Thursday, May 8, 2014

At the Hospital

Nicholas and I are at the hospital today.  He just had his ABG surgery: bone marrow graft from his hip to his palate.  We have been anticipating this surgery for years.  It is kind of a big deal, as it involves a night in the hospital and a few weeks recovery.

Nicholas was not too nervous.  He was actually just very happy that he does not need his palate expander any more.  And, he was also looking forward to a night alone with me.  

The surgery went really well.  The surgeons said it could not have gone better.  And, in true Nicholas form, he was strong and calm in the recovery room, even though he was in pain. He was trying to fight back tears although I tried to reassure him that crying is okay.

We are now in our room, watching The Great Muppet Caper.  It is kind of nice to spend some alone time with him, even though it is in a hospital.  And I miss the rest of the family.

I really don't mind this part of parenting.  I know many who don't want to consider "special needs" adoption because they don't like hospitals and are anxious about needles, blood, etc.  For whatever reason, it doesn't bother me.  Of course, I would rather my kids not have to deal with pain and discomfort, but I don't mind being here and taking care of the post- op stuff. I see it as one of the many God- given resources I have available to make a small difference.  It's something I had put on my "pro" list when we were considering more adoptions.

Of course, not only my adopted kiddos end up in the hospital. Peter was in the hospital for 3 nights 2 summers ago with an appendicitis.  And while I hated seeing him in pain, too, I appreciated the opportunity to spend time with him and show him love and attention.  I remember how much the meant to me when my mom showed me that care as a child. 

I think of Elijah and how he had surgery on his foot without me there.  Actually, he was not with any adult he really knew.  He went through it on his own, and that is just so sad.  He has learned to do hard things on his own and he is only 7.  Nick, also, had surgeries without a parent when he was a baby.  We might downplay the importance of sitting by our child's bed, getting him or her drinks of water, or helping them to the bathroom, but it is so important mostly in the messages our kids get: you are not alone.  Someone is taking care of you.  Someone loves you.

I don't say any of this to point out how great I am, but to point out how great parents are.  How fundamental just the basic meeting of needs is.  I hear and read often that people think they can't adopt.  Maybe it's money they lack, or bedrooms, or time.  But, I wonder how much would change if they instead considered what resources they do have:  access to healthcare, an ability to take time off from work for their kids' medical procedures, or maybe just friends who can babysit their other kids while they go to a child's physical therapy.  In general, we all have so much we take for granted and it is these things that kids truly need.

Ok, off my soapbox.  Back to the Muppets.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Tale of 3 Birthdays

Last week, my oldest baby turned 10 and my youngest baby turned 2.

When we first told Olivia, last spring, that the little boy we were adopting had a birthday the day after hers, she was concerned. She didn't necessarily want to share her special day.

Olivia out for her birthday lunch with mom
But now that Christopher is here, she loves it.  She loves sharing her birthday with him because she absolutely adores him. 

Christopher with his new birthday vacuum

In fact, she asked if we could celebrate his birthday a day early, on her actual birthday.  So she could share with him. She wanted to see him open his gifts on her birthday.  That would be a present to her.

And that says so much to me about siblings and large families.  What might seem like a negative on the outside, is actually a positive once you are in it.  Things aren't divided up into smaller and smaller pieces, but multiplied beyond logic.  Like loaves of bread and fishes, perhaps.

The idea went over so well that we decided to ask my sister's daughter, Lucy, to celebrate her birthday with them this past weekend.  Lucy, who is 3, has a birthday just a few days before Olivia and Christopher.  So we had one big party for three kids.

It was so fun. 

Lucy and Olivia

And, let me tell you, no one felt like they were getting less.  It was just more.  More grandparents to hold them.

More siblings to dote on them.

And -- of course -- more presents to open.

Thanking God for the gift of family.