Friday, February 29, 2008

The journey to our children

Having children is harder for some than for others. Some couples decide it's time to start a family and a pregnancy they celebrate in no time at all. For others they try and try and try and then they try some more. A handful will find success and cherish the life they've created, while others continue on in the quest to have a family.
Adoption used to be the option that only those left still searching chose to start their family with. But now that isn't the case. Adoption is no longer the "second best choice"; it's now a first choice, an additional choice and yes, an only choice for some.
Our family decided on our first adoption for different reasons then our second and eventually our third. With each experience we've learned more and more. But some things have been constant; adoption is a leap of faith, a calling and it NEVER turns out the way you envision it will.
With Grace, we expected a baby and got a toddler, with Analiese we looked forward to the smooth experience we had with Grace but soon learned that all is not as it seems and finally with Matthew we were (and continue to be) challenged beyond anything we could imagine.
I say all of this because I have learned of a family who planned, dreamed and prepared for their toddler from China. They educated themselves to this child's physical needs, possible issues and prepared the other children in the family. However, when they got to their child's country nothing was what they prepared for. Oh the physical needs of their child existed but they found emotional, and adjustment issues they, as a unit, a family, felt they could not handle.
In grief and in shame they chose to leave this child behind and not bring them home. They believed the issues were mountainous and were not willing to possibly disrupt their existing family to provide a family for this new child. For everyone it has been an emotional rollercoaster and a loss that will take time to heal.
I post about this because so many people venture onto this road of adoption and only see the rosy view. They don't expose themselves to "dark side" and if they happen to hear of a story, like the one above they discount it as "something that could NEVER happen to us". Well it does happen and when it does, the more prepared you are, the more support you have the more likely it is the situation will turn out to be positive.
So, if you are on the adoption road and find yourself surrounded by only the positive side, I urge you to seek out the other side. You'll be glad that you did. Because when you are faced with the challenges your new child will bring, (and you WILL, trust me) you have some things in your "bag of tricks" and be able to face it head on.
Please pray for the above mentioned family. They are hurting and need our support.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Look

I decided to change the look (and title) of our blog. I decided on a beach layout because I am ready for warm weather and summer vacation. I know, I know, it's only the end of February. But in the life of an elementary educator that means (only) 5 weeks until spring break and the final slide to summer vacation! This is the time of year (right after winter break) that I seriously start planning our week at the beach. We'll have two extra weeks this summer (YEAH!!!) because our county is changing our calendar to accommodate the opening of the new elementary school (won't be done until mid August).
It would be nice to go somewhere different, rather than the gulf coast but the kids are still young and Matthew is still is learning. So maybe next year we can go to St. Croix or St. Thomas.....
For now, enjoy the beach picture and dream of hot sun, warm sand and the sound of waves crashing.....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fun, Fun, Fun!

We had a GREAT trip to Gatlinburg! As expected, we enjoyed being with Nancy, Alan, Connor, Kira and Maya. Analiese and Maya became such great friends! They look so much alike and have a very similiar personality they could just as well be sisters. They are both from the same area of China, the province of Sichuan, even though the city Maya is from is now its own municipality, it is part of Sichuan. They kept each other busy, laughed, held hands and giggled the weekend away!
We did the whole tourist thing in Gatlinburg and I would so recommend visiting if you have the chance. There was so much to do, so family oriented and the kids kept us busy. The first place we went was the "mirror maze". It was just great fun! The best part? Dave got lost and couldn't find his way out. He was with Analiese and Matthew, and I, after having finished and then waited for 10 minutes, had to call Dave to tell him to stay put and I would come and find him. I went back into the maze, found 2 teenagers who said they saw "the bald guy with 2 chinese kids about 10 minutes ago", and asked them to go find Dave. To my relief, Dave found his way to the entrance (he never did find the exit) and the calvary wasn't needed after all!!!! Oh, what a laugh we had at Dave's expense and what a good sport he was!
The cabin, "Papa Bear's Den" wasn't all that great but once again, being with the Browns made it fun! We were able to laugh about the dead bugs, the faulty hot "tube", the cold and the hair in the tub! I sure hope they enjoy our company as much as we enjoy theirs. They are easy going and lovable!
Unfortunately, Kira was just getting over the flu, Nancy was sick and sweet, sweet Maya was fighting the flu. You'd never suspect how sick Maya was because she always had a smile on her face!
We didn't get to see all of Gatlinburg and none of Pigeon Forge so I know we will make a return trip. I'd love to go in the spring/summer and visit Dollywood! The mountain roads were tricky, thank goodness I didn't have to do the driving! Dave got us to the cabin in the dark and certainly didn't realize how high up we were until the daylight! What a beautiful place it was!
As with every trip we've made with the Browns we come away with such great memories! The kids enjoy each other, the conversation is easy and the silences comfortable. I can't imagine a better group of friends!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Down and out

Things are finally looking up for me. I spent the last 4 days feeling like I had been run over by a truck, a very big truck! After Matthew started to feel better, sweet Analiese came down with strep (and got a strep rash all over her body), then I started to feel horrible. I went to bed as soon as I could on Thursday and woke up on Friday with a headache, sore throat and congestion. Dave found some antibiotics that the doctor had given us for our China trip so I started on those and went right back to bed.
My wonderful husband took over, got the kids ready for school AND picked them up, took them to dance/tumbling class and then took Grace and Sarah to the Valentine's Dance at school! I was able to spend the day and most of the evening in bed. Unfortunately I didn't feel better. Saturday came and went with no relief; but lots of pictures from my baby, Analiese! I did get out to watch Sarah's performance at Inspirations; I'm glad it didn't last very long. I made dinner for everyone and promptly got back into bed.
Sunday arrived and I forced myself to get up and Dave took me to Walmart so I could grocery shop. I almost made it home but not quite. Dave had to pull over so I could deposit the juice I drank before we left home. I crawled back into bed when we got home and there I stayed. About 10:00 or so I started to feel the fever go down and the headache go away.
The good news is that I have no fever today but I do have a very nasty cough. I'm beginning to think what I have is viral and that's why the antibiotics aren't making a difference. I'll go back to work tomorrow as I've missed 4 days in the past week.
Sarah is home today with the same nasty cough but no fever. Hopefully she just has a cold. We leave for Gatlinburg on Friday for the weekend. Hopefully we'll be healthy so we all can enjoy our time. We are so excited to see the Browns!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Children's Healthcare

Hi All,

I received this email and immediately went to vote for Children's Healthcare in Atlanta. Won't you take a minute to vote? Thanks, Tina

I know we all detest mass e-mails, but this one has a purpose and will forever hold a deep place in our hearts as we've spent many days there and have seen many children while there that could benefit from this, please take just a few minutes of your time to make a happier place for sick children. Please go to the web site below and vote for Atlanta (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta) to get a new hospital playroom from Colgate. It was an easy process and would benefit so many of our children that spend their time here at the hospital. Send it on to all you know and see if we can’t help Atlanta to win. You can vote every day. As of 2:00 pm today, Atlanta only has 4% of the total vote. Come on ATL

Stomach, Coughs and Strep--OH MY!

We've had a rough couple of days here at our house. It started with Sarah and Grace last Thursday. Sarah complained of an upset stomach and Grace woke up in the night coughing up a storm. On Friday morning Grace awoke with the croup. The last time Grace had the croup we wound up calling 9-1-1 because she stopped breathing very suddenly! Sarah continued with her upset stomach, even asking to go home instead of participating in her tumbling class (unheard of!). Saturday loomed with Analiese now coughing, Gracie nor Sarah any better.
We had to cancel our dinner plans, to celebrate Chinese New Year, with the Perry's and Dave's KSU conversation partner.
In hind-sight I'm glad we did because Matthew spiked a VERY high fever on Sunday--it was 104.5! It happened so quickly and was so difficult to bring down. The kids were all out playing, as the weather was very warm, and when they all came in for dinner, Matthew just picked at his food. Dave leaned over to hug Matthew and ask what was wrong when he realized Matthew was burning up! A check of his temp revealed how high it was. A quick dose of Tylenol and a tepid shower helped to bring the temp to 102.5 but there it stayed.
We gave Matthew lots of fluids and wiped down his body with a cool cloth. He continued to complain, "hot Mommy". It was frustrating. When I inquired if Matthew hurt anywhere he said no. I looked in his mouth (hard to see his throat), pushed on his stomach, and pointed to his ears. All answered with "no hurt".
I finally called Scottish Rite to get some advice on when they thought I should, if needed, bring him in. I was concerned that the fever would spike in the night and we would not be able to bring it down. The nurse was able to get a Mandarin interpreter who received the same responses from Matthew; even to the question did he get bit by anything outside---all no.
Matthew slept with me all night and I checked on him frequently, ensuring he had his cloth and liquids. When he woke up on Monday he immediately told me his throat hurt--to the pediatrician we went. Lo and behold, Matthew has strep throat! With antibiotics and continued rest and fluids Matthew's temp is down but now he has a very raspy voice and continued soreness.
Sarah's stomach is better but Grace had a horrible night, needing a breathing treatment in the night. She is home with Matthew and I this morning.
Hopefully Analiese's cough is just that, a cough and no more. By the time the kids are all well, I'm sure I'll have come down with SOMETHING!