Friday, September 25, 2009

I am so excited

I emailed our adoption agency to ask if they could send brochures for me to hand out at the adoption workshop. I got more than I asked for! The social worker who did our home study for Caleb and for Steven volunteered to come to the workshop "and talk as little or as much" as I wanted her to. The agency is also planning to supply some items for give-away--like T-shirt, bracelets, magnets!! I think having a professional there to answer people's questions will add so much clout to the event and boost attendance.

To me this is just another confirmation that I'm actually doing something God is pleased with. Wow!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Orphan Sunday--November 8, 2009

I have the unique opportunity of volunteering with the very-reputable Christian Alliance for Orphans to promote Orphan Sunday here in our Valley. A couple days ago I mailed out letters to 21 area pastors (plus hand-delivered two) letting them know about this up-coming special day as well as the related website . Almost every time I check out the site, there are more resources listed there. We're talking posters, videos, sermon outlines, Bible studies, kids' ministries, music, books, etc. There's a great video series there by Mr and Mrs Rick Warren of Saddleback Church where they use the acrostic O-R-P-H-A-N to list 6 things we as Christians can do for these needy children. Two of the YouTube videos listed there --"The Facts" by Show Hope and "Just How Big is 143,000,000?" --are particularly powerful, I think. It doesn't have to be a pastor that uses this stuff--it could be a Sunday School teacher, small group leader, college group--anyone who has a heart for orphans. There are several events already listed on the site and an invitation to add more. Any of you want to do something in your church or your town?

I am hoping to lead a workshop here at our church on Saturday, Nov 7 on topics like: Adoption is Needed; Adoption is Biblical; Adoption is Ministry; Adoption is "Do-able." I've got quite a few ideas but will really need God's help to truly make it fly. I would so appreciate your prayers.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Heart-breaking Math

According to one estimate there are 130 million orphans around the world. (I've heard even higher estimates) I started to comprehend the magnitude of this mind-boggling number a week ago when the thought came to me to figure out how many seconds there are in a year (31,557,600). Did you know that if you read the name of every one of these precious children at the rate of one per second it would take 4 YEARS 43 days and almost 20 hours to read them all--and that is surmising that no more children were orphaned during that time.

This has been haunting me all week. I am hearing the cry of orphans in their distress.

So how is Steven doing now?

I have been wanting to blog for days but just haven't found the time to do it. Now, I am in my house all by myself with all 6 of our kids at school. Caleb and Steven both started preschool on Wednesday the 9th and get to attend every afternoon from noon to 3:00. For those who don't know, my purpose in wanting to set Steven's birthday ahead by 6 months was to buy him a year in preschool and I am so thankful that our school cooperated even though he will turn 6 in March. (One rather humorous thing about the new birthdate is that Steven's baby immunizations show as being administered before he was born!!) Both times that I've picked Steven up from the teacher so far, he has cried and kind of backed away from me. I wonder if he's trying to tell me that he was sad that I left him. It must be so confusing to him. Poor guy. But he is not at all hesitant about going--even got on the bus readily today (the other 2 days I've driven) so I really think he likes school.

I know when I was in the adoption process I was very interested in knowing how various newly-adopted kids (whom I'd 'met' on Reece's Rainbow) were doing once they were home. I'll try to put this into words.

Steven is much less out-going and bubbly than Caleb. He is quite hesitant around strangers and often gives them a scowl, sometimes even a raised fist (though not so much lately) He still has not really warmed up to my parents whom he sees quite often. He is also more hesitant around Kevin than around me. He sometimes comes up to me when I'm seated and lays his head in my lap. When I'm standing he hugs my legs or raises his hands to be picked up. He does like to be carried and actually holds on with his arms and legs (unlike Caleb who is gawking all over the place and leaning back) I have seen him try to hug Caleb and vice versa. Steven can say 'hi', 'bye', 'me' He can give high-fives and knuckles. He can pray before he eats. (It was hilarious one day listening to him bossing Caleb that he needed to pray before he started eating) He knows quite a few signs, though doesn't use them spontaneously too much--except 'play'. I did actually see a look of delight in Steven's beautiful blue eyes about 2 weeks ago. That was encouraging. That gleam is not there everyday but I do know it exists.

Steven and Caleb are definitely partners in crime. Before Steven came Caleb was pretty laid back but now the two are Mess-Making Machines, Inc. and are amazingly fast in their efforts. Like most kids they do way better when there is something or someone to keep them constructively occupied but when left to their own devices . . . . well, beware!! I'm not talking really bad stuff, just little annoying stuff like pulling all of the dress-up clothes out of the closet, turning the faucet on in the tub where the dirty clothes are, pouring my pop into the toilet, applying lip gloss, putting some unknown paper into the shredder, throwing stuff behind the couch, throwing their blocks ALL over the dining room, taking off their clothes, trying to shave. I really blame them for our plugged up toilet that absolutely would not come loose with a plunger. I believe--but can't prove--they had emptied the trash can into the toilet. I really think their favorite occupation is watching water go down the drain full blast in the bathroom sink. Steven's fave used to be unrolling toilet tissue and stuffing it in the toilet. We no longer put our TP on the roller so it isn't as fun. Yesterday they got into the chewable vitamins--and that could have been very bad. The time when they do all this stuff of course is when I'm on the computer or on the phone or trying to monitor James' homework while giving Billy ideas on where to find his lost shoe while fixing dinner while cleaning off the dining room table while talking to the girls about how their day went, etc. They really don't fight too much. I don't think I've ever seen them intentionally hit each other but they do raise their voices when one gets something the other wanted. Usually they are giggling and laughing and chasing and pretending like they are shooting each other and . . . Oh, I forgot to mention how much Steven LOVES to sing. He will strum a badminton racket to accompany himself or hold a soft bowling pin up to his mouth as a microphone and just let it rip.

Steven had tubes put in his ears on Sept 4 by Doctor Mayes and came through great. I just picked him straight up out of bed about 5:30 am and carried him to the car in his jammies and off we headed for same-day surgery. It kind of reminded me of heading to the airport there in Kiev. Steven did well but could tell something was up and was really clinging to me. Thankfully he didn't even have an IV. All the prep we had to do was dress him in the hospital jammies, and put the 'funny hat' on his head. I've been through tubes 3 times with Teresa so am pretty familiar with the routine but it was still so hard to finally lay him on that bed and smilingly tell him "Mommy will be right back" and walk away hearing him cry as they wheeled him into surgery. Steven was the 7:30 case. It couldn't have been much past 8:00 when I'd already talked to the doctor (who said the right ear was pretty good but the left eardrum was quite retracted and had fluid behind it and will need to be watched) and headed from the waiting room back to same-day. Steven was wide awake, he guzzled down his glass of apple juice with zero nausea, we walked across the hall to the potty and he went pee, and I got him dressed. The only glitch at all was that we were originally handed antibiotic EYE drops rather than the necessary EAR drops and had to wait for the correct bottle to arrive from the pharmacy. (I had to put 5 drops into each ear twice a day for 3 days) We were back in Hansen shortly after 9 am!! Hopefully this procedure will improve his ability to accurately hear English so he can learn it as well as possible.

Steven is no longer so protective of his food and there have even been a few times when he didn't finish his plate. I think he is figuring out that there is plenty to eat. He sleeps well. When he's in a familiar setting he almost always keeps his pants clean and dry---he just walks to the potty and does his thing. However, he doesn't ASK to go potty so this can be a problem when he doesn't know where the potty is.

One thing Steven does that I think is pretty impressive is that on the trampoline he can bounce down on his bum and land on his feet.

Steven is a precious little boy and I am so thankful that he is no longer a picture on our fridge but our real-life son.