Saturday, May 29, 2010

If I had a million dollars . . . .

Have you ever sat around with family or friends and dreamed about what you would do if you won a million dollars? Well I have on several occasions. Surprisingly Darren and I are in agreement with what we would do with a million dollars. We very rarely agree on anything that has to do with money but I have found that recently God has been uniting our hearts in that area.

Before you read any further take a few seconds and think about what you would do with a million dollars. BE HONEST!!!

If I had a million dollars I would . . . . . . .

move to Africa and care for orphans!

Sounds noble right? If we had a million dollars I can honestly say we would move to Africa. But why do we have to have a million dollars? Caring for orphans has obviously been placed on our hearts by God. Do I not trust that God would provide? Sadly, I don't have a good answer. I know God provides because he is faithful to His Word. Struggling with this today! I want to be "ALL IN" and not hold anything back from God.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Putting All The Pieces Of The Puzzle Together

I am a research junky. I could spend hours on the Internet doing research and trying to solve a "mystery". Unfortunately though I am not a medical professional so I must defer to them for official diagnosis. Sera has seen the Geneticist, Eye Specialist, and Neurologist, among other miscellaneous doctors. We have services in place for all her "symptoms" so now we are trying to pull all the pieces together to give her an official diagnosis. There are diagnosis within diagnosis but I will not bore you with all of those. Here is the breakdown so far. . . .

Her "possible" global diagnosis is Greig Cephalopolysyndactyly Syndrome. She meets all the criteria but we are waiting for actual genetic test to come back. It is a rare genetic disorder. I believe I read there is less than 300 cases known worldwide. The prevalence is 1 to 9 out of 1,000,000,000.

I believe I mentioned before that Sera's MRI showed abnormal brain formation. This goes along with the above mentioned syndrome but also deserves it's own diagnosis. Several of the brain malformations are grouped together under the diagnosis Septo-Optic Dysplasia or DeMorsiers Syndrome. These areas basically control vision and the pituitary system.

Now we are getting to the details of how these syndromes are going to affect Sera and what her future will look like. The good news is with these "possible" diagnosis, what you see is what you get. It does not get worse but it does not get better.

I will let you know when we get official diagnosis but it will probably be a few months.

Friday, May 21, 2010

We are NOT going private after all!!

A few days ago I made a post saying our blog would be going private. I had made that decision for a few reasons, which I will keep to myself. I was blown away by the response we received in just 24 hours after making that post. We had over 20 comments and emails of encouragement during that time. THANK YOU!!!!

I have decided that I am not going to allow Satan to use other people to discourage our family from sharing what God has placed on our hearts. So if you have a problem with the way we raise our family then stop reading our blog.

To anyone who is in the adoption profession please do not take out of context a single bad day or assume anything from my VERY HONEST posts. We are not a traditional family and I don't want to be treated as such. Our family is special with special concerns for our children and we should not be compared to other families. God has equipped us to handle each and every challenge we face with raising our family. Each and every decision we make for our family is based on prayer and direction from our Heavenly Father through HIS word The Bible. We are prompted by the Holy Spirit who prompts are hearts to act and obey God's commands versus making decisions based on emotions, culture, influence of others or book knowledge. Our culture tries to set these magic time lines and best practice protocols but does not consider the prompting of the Holy Spirit in their decisions. Who's "best practice" are we following? Society or God. I know this is a foreign concept to most.

One thing that really frustrates me about our society is the thought that everything should be done in moderation. I don't want to follow God in moderation. I want to throw all my cards on the table. I want to go ALL in and not turn back. God does not want my leftover time/money/self but my very best. We are consumed with safety, fear and maintaining control over ourselves. God has all that stuff taken care of so I don't want to waste time worrying about it.

So we are going "ALL IN"!! We are laying it all on the line. Not only are we NOT going "private" but we are going to be MORE "out there". So either buckle your seat belts or get off the ride!!

Who is making the decisions for your family? Are you all in?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Story Written by God

I have a beautiful story to tell . . . .

This is Kamise. Kamise is a former orphan from Ethiopia. In January this year I traveled to Ethiopia to pick up our two newly adopted daughters, Grace & Sera. I took along with me on the trip my dear sweet friend Tara. I had prayed that God would lead me to the friend he would want me to take to Ethiopia. I wanted God to use this opportunity to touch someones heart for the sake of HIS children. Tara has always had a heart for orphans and has supported our family unconditionally.
Tara and I meet Kamise at my agency's transition house when we picked up the girls. Kamise had been very sick with malaria so she was in the city receiving medical treatment. Kamise was already matched with another family but it was hard to not fall in love with her. A few days after we arrived home from our amazing trip to Ethiopia I checked the waiting child list for our agency. Guess who was on the waiting list??? KAMISE!! I am unaware of the circumstances but the family who was going to adopt Kamise backed out of the adoption. Of course, I immediately contacted Tara to let her know. There was little hesitation because you see God had orchestrated a beautiful meeting in Ethiopia. The McKibben family just received word this morning that their case has passed court in Ethiopia. Kamise is no longer an orphan!! Please take time to encourage this beautiful family and follow their journey to pick up their daughter.

You can read Kami's story on the McKibben family blog: Kisses for Kami

Monday, May 17, 2010

Update on the kiddos

I thought today I would post an update on our kids for all our family and friends who we don't see very often.

Miranda is finishing up her 2nd grade home school curriculum. She will continue math & reading through the summer. It has been wonderful to see Miranda blossom since Grace joined our family. I expected more difficult issues but instead I have found that Miranda's confidence and self esteem has been boosted. Of course, they argue as sisters do but Miranda has really benefited from having an older sister. She is now riding her bike without training wheels and is becoming much more independent.

Grace has been such a blessing to our family. She is a wonderful big sister. She is so loving to her new siblings. She has learned lots of new things like, riding a bike(no training wheels), swinging, jumping on the trampoline, and fishing. Grace is learning English very quickly and is also working on a 2nd grade level.

Ethan has really matured in the last year. He has learned to focus his energy and is not near as wild and crazy. Ethan still loves helping his dad around the house and outside. Ethan is very athletic and agile. We received a Wii Fit and over the winter Ethan mastered most of the games. He is also riding his bike without training wheels. He is learning new tricks on his skateboard. Ethan will be going to public Kindergarten next year. He is very excited!!

Faith is as sweet and beautiful as ever. We have struggled to find just the right services for Faith. This spring she started preschool at the local public school and is doing very well there. She is currently receiving speech therapy at school and has been accessed for OT services. After lots of research and talking with different therapist I have a much better understanding of who Faith is and how to help her. Faith has some sensory integration concerns and I think some minor attach issues. We are definitely on the right road now and I think she is going to start flourishing.

Gabriel is starting to become more interested in hanging out with dad and doing man stuff. Darren now has two shadows (Ethan & Gabriel). Gabriel will also begin public preschool in the fall, hopefully to receive OT services. Gabriel is also having some sensory integration issues and some behavior issues. Again we have such wonderful therapist in our home working with us. I now have a good grasp on some things to do with Gabriel. Gabriel is riding his big wheel bike pretty well now.

Jacob is doing much better after is tonsil and adenoid removal. The week after surgery was tough but I can really see a difference in his breathing so it was well worth it. In the last month we have received his Sleep Safe Bed and his Dynavox Speaking Device. I am really beginning to feel like we now have the tools in place to keep him safe and help him flourish. Plus, we have the best therapist around working with him. I can't believe he is going to be 3 years old this summer. His smile can still light up a room!

Sera is just full of life! She loves to walk around the house laughing and singing. She has had her glasses for about 4 weeks now. I really can not tell a difference in her vision even with the glasses. She still runs into things or trips over stuff in the floor. She also does not look at things when she is playing or eating. She is seeing the Genetic Dr. this week. I am very excited about that appointment. I am ready for someone to tie all the pieces together. So far we know about vision issues, umbilical hernia, extra digits on hands & feet, and congenital brain malformations. Sera's future abilities are unknown and will probably stay unknown. Due to the brains ability to compensate and rewire there is no way to know what she might be able to do in the future.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Parenting a child with significant medical needs can be scary sometimes. We have had several moments over the last two years that make me stop and PRAISE GOD for his protection over Jacob.

This week Jacob has had a stomach virus(I think) and he is still weak from losing weight after his surgery. The combination of the two has again reminded me how fragile his body is. Twice he has been laying on the couch or floor on his side and vomited. But because he is so weak he was unable to clear the vomit from his mouth. I am still thanking God that I was in the room when this happened. If I had not been in the room Jacob would have drown in his own vomit.

Jacob has taught me many things but one is to not live in fear but in joy. If I lived in constant fear for his safety my live would be stressful and miserable. Instead I have chosen to PRAISE GOD for each moment I have with Jacob and THANK GOD for each time he has protected him.


Saturday, May 8, 2010


Why is it when you decide to become transparent about your life it is considered either complaining or boasting? Yes, I have been told I do both!! I am beginning to understand why some families keep their skeletons in the closet. Heaven forbid you let out your frustration about a bad day. If you do it might appear as though you are overwhelmed or complaining. As far as boasting goes, we give ALL GLORY TO GOD for the good works HE is doing through our family.

I am beginning to empathize with families who dare not tell anyone about the crisis their children are having. By the way, none of our children are in crisis! But now, I do understand how a family could let a child in trouble get to the point of a crisis due to fear of judgment from others. I understand that well meaning friends, neighbors, family, and professionals can make judgment from the outside looking in. I think we need to remember that asking for help does not mean we are helpless but resourceful.

Using the old cliché “it’s like comparing apples to oranges”. God created each person/family uniquely and gave each one special gifts and talents. For example, you may look at a person/family and say, “there is no way they can handle that”. More than likely you are basing that judgment on your own personnel experience/gifts/talents. Maybe your gifts and talents are in another area. BUT, have you ever stopped to think maybe God gave that person/family special gifts and talents to handle that specific situation. I think too many times as a society we expect that everyone should fit into the same mold and dare not go outside of what is “normal”.

I could say a lot more about this topic but I will save it for another day. I think very soon I will write more about “not judging a book by its cover” as it relates to large families with children who have special needs. Sometimes life is not pretty but it is always beautiful to God.

Since we are crazy and fearless we are going to continue to be transparent. We feel that God is asking us to be transparent in life so that His works can be glorified. Our only true judgment comes from our Heavenly Father.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Better Days!

The last few days have been much quieter around the house. Last week was BAD but the majority of the frustration around the house was ALL ME. I have struggled with PMS issues since I was a teenager. They said it would get better after I had children but that was not the case. I am glad last week is over and we can move on with a happier momma.

Jacob seems to be doing better today. He has not cried hardly at all today. He is still having difficulty swallowing and is only taking 1-2 ounces at a time. Praise God I have been able to get him to swallow his pain medication. I think we are on the upswing and will continue to see improvement every day.