One Month Home

Today is Monday…..yesterday was one month since we have been back in the United States. I am thankful to say that we are over jet lag, the stomach virus of 2016 and are slowly starting to make some changes and get back into a new groove as a family.

IMG_6808

I’m busy trying to really look at everything….our schedule, our habits, our homeschooling, our house set-up….everything and make changes that can help us do better each day.  When we were in the adoption process, I felt like by brain was just foggy. Now things are starting to look clearer. I am enjoying dreaming of ways to improve things around here. Now to just be able to fund all of my dreams…ha! Each one takes either time or money and sometimes both! 😉

The month of February is full of doctor’s appointments with John Preston. He has gone to the ENT and the dentist so far. At the ENT, his ears are not-surprisingly so full of wax that the doctor could not even see inside. After his cardiology appointment later this month, we will schedule him to be sedated and have his ears cleaned out really well to check for fluid. He will then have his first hearing test and tubes if needed. About 90% of kids with Down syndrome need tubes but my girls are in that 10% that don’t. Hoping for the same with John Preston. The dentist went well. He was a lot calmer than I thought he would be. He had no cavities and is missing a few teeth which is also common in kids with Down syndrome. We talked of braces in the future and I think John Preston liked Dr. Norby.

Up next are the cardiologist, dermatologist/plastic surgeon, pediatrician and the eye doctor. We are hoping to also get him started in speech therapy in March. Calhoun County refuses (which is within their legal right) to provide John Preston with therapy services since he is school age and we choose to homeschool. They are more than happy to strong arm us into putting our children into their public school system and THEN they would be more than happy to provide him with services. Nice of them, huh? So if you are local and know a Calhoun County board member, be sure to tell them exactly how disappointed you are in their refusal to help EVERY child. Do not be fooled friends….EVERY child does not matter in Calhoun County. Especially those kids with special needs. #steppingoffsoapboxnow

I am planning on working on occupational therapy things at home for now. This is John Preston’s stronger area at this point. He does need some fine tuning with physical therapy but I think we will wait until summer since we will now be paying for every bit of therapy out of pocket now. Thanks again to Calhoun County. Is my frustration coming through via this blogging format?  Ugghhhh…….

On the days we stay home, things are going much better with John Preston. His world is small on those days and it is easier on all of us. On days we have to go out for an appointment or ballet, then there are repercussions that manifest in his behavior. It makes the day hard but then we seem to recover quickly if we can stay at home the next day.

IMG_6809(one of those moments when neither of us were feeling particularly lovey…)

We attempted church yesterday with the whole family. For the most part, John Preston did well. To someone looking in from the outside, I think most of our friends would say he did well. No outbursts in church, he sat quietly and followed along during the service. He even “sang” during the praise and worship time which was quite funny. The hard parts were when he used all of his body weight to pull in the opposite direction I was trying to make him go. My shoulder may not survive much more having 44 pounds of force pulling against it. I literally had to drag him into our Sunday school room. He was upset that he was not going into the little girls’ “fun” classroom. I just wanted to try it out but I am thinking we will continue to stay home for a while longer on Sundays. I miss worshipping corporately with my church family and I have missed our small group terribly but his reaction to certain things and his behavior show that he is still not quite ready. His time will come. I’m hoping Bryan can stay home with him this next week and let me go and take all of the other kids.

In general, I think John Preston is happy to be here. I think he is beginning to understand that we are his “people”. I still think he would willingly go home with and show affection to anyone that offered so we by no means are 100% where we need to be. Each day gets better. But at times when some of us have left the house without him, he is ECSTATIC when everyone comes back home. Like “Christmas morning” kind of excited.

We are, as expected, still working on some behavior issues. Nothing that we didn’t expect with adopting an eight year old. It is hard but we are making progress too. I think facing the behavior issues makes it harder to work on the bonding and attachment process.  It reminds me a lot of when I first met Bryan’s boys. They were four and one. I was not their “mom” but I still had to care for them while they were in our home. It felt awkward and many times frustrating. I loved them…they were a part of Bryan and I loved him….but I did not instantly feel like their parent. It took me a while to feel like I knew how to parent them and love them in the same way that Bryan and their mom loved them. But eventually the feelings came. And they will with John Preston as well. This morning I was helping him get dressed after an “emergency” bath situation…..uuuughhhhhh……don’t even ask….and as I was holding his pants so he could step into them, he reached up, I thought to hold onto me to steady himself, but instead he hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. I think for he and I both it felt awkward but it felt ever so slightly natural too. No one made him do it…he chose to….and I chose to accept it….even if it feels strange.

There is no doubt that God blends families together in amazing ways. Only He could do it. There is no way, in my own strength, that I could take a child into my home….learn to love them unconditionally and plan for a future. No way. Only God.

These are hard days. We smile, we laugh, we grocery shop, go to ballet, bathe, clean house and do laundry….just like we always have. But the air is different here now. There is sadness…frustration….doubt….layered as a curtain over everything we do.

Did we do the right thing? YES.

Did we do what God called us to do? YES.

Is it easy? Is what God calls us to do always easy?  No way.

That’s where faith comes in. We just have to take that first step. God meets us where our faith evaporates. He has never not been there in all of this. I have felt Him close. Even when I have felt completely alone….I knew He was there. More times than I can count, I have cried out to Him. More times than I can count, I have cried out to the Holy Spirit to intercede on my behalf…I didn’t know what to ask the Lord for…I just knew I NEEDED Him.

What is God calling you to that has you afraid? Know without a shadow of a doubt that if God is calling you to it, then He will walk before you. He will wrap you up in the moments that you feel like you can go no further. Satan wants to fill you with doubt. God is a god of order and not of chaos. Satan thrives on chaos.

Don’t let yourself miss out on the joy that God has ahead for you. We are seeing small moments of joy each day. I hear God saying, “See, I told you. This is what I wanted you to do. To get on that plane, bring him home. I’m going to work out all the details. I am going to make all things new. In my time. You just hold on.”

Holding on,

Jenifer

6 thoughts on “One Month Home

  1. I do so enjoy your writing. I have a special place in my heart for all children. Those difficult days will be less often as time goes on, and I feel special to know people like you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yesterday in church our speaker shared a journal of a settler and in it he stated that they stopped praying for Heavenly Father to bring them more food to kill; but rather that he make their stomachs more accepting to what they had to eat and learn how to live with it. In listening to that talk and those words I realized I need to stop asking for Heavenly Father to give me things; but rather help me to be more accepting of what I already have and figure out how to live with it…
    He has always had you in this journey; put your faith in Him.
    Love you all and always praying for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Jennifer,
    Thank you for your post. You have such a wonderful family, I am so glad that you accepted God’s calling. You don’t know me personally but I work with your mother and I have had the blessed opportunity of following many joyous events of your family including the birth of Neely, and both adoptions. You are truly a Angel on Earth. May God continue to bless each of you. Gail Reeves

    Like

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