Monday, January 12, 2009

Service Dogs for Special Needs Children

Wow, I haven't written in too is too busy, but, I have to start doing this. I don't want to forget the wonderful things happening. About a month ago I met a woman in Las Vegas that asked me if I had ever considered a service dog for my daughter. Hmm..really, I had never heard of anything like that. This blog will now sound pretty clinical, but, really, my hope is that someone will read this and their life will be changed as mine and my daughters'.

I will now go thru a list of diagnosis for her: She was born 6 weeks premature, weighing 2lbs 11oz. Her biological mother drank alcohol and took 2oz of crack cocaine, she stated, everyday of her pregnancy. Although its usually better not to be premature, Ariana was blessed by an early birth. Anyway, she has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, PDD-NOS, Mood disorder-NOS, significant sensory integration disorder..with secondary executive functioning disorder...(due to the FAS). She also has had some pretty serious attachment issues. She is now 7yrs old...and until June '07 had some type of therapy weekly...whether OT, PT, therapy, psychologists, pyschiatrists...ah, you name it.

Life with this kiddo is challenging to say the least. She only started sleeping last July, when finally I agreed to some meds. One of the most challenging things as far as being her mom, is that it is so difficult for me to watch her be so very uncomfortable in her skin, almost all the time. A quick research of those diagnosis will give you a good idea of what we're talking about.

Anyway, I called a company called Colorado Service Dogs Inc. in December and asked if Ariana could be a candidate for a dog...and what we could hope for. First, these people are incredible to work with, the "get it" when it comes to these challenges with these kids, and they really care. That in itself is just is pretty difficult daily, when I don't have to explain everything, and then feel that darn judgement of someone who has no idea....well, suffice it to say Colorado Service Dogs, INC gets IT!!!!

Long story short, (I know, this is getting to be a novel) Ariana got her service dog last Thursday, and I cannot BELIEVE what has happened since then. She has not had one single screaming fit, meltdown..although she has been frustrated at times. Lily, (she named her dog) has calmed her in ways I don't even begin to understand. Twice, she has transitioned from one activity to another without any intervention on my part. TWICE! You all know what I'm talking about, this is a child usually within inches of my face 24/7, unable to function without constant intervention. Well, I have more to write, I hope to do this daily...gotta go for now, but, miracles are happening around here, and I am so grateful for her sake, as well as mine :)


Monday, October 20, 2008

Packing it up (again)

We're off, in two days, but tomorrow we fill the trailer. I am in awe at really how wonderful the last few months have been, thru pain and all. I'm learning I'm NOT crazy, its ok for me to believe something different than other people, and it's even ok to live differently. Having our daughter though no kidding, the absolute hardest thing I've ever tried to do, has been one of the biggest blessings. You just can't raise any children, nevermind a special needs kiddo without growing yourself. I wonder if that is really why God gives them to us :)

I so look forward to Colorado again, to friends that look forward to seeing me, to an incredible son and daughter-in-law, and don't even get me started on the joy of grandchildren!! I can get so very scared when all my worldly things, and stuff are stripped away, but, my gosh, that just seems to be when all the spiritual stuff gets going in me. I am better than I deserve for sure, and so happy to have this incredible, though challenging life of mine!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Childrens Science Museum

Well, we're the museum. No school today, so I get to go play with Ari. Countdown is on for the move, we're getting excited :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The pain of judgement

Wow, I am so darn frustrated right now...I find myself, as usual reverting to the "I need someone to understand what I'm doing" thought mode, when, in reality, not many people could even BEGIN to understand what I'm would have to have lived alot of my life in the last 6 years.

As I mentioned, we're currently getting ready to move, yet again. We moved here in June, to the hope that we could find a good educational fit for our adopted, special needs daughter. We left our son and his family, and many friends..but, still had high hope that this would be a good thing. I personally know that it has not been a mistake to have adopted her, although, truly, my husband and I...and all of us as a family has been torn to pieces over the changes brought about thru that decision. That would bring me to that age old question though....Either God IS or God ISN"T, which is it in my life?? I have chosen to believe he IS. BUT, I find (oh my, does that mean I'm yelling? I'm not yelling...just trying to make a typing point) that especially within the Christian community, of which we as a family are a part...there is even less encouragement and help, and way way more judgement and condemnation. So, consequently, I'm frustrated.

My thoughts are kind of all over the place, because I realize here, I am the one with the problem, noone can frustrate me, unless I give them permission...and really, if I am in fact doing what I believe is the best at least at this point, then, really, who CARES what the heck anyone else thinks...and I cannot change anyone at all, ever for any reason. Years ago I learned a little saying..."A man convinced against his will, is a man unconvinced still". Yeah, so much for me changing the way anyone thinks. So, that brings this whole rant back to me. And, what I can do in my/our life that would be God glorifying, serving, loving, kind. I think I need to take a good look at myself, and come up with some questions for me to ponder.

1. How is MY attitude affecting those around me, those 5 feet near me, those 500 miles away from is my attitude affecting those?

2. What can I do about it?

3. What do I really really believe? Do I believe God is who HE says he is? Do I believe the bible is what the bible says?

4. Am I willing to do what it takes to live those beliefs out? Or will I become a whining, cranky, ungrateful person because noone understands, or is willing to help in what I do believe is a pretty difficult situation?

5. Am I willing to forgive the judgement? Especially the judgement of the Christians around me, the ones I keep thinking over and over again are NOT going to be the ones tearing my spirit apart? Again, goes back to what I believe...and if I refuse to forgive, what happens to me?

Ugh, some good questions...and I am grateful for the introspection...I will choose to believe today, I will choose to try in my humaness to bring honor to all my relationships...I will choose to NOT be a victim of anything, or anyone. I will do what I have to do to stay spiritually fit, so as to not want to be a victim...ok, a day at a time here...Deep breath, it is an incredible life to be sure.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fear of God

I was just listening to the radio tonite, Ari is sleeping my husband is fishing, and I am baking :) The speaker was talking about the fear of God...meaning, that whole complete attitude of awe that I need to have for Him. He talked about the fact that if I don't have that fear, if I let it slip, then I am than able to only hear all the voices of the world. Wow. That is deep.

I can really see how easy it is, in this fast life for me to let it happen. I am in a constant battle to not live in complete selfishness, and worry about me. Our daughter, I think I mentioned, is adopted, special needs...She was born at 2lbs 11oz, her bio mother drank alcohol and took two oz of crack cocaine every day of her pregnancy, she also had no prenatal care, and took meds by injection monthly for bipolar disorder. She also, gets away with it...her daughter is paying the price. For me to take care of this little one, I have to constantly stay close to God, I am so completely unable to just do this out of myself, and my own love...I need much extra help. Supernatural, powerful God help. So, can you tell I am alone alot, and I love to talk, but, noone is I am typing. A day at a time. I am so grateful.

I'm going to do what?

I'm sitting here in Sandy, Oregon...after moving here only in June, and I'm planning a move back to Colorado. We moved here because we thought it would be the best thing for our little girl. Here in Sandy, they have a great special education program, and we wanted Ari to have the best. The school IS great, but, her issues have loomed larger...and to meet her needs, she needs to leave and probably be homeschooled. Now, I wonder, me? Do that? Ariana is chronologically 7 years old, but, many important parts of her are probably about 3 1/2 to 4 yrs old, at the most. She is just developmentally not "there" yet. Now, I am always doubting myself, or at least have in the past with everything. I knew this when we moved, but, I stayed strong with the line that someone else had to teach her, someone else has to "fix" this, some really important college graduated teaching person who knew what they were doing. I couldn't do it. I then met an incredible author who has much wisdom dealing with kids who have fetal alcohol syndrome, and the best thing, we do clearly see, is to put together a program with her, homeschooling, tutors, etc. believing if we do that, she will not be further traumatized.

I am nervous though moving back, one of the hardest things I've found with Ariana is the expectations OTHER people have of her...I don't know if its a cultural thing or what, but people don't seem to embrace her. She is considered a pain in the neck I think by most people, probably because her needs are so great. If she meets you for instance, she wants to play with you, she wants your attention, she wants you to stop your life, and BE with her. It makes me so sad that in this "real" world, its a rare thing that someone is willing to do that. We all have our own agendas...and really, (personal opinion, here, but, what the heck, its MY blog) children are not treasured in this society. Or at least treated as the important little persons they are. If they are smart, cute, ready and willing to do what an adult says...ok, but, mostly it seems they are to be seen and not heard. I'll tell you....that is the absolute opposite of what my girl is. She demands everything you have, and fact, you can't spend any real amount of time with her without having to face something about yourself...she's that intense.

So, another change, but, there are great things about it. We'll be moving back to our son and his wife, and our two grandbabies. THAT is a great thing. I need to remember, we're moving back to another chance for miracles, and believe, even when I can't believe, that God IS in control, and wants great things for all his children. I get to be with family for Thanksgiving, how blessed am I?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My First Post on my own real Blog!!

I've finally done it, probably I will be the only one reading what I've written, but, you know, I've decided I have an incredible life, and have had an incredible life...and choose to of course believe it will continue.

Crazy things seem to happen around me, and I wonder often what the heck I'm this answer to prayer I wonder...or am I just a crazy, irresponsible person. Hmm...maybe as I write this I will figure out.

My son has an incredible blog, his name is Jarrod, my first born...its at He is so darn creative I find that so neat...I love reading his blog, and seeing his artwork. His deep introspection. Anyway, so, now I will just share life, its always crazy, usually challenging, and really, I do laugh alot.

I will probably be sharing alot about our little girl. She is currently 7yrs old, adopted, special needs. Her biological mother drank great amounts of alcohol, and took lots of, our girl is pretty challenged. It's only been lately that I've tried really hard to just embrace her for who she is, and stop trying to change her. Its such a freedom, for both of us. I find we're laughing alot more.