Friday, April 19, 2013

Special Visitors and the Coming of Spring

Our silly girl was thrilled to have company here at the house this past week. We were too! Uncle Jeff had planned a trip to visit and at last minute Grandma decided to tag along. I'm glad Grandma did not feel she needed to wait to speak to us to see if it was okay. I tell our family all the time, "Please know that you have a standing open invitation to come visit us. I don't need a phone call. You just get to see us how we really live.......a little messy!" 
The picture above is of Daddy and our silly girl. Uncle Jeff and Grandma treated us to supper out. We do not get to do that very often. It was such a treat. The awesome aquarium was an attraction for sure.
In the hustle and bustle of life, I had to take the time to watch our silly girl enjoy blossoms for the first time. This is her first spring outside of an orphanage. In that orphanage she spent 20 hours a day confined to this crib...
So please understand when people ask why we chose China, my response is simple......why not? Can you imagine her life before coming home? She spent 20 hours a day here trying to comfort herself......entertain herself........ standing for hours at a time and being fed on a strict schedule. And now look at this......
We traded those sterile metal bars for some decorative wooden spindles that have been gnawed on by her four older siblings. And look how peaceful she is lying here! Our sweet, silly girl. She has changed our lives. Her impact is nothing short of powerful. And I just went off on a rabbit trail. 
Anyhow, while we were outside observing the weeping cherry tree, Kyle and Mariah somehow managed to fit in a sword fight. Actually, Mariah is using the scabbard to fight Kyle! I dare you to tell her that girls don't fight.
We still have a few institutional behaviors we are working on. Notice her shirt is up a little? She is scratching her tummy. Anxiety over new or exciting things causes her to scratch. Don't you love the camo bike helmet? For some reason (insert smirk) we never got rid of the toddler helmet we had from Ben. Here is why she was wearing a helmet.....
Yet another reason why our girls are not all that frilly. I'm okay with it though. This is Becca's Green Machine! She got this for Christmas and loves it. So do the neighbor kids.
Just look at that sweet, cute, ornery face! She LOVES her new shirt. We found her a Minnie Mouse shirt that she loves. She literally gasped when I held it up to show her. It's the small things.
Then all got quiet and I went on a search. She made herself comfy on our couch and was playing with my phone. This is not allowed but it was awfully cute!
She looks guilty here but all was good. She seems so serious!
We are still going strong with school work. Kyle is working on a science experiment in the picture above. He was using a balloon to produce static electricity that was then transferred to a metal paperclip which had aluminum foil hanging from the paperclip. He was to watch the foil transference. It worked!
This evening I took a few minutes to sit down at my piano and play for pure enjoyment. I love my piano. Thank you Jeremy for that wonderful gift 2 years ago. Music is such a passion of mine. This time I was playing a duet. This duet is like one you have never heard.  Do you see all of those buttons above the keys? Yes.....Mariah saw them too. I was playing just an ordinary piano setting then trumpet, harp, organ, strings, choir, and flute. You get the idea. It was pretty horrendous and beautiful at the same time. Giggling galore from the both of us!

Money cannot buy this happiness. Why the Lord chose to bless us with this life is beyond my comprehension. I do not deserve these blessings. Our five kids have filled our lives with laughter every single day. I love the man that God intended to be mine. Not many people can say those things and honestly mean them. 

I don't mean for you to think it is easy for us. Because honestly, it is amazingly difficult. The work hours are long. The appointments are never-ending. The schoolwork is just plain tough. As great as my kids are, they are just kids. Attitudes are adjusted daily. For some reason, we cannot seem to understand the difference between perimeter and area. Arguing happens just out of earshot...or so they think. Medication dosing takes place four times a day and every three hours when Mariah is sick. Poor choices are made and good choices are highly encouraged. Money never goes as far as we would like. It is tough. I constantly run out of enough hours in the day to get the jobs done. 

Dinner is often late on the table. But dinner is together around our table. The meals are not glorious like Paula Dean. However, we are all around the table listening to the funny stories of our day. Admittedly, sometimes I don't understand what the kids are attempting to explain. But we laugh and enjoy the time without interruptions.

We pray that we are making as much of an impact on our children as they are making on us. 

Our air conditioner has been running for a few weeks now. We never open the windows. Kids with horrible asthma and allergies do not allow us that pleasure. It just means summer is on it's way. 

Jeremy and Kyle are preparing for a mission trip to Merida, Mexico. We can't wait to get Mariah in the pool for the first time! Another niece graduates from high school. And you probably guessed......more appointments.

We have decided to seek a second opinion for Mariah. I have researched late into the night and read a few books on her adrenal insufficiency. I am not convinced her doctor is treating her appropriately. I hope I'm wrong because we love her endocrinologist. We have been at his office every three months for eight years. Ben has this doctor for his "short stature" aka....growth hormone deficiency. He is so good to our family.

After much research, I emailed a doctor recommended to me. I received a reply within 20 minutes. The next morning, her secretary called me to set up an appointment. 

I made an appointment and had to call our pediatrician's office to have them make the referral. They were convinced there was no way I could have made an appointment without the referral from them. Well, I did. I've been around the block a few times. I sometimes know how to work the system. Jeremy probably thinks I could somehow get the codes to nuclear warheads!

Now we will be making a trip to Pittsburgh Children's Hospital. I guess we just like to tour all of the Children's Hospitals withing a 7 hour radius. We have used four others. But we will do anything for any of our kids. That appointment is coming up pretty soon. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of her elevated blood pressure and excessive growth. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring Break

I know it has been a while since I last posted. For very good got very busy. I have come to realize this is our new normal. So instead of complaining, I'll enjoy my kids a little more. That may mean I blog a little less. 

We had a really sweet Easter. It was Mariah's first. We try to make Easter special to the kids. We always emphasize that we are celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus. This ultimate sacrifice is what gives us the gift of eternal life if only we humble ourselves enough to accept this gift. Our older four children are all saved. We are praying that Mariah one day will understand and accept this gift as well.

We gave the kids the day off school for Good Friday. We just enjoyed the day and did a little cleaning and grocery shopping. Note to self, "Never grocery shop on Good Friday!" I was preparing for the next day. 

Saturday before Easter we colored Easter eggs............
Held an Easter egg hunt for the kids............
.......Mariah not too sure.
I then finished preparing our Easter dinner. Yes, a day early. Sunday's are too crazy busy for us to try and squeeze in an Easter meal before heading back to the church service in the evening.

Sunday included Easter Sunday Service then home to hunt for their baskets. We don't get much for the kids for Easter but it is fun to have a little chocolate and hunt for those baskets. We are running out of hiding places but we hid them pretty well. The kids know there is no Easter Bunny but it is fun to hide the baskets.
M's was behind the curtain. She didn't know what to do. It took a little coaxing.

Here she took Ben's sunglasses and was being silly.
The Sunday evening service was really nice. Our choir had a cantata and part way through, the music quit. The choir seamlessly continued the rest of the song. Even through a tough key change. It really was beautiful!

This past Tuesday an adoption friend made her way here to visit from North Carolina. She and her sweet little girl came and spent a few days with our family. Here is Beth's sweet daughter. She was adopted two months after Mariah.
This little one melted our hearts. Check out one of my older boys with her.
She also was a special needs girl. Let me tell you what a shame it is that she waited in an orphanage for 6 years waiting for a family. Be still my heart! She does not walk and has her own tiny wheelchair and walker. I love this child! She also told her mom that she was not leaving. Do you think all of this attention (like what is pictured above) had anything at all to do with her statement?

I have to share that I overheard her speaking with her Daddy on the phone. He was ending the conversation and he made a special point to stop and get her attention. He proceeded to tell her that she was special. Without missing a beat she denied that and said, "No! Baba's special!" Baba is Chinese for Daddy. What a blessed family to have her and I know Jim and Beth are a blessing to her. This is the face of adoption. There are real children waiting for a family.
Here are two of those children whose lives are forever changed.
We were a little surprised to see the girls playing together. This was the first time. Another suspicion we had was confirmed. Mariah is a bully. We have some work to do. I think it is survival from orphanage life. It is pretty safe to say that she will not be bullied herself. Like I said, we have some work to do.
Beth packed up and left on Saturday around lunchtime. We had such a sweet time together. She was an easy house guest! Beth was so sweet. We stayed up late each night talking. 

Please keep her sweet daughter in prayer as she will be having hip surgery in June. It is a difficult surgery and she will be in a spica cast following surgery.  

Proverbs 17:17    A friend loveth at all times.......