Sunday, July 24, 2016

Serve Day, Church, and Mother Daughter Day

Last Saturday was serve day at our church! The girls and I volunteered with a group at a local park, handing out free water and popsicles! We also passed out information and bracelets about human trafficking! 

I worked the night before and had just enough time to get home and change into my serve shirt before heading out to the park.

Eden and Journey love selfies! 

After serving we enjoyed a lunch at the church served by a special group of volunteers! It was a nice treat after our time in the park!

Sunday, we headed to the main church campus in Birmingham! 

The girls were so excited, they didn't mind leaving the house at 5am for the trip!

We arrived so early that the cafe wasn't opened!

We met one of the campus pastors, Mayo Sowell! I accidentally didn't capture Kendall on my first photo and Mr. Sowell insisted on another try with Kendall in the photo!

While we waited for the doors to the main sanctuary to open the girls rested on this bench!

The girls were so excited and couldn't wait to see Pastor Chris Hodges in person!

 At last, the girls were able to get a photo! 

One of the girls snapped this photo as Pastor Chris was reaching to shake their hand! 

After shaking each of the girls hands Chris came over and said he had been to China many times and asked what provinces the girls were from! Then it was time for service!

We all enjoyed our time of worship and seeing our senior pastor in person as he taught! The sling, he recently had shoulder surgery!

After church before leaving we all picked up a drink and snack from the cafe!

Once home some of the girls changed clothes before heading to lunch at the girls favorite, Mr. Chen's!

As we waited for our meal we snapped a few individual photos!

Journey wanted her photo taken with Eden!

I love when Kendall smiles!

Mackinley is so graceful and photogenic!

Avery didn't want her photo taken, thus her lack of a smile!

Sunday, we were blessed with a visit from Jordan and Jimmy! They are so cute!

Jackson was with Jimmy's parents! Kayte had our complete and total attention! Jordan took Kayte for her first haircut this past week! I can't wait to see her with her new "do" in person!

This past week it was Avery's turn for her mother/daughter date.

There are times when I think things are getting better and they are, BUT things are still very, very hard! Avery requires constant reminder of her boundaries and she test me and anyone in authority on everything! She thinks if she puts on a pouty face she will be able to get her way! It is more than tiring!

When she doesn't get her way she immediately begins to act like she doesn't understand and begins speaking in Mandarin! She is very suspicious of her sisters and is often unkind to them when she is mad!

One day, it has to be better!

Until next time . . .

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Respite *updated*

Parenting a child with a history of trauma is difficult and certainly not a task for those with ridge rules and an inability to see past the negative behaviors and attitudes! It is so easy to focus on the negatives and not see that these actions are coming from a hurting heart and soul!

Just like my walk with God and a need to stay focused on him and my relationship with him, so too my need to focus on my child and not her attitudes and behaviors. While I cannot ignore these issues I cannot let them become my primary focus and the barometer on how I see her! I cannot forget that her past is trauma laden and riddled with abuse, abandonment, and pain!

Sometimes it is difficult to remember that emotionally she is a far cry from her chronological age! To the untrained eye she looks like a teen in every way, yet emotionally she is caught between two worlds! A world of changing hormones and emotions and that of her past where she wasn't given a chance to heal or grow emotionally!

About a month ago Avery had a very difficult weekend! After a three am phone call I wanted to give up! I was through and posted such on that popular social media site!

I needed a respite! Respite: a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant. One sweet family contacted me and offered to take Avery for a month, another family offered as well! I was ready and looking forward to sending Avery on a "vacation" while the girls and I enjoyed a much needed break!

While a break would have been great, it just didn't work out! The logistics of getting a mostly non-English speaking teen to Kansas, plus the cost and time involved prohibited this respite! While I had 100% confidence in the family, I knew too that they were busy with their own family and I felt adding this hurting child to their schedule wasn't quite fair to them!

Last week my social worker was here for Mackinley and Eden's three year post adoption visit. Avery was in true form testing her boundaries at every turn. Sherry was able to see first hand the very issues we face with Avery. The girls took Avery for a walk while Sherry and I discussed our situation with Avery! I wanted the opportunity to speak freely without Avery overhearing what I had to say!

I failed to mention that Avery has known multiple foster families and I was unsure about what this "vacation" might say to her and the trauma she has known in the past! I didn't want her to feel that she was being sent away like past experiences! Raising a traumatized child has so many facets that must be considered! While we could use the break, I never want to do something that is going to make things harder in the long run for her or us!

Things around here are better yet far from smooth and peaceful! Last Sunday, four out of 5 of us filled out prayer cards at church asking for prayer for our family! Kendall's said, please pray for our family, we need help! Love it!

That's it for this edition! Until next time . . .

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


We arrived at Fourroux Prosthetics for Mackinley's casting appointment! We were early as I'm never sure how much time to allot for travel from Montgomery. Today, we were blessed with no traffic delays!

Tess began by wrapping Mackinley's arm in cellophane. This allows the casting material to slip off the arm somewhat easier. Years ago they would coat the arm with vaseline! I'm glad they have advanced to the cellophane!

Tess is wonderful! She explained each step to Mackinley and reassured her the entire time!

Next was the application of a cotton like sleeve, two to be exact! This allows for extra room in the final prosthesis for growth.

Tess cut two small holes in the stockinet so that she could place a strap on the stockinet to keep it from slipping down during the casting. Wasn't that cleaver?

With the strap in place, it was time to prepare the plaster! The plaster comes in a role and is dipped into water before beginning the application.

Prior to applying the plaster, Tess marked the stockinet noting Mackinley's elbow joint and the bend along the front of her arm!

Mackinley really seemed to be enjoying the process! Again, it was because of the team at Fourroux! Josh and Tess are the best! (Josh's hand holding the scissors)

Tess was so careful not to get plaster on Mackinley! For those that have worked with this material know that this was really a terrific feat!

The mold is complete and dried enough for Tess to remove from Mackinley's arm! 

After rechecking her measurements Tess did a scan on Mackinley's right arm. This will enable the team to build Mackinley's left forearm to match her right. Isn't that amazing?

The scanning process was a little tricky! As with most electronic devices it was rather sensitive and had to be held just the right distance from Mackinley's arm! Tess worked tirelessly to ensure it was just right!

Tess had to go completely around Mackinley's arm. The blue on the computer screen is Mackinley's scan!

Due to the sensitivity of the machine they closed the blinds to better enable the scanner to read Mackinley's arm. Tess remained calm and focused as she worked out the kinks of the machine! 

After a few final measurements we were finished for this appointment! I had planned to take Mackinley to lunch but we weren't really hungry! We were so close that I took Mackinley to see Church of the Highlands at Grants Mill. 

Mackinley  told me this evening that she had wanted to see the Grants Mill campus but didn't ask as she thought I would say, no. We visited the coffee shop and then headed home! The only thing that would have made this trip more special would have been seeing Pastor Chris Hodges!

My phone was nearly dead yet I managed to snap this photo! Mackinley was happy that she was able to see this campus and we both look forward to our Montgomery campus being completed in the near future. I sure hope it has a coffee shop!

Once home we packed our DVD's and took them to UPS. It was time to return last year's home school materials to BJU Press.

This evening our social worker came for Mackinley and Eden's three year post adoption visit! Next up will be Avery's one year visit!

Until next time . . 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Party and Independence

My sister, Shery stopped by for an afternoon visit and we surprised her with a birthday cake and plant!

The girls wanted to add candles! We didn't have a nine so we turned the six upside down and lit the 5!

Shery doesn't look her age and was a good sport! I'm sure her laughter is at our singing! It was rough!

After our mini party we headed to the art museum! The girls loved playing with the puppets! We were treated to the performance of the Lion and the Mouse by Eden and Journey.

There wasn't a mouse puppet so a chicken puppet was used in telling their story! 

The panda puppet was a huge hit!

 Avery is such a ham! 

Kendall's turn!

Next up, Eden!

One last shot of Avery before heading downstairs!

We stopped for a quick group photo of the way to the car with the museum in the background!

The girls wanted to go bowling on Independence Day! We were the first to arrive at the bowling alley. They had not turned on the lights. They gave us the option and we elected to do galaxy bowling! The girls loved it!

 Avery led her team after the first game!

Kendall was the leader in our group!

Amazingly, I led once our group after the second round!

Eden led her group! She was so happy!

Last game ended with Mackinley in the led! I love how we each had a turn to led our group! Everyone was a good sport!

Just look at Miss Eden, she led again! She over took Journey right at the end!

After bowling we went out for ice cream! Avery was upset that I took the photo, hence no smile!

I thought I had taken more photos of the girls with their sparklers! I had a hard time keeping them lit and snapping photos! Sorry for the poor quality of this photo!

Do you remember me telling you about Mackinley meeting Tess and getting information about a prosthetic?

Mackinley counted the days while we waited to hear if my insurance would be approved for her device! The call finally came and we are scheduled to head back to Birmingham for the casting of her prothetic! She is excited!

Last week we visited Mr. Chen's again and this time we purchased dumplings and they were far better than those that I have purchased from Wal-mart! I will definitely be going back for more of these for the girls!

Until next time . . .