Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving is more than turkey and pie

This year we have been especially thankful. We honestly count every blessing, every single day. In case I sound like a greeting card, I will confess that David and I still "lose our cool" regularly. Over the holiday weekend (5 days of togetherness) David lost his temper with the teens, and I lost mine with John. But the little ones bring us more joy than we can even begin to measure. If only they stayed little forever! Sam has been extremely affectionate, and crazy about the idea of snow. Of course, being from southern China, Sam has no real understanding of our upstate NY winter! So far, only a few flakes have fallen, but that hasn't stopped us from getting ready for a cold, long winter, and the beginning of our ski season. Really, if we can't swim, then we might as well ski. I actually did heat up the new inground pool one last time and we went swimming on Thanksgiving!! I don't even want to see that propane bill! Hopefully, we'll close the pool this week, and the snow will quickly follow. We can skip the muddy fall season, as far as I'm concerned. In fact, Sam is scheduled to receive adaptive ski lessons at Holiday Valley Ski resort on December 26th. The instructors at the Lounsbury adaptive ski lodge are well-versed in teaching downhill skiing to visually impaired students, and the Association for the Blind in Rochester has agreed to sponsor Sam for up to four lessons. Leo is less excited for snow, since he lived in northern China, near Mongolia. Brrrr. On another note, we've been providing respite foster care to a boy who is almost 12 years old. I'm finding that once we have a houseful of boys, one more just doesn't change anything. Kindof makes me wish we could afford to adopt another little guy. The price is high, but the rewards are so great! And we just adore having little ones again!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Update on Sam's vision

I realized that I should've posted an update on Sam's vision. October 1st he underwent an ERG test under general anesthesia. The Dr. found that the rods in his eyes are permanently damaged, but the cones are fine. This means that his blindness "probably" will not progress. Sam will never see well enough to drive a car (even with corrective lenses), but he manages his condition and functions just fine. Most people would not even guess that he has 20/400 vision and is legally blind. We are in the process of having Sam evaluated by the special education committee at school so that we can make the appropriate educational accommodations. Leo will be evaluated by the special education committee for his hyper-sensitivity to smell, noise, touch etc. Basically, Leo's environment was so lacking in stimulus that he over-reacts to sensory activities. We think that he'll become thicker skinned with some physical therapy, and the school is looking into integrating more sensory experiences in his curriculum. In the meantime, Leo is in kindergarten and he's learning to read like crazy! He recognizes most of his letters and knows many 3 letter words. Sam still struggles with the alphabet (in first grade) but some of that is probably due to his vision. Baby steps. We adore all of our children, and we'd do it again in a heartbeat! In fact, we are now foster parenting an 11 year old boy on the weekends too. He will probably never be legally free for adoption, but we love that providing him respite care is making a difference in his life.

6 months home

We've been home with Leo and Sam for six months now. Wow! We're all adjusting amazingly well, although we are still in "hunker down" mode. This means that we still can't even think about upsetting the daily routine for a weekend in NYC to watch Austin's championship race. It would just be too disruptive. The boys' taekwondo teacher had his car in the repair shop for a few days, and Leo's "good thing" at dinner last night was the teacher's car was back at the school. Yes, the fact that the teacher had a rental car in the parking lot totally threw Leo off his game. As Austin commented, "Boy, do these kids ever need structure and routine." So, yes, the adjustment has been smooth, but only because we've resigned ourselves to never actually going on a vacation. With that in mind, I spent the entire summer having an inground pool installed. Our home might as well be our vacation destination. Again, we're comfortable and calm most days, but I found these two posts wonderful to read.

Obviously, I'm a fan of Jen Hatmaker. And I did just read Jen Hatmaker's book "7." I found the book a bit preachy, and I didn't find anything revolutionary in the steps she took to reduce excess in order to live a more holy life. For instance, the family reduced their computer use, TV 7 types of media.Well, we watch TV (the one station we actually get) 2-3 times per month. We rent a family movie once a week and watch it together.  We don't have internet in the house (except for my smart phone), and we don't own any gaming systems. Jen gave away clothes etc...big deal, we donate enormous bags of stuff every single month. But she does seem to have a handle on the issues surrounding adoption. So read her posts. I'm sorry I post so infrequently. The whole lack of internet (a choice we made because we have teens) slows down my blogging.