Monday, July 20, 2009

Its All How You Look at It!

To me, Baby girl (2) looks average at 17 ½ pounds (though she is at the 95th percentile for weight and height). However, I visited my neighbor who has a one week baby born at 5 pounds and when I came back home, my baby looked like a giant!

I look at my four kids and I am so thankful to God for entrusting them in our care and can’t get over how blessed we truly are. We go to a barbecue and a family member who has not met our newest three (though the twins have been home for five months and we only live 1 ½ hours away) is amazed at how large our family has become and empathizes with us at the burden of having so “many” children and is sorry for us for the exponentially increased grocery bills! I had not actually thought if our food bill had increased – I guess that is food for thought for another day:)! But, it is hard to compare an increased food bill with the joys and blessings children bring. Oh that our society would begin to look at children as the blessings from God that they really are, and not an inconvenience that interfere with our food budgets, vacations or having time for ourselves. I could choose to focus on the few friends and family who have not acknowledged our new children - no card, no call inquiring how they are doing, no visits. Or I could choose to continue being on my knees thanking God for the countless others who have embraced our children and who are as excited about the wonderful blessings God has placed in our lives.

My fearless 17 month old daughter sits on a bench, falls on her face on the grass, thinks it is hilarious, picks herself up, brushes off her clothes and runs off giggling! I look on amused thinking what a brave and fearless girl I have and how far I have come four children later that I no longer get into a panic everytime a child falls. Hard to maintain panic when the same thing happens countless times a day! Two family members at the same barbecue later loudly "whisper" to each other insinuating how irresponsible I am for letting a young child sit alone on a bench (next to an adult).

After another night of baby girl keeping me awake, but still thankful to God that after only about four hours of sleep, I still wake up joyful and rejuvenated, a co-worker asks me who the real parents of my adopted children are! Whereas a few months ago I would have been offended and at a loss for words, I can now joyfully explain that the real dad is at home with the children and the real mom is standing right next to the co-worker speaking to her! All done with a real smile and the perplexed smile on my co-workers face is priceless!

I am consumed with the plight of the fatherless and continually wonder how God can use me now that my eyes have been opened. At least weekly, people tell me how special I am for adopting 3 children in one year. I can never get an appropriate response – we are a very ordinary family answering God’s call to care for the fatherless and we feel totally inadequate. However, we are humbled that the Lord God of the universe is growing and expanding us spiritually and has always supplied all our needs. My perspective has changed, I am now clear about whether 30 pairs of shoes are a need or a want!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


We still can't get the children on our health insurance plan until the adoptions are finalized and they are currently covered on our State's health care plan. We can sign them up with a pediatrician in a private practice who agrees to bill the State Health Insurance plan. However, both times we took the twins to a private practice that takes the state plan, I was paranoid because the nurses and pediatrician did not wash their hands before or after examining the children. And the pediatrician loves putting his fingers in the children's mouthes when he is playing with them! So, I was not taking the infant to him! Instead, I took Baby Girl (2) to a pediatrician at a public health clinic and boy! All, I could think of was this is what our health care will look like in a few years! Now, don't for a minute think I don't have empathy for the millions of unisured Americans. I have a pretty decent understanding of the shortcomings of our current health care system having mastered in healthcare administration. I am the first one who will argue for the need for reform to stem the unsustainable cost increases, the waste, inequities in acces to care, inefficiencies, etc. However, if reform looks like the kind of care I received - I don't know. I went to the pediatric clinic and went to the reception and patiently waited my turn. A clerk realized I must not have known the ropes since I was supposed to take a piece of paper and stamp my arrival time. He kindly asked me if I needed something! Okay, lady carrying a child into a pediatrician building and waiting at the reception desk, and do I need something? No hellos here, just a very brusque clerk signing you in. All this from a person wearing a badge stating they had won an award for customer service excellence! Hate to imagine what the "non-reciepients" of such awards do! When he realized I was not on public assistance (since I had to show legal paperwork authorising me to get medical attention for my child), suddenly his demeanor changed and he explained all the intricacies of the clinic! I find this totally shameful since everyone should be treated with dignity and respect whether or not you are receiving public assistance! Anyways, I was sent on my way to the pediatrician's office which happened to be upstairs and you had to carry an infant in a carseat up an uncovered stairwell in 100 degree weather (not sure why they don't use the numerous empty offices on the same floor as the reception). Once upstairs, you again have to figure where to put the mountains of paperwork you are given downstairs before waiting in a closed off waiting room (almost feel as though you have made a visit to a jail). The nurse then unlocks the doors and calls you in, and that is the last time she acknowledges your child is a person. No smile, just business. I did not earn alot of marks for using disinfectant wipes to clean the exam table and tape measure which were coated with dirt. The nurse rolled her eyes and said she did not know why I was cleaning it since she always cleaned it after every patient. However, the amount of filth on the wipes after the cleaning clearly told both of us, they had not seen any cleaning in years! Nice for the next patient because the nurse huffily wiped off everything after examing my daughter :)! The pediatrician was really nice and took his time to answer questions. That was the main redeeming factor of the visit. Of course I had to ask about such things as weight and height apparently since they do not share such info with parents! The wisdom of the powers that be at the public health clinic then make you go back to the waitingroom to wait for the nurse who will give your child their shots. Off again to the waitingroom, before being shephered into another room by a different nurse who would not even crack a smile to my supper smiley girl. Instead she jabbed her twice, turned around and started surfing the web! Everyone seemed apathetic (except the pediatrician) and really why should they care? They work for the public health dept and it would take an act of congress to get them fired for poor customer service. Is this where we are headed? The whole time I was thinking that this is what we can anticipate in a few years if Obama's healthcare "reform" passes.

To say I am scared of what our health care will be is understatement. In between raising a supper active 5 year old, 17 month old twins who recently begun walking and are currently exploring everything and oh yeah, raising an infant, I will make time to read the 1,000 page bill that most of our lawmakers will not read and which the supporters argue must be passed now! Hopefully, I will find things in there that will allay my fears. But in the meanwhile, I will remember to be grateful for my current private health insurance coverage and remember to thank my providers for the excellent care they provide my oldest, husband and myself - they really practice patient centered care.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Oh, This Grateful Heart!

Grateful for a five year old son with a giving heart who has embraced all the changes that we have thrown his way. He has totally bonded with his siblings and has had no problems sharing his mommy, daddy, toys and his trains! He has also been very good humored about having mommy or daddy delay meeting his “needs” since he has three younger siblings who are more vocal about getting their needs met right now! None of our concerns and those of others have materialized re: how he would cope with all the changes. It is amazing how many times we are asked how the oldest is doing with the addition of three new siblings in the last 4 months! Everyone always assumes that he will have jealousy issues and many have anecdotal tales of how their “friends” children reacted when they got new siblings. But, God has been good and he could not be more bonded – he loves, loves, loves his siblings. He did not even want to go with his cousin to visit his granddad that he loves when he realized his siblings would not be going. He even cried pitifully, saying he would really miss his brother! The look on his face when we told him his brother could join him was priceless! He took the role of big brother very seriously telling his granddad and cousin what his brother liked and did not like and what he could or could not eat!

Thankful for a few wonderful days in Disneyland to celebrate big brother’s fifth birthday! Oh how magical it is to experience Disney through the eyes of a child! We had a great time and loved every moment of it! We were also blessed with family that blessed us with discounted tickets. As much as big brother had prayed to go to Disneyland and had faithfully picked up every penny he saw so that he could help mommy buy a ticket to Disneyland, he was dismayed that his siblings would not be going to the park and almost decided he did not want to go. He campaigned really hard for them to join us meeting our protestations that they would miss their nap times and be cranky with the wisdom of a five year old, telling us they could sleep in their strollers. As much fun as he was having, the siblings were not far from his mind – he always saw things in the Disney stores that he said would make his siblings very happy! When we explained the inflated prices, he joyfully said we could use his money that he had been saving for ages to buy a train ticket! The boy loves trains, so that is a sacrifice! Oh what we could learn about sacrificial giving from a five year old. Really thankful for a sister who joyfully took care of three children at short notice. And had fun taking care of two 1-year olds and an infant who was not sleeping through the night. Thankful that my sister had a weight loss breakthrough – she has been dieting and exercising without visible results. Three days with the children and she lost almost 3 pounds!

Thankful that five years later, I am having sleepless nights thanks to an infant who decides she needs to remind me of her presence every single hour of the night – and all without me complaining! The bags under my eyes might tell a different story, but God has given me strength that I still feel renewed, even with my interrupted sleep. Thankful for the realization that children are indeed a blessing from God. Sometimes we are so caught up with how society views children – that they are a lot of work that we forget what precious blessings they are. As crazy as it is, it seems to be less “work” having four children as when I only had one. They play so well together freeing me to do some actual work, as opposed to when I was my son’s permanent playmate. Of course the fact that the children are so joyful and easy babies makes things easier. I have been wondering if our view of parenthood as “hard-work” is indeed based on our mindset. My parents had very many small children and never once did I hear them complain about how difficult raising children was. I am sure, I will be re-reading this when I have four teenagers and laughing at how naïve I was! But for now, I will enjoy my naïveté and my babies! 