Sunday, October 4, 2015

Where We Are Today.

Today, I am going to do a little update to let everyone know how we are doing lately. Our life is always busier than the average family but God is always faithful and true.  I am so grateful that He carries us and gives us strength to do what needs to be done.
I guess I will start with an Antonio update.  Two weeks ago Antonio had a huge set back.  He, over the course of three days, slowly reverted back to the way he was just after the Botox injections.  He could not smile, eat, talk or move his body.  I took him back to the neurologist.  This neurologist is at a loss.  He has never seen this with Botox before.  They did another CT scan to rule out a shunt failure and more blood work to rule out infection.  All came back normal.  He is scheduled to have an EEG to look for seizure activity.  He has never had seizures before, so I feel this is not an issue.  I was so frustrated with this neurologist after the appointment.  It is plain, before his face, as to what has happened and he will not say it and admit it.  That limits the amount of help I can get for Antonio, as his insurance is going to want a reason for his decline in health when I request therapy, to help in his recovery and building strength.  I was so angry with this doctor, that I did some research on my own, on the internet.  I was not surprised in what I found.  There are so many people out there, that are going thru the exact same symptoms as Antonio after Botox and the other brands of botulinum toxin shots.  There are many support forums for people damaged by Botox and other botulism toxin injections.  So many people who have horrible symptoms.  Some damaged for many months, some for years and some people who have been permanently damaged and are on disability.  Some people have even died. 

I went to Antonio's pediatrician and spoke with him about Antonio. He said Antonio has all the classic signs of Botulism/Botox overdose.  That it could be up to 48 months before Antonio could be over all the symptoms he is having.  There is nothing that can be done, except for supportive care, till this clears and passes, if it does.  Sigh.  I am so sad for Antonio.  He has always been such a smiley, bright, happy, chatty, young man.  As of today he still can not smile.  He tries to communicate a few times a day and it comes out as a mumble.  I can sometimes understand him but if I missed it, he does not repeat himself.   He can say ya and no but it takes him about 20 seconds to answer me, if he is going to.  He can lift his arm for a moment and move his head from side to side.  He is weak.  We are very concerned for his health heading into cold and flu season.  We are trying to keep his life the same as always, as he is aware and in there.  We are still taking him places and changing his view and environment throughout the day.  Putting in different movies for him, letting him watch his animals and watch the children play.  I will never let him have another Botox shot of any kind.  I just pray for his healing.  For this toxin that is trapped in his muscles to clear from his body.  For the weakness and damage to be healed.  Bless his heart.

William working on his animation videos.
William is doing well.  He has been a great help and support thru the last few months.  He has stepped up to help with the extra care with Antonio and helped do many of Carolyn's chores while she could not.  He has watched children for me so I could devote time to the children who have needed me most and also so I could take children to their doctors appointments alone, so I could really pay attention to what was being said and ask the questions I needed to.  God bless William really well.

Carolyn is doing much better since having the fall that knocked out her front top tooth.  She is in very little pain now and can chew soft foods in the back of her mouth.  So no more pureed food.  Yeah!  She still can not bite using her front teeth, for quite a while, to give her tooth a chance to reattach.  She is back to doing ballet and her normal chores. 
She is going to start riding her pony again once the weather gets better.  It has been a bit wet and rainy here lately.  We also got her results from all the testing that was done by the psychologist.  We learned a lot about Carolyn and can now make the best plans for her future.

Zeke is about to be tested with the school system to see if he qualifies for the autism program, that they have at a school close to us.  They all feel he will qualify.  They have one teacher and five students in it right now.  Tim and I have not decided if we will send him a few days a week or full time.  We are in prayer about it.  We have talked to him about it little and he was emotionless. He is flaccid most of the time, so that was not surprising.  I am praying he will like it and maybe make a friend or two.  He still spends a lot of time making videos as well.  He is such a wonderful young man.  We love him so much and want the world for him. 

Elizabeth has started back to ballet as well.  She is going one day a week and we have a ballet tutor come out to the house one day a week to work with the girls.  So lots of ballet time.  She is still struggling with her behavior and school work.  She has gone thru a growth spurt and is much taller than me now.  She is only 12 so she is going to be tall!
Billy is doing very well lately.  I have started measuring out his meals, by calories, to try to help him have smaller meals and not take so long to eat.  I am also giving him mostly foods he eats faster so he has time to play.  I am hoping to get his mealtimes going faster, so I can start to home school him some this winter.  He is amazing smart and really ready for this.   His behavior has also improved over the last few months.  I can now often give him a warning and he will reconsider what he was going to do.  Praise God! that is wonderful progress.  He is still very active and easily distracted but trying so much harder.

Timothy is doing so well lately.  The whole time we have had him, he has been stuck, in his mind and actions, as a 15 month old child.  He is very immature and unaware of life around him.  In the past few weeks he is starting to put two and three words together and acting more mature.  He is understanding so much  more.  I am praying this will help us in the potty training area, as we have been potty training since February faithfully, with no signs of him making any connections in his mind.  He is finally clapping when he goes in the potty and is aware when he goes.  I know...the simple things in life make my day.  :)  He is still so far behind, in so many areas but Praise God, is starting to make progress now.  He will be three soon, my sweet boy.

Kinsley is doing nothing short of amazing.  God has done such a wonderful work in her life and health.  She is walking!  15 steps is her record right now!  She is eating diced foods and self feeding.  She is cutting her back  molars right now, so that will open up a whole new world of foods for her, as she will be able to really chew instead of just gumming things.  She sleeps thru the night and acts like a toddler in so many ways.  She is behind but progressing steadily.  She definitely has vision issues but her vision is functional in our home environment and will smile at me if I smile at her.  Her right eye has very few optic nerves but her left eye has almost all of them.  So I think she is seeing pretty well with her left eye.  She tips her head a lot when she is watching tv or looking at a book.  She is a joy and our sweetie pie.

Baby "A" is growing fast!  She just turned five months old!  Where has the time gone!  She has rolled over a few times and will stand in her little play saucer.  She sleeps thru the night and takes four bottles a day.  Three meals and a bed time bottle.  She still has anxiety and has intense crying spells but not nearly as often as when she was younger.  It is mostly when she is out of her environment, around new people and when she is over tired.  Evenings are the hardest for her to settle down for sleep.  She still has nursing issues and has trouble latching on her bottles.  She has reflux, gags a lot and has sensory issues in her mouth.  She only eats for me.  If anyone else tries to feed her she screams.  When I do have to be away and Tim tries to feed her, it take him an hour or more.  Her biological mom is out of jail and baby "A" has been having twice a month visits with her.  Sadly, her mom has done nothing on her case plan at all.  Baby "A" has a panel review this month.  I pray for salvation for her mom and that she makes better life choices.

We as a family are doing fine. 
I can see that this fall, life is going to settle down some and we will have a better routine.  I think we need some home time and good solid quiet time together.  Now that I don't have a very young infant anymore and "A" has matured and grown some, I have times when she is playing and not needing me to feed her every few hours.  So I am getting some things done around the house again.  I am even feeling up to making some homemade meals again for supper, which has been nice for all of us.  Tim and I are also getting better sleep, as we, for the first time in a year and a half, don't have any children sleeping in our room anymore.  I am a light sleeper and every little baby noise wakes me.  It is now very quiet in our room and Tim and I are enjoying being able to watch a movie together, on movie night again, in bed together, with out worries of waking a sleeping baby.

The weather is cooling and we are going to take the next nice week off from school, to winterize the property.  Things like clean out the whole barn and get more hay, have the chimney cleaned and stack wood on the back porch, clean out all the flower and vegetable beds and put manure in them all, cut all the brush down along the fence lines and things of that nature.  I have started fall cleaning inside of the house already.  It feels good to purge out a lot of things we don't need and use anymore and de-clutter a bit.

God is so good to us always and life is good.  We will always have things going on here to work thru and things that need serious prayer.  It is part of having such a large family, with many children that have varying needs.  We always feel blessed and feel God helping us.

May the Lord God in heaven, reach His mighty hand down to help you in the areas you need Him.  May He lead and guide you as you live and grow in Him.

John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.



Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Billy Is Four Years Old!

When you came to our home you were just 2 years old.  You were scared, hurting, delayed and so very sick.  You and your brother had just gotten out of the hospital from having I.V. antibiotics for staph infections in the diaper area.  You had surgery to drain a staff abscess in your hip.  Those ice blue eyes, sweet face and blonde curls just melted me from the start.

I did a lot of praying, holding and comforting.  There was a lot of screaming and crying as you and your brother detoxed meth.  It was exhausting at times. 

You and your brother could barely chew food and had been tied in car-seats your whole life.  Bottles were your only nourishment and comfort.  I used them for bonding and weaned them very slowly.

You knew only 20 words and most were not good words for a toddler to know.  Toys were for breaking and using as weapons.  You had enough anger and energy for 50 kids are so very smart, you wanted to learn.  So we began to teach you about God and life.

You learned about meal times and how to eat and chew.  You have come so far but still have a ways to go in this area.

We have all taken turns sitting and teaching you how to play with toys appropriately.
You have had a lot of firsts here.  Like bowling.
Kidz play.
and going to the Dentist.

You have had your first ever Thanksgiving, trip to the zoo, the aquarium and so many more field trips here with us.  Your behavior has been "over the top hard" most days but you love us all and have come so very far.  Its been a long hard road but you are worth it!  We love you so much!  God is doing a work in you!

You have grown from a toddler to a boy!

 You have matured...some.  :)

 You have your own daddy for the first time ever!

And so many siblings that love you!
Adoption day was such a joy!
When your birthday was approaching, we asked you what you wanted to do for your big day and you said...Go to a museum to see dinosaur bones and go back to Chuck E. Cheese!

So we took you to Chuck E. Cheese and the next field trip we try, when things slow down, will be a museum.  (I have to find one close by with dinosaur bones!)
Look at Carolyn being so brave!!!She has a fear of mascots!
Billy's favorite cartoon right now is Paw Patrol.  So my amazing sister made this cake for him this year!  Thank you Aunt S, you and Uncle B are the best!
We love you so much Billy!  I am so happy, to be blessed to call you my son!  I look forward to the many years of raising you, as unto the Lord, that lay ahead.  You have a wonderful future ahead of you!  Happy, Happy, birthday my big four year old boy!

Romans 3:20-24  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Love, Dad, mom, Stephen, Antonio, William, Carolyn, Zeke, Elizabeth, Timothy, Kinsley and baby "A"

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Night At The Fair!

Here in the North Georgia Mountains, with fall comes... festivals, Pumpkin Patches, hay rides, apple farms and the fair!  We have not been to the fair in a while but I knew our youngest four had never been to one.  So I had it in my heart to take Billy and also some of the other children, as a reward for all the hard work we have been doing lately.  We have been very busy and have a lot going on, so I did not know if I would have the energy or time to take some of the children to it.  It was definitely a spur of the moment decision.  Tim stayed home with the babies and Elizabeth, as Elizabeth is on restriction and Zeke, as he is terrified of amusement parks and fairs.  I took Antonio, William and his friend "J", Carolyn, Billy and Timothy.  I was not planning on taking Timothy but all thru dinner, I kept trying to encourage Billy to eat fast and told him I was taking him somewhere special if he ate quickly. I guess Timmy thought I meant him too, as he ate his dinner in record time and kept saying "bye, bye now?"  How could I not take him too?  :)

Antonio loves going to the fair.  He loves watching everyone ride the rides.  He enjoys the petting farm and eating a little bit of fair food.  His favorite is cotton candy!  Carolyn wanted to go so bad but was very worried someone might accidentally bump her in the mouth.  She decided to come along anyways, just to see the sights, as she could not chance riding any rides.  Even though she still could not smile much yet, she had a very good time.

Billy and Timothy had a wonderful time.  I stayed in the kiddie section with them for most of the time.  They had a great selection of rides for their age group.

William and his friend "J" had a great time.  They would go ride some wild rides together for a while and then come back and take the toddlers on a few rides that needed an adult with them.  I don't ride rides.  It messes up my balance for a few days.  So I was grateful they gladly did this.
They made it a lot of fun.

Carolyn and I took Antonio and the toddlers to the petting farm area.  They had a ball feeding all the animals.

Billy and Timothy had a camel ride.  Billy is very ruff in all he does.  Even his love.  :)

As the sun set and it got late, Antonio, Billy and Timothy began to show how tired they were, from staying up past their bedtimes.  Antonio's eyes look tired in the picture below.
I brought the double stroller in case the toddlers fell asleep but they didn't till we put them in their car-seats.  Then they were out!

Thank you Lord for the funds and energy to take the children out to make this memory.

John 16:33  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.




Saturday, September 19, 2015

By The Grace Of God

Many people look at our family and ask how we do it.  The absolute truth is we don't.  It is truly by the grace of God, that the children are cared for, all needs are met, all house hold duties get done and all barn chores accomplished.  Tim and I work very hard from before the sun rises, till way after it goes down,  just to meet the necessities.  We try to squeeze in fun times amongst busy daily life, home schooling and the many appointments we have. 

We in all aspects are a normal family, plus some. 
Some of the children relaxing and watching a cartoon. 

I try to keep things real here on the blog.  To let people know what it is like to have a large family, foster, adopt and care for children with specific special needs but truthfully, I could never squeeze it all in.

I could never portray us as always happy and never with out great struggles.  I could never portray my children as always happy, well behaved, easy going children, as that is just not reality. 
Our life is happy and blessed but at times very hard.  We live daily with more than the average amount of behavior issues, tantrums, Dr/therapy appointments, surgeries, hospital stays and childhood emergencies.

When I say it is by the grace of God that we make it thru every day, week and month, I mean it with my whole heart.  My husband and I rely on God daily for strength, energy, sleep, peace, joy and all that we need to get thru each day and God always provides just what we need.  When I say we are blessed abundantly, I feel it daily.  God is so good.  We are happy and content.  We just have to take certain parts of our life in stride and except it as part of who our children are and the seasons we are going through right now. 

This week started out with yet another unexpected emergency.  Carolyn has low muscle tone, from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.   She and the other children with low tone, in our home, trip and fall often.  On Monday morning, Carolyn was just walking across her room and tripped.  She hit her mouth on the corner of the blanket chest.  It bruised and scraped up her mouth, knocked out her front top tooth and hit the roof of her mouth hard.  I quickly called Tim so he could head home to watch the children, called the dentists office, to find out what to do and tended to her. 

I was amazed at how huge the root is in a front adult tooth.  She was in so much pain.  I put the tooth in milk and took her to the dentist.  They were able to re-implant the tooth but don't know if her body will reattach to it or not.  Only time will tell.  Because it was an emergency situation, the dentist just glued her tooth to the teeth on each side of it to stabilize it.  We  made an appointment for three days later, to let some of the trauma heal and then they were going to do a more permanent and aesthetically pleasing job. 

She was in so much pain that she started vomiting and could not stop.  She shook constantly and I could not manage her pain, so I had to take her in to the ER.  We were there till almost midnight before everything was under control and we had a way to manage it all at home.  She was also very dehydrated so they did IV's.  This all  happened on the day she was supposed to start back to ballet, so she was very upset and miserable. 
The next day I was very busy caring for the whole family and trying to keep her fed, hydrated and comfortable.  She does a lot around here and we have all had to chip in to pick up the slack and give her a chance to rest and heal.  She can not chew, bite down or use a straw for six weeks!  Any of those things can put pressure on and move her tooth and prevent it from reattaching.  So I am pureeing soups for her to trickle in thru the side of her mouth.  My sister bought her a huge box of puddings, yogurts and soups.  Thank you Aunt "S" and uncle "B", that gesture blessed her heart. 

Tuesday evening, just before bed time, she came into my room and said she thought one of the glues had popped off.  I looked and it had.  There was now only one glue holding her tooth in.  It was now much more painful as it was not as stable and moving some.  The dentist office was closed that could fix this.  I told her to be as still and careful as possible and I would get her into the dentist as soon as they opened.  I did not know how on earth I was going to manage, as all of the other children had to be at therapy by 8:00 a.m. the next morning.  Tim could not help me, as at work, he had a huge order that had to be filled.  Glory to God, William was able to help me out and did not have to go to his GED program.  He watched the children at therapy, while I took Carolyn in to the dentist.  The other glue fell off in the dentist hand while we were there.  Thank you God for keeping that tooth in thru the night. 

They put a metal wire behind all her upper teeth and glued it down well.  From the front, her teeth look as it did before the accident.  We pray her tooth will reattach and be fine.  If not they will have to do an implant.  Her mouth and face is very swollen but it is going down every day.  The pain is manageable with regular Tylenol now.  Praise God.  She is eating and drinking a bit more at a time but lost four pounds since Monday.  She is sleeping in the recliner, as she says if she lays down flat, her mouth throbs.  Bless her heart. 

I am way behind on blog posts and have a lot more to share...all in good time.  :)

May the One True and Only God, Maker of heaven and earth and all that is there in, be with you this fall and guide you in all you do. 

Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.