Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How Dima Prepared Us for Holland

I just wanted to take a moment and share some happenings going on in our family.  While it is not about adoption per say, it will touch upon how Dima's adoption prepared me for something that I was not at all expecting.  Dima was my planned trip to Holland, however, an unplanned trip is in the works.

My youngest son, Sammy (his full name is Nathan Samuel but my boys have always called him Sammy), is a very special little boy.  He is here only by the grace of God and each and every day with him is a gift.  My little Sammy Wammy was born prematurely at 35 weeks via emergency c-section.  It was a swift and chaotic birth, one that left me feeling uneasy and not quite sure what was the fate of my little one.  Sammy's cry at birth was more like that of a little goat and he was having some serious trouble breathing.  It was a good 2 hours before I could hold him.  He eventually was flown from our little country hospital to Shands in Gainesville, FL where he spent one week in the NICU.  Given the fact that he was early and had such serious problems, one week in the NICU was a miracle!  At the time we did not think that he would have any serious long-term effects from his premature birth and life moved on...sort of.

Over the past 6 years we have experienced minor issues with Sammy and his health but over the past 2 years things have become more pronounced.  He gets respiratory infections at the drop of a hat, frequent body pain, muscle cramping, lack of fine and gross motor skills, he he clumsy, etc...  Being that Sammy is the baby and I homeschooled him for 2 years I really never compared him to other children his age.  Sure, I noticed that he was clumsy and had issues grasping a pencil, but I truly thought that he was being lazy or seeking my attention.  Not so much.

This past September at a parent/teacher conference all of these issues were brought to my attention by Sammy's amazing teacher.  OF COURSE I have noticed everything that was mentioned but again, I thought he was doing it mostly at home.  But then she pointed out something that I had seen but refused to believe.  Hand tremors.  I did not "pass Go" or "collect $200";  at that point I went right home and called the pediatrician.  By the end of the week Sammy had been seen and the pediatrician suspected that something was amiss.  Sammy needed to be evaluated by a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and a neurologist.

Last week we had our first OT (occupational therapy/therapist) evaluation.  While she could not formally diagnose Sammy with anything, she was able to say for certain that he is physically delayed.  Sammy definitely needs to be evaluated by a physical therapist as well as a neurologist for there to be a formal diagnosis, particularly if it is more than just a physical delay.  The OT foresees leg braces in Sammy's future, lots of OT, PT, and lots of patience.  Until all evaluations are complete all we can do is try to strengthen Sammy physically and make him comfortable.  As for as his mental capacity, well, he is as his teacher stated, "brilliant!".  He made straight A's, is reading at a 5th grade level (he is only in 1st grade!), and has been tested for the gifted program at school (and way surpassed expectations there, too!).  So whatever this is, it has not affected his mind in terms of intellect.  For that I am so very grateful.

But how does Dima play into it all?

If Dima was not in our lives, not a part of our family, I think this situation with Sammy would really be upsetting to us.  We would worry more, not fully understand that no matter what, Sammy is still Sammy. Dima has given Eric and I a crash course in parenting a child with special needs.  While we do not have a formal diagnosis with Sammy, his physical state makes him have special needs.  I am learning that the term "special needs" covers a broad spectrum.  I am learning that I am strong enough to handle whatever it is that Sammy is battling in his little body.  Sammy is learning just how tough he is, too.  Dima has shown all of us that we can overcome and survive no matter what.

More than anything our family trusts in the Creator of the universe.  The author and giver of life.  Sammy knows that God is good, all of the time, even when things seem to not be so good.  Sammy exemplifies perseverance.  In fact, Sammy is the student of the month in his class for having so much perseverance.  So very fitting for him during this time of uncertainty.

Bottom line, it is well.  Sammy's future is secure in his Lord and He already knows what is wrong.  We just ask that you join us in prayer for wisdom and discernment for all of the therapists and doctors.  We are praying that all of this is just a mere physical delay that can be easily overcome.  In the meantime we just take it all day by day and live life to the fullest.

Our Sammy Wammy Bo Bammy.

Trying to play soccer with his brothers.

Trying to help daddy scoop poop in the back yard (from our dog, of course).

Thinking...Sammy is always thinking. Here you can sort of see how Sammy's fingers are a little misshapened :(

Friday, November 2, 2012

Crazy For Camille

So last evening over supper the boys and I discussed how we could help Camille reach the $1,000 goal AND find a family for her.  They had lots of ideas, all very creative, but my dear Elijah brought up the one fundraiser that really bolstered his faith.  Some of you may remember when Elijah challenged everyone to get $500 raised for Dima by Mother's Day.  Up until Mother's Day morning he raised $35.  While he was grateful he was bummed out and felt as though he had let his special brother down.  But sure enough, the Lord blessed Elijah for his obedience.  By the end of Mother's Day someone had generously donated $1500 to Elijah's cause and Elijah's faith was built up.

So what was that fundraiser, you ask?

Elijah (and then Sammy!) had their hair cut into mohawks and they were dyed a very bold purple.  It was called Elijah's Mohawk Challenge.  The dye was so strong that it even dyed their scalps!  You can see videos from that wonderful day HERE.

Mother's Day 2011:  Elijah's Mohawk Challenge!

So we revisited the concept of doing another mohawk challenge.  What Elijah wants to know, however, is what color should he dye his hair?  Or should he get a silly haircut?  Leave a comment for him on the blog and we will reveal Elijah's Mohawk Challenge 2.0!

Bottom line, we are crazy for a little girl named Camille and want to see her in the arms of a family!!  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Good Morning, Camille

Camille.  What a beautiful name for a beautiful little girl.

Just look at those big eyes, those sweet, chubby cheeks.  Her wispy blonde hair.  I wish I could just reach into that picture, pick her up, and rock her in my grandma's rocking chair.  I would kiss her little head, stroke her tiny hands, and tell her that she is special.  That she is fearfully and wonderfully made. Sadly, I cannot.  She is in an orphanage on the other side of the world, lonely, underdeveloped, and in need of a family to rescue her.  Why not us, you ask?  Because we already have taken that leap.  It is not our turn right now.  But what about you?  What your family?  To you who is reading this and have flirted with the notion of adoption, what is stopping you?  Money?  Ha!  Money was supposedly stopping us, too, and here is our little love from across this sea:

Our Dima.  For those of you that are new, Dima is the Buzz Lightyear in this picture.  In 7 months we raised over $25,000 to adopt this amazing little boy who changed our lives.  Each of my boys have told me that they cannot imagine life without Dima; he makes them laugh, smile, and overall happier little boys.  Dima has taught them the meaning of sacrifice.  Dima has taught Eric and I the meaning of sacrifice.  Sacrificial love, to be exact.

Have you not made the leap of faith to begin the adoption process because you are concerned how it may affect your biological children?  It is a legitimate concern.  And honestly that is something to consider.  But let me tell you about my biological boys and how they feel about Dima:

Dima and his littlest brother, Sammy.

Dima and his big brother, Jeremiah.  Yes, Jeremiah loves Dima, he was just being silly for the camera.

Dima and his little brother, Elijah.  Elijah is only 2 months younger than Dima.

Pictures are worth 1,000 words, but I need to share something very specific with you.  My oldest son, Jeremiah, does love Dima (despite the funny look on his face in the above picture).  At the beginning of the school year Jeremiah was asked to do a writing assignment on what makes him happy.  Lots of wonderful things make Jeremiah happy:  Legos, books, swimming, spending time with his grandparents, etc...  But do you want to know what he wrote about?  Rather, do you want to know who he wrote about?  Dima.  Dima brings joy to Jeremiah's life as he does to all of our lives.  My boys have fully accepted Dima as their brother and look out for him everywhere we go.  Jeremiah, in fact, has even asserted that when he grows up Dima must live with him.  Eric and I would never expect that of any of our boys, and arrangements are made for Dima's future, but it blesses my heart every time Jeremiah talks about life with Dima when they are older.

Quite often during our adoption process we were chided that having another child, particularly one with special needs would take away from my other children.  Well, hate to prove you all wrong, but my boys will tell you repeatedly that Dima has made them rich beyond their wildest dreams.  Rich in things that truly matter in life.

Doesn't Camille deserve the same sort of life?  The same unconditional love of a family?  Doesn't Camille deserve a mom and dad, brothers and sisters who will love her for who she truly is?

Today marks the first day of Reece's Rainbow's Christmas Angel Tree and our family is sponsoring Camille.  Our family's goal is to raise $1,000 and/or find her family by January 1st.  We had been sponsoring Adalia, but she has been found!  Mission accomplished, so to speak.  If you wish to help her mom and dad rescue her, you can donate to her adoption, grant, too.

But will you help our family help Camille?

If you make a modest donation of $35 you will receive a lovely ornament with her picture on it.  All donations are tax-deductible.  This is an opportunity to be a part of something that is so much bigger than any of us.  This is a chance to help give the gift of a family!

If you wish to make a donation via PayPal, click HERE.  This will take you directly to Camille's page.  If you would rather send a check make it payable to Reece's Rainbow (specify in the memo that it is for Camille) and send it to:

Reece's Rainbow
P.O. Box 4024
Gaithersburg, MD 20885