Friday, December 8, 2017

Mental Health Day

I get asked a lot “what do you do for yourself?”
Or told,
“You need to take time for yourself.”

And I get that!
And I so appreciate friends and family keeping tabs on me
to take care of myself while I care 
for my family, and the trauma that we have been going through. 


So,  I took a Mental Health Day!
I didn’t get my nails down, or get a massage...

Hagan had some follow-up appointments and one in particular,
I had a gut feeling, could be a little stressful!
(unfortunately, I was correct.)

So, I took these boys with me!! 



Laughter is the best medicine, right? 
And these boys make me laugh, giggle and just enjoy life!! 
Such a great mental health day!!



I was just going to bring Griggs with us, 
but, both Hagan and Griggs asked if Miles could come too! 
Nothing does a mommas heart better then 
to see her kids love and want to be with each other!!


The threee Amigos!! 


They can find fun wherever they are!


I didn’t get a photo, 
but these theee can make up games in any doctors room! 
I love their imagination!!! 

We even had time for a quick lunch, and everyone agreed
on where to eat! 
Thank you Jesus!! 



My sweet Griggs, 
as we were eating he looked across the table at me and said, 
“Mom, this is a blessing.”
“A blessing that we can just spend the day together! 
I love you, 
You are the best momma!”

Melt me!!
and really just what I needed!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

E

My boy needs more than I can supply.

This is so, so hard to say! 

We have had our share of medical issues with our kiddos-
But, there always seems to be a good answer.
A medical way to help heal our kids and their pains.

Today Miles asked me if Elijah would have 
surgery to fix him.

How I wish this could be so simple!
Unfortunately Elijah’s hurts and pain are too deep! 

Though I don’t have an “E” tattoo, 
I told Elijah that I will have an E written on my hand 
until he comes back home
from the hospital.




Every time I see this “E” we will,
think of him,
will pray for him,
will pray he can come home,
will pray that he can love himself,
will pray that he can heal,
will pray that he can be safe.
We will pray that he can find peace.


God has reminded me that I am not Elijah's rescuer...
but that HE is!
HE loves Elijah more then any of us!
HE is Elijah's creator and Savior!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

"I want to be normal"

Holding my 96lb 10 year old baby boy while he fights his pain
and anguish in the only way he knows how. 
As nestled into my chest,
his body melts into my body. 
His heart is racing faster than I can count.
His tears begin to flow.

His screams drastically change from anger to deep anguish. 
Holding to me as I rock him,
his grip on me gets tighter and tighter.
"I want to be normal." he cries out.


Because Elijah's past experiences, he suffers every minute of the day to trust,
to regulate his emotions as he tries to "be normal",
and is unable to see his own worth.
Yet, he is one of the strongest kids I know!

Unfortunately Elijah cannot articulate his aches and in many
ways he can't even process what is happening, 
and where the pain comes from.

The last month has been really hard on our boy. 
He has put himself and others in unsafe situations.
Thursday was a particularly rough morning yet, God 
orchestrated every step throughout the day.

We had been calling crisis treatment facilities in the area for weeks - 
only to be turned down with every phone call and every evaluation, 
hearing ...
"Yes, your boy needs help, but we don't have room.
Our beds are full. 
We will put Elijah on the waitlist."
(waitlists are 4 - 6 weeks long!) 
This breaks my heart in so many ways!! 
Y'all, we need to do better!!
OUR children are suffering!!! 
Why our psychiatric beds full for 10 year olds???


On Thursday we were able to get to a Dallas hospital that Elijah 
has been to before and where he felt comfortable. 
As we wait hours in the ER we again hear, 
"We have no beds available."
But there was no way we were leaving without help! 
I was ready to camp out in the ER for days if needed.

Hours later the social worker came to tell me that a facility that she 
had called that morning, and was turned away - had a bed open up!
She had already grabbed it for Elijah. 
Like I said, God had this day completely orchestrated!! 

Elijah didn't get settled in a bed until 3:30am. 
Sweet boy was completely exhausted but aware that I was leaving him.
When the nurse asked him to come with him,
he gave me a huge bear hug - like only Elijah can give. 

This is a short term facility that will help support Elijah for this time.
I've spoken to staff and love that they have seen his sweet,
compassionate side. 
My boy is loved by so many! 

Elijah's plea to be "normal" just breaks me! 
To him "normal" means to control his anger.
To be able to be on a soccer team and take instruction from a coach.
He wants to be successful with his school work. 
He wants to be safe. 
He wants to show love with an open heart 
and accept the love given him.

We are praying for peace for our boy! 
Peace from his hurts and 
peace for him to love without fear!
and for him to love himself. 
To understand he is worthy of unconditional love. 

Elijah is my miracle boy 
and God is moving mountains for him! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

One more week...

Only more week and this face will change.

This boy has had his share of surgeries but none have hit us as hard as this upcoming surgery.

It is so hard to talk about on so many levels.

Craniofacial surgery is scary (especially with Hagan's small airway, any surgery is scary!) but more then that it will drastically change Hagan's appearance.

This face that we first saw in an email when we were in Ethiopia meeting Donovan and Elijah.

This face that we had on our refrigerator and prayed over for a year and a half before God told us we were his family.

This face that made us laugh when we finally met him 4 years ago!


This face that shows compassion and pain all in one glance.


Those puppy dog eyes that can wrap mom around his chubby, ittle pinky!



This surgery is needed to enlarge Hagan's airway.  As Hagan gets older his airway is not getting larger.  His tonsils and adenoids have grown back, which will no doubt continue to do no matter how many times we remove them because we can't take all of the tonsils out, as his carotid artery runs through the right tonsil.


God has blessed us with the perfect surgeon!
10 years ago we met Dr. Fearon when we brought home Jailyn, for her cleft lip and cleft palate.
We love Dr. Fearon on so many levels!
Little did we know that 10 years later we would need the best surgeon for our son!!
And guess what?  Dr. Fearon is the man! He does this surgery more then anyone in the US.  
People travel from all over the world for Dr. Fearon to do this specific surgery!  
And God placed him in our life 10 years ago!!
God is so cool!!


Our hearts hurt for our son!
But we rest in knowing there are no surprises to God!!
He knew of this need for Hagan long before we even knew Hagan!!

The surgery Hagan is having is called Le Fort I.
We will be in the hospital for a week, unfortunately a different hospital then we normally go to.
Hagan will have a Halo device and feeding tube for 8 weeks.
His surgery is scheduled for March 20th.
And another surgery scheduled to remove the halo may 17th.
Because of the halo, Hagan will not be able to use his CPAP machine.  
We are praying that he will not need a temporary trachea and that this procedure will open his airway enough that we can trash the cpap machine!!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sometimes it's hard to see

I love to show photos of the growth my Miles 
has made in the 19 months that he has been in our arms!


But often we forget that his sweet heart is still broken,
still doubts, 
and still fears.


If I go out without him, he constantly asks if I will come back.
When he goes to bed,
he asks if I will be there in the morning.

Though some of his questions may seem "normal",
when we think of his beginnings 
we know where these doubts stem from.


Miles attends speech preschool for 2 hours twice a week.
He has been so brave going with a smile on his face,
well, after the first week! 
He is constantly growing! 


The first week, I told the aide that he had food in his backpack.
I was aware that they don't have time for snack during 
this class, but he feels safe when he has food.

Her response, "Ohhhh - just like Griggs!" 


Yep!! Just like Griggs did! 


I am so thankful that our teachers allow our kids to bring food 
in their backpacks! 

The other day, 
we were running late, 
almost forgot Miles' backpack -
and unfortunately forgot his food.

And then, 
I did the unthinkable!
During his school time, I had made an appointment for Jailyn and Hagan 
and we were late to pick up Miles.
I knew he was safe,
but fear set it for Miles that I had left him.


(I love to watch him embrace life!)

When I got to his school,
he was safely with his teacher but the look on his face
was piercing! 
Every fear he ever had weighed heavily on him.

I chatted with the teacher a bit,
apologizing for being late.
She was super sweet, and let me know that Miles 
had a rough day - 
very whiney and not wanting to participate, 
not like Miles at all!
She feared he was getting sick. 


I explained to her that I thought it was the lack of food in his 
backpack and the fear of not having food
that put him in this mood. 

Thankfully, before going home  Jailyn shared her snack with Miles 
and all was right in Miles' world again.
Though we see this sweet smile and 
his "stinker" look!
A part of his heart still looks like this...


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"You brought the circus with you today"

This post has been on my heart for a while,
it's a hard post.
But, I have to share,
hopefully it will help someone.

Visiting new places with our family is always stressful!

We have to go over
 where we are going,
why we are going,
what the surroundings will be like,
who will be there...

and do this about 8 times!!! 
(9 if Conner is with us)

Going to a restaurant is stressful for some
because making choices are just too hard!
For some, the noise level is too much!
For some, just the excitement is too much! 

Everyone responds differently,
so mom is on point when we go out! haha!
Well, I try to be! 

So when we enter a supposedly friendly, welcoming place,
Kids are all behaving themselves,
and are actually all pretty nervous so they are 
attached to mom 
and very quiet...

and we get 
"You brought the circus with you today" -
 mom's blood kind of boils more then any of my kids!

I am sharing this, 
not to complain about a certain establishment,
I'm sure others there who are lovely,

but, I share to remind all of us -
when someone comes into our lives that may be 
a little different then what society says is "normal" 
please be kind! 
And think before you speak! 
And know that little ears, 
no matter how little - they hear! 

And their hearts hurt! 



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A little help goes a long way!

Lessons from my boys!!

Yesterday, 

Some one had put Griggs' wand light saber,
on the top to the mailbox.


Griggs was tired and frustrated and walked off 
trying to hold back the tears...

Why would someone put it there?
Why am I short?
It's frustrating not being able to reach my things!

Hagan came to Griggs and told him he would help!



Miles saw this and came to help too.



These three weren't getting very far -

 Elijah noticed that they needed a little more help!


There we go!! 
Sometimes it takes a village to help one person!

And that is okay!! 
Infact, it is beautiful!!!


Friday, January 27, 2017

God's surprise blessing!

Remember this???



She wasn't walking or talking,
she has significant delays 
and her family needs to be prepared to 
deal with her unknowns!

Ohhhh my!!! 
That is not the post from an advocate that you want to hear 
when you are looking for your little girl! 


Isn't it funny, when you prepare yourself 
but sometimes you aren't prepared!


We were prepared for a little girl who would need a wheelchair,
a little girl who would not be able to
do anything on her own! 
We were ready!!!

Instead, 
God blessed us with our sweet, funny, laid back Laynee!

Laynee loves to hang with momma,
and brush my hair!
( I love this too!)

Laynee came home walking with little balance,
we were told, 
"she can walk but not for very long."
Well,
This girlie can walk and run circles around some of her sibling!
 She has even learned to walk up and down stairs without holding on to 
something or someone! 


Laynee loves and thrives on structure!
She still gets confused when something new comes her way,
but with encouragement and direction she will try anything! 


She loves getting up and ready for school,
though Saturdays and holidays from school kinda through her for a loop -
but she's not the only in the family! haha!


Laynee loves learning and though she is drastically behind her peers,
she has come a long way
and works very hard!! 

Laynee loves doing puzzles and coloring! 
I love that she is learning to color with lots of different colors!!  


Laynee loves going to Sunday School with Miles.
Having another sibling with her relaxes her and 
his younger class is just right for her! 

Laynee loves walking on our wood floors 
pretending she is her big sister Jailyn,
on the balance beam.

Laynee works hard on her vocabulary,
but that is coming along too! 
She is getting good at reading emotions on faces,
and tells me every day after school,
"No fun!" 
Only because I tease her anytime I have to leave her that she can't have
fun without me! Ha!Ha!
She loves this sarcastic game and gives it back to me!


I share this not only to brag on my Laynee,
but when adopting remember  -
when a child is cared and loved for in a family, 
everything can change! 
God shows us blessings over and over again
through our beautiful Laynee!! 
So, be prepared - but also be open to what could be! 



Friday, January 20, 2017

Adopted again

A few Sunday's ago, 
during service, 
Hagan got off his chair, which is very difficult for him,
and with crazy excitement went to Dad.
Grabbed his knee and said,
"I want to be baptized!"

I was sitting infront of Dad, as our family is too large for one row. 
Seeing Hagan rush to Dad, 
thinking Hagan must have needed help with something...

Bryan and I turned to each other with huge smiles! 
"Awesome buddy, 
Let's talk after church!"
Hagan skipped back to his seat, 
and all but hopped into his chair
(very difficult to do in his brace,)

Bryan and I shared a look of excitement and also 
a giggle and a look of,
"okay, how do we make this happen!"

You see, we practice immersion baptism,
and well, Hagan can't get his brace wet
and he can't be without it and be vertical.
Best dilemma to have,
who cares,
OUR SON WANTS TO BE BAPTIZED!!!! 

We talked to Hagan over the next few days 
and on January 10th, 2017
Hagan prayed and asked Jesus into his heart!
Hagan wants to live for Jesus!
He knows that Jesus came to bear our sins, 
and offer us the gift of eternal salvation. 
John 3:16
For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only son to die.
That whoever believes in him should not perish
but, have everlasting life! 

I have to tell you, 
Hagan has changed since that sweet evening. 
He is still the sweet kiddo that he was, 
But there is something more...

Hagan has an inner joy now! 
He has a peace! 
He has a kindness 
that is only from the Holy Spirit! 

Next step is to get our boy baptism! 
Believe me we are not legalistic in our beliefs! 
No waiting for Hagan to get out of his brace, 
could be another 11 months! 

Adopted once into the Anderson family,
adopted again into the family of God! 
Praise God! 


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Eighteen

18



Eighteen


Seriously???


How did this happen! 



My baby turned 18 yesterday! 



I am amazed at what a good guy,
our Conner has become!



And I can't believe my baby is 
graduating high school in a few months!! 


Really? 


How did this happen? 


Conner doesn't think I'll cry when he leaves 
for college...



He may change his thoughts when graduation comes along!




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

one week into homeschooling...

Bringing Hagan and Griggs home to school 
has been a huge blessing!!


Not only for Hagan, mom is pretty boring to hang with all day!
And well, little 4 year old brother...
he takes a lot of leading and more patience!


But Griggs, he's just right!
Not unlike Goldilocks and the three bears!


Watching them learn together,
challenge each other 
entertain each other
and encourage each other
is a joy! 
I love seeing their personalities work together!


For those who may not know,
Hagan and Griggs came home together.
They are not biological brothers 
but when we were matched with the two of them
Hagan was moved into the same foster home as Griggs -
so they were brothers for about 6 months before we got to them!

I've been thinking about the journey to bring them home -
that was a hard one!
We had no extra cash!
We already had 7 kids and dealing with Elijah's hurts day in and day out!
But, you know when God calls you to something -
HE is going to bless you!! 

I remember praying, "God, if you want to close doors,
if these adoptions are not from you,
I'm okay with that."


I know, can you believe I said that!!!
But, y'all, I was tired!! 
I was run down and at my wits end most of the time!
Not really a happy person.
Treading water through your days 
is a hard place to be!

My health wasn't good, but I faked it!
You know, "I choose this life."
It wasn't anyone else's problem! 

We had been told by numerous doctors -
"Don't adopt again! 
You have enough on your plate and things won't get better."
My response, 
"You are NOT my God! 
I will do what my God tells me to do!"

We fundraised e.v.e.r.y. penny to bring our boys home!
We are so thankful 3 1/2 years later for everyone who helped us bring them home!

And then,
we were done!!!

Let's end of a good note!!


But, before we left China - 
God whispered in both Bryan and my ears -
"You are not done,  your daughter is still here."

(story to be continued...)



Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Surprised emotions


My sweet Hagan surprised me today 
with an emotional reaction.


Hagan is usually so calm 
and easy going, 
taking everything in stride.

Today he and Griggs had a dental appointment.
Each of the boys had a little cavity that needed attention.
Griggs went first -
no problems!

And then it was Hagan's turn.
He was just there last week for his check up and had no problems.

Today was so different,
he was reluctant even walking back to the room.


I got him in the chair and they hygienist 
got out the gas thingy to put over Hagan's nose.

He started screaming! 
Scared to death of that this would not end well.

Sweet boy is so scared of having another surgery 
that he has lost trust in everyone 
that tries to put anything on his face.

I don't blame him - 
just surprised!

I guess we chose the right word to focus on in 2017
and the is healing!


Hagan did a great job when we promised him that 
we wouldn't use gas! 
He was still and was a champ!!

Trust was built with mom and 
with our dentist and staff! 
Baby steps in rebuilding!



Sunday, December 18, 2016

My favorite gift this year

Y'all know that we have had a rough year,
especially trying to help our son Elijah 
with the hurts and pains that he is trying to make sense of...

Last week he came home with a gift.

Though I didn't think much of it - 
because well...
Elijah comes home with papers 
wrapped with paper,
and lots of tape 
every day! 
His "gifts" are usually just paper 
taped in paper.
It's the thought that counts, right?! haha! 

But this gift brought me to tears.

Thursday afternoon I had a phone meeting with a therapist,
discussing Elijah.
While I was on the phone, locked in my closet
(cause it's the only quiet place in our house).

I heard commotion in the other room,
so I had to cut our conversation short...

 After calming Elijah down and working through this episode with him...
he gave me one of his wrapped gifts...

but this one was different - 
it was a cute craft project,
and that sweet face that melts me! 


and this card,
that he actually wrote on...


and the last sentence...

this is what it is all about! 

"Thank you for my home."

Elijah still has issues with self worth.
But he is worthy to be loved,
to have a Christmas tree
and 
to have a home!!! 

My prayer is that more children find their forever families this year
and next Christmas will begin to understand 
that they too are worthy of love,
of God's love,
and are worthy of a 
home.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Laynee - Bug

We celebrated Laynee's 
7th birthday 
last weekend!


What a fun day to make sure she knew 
it was all about her!! 


She got lots of coloring presents,



and cute clothes too! 


The boys were a bit disappointed in her gifts!
haha! 
It was funny to see their faces,
"girl presents are boring" said one boy! 
cough cough Griggs cough cough! 
Haha! 

Laynee is so excited that none of the boys 
want her things! 

Happy Birthday sweet girl!!! 

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