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Friday, August 21, 2015

Lots of catching up!

Hello!   I am finally back!   Such crazy busy-ness.....probably the busiest summer we have ever had!  But also a great one.
I am not even sure where to begin.....so here are some highlights.

Meng and I, as well as some friends from church went to CHINA!  We went back to Meng's orphanage and spent almost a week loving on some beautiful, amazing orphans at Shepherd's Field Children's Village.  It was a magical week, and we hope to go back next summer.  I spent a LOT of time with my sponsor boy, Teddy.  And met a lot of new kids and some I met when we brought Meng home.  Meng spent a lot of time with Maggie, who was one of her bff's years ago.  Thanks to everyone who donated diapers, formula, and supplies.  They are appreciated!

Brogan spend some time here, and we spent some time with her!   Landon is getting so big and he is so smart!  Zachary just graduated from the police academy, and Brogan just graduated from TSA academy, so they are both busy working, parenting, and getting to know Minneapolis.  Still do wish they were closer, but it is closer than NC!

We took the ENTIRE family to New Mexico!  We went with some great friends to a Navajo reservation and we worked out little tails OFF~!  It was a great week, with the exception of the AC going out in our van.  Yeah, that wasn't so great for 110 degree weather.  But we survived and we had a great time.  The Navajo people are such appreciative, grateful, yet proud people.  They blessed us.
Everyone thought we were crazy for taking Daley and the twins, but they were all excellent, with no medical issues.  God is good!

On the way home from NM, we got a call asking us to please host a Chinese orphan for a month.  We weren't exactly prepared, but we said yes anyway, and on the way home, we picked up Simon!  Simon was 10 years old, had some mild CP, and a big attitude!   You know I love kids.....but this little guy challenged me to the very core!  I was very bummed, because his behavior was so difficult, I did not think he would find a family to adopt him.  But God had other plans, and there is an amazing family who are pursuing his adoption!  We pray that the love and stability of a great Christian family is all this guy needs to be obedient and polite.  He has a great heart.....we are excited to see him again when he comes home with his family!

And then our Japanese student, Yura arrived!  We have hosted Japanese students 7 times, and Yura is by far our favorite!  What a sweet, helpful, talented girl!  We miss her already!  Come back next summer, Yura!

Wen had his 4th and hopefully final bladder surgery!  We had to deal with Stevie the Catheter again for a few weeks (dread.....yes he really did name it), but it is down, over, and things are looking good!

We ended our summer  by touring the Arch in St Louis, and going to the State Fair.  All in all, this summer wore me out!  Or maybe that was the twins that wore me out......could have been either!  LOL

And now school has started.  Are you ready for this news????   For the first time in 16 years, I am not homeschooling.  Yep, that is right, I enrolled Brittany, Keagan, Brianna, Bronwyn, Tobin, Rory and Meng in DCS this year!  And to get even crazier.....Wen and Wu are going to an ESL preschool each morning, where they are learning English, getting OT, PT, and speech services!  So, I am trying to catch up my filthy house, catch up some paperwork, advocate for orphans (always) and love on my Daley while the kids are at school.  So far, so good, but then again, this is only day 2!!!!

One last thing......you may remember my post and my issues regarding Six Flags, well, this week at an information hearing they asked for it to become a settlement hearing!  I am not allowed to reveal much, but I will say that the changes they are making are a huge blessing for everyone who has a limb difference or disability!  Can you believe it....WE WON!!!!  We took on the Six Flags giant, and WE WON!!!!   Praise God for his goodness and for his guidance!!!    HE IS GOOD!

More soon, but in the meantime, enjoy these photos!







Saturday, January 31, 2015

Just a little bit busier these days!!!

Wow, I cannot believe I haven't posted since September!!!!   Well, I guess I have a pretty good excuse.....the twins are HOME, and that means I am just a wee bit busy!  And I love it!   Here is a brief update on life at the Castle Norwood over the past few months:

We met the twins in China, and instantly fell in love! They were so much happier, healthier, and more active than we ever imagined!  They were VERY tiny.....we had packed them size 2T and 3T clothing, since they are 3 1/2, and we ended up having to buy them size 12 months in China!  They cried when they first met us....they were so afraid!  The room was full of people, full of nervous kids, and it was overwhelming.  But after playing with them few minutes, they finally relaxed.  We quickly realized that we had them pegged wrong.  From their descriptions, we expected Wu (who is more disabled) to be the more timid, more needy one.  Not the case.  He is all about being the boss.  He is smart, sassy, and he definitely takes care of his brother Wen.  Wen's nannies told us he was the whiney one, and they were right!  LOL  He is goofier and silly, but also the one who needs someone to love on him and take care of him.  They are so well bonded.  They talk to each other constantly, encourage each other constantly, and cannot stand to be apart.  There was a time in China, when they snuck behind a floor lamp, and they were having this adorable conversation about us.  It was so cute.  They were pointing at us, and chatting back and forth.  They must have decided we were ok, because it wasn't long before they were jumping on daddy and snuggling me!  They have adjusted SO well it is amazing.  They are absolutely beautiful, loving, sweet boys, who are incredibly smart and talented. They love to sing and learn.   Yes, we have had some rocking temper tantrums, mostly out of Mr. Wu, but nothing that we cannot handle.  And he is always ready for a snuggle when they are over!

Daley Faith had some surgery this month.  Her seizures have become a huge issue, with the intensity and frequency increasing over the past few months.  So, we had a Vagal Nerve Stimulator inserted into her chest.  It was just activated 2 weeks ago, and we are already seeing a difference in the length of her seizures.  Every 2 weeks we will increase the intensity of the VNS until we have a good control over her seizures.  I am very encouraged that this is a much better answer to the epilepsy than increasing and adding more drugs, which just make her dopey and tired all of the time.

Meng Yan also had some surgery!  Shortly after bringing the twins home, she began to complain of belly aches, especially at night, after dinner.  I kinda thought it might be a bit of jealousy, so I spent some extra time snuggling her and reading with her in the evenings.  The pains continued, so we finally did an ultrasound, to check her belly, and low and behold, we found gall stones.  LOTS of gall stones.  An unfortunate side affect of having Beta Thalassemia.  So, last week she had her gall bladder removed.  She had a lot of pain for a few days, but today was mad because I would not let her play at her basketball game!  She is a trooper!

Keagan and Bronwyn have been insanely busy, as they are both playing basketball for Decatur Christian and UPWARDS with our church.  Toby, Rory, and Meng are also playing UPWARDS basketball.  I LOVE going to basketball games, but I think I have seen my fair share this year, and I am looking forward to having my nights free again!  But they have all had a great season!

Brianna and Britt are doing well.  Brianna continues to be the class clown, and Britt is certainly making a name for herself with her amazing artwork.  Britt has been struggling with a lot of garbage from her past, but we are praying hard that satan would be bound, and her spirit would heal.  God has big plans for these girls, and I am excited to be a small part of it!

Patrick has also been struggling.  He and Danyne broke up while we were in China.  I did not take it well, as I dearly love Danyne.  Always thought I would have her as a daughter-in-law (and secretly still hope to!).  Patrick has struggled finding a job.  He was hired by a company before Christmas, but they currently have no welding contracts, so he has yet to begin work.  He interviewed with another company last week, and has some more testing to do for them on Tuesday.  I pray God puts him in a good place, the right place where he will have the influence of Godly men.  He is trying to figure out his path in this world, and it needs to be a Godly path.  He has such amazing potential!

Brian is doing well at Hoyleton.  He was able to come visit over Christmas, and it was really good to see him.  For a while he was calling me every night, which was great.  Lately, however, I have not heard from him as much.  He told me he "forgot about me", which broke my heart!  But, I guess that it is good that he is staying busy and active.  Despite everything that has happened with Brian, I do miss him very much.  I hope he can someday come back to our home, but if not, I hope we will always maintain a healthy relationship with him.

Brogan, Zachary, and Landon will be visiting next week!  I am SO excited!  They are moving to Minneapolis, and will be staying with us for a week, while they wait for the moving truck to meet them.  I am so excited to see them all!  And I am also so excited that they will be so much closer!   They will be 7 hours away, instead of 17 hours away!  Still not close enough, but I will take it!

Ok, now here is the crazy news.  No, I am not adopting again,  At least not yet!  There is this little boy named Teddy, that Dale and I have been sponsoring for about 4 years.  He is from Meng's orphanage in China.  Teddy is a lot like my Daley.  He cannot speak, sit up, and does not interact much.  He is dying.  He is 7 years old and weighs less than 14 pounds.  It is KILLING me.  I actually send his info to my caseworker and begged her to approve me to go get him, but she cannot.  I cannot even apply to adopt him until the twins have been home 12 months, which would be October.  He won't be alive in October at the rate he is failing.  I cannot just let him die.  So, with the help of some friends, I have made arrangements to get him a high calorie nutrition supplement in China.  IT is expensive....about $350 for a 2 month supply.  I am seeking donations towards this formula, as it is too much for me to pay for alone.  I had a lot of wonderful people contribute last month, so we have the first 2 months paid for.  If this formula does not help him gain weight, then it will cost about $1200 to have a tube put into Teddy, and another $150 to train the nannies to use it.  And the crazier thing is that I totally feel in my spirit that I need to go spend some time with him.  So, the last week of May, Meng and I are heading to China!  She will get to see the nannies who loved her and cared for her, and I will get to meet and love on Teddy.  And Dale will get to hold down the fort while I am gone!  LOL

Ok, I have SO much more to catch up on, but I gotta get some sleep!   Love you all, thanks for checking in!
A