Welcome!! Grab a cup of coffee and visit with us! We hope you enjoy our story! (((HUGS)))

Welcome!! Grab a cup of coffee and visit with us! We hope you enjoy our story! (((HUGS)))

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tender hearts

I just LOVE boys. I think as girls we find boys fascinating. :o) From never having a brother. To hoping to marry a handsome boy some day. To having a husband, my very own boy (now 61 year old), for 45 years! To giving birth to my first boy. I have many granddaughters but only one grandson from my first birth son. A lifetime of trying to figure them out! ;o)

I remember the first time I learned that there were many little baby boys who were black, needing homes, twenty five years ago. The cost of adopting was reduced substantially just to place them. :o(
And then four years ago I learned fewer boys with disabilities were adopted.  And I've never understood why.

I LOVE my girls, I LOVE knowing how they think. Their hopes and dreams. I'm so glad the Lord blessed us with both. But choosing one over the other, I just can't.

Unless one is the underdog. And I think boys get a bad rap.

CC sorting his blocks.
There is an order to everything. Each block has a meaning. You know he likes you if he shares.

This weekend we had to tell the children our decision for TA.

It was hard.

The girls (Faith 14, Lysa 13, Kitty 12) understood. We need their help. But the girls can't help with the personal needs of a 12 year old boy, taller than them, stronger, aggressive. He will need strong male caregivers in his home. TA overpowers Isaiah and me together.

 Isaiah cried.

Later he told the girls that when he grows up he's going to find TA and adopt him.

They told me and I cried.

Isaiah's heart is so tender. He has so much LOVE for the underdog. He has a HUGE desire to serve the Lord helping those who need.

I couldn't be "prouder" of Isaiah. And I don't say that lightly. Pride is not something we esteem. But its the best word I can use here. To try to explain that this 11 year old boy, a special GIFT from God! Given to me (a surprise pregnancy) when I was 47 years old and not expecting such a gift of JOY! He has brought so much JOY to our lives, and now as he grows he brings JOY to so many other's lives as well.

There are adult siblings that will never know him, and I'm sad for their loss. Nieces and Nephews who are forbidden to visit him.
But the Lord Himself surely GIFTS Isaiah with many more family members than we imagined he'd have. And I can honestly say that all of us in this family adore him!!

In the photo above, CC, (13 yrs) a sweet young man with Autism who mostly chooses not to touch or hug, puts his arm around our/his LOVE Isaiah. And CC is smiling. I just LOVE CC's heart for LOVING Isaiah!
(once when Tom tried to hug CC he punched him!!)

We THANK God for our boys!!
(I wish I could show you the smile on CC's face in the picture above but due to his privacy we can't.)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Boys, Autism, Love

 Julius got new AFOs. Of course Tom picked out the design! LOL!
These are old shoes, he has high tops for them now.
He walks so much better now- not so "bow legged". He likes them!

Isaiah has been a huge help since TA and CC have come. Sadly TA is too aggressive. He doesn't know his strength and he is always aggressive in his requests. Isaiah truly LOVES TA. Isaiah has a HUGE heart for those who need our help. He has nothing but patience and kindness towards TA, and CC.

TA and CC are not short in stature like our boys with Down Syndrome. They are also very fast and very very strong. CC gives warnings when he is upset. We are thankful because then we can re-direct him, help him. TA does not give warnings.

Sadly we had to say that we could no longer let TA stay, or come.
We were all sad. We are not set up for his aggressive and destructive behaviours.

 TA even scratched Isaiah's face, grabbed Tom's glasses. Tom and Isaiah got the worst of the scratches. I'm just not strong enough to help. And altho Tom is strong, he's just too old now for doing it all day.
It spreads us too thin and we have no time left for ourselves or MA and SP.

Tom catching TA before he knocks the food off of the pantry shelves.
We had TA try Mercy's adaptive seating- he is just too big. We just aren't set up for such big boys. :o)

They are such sweet boys.
CC will continue staying with us.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!!

YUM!! Our "Turducken" is cooking! It takes only 7 hours!! LOL!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

We are watching the National Dog Show on TV today! We are "dog" people!

We've had a few sad things happen here this month, so I've had very little time for posting. We are grieving and our hearts are healing. We do not grieve as those who have no hope. December looks like a wonderful month for us with lots of new and exciting things!

Last week we were asked if CC (above) and TA (below) could come for a visit and spend Thanksgiving with us. They are brothers ages 12 & 13. CC is the oldest but shorter. We said yes of course! 

SP's family also called to say that her brother was not well, and her brother in law also went home with Jesus. So they wondered if she could please stay with us for Thanksgiving. Of course we said yes. MA is always with us every holiday so we do miss SP when her family takes her.

Tom is the best Dad ever. 
He has all of the patience and LOVE both boys need. I'm not up to help much with their needs because they are too strong physically for me. Tom sleeps outside their bedroom at night in case they need him. The boys are non verbal, and in diapers. 

Mercy and Julius wish that CC and TA weren't here . Samson, Noah, Moses, Jacob and Pauly are very curious about these "tall" boys!! And Faith, Lysa, Kitty and Isaiah are huge helpers as always! 


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My Five pumpkins!

Mercy as usual refuses to pose. 
My 5 precious boys grudgingly complied with my request.
Sweet Pauly (8) and Moses (10)

 Different hat for Pauly.

 These two are the most huggable and squishable! Altho Moses would beg to differ! LOL!

 Julius (8) aka Mr Smarty Pants! He's not impressed!

His favorite "pose face"! :o)

 Cute as a button.......... and he knows it!

 Noah (12) Jacob (10)
Horror upon horrors! Jacob was not happy. Poor Noah looks away thinking "What's up with this guy!"
We think Noah's clasped hands are praying for Jacob to stop !

Ooops! Darn hats and little heads. 

 Noah always finds something to smile about!
You can measure how upset Jacob is by how far his tongue sticks out! He can stick it out reeeeeally far!

                                                   Crocodile tears- oh my!

Dad to the rescue. He reasons with Jacob. Goodness knows he's not dying! LOL! Even Noah thinks "yeah- why? are you crying?"

But Jacob is a pro at pouting! Can't stop now!

                                             Poor Noah not that darn hat again!

                                                                Phew! Fixed!

 Noah wonders how long Jacob will make us wait!

Nope, no happy face, not even for Dad.
Not the most exciting pictures. But happy memories for us!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Miss Mercy our Princess LOVE!

Big sister Kitty took these pictures of Mercy for me. 
Last month Mercy turned 8!
Her teeth are loose and she is very upset by this. She stops eating if they "hurt". 

Mercy's new best friend, our 5 month old kitten Violet. Violet is the one member of the family we know she likes.

Mercy is going through a "remove all clothing" phase. So we put the leotard over to discourage her. It wouldn't be so bad for her to remove her clothes, but if her skin is exposed she bites herself quite hard. So we must be vigilant!

That is just one of her many self injurious behaviors. We have not found a supplement or medication to help yet. And there may not be one.

I wish I could say we've made a lot of progress in her schooling, her independence, her relationships here. But she hasn't. She isn't interested in learning. She refuses to pick up, put her dishes in the sink, carry her laundry. So we do it all hand over hand. If she's angry she throws- her spoon or a brother's plate, whatever she can reach. And then she throws- and throws and throws. 

She isn't interested in "talking". She's rejected every adaptive speech device we've tried. She doesn't like electronics, ipads, computers or TV.

She doesn't like getting her hair cut so it takes me about a week of snipping at her here and there to get it cut. She refuses to have it brushed and prefers to wipe her meals in it!

She doesn't help us much in figuring out what she wants. We have to guess what she likes. If we are wrong she tantrums. If we are right we get a smile that makes it all worth it.

If we let her, she either semi- sits on the floor and drops an object to the floor, over and over, watching it for hours. Or she curls up on the floor under a dresser or a desk to sleep. She does not like sleeping in a bed.

We encourage her to be "with" us. Sometimes that means having her sit buckled into her little Rifton floor chair for a story. Just so she'll stay near. Isolating herself isn't good for her.
Sometimes we put a gate up in the door way so she can't run away from us and we set out school supplies for lesson time. :o) She'll pace and complain. After about 15 minutes we end her session, let her out and try later.

We aren't put off by her behaviors. Because we LOVE her. We don't need her to LOVE us back for us to LOVE her. We know kids with Sotos Syndrome have behaviors. We don't take it personally. 

So far every difficult behavior she's had we've been able to brain storm and work through it. That gives us hope! Hope that we can be her family. Mercy doesn't understand what family is after living only a year in each home. Next March we will celebrate 3 years of Mercy joining our family! :o) 

I feel more bonded and relaxed with her every year. As an adoptive mom you wonder, you second guess yourself with challenging children. A lot of my second guessing was looking at things with a negative perspective. I would think of how I must not be doing a good enough job if she doesn't respond. That's just not true. I changed my perspective, and realized I'm doing a good job. Mercy's challenges are not coming from my falling short in my parenting. Her challenges are just that, challenges. :o)

We thank God that with His help we are her parents, the parents He chose for her. She is fearfully and wonderfully made! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ride 'em cowboy!

 We found the perfect "simple" rider for Moses! The pedals are too far up for his feet which is perfect for him. He can't pedal. yet. He will. For now he likes to pull himself forward with his feet along the floor. For now pulling with his legs is what he taught himself. Not even Julius yet understands pulling forward with your legs and feet. And Julius understands so much more coming home 3 years younger than Moses.

But watch out! He'll ride into the back of your legs!! He's fast!

 He can go forward and backward!

 Taking a break to think!

 Even in tight spaces like the hall way!

Yelling back to his brothers to come watch him! But they don't dare!

 Nope, nobody coming! :o)

Cutest shot ever of my sweet boy!

Jacob continues to recover amazingly well! Please forgive me for not answering personal e-mails. These first 7 days of recovery have been overwhelming.
One unusual, but wonderful thing we noticed today is how "fast" Jacob does things now. He used to move from activity to activity slowly. He used to stare off into space between things. Now he is very sharp, responding so quickly to my verbal prompts for him. And even trying for the first time ever to feed himself!

Today 3 of the boys (Noah, Jacob, Moses) met one of their older brothers. A brother that had never had an interest in meeting them. This brother was the one who wrongly reported us for child abuse. It was good to see this son, to hug him and to share about the boys. We hope and pray that he will become a good example for the little boys. Who need all the LOVE they can get! Moses took it all in stride- he loves "guys", he loves showing off how he's a guy too! LOL! He was wearing his "In Charge" minion tshirt of course!

God IS Good! My heart rejoices in His Goodness. Giving God the Glory! Moment by moment, day by day!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Jacob's recovery

The tongue hanging out always helps him feel better. You can tell how upset he is by how far it hangs out.

Normally we say "Tongue in Jakie!" But after brain surgery we'll just let him do whatever it takes to feel better.

I LOVE this boy so much. I dared not breathe as I prayed to God to heal him. Until now. Now I REJOICE as I pray in Thanks giving!

What would I do without my Jacob? I don't even want to know. I have three daughters in Heaven. God knows I want to precede the rest of my children in death.

The new incision, sewn up much nicer and tighter than the last. It's about an inch longer. They sure don't cut much hair off for this. I really should have given him a hair cut first. But he hates hair cuts the most, so I did not want to upset him.
Stitches come out in 14 days. And we have to drive 70 miles to the Neuro at the U of MN office just for that. He won't see his Neuro for post op until 3 months later.

 Once home he slept semi sitting in Mercy's time out chair. (Rifton Feeder chair) I think he thought he was having a time out because he was not happy about it at all. Poor guy. Laying flat was not recommended for a few days. Tonight he is laying on his tummy hugging his soft blankie that Auntie Sonya in TX made him when he came home. It has washed well and is as soft as ever! It's his favorite. :o) 

He came home Friday night throwing up- darn pain meds were not helpful for his tummy. We put him on liquid Tylenol and then he could eat. We had to start small, a few bites every half hour or so until he turned his head away. Everything soaked in broth to hydrate since it hurt for him to drink. He's not a big drinker anyway.

He was so happy to be home. And he seemed to feel much better all around, than he had in months.

He used to laugh and sing the first year home. As time went on he'd laugh, not much, but still laugh. There was eventually no more singing. 
He never complained or cried. But was he having a lot of pain from the large incision of the Dura being open? Or from the brain fluid leaking? Or from the brain fluid disintegrating his skull?

Whenever we ask the Neuro about Mercy's head pain she tells us - nope, she has no pain. But then why does she respond so well to Tylenol? Or cry if we don't give it to her? And why did a Grandma tell me she too had an AVM and it hurt??

So we didn't ask Jakie's Neuro about past pain. We try not to think about the possibility of him suffering so long.

 And maybe its just me.................

But I think this surgery has helped him in many ways that we had no idea it would help him. He is happier. He is more bonded. He is pain free. Everything we always hoped for!
Of course we had no idea how awful his situation had become.
(his blankie is in the background ;o)

We are so so SO THANKFUL! God is Good!