He has made everything beautiful in its time.

March 4th, 2014

 

Some happy things to tell you about tonight, beginning with the babiest…

He must have known it was March Forth Day.  In spite of being one of the tiniest ten-month-old babies we’ve had, Ben is now…well…see for yourself!

 

 

Moving on to the little Verity-doodle, did I remember to tell you that after almost three years, she no longer needs to have her drinks thickened?  Those of you who have traveled this particular road will understand just how significant this milestone is for everyday life!

A big thanks to the kind blog reader who sent Verity a pair of noise-reducing ear muffs!  It has been The Solution!  Now that she knows The Solution is right at hand if she needs it, she has been much more tolerant of the shrieking.  She can still hear us talking to her with no difficulty.

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As for Sweet-Kate!  Wow, is she ever blossoming right now!

Almost-twelve-year-old girl is on her way to drinking from a straw!  After more than a year of working with her using fruit puree pouches at the suggestion of Verity’s former occupational therapist, she began to close her lips around the spout.  Not long after that milestone, she progressed to fairly consistently helping to suck the puree out rather than waiting for it to be squeezed into her mouth!

She has learned to say, “Yeah,” for the word, “Yes.”  A few times she answered my question with a “Yeah,” without any prior prompting!

She is expanding in her cognitive capability and grasping more complex ideas than she formerly did.

She’s settling nicely into her new school routine as we knew she would.

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She is happy to get on the bus in the morning and happy to come home again and have Mama shower her with squeezes and kisses!

Before the beginning of this year, I would have said that Katie may well be permanently autistic.  Now I am almost 100% convinced that it is indeed institutional autism, which can improve over time, and not innate autism.

In other recent progress, she has begun scanning my face to read my emotions as well as doing other visual referencing.

She is seeking out and tolerating much more eye contact with me.

She is gaining control over her tendency to be easily over-stimulated, gaining in self-regulation.

She is more likely to come to me and request attention and affection.

Sweetest progress of all, she is tolerating close snuggling for longer and longer periods of time before pulling back.  The last time she was sick, she actually fell asleep on me for the first time.

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My daily life has been so All-About-Tommy over the past weeks that I haven’t been thinking about taking photos of him and didn’t realize it until writing this post!  It’s been intense beyond words, friends, and most days my camera lies forgotten and neglected!  Lest any blog reader fear that I’m playing favorites, my camera captured a grand total of four photos at the wedding rehearsal  [forgot the camera, Daniel went back for it, the batteries died, no back-up batteries] and one of Joseph and me on his wedding day, all five photos of poor quality!

Here’s a fraction of Tommy, accidentally captured by my sister’s five-year-old granddaughter.  Ben’s asking her, “And who are you, may I ask?”

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The happiest news about Tommy is that, since the beginning of the year, he has been growing more and more relaxed, to the point that it’s obvious to those who see him infrequently.

After nearly constant teeth-grinding, he rarely does that anymore.

He used to sleep lying on his side in a tight fetal position with his arms bent on either side of his head.  If he was awake in his bed, he was intently watchful, hyper-vigilant, tense, waiting.  Orphanage Tommy.  Now he almost always sleeps on his back, completely relaxed, arms and legs flung outward in a comfortable position.  So rewarding to see this evidence of greater inner security and peace.  Loved son Tommy.

 

And now for the grand finale!

 

Yes!  At 10:30 in the morning on Saturday, the first of March, Joseph and Lindsay became husband and wife!

We had so much help in order to manage our part in their wedding, from loans of jewelry and little boys’ wedding attire to ironing the wedding attire to opening homes for out-of-town extended family to buying dresses and dropping them off at our house for me to try on and choose from.  Our little ones were surrounded by calm, competent and much-appreciated helpers from the afternoon before the rehearsal until well into the reception.  Thank you to every single person who generously offered a helping hand! What a gift you gave us!

It’s hard to imagine a more perfectly perfect wedding day.

Abundant laughter and happy tears.

Long-standing solidarity, close-knit friendship, open-hearted love.

Words of truth and strength and fierce commitment and blessing.

Unspoiled beauty.

Unsullied joy.

New family stories were written as one chapter closed and a new one opened.

And now there is one where there used to be two.

 

The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.

jnl

[For more wedding photos now and to come, you are welcome to visit the mother of the bride’s blog, Creekside Cottage.]

 

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17 Responses to “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

  1. K says:

    What a HUGE milestone to have Katie fall asleep on you!!!  I worked with my baby long and hard to achieve this before her surgery, the back-slid afterward.  Now, she falls asleep on my lap every Sunday during afternoon church and I relish every single moment despite there not being any arms on the chairs!

  2. K says:

    Sorry, it’s almost 1am and we’ve been at a medical center 3 hours drive away all day.  Please forgive all the typos above and I’d like to add a heart-felt congratulations to the newlyweds and say how precious the pictures are of Katie asleep on your lap.  And, it’s nice to see that Varity has a way to tune down the noise so she can be comfortable.  Your little baby walking is simply precious!  My baby’s been walking about a month now and starting to gain confidence and lose her tentative toddle which I think is just about the cutest thing in the world.

  3. Tiffiny says:

    Oh, Katie…how precious to see her enjoy being in her mama’s arms; thank you for sharing such a special moment. And Ben walking! and Verity looking like a cute little D.J. ;) – genius idea!

  4. Deanna says:

    The wedding was amazing and such a blessing to everyone who attended!  They are one.  We are so excited to see them live their lives to the glory of God.
    Ben is so adorable walking!  Bear!  Cute, cute, cute.
    Katie is thriving, Tommy is learning to rest and to trust and that he is loved.  Big steps.
    Deanna

  5. Elizabeth in NC says:

    Joy! 

  6. MamaV says:

    Oh beautiful. Congratulations to the newly married ones!

  7. Blessed says:

    Thank you for the updates, and for the pics you did have. : )  What you have to show us is always enough–and I just appreciate you taking the time to share, so we can continue to “walk alongside” your family through the ebb and flow of life.   Much love to you this Lenten season!

  8. Tami C says:

    Wow!!  So much wonderful news!  :D  :D  :D
    Rejoicing with you, dear sister! 

  9. Melissa says:

    I love Katie’s hot-pink earmuffs! So stylish. ;)
    Precious Katie! To come from where she was to where she is…nothing, NOTHING short of a miracle…and she’s not done yet! And Tommy’s right there with her, relaxing and knowing he’s loved, no more bad place, ever.
    Lindsay is a beautiful bride, and her groom looks as if he overflows with happiness.
    Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

  10. Melissa says:

    er…Verity’s earmuffs! :) And hey, my typo gives me a chance to say well done Ben! My 11-month old is allllmost letting go…he walks with a push toy but hasn’t taken the plunge to go it solo. Any day now! (Oh dear!)

  11. Holly F. says:

    Lovely bride and groom!!  Congrats again on gaining a daughter in Lindsay!
    My eyes watered looking at Katie sleeping on you and reading that Tommy finally feels safe enough to uncurl from the fetal position.  Amazing what love can do!

  12. Warriorbride says:

    So thrilled for all the goodies going on for you right now, Susanna! You are an incredible mama and I am so blessed every time I hear you interacting with your children on a video. You have such a precious heart! Love and miss you, dear one!

  13. Andrea says:

    My favorite is the change in Tommy’s sleeping habits! Krassi still sleeps with his arms in “guarded” position – tense and crossed down across his chest. He’s not ram-rod stiff with his whole body anymore, but you can still see that even in his sleep he’s anticipating…something…that he needs to be shielding himself from. This makes Tommy’s progress all the more delightful to me. SOOO happy to hear that in these little ways he’s beginning to find security in your home!

  14. Missy says:

    First, Ben’s face when he said “Bear” was so sweet. But, the music in the background? That’s the music from Charlie Brown, the cartoons! Sooo I know it must be some classical piece and I had no idea! You teach me so many things. I think it will be years before we see all that Katie and Tommy can do. I think the ability is there but is locked away. Your family seems to be good at unlocking the doors. I’m praying for all the sources of help to come together soon. Are you sleeping more?

  15. Susanna says:

    Hello dear Missy! We listen to more than just classical and hymns–that background music is from a The Piano Guys album, so nope, the Charlie Brown is not a classical piece. :) This is the best way to see The Piano Guys doing their Charlie Brown Medley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyPDQpel8bI

    I’m not sleeping a lot, but we’re not to the part where it’s working well yet. For one, we’re still waiting for a wheelchair that someone promised to ship to us about a month ago. It’s a wheelchair that can be used to transport Tommy to and from school and at other times when we have him out and about. Nursing is poised with three nurses for Tommy, his classroom is poised to receive him, we’re all so, so ready, but even if the wheelchair was here, he would not be going to school while he has this diarrhea. So we’re still in the thick of it with random vomiting and diarrhea and seeking solutions to both, although due to God saying yes to SO MANY PRAYERS he had no diarrhea from Friday morning the 28th until Monday morning the 3rd. An amazing blessing! Now we’re waiting to see whether new meds will help. I know beyond a shadow of doubt that it will all come together in God’s perfect timing!

  16. Galit says:

    Hope that Tommy’s GI stuff settles down for good soon! Has Tommy met the school staff yet? Would they be able to do homebound services on a transitional basis?  I have heard that going to school can be very triggering to someone from an institutional setting. Would one of you be able to accompany him (and Katie) to school?
    Congratulations to the happy couple!
     

  17. Susanna says:

    Hi Galit! Yes, Tommy and I went in to meet with his new teacher and we ended up having a sort of party with the fabulous head of Special Ed, the school psychologist, the school social worker, his PT, his OT, the nursing supervisor and nurse scheduler, oh, and an aide. But the most fun people to meet were the other three students in the class. It was quite a crowd in there that day. :) Will be posting more about Tommy and school at some point, but we have absolutely NO hesitations about entrusting Tommy to this teacher. She is PERFECT for him. Also, I’ve spent enough time in his former orphanage to affirm that being in her classroom is nothing like being in Pleven. Part of what told us it was time for this new step was the unsuccessful attempt to add in-home therapy to life as it is now, with no outside help. With the extreme needs Tommy has right now, I would need a fulltime mother’s helper or Tommy would need a fulltime personal care assistant if we were going to be able to pull off multiple in-home therapies and also home education at this juncture, but neither of those options are really, well, options. So while Tommy and Katie are receiving their therapy and special instruction, I will be teaching Laura, Jane, John Michael, Peter, James, Stephen, and Verity, none of whom need therapy, and also caring for baby Ben. Tommy and Katie will come home to a rested, happy, unstressed family who has gotten a good day of home education in and then will have their connecting time with me. That’s the goal. We’re not there yet. :)

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