Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Prayed and I Prayed and I Prayed.

We wanted him home.  I cancelled business travel plans to get him home faster.  It was a busy week- before he could come home support services had to be in place, and getting him back in school would prove to be a multi-step process.

We celebrated Shayne's graduation in North Carolina- Rex headed back to Roanoke with the graduate and I headed to Richmond.  I had trouble sleeping and after finally dozing off in the early hours,  I woke up that Friday morning with my stomach in knots.

Hard to imagine, but I had no idea what to expect.  I knew he had only known for about 12 hours that he was coming home.  He was in school when I got there.    

They called for him and the teacher asked if he was coming back.  NO! 

He could hardly believe it.  Neither could I.  I signed the paperwork, we packed his stuff and his peers lined up to  "High-five" him out.  It no longer mattered that he was on "red" we walked through the front door with no dread of him walking back in.  

He spent the next 4 hours making bracelets, using his good manners, dropping details that made it difficult for me to breathe and thanking me for every.little.thing.

All of my boys were home again and oh, the joy.

I woke up Saturday morning in a fog.  He had gone to bed without incident (possibly a first, ever) and didn't get up at all during the night- I wondered if I might have dreamed him home.     

I went upstairs to make sure he was really in his bed and caught him as he was just starting to stir.  I kissed his head and with his eyes barely open, he turned over, threw his arms around my neck and and whispered- 

"Mommy, I'm home." 
Yes you are, baby. 
"I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed- and I even wished on a little star" 

Hundreds of our friends and family were also praying and praying- pretty specifically in fact.  

While he was praying to come home we were praying for:

Elijah to deal with his anger and choose to live in the future instead of the past 
That he would feel God's presence
That he will receive love 
That he will be changed in a positive way 

I prayed for a miracle.  I prayed for drastic change.  I prayed for peace for my aching heart and his.  I prayed for teachers who will understand him and for strength to finish the journey when he got home. And because I know it will be hard, I prayed for easier days.  

I didn't get big answers or moved mountains, I got a solid rock.

After the assessment phase, we received the bound report that told us in professional terms what we mostly already knew.  Validation is powerful tho, for parents who think they are loosing their minds and wondering if they are doing anything right. The report was like gold in my hands.

And there it was- right there in Section V under Strengths and Needs, there it was.  In Elijah's own words, he confirmed what we were praying for him.  He identified on his own that his faith is real. Thank you God!     

We're closing in on two weeks of him being home- the time when we've been warned the "honeymoon will be over" and to expect him to take some steps backward.  We're still finding our way with him home- new routines and schedules, recommendations and strategies.  So much to do to help my son succeed. 

He's only allowed to attend half day at school and doing home bound for the rest of the time. We've got the Intensive In-Home Therapy set up and rolling with about 10 hours a week, and our ROC in-home support is also rolling with about 6 hours a week.  Honestly, I dreaded that one, but it has actually been helpful. Then there's the weekly outpatient therapy and other doctor appointments.  

And respite.  Can I brag on God for a minute?  Of course I can. 

In February we searched for anyone who would do respite for us- originally recommended two weekends a month.  Social Services couldn't locate anyone and neither could we.  Two hospital stays and residential later- the recommendation was a must.  But now, in the new timing, a family friend, an adoptive and foster Momma and Daddy- who love God are not just willing but excited about getting to know and loving on Elijah for us.  Only God.  God.is.Awesome!

I had to go back in time and purchase a paper planner so I can keep up with it all.

Things are by no means perfect- but we see him using his coping skills and trying so hard.  And his I love you Mom & I love you Dad are flowing more freely than ever- replacing the I hate you and it feels so good every time he drops one on us.  Out of the blue, for no reason, except we believe he does.

We're taking it a day at a time

God is faithful.  God is my rock.  He is my wall to lean on when I can't stand. He.is.  He's everything I need to help me love this kid who is now able to receive love, better deal with his anger and is showing signs of positive change.

God didn't miraculously change him- at least not yet.  But there's always tomorrow- so I'll pray, and I'll pray, and I'll pray.

In the meantime, God is miraculously changing me.

Welcome home Elijah Allen!  We sure do you love, and one day you will understand how deeply you are loved, wanted and how God is using your story to change lives.

Happy Tuesday y'all!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

He's a College Grad.

Son. College Student. Husband. Daddy. Graduate. Provider.

He's the kind of guy who wanted to do everything early.  Crawl, walk, grow up.  He wanted to be an adult almost before he could walk, it seemed.  He's the kind of kid parents dream of and in our case, prayed for desperately.

I knew when he left for school last year, that he would do great, mostly because when Shayne decides to do something he does it with everything he has.
He proved us right, when right off the bat he earned his first of four Student of the Course designations.

Along the way, he fell in love with Emily.  He proposed to her just before Christmas 2013- and people wondered if he'd quit school.  Long distance love isn't easy to do.

He didn't.  He kept excelling.  And working.

In June, he married Emily and became Kendall's Daddy.  It would be tempting to quit school - to prove some skeptics right- but he kept going.  Even, doubling up on classes for six weeks- attending nearly 14 hours daily in those six weeks to graduate early and get home to his wife, daughter and baby on the way.

Not content to graduate without full-time employment in place to provide for his family- he started interviewing in September.  He was offered a job at Valley BMW, but declined it so he could accept an automotive technician position at Auto Wizard.  Thankful God provided him an excellent job in Roanoke.

Today- it all paid off with his graduation ceremony. What a joy to see him walk across the stage and accept his diploma with his daughter jabbering about "Daddy graduating".

It was a great day of celebration- and we're so proud of our son and the man he is.

Accepting his diploma

Shayne, Emily & Kendall 

enough of the cap 


they're so cute 

Rex, me, Shayne, Emily & Kendall 

proud parents

and we're 'outta here 

It's exhausting cheering Daddy on

Congratulations Shayne! 
Happy 20th Birthday Emily! 

Love you Both, more! 

Happy Thursday y'all!

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