Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Well some have noticed I haven't been updating as much through this adoption as we did the last. There are so many reasons for that. Some is we are just way more busy this time some because of Nina's appointments and such and some because our adoption has been a bit overwhelming this time around.
As far as our adoption, well...it is kind of at a stand still at the moment. Without going into details we are switching agencies which will cost us more time and possibly more money, but after praying about it we felt it was what God wanted us to do. It breaks my heart as I know Abbi is not in the most loving environment from what I hear from the other families who have brought children home from Shanghai, but I know my God loved Abbi fiercely before we ever did and He is holding her every night till we can wrap our arms around her sweet body and let her know how much she is loved!
And oh how she is loved!!! This adoption has been filled with so many surprise gifts from families we are close too, children giving to our auctions, and even things and money sent from people we barely know! Just this last weekend we had two families do a garage sale in their neighborhood for us bringing in $260!!! Though this adoption has been so much harder and we are still at the beginning, God has been showing us through every hard step that He is smiling down on us! He hates that Abbi is sitting longer just as much as we do, due to things completely out of control, but He is continuing to affirm the paths we are taking.
UPDATE ON NINA
Oh Nina. Well so many ask the question "do we think the surgery made it better or worse?" Which is kind of a hard question to answer. From a mom stand point it made it worse, or maybe just not better! Because she has regressed so much and is still having seizures. Nina is now at about an 18 month development stage. She is potty trained at about the same level as a beginning potty trainer who can't and wont tell you they need to go so you have to take them every so often. Physically she can run and walk and can do most anything she could before IF she wants too. Behavior wise...oiy...that is another story. Directing her from one place to the other will be met with a lot of crying whether you're sure she would want to do it or not. Trying to get her to understand the simple task of not just holding her fork while she eats but also to use it to eat can turn into a big battle of wills! And talking, ALL baby babble. EVERY WORD! I know there are people who will pick out things and think she says things, and I have heard her from time to time try to repeat things, but as someone who is with her everyday and every minute of her life, I tell you she isn't saying anything on her own right now. I wish she was because I know she has so much she wants to say...but it is not there now. Days with Nina right now are so so hard! She is the same sweet lovable child she was before! THAT I am so very thankful for! Even her attachment is not the same. I know she loves Josh and I. We both know she sees us and knows we are the ones who she sees all the time. But we also know she is just as much attached to us as she is to the random man she saw in the dentist office who's lap she crawled right in and tried to kiss. I know people will debate us till they are blue in the face that Nina is just lovable and that is all it is...but trust us when we say it is not. Everything in me wishes that when she is hurt she would only run to her mama...but right now she isn't there. My days are a mental battle of being convinced that just like when we brought her home I need to push her to be better and the Nina I once knew will click and come back! I push her to use her fork to eat because DARN IT she could do it a few months ago! Then As she sits there crying and refusing to do it I struggle with, is she just being stubborn (because girl was SUPER stubborn when we first brought her home!!!!!) or is it not really clicking in her brain any more and I am just being cruel?! Did I spend a whole day pushing her for nothing! Or do I just need to be patient and wait for things to happen. She cries....I cry...then we go to bed and start all over again! Sigh...then I go to my room and cry in frustration that maybe surgery was a bad idea. I feel like I lost our sweet girl and it is all my fault...We had come SO far with Nina since we had brought her home...and now I feel like she is lost. I know I know...I can not dwell in that place...and believe me when I say I desperately try hard not to because well...what is done is done. But on those really hard days when I am sure the stress of trying to reteach my little girl the simple things makes me want to pull my hair out, I want those days back. When I see the frustration in her eyes that she can not simply tell me she wants a drink or a snack but instead paces the kitchen, I want to scream for her!
Another VERY hard decision for me was our decision to put Nina in school part time. MAN did I go back and forth about this! I home-school all my kids, why in the world would I send my most medically fragile child off! But the more we prayed about it, the more we knew God was assuring us that this was the best thing for her. At least for short term. But I have the peace that God knows best...so I will leave it to Him.
I do get to see many great moments with my girl. I get the chance to bond with her as a mama would do with her new born baby. She loves to cuddle, wants to be close and while there is much frustration in having to re teach your child the simple things (frustrating simply because she got it months ago and you can see how frustrated she is) it is fun to see her accomplish things again! Like when she first came back from surgery, she would barely get up off the couch and if she did she would pace to the back door then go sit down again. Then she would pace to the back door, watch the kids play for awhile, then go sit back down. Then she finally made it outside and get on the trampoline but only sit for a short time then go back inside. And just this last week I watched her go out and JUMP!!!! I know it seems so crazy but I was so excited for her!!!!
Some of you may have heard about last week but for those of you who have not, last Friday night Nina had cluster seizures every 10 minutes. This is not something that has ever happened since we have had Nina so we were not sure what we should do but we called the on call neurologist. She advised us to give her the emergency med because cluster seizures like that usually end up getting closer and closer together causing a full blow seizure that is really hard to stop! Since the only new change was the dose of the new medication, we started a new medicine the next day, So far we haven't had to give the emergency medicine again.
AND as far as a neurologist perspective if she is better or worse...I would guess it would be this. We were told Nina was a tough case due to how many tumors she has on her brain. They got the one large one they were hoping would calm the others down, They knew there was a chance it wouldn't, but they hoped that it would. While she is still having seizures, we think the surgery relieved her brain of some of the ones she was having. Unfortunately though one of the other two are still acting on their own. And while she has gone backward a lot after the surgery, continual seizures would eventually do the same thing only it could remain backwards since her brain would be held back from seizures. I would say I am 80% convinced surgery will be put back on the table at some point at the end of this year. Which I HATE but if it means a better life for my girl...then we will do what we have too! For today...we fight another day to see her again...
Thursday, January 8, 2015
One last thing. I want to make sure everyone knows that this blessing is not based on our goodness. I continue to struggle with my sin and shortcomings through all of this and have to ask for His forgiveness. (Sara’s perfect though, :)) I am still amazed that God would use me and bless me in spite of me. He wants to use you too.
Monday, November 24, 2014
So many have asked how I am feeling. Such a loaded questions as my heart is being pulled in so many directions.
The first set of feelings is about the surgery, risks, etc. I am so very thankful Nina was a candidate to have this possibility as there are plenty of Tuberous Sclerosis kiddos who are not. The chance to be with a team of neurologist and surgeons who we trust is a huge blessing! Especially coming from skeptics such as Josh and I. But obviously the thought of my sweet baby lying on an operating table for hours kills me! The what could go wrong is always hanging over me. Though honestly I have enough faith in the doctors, that it is not a huge burden.
The thought of what my baby feels kills me. She is not able to really tell me how she is feeling, if she is scared, if she is angry for us putting her through all of this, neither can we explain why we are doing this for her. That thought hurts my heart as we are still building trust in our sweet girl. She is still learning we will NEVER leave her. We will never give up on her and that we love her and are fighting for her! Oh how I wish I could explain to her when they wheel her away that our arms ache to hold her and we will be waiting on the other side every time!
There is a greater fear for me if this will work. There is a very high success rate for this kind of surgery. 75% of kids come out seizure free either on meds or without meds. I hate to think of us having to put her through this again if this doesn't work.
Probably my greatest fear is who will be wheeled back out on that surgery bed? When you mess with the brain the way they are, all kinds of changes can and hopefully will be made in her life and personality. Our surgeons assistant said, you would be surprised in how fast their brain recovers and begins to rapidly learn things she missed out on for so long. All of this is GREAT NEWS! But if you have a child, imagine falling in love with a child, all their quirks and mannerisms that make them uniquely them, and you see all of that falling away. Do not get me wrong, I want my baby girl to live up to her full potential! I look forward to one day being able to hold a conversation with her and watch her starting up friendships with other children her age, but we love our Nina. We love her truly for how she came to us. Her stubborn fight that has carried her through her life and hasn't stopped yet, her love for feet :), her giggle that can some times start for no reason but soon has you laughing and her love and affection for everyone she meets! THAT is our Nina. The quirks that at one time I did not understand but quickly became overwhelmed with love for!
As we sit in the waiting room waiting for our names to be called so many emotions run through my head about what days lay ahead, but I know without a shadow of a doubt, the Lord knows my fears, He knows my heart and He is and always has been holding my baby girl in His hands.
This song has been my heart as I lean and trust in the arms of my Heavenly Father...
I can not wait till we can look back on this day as another day Nina's life was transformed!
Saturday, November 1, 2014
If you did not already know Orphan Sunday is coming. The one day out of the year that advocates for babies all over the world BEG you to see them. Hear their stories, know they have a name, see the tears falling from nights of having to do this life thing alone. So here, I will do my best to do it for them. I mean we can do one day right? Breast cancer gets attention for at least a whole 31 days. Don't hit me, it is for sure a worthy cause, I would NEVER say it is not. But if we can give something 31 days, surely we can ponder the lives of children all over...for one.
Did you know in many Eastern European orphanages, children age out of their "baby orphanages" at the age of 5? They leave, most times an orphanage that will change them, feed them and let them play, to a mental institution of adults. Where most...die. Heartbreaking right? Children for their "safety" will be tied to cribs for hours on end. Adults will take what they can from children, food, blankets, whatever they can get. These lives existing together, survive on survival of the fittest! There is no other way. And let's face it, babies require a lot of attention and work, but in a building of hundreds of sick and dying people, who has time to get to the baby who has stopped crying, simply because no one hears them. I have heard many say who have been there that it is EERIE how silent a room filled with babies is. It should not be this way people! There needs to be the cry of a baby screaming,
I know we all think a whole lot of our government and the job it does at taking care of it's own. But did you know the ultimate goal of any child in the foster system is reunification? I hear ya, I would LOVE every child to live out their days with their biological parents. In a perfect world that is where a child ALWAYS belongs. But while most (not all as I have NO DOUBT their are children in our foster care starving) are fed and have a roof over their heads until their mom and dad can get their lives together. Many parents don't ever get there. But these parents are given chance after chance after chance. A child will be taken from their mom who has man after man come in their lives, beating their child, and given one more chance...to watch their child get beaten by the next guy. And be taken back to a different family. All the while this family might be working hard at wanting to keep this hurt, broken child in as their own and give them the life they have always dreamed of. But the child's fate is to stay in the system till the parents rights have FINALLY be severed (they have done something SO terrible that it has FINALLY gotten to this point), the parent finally sign their own rights away, or the child ages out of the system, missing the only chance they had at something normal. Left with memories of inconsistency, wounds, and a system that constantly let them down.
But we are to busy. Our schedules are too filled with our own children's well paid for activities. Our mortgages are about as much as we can afford and we needed to have it fully furnished and decorated. I am too busy giving my children every THING, every opportunity, I never had. Our kids NEED this and NEED that, where would the money come from to feed the poor. Where will the time come from to go on a missions trip to build an orphanage? I think some times we as Americans live our lives and completely forget that WE could be that woman working the street corners in Romania because both of her parents were killed in a war torn country and she had to learn to survive the only way she knew how. We forget that WE could be that man who stands in the way on the street begging for money with drug lines all the way up his arms! What man who has seen Christian after Christian walk by, dressed to the nines, with their eyes averted the other direction in hopes they wont feel guilty, want anything with a God we CLAIM to love so much!
CHRISTIANS WAKE UP!!!! When did our hearts and minds make our GOD SO SO SMALL??!?!?!?! What is there HE can't do?! we tell our children, "This is the God who helped a man and his family build an ark big enough and safe enough to hold his family and 2 of every kind of animal for a year while there was a world wide flood! This is the God who helped tiny David defeat a giant with a sling and a stone! This is the God who told Joshua and his people to MARCH around the city of Jericho and the walls fell!!!!" So do we think HE did all of those things we tell our children? Or are they really just fairy-tales? Could your God really carve out time in our busy lives to feed the poor? Could HE provide $30k to give a child a forever home, or even smaller, enough money to help a country in Africa build a well to have clean safe water? Our God can do big big things! We just have to remember that He is that Big and allow Him to do it! "IF I had a dollar for every person who says I would love to adopt but..." I could fund another adoption! I promise you, I am NOT judging! I have seen God move major mountains in our adoption last year, you think that would keep me forever sure in His power and never doubt...but I still fall short.
In the new book "You and Me Forever" by Francis Chan and his wife Lisa Chan
Saturday, October 11, 2014
So I wanted to write a little bit more about Miss Abbi Grace! Abbi is in an orphanage in Shanghai China. Unfortunately for us Shanghai does not give many updates about their children so I may not get too much more information like I did with Nina. Fortunately though, I was able to connect with a facebook page with other moms who are going or who have gone to Shanghai to get their kiddos, so they may be able to meet Abbi and hug her for me! She is 3 and will be 4 in January.
She has severe hearing loss in her left ear and mild hearing loss in her right ear. She also has a hemangioma on her liver. Along with these other needs she has mild hemiplegia on her right side, but from her video seems to get a long just fine. Because of her hearing loss it says she is not speaking, but being in a family of girls, I am sure she will catch up pretty fast once she starts her therapies.
We can not WAIT to bring her home and make her a Noll! I have no doubt she will fit right in!
It is going to be a journey watching God move mountains to raise the funds but we know He is able and I can't wait to watch all of the people He uses to make it happen!
And only 5 more days to buy a shirt to bring her home!!!! Go here to buy it! It Is Here!
Here is a little video for your Abbi viewing pleasure ;)
Thank you and God bless!!!!!
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
So without further adieu I present you with our shirt that will hopefully help lead the way into our fundraiser efforts to bring our Abbi Grace home to her forever family!!!!!
My favorite part--look closely in the word LOVE!!! Awesome right?!
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Sooooo...that is that. I am excited that we will be starting Speech Therapy with her this Monday because I know that sweet girl wants to speak so much more than we can understand! And after a hearing test we learned that she may have mild hearing loss. We are not too concerned about that since we know she seems to be hearing us fine.
This girl is a FIGHTER! A sweet fighter guised by her sweet smile and contagious giggle! And even more than all of that-Her Heavenly Father loves her more than Gold! I can not WAIT to see what He has in store for her!
As far as things in our new adoption world...we are starting up and getting our first fundraiser going!!! I can't WAIT to show you all what is coming!!!! I'll give you a hint...it is something that can help you sport your support for Abbi! ;)
Keep an eye out for our next blog post...we will have our big reveal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love you all!! Thank you ALL for your AMAZING support in our new journey to Abbi!!!!
Here's a few adorable pictures of the little's and what has been happening around here...
|Levi really concentrating of writing|
|Nina LOVES dressing up! So beautiful!|
|Isac working on his letters!|
|First day of Co-Op for my kiddos-they LOVE it!|
|Jumping on the trampoline our neighbors gave us-Nina LOVES jumping!|
|Isac loving on Nana and Papa's puppies|