Fall 2013

Fall 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Beware the warning bells that go off in your head when your child says "come here mom, I want to show you something" and you realize that the last time you saw him was 10 minutes before and he had crayons in his hand!

Thankfully (I think), the crayons were replaced by stickers. Matthew was so proud of his work that all I could do was say "wow, that's really pretty!"

And so we have a newly decorated table.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I was thinking back the other day...

When we were nearing the end of Maia's hospitalization last summer, I remember having conversations with Mark and several others about a struggle I was having. Maia had lost so much. She was no longer able to communicate any of her needs. She wasn't able to do anything for herself and could barely sit up alone. I didn't know how to deal with that as we faced the future. Initially, the doctors had been so optimistic that she would regain function. And I thought that would happen quickly. As days passed with very little improvement, the uncertainty of the future was difficult for me.

I wondered how to handle expectations. I wanted to know how best to help Maia. I was worried about setting too high of goals for her and being crushed if she didn't achieve them. I also worried about having too low of expectations and not giving her enough opportunity to reach her full potential. Balancing that was hard for me and I could not figure out how to reconcile what I felt were two conflicting paths.

I spent a great deal of time in prayer before Maia left the hospital, asking God to help me. When we got home, life became so busy that I had little opportunity to dwell on those uncertainties anymore. This was our life and we just started living it without worrying a whole lot about what Maia would be able to do in the future. She was our sweet girl and she was alive.

As the months have passed, we have rejoiced with the progress that Maia has made and praised God for His faithfulness in this journey. And all of a sudden, it hit me. We have adjusted to this "new normal." I am no longer overwhelmed with those worries that haunted me. Maia is Maia. We know her well enough to recognize when we need to "push" her a bit and when we need to back off. We are thankful for the function that she has regained and hopeful that she will continue to make strides her in development (our continual prayer is for her speech to return). And yet, Maia is perfect the way she is. If she did not make any further progress, it wouldn't matter. Although I can't see what her tomorrows look like, God can. He has shown me His grace, allowing me to accept what each day brings for Maia without fear - because she is His child even more than she is mine. And I am thankful for His work in me over the past eight months, thankful that I can look back and see the changes He is making in my heart through my kiddos.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thankful Thursday

We are trying a new system with Matthew. It is a system that gives him an X when he does his chores, so far it is ok. He gets to use his X's for watching TV or riding a toy car at the mall, other things too. I am thankful that it is working so far. His chores are cleaning the cat box, setting the table, going to the bathroom when we ask, practicing speech, getting dressed and a few more.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tears for my boy

I will be updating soon, but I need to write this down before I forget. Every now and then, Matthew says something that blows me away. Today was one of those days.
I was catching up on some blogs and Matthew asked what I was doing. I told him that I was reading about some kids who didn't have mommies and daddies. He said, "It's ok mom, you will have me forever." I told him how glad I was and that he would always be my son. Matthew then told me that he had dreamed that a "mean mommy" had come to take him away from me, but that I was "very strong and beat up the mean mommy." He also told me that when he was little, there was a mean mommy who punched him in the eye. He indicated that his eye had swollen shut and he couldn't see. (This statement is very similar to something I was told by a fellow adoptive mom who met Matthew and Maia at their orphanage a few months before Maia's adoption). My heart nearly broke as I held my sweet boy close and reassured him that I would not let anyone hurt him like that again and that I love him so much. Oh, to think of what he has endured...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Too funny

Tonight at dinner, we were talking about a job posting for the supervisor position of NP's in my department. Here's the conversation.
Mark: That might be your job soon.
Me: No way, they could not pay me enough to take that job.
Matthew: Why mom?
Me: Well Matthew, that job would be a lot of work. I would not have as much time to spend with you and play with you. It would probably make me very crabby and very tired.
Matthew: Mom, it's ok. You need to take a nap, then you not be tired.

Oh, that kid can make me laugh!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Not thankful Thursday, but...

I just want to say how thankful I am for my hubby. I had a tough day and he got the kids ready for bed even though that's usually my job so that he gets a break. I love you, Mark!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday update

Yesterday was the first time in I can't remember how long that I really did nothing. I felt like God was just telling me to relax for a day and it was nice. Well... I did a little bit of cooking, but that's about all. Made an absolutely amazing chocolate cake and some yummy lentil vegetable soup. We didn't go anywhere. I played with the kids and made memories - the important stuff!
It's been a while since I updated on how the kiddos are doing, so thought I would end the weekend on that note.

Matthew is Matthew. It reassures me a bit when other people comment about how busy he is. Makes me feel that I am not totally imagining it - lol! He is enjoying school (gym is his favorite part, go figure). His speech is improving as he works with speech therapists both at school and through the clinic. We're hoping to get him enrolled in an adaptive martial arts program in the near future, something that will give him an outlet for some of that energy as well as help him develop some self-control/self-discipline skills.  Don't know if we will ever be able to sort out the effects of his early years vs his brain injury. But, he is a smart and creative kid - our challenge will be helping him to channel that in positive ways. He loves to help and try new things. While he's not a mama's boy, he is pretty attached and yes, I guess the feeling is mutual!

Maia continues to make progress. After hearing about some research describing benefits of fish oil in brain injury, we have started giving this to Maia. It is not in the mega-doses currently being studied, but a dose approved by her rehabilitation doctor. We are seeing improvement. Maia is starting to make some sounds that we think are pre-verbal which is exciting and she seems to be comprehending much of what we say. She is able to follow a few simple directions and is even starting to play peek a boo with the shower curtain. While it's certainly possible that the improvement is just a coincidence, neither Mark or I are willing to stop the fish oil and take that chance. The stubborn side of her personality is starting to show a bit. And if you look closely at the picture above, you can see a bit of her lazy side. This is the yummy cake I mentioned above. Maia can pick up a fork or spoon once food is on it (although she would much prefer to use her fingers). Well, she wanted that bite of cake but did NOT want to pick up the fork. So, little miss thing decided it would be a whole lot easier to just eat it off the fork where it was laying on the table. I guess that shows she has some problem solving skills, doesn't it? Outpatient therapy is down to every other week. It's been kind of hit and miss since her main physical therapist had surgery and her main occupational therapist is on maternity leave. We are going to be seeking a referral for outpatient speech therapy now that Maia is starting to make a few more sounds and she continues to receive therapy services through the school, too. Although she's a long way from where she was before getting sick, she has also made amazing progress over the past eight months and I praise God for that!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thankful Thursday

The day is almost over and I just realized that it's Thursday. Can't let the day end without acknowledging some of the many blessings in my life.
- I am thankful for a job that allows me to care for my favorite group of people, the elderly. I love my patients and that I can make a difference in their lives. As I have shared before, God gave me such a heart for them at an early age. It is truly a blessing to serve in this way.
- So thankful for our cozy home and that I come home to the most precious people in my life each night.
- Thankful for fond memories of our time in Ukraine and the special friends we met along the way.
- Thankful as always for my patient Heavenly Father who whispers quietly in my heart when I stop long enough to listen.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Praising God

A few weeks ago, I asked to you pray for a little boy named Ethan. While I don't know his family personally, the fight for your child's life is VERY personal to me. I knew the pain this mom was feeling as Ethan struggled and declined. His condition got worse after I posted about him and Ethan needed to be put on an ECMO machine. Basically, it acts as an artificial heart and lungs - taking the blood from the body, filtering and oxygenating it, and returning the blood back to the body. Ethan's prognosis was very grim. But, prayers were being raised around the world for this little guy. And our faithful God heard those prayers and answered them. Ethan is off the ECMO, he is off the ventilator, and breathing on his own!!! You can read his mom's latest post here. What an amazing miracle from our amazing heavenly Father!

Sunday, January 6, 2013


This morning, our adult Sunday school class was watching a video and the pastor was talking about erosion in our lives. He commented about erosion being a gradual process. Sometimes, we aren't even aware that it's happening.
I began to ponder that...We can think that we are doing just fine, tell ourselves, "I'm a good person, I don't have anything to worry about." Convince ourselves that we can take a shortcut, overlook something, behave in a way that does not bring honor to God. "Just this once, it won't matter." But, those small occurrences start to add up. We can find ourselves on a slippery slope. Over time, the erosion takes place. And suddenly, we look back and wonder how we have drifted so far from where we started, so far from our Heavenly Father. We wonder how we can ever make it back up the steep incline to the place we want to be.
I was curious what the opposite of the word erosion is. And thanks to my smart phone and google, it was a quick answer to my question. But also an answer that made me think even more. Two antonyms for erosion that really struck me were "fortifying" and "strengthening." How appropriate. I don't want to look back over my life and see a disintigration of my faith or my character. Instead, I want to see growth and development in my relationship with God, to build a deeply intimate relationship with Him. My desire to become fortified and strengthened through Him is growing.  I'm learning (slowly) how important it is to make God the priority. As time passes, I want to be able to look back and see that the initial foundation of my faith has been built upon, reinforced, and is absolutely unshakable. I want to keep the "erosion" of this world out of my life. 

Christmas Memories

Just a few photos from our Christmas celebrations.
Matthew and my mom
Maia and my dad
Maia at home on Christmas morning
Matthew and me on Christmas morning
Our little "ham" with one of his stocking stuffers

Matthew and daddy
Maia at Nana and Papa's
Gavin, Papa, and John on Christmas Day

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Not feeling much like blogging tonight, but I need to take a few moments to practice thankfulness...
  • Thankful for a few quiet moments cuddled up with the kiddos before they went to sleep tonight.
  • Thankful for a hubby who ran to the store to pick up the items I had forgotten when I stopped on my way home from work.
  • Thankful for a heavenly Father who wants to have a personal relationship with me.
  • Thankful for my earthly father who is celebrating his birthday today! Happy Birthday Dad!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!!

Five years ago today, a family in Ukraine awaited the birth of their child. 
When she arrived, things were much different than they expected. 
They were given no hopes for that child's future. 
I can only imagine what a heart wrenching time that must have been for them.
Do they wonder what became of their daughter? 
When January 5 comes, do those parents pause and think of the significance of the day?

I would love to be able to thank them for the gift that they gave our family on that day five years ago.
A priceless gift beyond compare... our precious Miss Maia!

We love you so much sweet girl!
No doubt about it - God has a very special plan for your life.

Happy 5th birthday!!

Since blowing out the candles wasn't an option, we did the next best thing.

Enjoying cake and ice cream.