but Elizabeth turned 13 years old recently!  I really can not believe how quickly children grow up!

We have seen many, many, miracles over the years of adopting children with special needs but Elizabeth's story is one of the most amazing to behold.  She was born so very fragile, requiring serious surgeries to save her life and mechanical support to keep her alive.  We had many scares for her life over the years.  God is so gracious and has given her victory and strength in so many areas.
Her personality has always been tenacious and bold.  She has been the hardest child for Tim and I to raise in training, raising and physically. She is the most medically fragile and has the hardest behaviors to work with. 
Her behavior at times has been over the top.  We have had very hard, long, days, that stretched on for what seemed like forever.  Even though she is still a hard child to raise, she has matured and is continuing to progress in all areas.  We have spells where she tries very hard to do what is right and expected and other spells where she is very difficult to live with.
She has grown from a very fragile little baby girl to a tall and beautiful young lady.  Even though we don't like how she behaves and things she does, we love her so much.
I often forget how fragile she is, till a health issue arises and then I remember... as we are sent the rounds to all of her specialists to find out what is going on.  As far as her current symptoms she is having...  we have ruled out her heart and have an appointment with her airway specialist, on May 5th, to see if she has outgrown her airway.  If we get the all clear from the air way Dr., we can proceed with her rodding/spinal surgery that is scheduled for late June, after her ballet recital.  The thinking, by all the doctors right now is, that maybe the rapid collapse of her spine is putting pressure on her enlarged heart and lungs causing her distress.   We are praying for a safe surgery in June and that it will resolve her daily symptoms she is experiencing.
She has decided she likes to garden this year and is very good at it.  She has been invaluable help for me in getting the garden beds ready this year and working in our yard.  She is excited about being my number one helper in outdoor garden work this year.  She can not do a lot of strenuous work, so sitting, weeding and tender work, is something she can really do and see the fruits of her labors.  She is also a top notch kitchen worker.  Our older children rotate house hold duties starting at the age of about 8, depending on mental capacity.  She is so good at kitchen duty, she can keep the kitchen just as clean and organized as I can.  Which is very nice.  And she has chosen not to rotate out of that duty the last several years because she likes it so much.  The other children are relived as they do not like working in the kitchen.  :)  She has also started feeding the baby one meal a day in the high chair and looks forward to it.

She loves to dance and has been taking ballet many years.  Since she refuses to do her physical therapy, it has been a very good thing for her Low Tone Cerebral palsy to take ballet as she tries very hard at it.  She is much stronger and more co-ordinated when she is taking ballet.  She recently has given up her childhood coloring and doodle work and has started  to sit and color in detailed coloring books.  She really likes it and it seems to calm her.
My sister made a beautiful cake with a ballerina on it for Elizabeth.  She loved it.  Thank you Aunt "S" for always  making such wonderful cakes for the children and making their birthdays special.

Happy 13th birthday my beautiful daughter.  May God lead and guide your heart and actions all the days of your life!

Psalm 144:12  That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:

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

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Elizabeth's Medical Updates

The weather here has been just lovely.  We took a two week break from home schooling.  The children have loved playing outside and helping me with little projects around the farm.  God has helped me get so much done outside.  It has been very relaxing and nice.
When we started back into this foster/adopt journey, life was very intense and hard at times.  The children God placed here were so needy, I had to let a lot of farm and house things go in order to insure bonding with the children and to best help them.  They are all doing so much better.  They are growing and maturing to the point, I can now have a few of my older children supervise them on the play ground, for short periods of time.  Enough time to work on gardens for short spells or do little projects close by.  It has been so nice.  God is so good.

Things have been going well here but when you have a house full of children that are medically fragile/special needs, there are things that are going to come up with their health often, we try to just trust God and take them in stride.  The newest health issues have been with Elizabeth.  She was born very fragile, with many serious life threatening health issues.  She has done very well, by the grace of God but there are things we have to monitor her whole life, like her air way,  her hearing loss and her heart.

She was born with a three chamber heart and will need open heart surgeries, every so many years her whole life, to replace the parts they put in to fix it.  These parts do not grow with her and break down over time.  When they constrict or get pin holes and tears in them, she needs open heart surgery fast, in order to fix the issue before it becomes life threatening.

Elizabeth also has scoliosis.  She is checked every six months to keep an eye on it.  Her last orthopaedic appointment in March, showed that she had gone through a growth spurt and needs to have her back rodded as soon as possible.  The doctor wanted to do the surgery this month.  Elizabeth cried.  She did not want to miss her ballet classes and June 4th recital.  The doctor looked at his schedule and has scheduled the surgery for June 22.  BUT...

Elizabeth has been having shortness of breath, low stamina, heart palpitations, blue hands and dizzy spells for the last three months.  They have become a daily thing.  I have a pulse-ox machine here at home and her oxygen levels have stayed good.   I took her to her heart doctor on Thursday and he did an EKG and it came back good.  She wore a heart harness for 24 hours to capture these episodes and see what exactly her heart is doing.  It came back good as well.  She had an ECHO cardiogram, which came back the same as six months ago.  No worse.  Her replaced conduit has moderate stenosis no different than last ECHO six months ago.   So... Her growth spurt may have made the stenosis more of an issue or things are pointing to that she may have outgrown her airway.  She was trached when she was four months old.  Her vocal cords are paralyzed in the closed position.  She needed a trach for many years.  She finally grew enough, until she had room in her airway to breathe around her vocal cords.  Her airway has a lot of scar tissue in it and gets tight as scar tissue builds up and does not grow and stretch over time.  It actually thickens, constricts and often gets granulated tissue bumps on it.  Those have to be lazered or burned away, to make more room in her airway so she can breath.  Sometimes she also needs her airway dilated to stretch that scar tissue area that has constricted.
She can not have her back surgery till we get to the bottom of what is causing these other symptoms.  One other thing it could be is that her scoliosis is actually putting pressure on her enlarged heart or lungs a bit.  Though all doctors involved thinks that is unlikely.  She had blood drawn for blood work to check all her organs.  So we pray and wait...

God is so good and I know that all things are in His mighty hands.  He loves Elizabeth more than anyone else ever could and has a plan for her and her life.

Isaiah 43:2  When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.