Friday, August 31, 2012

shhh...i'm hunting wrabbits

i have posted before about hiding out when life gets too much. i kept thinking about blogging, but couldn't bring myself to post.

the thought of family and friends not knowing what was new with us was bothering me. i know what it is like to be a blog stalker. i have been stalking for months-sometimes several times a day lately. 

i told myself i wasn't hiding, just had nothing to blog about. 

overwhelmed/in the weeds? nah...shhh...i'm just hunting wrabbits. i'm hunkered down in the weeds, so those pesky wrabbits can't see me. oh say can you say DENIAL?  

i started avoiding people who look forward to my posts so that they wouldn't get a chance to ask me why no posts?

i had lots of excuses. all valid.

i'm busy. can't a girl just be busy?

yet when i looked back to see the last post, it hit me in the gut. i AM hiding and am well aware of why too.

my last post was on 8/10. then i met with an international adoption therapist on 8/13. i can't share the horror of what we learned about one of our daughters here, but it was like the world dropped out from under my feet. how could my child have survived the things the experts say she has experienced? will she ever recover? LORD DRAW HER CLOSE PLEASE. HEAL HER HURT MERCIFUL FATHER.

just two hours later we learned that B is moderately deaf and needs hearing aids. the poor audiologist expected some sort of reaction from me when she broke the news. i didn't have any. i told her that nothing could trump the news i had that morning. i can't imagine much worse. hearing aids? bring 'em on!

so off to ENT, more audiology, physical therapy, ophthalmology, occupational therapy, speech therapy and neurology we go.

it has been a whirlwind of doctors appointments. we have had 11 appointments since the 13th and have over 14 more in the next three weeks. the man at reception at our local children's hospital/medical center stopped me on the way out last week and exclaimed, "wow! you have been here alot lately." i replied, "yup at least twice a week for the next three months." i can now say we are on a first name basis. wonder how he takes his coffee?

can i use my parking garage fees as a tax deduction???

i have become so anxious and overwhelmed. i was waiting on help from God. i do that alot lately. actually, i have never depended on Him so much as i have throughout our adoption journey. if i just sit still and wait, He will send aid, right?

last night i was watching a game show on GSN called the Great American Bible Challenge. teams test their Bible knowledge to win money for charity. anyway this well known verse came up and i let out a huge sigh...

Philippians 4:6-7

New International Version (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything,(A) but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.(B) And the peace of God,(C) which transcends all understanding,(D) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

i brought my worries to Him. i had already been anyway, but this time i did so without anxiety. i asked, with peace in my heart, for Him to look after my worries for me. amazing how He answers when we ask in the right way.

today He granted my prayer.

we met with developmental behavior again. upon arrival, i corrected S's paperwork to say she speaks Mandarin, not English, thinking great-no translator today-ugh...just as a translator showed up for us! woohoo.

hey wait a minute, she looks familiar. she mentioned her church and i almost asked her if it was the chinese church nearby, but the doctor came out to get us. just then, the translator saw A's bag from the festival last year and said, "hey, that is my church." my mouth dropped open, "is your last name Fong?" i asked. it was!

we had met at last year's Dragon Boat Festival. we spoke about getting Chinese Bibles and her daughter emailed me several resources. we even looked for her this year at the festival so she could meet the children we had talked about adopting, but unfortunately she wouldn't be there until the afternoon and i was paddling in the afternoon races.

sidebar...what you paddled? yup! i did...heehee. we lost, but it was fun. that's me waving.

back to my regularly scheduled rant...

we had a new doctor this time. it was tricky to talk about the issues we recently learned about in front of all four kids, so we spoke in code. the doctor totally followed me. she was fabulous. she agreed that traditional school is not appropriate for S at this time. big sigh of relief. finally a professional that agrees with me. she said she doesn't often suggest homeschool, but in our special case, we need to be sensitive to this hurt child. trust me...i'd rather her go to school. i don't have what it takes to teach this level of learning disability and teach three other children, but God is working on that for me. He'll figure it all out.

we will wait until all evaluation is completed before making a decision. hopefully we can find an appropriate alternative school that can nurture her as well as teach her. perhaps in a year or two she will have learned so much that i can bring her back home to teach. for now, i will do my best and trust that God will send help when needed. 

mrs. fong walked out with us and asked to be our translator always. woohoo. i could not say yes fast enough. we are even going out to dinner together next tuesday. here is the God part. S's referral for this appointment did not list us as needing a translator, but they ordered one anyway. then, mrs. fong was not even scheduled today, but her friend was. the friend ended up not having a car, so mrs. fong took her case instead. we did not really use translation services today, so she mostly sat and kept the children busy with origami and drawing paper. 

she wasn't there to be our translator. she was there to minister to us- to show us that God is working on it. be patient child!

this is not the classic case of its a small world. it is a miracle. a God sighting. He gifted me another support in my team. i have renewed hope that i have not felt in over three weeks. 

how can anyone go through this process without God? i ask it all the time, because i am consistently shown that He is here. He is at work. He loves us and is caring for us. i am honored that He is. i don't deserve it. i must be soooo annoying with all my belly aching and worry.

when we don't understand the why, the first thing we ought to do is acknowledge God. His plan is bigger than us. last night my parents Skyped me from Ireland, where they are on vacation. my dad told me they are coming home a week early. he broke his leg falling down some stairs. my first reaction was why did that happen halfway through my mom's dream vacation? hmmm...God has something planned. i just know it.

where in your life are you asking "why?" keep your eyes open for He is at work. i'd love to hear some stories of where God has shown up in your life lately. please feel free to post in my comments.

May He guard and guide and bless your holiday weekend!

Friday, August 10, 2012

fun with food

i know some people bake when they are stressed...shout out to you, aunt joanie!

some people eat. some people sleep. others shop.

i get imaginative with the children's snacks. seriously. two weeks ago i made lunch, but served worms and dirt pudding first. then we ate lunch.   

perhaps it is a peace offering for when i am feeling emotionally absent. like a consolation prize on a sorry gameshow. 

"yes, i have had just about enough of you today, but here's a lovely snack. thank you for playing."

i know it is not nutritious, but remember? it is a bribe so that they don't care about the rainy-day-funky-mood i am in.

what is that i hear???  right now i hear three happy kids chatting over rainy day snacks and chocolate rice milk. oh plot worked ((evil movie type snicker))!

oh and also a shout out to you my friend, J, who know who you are...i can't bake, but i make a mean beignet.

a few weeks ago when i was in my serious funk, i snuck out of the house at 6 AM one saturday morning to pull garlic at the farm with my friends. i got home just as the kids were waking up. my mother had given us a box of beignet mix as a souvenir from her New Orleans trip. for those of you not familiar, there is a famous restaurant called Cafe du Monde, who serves these little square donuts doused with powered sugar. visiting there has always been on my bucket list. so thoughtful mom brought them to me.

all you do is add water to the mix and fry. trust me fellow foodies. total yum factor. i trashed my kitchen, but it was soooo worth it.


to score your own beignet mix...

God bless your day!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

got veggies??

our family is blessed to belong to a local CSA. us girls harvest veggies every wednesday.


poor little A was standing on a wall picking concord grapes when bees in a hive hanging from a tree attacked her. we quickly cut one of the harvested onions in half and applied them to her head and hand. took the sting right out. she was a brave trooper. 

i am starting to think farming is hazardous to her health. since we joined three summers ago, she has been stung by nettles, cut with razorgrass, scraped and bruised her legs climbing on rocks, and now bitten by yellowjackets. 

wait a minute! all those things happened while playing. let me rephrase that...playing at the farm is hazardous to her health. perhaps she should think about doing even more work...snicker snicker.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

when the world shifts

it is funny how things can either stop one or move one.

for months after we brought our adopted children home we were stuck. we were stuck not being able to get social security numbers. we were stuck not having insurance because we had no ss#s. we were stuck not getting our children help with language and speech therapies because we did not enroll them in public school. we couldn't enroll them even if we had wanted to due to not having up-to-date vaccines and unable to get them without insurance.  

i truly felt like a failure as a parent. i had awful feelings of inadequacy. i could not provide for my children. the ugly little voice in my head told me they would be better off if we had not adopted them at all.

i know that is silly and untrue, but the voice started sounding more convincing with each obstacle we encountered. it didn't help having people telling me that we were not doing right by our children.  

it wasn't that we jumped into adoption thinking it would be a piece of cake. during the process, we had made calls to the insurance companies to check on eligibility. we were assured they would be covered the moment they touched down in chicago international airport and became US citizens. we touched base with our pediatrician and were told that they could get therapeutic services outside of the public school system. we watched several friends adopt and not have these issues.

BUT, we did! every step we took, we were being thwarted. i spent three months fighting with the insurance company and public school system. in june we were granted insurance, but nothing else.

then i decided to put it in God's Hands. He knows what He is doing. He placed these children with us. He doesn't make mistakes. patience and trust is what i now was depending on. i could do nothing by myself.

so we waited. and waited. and waited. by our four month anniversary of the children coming home, nothing had been done. we still had no services. plus i was dealing with an awful personal situation in my life. i was drowning. i told my husband that if i knew that a friend of mine was going through this, i would be worried. very worried.

it wasn't that i didn't reach out for help. i did. i felt like i was becoming a whiner. no one could or would help us. i was losing myself. i imagined i was like the photo in the movie Back to the Future, when the main character's siblings were disappearing from the picture. i was slowly disappearing in my own life. everything was getting fuzzy. truth is...i wanted to disappear.

then i had my life shift. after i cleared up the ugliness that i was battling with my friend and was gifted the ability to extend forgiveness and grace, my whole being shifted. i felt at peace. i felt loved by God. i felt that everything was going to be OK.

not that i knew how it was going to be OK, mind you. it was going to be a mystery and i am cool with mysteries.

for years my mother had been telling me that when something is stuck, often something else has to shift to make room for change and growth. things will open up if we deal with the one thing we don't want to have to deal with. i didn't want to have to deal with the haters and negative people. i didn't want to deal with the unpleasant business of making amends.

when i sought spiritual guidance, i was instructed to do as the Bible tells us to. easier said than done in my opinion. but i did. i followed the guidelines and it worked. how people make it through life without an instruction book (the Bible), i don't know. i would be so lost without the Word.

the same week i cleared my life up, i met with my adoption support group. one mom who has been instrumental in my adoption journey (thanks B), advised me to seek out the local Children's Hospital for help. others had also encouraged me to do so, but they had really involved kids who needed immediate medical intervention and they had private insurance. when it came from quiet B, i knew that i had to honor her by taking her advice.

so as afraid as i was, i called. the following day a nice lady returned my call and signed us up for a program to help people in our situation. less than a week later we had a developmental behavior pediatric appointment. the doctor was amazing. she told me that she could tell i was downplaying how hard this has been. she said that i was a really good mom and doing a great job. you know what? i had to be a great mom. i had to be twice the mom i needed to be to deal with doing everything on my own. my husband has been pulling 70+ hour workweeks for most of the summer. i am single parenting in addition to trying to advocate for my children. i have had no choice. it was deal or disappear. thank you God for being with me. it was touch and go there for a bit.

along with my new case worker, the doctor set up an entire list of services we would be getting.

ready for this??

physical therapy-scheduled
occupational therapy-scheduled
speech consult
feeding team consult

developmental assessment
physical therapy-scheduled
and a couple others too

whoa! talk about doors opening. now we are buried under paperwork, tests, and medical appointments. but there is no complaint from me. we will just live the next few months around doctor visits.

we currently have 10 appointments in august and counting. i am thankful that help has arrived. i Praise God for His perfect timing.

i wonder how the children would have adjusted to life as Americans if we had done all this testing and evaluations when they first got home. maybe this was a gift. being able to settle in as a family and establish trust before all the poking and prodding began.

and trust me. they didn't start to really trust us until recently. try getting older children, who don't have a grasp on the language, to allow you to take a stool specimen. that was great fun this week. i will spare you the details, but know that trust helped us accomplish that feat.

and this morning...basha let me finish pulling out her dangling tooth. she has very little response to pain, so she tends to yank teeth that are no where near ready for pulling. she pulled two of her teeth out just weeks after being home. neither was ready to come out. talk about a bloodbath. yikes. so today when it was too painful to complete the pull, E brought her to me. she looked skeptical that i could do it without hurting her. but i am super mom. i put oragel on the gum and then gently pulled the offending tooth. she looked amazed that i did it. she is so used to doing everything for herself that she had little need for a mama. well folks, she has one now. one that will love her, fight for her, provide for her(or die trying), comfort her, care for her, and instruct her.

i knew that going through the fire, handling adversity with grace and dignity(and just a bit of whining), would teach me things i would pass onto my children someday. 

what i learned (or relearned) these last two weeks is this:

trust God over everything else
look to the Bible for help in time of need
clean up messes even if you didn't make the mess to begin with 
the bigger the breakdown-the bigger the breakthrough
when you are stuck, move something else to allow room for shifting
never give up
reach out to friends and loved one-prayer covers all things
love others as God has loved us