She cried out just now. She's been sleeping for about two hours and something jarred her awake. I went in to find her sitting up, crying with her arms up in the air and her eyes closed. When she opened her eyes just now-it was her momma's face she saw. It was her momma who scooped her up and loved her back to sleep. It was her momma who rubbed her little back after laying her down again. Oh, to not have to miss this..I can't even begin to express the gratefulness I have in my heart because of that. Blessed to be home.
the rice bin. She truly loves this sensory bin ya'all.
Look who she made get in on the fun...
Sissy tried to convince her that she would not fit in the bin, but she demanded otherwise.
Aren't they beautiful? Man this little one loves any and all attention she gets from her big sis.
God is so good.
With two doses of antibiotics and some good numbing meds in that ear..our girl is back to her old self. She hasn't let me rest one minute today. I found her standing on top of the couch, climbing her toy box, and dumping her rice bin on the floor. Normally this girl keeps her momma on her toes, but because of the pain in that ear the last few days have been..well pretty dull by my girl's standards. She's back with a vengance. She has been pulling and tugging me from this toy to that one all day, requested to eat three times already, and pulled down the candleholders at least a hundred times. Oh, I missed her (but did like the rest).
Here are some pictures of her enjoying her new sensory bin. Rice galore with lots of "tools" to help her explore...
Please pray for our little one. She has another ear infection. We knew she was in pain again because she was digging at that ear and licking her fingers to stick them in there. That is exactly what she did when we first got to her and those ears were so infected. She is refusing to drink a bottle probably because it hurts like mad to suck with that ear so inflamed. It has been 48 hours since she has taken a bottle and she refuses to take a cup so that limits her liquid intake greatly. She has had half a popsicle which I fed her in a spoon, continues to down her puree food like a champ, and doesn't seem to have any signs of dehydration..BUT..I'm worried about her. I hate to see her in pain.
On a bright note..she did a great job at the doctor. It was a new office and she was cool as a cucumber in the lobby and even walked back to the exam room without melting down. She was very upset during the exam though, but what two year old wouldn't be? The hardest part is how very hard it is to calm her down after she gets upset. She went to sleep almost immediately after returning home. Praying those numbing drops and the antibiotic will do the trick..
We are scheduled to see the ENT next Friday anyway and they already told us they are planning on putting tubes in right away-a relief since this is her second infection in four months.
Praising the Lord that she has gained almost eight pounds and grown three inches since being home. It also seems that the wax in the right side of her ear has dislodged and so the doctor finally got a good look at that eardrum. It's the clear side and hopefully will stay that way. We appreciate your prayers so very much. Having an ear infection is no fun.
Every morning we go to the park. We take it slow..walking along the lagoon, looking at the ducks, swinging in each and every swing that we pass along the way, and just taking it in. Jill loves it and the people who frequent that park as often as we do have really taken a liking to her. They make a point to seek us out and say hello. Many have shared a bit of their lives with us..upcoming surgery, out of work, a son's lost bicycle...and some have asked Jill's story-our family's story. There is one older lady who is there walking everyday. She recently had surgery. I would guess she lives alone and works in a school kitchen. She has shared a bit of her life with me as I have seen her each morning while swinging Jill. I know a bit about who she is and today she asked if she could sit down with us. She did and she asked if we had other children. When I shared with her that we had one 12 year old until our eyes were opened to the orphan..she said you must go to church somewhere. Funny that she connected my willingness to take in the orphan to church. This was my open door to share my heart..who Christ was in me..with this woman. I told her that indeed I did and that my husband was a pastor. We felt called by God to care for this little one who needed a family to raise her up in the Lord and care for her. I told her where my husband pastored and then she was on her way around the lagoon pursuing the walking path with purpose using her cane. A divine appointment. A chance to remember that there are so many around me who may not know Him. What do I do about this? Who am I for Him to these others? Do I intentionally pursue people to make a difference for Christ in their lives? A challenge in the form of a stranger who we have come to recognize because we take life slow these days. What if I had taken life slow all along? Are there some that God would have had me share with that I have rushed by? Sadly, I know there are..I know I fail miserably at times. Yet, God continues to invite me to do His work as undeserving as I am. Glad there is grace for even me and that I am lucky enough to know Him as my Savior.
We were giddy with excitement to learn that Phineas and Ferb the movie was being shown on a local network on Saturday night. DH and Em love this cartoon and since giving up the channel that it usually airs on over a year ago to save money-they rarely get to see it. It was such a treat that Jill and I decided to make an ice cream run. We headed to the sweet spot just the two of us to hit the drive thru. (Who would have thought that Jill could be my partner on an ice cream run? Miraculous! We've come a long way in four months that is for sure.)
My big girl requested cookie dough chiller with no chocolate syrup. She watched the movie from her favorite bean bag chair. I don't think she even texted the entire time..just watched mesmorized.
A large oreo chiller for Daddy..You should have heard him laughing his head off at this cartoon. He is seriously the biggest kid in our house.
And for our little treasure..her first hot fudge sundae. She loved it. She was quite wired up after eating all that sugar, but life is too short. She loves her some chocolate fudge and ice cream. I love to see the joy that food brings her. What a huge blessing!
I just cherish this time when we are all together. Around the dinner table on this very night we talked about bringing home more. We all have our ideas about where, when, and how..God already knows and so we wait for His will to be revealed. Can't help feeling so blessed by this family. So very lucky to have this amazing family that I enjoy and love so much.
She got going too fast and because now a days she has the courage to leave the comfort and safety of momma's hand-she fell. She stumbled in the grass right on to the sidewalk. I was home alone at the time and tried to stay calm. She handled it better than I did I think. Doesn't she look pitiful? Poor Baby. It hasn't slowed her down though. She takes life at one speed-lightning speed that is..
Home almost four months my treasure. Four months you have been mine..here with me in my arms. They have flown and honestly I don't remember what it was like to not have you here with us. I reread some of the waiting posts and while the depths of the sorrow and pain are deeply rooted in those words I wrote while I waited for you..NOW there is so much joy that the pain of waiting is easily forgotten. I continue to just marvel at all that you are doing. Every day you come alive more and more. Four months ago you screamed in terror when I would put you in the bath tub..NOW you scream with delight. You love your bath, the bubbles, and the toys that float in the water as I wash you each night. Four months ago you rarely made a sound as if your voice was stolen from you by the sorrow that seemed to have taken up residence in your heart...NOW you make noise all the time. You are constantly squealing, babbling, and screaming with joy. Four months ago you wouldn't go near a swing even when you were sitting on momma's lap..NOW each morning at the park you methodically trace the route from swing to swing enjoying each one from the security of my lap. Four months ago you screamed in the car unsure of where you were going..NOW you giggle with delight from that same carseat as the wind tossles your hair excited about where we might be headed. Four months ago I loved you but knew so very little about you...NOW I am enjoying learning more about you each and every day. I love you dear one. I love watching the videos from four months ago and just being in awe of how much you have grown. God is healing your little heart so quickly and you are truly a miracle. Being your momma is a joy and a pleasure.
I continue to read blogs about children joining their families. I love them. They fill my heart and take me back to getting our own treasure just four short months ago. Sometimes though I see the pictures of the children in the arms of their mommas peacefully or happily eating cheerios and I think about how different our experience has been. As we were waiting for Jill, I prayed that she would be a healthy, happy, and average when I reached her. I certainly didn't want this too be hard and honestly I prayed that it wouldn't. I'm ashamed to admit that I wanted her to be "typical".
Yet, who she is and the struggles that she has is really such a gift. A gift because it has changed my perspective, given me courage, and allowed me to see God even more clearly. The other day when I was talking with my DH he said..If Jill wasn't so "special" you would have never had the courage to stay home even though you desperately wanted to. He's so right. If Jill didn't have therapy appointments, medical appointments..if Jill ate regularly or could communicate..if Jill was able to fall quickly into the routine of our life..I wouldn't have had the courage to do this and frankly this is what I have always wanted to do. So you see, Jill's struggles have been an unexpected gift and something that I am so thankful for in many ways. At the park yesterday we ran into a couple from our old congregation who said..Looking at you beaming over her-I think you needed that baby as much as she needed you. SO TRUE!!
I love her so. I would do anything for her and am thrilled at the progress she is making..
She has gained a whole seven pounds in the last four months. She is a robust little toddler now days. Look at those round cheeks and the rings on her arms. Sweetness.
She loves to read her books and likes keeping one hand in the wipe bin. She loves how they feel.
She has a new therapy cup and is tolerating taking liquids from it, but still prefers her bottle.
Four months ago, she wouldn't touch a toy and now she regularly touches every toy she owns while throwing them around the living room.
She is very direct about what she wants you to do and has definitely found her voice this week. She is making lots of speech sounds and screaming with joy when she enjoys something. Sissy and I couldn't even hear the television over her jabber the other night. Sissy then said..I liked it better when she was quiet. LOL! Personally, it is music to this momma's ears.
Wish you could see her zebra backpack. She is a zebra loving fool!! She is sporting her new blue converse-that's my girl's style.
She will finally sit in the front seat because she is twelve. She is a rule follower despite trying to convince her that she was plenty big enough to safely sit in the front seat-she wouldn't do it until her twelfthb-day. She is too funny.
Jill had some academic time herself this morning with her favorite lift the flap books while sissy got ready for her first day. She has really had an amazing week..that's my next post.
Even though school is back in swing..this is where you will find me spending my mornings these days!!! I am still here at home taking care of my baby girl! OH THE JOY!!! We spent the morning at the park like always and then picked up sissy after her early dismissal. Being home is so good.
This is seriously the most miraculous journey. I love having my girls, being a mom, and adventuring with God in this life. You know I was thinking this morning that four years ago before our job switch into full time ministry we were living on so much more income and never thought I could be home. Now, we make one third of what we did then and we have a far greater understanding of what really matters-not to mention God continues to provide for our needs. We are so much richer..Incredible. Miraculous. Impossible. That's the God I love, serve, and depend on. Smiling from ear to ear.
DH's parents offered to drive up and stay with Jill for an hour while she napped so we could take our Darling Kiddo out to lunch. We enjoyed our time with her so much. We talked about school starting, which classes she thought would be the hardest, and what she was most excited about doing in junior high. It was a wonderful hour together. We sipped cherry limeade, ate some tasty fries, and the best part for me was I got to eat sitting down at the same time Daddy and Em did..this is a rarity and hasn't happened in the last four months since bringing home our treasure. I really enjoyed our time and it just reminds me how very fast she is growing up. I am thankful for her. She is turning into such a wonderful young woman. I'm not going to blink though because this time with her is flying by way too fast. School starts next Monday and well then she is a junior higher. How can this be?
Posts get harder and harder because frankly..I am living in the ordinary and it is so good. Jill is in the swing of our routine and things are well-ordinary. She continues to make little bits of progress here and there developmentally. I go to therapy with Jill, spend lots of time at the park, spend even more time wrestling with Jill on the floor, push her in the laundry basket, listen to her laugh hysterically when tickled, change her dirty diapers, clip coupons, make meals, pick up toys, read about three books a week (Remember, she naps a long time.)... Life is so good as a stay at home momma. :) It is good and ordinary. Ordinary is what I prayed for when those days were so rough after immediately coming home with our treasure. So good to see my little one functioning in the ordinary.
In fact, things are seeming so ordinary that when our social worker visited this week to check in I asked..about starting another adoption. OH YES I DID! It is crazy. Certainly not ordinary. Maybe even insane BUT how can you see what we have seen and experience what we have experienced and do nothing? How can we close our eyes to what we know the Lord wants us to do? I don't know when...I don't know where...I don't know how...BUT God is moving. We are praying and continue to have our hearts in pieces for the orphan. We have seen with our own eyes the difference a family can make for one child and we are willing to open our hearts to more. Lots of mountains seem to be standing in our way, but isn't that when God does His best work? Move over ordinary because CRAZY is on its way.
Helpless. That is exactly how I have felt the last two afternoons. Jill has gotten up from her nap each day and melted down. I mean really melted down.
Friday was heart breaking as it totally caught me off guard. It had been a while since she has pushed me away so much and cried so uncontrollably. After 45 minutes of crying, she popped right out of it like it never happened. The crying was so intense and so uncontrollable and yet gone as quickly as it came. What could have caused this despair? I always wonder...
Then on Saturday it happened again. I was a bit more emotionally prepared for it because we walked this road on Friday and I could see she was headed down the very same path. Yesterday though, she didn't push me away. She tried desperately to communicate with me about how I could soothe her. She put my hand on her back "telling" me to rub it. She lifted her arms for me to pick her up. She motioned to go downstairs. Yet all the while, she was crying uncontrollably. Watching her ride the meltdown out from start to finish is draining. About halfway through, she escalates to rolling and kicking..crying and screaming..wanting to be held and wanting down. Then you can see her calming. Little by little she gains control. She is able to regulate whatever it is that is happening to her emotionally. Finally, when it was over she sat up again and began to play as if she has been content the entire afternoon and hadn't spent the last 45 minutes crying her eyes out. The only evidence of the meltdown is her very snotty nose and swollen eyes. Forty five minutes of crying will do that to you.
Oh my poor girl. I just want to know how to help her. I just want to know what it is that is causing her despair. I want to name this thing. Name it so that I can fix it. BUT I can't really do anything. I just stay near by and reassure her that everything is alright. I pray over her, hold her when she lets me, and put her down next to me when she has had enough touch. I am really powerless. I have to give this baby and all her circumstances to the Lord knowing that He is the ultimate healer. In His time, these moments may be no more. How I just wish I could know when they will end? How I wish I could see some cause for them so that we could keep it from happening?
This journey is not for the faint of heart. This journey can be draining, exhausting, and so hard. It kills her daddy especially to see her like she was yesterday, but in these times we lean heavily on our Lord who gave her to us just as she is knowing that we were exactly who she needed.
This morning I had time to swing at the park with my precious baby girl for 60 minutes. I sat in the bench swing with that girl nestled in my arms watching the ducks, listening to her babble, and watching her enjoying the sun in her eyes for 60 minutes. I was still. I was reciting scripture in her ear. Scripture that I have memorized came to my mind and I was just whispering word after word over her little cheeks.
60 minutes. Not working is so good. So good for a million reasons....
I have time. Maybe I could have always had time if I would have taken it. If I would have re prioritized I may have found more time, but now God has done such a work in my life and time is something I have so much of. Time to minister to the older lady who was walking by as we were swinging who just needed an ear. Time to smile and say hello to those who pass. Time to hold my baby girl and just enjoy being in the presence of the Lord with her near. God is so good.
Can't you just see His hand written all over her?
DH and Darling Kiddo are on a road trip and so I devoted the whole morning to Jill. At one point, I was pushing her in the laundry basket back and forth back and forth..She looked up at me, smiled a wide smile, looked deeply in my eyes, and leaned in to press her little mouth against mine. This relationship takes time..becoming her momma has taken time..Time that I am willing to set aside because it's so good and so worth it.
Please visit the blog of my dear friends to enter for a chance to win an IPad. One chance is only $5.00. Really who can't spare $5.00 for the orphan's sake? The Arnold family is just beginning their journey to Maggie Grace. Isn't she beautiful? Little Maggie is waiting for her family and they need our help to raise the ransom. Click on this link to enter the raffle in the side bar of their family's blog. Good Luck.
And the King will answer them, "Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these brothers of mine you did it to me." Matthew 25:40
You know if there is one thing having a toddler again has shown me it is...my plans may not ever be my reality. The plans I have are sensible, practical, desirable (to me), but if Jill isn't down with them-they just don't happen. This is hard for me-I'll admit it. I can be selfish and when I want something to be a certain way I struggle when it doesn't happen.
This is one of my biggest hang ups with not being in church for worship. Every Sunday, I plan on going. I plan on being a part of the corporate worship experience. I plan on wearing earrings and something other than gym shorts, putting Jill in a darling dress, and being spiritually "fed". We have been home for three months now and well our little miss just doesn't always like my plans for Sunday morning. She tends to be very uncomfortable in the church building, doesn't like all the people, doesn't like to not be able to move freely when ever and where ever she wants to AND so because of this my times in worship have been very limited.
I step out of the house each Sunday morning ready, but despite my best efforts I generally have to leave worship most Sunday mornings with an overstimulated, screaming baby girl. Sometimes I'm annoyed by this. Sometimes, I just want to be in worship. After all that is my plan. It seems like a good plan. Seems like God would want me in worship. My plans should be honored.
Here is where the selfish comes in. It happened two weeks ago. Jill was on the verge of a meltdown in the quiet room off the sanctuary so I got out of there quick. I wasn't happy about having to return home without participating in worship, but I did it. Jill settled down quickly when she got home and was playing happily in her bedroom. Still unhappy about leaving worship, I picked up my Bible there in Jill's room and opened to Matthew.
I started reading in chapter one-the genealogy of Jesus. I saw the names of the women in the genealogy circled in red pen. I remembered the motion of that red pen circling those names in my Bible during one of my quiet times not so long ago. Those red circles and the names of those women had led me to study each of them in scripture. Back then, I wanted to know them, know their stories, and try to understand why they had been included among so many men in Jesus's line. So on this day as Jill played, I went back and read each of their stories again.
Hmmm..I bet these circumstances-the ones that led each of these women to be a part of Jesus's line-where not in their plans. I bet Rahab-a former prostitute-never planned to cross paths with God's people, pick up her household, and hit the road with them. I bet Bathsheeba never planned to become pregnant with the King's baby while married to another man. I bet Tamar didn't plan to walk her circumstances either. She was left without a husband and seducing her father-in-law. Likewise, Ruth probably didn't plan to be a young widow, move to a foreign land, and care for her mother-in-law. I'm sure at thirteen, Mary never planned to carry the son of God in her womb. I am sure that these circumstances led them to abandon plans of their own so that God's plans could be fulfilled through them...Yet never once did it say they resisted this change of plans-these divine appointments that led them to Jesus's line..
It challenged me to be more willing to let go of my plans. It challenged me to take hold of my circumstances where ever they lead me and find God there. God was there that Sunday morning in Jill's bedroom. I didn't need to go to worship, wearing earrings and something other than gym shorts, to be spiritually fed. He was there all along even if I couldn't be in worship. I just had to seek Him. He was waiting for me right there on the pages of scriptures. Waiting to tell me that my plans are not always His. I need to learn this..Embracing that a little more these days and praying to see God more clearly when my plans change because I have the privilege of being this little one's momma.
I am a Christ follower, wife of 20 years to my best friend, and a stay at home momma to five amazing daughters. I am currently waiting for one precious special needs treasure to come home from China. I am passionate about the orphan and special needs adoption. I love to teach God's word, am involved in youth ministry alongside my dh, and love,love, love cooking. Above all, I desire to serve God and surrender my life to His call.