Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Winners of "A Different Dream for My Child"

2 What are your thoughts?
We have our winners! I tried to be a little creative and get my girls to help me out. Only Ellie would slightly cooperate, she was not too excited or thrilled about it.

I prayed that the right people would get the book. Some of you shared a little bit of your stories and I wish I could give you all a book...sigh...I only have two.

What I did was get all the names from the comments on a piece of paper, I tore them out and put them in a bowl. Ellie drew the names.

One of the winners I know how to get a hold of, the other one I do not. Please send me an e-mail so that I can get your address and mail you the book!

video

Monday, October 26, 2009

2 Blog Announcements

13 What are your thoughts?
First, I wait until tomorrow evening to draw two names to win "A Different Dream for My Child" So if you want it, leave a comment! For every comment your name will be entered for the drawing!

Second, we have a travel date! We are only a few weeks away but I cannot post the date or details until our adoption blog goes private, so make sure you let me know if you want to be invited to view our blog. It won't happen in the next two weeks, but soon after that ;) (hint, hint)
Also, if you know Nina's country, please do not post or mention it in your comments or any written public material, this could actually stop our adoption, and we are so close!

Thank you!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Different Dream for My Child #3

3 What are your thoughts?
Interview with Jolene (and remember that for every comment you make you have a chance to win her book!)

1. Why did you write a book on the topic of serious childhood illness and the needs of parents of seriously ill children?

In 1982, our son was born with a serious birth defect. Immediately he was flown 700 miles away for life-saving surgery. He spent almost three weeks in neonatal intensive care. In the next five years, he had a total of seven surgeries and countless medical procedures. Because of the distances involved, we were uprooted from our family, church, support system and community. Even though our son recovered and our faith grew through the experience, I’ve never forgotten how isolated and alone we felt. When the ordeal began, I couldn’t find any books that offered the guidance and comfort I needed. For years I waited for someone to write a book for parents in similar circumstances, but no one did. Finally, I realized maybe God wanted me to do it.

2. When a child has serious illness or condition, the focus is on the child, but the parents must need support, too. What kind of support do they need?

They need logistical, financial, emotional, and most of all, spiritual support. The health care community is pretty good at helping parents negotiate the first two, but the last two require more resources than they can offer. My book and website, www.DifferentDream.com, provide parental support, but neither are substitutes for the presence of family, friends and church family. Parents need someone to sit beside them while they cry, someone to support them so they can support their sick children.

3. Friends and family often want to do something for the parents of a seriously ill child, but don’t know what to do or how to approach the parents. What suggestions do you have for them?

When offering help, be specific. Instead of saying, “Let me know what I can do to help,” say, “I’ll mow your lawn while you’re child’s sick,” or “I’ll organize meals three times a week and call with the schedule every Tuesday.” At www.DifferentDream.com, I’ve posted a three part blog series with a total of fifteen things to do for parents of sick children. The list isn’t inclusive, but it’s a great place to get ideas.

4. The outward changes in the lives of parents of very sick children are visible. But what internal changes do the parents experience? How does it affect them spiritually and emotionally?

Our culture promotes the belief that we can control every aspect of life. When a child becomes seriously ill, the delusion comes crashing down and parents begin asking questions. Why is this happening to us? How could a loving God allow children to suffer? Parents need to know their questions and feelings are normal. They need permission to question God and express their doubts. They need to know other parents have been where they are and how they survived. Otherwise, it’s very easy to blame God, to doubt the existence of a loving God, and to lose faith.

5. What about the rest of the family - siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins? How are they changed? What support do they need?

One of the moms I interviewed for A Different Dream made an interesting observation. She said their daughter Beth’s struggle with cancer was hardest on the grandparents. The grandparents often felt like helpless onlookers, getting health updates secondhand, while the parents always knew what was happening and were actively involved in the treatment plan. I think that sense of helplessness afflicts all extended family members.

Siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins need to be reassured of how important their presence is to the parents. Encouraging extended family members to fill a more hands-on roll – serving as head a family prayer chain or official photographer, updating the Caring Bridge website for example – will also make them feel more like they’re doing something real.

6. One of the difficult realities of life is that not all children survive their illness. What if the unthinkable happens and a child dies? How can those parents work through their grief and recover?

Parents have to avoid isolating themselves. They have to let people in, tell them how they feel, and keep sharing as they walk through the long road of grief recovery. Certainly, if the parents are part of a church family, they should ask the pastor to help them find grief counseling. Compassionate Friends is a national organization for parents who have lost children. It has support groups all over the country. Hospice is another organization designed to help grieving families. The resources page at DifferentDream.com provides links to a number of organizations and some excellent books.

Also, parents need to realize that their healing will be slow. As one father in Different Dream said, “The grief process takes a long time. You have to allow it – instead of going after it – so let it wrap itself around you.”

7. If it’s hard to approach the parents of a seriously ill child, it’s doubly difficult to know what to say to parents who have lost a child. How do we approach them? What should and shouldn’t we say and do?

Never say, “I know how you feel,” unless you have lost a child in similar circumstances. Instead ask how you can pray for the family and make specific offers of help, like those mentioned earlier.

Also, be sure to use the child’s name when talking to grieving parents. For some reason, perhaps because we feel using a name will be too painful for the family, we shy away from using it. But every parent I spoke to said they loved to hear their child’s name. They loved to hear others tell stories about their children. So tell your stories if you have them, even if you cry while you do it.

Finally, periodically send notes or cards to the family for at least a year, especially on the child’s birthday and on the anniversary of the death. Tell them how you are praying for them and share your memories of their child. Parents need to be encouraged and remembered for months and years after the funeral.

8. If you could choose one statement of comfort or encouragement that readers come away with after reading A Different Dream, what would it be?

I want parents to know that no matter how deep their suffering and loss is, they are not alone. They don’t need to succumb to hopelessness because God understands exactly how they feel. His Son died on the cross, so He knows the pain of separation caused by the loss of a dearly loved child. He is with them, and He cares about them, especially when they feel most abandoned. They can trust Him to lead them through this hard time, until they find purpose and meaning in the different dream God has for their child.

Check out the book review at A Different Dream for My Child #2

Book trailer at A Different Dream for My Child#1

You can leave comments on any of these posts for a chance to win the book!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Different Dream for My Child #2

8 What are your thoughts?
Sorry for those waiting for this post. Remember that for every comment that you leave, your name will be entered to win one of her books (there are 2, so 2 people will get the book!)
You can leave as many comments as you want!

September 4, 2009--Grand Rapids, MI--If your child or the child of someone you know struggles with a life threatening or chronic illness, then you know how all-consuming such circumstances are. There's no such thing as having a "normal life," only a relentless and often lonely roller-coaster of giddy hope, streak fear, blessed victories, and shattering defeats---and constant prayer.

Jolene Philo knows how it is because she and her husband have traveled the road with their own son. In A Different Dream for My Child, Jolene shares frank, heartfelt meditations to build your faith and hope. You won't find trite, easy words. You will find rare understanding, refreshing honesty, and a wise spiritual companion to walk with you through the highs and lows that only the parent of chronically ill children can know.

We avoid the subject of chronically ill kids and the needs of their parents because it makes us feel uncomfortable. But each year, 10% of newborns spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and over two million children are hospitalized. When the parent's needs are met, they can better meet the needs of their sick children.

I have had the pleasure to meet Jolene, she is a fantastic godly woman. I really enjoyed her book and even though I have not had a chronically ill child, we have had hospitals stays with both oour girls and I could relate. her prayers are beautiful and touch the heart. This is a book that I will keep close as we travel the road with Nina and her medical needs due to Cerebral Palsy and little medical intervention.

Check out the book trailer on my previous post A Different Dream for My Child #1

You can check out Discovery House Publishers or directly Jolene Philo's site.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Goodbye Stumbo Van

8 What are your thoughts?
Today was a sad day as we said goodbye to our old-red-stumb0-van. It has been in the family for many years, it became my husbands car when he was in college, and it was our old trusty until now.

With the addition of a new family member that will require walkers, and maybe other special equipment, we knew we would certainly need a van. Unfortunately, the old-red-stumbo-van did not quite meet the requirements, so sadly we said goodbye.

We are getting an upgrade, a 2001 Ford Windstar with only 80,000 some miles! Now remember, our good old trusty red-stumbo-van had over 250,000 miles! What a faithful little (not so little) car!

If you have known us for long, then you also know the Stumbo van.




Monday, October 19, 2009

Blog News

4 What are your thoughts?
Our blog had a makeover a few months ago, and as you can see there are several tabs, "Home" "Down Syndrome" "Adoption" "Ask a Question" and "Contact me"

Basically, we have 3 blogs now.
"Home" is general news about our family
"Adoption" is our adoption blog
"Down syndrome" is our blog for all things related to Down syndrome

If you haven't checked our different blogs (or tabs) you might be missing posts about our adoption process or news about Down syndrome life :)

I also say this because we are closer to traveling, and before we go, our adoption blog will go private, so you will have to let me know if you want an invitation to see our adoption blog.

And, we do have news on our adoption blog, you can go and check it out! And at this point, comments are very encouraging to us!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It Arrived!

1 What are your thoughts?
Our dossier has arrived and our facilitator has it!

Now it just needs to be submitted and once they approve it we will get our travel date! If all goes well we will have our travel date sometime in November!

Financially we can use all the help we can get! Remember that donations through Reece's Rainbow are tax deductible and we are praying for $16,000 by the end of October!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Prayer Request

3 What are your thoughts?
Sweet baby, don't you think? Ellie likes to tell us that she is "the cutest baby in the whole world!" and thinks that maybe she should be her baby sister too. I admit, she is pretty cute, soft and cuddly :)

This is our friend's daughter, M. She is only 4 months old and tomorrow she is having open heart surgery. We have been praying for her and tomorrow will be a day full of prayer. I wanted to share her photo with you and ask that you too pray for sweet baby M.

As a mother I cannot imagine having to give my child over to a surgeon, it is something no parent wants to do. We pray that the Lord will give Bill and Kristin peace, as well as guide the hands of the surgeons.

(And if you have read my story in the book Gifts 2, this are our friends that I wrote about)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

But Gifts 2 and help with our adoption

0 What are your thoughts?
I am not just a broken record, but I have figured out a way to make it easy for people to buy the book and help with our adoption.

I now have a pay option on the right column. It is as easy as buying anything on-line!

So if you want to buy the book go ahead and buy it now, or if you still prefer, contact me and send me a check.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More Alike Than Different

0 What are your thoughts?


If you want to watch a snippet of the documentary, check out our Down syndrome blog (tab) it is wonderful!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Down syndrome awareness month

2 What are your thoughts?
It is that time of the year again...Down syndrome awareness month!
This year I will not be posting every day for the month, I know I will not be able to do it, but I will be posting as much as I can on the Down syndrome section of my blog, so make sure that you check it out!

I would like you to participate with us in one of two simple ways.

1. Leave me a comment and tell me how someone with Down syndrome has enriched your life. I will be posting some of those comments!

OR

2. I am giving you permission to ask anything you want or think about Down syndrome. I say I give you permission because I know many times people are hesitant to ask something in fear of offending, this is your chance. And if you prefer, then send me an e-mail (click on contact me tab)

And be checking out our Down syndrome blog this month!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Nichole's 2nd Birthday

6 What are your thoughts?
Two years ago a sweet little baby came into this world and changed our lives. She came sporting an extra chromosome took us on a life altering journey, the road is paved with joy, love, peace, and wonder.

We have learned about what really matters in life, and we have also learned to celebrate all special moments, even the most insignificant ones. All of a sudden, they are not as insignificant at all.

Our life is rich thanks to her and her big sister.

Happy birthday Nichole, mommy loves you more than you will ever know. Your life is precious and you have taught me more in two years, that anybody else has in my lifetime.

Here are some pictures of the day.

Great way to start the day...all smiles excited to see mommy and daddy!
Our beautiful two year old.


Big sister frosted and decorated Nichole's cake.
Delicious!

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