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“I am the LORD, I change not.” Malachi 3:6

"I think I'll be swimming before I walk!"

“I think I’ll be swimming before I walk!”

Just thinking about change this month, as we come to the close of our 4+ years in China.  As a couple, we have moved about 15 times in 19 years of marriage, and that doesn’t count going back and forth between the U.S. and China these past few years!  Whew!  It has been a whirlwind, with so many trials/challenges along the way, but there is joy, too!   We are stronger because of the hardships, and have been drawn closer as a family.  At times it feels a bit crazy, but we work together as a team, knowing God has a plan for each season, and our faith grows as we trust Him more.  I never would have chosen China, but I wouldn’t trade it either, for how it’s shaped and “grown” us.  We are richer, too, for having Isaac in our family, and know God has wonderful things planned for him (Jeremiah 29:11).

We’ve been so blessed by all the people we’ve met here (our maid, neighbors, brothers and sisters from the international church), and all the lessons to be learned from them, too.  The other Sunday we had a South African family over who had lost a daughter with Trisomy 18, and I was encouraged hearing their story.  She reminded me to take one day at a time, and I know the Lord knew I needed to hear that.  Usually I am one who does not “worry about tomorrow,” but with Isaac I can tend to think way into the future, spending more time than necessary on research especially.

I’m so grateful that amisdt all the travel, moving, packing, selling furniture, organizing and grading schoolwork, cleaning, schedule changes (we get a lot of that with a pilot in the family!), GOD is the Lord, who changes not!  He is always there, speaking to me gently, guiding me with my children and in my marriage, a faithful Father who never leaves, fails, forgets, etc., etc.!  After my 16-hour days I plop into bed with a smile in my heart (even if my face is too tired to smile!), looking forward to the time spent with Him before I slip into a peaceful sleep.  I wouldn’t change it, for it’s the plan God has for me!

Family/Isaac update:  Isaac is doing well, and finally on the regular charts for height and weight!  He is still not creeping, and we are not able to get the natural thyroid shipped here to China, so we will have to wait until next month to give him that.  There is so much I want to do for him, but I must keep balanced, think of everyone else, and trust that I will be able to do the things the Lord wills for me to do.  He can take care of the rest!

Potty training is going well, although backbreaking work with a non-walker!  I started 5 months ago, and at almost 21 months Isaac is nearly totally trained in the day, and dry every morning!   His cues that he has to go are non-verbal and very subtle, so it’s harder if no one is spending one-on-one time with him.  I had read children with T21 may not be trained until 5, but read elsewhere to start early b/c of that.  I had tried infant potty training half-heartedly with a couple of the children, but with Isaac I’ve been very consistent and it’s paid off!  We have lots of unused diapers to give away – yeah!

In bigger news, 3 of our oldest qualified for the national competition for Bible Bee, so we are excited to travel to Orlando in Oct. for that, and to see family there also!  It is a fun, family-oriented time for all ages, and this will be our third year attending.  The children and youth work so hard memorizing God’s word, studying a book of the Bible, and keeping the focus on their relationship with Jesus, not on knowledge or winning.

The biggest news is that we just bought an airplane for our new family business, opening in June 2015, Lord willing!  Jay plans to pick it up in Germany, and fly it over “the pond” before we leave for Orlando – another adventure!  And a big step for him to make the move out of the stable/predictible (well, as much as it can be in China!) airline world, and start his own venture.  Of course, God really owns our business (“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” Psalm 24:1), so He can prosper it as He wills.  We are very excited to be able to work together more as a family, and have “Papa” home more, too.  Not too much, of course, or we wouldn’t be making money! :o)

Well, I’d better get back to cleaning and packing.  Jay took 8 children with him running errands (it’s his birthday today, so now he’s halfway to 90 like me!), and Isaac is sleeping, so now’s my chance!

Faith is the victory (I John 5:4),

Katie

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Reading, a Strategy for Health

Learning to read

Learning to read

Isaac was started on Glenn Doman’s “How to Teach Your Baby to Read” program in April.  At first I thought, “Why would I want to do that?!  Don’t I have enough to do already?!”  After further study, I realized not only does it take just a few minutes a day, but it is mainly for the visual/brain stimulation benefit.  Isaac was a bit bored with the single words, but once I got to 2-word phrases he always looked at his words with interest.  Then one day I just showed him the word “clap” without saying the word or clapping, and he clapped!  He should be able to read many books by the time he is ready for phonics.  It’s just one of the many strategies we are using to “grow” Isaac’s brain, so he can perform at the same level or above his peers someday, Lord willing.

So much has changed that is in our favor.  Now with the mapping of the 21st chromosome completed, they know what genes are triplicated in Trisomy 21, and can then theorize how it’s affecting the body.  ( I sort of deflate when it comes to biochemistry, but I’ve learned a lot in the last year, and will tolerate it for the love of my son. :o))  There is also a Down syndrome mouse researchers can experiment on, and a wealth of biomedical information out there to help us know how to maximize potential.  I definitely could not do all that is suggested, but I trust the Lord to show us what he would have us do for Isaac.

Some of you may be saying, “Why not just accept your child as he is?”  Because he is not “well” in some areas.  I love my son and his 47 chromosomes very dearly, but I will not just accept stunted growth or poor breathing as a “side effect” of Trisomy 21 without at least trying to do something about it.  If your baby has asthma or diabetes, you treat it.  Down Syndrome is treatable.  It is a lot of work, but children are worth it.  Those things I cannot help him with, or which would bring our family out of balance, we will let go.  But to just treat him like the others when he clearly needs more help, I cannot.  Many decide not to go this route, and I do not judge them.  God has a plan for each soul, and I need only follow Him and His leading for us.

Thanks for listening!  For more information on wellness of “hurt” children, or early learning for any child, see http://www.iahp.org/.

Isaac/family update: Today is the 20th anniversary of Jay’s Mum’s passing on to eternal life, and he misses her still, of course.  She was a beautiful, fun-loving lady, and Jay’s #1 cheerleader.  I have so often wanted to be what she was to Jay, encouraging him in every pursuit, but she was so good at it I’ve never come close!  (Maybe next year! :o))  She would have loved the children so much, and especially liked taking the girls shopping!  I would have really enjoyed having her around for many great chats together, and I look forward to seeing her in heaven someday.

I had to miss my family reunion for the first time in 16 years, but I know God has us here in China for now.  The whole gang Skyped us, and it was so nice to at least see and hear everyone!  Thank you all!  I come from a large family, and really look forward to being with everyone again.  It’s hard to believe that Isaac will be 3 and a half (Lord willing) by the time most of my family meets him!

A real praise this month is that I finally found a practitioner willing to work with me on solving the puzzle of what is holding Isaac back in his growth and development the past few months. A naturopathic physician and college biology professor who has a son with Down Syndrome runs the DS Treatment Center of Oregon. Her son is 6 and above his peers academically, and she believes Isaac may have thyroid issues. Once we get those under control, we should see him really taking off in his development.

It’s fun to have a 3-year-old!  Funny happenings with Isaac’s older brother this month:

Our 3-year-old was eating an orange.  “I’m making orange juice,” he said.  “With my teeth.”

I was in a rush to get to the hospital yesterday morning to get some blood tests for Isaac.  Whoever is on laundry duty sorts and puts the clean laundry in large suitcases in the upstairs hall, so people can collect it each morning and put their own away – hopefully, right?!  Anyway, I ran up to look for Isaac’s training pants, and as I opened the suitcase for my room, there was only a 3-year-old, popping up to surprise me.  I was definitely surprised – pleasantly, thankfully!

Our eldest was excusing himself from the table one night at dinner and said “Thank you for the meal, whoever made it.”  Although his younger sister had made it, the 3-year-old piped up with a totally serious face.  “You’re welcome.  I did most of it.  I put the bowls on.”

The children were playing hospital, and the 3-year-old came in and said that he needed help because his brain stopped working.  An older child said “You don’t need the hospital then; those people go to the seminary.”  He meant to say cemetery!  Sorry Uncle Martin!

I’ll leave you with some poetry I noticed in my 9th grader’s school book the other week, that I thought was lovely:

“My crown is in my heart, not on my head,

Not decked with diamonds and Indian stones,

Nor to be seen.  My crown is called content:

A crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.”

William Shakespeare

But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

1 Timothy 6:6-10 (KJV)

Blessings, Katie

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Let’s pray for those mothers!

Our little guy is 1 1/2 today!

Our little guy is 1 1/2 today!

This quote from a LifeNews.com article:

“The appalling rate of babies with Down syndrome who are aborted is no secret. When parents receive a prenatal diagnosis, 9 times out of 10, they will choose to abort that child, simply because the baby has an extra chromosome. We blame things like misinformation and prenatal testing, but there’s a much more disturbing problem simmering beneath the surface: the lack of Down syndrome parents willing to speak out against it.” (emphasis mine; full article at: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/04/04/did-you-know-90-of-babies-with-down-syndrome-are-aborted/)

Now I did some research, and while that statistic is debatable, most agree that it is safe to say it is between 60 – 100% in most places.

So, for the record, life is the only right choice when it comes to people, born or unborn.  Our value is not dependent on whether we are “well” in the world’s eyes.  We don’t (or shouldn’t!) terminate people after birth if they have a handicap.  Aren’t we all handicapped in some way or another?  The Bible says:

14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;

16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days:

Deuteronomy 30:14-16, 19-20a 

But what about all those mothers who have already made their choice, terminating the lives of their babies with Trisomy 21, or babies with other challenges, or even “well” babies?  I have read some testimonies, and there is some serious grief and heartache, even among those who still believe they made the right decision, for whatever reason.

Let’s all stop and pray today for those mothers, that they would find the forgiveness offered in Christ Jesus, and comfort in their sadness and/or regret.  I know some out there have really reached out to others and made a difference in someone else’s life.  Let’s not be ashamed to tell people that when God creates life, it’s right!  We can trust Him for the outcome, and know He has a beautiful plan for all the joys AND challenges.  Let’s pray for those mothers contemplating abortion, those who are struggling with making the right choice.  Let’s also be ready to lend support, a listening ear, and services to those facing the future after making the right decision, or to those who have made the wrong one, too.

I read an article about things people wished they knew about parenting a child with Trisomy 21.  One was especially encouraging, because the woman’s daughter was now 28.  She said she wished she knew “that everything would be just FINE!”  Not perfect, but fine.  Who’s life is perfect anyway?!  One wonderful book of stories is called “Gifts,” and so many shared that they are better people for having their child, that they have learned so much (especially to slow down and enjoy the small things in life), that they couldn’t imagine life without their child, etc., etc.  One lady said the hardest thing about having a son with Down Syndrome is the thought that she almost killed him in the womb.

So don’t forget to pray for those mothers today!

Isaac update:  Our precious guy is loved by all, and lately trying to get up on hands and knees, clapping a lot, trying to feed himself (what a mess!) and take his clothes on and off (at the wrong times, of course, but so cute!).  He really likes books, us singing to him, and the water, and besides his neurodevelopmental program, he does a reading and swimming program.  Today the whole family went to the pool and had a great time together!

Thanks for visiting!  I will try to post at least once a month, Lord willing.  You can click on the heart in the upper left to leave a comment. :0)

Katie

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.

Psalm 127:3-4 (NASB)

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ALL children are a gift!

wonderfullymade

Look at those beautiful Brushfield spots!  They are like diamonds in the iris of Isaac’s eye.  I know we have a jewel of a son. :o)

Welcome!

I started this blog (in my “spare” time!) mainly to share Isaac’s progress with family and friends, but also to raise awareness about Trisomy 21, write about the therapies we are using with Isaac (traditional and alternative), and to encourage others to choose life and help their children reach their full potential in Christ Jesus.

As we are working toward wellness for Isaac, we have switched over from Caring Bridge.  A big thank you to Caring Bridge and Word Press for offering their services free of charge!

“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”  Psalm 24:1