Saturday, July 19, 2008

Five Years

My dear Raymond,

Has it only been 5 years? It seems as if you've always been a part of me. These five years have been incredible. Together we've received 2 B.A.'s and 2 minors, we've helped start a coffee shop, and lived with 3 different roommates. We've had 2 children, and we've learned about and fallen in love with Down Syndrome. I've knitted you one hat and 3/4 of a sweater. You've built me one shelf, one night stand, and 1/4 of a coat rack. We've aquired many instruments, a tortoise, and about a thousand toys. We continue to sing together everyday, and laugh as much as we can. Wow! I wonder what the next five years hold.

You are my best friend!

Your Kimberly

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

An Invitation for You (Yes, YOU!)

Guess what I just got in the mail?... Can't guess? I'll give you a hint: It is far better than a million dollars... Still can't guess? OK, I'll tell ya:

A couple weeks ago we signed up to be a Prayer Warrior for a child awaiting adoption through Reeces Rainbow Adoption Ministry. Today in the mail we received a letter from Reeces Rainbow and a photograph of the most beautiful 4 year old boy you ever did see. I can't share his information, but to tell you he has Down Syndrome, and is desperately needing a family to adopt him. Looking at his beautiful face took my breath away. If only we had the means, we would fly to his country right now, gather him in our arms and welcome him into our home. For now, we will do something else for this little guy. We will pray for him every day until he gets adopted into the Forever Family God has ordained for him.

I want to invite you to join in this ministry. I want to invite you to become a Prayer Warrior along with my family. If you have been at all touched by Down Syndrome, and if you believe that God hears our prayers and performs miracles every day, then you can have a powerful impact on the life of an orphan with Down Syndrome.

In the United States there are waiting lists to adopt children with Down Syndrome. And even then, most people who have a baby with Down Syndrome choose to raise their child instead of giving it up for adoption. In some countries babies with Down Syndrome are not wanted by their parents or by their societies. They are sent to orphanages where they are rarely adopted. Unfortunately, in some of these countries children with Down Syndrome who have not been adopted by the time they are 5 are then sent to institutions where they are poorly cared for and often die within months of arrival.

As a parent of a child with Down Syndrome, I shudder to think of the cold reality so many children like my son face. But you know what? God sees each one of these precious children. He knows each of their names. He loves them. We may not all be able to pursue international adoption, but we can all pray. We can pray for kind people in the orphanages to give these darling, precious children extra hugs and food. We can pray for the families who are hoping to adopt. We can pray for the governments and societies of the countries to open their hearts, their funds, and their homes so children with Down Syndrome will be welcomed.

Does this sound like something you can do with me? If so, signing up is easy. All you need to do is contact Kelly Shamsey of Reece's Rainbow Prayer Warriors Outreach Ministry. She will match you up with a child to pray for. You will receive in the mail a photograph of your child with their name and age, and a bookmark and magnet to remind you to pray everyday. I am convinced that God hears our hearts, and that God can move mountains. It is no small thing to pray for an orphan. Please join with me.

Kelly's e-mail:
kshamsey@verizon.net

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Nana and Papa's visit

Nana and Papa came to visit, and it was so fun! Charlie and Calvin both had a great time playing with Papa and Nana. Mommy and Daddy really appreciated the extra help. My parents are the most excellent house guests you ever did know. My mom helped me with many projects while they were here. She even did all my sewing I needed to do. Thanks mom! Here are a couple of photos of their time with the boys.

Nana reading to Charlie.
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Papa and Calvin.
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One special thing we did while Nana and Papa were in town was to dedicate Calvin at church. In our faith we don't baptize babies. In fact, a baby dedication is more for the parents and the congregation than the baby. In a baby dedication the parents and the congregation commit to raising the child in the gentle love and protection of Jesus. We pledge to raise Calvin up in the ways of Christ, and to value his life as Jesus did for 'the least of these.' It was a special moment, and brought back memories of Charlie's dedication two years ago.

Calvin's Dedication
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A sweet moment.
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After the service:
My folks, Ray's folks, us, and my sister-in-law-to-be Renee.
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Monday, July 7, 2008

Stitches

Today Charlie had stitches in his chin. It was his and my first time. Ouch!

It started with a call from my mother-in-law. The Children's Center called her (I don't have a cell phone) to tell her Charlie had fallen and split his chin open, and they couldn't get a hold of me at home. Well, Grandma has a pretty good pulse on where I am during the week, and she tracked me down. Boy, I'll tell you my blood pressure shot through the roof when she told me the Children's Center wanted me to come pick-up Charlie because they thought he needed stitches. That mommy adrenaline is really powerful!

When I got to the center, Charlie was quietly sitting on the lap of one of the teacher with a gauze and cold pack on his chin. He had apparently tripped over the edge of the slide while walking around on the play ground, and face planted into the wood chips. His chin just popped right open from the hard fall. I was pretty sure we were going to need stitches. It was yucky. From the center I called the Doctor's office and asked if a nurse could just take a quick look to confirm we needed stitches. They said sure thing, so off we went.

The nurse came out, took a quick look and invited us back to an exam room for Dr. H to take a look. I was thinking Dr. H would come in, look at it, tell us 'yes it needs stitches, go to the ER.' I was surprised when he said, 'yes it needs stitches, wait here while I get my supplies.' What a great Dr. to take time to fix Charlie up right in the office. It was so nice not to have to haul both kids to the ER and endure the wait. Instead, the whole ordeal was very short. I picked Charlie up at 11:15, and we were home eating lunch by 1pm.

So, there we were in the office, Charlie in my lap, a nurse holding down his hands, a med student holding his head, and Dr. H repairing his split chin. He was such a brave boy--he was kicking and screaming, but so brave none-the-less. Calvin was in his car seat, also kicking and screaming... Don't know what his problem was. I mean, his day was going pretty well comparatively! Halfway through the procedure, I started getting light headed. I had been doing really well--a very brave mommy--until I got curious and watched Dr. H do a stitch. I am a fainter, so I alerted the group, and we moved Charlie onto the exam table for the last 2 stitches and I put my head down.

All together Charlie has 5 stitches in his chin, and I have a whopping head ache from the swing in my blood pressure! The good part of all this: The orange Mickey Mouse balloon the nurse gave him that seemed to make the whole trip worth it for Charlie. He grabbed onto that thing as if it were a teddy bear, and held it very dearly all the way home.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bonding

I can't tell you how relieved I was when a mother of four grown boys and grandmother of many told me it always took her at least three months after each of her boys was born to feel like a normal person again. Calvin was about 2 months at the time, and I was just beginning to feel like 'I can do this.' The first few weeks were tough. Many factors contributed of course: hormones, sleep deprivation, the huge physical demand of caring for a pre-walking toddler and a completely dependent infant... But there was one factor I had not counted on: having a non-special needs baby.

Charlie was our first baby. We really did not see what the big deal was about him having Down Syndrome. I mean heck, he was not all that different than other babies. Maybe he was a bit slower to do things, but he was by far the cutest kid around! (am I a little biased?) I think in many ways our lack of experience with typically developing babies helped us to move on after learning that Charlie has Down Syndrome. We did not have the burden of comparing him to an older sibling.

When Calvin was born, all of a sudden I began to see some difference in Charlie. I remember Ray and I would make remarks like "Charlie never did that," or "Can you believe Calvin is already communicating so clearly." Perhaps every mother goes through the pain of having to re-define her relationship with her first born when another sibling comes along. I did, but I also found myself having to reorient myself with Down Syndrome. It was like all of a sudden I saw what the big deal was, and I had to re-decide that I was ok with it. I wrestled with this a lot.

Calvin is nearly 4 months old now, and I feel like we've really found our groove. I feel a deep bond and understanding with my sweet baby boy. I feel like Charlie and I have once again fallen in step with each other. And last, I feel okay with Down Syndrome again. I think my patience has grown for Charlie. Having Calvin has illuminated his struggle and determination. I am not only okay with Down Syndrome, but newly amazed. You know, God did not make a mistake when he diverted that extra 21st chromosome toward the cell that would become Charlie. He knew just what he was doing.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Watermark

It's a cruel, cruel world out there. I've started adding a watermark to all the pictures I post on this blog and elsewhere on the internet. The reason? There are folks out there who steal pictures and use them with ill intention other places on the web. By adding a watermark, it makes it difficult for internet thiefs to do their thieving. It's just safer.
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