Nov 15, 2012

The Sweetest Words

   One night when Greg was putting Chloe to bed, he was talking about an unsaved friend who was resisting accepting Christ as Lord and Savior.  During their conversation, Chloe simply made a profound and life altering statement, "I want to ask Jesus into my heart."  After asking her several questions to make sure she understood, Greg was able to lead her in a prayer that secured her future in Heaven for eternity. 
     I must admit that I was stunned.  I had assumed that Chloe would be a hold out.  I had so underestimated God's power.  I figured she wouldn't possibly chose to trust God with all her trust issues from abandonment.  Frankly, Chloe sometimes can't trust that I will pick her up at school, let alone trust in a God she can't see or hear.  Oh ME of little faith!  There is a subtle peace that seems to have washed over Chloe since that day.  Now instead of praying before a meal out of practice or because she is told, I find her closing her eyes in prayer unprompted and even reminding me to pray.     
    As her mom, I am so pained by the trauma and loss Chloe has had to go through because of her abandonment and neglect. Yet a loving Heavenly Father has orchestrated a beautiful opportunity for His child to know Him personally, following His promise in Rom. 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  When I think of what Chloe's life could have been had her birth mother decided to keep her, living in a rural area of Qian Jiang, CHINA - poverty, hunger, oppression, possibly being forced into prostitution to support her family, but most of all never hearing the name Jesus and knowing the freedom to have Him as her Lord and Savior.  My heart cries, "the pain you allow in our lives, Father, is so good and I will chose to trust that you know what is best!"

"For I know the plans I have you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jer. 29:11

Sep 10, 2012

Turning 5, Preschool, and Neurofeedback Miracles

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing and springkles was Chloe's request for her 5th Birthday
I had to laugh about Chloe's gifts.  As a 5 year old, she got a used ipod nano and a battery.  There was a reason for both however.  Chloe loves to listen to music as an escape when she gets overwhelmed with sensory input, so we bought her sister's ipod she was no longer using for Chloe.  Also, we still have a Barbie jeep from our older girls.  The battery was no longer working, so we purchased a new one for Chloe's birthday and now she can drive it too.

The day before Chloe's 5th birthday she learned to ride her bike without training wheels.

Chloe one request for her birthday was to go camping.  She has been asking about it for months.  Her new bike riding skills provided hours of entertainment.

We opted to enroll Chloe in a 2 full day a week preschool, because she qualified for an Individual Education Plan for her social/emotional struggles.  Technically, Chloe beat the Kindergarten cut off by 3 days, but we'll wait until next year.  You can see by the look on her face that she was one scared little girl that first day.  Thankfully it has gone better than we expected.

This smiling girl is "new" to our family thanks to a new protocol for her neurofeedback treatment.  I have posted before about this brainwave treatment that helps Chloe with her anxiety.  Recently, her therapist changed the treatment and we have a different girl on our hands.  She is smiling, kind and loving.  I hear "I love you Mommy" regularly and she chooses acts kindness towards her sisters.  After the first treatment, we saw this dramatic change and I wanted to pinch myself.  It's been a very angry summer for Chloe and it is a wonderful reprieve for our family.  I would highly recommend neurofeedback for any families struggling with attachment disorders.  For more information:

Aug 3, 2012

Going West 2012

We had a fabulous time on a long vacation west to Mt. Rushmore and Colorado. Here are a few highlights:

Beautiful Badlands of South Dakota
Chloe got super close to a prairie dog. 
She was so patient and it came all the way up and sniffed her fingers.

Mt. Rushmore

Whit's End Soda Shop
Adventures in Odyssey came to life at
Focus on the Family, Colorado Spring, CO
We got to visit Chloe's adoption agency
Chinese Children Adoption International
Denver, CO
Chloe didn't quite know what to make of other adoptive girls learning Chinese and cultural dances.

Our family with Josh the agency founder
We found snow at 10,000 feet on top of a mountain in Breckenridge, CO

Chloe the "horse whisperer" had her first horseback ride and loved it!

The City Museum in St. Louis was one of our last stops on our 3 week trip and a favorite.  It was a laberynth of recycled parts welded together to make a 4 floor adult sized playland.

Jun 10, 2012

Independent Education Plan (IEP)

     Chloe recently graduated from preschool and will be moving on to 2 day a week all day preschool next year. Being away from home by herself was a big milestone for Chloe, so we truly celebrate the progress that has been made this past year.
     Chloe qualified for an IEP for preschool next year.  This means she will have a specialized learning plan to help her work through some of her social/emotional disabilities.  Chloe's struggles with seperation anxiety, perfectionism, and change.  The preschool she will be attend has a mixture of typical and non-typical kids.  Because of her IEP, she qualifies to attend for free and can ride the bus to school.  What a blessing! 
    As a parent, I have to admit that I have had to work through a mixture of feeling about Chloe's IEP.  I am grateful for the extra help she will be receiving and certaining the financial benefit of her qualification.  However, like every parent, I am concerned about the stigma that she may have to live with as "special needs."  But the truth is that everyday Chloe looks in the mirror she knows she is "different."  I pray that we can instill confidence in how beautifully God has made her to stand up under the weight of those diffences everyday.
    Unfortunately, this is been Chloe's face much of the last couple of months.  It has been a struggle with regression, anger and insecurity again.  Looking back, we realize it began when she watched a video from her Gotcha Day in China and our celebration of Gotcha Day in April.  The reality of seeing the adoption in "living color" brought about some more strong emotions and we are still working through those.  Chloe still triggers very easily.
Chloe's favorite new activity is jumping rope.  I don't think I could jump rope at age 4, could you?
Chloe loves our new litter of kittens.  It's like having 5 extra playmates.
Chloe loves to help like her big sisters.  She boxed up 25 quart worth of strawberries to freeze last week.

Apr 9, 2012

Spring is Here

Spring is here and we've been outside enjoying the unseasonably warm Ohio weather.  Here are a few pictures to update you on what's been happening with Chloe and our family.
Chloe's sensory disorder is still in full swing, so she loves to crash, bounce and do anything crazy she can think of.  On occasion she literally bounces herself off the walls.  In the picture above we were getting rid of an old mattress.  Chloe had the best time crashing, rolling and jumping before we could take it out the door.

Chloe won't fully admit that she likes preschool, but I think she secretly does.  She recently had an assessment for next year's preschool class.  Afterward she so angry, yelling at her sisters, hitting them, arguing, etc.  As it turned out, Chloe thought she was always going to have the same teacher and  be in the same class year after year.  Any kind of change (in this case a change in the fall) triggers all kinds of inappropriate emotions  and fears because of the trauma that was associated with change in her past.

Thankfully, we are seeing more and more of these genuine, happy faces.  Chloe can be such a character!

Chloe got to go bowling for the first time (playing on the Wii does not count).  Her ball did make it all the way down each time even though we weren't always so sure it would.

Chloe spent most of Spring Break and Easter day sick on the couch.  Thankfully she was feeling well enough to head outside for a little Easter hunt.  I am very grateful she has her bounce back today.

Chloe and her sisters had a cake decorating 101 lesson from dad about how to decorate cupcakes.  It was great fun and I must say a lot of icing was inhaled.

   As for myself, I've been berried under a mountain of paperwork lately.  For those of you parents with special needs kids, you understand that it is an ongoing process of insurance approval, assessments, policy renewals, etc.  Fill out this form, go to this meeting, call this person - on and on.  Most recently in our family Chloe's funding for occupation therapy ran out.  That set in motion an extensive string of events to refile for PASSS funding through the State of Ohio, including a letter to reallocate attachment therapy money, financial forms to fill out, an assessment and letter for treatment along with credentials from her occupational therapist and so it goes.  Once everything is collected, we must then wait up to a month for funding approval.  In the mean time, Chloe does not get her occupational therapy and so the crashing and bouncing off walls is escalated at home.
    Also, Chloe just had an IEP (Indiviual Education Plan) meeting with her preschool teacher for next year.  She is signed up to attend a public school preschool in the fall for 2 full days a week.  This preschool is a mixture of special needs and typical kids.  Having heard about Chloe's social-emotional needs and her sensory disorder, the school suggested she be evaluated to qualify as special needs.  We have been in process for several weeks and after extensive questioning and reporting from Chloe's therapist, it looks like she will qualify as special needs and be able to get occupational therapy and maybe speech therapy at preschool.  This also means that she will be able to attend for FREE!  I will meet with the preschool director in a few weeks to go over the details of the special adaptations they can do to help Chloe.
   As tiring as it can be to constantly advocate for our kids and educate school officials, doctors, and insurance companies, it is worth the effort.  Chloe has received wonderful help, funding for treatment, and it looks like even free preschool.  Keep plugging away and be encouraged.  Help is out there, you just have to turn over the right "rocks" to find it.

Feb 14, 2012

What's In A Name?

      For Christmas we gave Chloe an apron with her name on it and I was reminded just how little things can make a huge impact to an adoptive child.  To have a toy with her name on it, gave Chloe tangible evidence of  her permanence in our family.  Even though we tell her over and over again, "we will be your mommy and daddy when you are 100 years old" (4 year old terms), there is something different about showing her she belongs with something she can see with her eyes.  Chloe, because of her skin, her eyes, her hair, is reminded of her past abandonment and differences daily.  I can do simple things, like getting her name embroidered on an apron, to reassure her that she now has a place to belong.

Jan 2, 2012

A Reminder in the New Year

I have dedicated this blog to helping others understand the ups and down of international adoption.  I read an article today that was a fantastic reminder of what these little ones have come through, including Chloe.  To all you adoptive parents out there, I hope you read this, take a deep, pray for patience, and go give your child an extra hug for today.