Parenthood. Life. Down syndrome. Faith.

My life changed a lot when I found out my 3rd child would be born with Down syndrome. But then again, it really hasn't changed so much.

We're still living life, trusting God, raising our kids, and loving having a baby in the house.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Reflection on a foggy morning

This morning my commute was crystal clear, not a trace of fog.  But just off the road, a thick layer of fog blanketed the landscape.  My daughter pointed out how beautiful it was, the delicate pinks and blues of a sunrise against the deep green of the fields.  I noticed how thin the layer of fog was, and thought aloud that anyone living over there would surely believe that the fog was thick and soupy.
I reflected on this for the rest of my drive.  From my point of view, it was obvious that the fog would soon dissipate and that the day would be beautiful.  From the road, I could see how thin the layer of fog truly was.  It barely covered the tops of the trees.  But from the ground level, it would have been impossible to see that.  From their point of view, the fog would have seemed endless and impenetrable. 
Like a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
When Cade was diagnosed, I felt mired in confusion and sadness.  It seemed, for a time, that I might never be happy again.  The diagnosis colored everything around me.  I thought about it constantly and couldn't escape the fears about my son's future.
A friend who had a 10-year-old with Down syndrome told me that she wished I could see into the future and meet myself a year from then.  She wished the future me could tell the current me that everything was fine.  She promised that I would someday laugh that I had ever been worried at all. 
She was right.  Just as the morning fog melted away with the rising sun, my sadness became lighter until it was gone altogether.  My son is nearly 3 years old now and the days are sunny and clear. 
If you're just experiencing a diagnosis, take heart...the fog will lift.  I know that you can't see that now, but truly your life will be full of sunshine.  I can already see it from where I stand. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

An update and a new beginning

It's been a long time since I've written.  Partly because I haven't had much to say and partly because we've been so incredibly busy.  It's fitting that I jump back in to writing with my 100th post. 

Last summer we had a blast.  After Baby L went home to his mom, we closed our home for the summer and spent it bonding as a family and doing every fun thing we could think of.  We started a new blog, Oregon Outdoor Family, detailing some of our more unique adventures. 

On August 31, we called DHS and told them to open our home, we were ready for a new baby.  Twelve hours later, they called us.  We ended up taking the baby and his sibling.  That was a new adventure for us, taking two children at once.  Sept 1 we welcomed them into our home and became a family of seven. 

Meanwhile, Cade had developed a funny symptom...broad patches of his skin turned dark.  We thought he just tanned in an odd pattern, but his endocrinologist worried it might be an adrenal issue.  We did blood tests and he failed them miserably.  We waited 1 month and redrew the blood tests.  Failed again.  So they scheduled Cade for a "stim" test and started throwing around words like "adrenal insufficiency" and "Addison's Disease".  We had the stim test a month later.  They hooked Cade up to an IV and withdrew blood.  Then they pumped him full of ACTH (a hormone with a really long name) and then drew more blood over a couple of hours to see what would happen.  Thankfully, this time the test came back normal.  However, we don't have explanation for the earlier failed tests or the symptoms, so we go back to the endo in a couple of weeks to talk some more.  I don't think there's anything really critical going on, but it may be a sign of something coming. 

The past 4 months with our bonus kids have been really rough.  The older child has some significant trauma damage that we were completely unprepared for.  We're working with a therapist and things are starting to get a little better, but I feel like we've been underwater.  Every memory is murky, like I'm watching and listening to life from the bottom of a swimming pool. 

But today is January 1.  A day rife with hopes and dreams and new ambitions.  A fresh start.  A new beginning. 

I dream of moving forward with purpose, leaning on God and my new parenting techniques.  I dream of being productive and efficient.  I hope to write more and worry less.  I resolve to color in my new coloring books and feel less guilt about taking time to fill my theoretical cup. 

One last note.  Baby L is doing GREAT with his mom.  We're still in touch and she sends photos.  I love that little guy and tears spring every time I see his smile.  I hope and pray all the best for them.

We learned to color...and we like it!