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      

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Full Plate

What a very eventful and busy two weeks we have had!  We have all had to work very hard at keeping the stress levels down by doing some fun, spur of the moment, things to help keep things lighter and happy. 

Antonio went six whole weeks without a bad spell.  It was the longest stretch of good days to date since the botox reaction.  He is now been going through a bad spell and is on day nine.  It is really hard on the whole family when he goes through these manic spells, so we try to keep our days happy and light to balance it all.    

Last Saturday, William passed out while we were at a friends house.  It happened so fast, no one caught him and he fell hard.  We were in their kitchen with hard wood flooring.  He hit his head on a counter while going down and put an inch and a half long gash on the side of his head. He came down with the side of his face taking most of the impact on the floor.  His whole side of his face from the temple down to the jaw was bruised and swollen.  His eye socket on that side was swelled and black and blue.  He looked like he had been in a bad fight, bless his heart.  We spent the day in the ER having tests done.  They glued closed the gash.  The EKG and blood work came back normal but the CAT scan, when read by his doctor, showed he had a concussion. (bruised his brain) He is doing really well but having trouble concentrating and doing his college work.  He is also very tired and having trouble getting his thoughts together.  I am so grateful to God for his hand of protection.  It could have been so much worse.  We are all praying for a quick and full recovery.  Also, that it will never happen again.
Another big change in our lives, is that Tim's parents will be coming here to live with us.  We are all in prayer about it and pray the Lords hand on the whole situation.

We have workmen all over the farm.  They are fixing roofs and siding from the horrible hail damage that was done in the hail storm in March of this year.  Our home was fixed several months ago but it took time for the workers to get to the rest of our farm, as there were so many homes in our area that needed fixing.  We have so many out buildings and now they are all getting done.  There are nails and screws everywhere, as they take off old roofing and siding and put new on.  We are all having to be super diligent to go over all areas regularly with large magnets so no one gets a nail in a foot, hoof or tire.

On the fun side of things, our zoo membership was going to expire this month so we took the children one last time.
My three middles.  So grown up.  Sigh.
Timothy, Billy and Kinsley baby is not a baby anymore!
With the cooler fall weather, the children have been riding ponies a lot in the afternoons.
Kinsley with her pony.  She and Anna-Kate share a pony.
Carolyn and her pony Millie.  They spend a lot of time together.
Timmy and Billy share a pony.  Buck-a-roo.
Billy...always the ham.

God helped the children and I build a retaining wall behind the house.

Carolyn, for years, has wanted to grow her hair down to the ground.  We trim the split ends but never cut it.  She finally decided to give up her dream and wanted me to cut her hair.  I made her wait a few days to make sure that was really want she wanted to do.  I didn't want her to regret it later.  She said she was sure and that she was tired of the upkeep.  I almost cried as I cut it off.  It is still long but not like it was.  We took off over a foot!
Her hair has natural curl and wave to it but not like the above picture.  I had her hair in long box braids before this picture and when we took it down it looks like this.
She wanted me to cut layers in it so I did.  Praise God it turned out well and still can be put up into a bun for ballet.
God is so good and all is well.  We feel very blessed in all areas and are grateful for His tender loving care, helping us through the difficult things and rejoicing in the happy moments too.

Colossians 3:15

15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

May God have His hand on your lives as we move into fall and all the business of these next few seasons.  May we stay ever thankful for all the blessings He has poured out upon us and serve Him with all our hearts.