Saturday, August 29, 2009

I can't remember where I read or heard this, but somebody somewhere was discussing what should be the proper response of nurses and doctors towards a parent who is just finding out that their new baby has Down Syndrome. I would have guessed the proper therapeutic response to this kind of parent would be to listen, be silent, maybe say I'm sorry, maybe ask if the new parents would like to talk about it, possibly offer resources such as support groups, etc. Those are the kinds of things I learned in nursing school ions ago.....

However, the responses I read from parents were quite opposite of that! These parents were sharing their memories of the moment they received the diagnosis. It seemed that the way the doctor presented this information made all the difference in how the parents were able to initially cope. "There is something wrong with your baby..." is not the proper way for a doctor to introduce this kind of diagnosis.

Here is, FYI, what to say and what not to say to a parent just finding out their child has Down Syndrome.

Do NOT say:
1. "I'm sorry", "What a shame", "How sad"
2. "It could be worse" or "At least your other children are normal"
3. "Does that run in your family?" (or anything else that implies blame on the parents)
4. "God has a purpose in everything" or "God gives special children to special parents"
5. "I could not handle that" or "You are a saint"
6. "People with Down Syndrome are such happy and loving people"

DO say:
1. "Congratulations!" (Yes, congratulations, they are new parents after all)
2. "What a handsome boy", "He looks like you"
3. "I feel honored to know him"
4. "Tell me about Down Syndrome so I can learn about it"
5. "There will be hard times but there will be really joyful times too"
6. "She will teach us more than we will teach her"

I remember so many varying reactions to our announcement that we were adopting a child with Down Syndrome rubbed me the wrong way while some comments were very touching. Once John told his co-worker that we were adopting and showed him Ava's picture. After a bit of a silence, John announced, "I'm sure you can see she has special needs". And the guy smiled, and responded, "We all have special needs". I haven't forgotten that.

If you're parenting a special child, I'd love to hear how you received your child's diagnosis and what you remember about that first moment.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Donate to The Little Lighthouse

I mentioned recently we have a goal to raise $5,000 for The Little Lighthouse. I have sent out some emails but if I missed you, please consider donating! This is really a wonderful part of our community that we are so thankful to be a part of!

Click here to donate....
Thank you!!!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What made me smile today......

Just one of the many reasons I love having a speishal needs child....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First day of school

Ava started school today at The Little Lighthouse. What a great place. Totally would love to work in a place like that, surrounded by all those super neat kids.

Here she is with her teacher, Miss Kimberly. If you're wondering what she is doing with her hands, I was telling Miss Kimberly that Ava learned a new word yesterday.."cow". She is showing her how she says cow......"cooooooowwwwwww." Her thumb is supposed to be up by her forehead, like a cow's horn. A little low, but oh well. What a smart girl. :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Because DHS deems we have too many children in our home to provide foster care, I have to live vicariously through my sister Marlita, who is a foster parent.

(To DHS I quote Mother Teresa: How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.)

Ava and I thoroughly enjoyed babysitting my newest little foster nephew, "K" over the weekend. Ava was fascinated by his little toes, his fingers.......

....and his pacifier.....

And I by this amazing head of hair.....

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Did I ever mention on here that the Russian Orphan Lighthouse trip was cancelled? Apparently there were some new travel regulations in certain regions of Russia due to swine flu that prohibited travel for the children in the orphanage, and they had to cancel the trip. We were all very disappointed, as I'm sure the Russian kids were. Otherwise tonight would have been the night a russian orphan would have flown in and spent 10 days with us. :( We hope to try again next time.

Just in the last 2 weeks or so, Ava has learned how to pull herself up to the tall kitchen table and cruise around it. This is good news and bad news. Good because it is one step closer to walking and bad because we can't set the table ahead of time (and we are now short a few dinner plates.) :) She has also learned how to crawl over to her walker, pull herself up into position, and just today she FINALLY learned how to lift and turn the walker when she runs into walls and objects. She is doing so great! I am really proud of her. She has come so far from that floppy little sack of potatoes we brought home 18 months ago.

Our floors are getting whiter and whiter every day. All the experts say this is a sign of moisture. Another guy from another concrete company came out and said there was no evidence that they even put sealer on, which might cause the moisture. The company has now stated they are going to take us to small claims court for the full payment of their "work". At first we worried a little bit, as we have never been in a position like this. But now, as weird as this may sound, I'm kind of excited about it. I can't wait to show the judge this picture:

Does it look like there is a ghost living in our house? Don't worry. There is no ghost. That is just the spot where John laid his shoes overnight. There are similar marks for the trash can.....

And where we set two glasses of water...

Can you see why I'm secretly looking forward to small claims court? If you are thinking about doing concrete work, I can tell you who NOT to use!


Thanks for all the great book suggestions. I've already reserved some of them at the library. Ya'll should really go take a look here.

OK, now how about some name suggestions for the little girl in Ethiopia we are adopting? I am stumped.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What is your favorite book?

Since I'll be spending so much time in the van this year, I thought I'd check out some books on CD from the library. I need book suggestions please! What is your favorite book?

School, continued....

The kids all love their teachers and seem to think there is potential of making some new friends. Thank you Lord for a smooth transition! Ava starts next week. I had a meeting with her teacher today and am really happy about her going to The Little Lighthouse. Loved that the IEP meeting opened with prayer. Wow.

So here is my daily schedule:
7:40 Drop off Simeon
8:00 Drop off Ava
8:15 Drop off Jude and Liesel
12:30 Drop off Hope
(45 minutes all to myself without children)
1:15 Pick up Ava
2:30 Pick up Simeon
3:15 Pick up Liesel and Jude
3:30 Pick up Hope (Pick up time is actually 3:15 but can't be at both schools at once)

:( So much for cleaning my house, baking cookies, reading, watching Dr. Phil, eating bon bons.......

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back to School

Day 1 transitioning from homeschool to public school went exceptionally well. Except that I haven't quite figured out how to be in 2 places, 7 miles apart, at exactly 3:15pm. If anybody has figured that out, please let me know.

Doesn't everybody look excited this morning to be going to school????? I'm sure if there was a picture of me this morning I would have a similar expression. A little happy, a little sad, and a little scared.

I promised I wouldn't take their picture at school in front of their new classmates, (so I snuck this one from behind while they weren't looking.) it just my imagination? Or are there cows on the school playground? Only in Oklahoma. Watch your step, boys and girls!

Tomorrow I'll have a meeting with Ava's teacher and then she starts next week. How exciting.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Floor Update-

I just thought I'd write an update on the floors......Good grief, this has turned out to be such a mess!

The owner of the concrete company finally came out to inspect the job this morning. He pretty much said all the particles stuck in the sealer were our fault for not cleaning thoroughly and that they must have dropped off shelves, dryers and countertops after the laid down the sealer. (Yeah, that's why they are imbedded UNDER the sealer, right?) The paint chips and sticky spots with grass, he had warned us might not come up, so he says (He never told us this, or would I have agreed to have my floors sealed?). The dog prints, he says, are because our dog was vicious and aggressive towards them and so they were not able to tie her up while they worked with the doors open in a windstorm....Besides they had to hurry and get done before we arrived back home the following day.......(Um, OK?). The smudgy spots all over the entire floor are because we need to add a couple more layers of wax....Somehow that doesn't sound right either. And the white moisture spots that have popped up all over the house are totally out of their control and must be the fault of the builder who originally laid the concrete. UNBELIEVABLE.

He still wanted half of his payment and said they would not restrip the floors but only remove the areas containing strings, dryer lint, etc. and then smooth it out.

We were really struggling asking ourselves what the morally correct thing was to do in this situation. We realized they were out supplies and labor. The Christian in us wanted to reimburse them for at least what they invested in it, but at the same time they seemed to take no responsibility whatsoever to correct this thing.

So our appointment ended well this morning............with the guy storming out and slamming the front door.....with no plan to resolve the problems.....and no payment. Thankfully one of our son's best friends has a dad who happens to be an attorney, who offered to handle any potential repercussions. Meanwhile we are stuck with a mess for a floor. If you happen to come over for a visit please try to ignore them until we can figure out what to do next.

If you have a lot of indoor traffic and you love your floors, please tell me why. We are open to suggestions. We have had problems with wood floors being flooded in the past, and carpet just will not do. If you happen to have stained concrete or know anything about stained concrete, I would love to hear your advice on this matter. We've been given several names of companies but we are so leery now......

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hole in Our Gospel

Did you know, that if you earn $50,000 a year, you are among the wealthiest 1% of the world? Did you know that Americans spend $13 billion a year on cosmetic surgery, $58 billion a year on lottery tickets and $65 billion a year on jewelry.....while the estimated cost of universal primary education for children is only $6 billion; the cost to bring clean water to most of the world's poor is $9 billion, and basic health and nutrition to the world would cost $13 billion.
What is wrong with this picture???

I just finished reading this life-changing book written by the President of World Vision, and I want to urge you, if you are a believer, to read it too. Click here to order.

Richard Stearns, President of World Vision, US said,
"I believe that this could very well be looked back on as the sin of our generation. I look at my parents and ask, where were they during the civil rights movement? I look at my grandparents and ask, what were they doing when the holocaust in Europe was occurring with regard to the Jews, and why didn't they speak up? And when we think of our great, great, great-grandparents, we think how could they have sat by and allowed slavery to exist? And I believe that our children and their children, 40 or 50 years from now, are going to ask me, what did you do while 40 million children became orphans in Africa?"

Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, took some liberties with Matthew 25:35 and wrote a paraphrase version for today.
"For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved."

I know the numbers are overwhelming and I know one person can't help them all, but I love what Mother Teresa said, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one." My 'one' is a little girl in a yellow dress. Who is yours?

Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm stressed!

When we moved into this house a little over a year ago we noticed that our floors, which were stained concrete, were not done properly. There was moisture trapped under the wax, and it was very dull and splotchy and scuffed real easily. They were really driving me crazy and John wasn't hearing the end of it. So he asked around and called a concrete guy to see if he could fix them while we were out of the country.

The guy said he would refinish the floors but he wouldn't strip them because it was such a pain to do and oh-so-time consuming. Well he was right. We spent the two weeks leading up to our trip to Mexico, moving furniture around and stripping the floors square foot by square foot. Can you imagine me, with my 5 kids at home all day long, Ava crawling around everywhere, trying to do this job? It has been stressful to say the least!

I was concerned however, because even after two coats throughout the house, there were still many sticky spots that just wouldn't budge. Because we were still living here, every crumb and blade of grass and cat hair and little paint chips from the stripping gel that inadvertently came off with the paint remover-- were permanently sticking to the floor. I was getting really stressed out about it, so I called the guy to come look at it. He assured me that before they would lay the coat down they would use Xylene, whatever that is and scrape up the remaining areas, and that they would vacuum thoroughly to make sure nothing would be sealed under it.

The night before we left we were up til 1:30 a.m. moving all the furniture off the floor and giving it one last scrub down with a brush before they came that week.

So imagine how horrified I was to walk into my house from our vacation to see that not only did they not remove the sticky parts before applying the sealer and wax, apparently they didn't even vacuum! All the bits of stickiness, paint chips, grass pieces and even a long black string, even lint from the dryer, are permanently imbedded in my floors! Not only that, there are shellacked dog prints in my kitchen! And this morning we are seeing pockets of moisture popping up here and there. The same reason we decided to redo it in the first place. They claim there was a big windstorm and that they had to work with the doors open and that the dog kept trying to come in the house and they were just trying to finish the job before we came home the next day. Um.....HELLO? They had our phone number and they could have easily called and said it was not a good day and they would have to reschedule. They never even called! We have emailed and called back and forth expressing our dissatisfaction, and they are basically saying they did the best they could do considering the circumstances and refuse to even meet us until we fork over half the payment.

I am completely stressed out over this! These people are demanding their payment. In the meantime I looked them up in the Better Business Bureau and found out they have been reported there 4 times! I don't know why we didn't think to look before. I have sent pictures to another concrete business to see what needs to be done, and they said it will definitely need to be restripped, resealed and rewaxed.

Does anyone have some great advice on how to handle this mess?!

Here are some photos of before:(the night before we left...after we stripped the floors)

And after: (I like the before better, don't you?)

Paint chips from the baseboard, stuck in the sticky areas

a piece of dried grass

a long black string

more grass

dryer lint!

cat hairs?

Seriously what should we do?????

My boy is 8.

We are having a little party here tonight to celebrate too, but here are some photos of our birthday celebration for Jude while we were in Mexico. My mom invited all the kids from the church, and it was so cute how they all came with their little party bags to celebrate the birthday of a kid they had never met! ha And it was especially funny to see how they all communicated with each other without knowing one another's language. Kids are amazing that way.

Thanks Mom for going all out and asking Radish the Clown---or was it Turnip---- to be there with shape balloons. The pinata was a big hit as well.

I don't think my dad noticed this little girl rubbing her head. Made me miss Ava!

Look was in charge of raising the pinata

The worship leader from church gave Jude his first guitar lesson, since music is what he loves most. Anyone know of anyone who gives guitar lessons here locally?

And I just couldn't resist this photo at the end of the day. Definitely bath night.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Compassion International

On Saturday, we had the opportunity to go to an indian village to see Compassion International in operation.

This young indian girl is named Marlita, (yes, named after my sister Marlita). She is 17 and loves Jesus and is one of the leaders of this Compassion ministry to the children in her own village. How cool is that.

I enjoyed playing with my camera at the Indian village because the children actually pose for the photos, unlike my own 5 little subjects.

I was standing at the right place at the right time for this one below. John and the little girl are each taking each other's photos...

Compassion provides clothes, a weekly meal...

And a Bible lesson every Saturday morning

We really enjoyed being a part of this experience of caring for children.....
And the need

The typical dress there for women consists of these colorful and lacey costumes

Handmade by the women in the village out of these materials....

My girls each wanted to buy one for $10 each and they wore them to church on Sunday. I cracked up at Hope telling a lady, in english, "I'm not really a Mexican. My daddy just bought this dress for me."

Perfect for twirling in.....

Does that bring back memories?

So glad I made her wear shorts that morning!