It Takes a Village

As an adoptive mother of two special needs children from China, I sometimes feel guilty that our kids' needs are now essentially non-existent. We went into both adoptions prepared to face the potential worst-case scenario. And we came out with our expectations blown out of the water. I still harbor hopes of going back for a little boy in the future, and I find I'm continually drawn to boys with more significant special needs. Maybe God is preparing my heart for that journey.

What I know is that there are incredible, and I mean INCREDIBLE, mothers and fathers in this world who choose to adopt children with severe needs. Needs that often require daily help, therapies, and even lifetime special care. Needs that prevent children from ever living independently or experiencing life in ways that we would deem "full." In reality, many special needs kids are more satisfied and content than we can ever hope to be. They don't let their challenges hold them back.

In reality, the true heroes are the caregivers who, day in and day out, provide, nurture, and manage physical needs as well as emotional, behavioral, and social challenges. Whether it's a mom raising an autistic child, a spouse caring for a paralytic, an adult providing for an aging parent, or a friend assisting a cancer-consumed individual, caregivers can feel exhausted, isolated, and helpless.

If you're in this boat or know someone who is, read on to learn about Caregiver Village. Also, by joining, you can select one of Caregiver Village's selected organizations to receive $1!! What a great way to make a big difference for caregivers and the recipients.

Here's a description from their site:
You can also read more here.

Family caregivers are exhausted, stressed to the point of illness and frustrated by their isolation.Caregiver Village’s virtual village creates a close knit community where caregivers can discover a sense of deep personal satisfaction – and escape – from the hard, intense work of family caregiving; while simultaneously learning how to handle their stress and building online connections with people in exactly the same situation as them.

Caregiver Village members connect with friends, participate in book clubs with celebrity authors, journal, play mystery games, solve puzzles, and learn valuable information about caregiving.

Get involved and join now!


Blaze of Glory

Today was an exciting day for Carter.

For months, he has been infatuated with police officers, firefighters, superheroes, and even security guards. In other words...any person who "does good things and protects people." Last week, I was crowned with the best title my 3-year-old son has ever bestowed on me: "Queen of the Superheroes!" I was very flattered, and even more so when Carter said that he was going to protect me from all the monsters and bad people.

So in light of Carter's love for all things heroic (which, by the way, are even more impressive for C-man if it involves a cool costume or uniform), Sam and GramMe coordinated with the local firechief to schedule a visit for their grandson.
And out of sheer luck, I found these today at Target. PERFECT to complete Carter's fireman suit since he was fixated on dressing up for his special engagement.
I also found this adorable fireman raincoat. An unnecessary purchase but one that I couldn't help making once the inner kid in me was awakened.

A tour of the station, a look at a real pole (one of few that still exist in stations today), a chance in the driver's seat of the truck, a touch of a fire axe, and many more details are burned into Carter's memory for his lifetime. And what could top off such an amazing experience? Watching the men respond to an emergency call! The guys headed out in the truck with lights and sirens going full force, and Carter's eyes gleamed with admiration and adventure. Thanks Sam and GramMe for such a memorable afternoon!

P.S. Thank you to all of you who left suggestions for recovery services in the post below. I haven't tried any of them yet but plan to do that this week. I appreciate all your help and kind words! :)


1st Family of 5 Vacation!

We just arrived home from San Destin for a 4-day beach trip. And I admit that I am patting myself on the back for making it alone with 3 kids since Scott had to come home Sunday night. I was a little nervous when he left. :)

Caroline was off school yesterday and today, so we decided to take a family vacation. This was Grace's first time at the beach, and only Caroline's 2nd trip. (She had been once before at age 6 with her foster family in China.)

One big disappointment is that my camera died within minutes of us reaching the beach on Sunday morning. I hadn't been able to locate my charger before leaving home, so I was out of luck. Thankfully, Caroline had her camera with her. But when I uploaded pics to my computer last night, I found that many, MANY of them were missing!! Pictures of Caroline's face when she first got into the ocean, pictures of us burying her in the sand (at her request), pictures of her and Grace in the water, etc. She explained that she had deleted them because she didn't like the way she looked in those pictures or in that swimsuit!! AHHH!!! Typical tween. After venting, scolding, whining, lamenting, and finally accepting that all pictures from that day were gone, I moved on. And I was thankful that she considered yesterday's pictures to be satisfactory. So here they are....
Caroline did not like the feeling of the shifting sand beneath her feet, but that didn't stop her from loving the beach. Her favorite part was jumping the waves.

While on the subject of water, I had a funny moment at the hotel the first night. I was brushing my teeth, and I suddenly stopped abruptly. You see, the last time we were in a hotel was in China where you cannot drink water without getting very ill. You have to drink and brush with bottled water. For a brief moment, I forgot I was in Florida in the great US of A, and I thought I had made a huge mistake! :)

I didn't even have to ask the kids to pose for this pic. This was a candid! I am so thankful these 3 kiddos love being together (most of the time). :)
We're thinking we might make this an annual trip. October is such a great time to be down there!


Finding God in Pumpkins

Every year, we take the kids to a pumpkin patch. And that's usually where I grab a few pumpkins. But this autumn, I dropped into a local nursery to buy some mums and discovered an incredible variety of fall's favorite produce. From gray and pure white to ivory with orange and green accents, I was astonished by the artistry and beauty that God infuses into every little detail of nature. I feel sure you have all seen such pumpkins before, but I saw them anew this last week and felt inspired. Who knew you could find God in gourds??