Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A few new pictures

I haven't been posting much lately because things are awfully busy around here, as you can imagine. But, I just wanted to post a few new pictures of the baby.

Things around here are a little strange. She has adapted beautifully, but her sleep cycle seems to be totally messed up. We are dealing with some teething issues for sure, and I think we may have some acid reflux issues as well. We go back to the Dr. next week. In the meantime, I'm going to try something called Gripe Water that I'd heard about when my other's were younger but haven't ever used. It's for use with any type of GI issues including colic and reflux. It's available at my local apothecary.

Just wanted to add some new pictures to give you something new to look at.
God's blessings,

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tragedy for the family of Rick Burgess

I'm sure those of you who are in Birmingham are all now aware of the tragic passing of Rick Burgess' youngest son Bronner over the weekend. If you need further details, you can find them on the website at www.RickandBubba.com. I listened to the show this morning and was blessed to hear how Bubba and "Speedy" conveyed their thoughts regarding the events of the past weekend, and their steadfast faith in God.

As a parent who's lost a child, I can tell you that the pain this family feels is unlike any other, the doubts that will trouble them will be many, the anger that will well up within them is understandable, and yet their God will sustain them, and they will come through this as a beautiful portrait of His grace.

For others of you who might be struggling with what has happened, why God allows these tragedies and other thoughts, I wanted to share with you some scriptures that have given me great strength and peace over the years since she died. Kathryn would be 14 next month. It is hard to believe it has been so long. There are days when it seems like yesterday and days when it seems another lifetime ago, as though someone else lived through that. I guess it was someone else - so to speak - for I am forever changed, this is a different person who now lives.

The best explanation I have for why things like this happen is this. First, we live in a fallen world, and as a result, people are born spiritually dead, and will die a physical death. Second, everything that happens for the Believer is ultimately for his good and God's glory (Romans 8). We can't see how anything good can come from something like this, but it already is...

Job 13:15a
"Though He Slay me, yet will I trust Him."
Throughout the book of Job, we see that Satan is having a field day in Job's life, but that all of this adversity, has come upon him by God's allowance. That truly is a frightening thing for many Believers. But then we know that the "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Prov. 1:7

Job 2:10b
"Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips."
Throughout our loss, and all of these years that have followed, we have purposed in our hearts not to blame God for what happened, as though He had done some evil thing in our lives. This adversity has drawn us closer to Him, than we ever would have come without it. This great tragedy has made us who we are today, Believers who trust Him no matter what.

Shortly before our Pastor's first wife died, she shared a verse in our Sunday School class that meant so much to her, and now to me. Psalm 119:71 "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes." It is indeed in our darkest times of affliction that we learn the most about who He is and how we must trust Him and His wisdom. I have learned to say, along with Paul, "...Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 Because, indeed, His grace is sufficient!

Psalm 139:16 (13-15 too)
"Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them."

Before we were even born, as God fashioned our bodies in our mother's womb, He had ordained every single day of our lives. I believe, every minute. This truth kept me from "what if-ing" myself into an early grave. "What if I'd done this, what if we'd done that...???" Those were questions that could never have been answered. But I believe, according to the scriptures that the times and seasons of our lives are in His hands.

I could go on and on and on. The Lord has indeed shown me a taste of His glory and His awesome power over His creation. Our children are not our own, they are His, and He may do as He sees fit in their lives, and in ours. And, He causes things here to happen to remind us of that fact.

We are very frail vessels indeed. "But we have this treasure (Christ in us) in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." 2 Corinthians 4:7 The Lord has created us and He knows that we are but dust, it is by Him, and through Him alone that we have the strength to endure anything in this life.

I am praying God's grace upon this precious family in their time of loss. Please join me in praying for them, and that their witness will be unhindered during this very public loss for their family.

When Kathryn died, someone at the hospital gave us a poem. My husband scoured the internet this morning and found it. It was of much encouragement to us at that time. (Correction to my previous post that the author was unknown, this poem is authored by Edgar Guest.)

"I'll lend you for a little time, a child of mine," Christ said.
For you to love while he lives, and mourn when he is dead.
It may be six or seven years, or twenty-two or three,
But will you, 'til I call him back, take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you, and should his stay be brief,
You'll have his lovely memories as solace in your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay - since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I looked the wide world over, in search of teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life's lane, I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love, not think the labor vain
Nor hate Me when I come to you and take him home again.
I fancied that I heard them say, "Dear Lord, Thy will be done."
For all the many joys he'll bring, the risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness, we'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him, much sooner than we planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand."

One of the greatest lessons we learned, but so quickly grows dim, is this-- DON'T WASTE A SINGLE DAY WITH THE ONES YOU LOVE! I am so sorry for their loss, but so thankful for the reminder of that lesson we learned and had gotten lazy about.

If you have children, hug them close tonight, and give them special kisses, I know I will.
God bless,

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Int. Adopt. Med. Clinic Visit

Well, we went for our first of several visits with the people at the International Adoption Medical Clinic here in B'ham. For those of you who are not familiar with this, it is a clinic run by UAB, set up at Children's Hosp. South on Acton Road who sees only Internationally Adopted children as patients.

At yesterday's visit, which was about 3 and a half hours long (!), we saw an attachment specialist, a developement specialist, a pediatrician, and of course the ladies in the lab. Overall, they felt that things are going rather well in all areas.

She is bonding somewhat with both Todd and I so that is great, there were some clues that they look for and questions they asked that helped them give us some direction in areas to try to strengthen the attatchment process. For those of you who've asked if you could hold her, please know that I hate to say "no", but it just really isn't best for her right now. The time will come when that will change, but right now, here are some of the guidelines we've been given to help her to develop an appropriate attachment with us: (thanks in advance for your understanding of this process and encouraging us as we do what we need to do for her during this transition period)
1) Don't let your child be passed around or go to others until they are appropriately attatched to you. The length of time varies from child to child. Others, besides parents should also not engage eye contact for over two or three seconds at a time with the child. (I know that one sounds the most strange to me, but the point here, I think, is that they are trying to keep her from engaging other people in an intimate way through eye contact.)
2) Only mother and father should hold, feed and nurture - not extended family and friends until the child is attached. Parents should provide basic needs - physical and emotional. Meet child's needs to establish that you are reliable providers and that they don't have to rely upon themselves. (Which is what they largely have had to do in the orphanages.)
3) This child must be "reparented" as if they are a younger child, remain on a bottle longer than normal, not be encouraged to walk right away, etc...

Those are probably the most primary things that our close friends and family would need to know. As far as the "contact" with others is concerned, we are hopeful that this will be a short period of maybe just a couple of months. It's hard to believe we've been home for 2 and a half weeks already.

Developmentally speaking, she is of course behind in her language skills, but is very on target with most of her physical skills, language should catch up rather quickly, assuming we are able to get her ear infections under control. The medical exam did reveal another ear infection, this time in the opposite ear. Otherwise, medically she looks fine. They took a lot of blood (2 viles) to check for some genetic markers, look at her antibodies from the vaccinations she's already received, etc...

Basically, she is doing really well. We've not had any really major breakdowns yet, and they've warned us that this may still be to come, or she may transition completely fine without any real problems. It's just too soon to tell and we'll have to wait and see.

Thanks for checking in on us. Please continue to pray for all of us as we navigate this changing season of our lives.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

At Home Update

Hey, hadn't posted in a bit and figured if I didn't you all would quit wandering over here to see what's going on on our little patch of the earth. :O)

I still don't have my van fixed, the other two cars involved are pointing fingers at each other, neither wanting to accept the responsibility for the accident. So, I finally went and rented a van on my own yesterday. I figured 9 days of borrowing my mother's car was long enough.

Hopefully we will hear something soon about who's going to get this mess fixed.

Today is my daughter's birthday. She is the big One-One!!! She is so excited. We got up early and had a nice breakfast with daddy - complete with pancakes and candles to blow out. She opened her gifts and she's gone to a "Back to Home School" bowling party, sponsored by our cover school, with some friends of ours.

The baby is currently napping. I am hoping for a nice long afternoon nap because she only got a catnap in the car this morning. She seems to be adjusting really well. I can't believe how well she's getting along with everyone. She just fits right in and goes with the flow. Whatever we do is fine by her. For those who knew we had some nighttime waking issues, we've definately gotten that solved. Three nights in a row now of sleeping all night. She has her last full bottle around 7:00 and goes to bed at 8 or 8:30. I get her back up around 10:30 - she never opens her eyes - put her in a dry diaper, give her about 2-3 more ounces of milk and sleeps 'til 7 or 8 in the morning. Ahhh, I have my sleep back. I did talk with one of the doctor's at the Int. Adop. Med clinic here in B'ham and she said that was a fine way to do it. She recommends keeping her on a bottle until she's at least 18 months old - because it helps to facilitate bonding (eye contact, holding, etc...).

We ordered some really great Adoption/Belated Christmas/Happy New Year's cards from www.PurpleStork.com. You can view our finished product here. I highly recommend them. Their service was excellent and wow, they did a great job - very fast!


Anyway, that's how things are around here today.
Hope you all are doing well, and have a wonderful new year!