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.

James 1:27

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.

Ephesians 1:5-6

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

Isaiah 1:17

Sunday, January 25, 2015

It Has Been a Long Time-Getting Real

An update on our family...

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.

                                         OUR ADOPTION

As far as our adoption, 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 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...

Nina enjoying her swing again at Nana's!!! It took a bit of relearning to hold on and not let go so we went super slow, but she LOVED it!!!!

I have to admit walking through this has made me see all new sides of myself in parenting! The good the bad and sometimes the VERY ugly! But this morning we sang a song that filled my heart with a new sense revival. 

You can make all things new
Only Your power can raise us
You can make all things new
Only Your love can save us
All hope is not lost
cause You make all things new

You give beauty for our ashes
in a hope that everlasting
The past has been redeemed
Now forever we will sing
You give beauty for our ashes
in a hope that's everlasting
The past has been redeemed
Now forever we will sing

Thank you all so much for your prayers and comments! They truly mean the world to us!!!! 


Thursday, January 8, 2015

God Has Blessed-The Heart of My Better Half

God Has Blessed

Throughout this adoption process Sara has been carrying the burden of raising the funds to get Abbi. We want her home so badly. This has been especially draining on her as she needs all her time and energy for Nina’s needs and all the other kids needs,schooling, etc. But God knows what we need! He recently provided for us, largely through a blessing in disguise. We were in a car accident and our van was totaled. That doesn't sound like a blessing does it! Thankfully we all came out ok, even Nina who just had brain surgery. We just need some Chiropractic care to get our necks back in shape and get rid of the headaches. So here’s the blessing, the other drivers insurance was very helpful to us, they valued our van at the same price as I bought it for over 4 years ago(I knew I got a good deal on it :). AND we were able to find a full size van to replace it for only $700 more than that! The burden that was lifted here is that we were going to need a bigger van anyway to fit our whole family once we get Abbi, but we weren't going to be able to until after we had her home. Isn't God good!

Another burden that I have been working on is getting us moved on to Sara’s parents property. We feel like now is the time for several reasons. We need more room for the kids, it will put us in walking distance of their house(the Bruzzi’s have been immensely helpful to us and that will help with watching the kids for doctors. appointments, and homeschooling etc.) also our Rent just increased a lot this year. We are putting a manufactured home on their property since it is so much cheaper for the size we need, but I was only going to be able to put 10% down since we are saving for the adoption too. But now with the compensation from the accident we are able to put 20% down which gets us a better interest rate, and is a better plan financially. This is a huge burden lifted and makes me feel much better about pursuing that now. God is Good!

It was hard not to worry after the accident, especially since the other driver didn't think she was at fault and was planning on fighting it. Her insurance told her not to though (since there was a witness, again, thank God) They were more than fair with us. probably to keep the lawyers out of it. :) I’m so glad we didn't have to go that route. God is good!

Another neat thing that has come out of this is that the kids saw first hand that God works all things for good for those that love Him. That is priceless. God is Good!

This combined with others generous giving to us through the holidays puts us within only a couple thousand of what we hope to pay. (counting our future savings and tax return) that is a huge burden lifted! Thank you SO MUCH to all of you who have been used by God to lift some of the weight off our shoulders. Beyond the financial support it provides, it is so encouraging to know that you are behind us and that you love Abbi that much. God is good!

Through all of this, the one burden that we and all of you have been asking God to take away is Nina’s seizures. We were so hopeful that the surgeries would take care of that, but now different seizures are coming back and she is regressing. It is very discouraging, but we have to remember that God’s got this and we have seen that He works all things together for good for those that love Him. He must still have more that He wants to accomplish through this struggle in us or in others. Please pray for God to be glorified through this and that we would be a light to the medical teams as we work to get her better. God is still Good!

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.