Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy New Thumb

Last week was a big week in our house - Sadie got her cast off. She did great and is loving her new thumb. She's not using it a lot yet, for a couple reasons. It's in a splint almost all the time (we take it off for baths, occupational therapy, and some "supervised play time of a few minutes"). It's also just going to take some time and therapy for her to learn to use it. But she can wiggle it a little, and she can now hold things between her thumb and first finger. Her finger does most of the work at this point, but it's a start. In another 2 weeks, we'll move to just using the splint at night, and I expect her to start using it a lot more at that point. But so far, so good. :-) She told her doctor "thank you for my new thumb"..isn't she the sweetest?? (she also told her doctor that his tech needed a raise, but she had some prompting on that one! She's totally charmed the whole office!!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stars All Around

I had an amazing weekend. Many of you know how I spent it, but for those who don't, I spent it with 23 beautiful "stars" - teenage girls who are incarcerated. As part of a team, I entered a juvenile facility nearby and for 3 days got to love these girls who we call "stars" as we encourage them to let the lights God has placed in them shine as stars. I can't describe it fully to you. I'd actually done it before, years ago. And I had a great time and loved it and loved the girls then. But it was different this time..in a good way. Maybe because my role before was more in the background and this time I was right in the middle of the girls..maybe because I'm a bit older (*almost* old enough to be some of these girls' mother..but not quite! ha!)..maybe because I am a mother and while these were teenagers, I could see them as little girls, someone's daughters. I don't know exactly why..but they completely grabbed my heart. I sat at a table with 4 of these girls, along with some other team members, and we became a family, discussing everything from their stories and our stories to shoes (they are teenage girls after all!), to prayer, love and forgiveness, to their hopes and dreams for the future, to jokes and funny stories. Sometimes, it felt like I was talking to a group of youth in my church. Other times, one of them would say something that would bring the stark reality of where we were right back into focus..they have had tough lives, tougher than most of us can even imagine. They weren't all particularly "easy" to love - they giggled and goofed off during the serious moments, shut down at times, had moments of "attitudes", and couldn't decide whether they wanted to trust us or not. They accused each other of taking things that they had simply misplaced. But I did love them - a lot. And slowly, little by little, they did start to try to trust us just a little..they started to let us into their lives, and share with us. They apologized to each other. They began to forgive others, maybe even themselves. I hope they began to believe in themselves..to know their worth in the eyes of God. I think I might have said some things right. I know I said some things wrong. God did everything right. We laughed a lot. We sang, and played games, and prayed, and talked, and listened. We cried some. We had a birthday party. I can't describe it to you..the look on their faces when the room was decorated, they had cakes, they had presents, and we told them we were celebrating their lives. It was incredible. Simply incredible. Can you imagine..being 16 and never having had a birthday party? Never being told your life was worth celebrating? It was a fun celebration, but also a holy moment. In addition to the girls I sat with all weekend, I got to know a few others a little too. One in particular, I had the opportunity to serve as a guide for the weekend. I met with her several times, shared favorite Bible verses with her, talked about different things, listened to her story. She captured my heart as well. She was actually easy to love..she smiled at me from the beginning, she talked easily to me and was eager to share with me, and yet she too has suffered pain and hurts that ended her up in that place. And all of them have been on my heart and mind this week. Many changes were begun in their hearts. Some of them left the weekend obviously different people than when we began. Some of them, you had to look really close to see a hint of a change, and a couple of them - I'm not sure what they got out of the weekend, if anything. But we loved them and we shared God's love with them. And what God does with that is in His hands and in His timing now. I'm praying for all of them. I can't share their names and stories with you..but would you please say a prayer for them too? Just tell God you're praying for His stars - he knows them well! :-) And for those of you who have been praying for them already and who participated in our prayer chain - thank you. God heard your prayers and lives were and are being changed.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Where oh where did May go?

Catching up..May has been jam-packed. At least it's felt that way.
Last post: Sadie's "Family Forever" Day.

Since then, we've had:
1. Hannah's first dance recital. Can I just say, it was so much fun. She had a blast and smiled from ear to ear the entire time she was on stage. (The whole 2 minutes! ha). Those who know her "in real life" already know that she's a true performer. Whether it's dancing or singing on stage, or simply being our home "drama queen". Anyway, her recital was precious and she can't wait to do it again. I mean, she got to wear a fancy, frilly costume, got to wear make-up, had her hair in a bun, and danced on stage with "everybody watching ME!", got flowers, and got to go to a late dinner at cracker barrell (her choice, because "they have rocking chairs") and have ice-cream for desert. It was her dream come true day. And icing on the cake was that nana, granddaddy, and grandma came to watch. Grandma even spent the night so the girls could have a "tea party" the next morning.

2. I found an occupational therapist for Sadie. One who is getting her OT covered under insurance and who is flexible with hours. She saw me on a school day at 6:00 p.m. for our first visit! LOVE that! Of course, now that it's summer, we're seeing her earlier. But nice to know she's that flexible when school starts back. Sadie's only been twice, but so far, so good.

3. Hannah had field day at school. She had a blast and got hot, sweaty, dirty, and wet! What fun!

4. Sadie brought home worms from her babysitter's house. Yes, wiggly, crawl-in-the-mud worms. Then, she pronounced them "gross" and wanted nothing more to do with them. Hannah meanwhile, wanted to keep them as pets. um.right. We kept them 24 hours, then let them free in the wild (otherwise known as my backyard). Good-bye worms..wiggle away and be free!!

5. School Ended!! (for my fellow teachers, no explanations needed on how busy those last few weeks were...ah, but now it's summer!)

6. I took my National Boards Assessment. Whew! I'm officially done. I felt pretty good about it, but won't know scores until probably November.

7. Hannah and Sadie played in the sprinkler in the rain. (not huge, but they thought it was a big deal!)

8. Hannah's Family Forever Day! It deserves it's own post, but, well..it's not getting one at least tonight. But I celebrated 3 years with this sweet, spunky girl. She amazes me with her courage, her joy, and her intenseness for life. She's reading and writing. Her speech is coming along very well. She's confident and kind and helpful (mostly!) She has a true faith and regularly prays for friends who are sick or hurting. She has lots of faith questions. When it's her turn to say the blessing at meals, she thanks God for food, but she also often says "and thank you for giving me my family". Of course, when she was upset at me recently, she also told me she wished "The Wiggles" (kids song group) were her family because they were more fun! Hannah loves to argue and freely admits it. "But I like to argue..it's fun!" Maybe she'll be a lawyer one day. Or an actor..see drama queen info above. Hannah is drawing some amazing pictures these days as well. Her idol is Hannah Montana, even though she has never seen the tv show. She says Hannah Montana is fancy and that's why she likes her. And Hannah loves to dress fancy. Her favorite days are the days she wears a "fancy dress". But she doesn't mind getting in the dirt and playing either. Hannah "gets" her story this year in a way that's different from the last two. She understands not all, but a little more. She's been very interested in the concept of her birthmother lately. She asked me if the lady that handed her to me (on her video) was her birthmother. It wasn't - it was a worker from her orphanage. She also informed my good friend who is pregnant "you are a birthmother!" Hannah has grown so many ways this year, including learning to be a big sister. She aggravates and fusses with Sadie some..but overall, she's great with her! She watches out for her, takes care of her, and is so excited to have a little sister. She recently told me "you know what my favorite part of China (when we went last year) was?..getting my sister!!" Hannah chose a chinese restaurant for dinner and we enjoyed watching her video from China. She also tried on her gotcha day clothes, as is our tradition. She got them on, but I think this might be the last year they actually go on. She got a big kick out of how much she has grown. I can't imagine not having this amazing child as my daughter and I'm so thankful God knew exactly which child should be my first!
May 29, 2006
May 29, 2009

9. Sadie had surgery again. We spent a couple nights in Atlanta last week as Sadie had surgery to literally create a thumb on her right hand. Pretty amazing stuff. She did GREAT! She now has a thumb, that I haven't seen yet due to all the bandages. But, we head back to Atlanta tomorrow to have it checked out so I'll get to see it then I guess. She's adapted very well to having her dominant hand out-of-commission and it's actually helping her learn to use her left hand more..something we've been working on in OT anyway. She's started finger feeding herself with her left hand. Some things are hard..such as spoon-feeding, etc. But she's happy to open her mouth like a little bird to let me feed her. :-) She seems to enjoy the "royal treatment" and has started to issue "commands" for a pillow, a toy, etc. ha ha!! She deserves a little royal treatment! While she and I were in Atlanta, Hannah went to the beach with my friends Beth and Wayne (Nana and Granddaddy) and their daughters and grandkids. Hannah had a blast, and especially seemed to enjoy playing with her 8 year old cousin Elisabeth. (PICTURES of Sadie pre and post surgery coming soon)

10. I had my year post-placement with my agency for Sadie today. It really isn't that newsworthy and it was in June, not May..but I enjoyed meeting and talking to Amy, their new post-placement SW. Had a great conversation, enjoyed her visit, the girls fussed and argued over toys while she was here..but hey..she has kids too so she knows. :-) The main thing about this visit was that it was the last "official" step for me with Lifeline. Kind of weird. I've been either in a home study, preparing a dossier, waiting to travel, traveling, or in the post-placement phase for one of the girls ever since October 2005 when I first met with them. Now three and a half years later, I have two beautiful amazing girls and am finished with it all. If anyone from lifeline is reading this - WE LOVE Y'ALL and appreciate all of you more than words can say!! And if you're one of my friends who have been "thinking about adoption" (come on, I know you're there!), call me. I have a GREAT agency to reccomend!

And that, friends, is what we've been up to and why there haven't been any posts lately...just didn't have any time left!! But now, let SUMMER BEGIN!