Tuesday, November 26, 2013


In the fall of 2010 my calm and collected first child broke his arm jumping off of the Little Tyke playhouse in our backyard. He was fully cloaked in superman cape, pretending to save the world. This happened right before our eyes as we were enjoying a family evening together. He ended up having a very minor, barely visible, hairline fracture on the elbow end of his radius. Little brother is following in big brother's footsteps, although in typical Abe fashion. On Wednesday, November 20th, again right before my eyes (I was watching out my bedroom window) I witness my little man fall through the small opening left in the zipper of our enclosure net surrounding our trampoline. He loves to lean against the enclosure, pressing his feet against the trampoline, causing him to sway effortlessly back and forth. This time his little tush went right through the whole, followed by the rest of his body. I quickly ran outside to find him being helped up by his sibling. He was a bit dazed and stunned, crying only a bit. This is the child who can go from calm to breath-taking rage to blue and passing out in 0.9 seconds. When I saw he still had his wits about him, I had hope that all was fine. As I consoled him, I watched his behavior, noticing that he was not using his left arm AT ALL, not even a little, instead keeping it tucked very close to his side. We walked inside and I laid him on the couch and he tried to move his arm and WAILED in pain. "Oh no, this is not good!" was my first thought. I quickly called Marcus and said to meet me at the ER, we were on our way with Abe. I felt sure his arm was broken. I gave everyone the task of getting shoes and coats. I very carefully removed Abe's shirt without moving his arm, and replaced it with a zip up jacket, arm carefully tucked by his side. Once everyone was in the truck, we left for Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. Once there, we were met by Marcus who had already filled out paperwork. One excruciatingly difficult thing for this mother to do is to leave her sick or hurting child. But, I did have the great comfort of knowing he was in very good hands with his daddy. I took the rest of our crew home, where we bathed and left for church. The only other place I would have rather been, if I could not be at the hospital was in the presence of dear friends, many just like family. We enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with our church family. I kept in constant contact with Marcus, who after seeing the x-rays, warned me that this was a terrible and complicated injury. My specific hopes for no narcotics and no general anesthesia were dwindling by the second. 

 Both the radius and ulna in the lower arm are significantly dislocated 
and the bottom of the humerus is broken very close to the growth plate!

Here the radius and ulna has been relocated to their appropriate places and 
two temporary pins have been placed in his humerus to assure proper healing.

Marcus sent the news and our dear friends knew I needed to be there with Abe and Marcus. They rallied together, took on the transportation responsibilities and childcare of our four other children, so that I could be with our baby boy and my husband. Another dear friend took me to the hospital. Are my friends the greatest or what? When I got there, Marcus had just seen Abe off to surgery, which was necessary due to the close proximity of an artery to the dislocated and broken bones. A nurse was kind enough to update us that all was going well during the procedures. The doctor called us personally to let us know "...all his bits were put back in place and were being held there with pins." He was sent to recovery and we went up to Pediatrics to wait on our little man. He finally was wheeled in about half an hour later. 

He was still very drowsy from the medications, but did open his eyes several times and drink some juice. What a trooper! The doctor wanted to keep Abe over night to assure good circulation continued. Marcus elected to stay, while I went home to care for the other children. He was released early the next morning. He came home with a sling to wear for a couple of weeks. 

This incident only slowed him down for a week, two at the most! He was very protective of his arm, and still is to a point. He allowed many more snuggles from all of us. But, he has regained his strength and vigor! Life has meant adding a few tweaking to activities of daily life such as drinking from straws and bathing in plastics bags. We do what we have to do to make it work!

We have even added some significant art work to his cast so that he feels special! Everyone signed their names and keeping with current tradition (although we hope this is not a tradition our boys will continue), we added a chosen super hero emblem to the center of the cast!

When asked will we allow the kids to continue to use the trampoline or do we feel they are a hazard, our reply is this: We will continue to allow the kids to jump inside the enclosure as we always have. We hope it has been a learning experience for ALL of us to always be diligent in making sure the entrance is completely zipped. We are aware that with most play equipment, there is some risk that will be assumed. Roller skates, bikes, skateboards, scooters, trampolines, ATVs etc. to name a few, all have risks associated with them. We will continue to assure no rough housing on the trampoline by anyone and that only a previously and specifically set number of people may jump at a time. We know from experience that it does not take much for the bravery of boys to lead to accidents. We will continue to encourage our children to live courageously, not under a veil of fear. Boys will be boys!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Signed, Sealed, Delivered...

WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!

 (please excuse the unshowered "beautifulness" of ONE of us!)

Saturday, November 16 we went through our official dossier and one photo copy for the last dozen times to make sure that all things were included and in their correct places. It was the day in which it would FINALLY leave our hands. I told my friend Marcie (who is also in the midst of their own Ethiopian adoption and who just sent their own dossier off as well. WOOT WOOT!!!) "This is almost like what I imagine it might feel like to send a kid to college." This has been a huge undertaking in the past four months. To say that we have been consumed may just be the understatement of the year. Granted, we had plenty to do before this all started. We have been in the midst of what is iconically referred to as the "paperchase". No matter what type of adoption you are entering into, which number adoption it may be, or the number of children involved, you will go through the process of compiling our dossier. I love to say it "Dossier" pronounced (doss E A). It is from French origin which simply means a group of papers containing detailed information about someone or something. For our adoption it is a substantial collection of formal, legal and most times notarized (sometimes even certified) documents that will be sent to our government and if you are adopting internationally, then on to the government of the country from which you wish to adopt children.

Racing to the post office in true West style, with only minutes to spare, we arrived, seven in tow. We mailed our package PRIORITY and WITH TRACKING to our agency for final checks, US certification and translation. Amazingly, it arrived Monday and had already been inspected once when we received notification from our Family Coordinator. Our estimated DTE (dossier to Ethiopia) date is November 29. After months of seeing other announce their DTE and longing for our own, we have it! It is a milestone that does not mean much to many unless you are involved. You are at the mercy of so many other agencies, government offices and sometimes even government SHUTDOWNS! It is a tedious process and can get very frustrating at times, maybe more so for the Type-A personalities.It closes this chapter of the process and opens the waiting portion. We can officially receive a referral of precious little ones AT ANY TIME. This fact alone is absolutely surreal. We have no way of knowing when it will come. The approximate wait time for a healthy infant is 30-36 months. The fact that we are seeking an older child (over the age of 4 years old) sibling group, may or may not affect that wait time. Only time will tell. 
Assuredly, it will come in the Lord's perfect timing.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14

Monday, November 4, 2013


Another one of our beloved West traditions for fall, is our annual cotton picture. We love to compare photos from years past, to see how each child has grown and changed. I found myself scouring folders upon folders of my precious little ones....I could literally sit for hours remembering the treasured times our family has shared through the years. God has abundantly blessed us. We started this tradition, among others, when we first moved to Jackson 7 years ago. Here are all of our cotton babies beginning from the very first picture in 2008 when we only had two tykes.







Days like these, where I am blessed with time to blog and reminisce, I am extremely humbled at God's generosity and favor on my life! Although I am not always as diligent as He commands and I let my emotions dictate my contentment, I am thankful that His word promises His mercies are new every morning! (Lamentations 3:22-23)

“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:
“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
“Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
“Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
~ Deuteronomy 28:1-6

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hayride and Chili Supper

Each year our church has its annual Chili Supper and Hayride! It is a wonderful time of fellowship with friends, good food and fun! First we sign up to bring either homemade chili/soup/chowder, dessert, or the fixins'. Many enter the contests for Best Chili, Best Soup, and Best Homemade Dessert. Ballots are passed out and the taste testing begins. Once our bellies are full and prizes are awarded, we bundle up and head for the cotton trailer that is filled with hay. We pack it full, which is great for warm snuggles with the kids. We enjoy the beautiful, night sky, sing songs and tell jokes, enjoying our time together. This annual tradition is also home of another West fall tradition. Since our very first attendance, we dress for the occasion, wearing our white shirts and overalls. Over the years we have invested in many a pair of overalls!

West Fall Hayride 2013

Tiny Dancer

We got the awesome treat to catch a sneak peek of our biggest girl in action! Each year at Pat Brown School of Dance we always look forward to the two opportunities to watch our ballerina dance during one of her practices. Normally practices are closed so that the dancers can focus on proper form and technique without the distraction of watching parents. She has grown in tremendously in grace and elegance through her dancing. I love to see the continuing transformation as my little girl becomes more and more a true dancer. 

The plie` is very very LEAST favorite exercise.

 Mia has grown close to yet another teacher at her school, although she longs to dance under her favorite teacher, Ms. Kim again. 

She is very diligent with her formation and placement of her hands and feet. She concentrates very hard due to the depth of skill required by ballet. I am so proud that she Fortunately class is filled with its fun, exuberant moments as well. 

Although, recently she has expressed a growing interest in gymnastics. Alas she cannot do both. I do not want to be a mother who pressures my children to do any particular thing. While it would grieve me to see her give up such a talent she has acquired and I will encourage her to continue, it is ultimately her decision. If her heart is not truly in it, no matter the depth of her skill, it is not worth it! I have enticed her with the hopes that a few more of her friends just may be in her class next year! Only time will tell. And, we do have at least one more recital of which to look forward. That always puts a smile on her face....and ours!