Archive for July, 2009

Sami spent another two nights in the cat hospital in Sioux Falls. She developed pneumonia. I’m going to bring her home today despite the vet wanting to keep her  until tomorrow.

She has a gastro-nasal tube for liquid nutrition. She gets nebulizer treatments. She is on an IV with fluids and anti-biotics.

I keep thinking about all of the kids in Ethiopia who would be saved by this type of medical intervention. Emma tells me that the same argument as, "Eat all of  your vegetables. People all over the world are starving."

Emma says neither argument saves kids anywhere. 

She’s right of course, but what will? 

For reference:

Though Ethiopia has experienced a substantial reduction in child and infant mortality in the past 15 years, one in every 8 children does not survive to its fifth birthday. With a child mortality rate of 123 per 1000 and an infant mortality rate of 77, Ethiopia loses a large part of its children during their first month of life. The neonatal mortality rate is 39 per 1000. Maternal mortality has also experienced a decrease. The rate assessed at 871 deaths per 100 000 live births in 2000 has fallen to 673 in 20051.

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Poor Sami, our cat, has been sick for three weeks. She spent a weekend in the hospital on IVs, but then came home to us again. She got better on the IV treatment, but steadily returned to her really sick state. She will only eat and drink under extreme coercion. She sleeps under the blankets in Emma’s bed non-stop.

It’s so hard to know how much to do for sick pets. Sami is 8 years old, which I know isn’t a kitten anymore but really is young for a Siamese. She is Emma’s kitty.

Ironically, Sami’s mother, Suzzi  has been sick too.

Poor Emma can hardly think about anything else.

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The work continues in our kitchen. We are making progress and things are looking great. We are just waiting on the floor and a few details, like water and lights. We are grateful to friends Paul and Lisa who loaned us their camper. We always have a place to cook, nap and escape for a little while. It has been really helpful.

Since Megan just can’t manage the noise we still leave the house and wander the countryside on especially loud days. We had a long day to kill on Thursday when we left the house at 8:00 a.m. and didn’t return until 8:00 p.m. We visited several area parks and the pool. We ate Taco Johns in the park at noon and McDonalds in the park at night. We stopped home at 6:00, but the “fixer guys” as Megan calls them, were still working so off we went again. This time, we took Aunt Dode along. 
Shega made friends at every park. There was a brother (5) and sister (7) playing at one park. Shega quickly made friends with them. She brought them over to introduce them to me. Big sister was carrying a travel alarm clock around.  I asked about it and she told me that her aunt said that she and her brother had to stay at the park for two hours. They weren’t allowed to return to their aunt’s house until 2:00.  It was 12:45 at that time, so they had a bit of time to kill. I hope their mom wasn’t paying their aunt to watch them! Auntie didn’t check on them at all during the hour and half we were with them, so she must trust their sensibilities (and the neighborhood!)
So we killed some of the time together.
A mom with triplet babies plus an older 3 year old sibling arrived for a quick swing just before naptime. Our new friend introduced herself and Shega.
Friend: This is my new friend Sheila.
Shega: Shega.
Friend: WHAT?
Shega: Shega (a little bit louder with an emphasis on the ‘g’).
Friend: Shayla?
Shega: NO! SHEGA
Friend: Whatever!
I hope Shega doesn’t introduce herself as “Whatever” the next time we are meeting new friends while we are killing time at the park.

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Washing Megan’s hair can make ME very wet. Therefore, I removed my shirt before leaning over the tub.

Soon Megan was poking my tummy saying, "Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop."

She added, "Why do you have bubble wrap all over your tummy?"

Why indeed, Miss Megan!

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People in small towns sure know how to party! Here were a few of our favorite events at the Boyden Bash:

The pedal pull:

Kids ride small tractors that have weights in a two-wheeled trailer behind them. The weights move up toward the tractor, and off the trailer wheel with each pedal. The goal is to pedal until the weights hit the front end of the trailer. That’s called a "Full Pull". Thomas did great. He got second, but the girl that beat him has been a state champion and a competitor in the nationals several times. (I’ll bet you didn’t know there was a national competition for pedal pull.)

Cow Pie Bingo:

Megan loved to watch the cow. I’m not sure she knew that everyone was waiting for the cow to poop. We hadn’t bought a square, so we had no "horse in the race" so to speak. It was just fun to see where the poop landed.

Carnival games and inflatables:

The kids spent many hours going from game to game. Megan tossed bean bags about 1,000 times. The inflatables were open for most of the day. They happily bounced from place to place. The girls loved having their hair braided with pretty yarn. Everything was free, so they got to enjoy things as often as they liked.


Emma and her friends played volleyball in the park. They had a great time even if they did get beat by a group of good friends. The $100 prize money (winner take all) made volleyball a bit more competitive than they otherwise would have been. I think they are ready for a rematch.

Homerun derby and community softball game:

Steve was in charge of the ball game. Nobody in our family played, but the kids had a good time reading Laffy Taffy jokes into the microphone in the press box and cheering for the players. We’re eager for Joe and Kendra to come home from Paraguay so Joe can take part in the homerun derby. He’ll only miss one more! 2011 is coming quickly!

We had a great day! I’m sure we should have been working on our little remodeling project, but we didn’t want to miss a minute of the Boyden Bash!

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I decided that  "other calamities" needed its own post.

We are remodeling the kitchen. Noise and mess are our daily companions. We can’t find our dishes or our food. We’re getting by ok and can’t wait for the finished product, but in the meantime we definitely have our challenges.

Megan has an extreme aversion to the noise. Some of you may have seen her walking around with her fingers in her ears at every game where a buzzer can be found. She shakes, shivers and runs for cover with every loud noise. We’re lucky to be on the farm where sirens are few. Therefore, we have to leave the house with the first drill and hammer and we cannot come home until the last drill has been packed up for the day.

One day last week, we began by getting in the car deciding on a destination. Unfortunately, the open door dinger would not stop dinging. We checked all doors and hatches and reclosed them several times. We turned off the automatic doors. We turned the car off and on, but eventually we had to drive to the dealer. The mechanic came out and did all of the same things we had done. He decided the fix wasn’t an easy one and sent us on our way with an appointment for the next day. As we left he said, "Your tire is going flat…!"

We took our dinging car to the tire shop as it began to rain. It was pouring and thundering as I ran in and out of the tire shop. The folks at the tire shop said that they had no one to fix the tire for at least two hours. I knew I couldn’t keep Megan in the dinging car for two hours. The park was out  of the question in the pouring rain and so we were off to look for a different gas station where the tire could be repaired more quickly.  (I’m sure you are picturing a little girl who has extreme aversion to noise sitting in her carseat in the dinging car under the thundering skies while her mother drives around speedy quick looking for a station before the tire goes flat.)

About that time, I talked to Aunt Dode on my cellphone. She said, "You don’t have to be stuck with a bad day. Just start your day over."

I did start over and the beginning of our new day went just fine! Our trip to Taco Johns was pleasant. Our car was fixed when we returned and we made our way (albeit with a dinging car) back home in the rain. When we got home, I noticed we didn’t have much water pressure, but wasn’t sure why. About two hours later I discovered that Megan had turned on the spigot right by the house. She was slowly but surely filling the basement with water. In fact, by the time we discovered it, we had a lovely splash pad down there.

The steady rain outside helped the spigot do its work.

In addition, all three of the kids’ games were cancelled for rain. Thomas was sad because it was his last game of the season.

We are still cleaning up the stinky wet basement days after the splashpad incident.

Thanks for the advice, Aunt Dode. However, I think next time I’ll keep going with the bad day I already had!

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Those of you with teenagers know that it is hard to get a lot of household chores out of teenagers these days. They often have jobs along with many outside interests and activities. Although I have lamented the fact that it is hard to get many hours out of the teenagers, I really haven’t pondered the fact that household chores could be dangerous.

Last Friday, July 3, Emma was quickly washing the dishes before she had to leave for her final regular season softball game. We had canned meat for lunch. The last dish was the canning jar. I gave it a casual toss into the dish water for Emma to scrub. Apparently, that toss chipped the top of the jar just a bit. When Emma put her hand in to scrub the inside of the jar, she cut the outside of her thumb right to the bone.

We knew immediately that some stitches were necessary. Unfortunately, the clinics were all closed for the holiday. (WHAT! July 3 is not the 4th of July!!!) 

She made a quick trip the ER (an office call would have been cheaper!) in the town where she had to play. She was concerned that the doctor would tell her she had to sit this game out, but what he really said was, "If these stitches keep you from playing tonight, you’re a bigger wimp than a catcher should be."

We won the game. Emma played well, and the stiches are healing nicely. In fact, I pulled one of them out yesterday before another game. It was bugging her a bit and had already done its duty, so I gave it a clip and a tug. (We may have had to pay an ER fee for putting the stitches in, but we can skip the office call for stitches removal!)

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Shega is seven. I can hardly believe it. We kept her birthday low key this year, and she had a great time. She brought treats to ball and then we headed off with a couple of friends for tacos for lunch and a swim in the pool. At night we met with some extended family at the Pizza Ranch. She collected some fun new clothes, a new Webkins, a Jonas Brothers CD and a few other treats. She was definitely a star.

She has had a wonderful summer. She loved summer school and was sorry to see it end. She loved swimming! She enjoyed playing with friends during Emma and Thomas’ ball games. She absolutely LOVED playing softball. She has blossomed and grown so much this summer. I am humbled by her ability to stay positive through so many changes.

I have loved seeing her blossom and grow this summer. She has been an absolute joy. I thank God for her every day.

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We had a great 4th! We took a trip to Lake Shetek to visit Miss Gracie (and the rest of the family) on her ‘cation. The kids loved our day in the sun and water.  Megan loved th beach. Shega and Thomas and even Megan rode on the tube behind the boat. She did great!

Thomas drove the wave runner with his dad behind. He has spent the last 48 hours begging for a wave runner. He had a blast!

Yesterday was the big birthday bash! Shega is seven! YAY! I’ll give her a post all to herself soon. I can hardly believe how well Miss Shega is doing. Celebrating her special day was a joy indeed.

More later….

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I wrote another blog post for the Katelyn’s Fund site. The post is about attaching in adoption. It is also about fear. I’m still fearful, though trying to live each day afresh.

Since summer school is over, I have more time for blogging (and more time for fear!)

Here’s the post:

Bonding in adoption

Some adoptive parents focus so much on the adoption and the process of bringing their new child or children home, they neglect planning for bonding with their adopted child. Still other adoptive parents feel that love will simply be enough. Christian parents may feel that prayer will solve all difficulties that arise with bonding.  Still others are too afraid to research attachment in adoption fearing that they might find information that is difficult to digest. In retrospect, I wish I had thought and prayed about bonding with our adopted kids more before the adoption.

I recently wrote a blog post on fear. Attachment difficulties have consistently been the biggest source of fear for me in adoption. As an adoptive mom of two sisters, attachment concerns have definitely been a part of our experience through the past two years. (Forgive me if I’ve portrayed a problem free life!)

Almost nothing in my life has driven me to my knees in prayer as much as this issue. It has been humbling to struggle with parenting.  However, God has been faithful. He made us to live in community with others. He designed us to love one another. I can see that He would have me learn to trust Him to provide the love I need in order to give these precious children the love they need.
Some attachment issues have been beautifully and simply resolved through God’s faithful care over time. However, other problems have persisted. We have had to look for outside resources for support as we parent. We have consulted an attachment therapist, a physical therapist, a family therapist and several school specialists. As issues arise in the future, it is likely we may need to find others to assist our family.
If you are considering adoption, or are dealing with difficulties with bonding and attachment, I would encourage you to seek God’s care and provision asking Him specifically to provide you with the love and care you and your children need. In addition, I would encourage you to seek the assistance of professionals whose work it is to help families.
The God that puts families together through the miracle of adoption can be trusted to bind and knit them together. I am often found singing this hymn:
Bind Us Together
Words by Bob Gillman
Bind us together, Lord,
Bind us together with cords
That cannot be broken.
Bind us together, Lord,
Bind us together,
Bind us together with love.


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Here’s a link to an article in Vogue. This mom adopted through the same agency as we did. She expresses many of my own thoughts.


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Emma came home from a bonfire gathering of teenagers recently. She said, "We told scary stories and I’m freaked out!  I don’t know if I can sleep."  Before she told me one of the stories she had heard, she added, "We heard that this story is really true. It happened in Sioux Center."

The story sounded remarkably similar to the scary stories I had heard about 30 years ago while huddled around similar bonfires.

Although I no longer struggle with fear around "true" stories of phone cord cutting, knife wielding strangers, I am struggling with many fears lately.

Last month, I wrote a blog post for the Katelyn’s fund blog. It was about fear. I wish that the struggle with fear had disappeared from my life, but it is still here.

I will say, the fear is driving myself to my knees. Maybe that’s the purpose.

Here’s the blog post from Katelyn’s Fund:

Isaiah 41:10

       So do not fear, for I am with you;
       do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
       I will strengthen you and help you;
       I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

The adoption journey is wonderful. It can also be scary. It is human nature for us to be fearful of the unknown and adoption is full of unknowns.

Fear raises its ugly head around many aspects of adoption. Parents fear the costs of adoption or the costs of raising a child. They fear the reactions from friends and family. They fear the paperwork. Fear doesn’t stop when the adoption decision has been made. Parents fear whether or not their child will be healthy, whether their child will adjust, whether their children at home will be neglected when they are blessed with a sibling. When our adopted children come home, fear keeps us wondering whether they will grow up godly, be safe and healthy, etc… It goes on and on.

Both adoption and parenting can move us out of our comfort zones. The fear can wrap its arms around us and keep a strangle hold on us, preventing us from fully experiencing God’s grace and provision for us.

The bible is very clear about fear. One source says that the bible tells its readers not to fear 365 times; once for every day of the year.

Examine your fears. Are they keeping you from fully enjoying God’s loving grip on your life? Do not be afraid. God’s plan will be fulfilled in your actions when you trust in Him.

There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.1 John 4:18 (NIV)


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