Friday, July 30, 2010

Things are changing...

...and with those changes has come learning to work through new things. First of all Abigail has been wearing her de-rotation straps a lot. I remember being nervous when she got her AFO's that people might say something. Very few people even noticed them. We have gotten a few question about her glasses here and there. But for the most part nobody seems to notice anything. But the straps are noticeable.
So I braced myself, and took Abigail to the fair in them. There was staring. But no comments. I took her to her Riley (children's hospital) appointment in them. More staring. A nurse came over after I had repeatedly told Abigail that I was not going to carry her, but I would hold her hand, and bent down and told her that she would go get her a wagon to ride in. I politely told the nurse she needed to walk while in my head calling her names and thinking about all the things I would have like to told her. I know that the straps make her tired faster, and probably cause her body to ache, but it's still good for her...and much better than some of the alternatives we may have to look at. I don't actually enjoy the situation either.
And then we went to the farmer's market in them. I was sort of eased in nicely with the first two trips, and this one was the full fledged questions of what's wrong with her, and why does she have those things on her. I think I did well. I'm pretty sure I answered kindly and didn't make a face showing everyone that their questions were getting to be a bit too much. After we got our treats we went and sat down in a safe spot. We rested our bodies, ate cookies, and avoided the people who needed to know.
And we are adjusting. All of us. Monday we will get Abigail's official straps that were made for her, and a shoe lift to even out leg length differences. We are ready and moving ahead. And as I have adjusted to that we have added more to the future appointments. We now have an appointment with a pediatric orthopedist. We have gotten the referral for the developmental pediatrician and are waiting for the call with the appointment. We are still waiting on the appointment call from the nutritionist, and will be setting up a weekly speech therapy appointment. Lots of new things coming up, and still my head is trying to take them all in. Trying to settle back in to feeling comfortable again. It's that feeling when you are startled awake by a noise and your heart is racing. You lie there trying to fall back to sleep, but unable to because although the rest of you has settled down, your heart is still racing.
However we have one new thing that we are all excited about. Okay, Abigail doesn't actually understand it yet, but she's excited about the things that have surrounded it. She carried her shoes through the store tonight repeating "shoes" over and over again (have we mentioned she is all girl). Our sweet little dancing bug will be starting ballet in a week. Tonight we did a family trip and purchased a leotard, tights, and ballet slippers. Abigail was SO excited. She wanted to hold all of them. We got home right at bedtime, so we didn't make the effort to try them on, but I wanted to. I am excited for this new opportunity for so many reasons. First of all ballet is supposed to be great for core muscle strength. And that is where most of Abigail's muscle tone issues lie. So it will be an added "physical therapy" session. Abigail LOVES to dance. She loves spinning, music, and being girly. So although it may take her a few classes to warm up around the other people, I think she will enjoy it. And lastly, who can resist a beautiful little girl in a tutu. I mean Abigail is already cute, but I can't think of anything more sweet than seeing her twirl in ballet slippers and feeling beautiful and wonderful. Can you tell than I'm a little excited. And just to be clear this is not my effort alone. Jason was fully part of picking things out tonight, and we had to choose a class time when he could come along and watch as well. Papa is still pretty enamored by this little face...


...and who wouldn't be. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

In between...

I'm at that waiting stage...the "in between." Although it's often accompanied by anxiety; this time it is accompanied by being overwhelmed. It's such a weird place because life continues to happen on the outside, and my head is moving slowly on the inside...going through each thought carefully over and over again.
The first thought is of the developmental pediatrician we will be seeing. We are still waiting on a phone call back from the referral. Should I call and see where it's at? How long will it take them to get us in? Will I like her? How often will we see her? Then my gears shift slightly to...Will she have any answers? I would really like some answers. Will we end up having more testing? What would she test for?
Then life kicks back in for a few minutes and I look around and welcome the fun sights of the county fair. Of Abigail enjoying the animals, loving her first elephant ear, and capturing mama's heart with her love of the lemon shake-up we are sharing.


Imitating the cow sticking out his tongue.

Abigail's face at everything we saw...and I'm sure it's not because it's the face I make, and am making in the next picture. :)

Petting the cow.

And the sheep.

Abigail cheesing with elephant ear on her face.
And then we are on to the next part of our life. Abigail has had a slight leg length discrepancy that we've known about since April. In the past three months her left leg has grown 3/8". I nearly cried when the p.t. told me. Seriously...little break please. That was last Monday.
Last Friday I sat Abigail on the potty at which point she started screaming and signing hurt. She was pointing to her back. So we had episode number three of back pain in a not yet two year old. I held her for twenty minutes as she cried uncontrollably arching her back and wiggling. I cried along with her, and just kissed her forehead and prayed for her. After about twenty minutes we were into our usual nap time and she was so exhausted from crying that she went down for a nap. I heard her whimper some during nap, but she seems to have been fine since then.
I called her neurologist's office during nap with probably somewhat of an attitude of we will figure out what's going on because this is ridiculous. But then after talking to a nurse, a friend, and thinking myself we all separately came up with the conclusion that the leg length difference, accompanied with wearing the de-rotation straps more often could be causing some compensation/muscle pain making my baby crumple on my lap in pain and tears. The doctor was on vacation, and since we didn't know about the leg length thing when we went two weeks ago and he mentioned the possibility of an orthopedist, the nurse thought he may want to go ahead and refer us...so we are waiting on a call back from him to find out what he wants to do (he gets back tomorrow).
This past weekend my husband ended up having to work all weekend (which NEVER happens) making for two sad girlies here at home. However we decided to fill in our Sunday evening with something fun. So we went to the local ice cream shop (as soon as Abigail saw it she started telling us ice cream...she's only been three times total). And then we spent some time playing in shaving cream before she went to bed. Seriously if you have never done this with your kids you should. It first of all is extremely fun, cleans the table (and in our case floor, and chair) really well, smells good, and you can draw stuff like letters, shapes, have them use their toes on the fridge....there are endless possibilities of how you can use it. And the very best thing about it is although you have to clean a child, and whatever you put the shaving cream on (whilst trying to keep the clean child from getting back in it) is the amazing amount of giggles that erupt from everyone while it's being played with.


It's fun to walk in a circle and say "whoa!"

Yeap, as always she ate some.
covered in shaving cream from head...

to toe. :)

And lastly, I had mentioned some small speech concerns I had to Abigail's p.t. about six weeks ago. Her IFSP (you'll have to look it up if you don't know what it is) is coming up in October; meaning her evaluation would be coming up in September, so we thought we would wait. However we talked about it again today, and I was a little surprised that her p.t. seemed to be hinting at maybe doing it sooner. So I talked to Jason and looked over the paperwork we have of all the "milestones our child should have met by such and such age." She is behind in speech. So now we are waiting on a nutritionist evaluation and speech therapy to start.
So the past few weeks seems to have just reminded me that my plate is often full. And it makes me thankful that we won't have any appointments this week (staying hopeful still). It makes me thankful for the fun stuff we get to do, and of a little girl curled up on my lap reading Sandra Boynton books with me and giggling. And it reminds me that God is here, He is close by, and reminding us of all the things He has promised.

This picture doesn't do the rainbow (actually there's double but you can't tell) justice. It was the most clear, beautiful, and long lasting rainbow both my husband and I have ever seen. And it was accompanied by a sweet little voice repeating "Bow. Bow." over and over. Yeap Abigail, that's a bow...because God loves us enough to remind us.
Waiting,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

People first

I don't usually do this, but I am taking part in a blog "community" post today. It's one that I'm somewhat passionate about, and when I saw it, I thought it would be great for me to do. The blog day (I guess is what it's called) is "People First: Empowering people with disabilities."

So I will start with telling you some things you didn't already know about me. From sixth grade until I graduated high school I spent every study hall I would've had helping out in a special education classroom of some sort. Our school system called the program peer tutoring. I loved it, and was fairly passionate about these wonderful friends of mine being treated with kindness, dignity, and respect by other classmates. So by the time I graduated high school I had decided I wanted to go into special education. I went to college majoring in Special Education: deaf education and severe and profound disabilities. Once I got into some of the work though it became obvious to me that although I loved the work I had done in the past, I would not like the teaching aspect. So I changed majors, and continued to work doing respite care for a few different families part time. I believe that God has put this specific thing on my heart, and in me for a reason. Now obviously sitting here as the parent of a child with special needs I could say that's it. But in reality I think there is more. I think that there are so many families out there who are part of faith communities and end up leaving because they have a child that nobody else knows how to help care for. I have heard of a few churches that have started ministries for these families, but in reality I know a church may not realize that the parents of an autistic boy haven't been able to sit through a service in years. Their son is not functional enough to go to Sunday school with his peers, and there is nothing else available for them. (This is a completely made up scenario, I don't specifically know anyone in this situation).



So from my story I will go into the idea behind the title. First of all the word retarded; just don't use it. Yes there are people who are mentally retarded, and people with growth retardation. But few people use this word that way. Although at this point we are fairly certain that Abigail will not have the label, I also have a suspicion that her disorder will get her called that word. So if you use it, or your kids do, make an effort not to, and teach them why it's inappropriate.

Notice in those last few lines I said people who are...instead of mentally retarded people. That is people first language. Simple as that. Just remember that whomever is a person before they are a disability. So it would be a person with a disability, not a disabled person. Make sense?

Beyond that if you don't personally deal with anyone with special needs, I would recommend you take a few moments to do something to help you understand. Try pulling up your states laws for an IEP (a plan put in place for school aged children with special needs) and think about parents, teachers, therapist, doctors, and anyone else who is trying to navigate all of it. To the people who know the laws it's fine, but when a parent finds them self in a situation they've never dealt with the IEP process can be overwhelming.

Go to your local grocery store, and if there are multiple wheel chairs available to borrow, try navigating the store in it. Try getting everything you need independently. Can you do it without standing up? Is it harder than you thought it might be. There may even be someone you know that you've never felt comfortable asking them what it's like for them. Ask. It will make you a much more empathetic person if you understand what it's like. And perhaps there is a family you know with a kiddo with special needs. See if they have been able to get out at all...lots of families have trouble finding someone else who's willing to take on their child for a few hours. It might be a lot of work. But the parents will be more grateful than you could ever imagine. :)



Remember that we all have abilities as well as disabilities, but we are people first. America has come a long way in being accessible to people with special needs, but there is room left to travel. Can you do something to help?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How to help

We have been asked a few times how people can help us with Abigail, appointments, etc. We are blessed because we do not incur any medical expenses due to the fact that she qualifies for two state provided insurances. However that being said, I decided to throw out things that people may not think about outside of medical expenses. This list is NOT me attempting to get people to give us things. Please don't take that away from here. It is simply me telling you that if you have a neighbor with a special needs kiddo, and you keep thinking that chocolate chip cookies are great (and they are) but you would like to do more here are some ideas.
First of all gift certificates for out to eat. I'm not saying to some fancy restaurant. Our children's hospital has a McDonald's in it that we are fine with. Our days we have appointments out of town are guaranteed to be 2+ hours in the car and at very least 45 minutes in whatever facility we are in. And those are on the low end. So not always, but often times it puts us in a place where we need to eat a meal there, or are arriving home a little later than we would usually eat. So things like gift cards to go out to eat make it easier. They are not necessary, but easier. We are not opposed to brown bagging it either, but it does make for more things to pack, and carry, which is not always the easiest or convenient. Heck, most of the people I know wouldn't be opposed to someone bringing them whatever meal just to make it easier. So there's thought number one for you.
Next is entertainment for the kiddo, especially if you have any sort of drive. Abigail doesn't have many choices since she has motion sickness. No movies, video games, or anything of that nature. We mostly give her stuffed animals and bath toys that are easily washable. But older kids especially might enjoy puzzle type books, a new book to read, travel games, etc. to keep in the car. You could also try for things that are easily shoved in a diaper bag for them to play with while being stuck in a small room waiting on a doctor. Because the waiting rooms might be full of cool toys, the tiny rooms where you wait for an eternity have nothing.
Find out if the place they are going has parking cost. The garage cost us around 5+ every time we go. They do not validate for outpatient appointments, and this isn't something you can do a gift card for, but you might specifically tell a family you want to help them out with parking cost so here's x amount for that. I'm certain they would be more than willing to set it aside for that.
Lastly is the car itself. One of Abigail's insurances will reimburse us for mileage to go to a few of her NF appointments. And that, my friends, is wonderful. However for us that still leaves us with tons of appointments that are not covered, and gas is an expense. Also when thinking about cars the mileage we put on adds up in oil changes, maintenance and tires. So maybe if you know a family that travels a lot, buy them an oil change. It might seems small or insignificant, but I bet you would be surprised how much they would appreciate it.
I want to reiterate that we are not looking for anyone to do this for us. We have a local group who has "adopted" our family and given us things like gift cards, presents for Abigail (and us) and cash from time to time. It has been a huge blessing for us, and helped us with some of the things I mentioned above. I really wanted to give ideas so that if you know a family who would benefit from something, you can go bless them.

Always informative,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The perfect combination.

I know that every parent believes their child is special. So once again be forewarned that this post is about how special Abigail is, how cute, how wonderful, and how much we love her. If those things make you roll your eyes, or gag a little; then skip this one. :)


First of all we will start with the title. This mama is not a girly girl. I am more of what might be deemed "practical." I like to do domestic type things, but throw me in a room with a bunch of giggling women at a shower of some sort and I am ready to claw my way out. I don't know how I ended up this way. I grew up in a household with one male (my father) and there were four females. My mom and sisters are all the more girly type with their nail polish and stylish sandals. I'm okay with being me...I just wasn't quite expecting the girly factor from my daughter.
You see Abigail is about 98% girl, and 2% tomboy. She loves to wear her tutu; she also loves to tell her papa that her poop went plop plop. She always wants to hug and kiss her stuffed animals. She loves to take lambie potty and clap and praise him for using the big potty. She just has that girly nurturing side that has come out strong already. And although my girliness is limited; I want to indulge Abigail. I want her to be okay with who she is because her combination of girly and tomboy is perfect for her, and us.
This morning we spent at the fairgrounds walking through the barns and looking at animals. She thought it was hilarious that the cow stuck his tongue out at us. In the chicken barn one of the girls let her pet the chicken which she gingerly gave a little hug...and smooched him on the beak. Then on to the pigs who grunting face she kept trying to mimic. And lastly the sheep. We couldn't stay for too long after she realized they had some of their cedar bedding stuck to them. Much like her reaction to dirty shoes she just kept saying "uh oh" and I knew we had to get out of their before her little heart broke for the sheep who weren't clean. And as I put her in the car I couldn't help but smile at just how great it was that both side of her can come out so easily. She is both extremely compassionate and ridiculously silly.
I can't help but continue to think ahead at what God has in store for this little girl. As I watch her on Sunday mornings dance to the music and lift her hands I feel so proud of who this little girl is already. And yes some of it is the shaping that Jason and I have done. But I think a lot of who she is, is who God has made her. I remember praying one afternoon while we were waiting on a baby and God telling me that Abigail would be her father's joy, but that she would be His joy.
And despite the fact that these last three days have been filled with two year old moments (and an exasperated mama) I know when I see her loving, laughing, helping, and playing that the joy she brings me can't even compare to the joy she brings to God. And for this reason I will continue to try to nurture what God has put in her to be.

All right, this last little section is our big girl in her "gigirl" bed. She LOVES it. So far we have not had one incident of her getting out of bed...she calls for mama I go up and she says down please. We weren't extremely worried because she always seems to transition easily. But she has done better than I could have ever imagined. So without further ado, Abigail's bed (we took the legs off the bottom until she gets used to it so she wasn't too far off the floor yet).

Climbing in bed all by herself.

She loves her pillow, and lambie, and monkey, and baby, and blankets. :)

All snuggled in.

Thumbie in mouth and ready to sleep.
I'm off to maybe take a little nap myself...this toddler business wears a mama out! :)








Friday, July 16, 2010

As promised...

...some fun stuff from the last few weeks.






This first series is Abigail's first ice cream cone. We got a waffle cone maker for our anniversary (we LOVE ice cream) and made a miniature one for Abigail. As you can tell she really enjoyed it, and made a wonderful sticky mess. After it started dripping on her she had a hard time focusing on eating because she kept saying "uh oh." However true to being part of our family she ate every last bite of her ice cream...and looked really cute doing it.





These few are from the block party our church along with a sister church host every year. Everything is free, barbecue, snow cones, cotton candy, music, dunk tank, basketball tournament, cake walk, and all sorts of blow up game items. Everyone has a blast. This was Abigail's first cotton candy, first time in a blow up item, and second time playing in a fire truck. Although you can't tell it here, it has a great turn out every year, and has always been a safe, and fun summertime activity. Also a shout out to the awesome shirts that my creative and talented husband designed.


And last but not least was Abigail and I taking advantage of the rain last night to cool off after a very hot and humid day with no a/c. She enjoyed being in the rain and splashing in the puddle...until she looked down and realized her shoes were dirty. That's right, Abigail is a girl all the way through. I would like to say this was a one time event, but a few weeks ago we went out after Jason had mowed and she was having fun until she looked down and saw the grass stuck to her shoes...and which point she just began to sob. We tried playing barefoot in the rain as well, but that just left us with dirty feet that was nearly as tragic. Oh our girl.
video

Hope you laughed at the sad face as much as we tried not to. :)
Enjoying our weekend,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Neurologist

Okay first of all I'm giving myself a mad shout out. I made it to a different doctors office in Indy, and home today all by myself. I even had to figure out one way streets some. So there's my little pat on the back.
We went to see Abigail's neurologist, he was just doing clinic at a different office. Overall it was a pretty good appointment. It was to follow up after the two MRI's that were clear. :) We talked about her weight loss/maintenance as well as some of her walking/physical things that have no clear answers. The conclusion was first that we would see a specific developmental pediatrician who specializes in adoption practice. The other answer was one that we had already come to a bit with her p.t. and it's a wait and see.
So on Monday Abigail will be getting fit for something called derotation straps. We have a temporary system right now to see if it is helpful...and it is. The basics of it are that there's a belt with two straps that wrap around her legs then hook to something that slides on her shoes. The straps help pull her feet out because she toes in when she walks. It is truly amazing the difference it makes when she is wearing the one's we have now...so I can't wait to see the ones that are actually fitted for her and attach to her shoe (through a hook they will attach). The time period will be a couple of months, and if it isn't getting better, or if it gets any worse, we will see a pediatric orthopedist. But for now, we just have another "thing" to deal with putting on in the morning (then taking off for pottying, then on, then off....). So it's not the most convenient thing ever, but we are more concerned with wanting our girly to be able to walk and run well as opposed to convenience and looking cool. :)
We also discussed the possibility of genetic testing some day. I don't think we really want it done. It's sort of a long explanation, but the basics of it are that they have not identified all of the gene mutations for NF yet. Some of the ones they have identified have been linked to more severe symptoms of NF. The unknown of NF is hard, but adding to the unknown that your child is at a higher risk for severe things...no thank you. I would rather not know at this point. We have talked about the testing a few times, and in reality it's not an option anyway because insurance won't pay for it, and it's expensive. So maybe we will revisit it in a few years, but for now we like where we are.
I have some fun pictures and promise that I will try to do a post with them in the next few days. I am exhausted, and we seem to be in a groove of a couple of appointments a week right now....so my days at home I have spent catching up...and enjoying not having to leave. So there's our fun update...and I'll leave you with the news that Abigail will be making the transition to a "gigirl" (big girl) bed very soon. :)

Peace to you all,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Let me help you.

I have thought about doing this list for a while, and I'm always afraid I'm going to offend someone. But the truth of the matter is, it's good for people to know; as well as the fact that it may help to keep you from offending someone else.
My husband and I were prepared for the comments and staring when we adopted transracially. However, few of the comments that get to me have anything to do with being an interracial family. For some reason when people don't know what to say about your child they get diarrhea of the mouth and just start talking. It makes for some good laughs sometimes, but also for very awkward moments as well as painful things being said. People who adopt from other countries probably experience things differently, but here is my list of things I don't want said to me about adoption...and most of the other adoptive parents I know feel the same way. I should warn that I have a dry and sarcastic sense of humor, and although I don't often respond with what I'm thinking, I will share it here.


*Why didn't her mom want her, why did she give her away, and any variation of this...ESPECIALLY in front of my child. Her mom did want her, that is why she chose to not have an abortion. She chose to place her for adoption because she thought that was best for her daughter.

*Why did you adopt a baby when there are older children. Why did you adopt from here when there are orphans waiting in other countries. (And my friends who have adopted from other countries hear why did you adopt from somewhere else when there are children here who need homes)? This question is silly. Asking about someones adoption is fine, phrasing a question like you disapprove of their choice is not. People choose different adoption choices for different reasons. And EVERYONE I have ever had ask me why I didn't adopt an older child has biological children. Guess what. You didn't have to choose between an infant or older child. You were guaranteed an infant. It is GREAT for people to adopt older children. It is perfectly fine for me to want an infant.

*Why can't you have children? I am rarely actually offended by this. It is a weird personal question though. If I have never had a conversation with you before, don't ask. My temptation is to tell you something ridiculous about my husband and I's intimate life. I have other friends who have struggled through infertility and don't want to answer this question at all. So be sensitive to the fact that this is a hard subject for some people, and just don't ask.

*Once you adopt you will get pregnant. Once again everyone I know who has adopted has had this said to them. It's annoying, unhelpful, and makes me want to throw things at you. We adopted, and we did not get pregnant. I know you know someone who knows someone who has had this happen. I know way more people who have not. Even if you are thinking it, if you must say it out loud, wait until you are alone.

*Why did you adopt a black baby. This question has been rare, but still asked. My answer. We didn't. We adopted the child that God brought to us. We personally don't believe in choosing spouses, or children based on skin color. We are aware of issues that come up because of racial differences and are doing our best to meet them head one. We will never choose to adopt or not adopt bases on race or special needs.

*What's wrong with her. (This warranted a confused look from me). You know because most kids who are given away have something wrong with them. I will not ever go back in the store of the sales lady who said this to me. EVER! I am certain there are people who choose to abort, or place a special needs child. Not every child placed is special needs.

*She looks like you. This is such an awkward comment. Abigail definitely has Jason and I's mannerism's. She also has her tummy mommy's smile, and birth fathers eyes. I know in general when people see others with their children they want to tell them how much they look like them. And when a child is adopted and looks nothing like their parents it makes some people unsure of what to say. But really, she doesn't look like me. If this had been important to us we would have chosen a child who looks like us. You can just tell me how beautiful she is, how well behaved, how smart, or any other compliment. I don't need her to look like me.

*Any sort of thing being said to me about some day having a child of my own, her not being "ours" so on and so forth. Also comments like I want to adopt some day, but first I want to have a child of my own. She is our own. I don't care if I do know what you are trying to say with this. I do not think that our daughter we adopted is less than a biological, and she is our own.

*Was her birth mom a teenager, how old was her birth mom and so on. Once again this question is one that our friends know the answer too. However statistically speaking most birth parents are between the ages of 19-24. That's right, it is EXTREMELY rare for a teenage mother to place their child for adoption. In order for someone to be able to do this they must be extremely selfless. They must realize that even with the heartache of placing a child they are still doing what is best in the situation. Teenagers rarely have the emotional capacity to do this. So yes some teenagers place, most people who place are not teenagers. Abigail's birth mom was not a teenager.


*So it's like she's really yours, it's like if you had her. Yes, I was in the room when she was born. But it's not "like" she is really ours. She is really ours. And if we had adopted her at six months...still really ours. There are absolutely differences between giving birth and adoption. There is not a difference in how much I love my daughter. I loved her before I met her. I loved her for the three years we waited on a baby. And don't argue this with me. I have friends with bi logical and adopted children who would say the same thing.

*This one has only come up because we do have a girly with special needs. Did you know before you adopted her, would you have still adopted her, and the favorite thing said to me by a doctor, don't you wish you could just give her back. First of all it's a mute point. It doesn't matter if we knew before, and so on and so forth. The fact of the matter is, our child has special needs, and we do our best to walk through this. But, for us it would not have mattered. We were open to a child who was HIV positive, drug/alcohol exposed, any disability, or race. Because the fact of the matter is that there are no guarantees. Biological children do not come with the guarantee of health. Certainly there are things on that list that would not come into play if we had a biological child, but these were not things that would've changed our decision.


*She is so lucky to have you, think of where she would've been if....so on and so on. Nope, she isn't lucky. We are lucky. We are blessed to have her. You see without her birth mother choosing life, we wouldn't be parents. Once again thinking about where she would have been if...is a mute point. Her birth mother made the decision she did because of the "ifs" therefore we don't need to think about what might have been.


*People always want to tell me about their friend, neighbor, and so on who has adopted. It's awkward for me. You see it's the equivalent of me telling you that I know someone who has had a bi logical child. Of course I do, lots of people have biological children. And most people know someone who has adopted.

*One of my favorites. I have a black grand baby, niece, or some other relative. It's as if you need me to know that it's okay that we have a black child. I know it's okay. I don't feel uncomfortable with it. I do feel uncomfortable with the fact that I have no idea what to say to you.

All right this is the end of my ranting. If you have adopted and think of something I miss please leave it in the comments. Also know these are meant to be helpful. I say awkward things ALL THE TIME, and do my best to be graceful with people who say things to me that are awkward for me. It will just help you to know what to say for next time. :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Our Story

I met Jason in 2000 when I went away to college. He was an R.A. and worked the front desk. I also worked the front desk. And although we would exchange shifts, and have to pass on information, I couldn't get him to talk to me, smile at me, or anything. I wasn't interested in him; just trying to be friendly. I came to the conclusion that he didn't have a personality.
His version of the story is that he noticed me and thought I was cute, but is extremely shy (which is true) and wasn't interested in me at that point either. He was friends with a girl I went to church with. At some point in my freshman year he gave his life to Christ. We ended up on a spring break retreat together, sharing a ride. Everyone else in the vehicle was engrossed in what they were doing. And Jason was sitting with his headphones on. I attempted to start a conversation but all I could get out of him was yes or no.
The fateful spring break trip
So finally I started being ridiculous and asking how many siblings he had, what their names were, if he had nieces or nephews, really just anything to get him to talk to me. It was a long car ride, and I wasn't going to sit in silence. By the time we arrived at the camp we were getting to know each other. We apparently had the same quirky sense of humor.
He later shared that it takes him a couple of weeks to talk to anyone as much as he did after a couple of hours with me. From that point we were pretty good friends. Over the summer he drove to see his brother close to where I lived, and came and spent some time with me.
The start of my sophomore year was when 9/11 happened. All of our classes were cancelled and so Jason and I, along with some other friends spent the day praying, and hanging out together. We had also been trying to co-lead a Bible study through the book of Romans, for non-believers.
Through that series of events; and through studying the Bible together we ended up spending lots of time talking. We talked about past relationships, our families, friends, and what we were going through at the time.
Neither of us was actually interested in a relationship. But somehow that seemed to be where we were headed. So on September 17 of 2001 we started dating. We did it knowing that it was either headed towards marriage or over. We were both over the dating to date sort of thing and wanted only to date if we thought it might be "the one."

Our first date.
In 2003 I spent the summer in Appalachia doing missionary work. I was helping lead groups of high schoolers as well as working on people's home to make them warmer safer and drier. Jason was at home with his parents, seven hours away. He did come for a week to stay and see what I was doing. We had talked about marriage before that. However he said seeing me there, and watching my heart for people made him realize that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. We had been dating for almost two years at that point. He went home from there and bought a ring.
In October of that year I went with him to his parents house for a weekend, and through a beautiful couple of days was showered with two dozen sterling roses from his family (if you don't know what they are you should look them up) with notes attached to each one saying why he loved me. Jason gave me the last one and it said, "I love that we will spend a lifetime together." When I looked up he was of course on one knee and asked me to marry him (with his family standing around giggling and taking pictures).
So on July 3rd, six years ago Jason and I got married. We decided to do a very small wedding and chose to go back to where I had done my mission trip. Our vows took place down a long path at an amphitheater in the middle of the woods, and on the side of a mountain. The only music was a flute. It was beautiful, and I wouldn't have done anything differently.

Our wedding kiss.

It's hard to believe that six years have passed since then. We have walked through quite a bit in those years. That first year was a hard adjustment to learn how to be selfless, fight fair, and share a bed. Since then we have bought a house and a car, not been able to get pregnant, adopted a sweet little girl, and as most of you who read this know, walked through a myriad of medical issues with her.
I can say though that although marriage is not always easy, it is WONDERFUL! I love my husband more every passing day. He keeps me grounded when I am off in left field with worry and fear. He makes me laugh all the time. He encourages me to be who I am, and wouldn't hear of me doing anything but being at home with our girl (which is what I have always wanted to do). My life is fuller because he is in it. I still get butterflies when I see him walking up to the house after work. I love snuggling in next to him on the couch, and I like when he calls me in the middle of the day. His voice alone can make a bad day feel better.

Snuggling in the hammock at his parents (pre-Abigail).
I am so grateful to have met and married a man who loves the Lord, and his family before anything else. I'm certain that we will always have our ups and downs, but I am also certain that he will be standing with me through each one. There were so many people who told us when we were dating, engaged, and newlyweds, that the "magic" feelings would go away. They haven't, and they aren't going to!

What life feels like now. :) Trying to maintain our marriage as well as taking care of a little girl who demands time and effort.


Still in love,










Friday, July 2, 2010

WOO HOO!

We really just feel so blessed. Not necessarily deserving, but blessed none the less. Another clear MRI! We found out yesterday, but have been running around a lot so I am just now sitting down to write.
I don't think it could have been a better day. Not too long after we got up we got the phone call from the doctors office to let us know results. It was one of those times that when the caller I.D. lit up I thought I might puke. Jason and I both felt really anxious about this one; mostly because results took longer than either of the others have. None the less she does not have hydrocephalus and there were no tumors.
I called Jason as soon as I hung up to rejoice with him over the phone. And for the first time in our six years of marriage he told me he could come home and eat lunch with us. It has NEVER happened before. So Abigail and I made some chocolate chip cookies together. And by together I mean Abigail got flour on her table and on the floor at which point she sat and played in it and then licked her hands. I also gave her a bowl with flour and water mixed so she could "tir" while I finished the cookies. It was all over her, her clothes, the table, and the floor. It was also totally worth it. I didn't take any pictures because I was trying to get cookies and lunch done in time for Jason to come eat with us.
Then while Jason was still at home with us, our anniversary present arrived from the U.P.S. man. We agreed on a joint gift of a waffle cone maker. So after Abigail went to bed last night we made waffle cones and ate ice cream out side on the steps. It was just a day with fun, laughter, and rejoicing.
Just so I'm being totally honest we aren't really "out of the woods" as far as figuring out some more stuff. We see her neurologist again in a week and a half so they can measure her head against their records. They did tell us she has scaphocephaly (elongated head) which is commonly seen in children born premature, or who have had their soft spots close early. She has had neither of these (that we know of). It doesn't seem to be an issue form the information I have read, but interesting to know I guess. He also wants to talk about referring her to a developmental pediatrician to watch (and maybe figure out) some of the odd growth patterns she has had, and is having. But once again, that being weighed against the "could've beens" is just small potatoes.
I was thinking today though about this hope that I always hold out for. I always think, well this will be the end of appointments for a few weeks, or until next month, or whatever. And it never is. We have had some small breaks here and there, but we have gone from one appointment at the end of July to three as of right now. In my head I keep telling myself that after that we will have one in August and then a break. But the reality of it all is, we have a daughter with multiple special medical needs. We see lots of doctors. We go to lots of appointments. Our lives may always consist of this. Perhaps some day I will accept it; perhaps I will always hold out the hope that things will slow down. Either way we are going to continue to enjoy life and each day we have with our goofy little bug.