Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Unexpected Journey

When God blessed us with Emma he took us on a journey we never expected to be on.

It is a journey that we do not fully understand and probably will not fully understand...

until HE allows us to understand.

So many parenting decisions that we make for the other children do not apply or are not the correct ones in regards to Emma.

At times I have felt lost in this journey.
Going from Dr to Dr...
each one sends us on our merry way-
without any answers or any direction.

Today we were at the allergist.

Emma often scratches herself until she bleeds.
Her torso is badly scared and when the Dr saw her back he gasped.

He then chose to do the allergy testing on her arms. It only showed a minor allergy to dust. Since Emma mainly scratches at night we will cover her mattress and pillow with special covers.

It still does not explain the severity of her itching...

I had thought that we were going to get concrete answers at the allergist and we would then have a plan to help Emma stop scratching and hopefully allow her body to heal.

My heart sinks when I bathe her and see all the damage done to her beautiful body.

Next is the dermatologist...

I am not feeling hopeful.
I no longer think that a Dr will have a light bulb moment and give me insight into Emma's situation. Or that Emma will be healed, or even helped.

I think that this is not a medical journey.

I think that it is a God journey. God has made us Emma's parents for a reason. I think it is a journey he wants to take us on.

Sometime I fight the "journey"- it requires so much patience, so little progress and so many unanswered questions.
Even when I try to "fix" the situation or think I have found the answer.
It doesn't end up that way.

I believe that Emma is the ultimate "hurt child" and then toss in a very low IQ and it becomes a journey no Dr has ever been on.


There is ONE that can help.

It's God...

He can give me the patience that I need, the answered prayers, the deep love that I need to be on this journey.
Don't misunderstand me- I do love Emma. BUT this journey takes more than my love... it takes love so deep that is beyond me.

I need to rest in HIS peace.

One of the miracles of adoption has been the progress the children have made once they are home.
Progress for Emma has been slow...very, very slow but it also tells me I need to use a different scale for Emma and celebrate the little things.

When Emma stopped doing Karate- some commented on how sad they were for her.

Do not be sad for Emma because Karate means nothing to her, no activity means that much to her.

BUT what really means a lot to her is

running errands with her DADDY
SUCCESS at her level

Do you see how happy she is in the pictures I post. That is where she is happiest and most comfortable- at home with her family!  I am thankful that she has found this within our ever growing family. I bet Emma has never been loved by so many people in her whole life.
The circle is growing sweet girl! And although it is hard for her at first when a new member joins our family, she adjusts quickly.

God is causing me to be even more dependent on HIM.

I'm thinking that's the way HE wants it!

And it is challenging for this "let me take things into my own hands" kinds girl!


Susan A said...

Jean... I have no words to say... this is deep, it's the Holy Spirit working :) it reminds me of my most recentest post in my blog in here:

I think this picture says it all what I am thinking when I read your post.

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

AMEN! It is hard....we have a foster/adoptive life group with our church and my hubby and I lead it. We talk a lot about "hurts" that others can't see. Our children don't have signs that are on their forhead- "hurt child" handle with caution. They don't have blinking signs that say- it is harder for me to learn.

THEY DO HAVE- a lot of love needs! We call it their special love needs. Each child has them. Some have more! Michael has many needs that others don't see. We celebrate- ANYTHING he can do!!! Because it is special for HIM! Same with some of our other babes that have been so very hurt! We try to remember (even without the big neon sign) that they just need to be loved by God!!!

You are right- our love won't do the trick. Oh it is amazing and needed, but there is a deeper level that ONLY GOD can provide! I love how your heart has opened to this!!! That God is using you to reach her.

The best part is....even when I sometimes disagree because I am having a rough day with one of our kiddos.....they are made in the image of GOD! AMEN! Not my image for I am imperfect, but HIS IMAGE!

Love this post!!

Oh and I have to say - I love the pics of them playing too....and thinking and praying for another child??? You never know what fun God has planned!!!!!!!!

Janet said...

Great post Jean. My hubby has told me I'm wasting money on Dr's,and trying to "fix" one particular child in our family.
The drs don't have the answers, only God does.
And with these kids with all the layers of needs; medical, nutritional, emotional, mental....some times I think most American doctors aren't used to dealing with so many layers of need.

doreen said...

Jean, You are an awesome mom! Your clarity in finding your God given role is truly admirable. Your dedication to your children and family is inspiring. Your story and spirit encourages all to do better . . . to do more.

Thank you.

PS . . Congratulations on Mia! ;O)

Debbie said...

Hey There -

You may want to take a look at Christine's blog Her daughter, Sveta, also has a very low IQ and she talks about how they are approaching things with her, etc.

We have a lot of gluten sensitivity in our family and this can lead to strange rashes for many of us. The best way to see if it that's what it is is to eliminate all gluten products for 30 days. Wheat is not nearly has prevalent in the Chinese diet as ours which is why Emma may not have had a problem in China.

Excited to hear if you will bringing home another with Mia!

Jennifer said...

I love this post. I love how you let Christ's love show through you. Emma has a beautiful purpose and Christ through you will help her bloom and grow. Love <3

Jennifer P said...

Jean, I love your words, your blog. This post is wisdom in parenting at its best. A lot to be said for being an older parent. Thanks for the hope for whom others may deem "hopeless".

Rebecca said...

Could the itching just be a psychological thing? A nervous habit that just perpetuates itself? I remember when my brother was little, for some weird reason, he started licking his finger and wiping his eyelids. We don't know why. Maybe they were dry from a previous sunburn. That's all we could think of. Anyhow, the saliva made them more irritated and so he would lick and wipe even more. My mom had to put salve on them and stay on top of him to leave it alone until they healed. I know you said she primarily does it in her sleep... What if you put salve all over her back and then bound it up with something so that she can't get to it. Maybe within time it would heal and she'll not feel the urge to scratch... Kind of like a bug bite. The more you scratch, the more it itches??? Just thinking. I'm sure you've already thought of this. And just to put your mind at ease... Doctors are great. We need them. But sometimes no one knows better than momma. We have experienced this first hand. I'll not bore you with the details, but lets just say that if I always listened to my doctor, my son may not be alive today. My momma instincts new better than his experience because I know my child and God DOES give us wisdom. Sometimes there simply isn't an answer and we have to trust that maybe no answer is the answer. Still, my prayers go out on your behalf for some answers and a resolution.

acceptance with joy said...

We are on a similar journey with our Missy. Developmental delays, behaviors, health issues, low IQ, etc...

We want to do everything we can to help them develop their potential and so we search and we experiment and we keep at it.

Missy has improved on the gluten free, dairy free diet. She has made huge progress with the music therapy and violin lessons, she has made giant strides in all areas of her life from one thing and another... and yet, there are still things and so we are now doing a program called the Biology of Behavior. This child has had years of antibiotics and her gut is a mess. I am learning so many things in my research about the brain and physical health connection. As her physical health improves her behavior improves and her mental health, and development all seem to grow with the improvements.

It's a journey, for sure. But God thought us capable :-) right? when I have been discouraged I have one friend who always points that out. God would not have given me something beyond what He knew I was not capable of handling.

Mama Fish said...

Jean- I just have tears reading this post... of joy! (And thank you very much I just put my make-up on!) But in all seriousness- I remember when Emma would hardly smile in China and look at her now! You are so right, this is God's child and a journey He is taking you on. He is capable and he will give you all the peace and wisdom and LOVE you need. Your post is an encouragement, and I will keep praying for your sweet Emma!

Susie said...

We have had to do lots of experiments with Liz to treat her eczema. I understand that this is not what the doctor thinks it is with Emma necessarily, but did he do food testing, too? Often kids with skin issues have allergies to food, too. Liz does not, just really horrible environmental allergies! Our allergist also specializes in eczema, but it was the pediatric dermatologist who has helped us the most. Good luck with that! The bed covering has helped her a lot as well as an air purifier for her room that runs 24/7. Kiss My Face makes an olive oil soap that is so moisturizing and smooth, and really helps our daughter. I understand it is horrifying. Lizzie used to scratch herself unless she bled and then some more. Her hands were crusty and had open lines in them. Good luck!

Cindy said...

Thanks for sharing Jean knowing we aren't the only family dealing with some of this. I have our daughter put on soft knit gloves at home as she picks her fingers to the bleeding stage and they look so bad. She also puts them in her mouth so often, she is 11.5 yrs. The gloves help. She also scratches herself but only her arms. Keep us updated! HUGS!

Cindy said...

Oh, forgot to mention the Bath and Body store has a buttery type cream/paste that has aloe in it. Personally we like the pink grapefruit scent but it makes my daughter's skin soft and not so dry, so less itchy. Maybe Emma would like her "own" little tin of cream to use? Her smile is beautiful so see!

Congrats on your newest blessing!!!!!!!

Sammy said...

Our kids of lots of doctors too. It's definitely learn as you go for the doctors and us. It sounds like you have a great handle on Emma. You're giving all she needs and all you can. In the end it is what it is.

Hezra said...

I am so far behind on blog land because I have been consumed with my own Emma. A different name, race and IQ but hurt and still scarred. Hers are on the inside. I pray daily for Gods wisdom and the disrruptions to the rest of the family at times have been a giant MESS! But over all we know God is saying DO IT! Love her and be her forever family. And we do. It is More than love. It is a choice to give when you havfe nothing left to give. It is a choice to love when you dont feel it. It is a choice to BE more than you thought you were. Hugs sweet lady!

Ashley said...

I recently found your blog through another adoption blogI read and I love your writing style. Your family is so precious! One thing you may try for Emma is organic coconut oil. You can buy it at most grocery stores (definitely Whole F.oods) for $9.00 or so for a jar that will last you a long time. It is a great moisturizer that is also antibacterial. It smells great and...possibly most helpful is it stays oily for half hour + after you put it on, so I imagine it would make it pretty hard for her to really scratch herself. Just a thought! Best of luck with everything! -Ashley

Julie said...

Sorry, I am in a bit of a rush so I haven't read the other comments. Have you tried brushing her? I wonder if it's an anxiety issue and a self stimulation/sensory thing. I know brushing works wonders with so many sensory kids. I know it sounds crazy, but a friend of mine has twins and one has severe oral aversion and would not eat anything by mouth and at almost 2 was not mobile. Within 2 weeks of brushing, he is crawling, pulling himself up, and eating baby food. I don't know how it works, but it might also help her iwith attachment.

Symasek Family Circus said...

Thank you for this! We are recently home with our 2 little spina bifida boys from China...I have 4 under the age of 5 right now, and our progress has been SLOW..very slow, and I am tired. These are the things that He seems to be teaching me, and sometimes it is just encouraging to see other mamas that are right there with me.
Blessings from Bama,
Nikki :-)

Laurel said...

Beautifully written.

I have a Little Miss that has been home 4 years. She must be parented completely differently than the rest of our 11 children have been.

"no activity means much to Emma" . . . right there with you. Nothing excites our Little Miss. Nothing makes her happy.

You are blessed that your daughter responds to your love, that she wants to be home with your family. Ours does not. After 4 long years, she would rather be anywhere else besides home. Heartbreaking. Truly heartbreaking.