Today was a beautiful day. Gideon was just so amazingly adorable today, tumbling off the school bus after school like a playful puppy, eyes sparkling, smiling and shrieking "Mama! MAMA!!!" and barreling across the driveway and slamming into me in a full body hug. He always loves to ride his beloved bus, and he always loves to come home, but today he was just especially sweet and exuberant. Maybe it was the sunshine. Maybe it was the blue sky. I'm pretty sure he doesn't know or care that today's date carries special significance in our family. Gideon doesn't really pay a lot of attention to things like that. He is too busy drinking in every minute of every day, and I love that about him. But today does happen to be a very special day in my heart.
One year ago today, February 15th, two orphans became orphans-no-more, and Derek and I gained two beautiful sons. Our adoption was granted on this day last year . . . one of the most important and exciting days of our lives! Thank you, all of my dear friends and family who have supported us and loved us and prayed with us. Hard to believe it's been a year already, and at the same time, hard to believe that it's only been one year. I cannot even imagine my life, and our family, without these precious boys. God brought us to them, and them to us. One year ago we stood in a courtroom, for the second day in a row, and promised to love these boys, to care for them and provide for them, for the rest of our lives. And the judge entrusted us with two priceless treasures. Their lives changed forever, and they have changed us forever. Praise the Lord, for His good and wonderful gifts!
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Last year on this date, February 14th, Derek and I were in a courtroom in a small Ukrainian village, requesting permission for the honor of becoming parents to two tiny orphans. Last year on this date, the judge did not grant their adoption. He sent us away. He insisted that we needed to provide more paperwork. Lots more paperwork. Last year on this date, we were crying out to God, and scrambling to produce the paperwork requested, and trying not to panic . . . trying to remember to trust that the God of the universe did not bring us all the way around the world only to slam the door on this adoption. Last year on this date, many of you, my dear readers, joined us in prayer. Thank you, friends! Thank you, Jesus! Last year on this date, two little boys spent their last day as orphans.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
My dear Blessing's hip surgery and tendon releases went well, almost a month ago now (sorry I've been so scarce in my posts lately) and she is recovering nicely. She is definitely less of a drama-and-panic type kid than Micah, so going through this same surgery again a second time in two months was not as exhausting as I was afraid it might be. One of the gifts that God has been refining in Blessing her entire life now is patience and another is the gift of joy. So she lays in her reclining chair, day after day, unable even to sit up on her swing or on my lap, as she so loves to do, and she waits patiently, and she finds joy in the small things. She is bored, to be sure, missing school, missing going places, missing her daily therapy of sitting and spending time in her standing frame. (For her hips to heal properly she needs to stay in this reclined position.) But we are trying to keep her busy and engaged, and she is just the sweetest little dumpling, smiling so beautifully at the other children when they take the time to read her a story or bring her a toy.
And Gideon . . . oh, this boy! He is the most compassionate kiddo I've ever met. He is always coming over to pat Blessing's arm, rub her hair, press his cheek against hers, and make sure she is doing okay. He keeps her supplied with a steady stream of toys. And if he thinks she needs something he cannot get for her, or if she looks unhappy, he yells "Mama!" and points at her, and stands there, shifting his weight from one foot to another, brow furrowed, until I come over and check things out. He is her self-appointed guardian, and he hovers over her even more than he does Micah. He is a treasure.
And here he is showing off how he can now take off his shoes, AFOs, and socks ALL BY HIMSELF! He is getting pretty good at undressing himself, too. I originally thought, when I first met Gideon a year ago, that his cerebral palsy affected only his legs. Oh, how much I have learned. What I have come to understand about CP is that it makes just about everything about five times as tricky as it does for other kids. And that I have to let him do things for himself instead of "helping." He has amazing upper body strength, but that does not always mean that he has the coordination or control to do things that seem so simple to his siblings. To get his shirt off, he has to brace himself in a corner, so he doesn't fall over, and then he has to struggle and contort and squirm until I am twitching with the effort of NOT jumping in to help him. Half the time, he falls over and topples to the ground, despite his efforts to balance. And then finally his muscles all work together enough to allow him to pop the shirt off over the top of his head, and out emerges the hugest, brightest grin. And I remember why I need to stand back and encourage, not just jump in and get it done quickly. Gideon is so excited when he can do something by himself that he couldn't do before! He has come to accept that putting a shirt on is just beyond him at this point, and pants baffle him. He doesn't even know where to start to put those on. He keeps on trying, though. He never gives up, and he rarely stops smiling!
And in case you are wondering how my tiny Micah is recovering from his hip surgery, he is doing pretty well. He is able to sit up without support again, and his head support is good and strong again (he totally lost both of these skills for awhile after a month of laying down in a spica cast.) He is scooting around on his bottom again, now and then, but honestly, he is still not really back to where he was at pre-surgery. Before the surgery, he was climbing up and down off of couches and beds all day long. He was standing up at the edge of furniture, bearing weight. He was scooting all over the house on his bottom, and spent most of his days sitting up. Now . . . well, he sits up or moves if he has to. Sometimes he seems happy and relaxed sitting up. But he hates to bear weight right now, and refuses to try to take steps. He would rather lay down, and I worry that his hips are still hurting him quite a bit. He seems to be in pain when he does his therapy now. He has had his shunt checked and we've had his hips x-rayed, and everything looks as it should. He has a follow-up at Shriners on Thursday, so please be praying that we can get some answers. We did this surgery for him to increase his mobility and make moving easier. And it was necessary. But right now we are still hoping that this was the right thing to do. Because so far we are seeing a kid that would rather lay on the couch, curled up and motionless. And I kind of miss that kid that kept getting into everything.