We have three birthdays in April. The first is Daddy's!! Whenever I ask Art what he wants to do for his birthday or any occasion, he ALWAYS wants to do something with the whole family. He adores his kids, and always wants to be with them every chance he gets. He truly enjoys them. Every father should feel this way. Unfortunately, so many do not. His choice of something to do for his birthday? Go to the movies with the whole family. This was Laz's first movie and he did okay! We saw The Croods in 3D. I enjoy hearing the kids' reactions and watching them more than I do the movie! It's priceless. It does my heart good to hear Eden laugh these days.
Since we'll be having cake next week for Eden's birthday, I opted for one of Art's favorite: banana pudding!
Laz was impressed.
Silas got him a gift certificate for Sweet Frog. If you've never been, it's great! (Try the salted caramel. mmmm....)
A big tub of bubble gum from Isaac.
Maggie and Eden got him a seat cover for his car. Black and red; go Bull Dawgs!!
The best Daddy in the world. What beautiful kids I have.
And speaking of beautiful kids, here the kids were out front playing with some sidewalk chalk Mr. Chip brought to Eden after her surgery. Silas and Isaac put some on their faces, just for fun, and since Laz had never seen sidewalk chalk before, and didn't know what to do with it, the first thing he did was copy them!! It was hilarious.
I think Silas has one of the most photogenic faces. He just can't take a bad picture.
Eden is feeling somewhat better. Here she and Maggie are in outfits that Widsar bought them before she left. I love them!! So cute. And they are making Easter pictures with chalk.
And a Lala Loopsy for good measure. (Eden's favorite.)
Eden's face has drained quite a lot, and praise God, the doctor says she no longer has an infection and can stop taking the antibiotics. She shows periods of Sunshine, where she is her old self, pretending, and singing, but overall, I still get so worried. Mostly I see it when I look at photos of her. She gets tired every day still, which is so NOT like her. Her eyes are droopy and not sparkly. Everything still seems like such an effort. Much of the inflamed tissue in her mouth has gone down, and she can put all her teeth together now. She also has not lost her permanent front tooth that we were worried about. The surgeon wants to wait for her to heal up some more and for her swelling to subside some more before planning a surgery to trim the tissue that is hanging over inside her cheek. Right now, her right side of her mouth is still swollen, it does not go up when she smiles, and her right eye is still somewhat bruised and the skin seems to be stretched out from the swelling. She is such a trooper though. Never complains. She told me she "just wants to look normal." So many reasons why I cry.
And on a happier note, here are some pictures Hannah took of the kids playing outside recently in the beautiful spring weather:
This is a shot right before Maggie got her hair trimmed for summer. It was getting very long. Very pretty, but getting tangled so often. We trimmed off about four inches, and it is so thick and lovely now, perfect for summer.
The cherry tree in our neighbor's yard is in full bloom and is just ridiculously beautiful. Add a gorgeous girl to the mix and it is just mind blowing!
Such an exquisite girl. I can say that because she certainly didn't get it from me!
And my handsome boy.
Incidentally, Silas is wearing one of the several Tiger Kim's Taekwondo shirts that Hannah has designed recently. They have never had so many sales of their shirts, and all of her designs are so awesome.
Well I have TWO handsome boys!! Lucky me!!
Funny boy. I love this squishy face!!
Brothers. So sweet.
And a few shots of my Sunshine.
Oh please pray for my girl. I worry so much about her.
Next on the Baker docket, after Eden's NINTH birthday next weekend, Silas will be going in for his next back surgery, to adjust the rods in his back. Hannah has been working diligently to get him to gain weight for this surgery. She is the real deal when it comes to a loving sister. She gets all kinds of resistance from him, but she is no nonsense and completely firm. And he has gained several pounds!! This will be the first time EVER that he has gone into surgery without being significantly underweight.
We expect that soon after that Eden will have to have more surgery, but we will let you know as we do. She still has to have several wires taken out of her mouth, and some adjustments made. I am learning the route to Charlotte very well now!
PLEASE pray for our girl, and for our boy as well. These things are so taxing on my heart. I need for Eden to recover, and to hit some significant strides in improvement. I had no idea this surgery would be so difficult to recover from, and I have so many thoughts and fears about it all. Trying hard to trust God, who loves her even more than I do, if that's possible (and I guess it is).
"Emmitt's" paperwork is coming along very well. I thought we had hit a stall, but several things all came in this week. In fact ALL the documents we needed came in this week, so our social worker can now complete the home study, and we will soon be able to send our dossier off. We are still trying to think of a name for this young man. Please pray for wisdom for us as we prepare for his homecoming, and for the logistics of travel and timing and all of that. Please pray for him as he waits, and for strength, finances, and for cooperation and speed in our paperwork.
I just have to say, I am so utterly impressed and humbled and delighted with our experience so far with Reece's Rainbow. I have had the privilege of being part of their Facebook page for the past few months and also part of their handling Emmitt's process. I may not have adopted as many children as some of my friends have, but this is our seventh adoption process, and we have worked with several different agencies and have witnessed the adoption processes of close friends, first hand, as well. Reece's Rainbow is not an agency, first and foremost. They are a non-profit organization. And they are absolutely amazing from what I have experienced so far. I have never had ONE individual in ANY agency we have worked with, not a representative, not a dossier consultant, not ONE person who has been so consistently available and committed to the placement of special needs children as they have been. There has not been one time that I have contacted them -- day, night, weekends, holidays -- that I have not received a response within a few hours, if not immediately. That alone just floors me. But it is also completely indicative of the fact that this is not an organization doing this for the money; it is not a "business". This is an organization completely fueled by a desire to place needy children in homes and families. I just can't get over the purity of it. It is as it should be. Secondly, this is a Facebook page with hundreds of people on it, and I have not seen one harsh or judgmental or argumentative word posted. And this is a very busy page! I am still confused. I have been a part of several different adoption pages, yahoo groups, etc., and it has always saddened me the way that so many people, who have this great bond with each other, will rip each other apart online. Sooo saddened by it. But this group has been so refreshing. I have never seen a group of people who are so utterly supportive of each other. And they all support each other's fundraisers, those who pray pray for each other... this is not a Christian group, per se, and still, those of all different faiths, and those of no faith, are all there, respectful and supportive of each other. It still hasn't quite sunk in. And the fact that complete strangers have donated to support our adoption is absolutely mind boggling to me. What I could write about this. It would take too long. But I will say, I am completely impressed and humbled. And if you have a donation to place anywhere, placing it with any child or family with Reece's Rainbow I can assure you is a good thing. And all donations are tax deductible.
Ongoing right now, is a tremendous opportunity to support families and special needs children, while getting a chance to "win" one of over a 100 prizes totaling more than $5,000. Please click on the Mulligan Stew link above. I believe it is going on for a couple more weeks.
And yes, I have come to the conclusion that despite the ache in my heart for so many of these children, no, I cannot adopt them all. Sad, but true. However, there are those who are reading this who could help one of these children. PLEASE go to Reece's Rainbow site and look at the beautiful children there. The children who are trapped and suffering. The children who, through no fault of their own, have been robbed of all hope, and robbed of a future. YOU can make the difference in someone's life eternally.