Thursday, June 13, 2013

Family - A Gift

One of the hard things with adoption is making sure your other children feel connected and loved even though so much attention is being placed on the new member of the family. This is even difficult with older children. You still want to communicate love and appreciation for all of your children. 
Last Thursday was the last day of school so I made a lunch date with Abby, our eleven year old. I left Jaelynn with Katie and Abby picked the restaurant. We ran a few errands and then had a nice lunch together. 
Thursday evening David and I drove Matthew to Orlando to pick his girlfriend from the airport. Her flight was scheduled to arrive at 7:28, but because of a missed connecting flight and bad weather her flight did not arrive until about mid night. Ordinarily this would seem like an inconvenience, but it was actually some sweet time spent with our son Matthew who is now in North Carolina working at a Christian Camp for the summer and then when he returns he will be leaving for college within a couple of weeks. We talked about his senior year, the camp ministry he will be involved in, his girlfriend, church and his future. We also enjoyed spending time with Matt and his girlfriend on Saturday when we drove them to North Carolina to camp. Thank you Katie for taking care of Jaelynn so that your Dad and I could make the quick trip to NC and back.

On Wednesday we took the three girls to Adventure Island Water Park. Abby has been wanting to go there and Jaelynn was excited to go swimming in the lazy river. We had a great day and are hoping to make it back there before the end of the Summer. 

Today was an exhausting day. Jaelynn had an appointment with a spine/ scoliosis doctor. Her appointment was at 8:40 and we were there until after 2 PM, but I think we got a lot of answers. She had several x rays and a Cat Scan. This doctor is now going to talk to her neurosurgeon and I hope to hear from him next week so that we can put together a plan for treating her issues. Her case is very complicated (what every parent loves to hear), but we felt confident with this doctor and will continue to trust The Lord to go before us every step of the way. As we left today the doctor thanked us for the challenge. 
At one point today as the doctor was examining Jaelynn and looking at her test results, he was just baffled by what he saw. I felt a sense of panic and then I read some lyrics to a song that Chris Tomlin sings and that a little friend of ours has been singing the last couple of days:
 I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

So thankful for the one who goes ahead of us every step of this journey.

On difficult days when Jaelynn is not being the sweet little girl that you see in all of the pictures, I have to remind myself of all that God has done and is doing through this little girl. The thought of her not being in our family or not having a family at all immediately eliminates any frustrations I might feel. As God continues to write Jelynn's story I feel privileged and humbled to be part of it. 

Thank you to all of you who have prayed for Jaelynn and or the rest of our family. We appreciate everyone of you! We will keep you all posted on what the next steps will be.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Exciting Times!

Today has been a significant day in the life of our family. First of all our son, Matt, graduated from High School with highest honors, summa cum laude. He was chosen to be the commencement   speaker and did an awesome job! After graduation we celebrated with an open house/ party. We are so proud of the young man Matt has become and are excited to see how God uses him in the future. He will be home for another week and then he will head to North Carolina where he will work once again at Camp Grace as a counselor. He will get home the first part of August and then soon after start his new adventure at Clearwater Christian College. We will be saying goodbye to both Katie and Matt as Katie will be heading back to Clearwater Christian also. 
Katie completed this year of college at home through taking a full time load of classes via the Internet and driving to Clearwater a few times every semester for classes. At this point she is still on track to graduate a semester early in December 2014. 
Abby will complete fifth grade this week and it will be off to junior high for her. I can't believe she is old enough already! 
Another significant milestone in our family is that Jaelynn has been home exactly six months today. It seems like yesterday we were waiting for her file from China. She continues to be a perfect fit as an Altman and she is looking forward to starting kindergarten in the fall. We see a spine specialist as well as her neurosurgeon this month and will decide when she should have surgery on her spine. Not many details on this yet, but would appreciate prayers as we make decisions. 
Now to back track a week... Last week we were given the opportunity to go to Nashville for the 10th anniversary of Show Hope. Show Hope is the organization that provided life saving care for Jaelynn while she was still in China and they also provided our family with a grant to help with the cost of our adoption. We had such a sweet time, reuniting children that were once  orphans. It was so neat to see children that once played together in an orphanage in China playing together in America with their families looking on. A former pre school teacher and doctors who cared for the children in China were there also. It was also a great time meeting friends that I have only talked to on the phone, Facebook, and email. A weekend filled with some precious memories.
We are still amazed as we look back over the last two years and see how God has worked in the life of our family. Thank you to all of you who have played a part in our journey. A year ago it did not seem like we would ever be at this point. God is Good, and God is Faithful!