Thursday, April 30, 2009

More cute pics

Do I have cute kids or what??

Just some funny pictures taken by Steve

We bought Steve a camera for Christmas and hoped he'd use it to enter the Fine Art's Youth Festival the Assembly of God puts on every year...alas another dream down the tube:)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More about the family

In beginning this blog, I've kinda written a history of my life and my family. Looking back, it seems I stopped the story in '06 when we adopted Shad. Well we got home from China at the end of Jan '06. Jon's first Sunday as pastor of our church happened while I was in China so I came home as a pastor's wife! At htat time, we still lived in our trailer in Polk City as the parsonage was in a mess and we were unable to move in. During '06, many people of the church donated their time and energy to fixing up the parsonage so it was liveable! Basically the house had to be gutted and redone. Unfortunately the roof was not redone at the same time as that is becoming a problem and concern for us. The inside of the house was done in neutral colors and is nice. It's a very small house but it is manageable for us. Thankfully the work got done in time for us to move here so Steve could start school in Aug '06. He started at Zephryhills Christian 5th grade.

During this time, Sam was doing somewhat better physically. He was crawling and pulling up. At the time of our move he was 2 1/2. He did spend alot of time in the hospital in '06 and '07. It seemed when he'd get sick, he just couldn't fight it whether it was a cold or a stomach problem. We were also keeping a watch on his eyes. His left eye had already rejected the donor cornea and his right eye was clouding up which told us he was slowly losing his sight.

Shad was adjusting to the family and his new life and doing good.

The church/parsonage is located outside of a small town in the woods. Actually the property sits at an angle and the backside of the property borders on a wetland preserve. Across the street is a wetland preserve and on the left side of the property across the highway is also a preserve. You can imagine all the critters we see around here. Snakes, raccoons, possums, deer, wild boars...the list goes on. Of course the church came with quite a few stray cats, that my kids and me love...

We have a large fenced in yard where we have a swing set and a trampoline to keep the kids occupied. They have plenty of space to run and play.

So '06 turned into '07 and things were going good. The church was slowly growing and becoming a more relevant church. We were happy. Jon's job at the prison was going good and neither position was interfering with the other. Sam started walking in early '07 right when he turned 3 years old. We were thrilled! When he was younger, we both felt he probably wouldn't walk as he couldn't hardly hold himself upright when he was about 2, but when he started crawling we thought he might walk but it happened so quickly (for Sam) that we were shocked!

Then in June '07, after a routine exam under anesthesia, Sam's doctors gently told us that his right eye had rejected the cornea and he did not have much more sight than just awareness of light. That was hard to hear. but one of the doctors told us about an experimental surgery that was done in Rochester NY where artificial corneas were implanted into the eyes of children enabling them to see better. I contacted NY and Sam was set up for surgery in August "07.

We drove up....that was a long trip but we did some fun things like we stopped at the Billy Graham museum in North Carolina. That was cool. The kids got to see alot of the country and mountains which was cool.

We expected Rochester to be a huge town, like Miami or something. As we drove into it we were shocked at how small it is. The hospital we were at was at the south side of Rochester and only 3 exits away farmland stretched out. We didn't know that was such a farming community. We love Rochester! Our family stayed for 3 weeks at the Rochester Ronald McDonald house and were treated so kindly by the staff. Sam had his left eye done on August 8 and the right eye done on August 13. What a dramatic difference in appearance after the surgery. We are so thankful for Dr James Aqualvella. He has worked since the '60's perfecting a artificial corneal implant that would help children to see. He is an older man now but still going strong! What could we say to a man that gave his life to work on something that has given our son so much more sight? I will always be grateful to this man! Sam was the 46th person in the world to have this done. While we were there , there was a family from Italy, whose infant son had the transplants done and as we were leaving a family from Ireland came for it for their 6 yr old daughter.

The picture above is before and afters of Sam's eyes. The top left is before any surgery. The top right is after the left eye was done and the bottom was after both eyes were done! How beautiful for the first time ever to be able to really see into his sweet little eyes!

Despite the surgery, Sam is still blind but there are degrees of blindness. Not many people are black blind, where they see only blackness. Most people fall into the category of visionally impaired. That's where Sam is. He sees objects about 2 feet in front of him. He doesn't have much vision in the lower part of his eyes and stumbles over things on the floor. Even thing he leaves on the floor! But there is such an improvement from where he was at. We could tell immediately especially the day after the right eye was operated on and the patch came off. He was reacting to toys in a way he had never done before.

Before we left Sam was featured on a tv show here and once we were in NY, we were on a couple of shows there. That was fun for us. When we got back on, we were on a Christian tv show and had so much fun doing it. Jon was a natural!!

On our way home, we stopped in Washington DC for a few days and had a great time. We stayed in an older hotel, 4 blocks from the White House and took the tour all over the city. At the Vietnam War Memorial, I began crying as I walked down past mementos that had been left just that day for some dead soldiers. It was overwhelming. You want to believe those lives were not lost in vain...

After we got home, Sam developed a inflammation in his left eye. It was swollen up in a matter of hours and we drove to Miami in 4 hrs and 10 min. Usually it is a 5-6 hour trip! God was gracious to us and worked a miracle. In the 6 weeks he dealt with this, he had 4 sonograms and all of them showed that the retina had detached. If the retina detaches, you become black blind! When the doctors went in to see if they could repair the detachment, the eye was fine and there was no detachment! Even the doctors said it was a miracle

So from Oct '07 to Nov '08, Sam's eyes were stable. He didn't have much sight in the left eye but that was not from he inflammation but rather from a film growing on the back of the implant. It was cleaned off once but grew back. His right eye was good and he was growing more confident in his walking and playing.

Then in Nov'08, he woke up one morning with all the sight gone from his right eye. So at that point, he was basically blind. It was a hard time for him and for us. But again God was gracious and after a couple of surgical procedures, his sight came back as good as it ever was. His body just looks at the implants as something it needs to fight and it fights them. He's on 32 eye drops a day so you can imagine how much fun that is...we've been doing eye drops for so long now that it is second nature to us and him.

In the past year, we've dealt with some things in our church and the church has gone through a time of change. It was not pleasant, but there were things that had to be dealt with. It's funny how some little things grow and show you what's really in peoples' hearts. We've learned alot and it's been good for the health of the church. through difficult situations, you really learn to look to God. So without going into a great deal of detail, I'll just say I'm looking forward to the future of this church and all that God has for it and for us. We recently changed the name from Branchborough Assembly of God to Grace Church. We have a lot of things planned for the next few months and are excited to see what happens.

I look back over the fall of '08 and think how God brought us through. We had things going on in the church, Sam's eyes, Jon's dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and his brother had a heart attack..all within a matter of weeks. What a crazy time but God was so good and faithful to us! God is so very faithful and kind! He is with us when life gets rough and He brings us through it all...

"Therefore I will not fear though the earth be removed and thought the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea"

Monday, April 27, 2009

Trust in Uncertain times

Yesterday my husband preached a really uplifting sermon about trusting God no matter what happens in this world. It was encouraging because right now it seems that everything that can be shaken is being shaken. We Christians always talk about how exciting the rapture will be, and it will, but I think we forget some scripture about how bleak it will be in the world before the rapture happens! This is the scariest time I've ever lived through. World economy in chaos, wars, and now the Mexican flu... We do not know what tomorrow holds and that is scary especially being parents. It's one thing to be concerned about yourself, it's another to have three children depending on you. But we can all learn to trust in God who know the end of all things.

"Soon the earth shall melt like snow,
the sun forebear to shine ,
But He who called me here below,
Shall be forever mine!"

What a promise!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Best Friends

Are you blessed to have a true life long friend? I am and there is no one in the world that knows all the parts of my life like she does (oh gosh I'm going to have to up the blackmail money!)

We grew up together in Perry Florida. Her family and mine knew each other before the two of us were born. Now that's a true friendship! I knew her causally in school but we really became friends during 9th grade.

Some of my first memories of her/her family were dropping off some relatives at the movie theater that her parents owned and operated. I was maybe 4 years old and I remember my aunt saying something about who the owners of the theater were. Then when I was about 6 or so, we ran into her daddy at the downtown grocery store on the square. I believe it was the Piggly Wiggly. Her daddy told me he had a little girl that was my age and we should play together sometime.

Then in 9th grade, we were in some classes together, Spanish and Math so we got to be closer friends. I was invited to her birthday party that year in 1980 and from then on, I considered her my best friend. I loved her big southern family too. I was ready to be adopted by them or at least marry her youngest brother who I had a crush on for YEARS!! ( I did kiss him a few times..WOOHOOO!!!)

Her mama was the salt of the earth. She was a little lady but had a giant personality. I loved talking with her and getting lectures from her. Mrs. Harris could crawl your butt but you'd still love her! She was such an encouragement to me thru my teen years up until she passed away far too soon when I was in college. All 6 of her kids loved her and their dad so much. Mr. Harris was a quiet steady man and thankfully didn't mind me underfoot too much!

Angela, my best friend, was the baby of the family. By the time we became close, all her siblings except one had moved out of the home and most of them had kids. But the hub of the family revolved around that little house on Ash Street and it was fun, especially to me, being raised all alone with two old aunts. I loved the noise and the mess and the good times. Thanks to that whole family for making me feel welcome for so many years!

Anyhow me and Angela know each others growing up years and families. I don't think she gets the warm glow when she thinks about my family too much! Most of our time was spent at her house not mine. We went through high school together, including our senior trip and graduation night. And I know some of her secrets as well!!! We spent hours talking about different boys, how we liked them, if they paid attention to us... Thankfully we were both somewhat sheltered and were church girls so we stayed pretty straight. A big night out for us was to ride around Perry and cruise by locations where our favorite guys might be...One night we almost got killed doing that! We were driving down Julia Street and there was a train stopped on the tracks with no lights on or nothing! Our car was probably going above the posted speed limit! Angela hit the brakes and probably saved our lives. I'm sure we weren't wearing seat belts back then!!!! What a night! And I tell you we were on the way to cruise past a certain young man working at a certain gas station (this was back in the day when gas stations actually had young guys to pump gas for you!) We were "boy crazy" but I think we'd peed in our pants if we would have gotten one at that time!!

Man there are so many good memories to think back on. So much laughter and a few tears, late night talks sharing our hopes and dreams... Things we did together, not big expensive things but just a trip to Tallahassee or to Keaton Beach or over to Madison to help out at her daddy's other theater. Just fun times while we were young and innocent of how hard life would get.

We didn't know then where our lives would lead us. Neither of us envisioned heartache in our future but we both have gone thorough some. Both of us suffered miscarriages, she went through a divorce and I went through my own "mid life crisis". Neither of us have a girl! We both wanted a little girl but we ended up with a mess of little boys! She stayed in Perry, I lived in NYC. She worked for the city for years and I worked for the state for a few years. I finished college, she didn't (but she's got a ton of common sense!) I'm a pastor's wife and she's not as involved in church as Lou Doris (her mama) would want her to be! I'm so glad that on those long ago nights we didn't know all that was ahead for both of us but I'm so glad that through it all, she has remained my best friend.

We went on our first "adult" vacation together. All that means is we drove from Perry by ourselves to stay with some relatives of hers in Fernandina Beach Fl! We felt really grown up! We listened to Journey all the way there. That was her favorite group at the time and probably her all time favorite group. This was in August 1984 right before I left for college. Leaving Angela behind was harder on me than anything else about leaving Perry. My last night at home, she spent the night with me in the front bedroom with windows all around. The house didn't have a/c so we were thankful for a fan and the windows. That was truly my last night at home, although I came back from time to time and stayed some during the summer, I never again "lived" in Perry. I remember leaving the next morning and I think I cried all the way to Cross City!

During college I saw her quite a bit, when I would come home, we would spend a lot of time together. Her mom and her were going to the Assembly of God church then with me. They were originally Baptists but her mom had an encounter with the Holy Spirit and wanted something different than the church she'd been going to for years. Angela actually met her first husband at the A/G church. Don't tell me the devil ain't up in the church house! As you can tell he wasn't my favorite person but thru their marriage, they had a great son so I think that helps! Anyhow I was the maid of honor at her wedding.

In the years since I married and moved around, we don't see each other very much. I don't think we've seen each other since '06 but she's still my best friend. Yesterday she was home sick and I called her and we talked for 4 hours, some about the past, some about the now and some about other people!! There is no other friend that I can talk as honestly with without worrying about what she thinks about me. She knows my upbringing and my worst secrets so what else is there for her to think bad about:)

Even though we don't physically see each other very much, I've yet to meet her new husband (he's younger than us she always did like them younger men!) we are still so close. I guess when you have "history" nothing else can compare! We've been best friends for 30 years now ! WOW!

I have a few other friends that are almost as close to me and with those 3, I've been friends with them since college. One I met the first day of college Kim, and the other two that I knew in college but got to be close to right after we graduated and all got married - Charlene and Jackie. Only one of my close girlfriends live near me and even then I don't see Jackie but every few months. But what is neat is that I've been friends with them for 25 years.

At this point in my life, I treasure the old friendships. They've all had times of testing but what's so neat is that they have survived! Jon kids me and says I don't consider someone a friend until I've known them for 20 years...but I have to say there is nothing like an old friendship that is still fresh and meaningful. Each of my 4 friends all are different and only 2 of them are friends with each other. Some have never met each other but they are all dear to me.

There are times in my life that I feel very lonely for a friend to hang out with now. Since most of my closest friends do not even live in this area, it does get lonely. Life has changed and I think it's a combination of things with me that makes it more difficult to have a friend to hang out with. Having Sam, Jon working 2 jobs, being a pastor's wife , having 2 other's hard to take the time and energy to cultivate a friendship. One thing I've learned is you can get along with others and like others but that doesn't mean you're going to be close friends with someone, just because you're the same age or go to the same takes a number of things to make a great friendship and I think trust is the most important!

So although I feel lonely for a good girl friend now, I am so blessed to have my best friend and my other close girlfriends!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Division of Blind Services-Lighthouse for the Blind

Today I had the opportunity to speak at a forum about the Division of Blind Services and Lighthouse for the Blind. DBS is the state program and Lighthouse is a subcontracted program that receives its' funding through DBS. They are both wonderful agencies.

When Sam was in the NICU, I stayed with him every day. The morning after it was confirmed that he was blind, I asked the nurses for an office to work out of while he slept. They put me in an unused small office area that was part of an unused section of the NICU. Well I was ready to meet my challenges head on. I was going to "fix" Sam. I got the phone book out and started looking and found the number for Blind Services. I called and spoke to the nicest lady. She was so kind and she took down all our info and got the ball rolling for us. I don't remember alot of the conversation which is probably good. I was so upset. But she was so comforting and must have said just what I needed to hear for that day. I've always appreciated her. According to her boss, she hadn't forgotten us either! (that would probably be because I was the most emotional person she had ever dealt with!!) From that day forward, I had the help of the best State agency I've ever dealt with.

Soon after Sam came home from the hospital, a wonderful teacher, Nancy, started coming to our home on a weekly basis. She followed us from our nice home to our trailer at the prison as our lives continued to make huge changes. I cried on her shoulder many times as I was coming to terms with Sam's disabilities. I think she came as much for me as for him at that point!! Then she moved and we moved to Zephryhills and I thought I'd never find another teacher that was as good as her. But then came Becky. she's different but wonderful. Now that I'm not grieving the situation as much and he's growing, she challenges him and me just enough to get us going in the right directions.

Sam's had different therapists and teachers but ONLY the Blind Services providers really seem to understand the difficulties of a child with very limited sight. We've dealt with a few other programs and been disappointed in many ways but never have we been disappointed in Blind Services.

I actually called the governor's offie on a program called Early Steps. It was and is an awful program. And the staff can't fool me, I was a state worker for too long! I could see that were not using their funding correctly. After a phone call to old Jeb's office, my son never had another problem with getting what he needed but I'm sure it didn't change for others! What I like about DBS is I've never had to complain! They seem to put their hearts into what they do which is a far cry from most state worker! I can say that because I worked for the state for a long time!!

When Sam turns 6 next year, he won't have a teacher coming form their program anymore, it will all be only from the school board which is just not the same. At the forum,, I brought up the issue of the elementary aged child and the fact that there is not a program for them outside the school system. Also DBS does not currently have much in the way of programs for teens/young adults with cognitive delays. The staff and new director addressed my concerns and I could see that they already realized this and that was something they wanted to change! How great is that? A state program that REALLY wants to meet the needs of their clients!!!

I may get to go to Tallahassee and speak on the behalf of blind children in the near future! I can't wait. It's something I've wanted to do for awhile and was even scheduled once to meet our state senator Adam Putnam but Sam had some emergency and I couldn't go. I want to be an advocate for kids like Sam. I know of a situation in my own family where there is a child that is blind and he lives with a single mom who is not very educated and she doesn't seem to follow through on anything for that child. I went our searching for help for Sam, but that's my nature and I'm used to the system. I can't even imagine dealing with this situation as a single young woman with little education. I think I'd just give up. I've tried to reach out to this young woman and it just has never worked out. But it is an overwhelming situation to me at times and I have age, and education and a support group of friends and relatives. Can you imagine dealing with something like this without all of that? Anyhow I am passionate about wanting to be an advocate for children who have vision challenges.

I don't believe God allowed all of this to happen to us and Sam in order to make me to be involved but I do believe that He walks through life with us with all of it's challenges. And He enables us to "comfort others in the same way we have been comforted"

Go DBS and Lighthouse!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I love libraries!!!

"At the library you can find,
books of every shape and kind
At the library

Remember that song from Sesame Street? I love libraries. Some of my happiest moments have been spent deep in a quiet library surrounded by books.

When I was a little girl growing up in Perry Florida, I went weekly to the library. At first the library was in the old county jail where they used to hang criminals back in the 30' and 40's. One of the librarians showed me the hanging place. It was in the 2nd story in the back and it had a trap door. How cool that was to a little 7 year old! I loved the librarians. Mrs. Parker and Mrs. Woods- I still remember them fondly. Since I was such a voracious reader, and read out of the teen and adult rooms, they checked my books to make sure they were ok for a elementary aged girl! I always carried out 10-14 books for the week and still do. I know some of the librarians must wonder how I can read that many books with 3 boys! But I make do- I can always stay up late unless the books are really scary then I freak myself out up all alone!

When I was a little older, we broke ground for a new library. I say "we" because I was invited with all the dignitaries to shovel up some dirt. I think that was the first time my picture was in the newspaper. I was called "the littlest librarian" I still remember the dedication of the new library. I wore a long blue dress that I had worn as a flower girl in a wedding. It was exciting to be at that reception! The picture above is Mrs. Parker and me in the children/teen room at the dedication of the Perry Library maybe 1975 or so.

At Southeastern my favorite and longest job was working at the library. Again I loved the librarian, Bro. Crammar. He and his wife were like parents to me. He actually gave me away when we got married ( after we eloped, we had a ceremony for Jon's family). He recently died and I just bawled through the whole funeral. Everyone else was rather quiet and I was crying so much I was hiccuping. I tend to get very emotional at funerals! It was embarrassing but he was worth it! He was such a sweet and loving man.

For my SEC friends do you remember Miss Parrot?? Many stories could be written about her! SHHHHH!

Everywhere I have lived for more than a week, I've found the libraries. While we were raising our support to go to NYC, we stayed in a few "mission houses" in different states and the library was one of the first things I found! How can you live without one? I knew the Perry library, Lakeland library, Houna Path SC library, Falling Waters WV, Brooklyn library, Stanhope NJ library, Polk City Library and now all the Pasco Co libraries. I probably owe late fees at most of them!

I also like book stores. A hot night out for me and Jon includes going to the bookstore, any one of them...

We actually knew someone who had NEVER been to a bookstore! That was scary- he also never remembered going to a library. We took him to a bookstore one night and he actually enjoyed it, I think. But how sad, he was a grown man and didn't have a love for reading. I can't imagine. When I was in 3rd grade, I had to wear an eye patch to try and correct my "lazy" eye. I couldn't see well enough to read so my aunts would read to me, all the classics as well as the Bobbsey Twin mysteries. They love reading and it was just a part of life, like going to church. We all used to fight over the newspaper as who would get to read it first and that was when I was in elementary school! Now my boys have a love for reading too. Steve reads alot, thought he likes comic books the best. He is a fast reader like me. Shad loves books and sometimes sleeps with his Bible under his pillow just because he likes it so much. They see reading patterned out in front of them and they want to do it. I have to say I hate reading out loud to the kids and rarely do it. I read so fast that I can't stand to read out loud because that slows me down and is just weird to me. I can't follow the story line if I read out loud. Luckily Jon reads to them some. But they see it daily and they want to do it because they see us reading!

Well today Steve kept the little boys, as they were napping,for me to run to town. It was raining and dark, my favorite kind of weather and there I was all alone in the library , stocking up on mysteries...pure heaven!! It doesn't get much better than that! Now I going to go and curl up and start reading!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Gun Fire at Midnight

After a wonderful weekend and Easter service, we got shot at! I don't' make this stuff up folks!

Last night we were watching Extreme Home Makeover. The family was from Tallahassee, the dad had worked for the Florida Department of Corrections before he got sick, and they had 6 special needs kids from China. It was an amazing show!..

Our drama was just about to begin... About 11 pm our dogs were going crazy outside as the police had pulled someone over. I went out to calm them and to let Sweety, our inside dog out for her walk. Everything was fine, the cop left, but the dogs couldn't calm down. I stayed out for a few minutes and at the end of the road, a car pulled up and stopped. By looking at the headlights, I thought it was the cop coming back to wait for another speeder. It really didn't worry me. The dogs continued to howl, I thought it was maybe that the car lights were bothering them. About that time, I saw and heard gunfire coming towards me and the house. It took at least two shots before I realized what it was. I was just standing there amazed at the sight that gunfire makes in the dark and then it I realized I better get my tail in the house!!! I ran inside yelling for the lights to be turn off. We called 911 and I put the kids in the bathroom. The cops came but were unable to determine what had happened. They didn't find the casings in the dark and had to respond to a shooting in Dade City. Steve and I are going to look for casings when he finishes his school work.

We don't really think the shooter was aiming at me or the house. He was about halfway between our house and St Road 54, less than 1/10 of a mile which is not very far. Either the shooter was chasing someone in the woods or he was just using our area to try out his gun. I kinda think he was chasing someone in the woods because the dogs were so worked up like there was someone out there. Jon thinks the shooter was just trying out his gun...It was scary!!!

We put all the kids into the back bedroom/our room. It really upset Sam, he got very scared and clingy so he slept on my left side all night and wet my bed in the bargain! What a night!!!!

I swear I do not make this stuff up or exaggerate!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt and new kitten-Graceie Cat

We had an Easter Egg Hunt today with Lighthouse for the Blind. Lighthouse is a state program that has worked with Sam and me since he was a newborn. I can truly say they are an awesome program, they just need more funding. It's great to have compassionate people that truly care for your child working with him. Today was fun. We got to meet some other families, it's really an exclusive club that we belong to and it's hard to get into it! It's always good to be around others that have similar life experiences. We talked about school and doctors. That's life. The kids ran around, played and ate. Bay News 9 was there and caught all my boys on video. That was cool, we just don't get the channel as we have satellite. We were interviewed by the St Pete Times...Sam is a superstar!

Then I went to Walmart after we got the kids home and settled and wouldn't you know it but there was a family out in front with free kittens! They were all scrawny looking and the people looked pretty rough too so instead of a bunny or a chick for Easter, we got the last gray kitten. After Jon quit rolling his eyes (he really didn't do too bad) he named her Gracie Cat. After our new church name- Grace Church. She's really long and thin like a pencil but very loving. The poor thing smells like cigarettes, hope she didn't get lung cancer! So that brought our cat total back up!

I included some pics from the Easter Egg hunt and one of Steve and Shad with our 3 dogs. Hope you enjoy them.

Have a blessed Easter, and remember it's not about the eggs or candy. It's about the price that was paid to set us free from sin! Of all the religions and cults in the world, there is none that have a Savior! Even the devil or man's foolish imagination could not make up a story like that- God that takes on human flesh and takes the penalties for our sins upon His body. Wow God really loves us!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Today I read of a little boy who died because his mom withheld cancer medication from him. The little guy was 8 years old and autistic. That makes me so angry! How could a mother not take care of her child especially one who was so dependant on her? Having a child with special needs makes me so aware of how much that child depends on its' parents. The parents have a responsibility before God to care for that child!

In today's world, children are so at risk. It's such a throw away society. I believe that mother did not value her son's life because of his disabilities. We as a society must stand up for the unborn rights as well as the quality of life issues such as euthanasia and infanticide. Both are practiced in other countries, formally and informally. Look at China. Culturally it was acceptable for Shad's birth parents to abandon him because he was not perfect. His injury happened prior to his coming to the orphanage at about 6 months of age. It was some sort of accident. Tell me who is responsible for a baby? The parents are. So his parents let something happen to him, probably he rolled off a bed and onto something on the floor which pierced his eye. Instead of hi parents taking care of him, they left him on a street comer. He was lucky some children get left in fields to die in China, India and Africa.

I am very careful who I chose for Sam's doctors. Not only do they have to be tops in their fields, I have to know if they value life. Some cultures do not believe the life of a handicapped person is the same as a "normal" person. I sound out the doctors and to be honest, there are some doctors I would not take him to based on their cultural background unless I knew that they were Christians. I hope you do not think that is racist, I do not mean it that way. I feel I'm protecting Sam from discrimination based on his handicaps.

We have some great doctors now but in the past we have dealt with some boogers. Our eye specialists are the best and we've always received the best of care with them. But I've had some issues with other doctors and learned through situations. I'm hell on doctors and I admit it. But it's because of the experiences we have had with Sam, that makes me distrustful.

Anyhow I encourage you to RESPECT LIFE! respect the unborn child's life and the handicapped, sick and aged. God is the giver of life. It's not our responsibility to allow a life to be taken before it's that person's time to go.

Medical science has made so many strides today that there are more ethical questions to be answered but if we always look to God for guidance, it makes the questions easier to answer!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sam is so much more than an IQ

I got a copy of Sam's psychological evaluation today. Although I was already given the gist of it, it is hard to see it in black and white. He ranged from 14-28 months on a scale for blind children and around a 12 month level when compared to sighted children. Sam is 62 months old. His IQ ranged between 28-44. I guess the evaluator does not like to give just one score for IQ. None of this is news to me, I live with Sam so I know him but it is hard to read in a report. I want to say "hey don't forget the great hugs he gives!"

Sam is such much more than an IQ. What a blessing he has been to our lives. I wouldn't trade Sam for all the money in the world. He's my baby. I do worry about his future since we are not the youngest parents around. I'm glad he has his brothers. Steve has said to us so many times that he'll take care of Sam when we are old or dead. Of course he does ask us about what else are we going to leave him besides Sam:)
God knew Sam before he was formed and He was not surprised by Sam's disabilities. He allowed Sam to survive and has used Sam in ways we won't even know until eternity. Countless times people have come up to us when we've been out and made positive comments about Sam. Who knows who he has influenced to not have an abortion? If nothing else, loving Sam shows the world that we respect all life. I'm so proud that Sam is my son. Years ago if I ever thought about having a child with disabilities I'm sure I would have thought it would be embarrassing. But it's not. I don't even think about anything like that, I just love Sam. Sam has taught my sons compassion far beyond their years. I'm grateful for that.
Sam may never be healed on earth but one day, I know he will understand and be able to freely communicate with us. I look forward to that day. All he will know on this earth is love so for him, heaven will be just a continuance of that love with his body and brain healed.
Sam is so much more than an IQ!