Tuesday, July 16, 2013

He Knew Us Better Than We Knew Ourselves {Special Needs Adoption - Cerebral Palsy}

The Story of Our Mountain Mover
~we needed him as much as he needed us~
Last week, I had a friend share the link to No Greater Joy Mom's Cerebral Palsy Adoption Awareness link up.  I am a little late, but I continued to feel the prompting to join in.
I will start where Brandon and I were in process to adopt siblings from Ethiopia. This was our 2nd adoption. We were in the very beginning stages. Red flags started to arise with the program in Ethiopia. Due to our experience in the Vietnam program, we were not willing to take the risk of a program shutting down again. We started to explore our options and on February 28th, were introduced to our sweet twins on Holt International's South Korea Waiting Child photo listing. From there it looked like THIS, THIS, THIS, THIS, and THIS to get us to this point...
Those links above give great detail as to how we went from a path to adopt siblings from Ethiopia to adopting twins from South Korea. 1 year old twins don't often sit on an adoption agencies waiting list unless there is a little more to it than adorable twins needing a loving family. Many loving families would adopt twin babies. Both twins had some medical concerns. Greer certainly had the most extensive and concerning list of "uniqueness" in his medical file. The two most foreshadowing tidbits were his developmental delay and the note of muscle spasticity (the precursor to a cerebral palsy diagnosis) with each monthly well baby check up (South Korea is awesome like that...exceptional medical care/monthly check ups). It was hard to know what the long term would look like for Greer. We had to be ok with best and worst case scenarios and the spectrum was soooooooo wide. We mentally prepared for therapies, doctor appointments, adjusting to having a uniquely made little one and ALL that it could entail....for his siblings, our future "empty nest." our bank account, our everything.  I was also preparing myself to have an adjustment period of being a Momma to a uniquely made son. Would there be questions, stares, lost friendships, awkward moments, frustrating circumstances? We just couldn't be sure from pictures and medical reports exactly what we were dealing with but we had an idea it was going to be a unique journey. We were only confident in the fact that Sophie was our daughter and Greer was our son. When we said yes, we were ready and willing to do whatever, go wherever, and be whoever they needed us to be as their parents. We prayed all of this through but weren't sure how hard or easy it was going to be when the rubber met the road. We were just committed to keepin' on keepin' on no matter what!
All I can say is, The Lord knew us better than we knew ourselves. We never started our adoption process thinking we would go and find a child who might be in a wheelchair, in therapy 6 hours a week, and in need of assistance with so much. BUT GOD. He, in His sovereignty,  lead us to a place where there was no denying Greer was our son. There were so many unknowns. He brought us to the place that we were ok with those.  and then...
That happened. This was our very first meeting with the twins in South Korea at their foster parents home. Greer was sweet and reserved and Sophie was going bonkers. I didn't even know I was making this face for the picture but it accurately described what I was going through my mind (something like AGHHHH!!!). My heart was skipping beats and I was even a little faint feeling. It was a whirlwind visit. There was so much to take in.
A few days later, they were placed in our custody and that was the beginning of our new normal.

I will never forget the first few days with Greer. Brandon's parents were with us in Seoul and we were doing the new parent shuffle trying to figure the kids out and keep them as happy and comfortable as possible. Only Greer, he was NOT having it. He totally had a harder transition than Sophie and completely shut down. Add to that, he wanted nothing to do with me and I was a bundle of nerves around him as a result. Thankfully, he and Brandon hit it off big time. Greer could hardly hold his head up and was super "floppy" and would not eat hardly anything. I was super stressed but didn't want to visibly act too concerned. I didn't want anyone else to be concerned so I just prayed a lot and freaked out a whole lot on the inside. I will say there may have been a freak out moment of Holy Cow...are we sure we can do this? but don't worry...It DID NOT TAKE LONG {AT ALL} for me to transition out of that very short lived funk {lie from the enemy} into a super duper Go Go Gadget Special Needs Mama mode. Once he started eating and actually tolerated me in bits, I went into full fledged, It's you and me buddy... let's get you every available resource at our disposal. We went from there and have NEVER looked back. I am one PROUD & DETERMINED Momma bear.
I am proud to say that I pretty much lived the truth below daily...
I don't want to sound arrogant. I actually want to stress how shocking it has been that this part of my parenting journey has come so easily. It has pulled things from within me that I never knew I had or would need. I can only attribute that to the Lord. He orchestrated this insane journey because He knew what He made me capable to do. The first year home with 3 kiddos 2,2, and 3 were interesting. Most people assume that the hard was a result of Greer and his special needs but that was actually about the ONLY thing I felt like I was actually doing well. I was this little guys Momma. There was not really a grieving over what kind of child I thought Greer was going to be because we had prepared ourselves for the spectrum. We came out ready to conquer what was before us each day.
Our mantra that year (and actually still) was "We might not have it all together, but together we have it all!"
We pray and speak truth and "fighting words" over our sweet boy.
"Kid you'll move mountains because YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST who gives you STRENGTH!"

We shuffle to therapists...
and therapists shuffle to us...

He surprises us again and again

and we all pitch in to do for him


love on him

buddy up with him
and push him

to his fullest potential.

There isn't a moment that we have second guessed his place in our family.

It has been one of my biggest blessings... the gift of being his mother. I count it pure joy to pour into him each day.

God has shown up again and again with the perfect people and resources for Greer.
It isn't always easy and it's almost always messy.
Always fun
Creativity is a necessity

and he doesn't get to pull the cerebral palsy card and "sit out"

We fight with and for him because we believe God will use that to grow him into an AMAZING man with a unique spin on what he has to offer the world!
We have high expectations for our amazing son and are fully devoted to helping him reach his fullest potential!

We are immensely thankful that the Lord knew us better than we knew ourselves and that he predestined and equipped us {long before we ever had a clue that we would have this calling and need the tools} to be Mommy & Daddy to our amazing little mountain mover!


I know I speak a lot about how I feel in this blog post. I can assure you. Brandon and Greer's connection was instantaneous and it continues to be rock solid!  They adore each other.
In closing I have to say, follow your heart. I really believe that the Lord stirred ours in unexpected ways at just the right time and because we were ready and willing to go where He lead us, the blessings have been abundant and He has worked in and through our family in amazing ways!


EmDub @ Faster In Water said...

Awe what a great post. Randomly got to your page - I love what God has done through you and what he is continuing to do!

Melissa's Thoughts said...

He is growing into such a beautiful..um sorry, handsome young man. I can't believe how he has grown. Thank you for raising him to a high standard instead of lowering the standard for him. You have raised remarkable kids.