Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday, June 14, 2010

Two Remarkable Boys and a Must Read

I am writing while everyone else is still sleeping or already on the road for the day (Daniel is headed to Atlanta for the week).

Sometimes, as life goes on, I can forget the markers of how blessed we have been. I can forget how much we have. Not necessarily tangible, but just by being here at all, we have enough, or access to enough. Sometimes we just don't help each other recognize it very well. Sometimes we ourselves don't appreciate it, so someone else never sees, through us, how blessed they are as well.

Two reminders stand out to me lately. First, I read a book over the last couple of weeks that is hard to get off my mind. It is called The Boy from Baby House 10. It is an amazing, extremely well written account of one boy who survived the Russian orphanage system. It is an important read for adoptive parents whose children came from the post-Soviet countries, and it is an incredible testimony of how God really does know where each person is on the planet and He will truly move mountains to rescue us. Miracle of God is the only way to explain how this boy was lifted out of that setting and set on his feet in a loving home in Pennsylvania. Read it to understand the effect of institutionalization, read it to understand some of the idiosyncracies and mind-sets of the post-Soviet countries which affect how their orphans are cared for (or not), and read it to see the beautiful work of God's hand which transcends the failings of people. If you have already completed an adoption from a post-Soviet country and your child has been home for awhile, this book may very well rekindle your passion for children in these areas, and certainly re-ignite gratitude to the Father that He rescued your child as well. Some orphanages are better than others. Some of the people who work in these orphanages do care about the children and are trying to nurture them. Some children in these places are getting three meals a day. But don't be fooled. It is not a system that breeds hope or vision in these kids. They are in survival mode, scrambling for attention and love and some sense of why they even wake up in the morning. So read the book, that you not be among those who no longer see and appreciate and focus on what we do have instead of what we don't have. So you won't be among those who never look out to see what someone else is missing and needing.

My other reminder of how good we really have it is just watching Maxim in his spica cast. He is so resilient and good natured, for the most part, even in this stiff, plastic-lined case which surrounds him at the moment. I can learn from that.

Aside from the context of his broken leg, I just see Maxim growing in his understanding of the language, in his ability to connect with others and build friendships without thinking he has to be the boss anymore, not being afraid of thunder storms anymore. He is very persistent to observe what's going on around him, sometimes bordering on nosy, and soaking in information. And I love his singing. He definitely loves music. He truly has not let his current circumstances get him down. And even if we were to find ourselves going through this again, with multiple surgeries still projected, I have to keep proper perspective. We are going through all of this because God Himself saw a little boy in Ukraine and saw fit to pick him up and set him in our family, supplying us with everything we have needed to embrace him and take care of him. God is good. God is good. God is good.

Speaking of Maxim, we had an interesting turn of events. The Wednesday before last, I took him in for his official post-op check with the specialist. X-rays were taken and then we waited for her to come in. She put up the pictures and said there was no remarkable change in the bone. Barely any improvement since the surgery to set it. She remarked about the length of time he would be in the cast, in passing. Twenty-one weeks! I couldn't believe it. No one had said a word about this to us. I had been assuming that it would be about eight weeks like his time in the spica cast after the hip reconstruction last year. But no, she really said twenty-one weeks. I just looked at her and said I knew it would not have changed the length of time but it would have been very nice to be clued in from the beginning.

Anyway, she knew we had some travels planned and we talked about all of that as well.
We are flying out to Washington State for a wedding in August, and Sukkot is coming up at the end of September this year. We'll be driving down to Missouri for that. The cast does not prevent Maxim from traveling easily as it is at an angle which allows Maxim to be propped in an almost normal sitting position. As we discussed these scenarios, the specialist was commenting about Maxim's cast coming off right before our September trip, and then doing his next surgery (more work on the right hip) on October 1. Then she just stopped for a minute and said, "You know, maybe Maxim will surprise us; bring him back in six weeks and if I see no evidence of the break, from any angle, at that point, I will take the cast off then." It was an immediate glimmer of hope from the Father, I believe. I had already felt very strongly that the next surgery should not be done without some kind of buffer out of casts in between, so he can use his legs and nurture some good range of motion again.

I believe the Father is giving us some reassurance here. So four weeks from now, may we walk into the specialists office and may the x-rays be beyond encouraging! I know the recommendation is that even if the cast comes off earlier than usual, Maxim will still not be encouraged to get on his feet for a couple of months because of the critical nature of recovering from a break in the femur. However, I know my God is bigger than all the facts and statistics. He is able to raise Maxim above all of that. What a great blessing it would be to escape from this cast during this season of beautiful weather and sunshine. Those are great for his bones too, so we pray and wait. Guess what he's doing right now? Laying out in the the living room singing "He has made me glad, He has made me glad; I will rejoice for He has made me glad" at the top of his lungs.

Meanwhile, Brina is in Driver's Ed. and doing great. She made a terrific Key Lime Pie the other night. Not usually my favorite at all but this was sooooooo good! Thanks Brina for the treat.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Things were going so good....

Well, not only am I going the way of mothers of many and starting to take less pictures of my youngest child, now it's going to be awhile before I have a chance again to take pics of Maxim with his walker. This week, while playing with my other son Joel, his right femur got broken. Poor boys.

Joel is kind of like Maxim's living Disneyland sometimes, giving him rides of all sorts. Joel had just been riding Maxim on his shoulders, as he had done so many times, and was going to gently flip him back down to the floor, hanging on to him the whole time. However, this time, when Joel quickly lifted Maxim up off of his shoulders, he heard a terrible crack and Maxim was immediately wailing.

I took him in to emergency and as he was saying his knee hurt, that's what the physician concentrated on and ordered x-rays for. However, once we got in there and slid his shorts up a little, we saw the swelling in his thigh. He has a spiral fracture. Then, because of his complicated orthopedic history, they decided to transfer him to Grand Rapids for treatment. So let's just say Maxim had a memorable field trip in an ambulance, surgery to set the bone, and will not be using his walker again until July, easily.

But I can still say God is good, God is good, God is good. When Joel heard that awful sound, he had the presence of mind to not let go of Maxim, so he didn't fall and get hurt worse. Joel immediately crumpled to the floor crying, apologizing and praying for his little brother. It gave me a window into his heart; that even though they sometimes irritate each other as will happen with siblings on occasion, he really loves Maxim and would never want to hurt him. I felt bad because when Maxim asked if he was going to have a big cast (spica) or little cast, I assured him that it would just be a little one, only on his leg. However, the doctor opted for the spica cast, to immobilize both of Maxim's upper legs, and I thought for sure Maxim would be angry when he woke up from surgery. He wasn't at all. He has had such a good attitude and has also been sleeping really well, a definite answer to prayers.

Joel was happy when I put Maxim on the phone to talk to him. "Maxim, do you still love me?", he asked.

Maxim just wanted to talk about the cool movie he was watching. TV is a big deal to him since we don't have one at home.

Joel said, "That's great Maxim, but do you still love me?"

"Yup." as the reply.

Joel was soooo relieved.

I would not wish this on anyone, but I see blessings in it already. I met and could pray for people I wouldn't have connected with otherwise. Nurses who saw Maxim before, at past surgeries, could see him again and hear about all the progress he's made over the last year. They don't often get to see kids again and know they've made a difference. In my prayer time during the surgery and afterward, God taught me about being patient even when I'm tired, and that it's important even in the thick of care giving to take care of ourselves. It's the first time I have felt at peace to just go take a shower after Maxim was settled comfortably in his bed, and lie down myself to sleep that night. At one in the morning, Maxim was awake and watching Shrek and I said, "Maxim, I have to go to sleep now. See you in the morning." He said, "Okay Mama; Maxim watch movie." I layed down in the bed next to his and he watched the end of the movie. Then we both went to sleep. He had a great sleep that night and last night as well.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for walking us through the unexpected and showing us bright spots within it.