8iRWeiXjcKj9kUz5Tebo4_k_FtY Life with Two Special Needs Children: September 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Looking Ahead to October

As I sit here I keep thinking about how busy my October is going to be.  Both Caleb and Cassidy have psychiatrist appointments, Caleb has hippotherapy every Wednesday and an appointment with the geneticist, Steven has speech therapy every Wednesday, one appointment with the physical therapist to discuss what the developmental pediatrician says and see how he's doing, an appointment with the developmental pediatrician and an evaluation for hippotherapy, Cassidy has therapy and a nueropsych appointment, I have therapy and a physical appointment.  Oh, it's going to be a very busy month!

Steven's appointment with the developmental pediatrician is a big appointment.  We will learn at that appointment as to whether or not she is still concerned about cerebral palsy.  Steven turns 20 months old today. He has finally started walking, but he is still not talking, which is why we have started weekly speech therapy.  Anything and everything we can do to help him!  I am not at all worried about him getting the cerebral palsy diagnosis.  However, if he does get it, I want to move forward with getting him on the necessary waiting list for future services, which we obviously will do as soon as possible.

The other big appointment is Caleb's geneticist appointment.  Since our first appointment last November, Caleb has had numerous tests (I don't even truly know how many actual tests that there were or even what they all were).  From our understanding all of these tests have come back negative.  While that's a VERY good thing, there's also still something that is causing the fact that Caleb's IQ has dropped so dramatically and the fact that he has lost skills and is very much a 2 year old in a 9 year old, 80 pound body!  I really want some answers, but am concerned about what it's going to take to get those answers (or even if there's a possibility to get answers!)

To top it off my dishwasher still is not fixed.  I feel very spoiled and want to jump up and down demanding my dishwasher be fixed.  I am very grateful that I have food to be able to eat and feed my family, so that I actually have dishes to do!  (But I do want my dishwasher!)  I found out today that our warranty company is actually trying to figure out whether it is more cost-effective to repair our dishwasher or whether they're going to replace it.  I'm actually crossing my fingers for a new one!  The motor is locked up and the repair place told me that the part is well over $200 and that doesn't include labor. So hopefully I will find out soon what the decision is!

Is is November yet?

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Two weeks ago Caleb started his second 10 week session of hippotherapy.  It's amazing how different he is on the horse.  The first week he had a very difficult time focusing on the tasks that his OT was asking him to.  However, once he got on the horse and got going he was focused, focused, FOCUSED!  It continues to amaze me the difference an animal can make in a person's life!

Here are a few pictures from week 1.

Greeting Luke!

Ms. Kori is reminding Caleb that he cannot squeeze Luke with his legs or Luke will be confused.

Time to get on.

Getting on by himself.
 It's amazing the difference in Caleb.  Last March when Caleb started, he would not get on the horse without help.  Then when he was actually on the horse he would scream, "I'm going to die."  The difference is AMAZING!!!!

Getting situated in the middle.

"Walk on, Luke."

Two of the three amazing volunteers that it takes to run each hippotherapy session along with the  therapist.

Zach and his sister Anna (not pictured) were two of the volunteers that worked with Caleb last spring and over the summer as well.

I hoped to get more pictures, but Steven got fussy and wanted to be held.  I am so thankful for this program! We are hoping Steven will be able to do this in March as well.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Life Interrupted - Priscilla Shirer - Part 2

So as I continued to work on days two through five of my "Jonah" study preparing for my next Bible study tomorrow morning, I was just amazed at how it felt like Priscilla wrote this study to me and for me!

In Day 2, Priscilla says this:
When we signed up to follow Christ, we automatically signed up to be open to "Divine Intervention" - God interruptions.  While His "call" might not always be convenient or easy, responding to it should not just be a duty but our joy.  We are getting the honor of partnering with the Lord in His purposes for this generation.
"Jonah:  Navigating Life Interrupted," page 14.

She quoted Psalm 145:17, "The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds" and said that we can count on this promise!  Amen!!!!

On Page 17, Priscilla says this,
Whether it's parenting a special needs child, starting a Bible study, remaining single for a bit longer, or even, like Jonah, reaching out to those who hurt you, He's purposefully given you the high honor of being the one He deemed suited for a task that has heavenly implications - a task of divine partnership that will yield magnificent results for you and for His kingdom.
What an honor!!!!

Priscilla gave us another equation to add to the previous set of equations,

Divine Intervention + Yielded Submission = ETERNAL SIGNIFICANCE

The point in Day 3 was that not who we are, what we do, where we're from or who is in our family does not make us significant.  We are significant by receiving God's call and being willing to obey that call.

Day 4 is all about who the real star in the story of Jonah, and ultimately our life, is.  That would be God.  I love the side quote that Priscilla gives us, "We've become so enamored with the big fish, we've lost sight of a big God."  Our God is a big God and He has proven that to me over and over!

She goes on to explain that God is the owner of everything and we are just managers.  It's when we take ownership that things go awry!

Priscilla had us read Ephesians 2:10, NASB, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."

She then lists six principles of purpose based on that verse.  They are:

  1. You are His.
  2. You are His workmanship.
  3. You are a masterpiece recreated in Christ Jesus.
  4. You are created masterfully for the purpose of being equipped to accomplish good works.
  5. You are equipped to accomplish good works that were prepared beforehand by God.
  6. You are equipped to accomplish preplanned good works by simply walking in them. 

God knew he wanted Tony and I to parent the children that He gave us.  And while I don't always understand, we just need to continue to willingly submit to Him and allow Him to maintain ownership!  It doesn't meant that we're never going to have struggles - and we can have struggles - but we will not make a mess of things if we allow Him to maintain the ownership and we just manage!

 Any idea what the main theme of Day 5 might be?  Well, it is titled Making Sense of it All.  How appropriate?!?!?!?!

I love what Priscilla says on page 29,
God's plans for us are so overwhelmingly beyond anything that we could ever imagine that our feelings or ability to reason His directives cannot be the determining factor for choosing obedience.  Making sense of what God has asked or feeling compelled to cooperate cannot be the prerequisite for choosing obedience.  His Word must be enough.
She then quoted Proverbs 3:5 from the Amplified Bible, "Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding."

I thank God that He has given us the Book of Jonah, that we may read about and learn how we need to make sure that we are allowing God to have ownership of what He has commanded us to do.  I strive to not take ownership and just manage what God has given me.  It's definitely not going to be easy, but I'm going to do my best.

While I still may wonder some days if I'm truly strong enough to handle the times when it seems like one of the kids is struggling more than I can do anything to help, I know that this is what God has equipped me to do and I just must willingly submit to whatever He asks!

I hope (and expect) to learn so much more from "Jonah:  Navigating the Life Interrupted" over the next six weeks!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Life Interrupted - Priscilla Shirer - Part 1

Back in March I read the book "Life Interrupted" by Priscilla Shirer, which looks deeply at the book of Jonah.  At the time my Woman's Bible study group  at church was doing her study "Discerning the Voice of God."  I picked up "Life Interrupted" when Tony and I went to Lifeway on a weekend getaway we took to Kansas City.  The book just really spoke to me!  When I learned that one of the studies that was going to be offered this fall was "Jonah:  Navigating a Life Interrupted" I just knew that that was the study that I was going to do.

Tuesday morning we met for our second time and watched the video for the first session.  All I could do was sit there and say "WOW!"  This study is really going to challenge me in a good way!

In the first video session and even in the book, Priscilla talks about various life interruptions (i.e., infertility, having a baby when you thought your family was complete, raising a special needs child, being single longer than you were wanting to, plus many more) and I felt like she was talking directly to me.  You see, Tony and I struggled with infertility and built our family through the miracle of adoption.

Now, when I was growing up, I thought I'd get married and have babies.  I never had any indication from any of my doctors that I would not be able to get pregnant, even though I always had difficult and non-regular cycles.

Shortly after we got married we attended a True Love Waits program (I think that was the program) that the base chapel we attended was having for the youth group.  It was very good.  We watched videos and the one video that really spoke to both of us was of a woman who was telling her story about how when she was young, unmarried and pregnant, she went to have an abortion; however, the abortion did not work and her baby was born alive.  Even though she was very small, she survived and has defied all the naysayers that she would not be able to function on her own.  The baby's name is Gianna Jennsen.  She has an amazing story, which you can find here.

While we were listening to this program, these verses from Psalm 139:13-16, NIV were quoted, that really spoke to both of us:

13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.

So when Priscilla mentioned infertility and special needs children, I felt like she was talking directly to me, as I have experienced both.

Priscilla's studies are a lot like Beth Moore's studies in that after you watch a video there are five days of homework to be done to dig further into the study before your next meeting.  

As I sat down to do my study this week, I was constantly being interrupted by dogs, phones or even kids - seeing as how Caleb and Cassidy were out of school Thursday and Friday.  I tried to do my study during nap/quiet time; however, the dogs and the phone didn't get the message!

As I turned to begin day one, the following was one of the first things I read:

I am Jonah.
I want to serve God ...
as long as it is convenient.
I desire to do His will ...
until it is a tad uncomfortable.
I want to hear His Word ...
as long as its message is one I'm supposed to pass on to someone else.
I don't want to have my plans interrupted.
Oh yes.  I am Jonah, and I suspect that in one way or another, you are too.

Yes, I AM JONAH!!!!  Are you?

One of the big points in Day 1 and the video, Priscilla was trying to get across was that we need to have a change in our perspective of life interruptions.  Instead of thinking of "life interruptions" as interruptions in the negative sense, we need to redefine interruptions "when it comes to our relationship with God."  (Jonah:Navigating a Life Interrupted, page 12).

Instead of having a negative connotation to interruptions, Priscilla is trying to teach us to think of "God's plan is a 'Divine Intervention.'"  (Jonah:Navigating a Life Interrupted, page 13.)

I love the equation that Priscilla gives to drive the point home:

Insignificant Person + Insignificant Task = Interruption

Significant Person + Significant Task = Divine Intervention
(Jonah:Navigating a Life Interrupted, page 13)

I'm going to have to do this in multiple parts as it's gotten very long already and there's still four more days!  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering - 9.11.01

As most people remember exactly where they were 10 years ago today, I can remember exactly where I was.  I was working at Wyrick, Robbins, Yates & Ponton sitting at my desk.  I had just tried to get on the Internet to look up something for the document I was working on and I couldn't get connected.  Then my phone rang.  When I answered it, the only thing I heard from my husband was, "They finally got us."  When he told me what happened I was completely in shock.

Then I panicked.  I had no idea what my dad's flying schedule was.  At that time, he was flying for Frontier Airlines and they flew into New York.  But I had no idea whether my dad was flying or was off.  I tried calling and couldn't get him at home, on his cell phone and I paged him MULTIPLE times to no avail.

Someone set up a television in the conference room on the floor that we were on and many of us were standing, watching in complete silence.  One of my co-workers was pregnant and her mom was on a plane at the time, flying into Raleigh for her baby shower that was that upcoming weekend.  We all did our best to comfort and support her.

My immediate supervisor was on a business trip and he started calling and checking on all of us.  He ended up having to rent a car and drive home a couple of days later, due to planes still being grounded.

I remember not being able to concentrate at all, as I still could not get a hold of my dad.  I called and called and still couldn't get through.  I ended up calling my parents' neighbors and woke them up, as they had been at the hospital all night with one of their sons who had had an emergency appendectomy, so they had no idea what had happened.  They did get up and look outside and saw my dad's truck, which meant that he was home.  I called my parents' house again and was finally able to talk to my dad.  What a relief that was!

That day forever changed our country.  I am so thankful for all the military members, police officers and fire fighters who serve us and put their lives on the line on a daily basis to protect us.  I pray that God would give His peace to all who lost loved ones 10 years ago today!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Adoption Day

So yesterday was Adoption Day!!  We had to be at the courthouse at 8:30 so I needed to be up early so I could get all the kids up and out the door by 7:45.  Normally, I can get Caleb and Cassidy up at 7 and they are both ready for the bus by 7:45, but I knew that when we actually have to be up and out the door that early, if something can go wrong it generally will, so I got up at 6:00 and got myself ready and then started getting the kids up and ready to go.  I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually a pretty smooth morning, especially seeing how our mornings have been going lately!

We arrived at the courthouse in plenty of time and waited for our attorney to show up.  He arrived with a new associate and headed back to the Judge's chambers to see where we were on the docket.  Our case ended up being third on the docket.  There was another attorney there that had two adoption cases that morning, so they went first.
I was very proud of both Caleb and Cassidy for waiting patiently.  

It was finally our turn and we went into the courtroom and sat at the table and waited for the Judge.  He came in and sat down and talked to us a little bit.  He then surprised me by asking, "So what about this process could have been done differently?"  Tony looked at me and I looked at him, then at the Judge and said, "Do you really want to know?"  He told me that he did.  I told him that there were HUGE paperwork delays on the part of the agency that made it very frustrating.  We talked about how that was not the first time that he had heard that and how they are working to change that, but it's not easy when there are many crisis situations that come up that leave adoptions put on the back burner.

With that he began signing the necessary papers.  The first document he signed was the Decree of Adoption.  Once he signed that he gave it to our attorney who took it to be filed and get the necessary certified copies.  Then he signed the Record of Adoption so that Steven's birth certificate could be changed.  Then he had another paper and he said, "While those papers that I just signed are important, this is the most important because it gets us (meaning the system) out of your lives."  I can't put into words the relief that I feel having that step completed!

After all the signings and the congratulations from the Judge, the Court Services Officer, our attorney and Steven's support worker, the Judge gave Steven a teddy bear.  We then took some pictures with the Judge.

Judge Henderson with our family of five!

Mommy, Steven and Mr. Curtis, Steven's Support Worker, whom we did monthly visits with.
So I introduce to you, Steven Lewis Sines!!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Adoption Eve

Tonight is Steven's last night to be considered a "ward of the state," as tomorrow we will be heading to court with our attorney to appear before Judge Henderson, who will ultimately deem Steven a Sines!  This date has been a long time coming!  But as I sit and look at the last 19 months, I see God's hand.

As with each of our adoptions, God has always been in control!  We had the normal roller coaster initially of whether or not Steven (that was before we even knew his name) was going to be placed with us or not.  See, what happened was this:

I received a phone call from our foster care worker about another matter.  When we finished discussing that, I asked her why we hadn't received any placement calls.  She told me about a baby and asked if we were interested.  We said we were.  She told me that she would submit our information and we would have to wait to find out.  Then we received a call from her that they had selected someone else.  Just a few minutes later, the phone rang again and it was our worker.  She told me that she was confused, they had actually selected us.  Now, at this time we had no thoughts that this placement would turn into an adoption possibility, since when children first come into custody there was always the intent that the children would return home to their biological parent.

Due to some issues during the birth, Steven was in the NICU and they wanted one of us to spend some time with him prior to discharge, so after we got all the other kids in bed, I headed to the hospital for a couple of hours.  When I arrived, I met the cutest little baby boy!  He was absolutely precious.

The next morning I headed back to the hospital and did some discharge education and waited until the agency received the necessary custody papers all while loving on that sweet baby boy!  The nurse then completed the discharge process and we headed home with a stop at the courthouse for some court ordered testing.

Caleb and Cassidy were thrilled to have a little baby in the house!  Steven has been an easy baby.  He's had lots of appointments, but we have managed and are will continue to get him all the necessary help and services as he needs for his developmental delays, just like everything we do for Caleb and Cassidy.

I thank God for bringing Steven into our lives and allowing us to parent him as a foster child, with the plan for us to be his forever, earthly parents!  I will be so glad when we walk into that courtroom tomorrow and sit with Judge Henderson as he signs the Decree of Adoption!!!!!