Monday, March 24, 2014

cool summer camp

ahhh. it feels good to have love and support shared here again. thank you friends.

this past summer, we were blessed with a wonderful opportunity. our local children's hospital told us about a really neat summer camp for children with special needs. they teach children to ride two wheel bicycles. nearly 80% of participating children are riding independently after a one week camp. check it out and share it with your friends. they operate all over the united states.

learn to bike summer camp list of selected 2014 cities

sad problem was... it was not in our budget to have B and S participate. but our God is a Mighty One and showed us a fabulous kids' charity who stepped forward to gift the children the icanbike camp.

together with local police explorers (student police corp), firefighters, police officers and iCan Bike program representatives; they truly created a fun, relaxed, cohesive team to teach the kids. this is what it looked like...

B on an early stage bike.
they offer several bicycles with whatever adaptation the child might need extra assistance with. once a skill is mastered , the kids move up to another type of bike. eventually most graduate to the goal of two wheels.
the program creates a very calm environment, so children with sensory issues can learn free from too much extra input. there were several children with autism that had a rewarding experience. one of my hubby's friend's sons who has autism was in the camp too. we were glad to see a friend sharing the fun. small world.
they even ask that the mama-razzi stay outside to capture photographs. i sneaked a few INDOORS though!
once the kids master a tippy wheel thingy, they graduate to a typical two wheel bicycle with an adaptive handle for the trainer to help steer and offer counter balance.
S moved outside to the parking lot on day 3

B made it outside on the final day

but she never did master riding well enough to ride by herself. we did not expect she would. her neurological deficits are still too great to overcome.

i did not purchase a handle from the organizers! sure take one home to help her practice. uhhh... i considered it and then had this vivid daydream...

scene opens with me wrestling bicycles into the trunk of my sedan for three separate trips to the local elementary school parking lot. all to get four kids and their bikes and gear to an appropriate place for riding.

it is midsummer-the only time we might have to go on an outing of this caliber. i get to the lot with the last load, greeted by my excited children. i am now a sweat hog, but its ok, as long as the kids have fun. right?

i spend twenty blistering minutes baking on the asphalt assisting each kid into their safety gear. helmet, gloves, elbow, knee pads.

just as i hitch my back straight from the crippling bent position; i see B waiting patiently, longingly, asking me with her, please run beside my bike using that nifty handle thingy?

i consider that sweet face. her three sisters are happily laughing while zipping around the varying lots. how could i say no?

so i run a few laps behind her and as i start to see my heart pounding red in my eyes, it dawns on me why the icanbike program has teams of three volunteer spotters, per child, to switch off every few minutes.

i am by myself. i have already performed 45 minutes of heart pounding aerobic activity bringing the bikes to the lot and then had to use fine dexterity in a hatha yoga environment to dress them. it was turning out to be some nightmarish nod to a Twilight Zone-ish Combined Olympic event.

as i start to stagger into welcome darkness, i gasp, "everyone time to gooooo.

fade to black.

the next day's paper displays a front page picture of four children riding their bikes phalanx style down a rural highway, towing their heat stroke victim's mother's car behind.

i smartly snap back to my senses and graciously thank the lovely volunteer for the offer, but,  no, thank you. we will not be purchasing the adaptive handle for just $XX.00!

the last day of camp, S, was tearing around by herself. B had two to three seconds of independent riding at a time. they both did a great job. and had lots of fun.
the volunteers threw a graduation party for the kids. each one received a gold medal, goodie bag decorated by their team, and some cool stuff to go inside. they also were given commemorative tee shirts.

 S with her team
it takes a village of heroes to raise bike riders!
the program was well thought out, accommodating, and successful. thank you to all who volunteered your love, time, and cardiovascular systems to make it a great experience.

B even asked to try again this year. maybe God will find her another donation to make that possible. we'll see. she will most likely never learn to ride a typical bike, but she can keep trying. you go girl!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

flip for it

last spring i was having trouble processing all my stress. stress? you say? whatever could you mean? hahahhahhhaha...

we knew adopting older children would bring many challenges. heartache. tears. we knew it would highlight our lack of "parenting hurt children" tools. we knew it would affect our biological kids. extended family. friendships. we knew it would challenge our resources. money. time. patience. logistics.
some professionals have accused me of being starry-eyed, na├»ve, and ignorant of just how drastically things would change. that i should have known better. friends begged me not to adopt. some family members were less than even telling us on Christmas Eve before we brought the kids home, "your lives are over."

i've got news for all of them. we were forewarned. we heard it. we ignored it all! so there!
nothing could tear us from the path God set us on. we walk this journey in complete and absolute Faith and Trust. He told us to do this. we were not trying to fulfill some egocentric need. we were not keeping up with the joneses. we were simply living in obedience to the Word.
have things been as bad as all those doomsday predictions? no, not really. far from it.

we have had copious amounts of laughter, joy, bonding, many blessings, and an exponential growth in love production.
but adoption is two sides of the same coin. you never know which side it will land on from day to day.
we have also had major issues with defiance, lying, retaliatory behaviors, self-punishment, very low self-esteem, and refusal to take care of personal hygiene.
news flash...all normal for kids with institutionalized backgrounds.

all of that combined with a father who works inhumane hours for an all but poverty level salary-thus leaving a mother to almost single parent with limited resources, two children that did not get along well at all, juggling three different schooling situations, and being tuned into the adoption community...made for a stressed out mom.

my "parent support" therapist, Mary, suggested i drop off the scene for a while. perhaps grieving all my blogging community's trials and tribulations was creating a more emotionally challenging environment than i could handle. and seeing that i had a great support in Mary, i didn't need to blog as an outlet.

i gave it a shot. i cut myself off from the blogging and things did get to a more manageable level. 
it was not my intention to cut our family off from those loved ones who stayed connected to us through our blog. i now see that ten months of no updates have left some wondering how we are. it was self preservation on my end, but almost mean to everyone else who loves us. i apologize.

things have been hard, will continue to be hard, and show no signs of miraculously becoming easy.

we didn't sign up for easy. we signed up to have our hearts broken as God's is, dying to our own selves to serve Him, and sacrificing the easy life for a better one.
does being hard have to mean that things are negative? NO WAY. right now i can hear giggling and fun coming from the children's room. i have had my most hurt kiddo curl up in my lap and quietly say, "mom? i feel safe here." we have had so many amazing blessings over the last ten months.

i will try to share them over the next several posts including many pictures and videos of our beautiful family.
so i am choosing to return to my blogging community. why now?
well most of the support i had last year has gone away. my beloved grandmother passed in may, my amazing therapist moved on, my support group fizzled, my marriage almost died (don't worry...we are reviving it and prognoses looks good), several friends lost touch, and the kids stopped going to all outside therapies of OT, PT, and speech therapy. those therapists were not only cheerleaders to the children, but an enormous part of my team. i grieve all these loses still. it was a tough year. i really could use an outlet to process my feelings again.

but the most important reason i resume my blog is out of love and respect for all of you whom have prayed and loved us through that connection. i hope to honor you and inspire you through our Faith walk.
i will do my best not to be a downer. i will vent. i will get preachy at times. i will share what some feel to be an invasion of my kids' privacy. i will be sporadic.
but i will also infuse this crazy life with humor and light. sharing as often as i can.

i do not know which side the coin will land on from day to day. but odds are in my favor that it will never be all bad or all good. if i just hang on to the next flip of that coin...things will change again.
He has not left us. He never will. He is faithful forever. we cling to that during the hardest times. it makes the good times all the sweeter.