Monday, December 26, 2011

Reflections on Christmas

There have been many things on my mind this Christmas season. A post about Carter's first Christmas will be coming soon, but I wanted to take a minute to bullet point some of my reflections of experiencing Christmas at ACCH.

-For some of our kids this is one of the hardest times of year. This can be wonderful as we can help make it very special for them. On the other hand this can make it hard because it can mean an increase in frustrating behavior because of the emotions they are dealing with.

-Many, many groups of people want to donate to our children at Christmas. This is a huge blessing!

-My perspective on giving gifts to others in need at Christmas time has very much changed since being here at the Home.

-We did not even give our children everything that was donated. If we had, they may have received upwards of 40+ gifts each. I've learned it gets a little ridiculous. And this is AFTER turning many people away that want to donate.

-It's really hard to teach gratefulness when these kids have not been taught that before AND they get EVERYTHING they could possibly want.

-I've learned that some of the people giving to others at Christmas are actually doing it for themselves not for the ones they are giving to. We had people that wanted to come see the kids on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to sit with them for a while and give them gifts so they would not be alone on Christmas Day. When we explained that they are not alone-they are a part of a family with normal family Christmas plans and activities and therefore they could not come people were truly upset. They did not want to drop off gifts if they could not come on the big day. If we told groups we had more than enough gifts for Christmas would they be interested in coming for a birthday or at Valentine's Day or some other activity they would tell us no-only Christmas. We have more people "interested" in our kids between Dec 1st and 25th than the entire rest of the year combined. To me this has been heartbreaking, and I've had to work on anger regarding this as well. I've also wondered if I ever gave to others during the holidays for my sake more than theirs? Hmmmmm... I pray I never do that again!

-Despite the emotions of the holidays for my kiddos, Christmas still allows them moments to JUST BE KIDS! For just a minute they can forget about adoption processes, visiting parents in jail, wondering if they will ever have a "normal" family, and all the other things going on in their young heads that I don't even know. They were able to JUST BE KIDS! It was wonderful to see!

It's been an emotionally overwhelming holiday in many ways. I'm so thankful we had 3 of our kids with us for Christmas. I pray that in some precious way we have touched their hearts this holiday with the spirit of Jesus!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Long Time No Post

Wow! It is really hard for me to make time to post. When I finally have a moment, I'm too tired to put any coherent words together. So, let me see if I can do a good update without being too long-winded.

Taylor is doing well and getting more involved in many things. He is apart of a men's BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) group on Monday nights. It was very important to both of us that he get involved in some type of study, so we decided to make this a priority even though it's on a weeknight when the kids are home. My mom is able to come by and lend me a hand so that he can go and enjoy this time. He has begun leading worship at the church we have been attending. They do a song leading rotation and he's leading a time or two a month. I love that he gets to continue using that gift but also get to sit with him at times too. It's the best of both worlds. On the Sundays he doesn't lead he is usually holding Carter singing tenor into his ear. Carter loves it! Shortly after we got married, Taylor had a short stint as a tenor in a southern gospel group from east Texas. Due to many reasons, it did not work out at that time. Interestingly, it seems that it is going to work for him to sing with them again even though now we are another state and time zone away. The guys are making plans to sing occasionally while we are on relief. They may not get to sing each month, but will try to as much as they can. The group will be able to fly Taylor out for the weekend, sing once or twice, and then he can fly back for the rest of our relief. He is really excited about this possibility! I'm thankful for it as well. He NEEDS this in his life.

I am also involved in a BSF group on Thursday mornings. BSF has an incredible children's program as well, so Carter gets to go with me. He loves it, and his teachers are fabulous. They spend their time with him singing hymns and praying over him. They will also begin teaching him some simple signs. I'm so thankful to be apart of BSF. It's a weekly respite that revives and challenges me. I am hoping to begin spending a couple times a month with another young mom just as a chance for some socializing with another woman at this same stage that I am in.

As far as life here at the home-we are still trucking along. It is definitely THE hardest thing we've ever done. We have days where we aren't sure we will make it through the day, but then something happens that reassures us we are exactly where we need to be. One of the reasons we talked about doing this is the idea that God doesn't call us to do things that are easy. If it wasn't hard we wouldn't need His grace to do it.

Now about my sweet boy! Carter turned 6 months old on Monday. He is growing and changing so fast! He is such a great little boy. Easy going most of the time which is such a blessing considering all of the other craziness going on around us. He is beginning to learn that he can make the other kids laugh, so he's becoming a little ham at times. It's fun to watch. It won't be too long before we have to start telling the kids when not to laugh at him so we can teach him when he can't do something (like continually throwing food on the floor-or something like that). Here's some facts about my boy:
-14 lbs., 13 oz (10th percentile)
-26 1/2 in (50th percentile)
-his head circumference is also in the 50th percentile
-started solid food at 5 months old
-nurses 5 times a day - occasionally throwing in a 6th feeding
-3 of those times he also gets solid food
-Foods we have tried: bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, peaches, pears, brown rice cereal, and green beans. I am making all of his food. He has yet to reject something.
-He usually makes a funny face on his first bite no matter what it is-even if he's had it several times. I don't know if he's just trying to remember which food it is, or what...but after that first bite he gobbles up the rest with no problem.
-Can roll both directions when he wants to
-Sat up by himself for a few seconds on November 27th. He is doing really well staying pretty balanced sitting with the boppy surrounding him.
-LOVES music...he will stop whatever he is doing to listen
-has recently developed a love of cuddling-more so than he ever has before. He is still SUPER wiggly, so you have to be prepared for him to jump out of your lap at any moment. But, he has recently decided he likes to lay his head down and snuggle from time to time.
-He still prefers to be put down to fall to sleep on his own, but he likes to snuggle before then.
-He is weaned from his swaddle-goes down with a cuddle blankie and a blanket on his legs
-Talks and laughs often during the day
-He is developing several different voices including a way to let you know he's frustrated. He will just yell if he's impatient-not cry-just yell. That won't fly for very long.
-We love him more and more every day!!!

Here's some pictures of my sweet little one. Once I get a few videos downloaded to the computer I will post those too.