Wish Lists and Miracles

Our youngest boy, who is now five, has had a rough week since his last visit with biological family.  We used to be able to leave him in his own little spot or let him take an extra nap, and he would be able to calm down on his own – as long as no one was around to baby him or pay attention, since that was related to the underlying issue of family who gave him sugar (literally) for crying or acting upset.  That’s a hard behavior to extinguish!  

But this week, that just wasn’t cutting it, and his behavior was different than in the past.  So we talked to him about it, and he is old enough to use words this time.  He said that it wasn’t like before, where he was scared or having bad dreams or anxious because of thinking he might have to go back to his other family. 

This time, he said, its backwards. Like in the mirror.  This time I am just sad because I missed you all those hard years before I found you.  I didn’t have you when I was a baby like Kyrie is.

How heart-breaking is that?

Also, that’s straight up direct communication – and an authentic need for nurturing expressed, which is very different than extinguishing a behavior.

So we tried something new this week, and while a bit regressive developmentally, he was legitimately exploring it.  So when he expressed sadness for his little baby self, we did what we had to do: we swaddled him.

Nathan has swaddled him every night now at bedtime for a week, and the fits have stopped.  He is happy again, and we are having positive interactions, and he is much more grown up.  We have our Barrett back!

On the opposite extreme is our toddler who is no longer a baby,  and who will not cuddle unless it is her idea!

She will, however, act out her babyhood with her own dolls and pink hat.

Kyrie is doing well, as far as recovering from her gtube surgery.  She will have another follow up in a couple weeks, but we are on top of the granulation tissue.  Here is the BEST PLACE TO GET THE SOFTEST g-tube pads, for those asking where to get her some more.  These are our favorites!  

There are lots of sites we have tried online, and we still have some to sample that have been sent to us.  But so far, these are BY FAR the best.  They are so soft, and so smooth, and they edges aren’t too finished. It’s what is working for Kyrie, anyway. We love these the most. She goes through three to five a day, so we need lots!  Here she is with a Batman one, because she loves the Batman song (as learned from her brothers) and because my team at the hospital is called the “BAT” (Behavioral Assessment Team) team because we respond to emergencies.

Kirk’s book has been a huge hit, so he is super proud!  Mary’s book has just been approved, and we are excited to release hers.  We are needing books purchased as donations for waiting children whose families are not able to buy them, and right now have a matching grant that helps.  Thanks to those who are helping spread the word!

Alex and I have begun outlining his book on autism, and Anber and Barrett are still duking it out over which one is doing foster care and which one is doing adoption.  They are so funny!

If that hasn’t been fun enough, look at this text we just got from a friend!  We are on Audible now!

And then, and then, and then!

The first two volumes of my Book of Mormon commentaries dropped as eBooks on Amazon, iBooks, etc tonight!

That’s a lot of excitement these last few weeks!

If that were not exciting enough, our group home project is coming along… today we took the children to play at our old house while we measured the rooms exactly.  It’s so exciting to be moving forward!

Accomplishing such a big thing in the community really depends on the community, though.  We will be needing help with donations of twin beds, twin mattresses, kitchen items, and other things soon.  We will share a wish list in coming weeks, but please keep us in mind as you have those final garage sales and clean out your extra spaces as kids go off to college this fall!  We also need help with a day of service with some yard work and putting up a new wall in the house, if someone could help us organize that.

And then, quite unexpectedly, with all that good news came a bit of a scare. 

The hospital called and said Kyrie can’t wait and we need to be in Cincinnati by the first of September, which we were not expecting at all.

We thought we had two more months to raise those funds, and now need it faster than anything.  There’s no time for Nathan’s dinner theater fundraiser, and we are scrambling to see where to squeeze in the bake sale.  Nathan is working furiously right now as the children are in bed and I am at work, just to get the g-tube book editing finished and ready for publishing, but it may be too late for even that to help.  We have four weeks!  This is the month I only get $450 on both paychecks because of being off for Kyrie’s surgery, and now we have to come up with the travel money and be off work again – just weeks before I have to be off to speak to the chaplains and military leaders and authorities after conference in Salt Lake.  We just did an online fundraiser for gtube supplies and hate to ask again, though we might have to – any ideas on what else we can do?  We are trying so hard!  And everyone has helped us so much!

We even had these two boxes of gtube formula on our doorstep the other day, which will feed Kyrie for two weeks!

It’s amazing!  Her food cost about $200 a week, so this was a miracle to us!  Thank you!

From fundraisers to book sales to group home service, we are so grateful for so much support from so many.  It is your sharing and helping and serving and giving that is saving lives and changing the world, one child at a time.  Really.  Thank you.

We are a mess our family, creating more messes the more we try to help.

But consecration is messy.

Acting in faith is messy.

Giving all you have is messy.

But it’s worth it.

Every life, every family, every smile.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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