Thursday, August 11, 2016

Scenes from the airport -- Sonnet's homecoming

There is this really neat program called Red Thread Sessions where photographers with a heart for adoption offer discounted sessions to adoptive families and their recently home children.  We were so very fortunate to have these photographers volunteer their time to us after our last three adoptions.

For the first time ever it worked out that we had the photographer at the airport when we first arrived home!  Mikki was able to capture those once in a lifetime moments where Sonnet met the rest of the family, and the photos are so very precious to me!  These hit my inbox this morning, nearly a month to the day that Sonnet came home.  So fun to relive that special day. Mikki took LOTS of pictures.  Here are some of my favorites.

If you'd like to hire Mikki or even see about a Red Thread session for yourself in the Cincinnati area, you can find her website HERE!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Good Samaritans

A few days ago my lovely friend, Linny posted about a special moment, a holy moment which took place in a public restroom of all places!  If you haven't read it, go now.  I'll wait.  The link is HERE!

I love Linny's stories, and they are always relevant to me it seems, but I didn't expect to find myself in the position of NEEDING help just a couple of days after reading her post.

Sonnet struggled in the church service this week.  She's only been home for a month so she is given lots of grace when a situation doesn't quite "fit" her needs.  I decided we would best serve her AND the rest of the congregation if I just took her out to the foyer.

Even though she isn't very heavy, Sonnet has the height of a nearly seven year old.  She is L-O-N-G and somewhat difficult to handle without her stroller.  It was parked in a corner a short distance away, so I whispered the request to Tikvah to follow us out with the stroller and then started out of the sanctuary.

What is more difficult than carrying a L-O-N-G limp child?  Carrying one who suddenly gets a seizure while you are walking!  I finally got out to the foyer - in reality it took a few seconds but it felt like an hour - and gratefully got her onto one of the couches.  Her seizures (thankfully) never last very long, so in a few more moments I picked her up to comfort her.  As I looked up there came Tikvah again, and being the smart and quick thinking young lady she is, she grabbed a handful of the tissues kept at the welcome desk on the way by.  Abigail was with her and had blood running down her face.  She gets random nose bleeds.  The doctor doesn't seem to be concerned, but we can't predict when they will happen, and it makes a mess sometimes.

Tikvah got Abigail and the wad of kleenex the few steps over to me and asked if she could go clean herself up. That seemed to be a totally reasonable request.  So there I sat holding Abigail's nose with one hand while attempting to keep Sonnet from diving off my lap with the other.  There was a lady about my age on the other part of the L shaped couch who looked at me a few times but quickly went back to whatever she was doing on her phone.

Abigail was becoming agitated and I then noticed that the poor little dear had blood running down her hands and arms and she is a NEAT FREAK!  I looked about helplessly cause there was no way I could reach the diaper bag even though it was just a few feet away.  I glanced at the phone lady hoping that she might offer some help but aside from another glance or two, nothing.  Perhaps I should have asked for her help, but I kept thinking that surely Tikvah would wander back from the restroom soon.

A minute or two later a good Samaritan passed my way at the side of the couch.... OH!  Wrong story.  A nice lady walked by, and seeing my genuine struggle asked, "What can I do to help you?"  I replied, "If you could just grab the package of wipes out of my bag right there, it would be fabulous!"    Not only did she get the wipes, but she did the unheard of in this day of "universal precautions" and cleaned up Abigail's hands and arms while I continued to hold the nose which was still gushing and the Sonnet who was intent on taking a dive.

She then asked if Sonnet might let her hold her so I could concentrate on just Abigail.  I told her I appreciated the offer, but Sonnet had been home only a few weeks so that probably would not work.  Then this dear lady prayed for my girls and for me.  For our strength and health and well-being.  Wow.  I'm sure she had no idea what this meant to me, and in my moment of confusion on that couch I totally missed the chance to even ask her name.  But she seriously was the good Samaritan to me  and I appreciated her time and concern so much.

What is my point?  There are a couple actually.

1.  How many times have we moms actually NEEDED some help but didn't ask?  There was a lady three feet from me.  I COULD have asked if she would mind getting the wipes out for me.  I expect she would have done so.  But this mom of many didn't want to intrude.  How many times do we tough it out when we could save that stamina for when we actually NEED it?  If there is a next time I hope I will just ask for help!

2. "I really believe the "phone lady" was a decent and compassionate person.  How many times do I glance at a situation with a sympathetic smile but don't know what to do so I don't get involved?  The lady who helped me could have easily done that.  Linny could have totally justified not putting herself out there by helping the young mom in the restroom.   There is a small element of risk.  We might feel uncomfortable or awkward.  Our own schedules may be delayed; and I get that we are ALL busy.  BUT what if we can be the little spark of hope to another human being who is making this journey called life?  What if we can lessen their burden?  God help me to remember this lesson and be faster to help the proverbial stranger. 

Abigail all cleaned up and happy.  Sonnet intent on getting her shoes off!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Shoes with Bling!

Sonnet doesn't like to wear socks or shoes.  As in she REALLY doesn't like anything on her feet and peels off anything put on them within minutes.  But sometimes I would prefer she not go to an appointment barefooted!  LOL!

I found these adorable shoes on clearance, and guess what?  She kept them on all morning at therapy. 

As we were leaving she was pulling at them again, and pretty much asking to get them OFF!  She got to ride home in her bare feet.  Glad to have a shoe that I can keep on her!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sonnet goes to therapy

The Little Miss went to therapy for the first time.  She was all smiles as she met new people and waited for her turn.

She and her occupational therapist really hit it off.

She was pretty tired out after working hard for an hour, but we came away from the evaluation with some good ideas to work on at home.  Next up will be the physical therapy evaluation.

Monday, August 1, 2016

My husband is a GENIUS!

This old lady is having trouble lifting two wheelchairs and a weighted walker in and out of our big van when I go anywhere with the kids by myself.  So Ethan and I went to a medical supply store this weekend to try out ramps. The aluminum one weighs FORTY-SIX pounds, and then I would have to wrestle it through the side aisle in the van. Definitely NOT an improvement.

We've come to the conclusion that we are going to have to have a lift.  But a lift doesn't happen in a weekend.  We will need to seek funding for one (they are very expensive -- hopefully insurance will help!) and then it will need to be ordered and professionally installed. In the meantime I was desperate to have SOMETHING to help me get the equipment into the van.  

Last night Ethan took the boys outside with him to work on a project.  Look what he did!

This is for pushing ONLY the chairs up - no kids in them, and is a temporary fix until we can get a ramp, but wow.  It surely saved my back today!  If anyone else is in a similar situation here is what he did.
He used two, 2" x 6" boards and trimmed the corners to fit in our bumper.  Also note the cord.  He drilled holes and put a knotted cord through the top part and the bottom part so even I can get the boards properly spaced to hold the wheels.
This man knows me well, so he built outside "guards" so I don't run the wheels off the boards.

They are lightweight, and flat enough to stash UNDER the seats.

I'm so thankful for this, and my kids will be too.  It means we will get to go out to fun places more often!  If you think of it please be praying that we eventually find what we need in a lift.  Thanks!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ice Cream with Miss Heidi

We had the unusual opportunity and huge pleasure of meeting up with Miss Heidi yesterday, in Cincinnati of all places!  She is back in the USA visiting friends and family.  Heidi is the director of the orphanage school where Abigail, Jennifer and Patrick spent their early years.  Her love for them is obvious, and I am so grateful for the time she spent loving on them before I even knew they were ours.

Miss Heidi with the three kids as seen through the window at Graeter's Ice Cream.
 Heidi was actually the one who gave them their English names in the orphanage school.  Jennifer and Pat kept their school names, and Abigail's was Dawn which is now her middle name.

It was fun to hear Heidi talking with the kids about their history (that sadly, I was not a part of) and even singing some songs together that she'd taught them when in the orphanage.  We were so blessed to be able to make this connection from their past and for her to encourage them in their current situation.  I believe that Pat is still confused about the concept of a family, and that hosting in the States in 2014 then returning to China has reinforced his confusion.  Heidi was able to communicate that he was STAYING HERE (I think he thought she was here to take him back!) with his family who loves him.  If you think of it, keep him in your prayers.  A decade without a family wreaks havoc on a kid's thinking.

For a blast from the past, here is a post from August of 2012 where we first discovered Heidi's role in their lives

Thank you, Miss Heidi!  Your work is so, so valuable and we appreciate you so much.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Phillipians 4:19

Sonnet has low tone, as in she is very floppy.  We knew this.  I figured we could get by with some regular baby equipment for awhile since she only weighs 30 pounds, but I was wrong. She is also very tall which means baby equipment just can't do the job.

In China it took both Ethan and myself to safely give her a bath.  This isn't very practical at home where we have other responsibilities also.   And she LOVES her bath, so I didn't want to have to rush her through it.  Imagine my delight when I found a Rifton Blue Wave Bath/Shower chair on our local Craigslist for about 1/3 of its retail price!  I snatched it right up!  The seat detaches from the shower legs and fits right in the tub so she can splash around safely.
We purchased an umbrella stroller to use in China.  True, her feet would touch the ground when she refused to keep them on the foot rest, but it worked for a couple of weeks and was such a big help in the airport.  I figured once we got home a larger stroller would keep her feet up off the ground and be better.  Well.... it was better, but trying to stuff her long legs down under a regular stroller tray was difficult for both of us.  Getting her out was just as bad.  And she really NEEDS chest support too.  I thought there MUST be a better way.  Indeed.

A sweet friend dropped by our house on Saturday morning with a gift.  This was a gift from the very heart as it used to belong to her own precious daughter who passed away.   We feel so honored that their family chose to bless us with it.

It is a Snug Seat Stingray Adaptive Stroller.  Friends, this is a wheelchair in disguise!  It has all the safety features and supports of a pediatric wheelchair without the clinical look.  You can see in Sonnet's face in the picture above that this seat is SO MUCH BETTER than anything we had been able to find for her!

We are once again blown away by God's attention to the details... for having a plan to meet Sonnet's needs before we were even aware of them, and for His people loving so selflessly on our little miss. Thank you, Ball family. We are so touched by your generosity. 

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  Phillipians 4:19