Thursday, September 29, 2016

Reflect, Rest, and Restore

Yesterday, after one month, Avery was released from the hospital! She looked good! Avery's respite family was there to meet her and take her their home.

While a little nervous, Avery did beautifully during the transition! We took many of her favorite things to her to have at this new home.

Yesterday, evening I met the respite mama to give her Avery's prescription medications! She shared that Avery had played with her younger children and had jumped on their trampoline.

She also shared that they had taken Avery shopping and that Avery was very decisive about what she liked and didn't like, this I knew. We both agreed that Avery had very good taste.

Saying, goodbye was really hard and letting my child go with another family harder. I had to keep reminding myself that this was for Avery's good. We are planning a visit next week. The RM (respite mom) and I wanted to give Avery a chance to settle in before the visit. After our visit we will reevaluate according to how Avery does afterwards. We do not want to make life harder for her or the RF (respite family).

This respite family is amazing! They love the Lord and are active in their church. They are blessed with many things I could never afford and this in turn will be a blessing to Avery during her time there.

I wish this family felt called to become Avery's new adoptive family as they are exactly what Avery needs! This mama home schools and makes life fun for her kids. Avery is going to thrive in this environment. 

The have been many comments about me wanting to "rehome" Avery from the beginning. Yes, those were my thoughts at first but know this, I came to love Avery and thoughts of "rehoming" were completely off the table and not part of my thinking at all! 

It was only when things escalated to an unsafe level for all that dissolution became a necessity. The reality of life is hard and only those that live it can truly understand the whys. Hear me when I tell you this, Avery has so many positive traits and she is loved. She is a beautiful young lady that will blossom under the love and guidance of a full-time non-working mama.

On the home front my oven is broken and we are back to using the toaster oven. The problem with that we have had to move it to the bathroom to keep if from popping the fuses!


Thankfully, I have this small drop down counter that works perfect for the oven. I am saving for a new oven for the kitchen. I've been told the old one cannot be repaired.



Yesterday, Kendall and Mackinley went with me to discharge Avery from the hospital. On the way home we stopped at Johnny Rockets for lunch. 

Once home we took Avery's prescriptions to be filled and had some paperwork notarized for the RF. The girls rode with me to take the prescriptions to the RM and afterwards we went out for a frozen treat.

This process has been emotionally, mentally and physically draining thus my need to take a day off to reflect, rest, and restore.

Until next time . . .

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Just a glimpse

This blog is just a glimpse into our lives! You see pieces and parts that I willingly share. There is no way to really know us unless you spend time with us, that is called relationship.

It is easy to feel as if you know someone when reading or following their blog, just remember it is only a glimpse, a glimpse the blog writer is willing to share.

It is easy to judge the facts as you perceive them, yet those facts are just a piece of what has been going on. The entire story remains untold on here to protect and guard the life (lives) of those involved!

Today is a big day, we are going for our weekly visit with Avery. She broke her sandals and needs another pair, plus she has been asking for some specific clothing items that we will take to her.

According to Avery's therapist, Avery is doing better in many ways yet still has come concerning issues that I won't share here. The good news is that she has earned some outside play time and she absolutely adores being outside. 

We visit for multiple reasons. One to assure Avery that she is not alone and that we love her. We do not give her a false hope that she is returning to our home. We use the time let her talk about her feeling about her new family and assure her that this will be a safe place for her.

These visits tear my heart out. I so want to bring her home but know that is not in her best interest or that of the other girls. I feel caught in the middle of a very difficult situation! Contrary to what some may think and feel, I love Avery very much!

If my decision regarding Avery bothers you then I ask that you move on and not read my blog. As I stated earlier, what I share here is just a glimpse into our lives and trust me you do not have the entire picture. I wish you the very best and have no hard feelings towards you. I know that you are passionate regarding your beliefs and I respect that passion.

Until next time . . .

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Update

Several anonymous readers have "voiced" some pretty strong opinions and while I will not explain or give credence to most of what was written, I will however explain the lack of change to my blog header.

A blog friend designed the header with the blog name using a photo I sent her. I don't know how to add the name to the photo like she did. That is why I do not have an updated photo on here. For the record, Avery has been part of my FB header for quite some time!

I am happy to report that Avery is responding to her treatment! I talked briefly with her therapist and she told me that Avery had had two really good days! Thank you for your continued prayers!

Until next time . . .

Friday, September 16, 2016

Coffee?

Miss Karen from Paint and Clay wanted us to come by for some "painting" therapy! Karen loves the girls and ordered little Panda spoons for them to paint. Yesterday, I picked up the girl's latest projects!



While I was checking school work, Mackinley and Journey decided to enjoy some coffee in their new cups! The contrast in size was so funny, I had to get a photo!


Happy Harvest Moon Festival! We purchased our Moon Cakes some time ago at Mr. Chen's! 


The girls have waited patiently for their treat! I'm happy that we can follow some of the traditions the girls were familiar with while in China. They are also enjoying Chinese dumplings tonight, one of Eden's favorite foods!

The girls tried their hand at mesh deco wreaths after watching an instructional video on you-tube.



Kendall did an Auburn themed wreath! We hung her wreath on the side door for the fall football season!



Mackinley selected a holiday themed wreath! We spray painted cardboard Christmas star ornaments to add to her wreath! We can use her wreath during our Independence Day celebration as well as Christmas!



Eden wanted to do a sports themed wreath. She selected a smaller size ring for her project! It turned out so cute!

Journey went for a beach themed wreath! I was really proud of the girls and how hard they worked on their projects! 


The girls were pretty traumatized by all that transpired here with Avery. It blessed my heart to see them as they enjoyed their various art projects. We took a week off from school to process things, enjoy a few family outings and just have time together to begin our healing.

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dissolution is not the easy road!

Just let me start by saying that dissolution of an adoption is not the easy road, contrary to popular thought! This has been far more painful than I could have ever imagined!

Again, I would ask that you keep all negative comments and judgments to yourself!

Today, I visited Avery and I elected to tell her about what is coming next, rather than to leave that to the agency. I felt as her mom it was my responsibility to be the one to tell her and explain my heart and why this change was necessary!

The agency was there with a mandarin interpreter to ensure that Avery understood why she was in the hospital in the first place. The agency social worker was able to learn more about Avery, this will enable her to find the perfect family to help meet Avery's particular needs.

Avery is such a beautiful, funny, and caring child, it angers me that her past is so trauma filled. My poor girl! If only I wasn't a working single mom.

Doing the right thing for Avery is first and foremost my highest priority! While many of you disagree with my decision you do not know all the circumstances or Avery's needs. I feel that I am losing a piece of my heart and that is why I say this isn't the easy road!

The easy road would be to remain in the status quo hoping that things would be better and that one day I would have what it takes to help my child obtain her healing.

I know my limitations! I am thankful for the families that have expressed an interest in loving and wanting to make Avery their own. This brings me great peace!

Many blog about "gotcha day" and the happily ever after. The reality is that not every adoption ends in the happily ever after for the adoptee and/or for their family.

While I have four girls that are happy and love it here, that was not the case for Avery. She has never truly been happy. Avery has come to trust and love us, yet this is not enough. When you truly love someone, you want their best even if that means sacrificing what you want in the process.

Again, I would ask that you remember Avery in your prayers. 

Until next time . . .

Sunday, September 11, 2016

When your best is not enough . . .

In the last couple of weeks I have had to come to terms that I am not enough! I do not have the strength, time, skill and ability to help the child I love.

Of course that being said, we none have within ourselves those things. It is only by God's grace and help that I can be the parent I'm called to be. So does this mean that I'm not called to parent and love my hurting child? No, on the contrary, it is because I love this child that I am faced with the most difficult decision a parent can make.

I understand this is a "hot" topic in the adoption community and I urge you not to judge me or my family for the decision I know that I must make. When one has a sick child you seek out the very best in medical care to facilitate the healing of that child. This is what I am doing, seeking out the very best for my daughter. 

It is my desire to give and do everything possible to bring about the healing and hope for Avery's future. I cannot and will not share the details as I want first and foremost to guard and protect my child. 

This decision has been prayed about, cried over more times than I can begin to express here, and second guessed. Yet in the end, I know that my best is not good enough!

I am not giving up on and nor am I totally abandoning Avery. She will always be my heart daughter and I will remain in her life, just not as her mother. I will work with Avery's new family as needed to assure Avery that this decision was for her best and had nothing to do with anything she has done.

When you know that your child needs are far more than what you can give, you would go to the ends of the earth to find a way to provide for that need. That is what I am doing for Avery. I am giving her what she needs in terms of a family with two parents and a mom that doesn't have to work. A mom that can be there to guide, love and help her.

I have had to swallow my pride and admit that I am not enough in this situation. I have had to put Avery's best interest before my wants! I love Avery far more than I ever dreamed possible and it is this love that drives my decision.

I know that many of you will not agree with this decision and have strong feelings that what I'm doing is wrong and not in Avery's best interest. That is your opinion, you don't know all the facts and circumstances and how could you? I haven't shared those and again, I will not. 

This is not something that I have taken lightly! To admit that my best isn't enough is pretty humbling, especially in a community that will not totally understand or agree with my decision.

How I feel is really not the issue, the issue is I have a sick child and she needs the very best and my desire about all else is to give her that. 

I find comfort in the fact that I know of three families that have become that second home for adoptive children and these kids are thriving in their new environments! This is my hope and prayer for Avery. I pray that she will come to love and cherish her Mama and Baba as they love and cherish her.

I pray that one day Avery will understand that my decision was based solely on the fact that I wanted her best. It was my love for her that opened my eyes to what I had to give wasn't enough to meet all her needs.

I ask out of respect that you keep all negative comments to yourself. As this transition begins to take place, and it will be a slow process, I ask first and foremost that you keep Avery in your prayers. She is such a beautiful child and I want nothing more than to see her happy and healed.

Until next time . . .

Thursday, September 8, 2016

"Venting"

Have you ever been in the middle of something so much bigger than yourself? 

I feel so torn right now, one group while they mean well is sending very mixed signals and I'm not sure exactly where we stand on so many issues. I sometimes feel that I'm getting answers that pacify, rather than concrete solutions. 

I walk away with a different impression on what is happening and what is going to happen with each call, nothing seems to have a definite timeline. I understand that there are a lot of unknowns yet surly something can be definite.

I'm already an emotional wreck over this entire situation! This lack of absolutes is killing me! I'm so emotionally connected to Avery that I feel I can't make the right decisions on what ifs!

On the other hand the institution has given Avery a diagnosis that I do not totally believe to be accurate. While they have witnessed the "melt down" behaviors that I witnessed, I feel that they aren't considering that this child is afraid, sad, hurt, lonely, abused, and abandoned. I would most likely have "melt downs" too given similar circumstances.

The girls at home are doing well during this process. Each gained a perspective about Avery during our family visit last Tuesday. Their prayers that night were so heartfelt!

I am not complaining just "venting"! Walking this journey alone as a single mom is really, really, hard! I am thankful that my faith is real and that I can trust Jesus even when I don't feel that I'm getting a clear concise plan from hospitals and agencies. I know all mean well and want the best despite there differing views on the best plan for Avery.

There is so much to this story that I cannot share out of respect for Avery. I will share that this child endured so much abuse at the hands of her foster families and yes I said, families! It breaks my heart that her past led to where we are today! 

I pray that God will restore, heal, and turn what was meant for evil into a beautiful story of his grace, love and restoration!

Until next time . . . hanging by a thread!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Big moment mixed with frustration

Monday, I scanned FMLA paperwork to Lifeline! Monday evening I was told that it compressed and that I needed to resend it page by page!

Tuesday, I was told that the second attempt didn't work either! Plan C take the paperwork to Lifeline! When I dropped off the paperwork on Wednesday morning I was told that I could pick it up once we finished with Mackinley's appointment!

The trip to Birmingham had two purposes, FMLA paperwork and pick up Mackinley's prosthesis! All the girls wanted to be there for this big event but when the rubber hit the road only Journey wanted to get up early for the trip! Kendall and Eden stayed home and took care of the home front!


After leaving Lifeline we headed to the Galleria to wait for Mackinley's appointment. While there we enjoyed breakfast!


Our appointment was at 11:00 and we arrived at 10:30! 


Journey was our photographer! Mackinley waiting while Tess went to get her arm!


The first step, putting on the liner!







Mackinley had to reposition the liner to help the pin line up better.



Slipping on her prosthetic for the first time! Now the tweaking begins and that process took hours! 



Once the device is properly fitted a glove that looks very natural goes over the prosthetic. This isn't done until everything fits just right!


During the fitting, Lifeline called and said they needed the hospital to fill out part of the FMLA paperwork and they would send it to them for me to pick up the next day when we went to visit Avery! 


Fast forward to nearly 4 pm and we are ready to leave! Mackinley will return in two weeks and at that time another glove that is longer will be placed on her arm! At this point, I'm thankful the other two girls stayed at home as the wait would have been way to much for them!

God has graciously sent a few meals to us in our time of stress and once we returned home we were able to enjoy the leftovers from the previous night! What a tremendous blessing!

Thursday, up early again to drive to Gadsden to see Avery and pick up the FMLA paperwork that Lifeline was going to send on Wednesday morning to Avery's therapist! Guess what, the paperwork had not been sent and wasn't going to be faxed until after 1 pm that day! Really? I then called my workplace they graciously faxed a new copy to the hospital.

The therapist did her best to get the doctor to sign it before we left but his nurse said she would fill it out the next day! 

On the way home from the hospital we stopped at the Cheesecake Factory! It was cheesecake to go for us after enjoying our lunch! Cheesecake for dinner, why yes, of course!

God is in control and he saw this day long before we did and he knows all about our frustrations with paperwork, and treatment plans! Nothing takes him by surprise!

We are trusting God each and every step of the way! Please continue to lift up Avery, this child is scared and angry to say the least! God has Avery's future in the palm of his hands and we are praying that his perfect will be accomplished!

Until next time . . .

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Prayers for Avery

Does this mean you got rid of Avery? 

I choose not to walk in offense at this question! One does not rid themselves of a child like she is of no consequence! She is not a piece of rubbish one takes to the curb!

While I am usually very open about sharing, this matter is extremely sensitive and I cannot or will not share a lot of details.

Avery is being well cared for at a facility that will hopefully bring healing to her very broken soul. I am in constant contact with them and plan on a visit as soon as they feel Avery is ready! She has called and we have talked on the phone.

This situation is far more complicated than I am willing to share at this time. Please continue to pray for Avery. 

Prayers for Avery
  • healing (mind, body, soul)
  • God would place loving Christian therapist in her life
  • that God will meet Avery's every need
I want Avery to achieve her best and will make all decision based on that fact! She is loved!

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Peace

Our church just finished 21 days of prayer! During that 21 days we prayed for peace! We needed our home to return to a safe haven where God's love freely flows and peace abounds!

On the 21st day at the last hour, God brought peace to our home! It was not how we envisioned or expected!

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

Healing has begun for all! The peace and joy I see returning to the girl's faces in truly a miracle! There is a sense of calm, no fear!

There is much going on behind the scenes for Avery, professional help that is and was greatly needed. A team is in place to help her over the next hurdles in her life that will ultimately give her what she desires most and bring her happiness!

In the mean time we continue to pray and support Avery in this journey. 

I cannot thank my family enough for being here for me. The calls and prayers were not only needed but confirmed once again your love for me and my family!

Bobie and Don we would not have made it without you being here last weekend. To say thank you is really not enough! Your comfort to the girls and support to me is and was immeasurable!


Shery, the flowers are truly the prettiest I have ever received and delight my heart each time I look at them! Thank you for your calls and prayers!



Just look at these smiling faces! A joy has returned! Shery they loved the candy!

Diana, thank you for praying over the house with us on Sunday and your call and talk! 

Oh my, big brother Matthew! We enjoyed the lasagna that you brought over on Sunday! The girls have been enjoying their candy and soda too! What a precious way to say, "I care and I love you."

To the hundreds that prayed for us during the violent storm and sent messages and called thank you! You know who you are and I will always treasure that you were there for me!

The love and care continues as tonight a meal is being provided by a dear friend that has loved us from the moment I came home with Kendall and Journey!

Again, the out come to our prayers wasn't exactly how I envisioned but GOD in his wisdom and mercy orchestrated his plan. A plan that will bring Avery to the hope and future He has in store for her!

Oh lastly, I must thank Sonya Martin from APAC for coming and helping us take the next steps to healing! Your acceptance and encouragement was so needed.

I cannot forget the team working diligently behind the scenes at Lifeline, the calls, trip to Montgomery, and the countless hours you continue to put in to help Avery with that next step that hopefully will lead to her healing and victory is greatly appreciated!

Until next time

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Victory?

If the intensity of the battle is worse before the victory then we must be getting close to a major victory!

We have been participating in 21 days of prayer with our church. While we are unable to attend the 6 am prayer service we watch the service and pray at a time that works best for us!

As our pastor shared yesterday, in the battle I cannot listen or trust myself! My thoughts and words will fail me as I am in no condition to uplift or encourage!

The second point which has resounded time and again during this season of prayer is to pray with expectation! An expectation that God hears and that God will answer!

Yesterday, I called APAC and reached out to their counselor! She is on vacation this week and Monday we will talk and set up a much needed visit!

I know that many of you pray for us and in doing so would you please pray that I will be the mother Avery needs! That God will give me wisdom to help meet her needs.

Would you pray that Avery would be receptive to this help being offered. At this point we are all exhausted by the constant struggle and we all need refreshing!

God is able and nothing is impossible for him! He loves Avery and he loves us, her family! 

Until next time . . . praying in expectation!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The girls and I were talking and in the process we came up with the idea to skip individual Christmas gifts this year. We want to donate what we would have spent to Kendall's orphanage in China.

This makes Kendall very happy especially when I told her we would make the donation from her (Chinese name) and her family! We have already contacted LWB and they will inquire abut what the orphanage and/or what the Believe In Me school needs.

Kendall's orphanage is very poor and the needs are great! The children have so little, our small donation will only be a drop in the bucket to what these kids need. Of course, their greatest need other than Jesus, is a family!

The girls are excited that we are doing this family donation. Fear not, we will still celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Savior, Jesus. Each of the girls will have a Christmas stocking filled with many wonderful tiny gifts and surprises!

I was talking to one of the girls and she asked about American orphanages. Then she asked if we could take Avery there. Yes, life is that hard! I had to tell her that wasn't allowed in the US and that we could not drop off Avery at the orphanage.

Avery likes my sister better than she likes me! Big surprise, not! I'm the rule enforcer, of course she likes the "fun" aunt more! I was hoping by now we would have seen more progress in her adjustment! In some ways we are no closer than we were when she first came home! In other ways, Avery has complied to some of our family rules (at times)!

I really do not think Avery is happy in our home! I don't think she likes having sisters. She does best when she is the only one as evidenced by her behavior when she stays with a family member with a sister verses alone! I pray that one day she will accept us! Even alone Avery can be a challenge as she never stops pushing her boundaries.

School is moving right along! The girls are doing well! It has been especially busy for Journey, Mackinley, and Eden! Their math daily lessons are long and it takes up a good bit of their time! 

Jesus is our Lord and no matter what we face he is there!

Until next time . . .

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Christmas in August!

Today, a coworker shared a box of clothes with the girls! The had so much fun trying on everything and so many of the things fit perfectly! Everyone received something "new"! It was particularly nice that many of the things fit Avery! 

When Eden heard that I had brought clothes home from a coworker the first she asked was how old she was. I guessed her age and told her that she dressed very cute and "in" style! Eden was so relieved, she thought she would be looking at "old lady" clothes!

Having ESL girls often makes life interesting and funny! We were driving down the street and Eden suddenly notices a Body Shop! I wish you could have heard her say, "Mom, a Body Shop!" I immediately told her it was a shop to repair cars. She thought it was a place you go to get tattoos!

Yesterday as we were passing an open field Journey says, "horses, horses"! I look over to see a field of cows! She immediately realized her mistake, and laughed along with the rest of us! 

The girls are maturing and growing and it makes my heart happy to see their growth and development! They can all cook, do laundry, and home chores! They will be well prepared to care for themselves in the future.

Our church is doing 21 days of prayer. Each morning there is a prayer service and Mackinley has been getting up early to attend online! I listen as I'm preparing for my first case of the day! I love watching each of the girls observe this time of prayer in their own way. During this time of prayer, I decided not to do FB. If I miss your birthday or other event please forgive, I just felt it more important to focus on prayer and my time with God and family!

Yesterday, it was time for hair cuts! A couple of the girls elected to get a good bit of their length cut off and they look so cute. I didn't take photos! I get photos of the girls soon and you'll see their new looks! Of course, I think they look perfect!

I'm thankful for God's provision and care for us! 

Until next time . . .

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Play, Prosthetic fitting, and Parenting!

First school field trip, Beauty and the Beast presented by at the Alabama Shakespeare Theater.


We arrived early and enjoyed taking lots of photos with the various props and posters!


In the group photo Avery didn't smile yet she wouldn't leave until I took her photo in her classic Chinese pose!


The girls couldn't resist a photo with the Belle poster!


As I've mentioned before, Eden and Journey are the best of friends. 



Selfie time with Kendall!


Does it surprise you that Avery likes alone photos best?



I just love this photo of Mackinley and Kendall! Kendall wanted this photo and called Mackinley over to share the moment!


Avery with the beast! The actor that played the beast had the most beautiful voice!



Another selfie! 



Kendall has missed out on the earlier photos with the Belle poster. We all enjoyed the production!



Wednesday morning, Mackinley and I drove to Birmingham for her next prosthetic fitting! This was her mother/daughter day!



Do you remember Mackinley's casting from her last visit? This clear mold was the outcome! Mackinley slipped it right on without difficulty the first time!



We love Tess and know that God orchestrated our steps in finding her. She is the perfect person to walk Mackinley through the process of her first prosthetic!



First sliding on the sleeve! The pin that anchors her prosthetic is on the end of this sleeve.


Mackinley wearing the sleeve that goes on first! Next the clear device that she was holding in the first photo. The final device will be flesh colored.


Tess checking the fit! She is wonderful, I can't imagine doing this with anyone else!


I love that Mackinley allows photos and is happy to share the steps in this process!



In the above photo, Tess is measuring the prototype to see where adjustments need to be made on her final device!


The pin is in the tip of the sleeve and the part that attaches to her hand is on! All this will be hidden within her prosthetic when everything is completed!



Nothing is left to chance. They truly want the best for Mackinley! By the way, Mackinley's new hand looks so similar to her natural hand, long skinny fingers, it is perfect!



Josh and Tess are measuring to see how much forearm Mackinley needs to make both arms the same length!



Tess and Josh are such a good team! Tess takes great care to ensure that everything is just right. She reassures Mackinley throughout the process!



There is a flesh colored glove that covers everything on the final device!



Mackinley checking out her new arm! What a blessing  that we are able to fulfill Mackinley's desire for a hand!



Prior to this photo during the fittings Mackinley raised her hand and it fell off! It wasn't snapped into the socket! We all shared a laugh and decided that Mackinley could play a few jokes on her sisters!



Josh showing how Mackinley's hand lines up! Again, this is the best team! If you ever need a prosthetic, please consider Fourroux!



Mackinley had just walked over to the mirror to see what her new arm was going to look like. Tess was right there to encourage and support Mackinley each step of the way!

Mackinley will receive her prosthetic on our next visit! Please pray for Tess, she has her boards this month!  

Avery is such a strong willed child and she rarely doesn't push her boundaries! Parenting her requires endless energy! This is tough especially when I'm under the weather! I pray one day God will heal her heart, soul and mind and that she will be at peace and not push so hard!

Until next time . . .