Hi there! I’m Laine and I’m a mama to ten blessings from China and four bio blessings! It’s been a really long time since I’ve written a post for NHBO. I am feeling quite rusty in my writing skills these days!
(But ask me to fix a large meal or read to a bunch of kids or take a pic and post to Instagram? Easy peasy!)
I’m so thankful Stefanie asked me to share what we’ve learned in adopting our children who have orthopedic issues. Since we are further down the road a little, it helps me to look back and remember and praise the Lord for His faithfulness!
Ten years ago (!10!) we brought home Kimmie, age two, who has radial club hands. Four years later we brought home four year old Keith who also has radial club hands. It has been amazing to watch them grow and flourish and learn and struggle and overcome!
Upon coming home we brought each of them to our orthopedic surgeon. They were functioning so nicely that he suggested we not do the surgery that would straighten their hands. He was concerned that while the surgery might straighten their hands somewhat, that they would still not look like normal hands and, even worse, they might lose the excellent function they already had.
After prayer and more consultations, we decided not to have any surgical correction to their hands. We have let Kimmie and Keith just grow and develop on their own. Every child and circumstance is different, and for Kimmie and Keith it is evident this was the right plan.
What has their self care looked like?
Now Kimmie and Keith are age 12 and 10 respectively. Over the years we have seen some tasks come easily to them like eating with chopsticks and dressing themselves and bathing and toilet training. Other tasks have come by lots of time and practice and determination, such as buttoning and zipping their pants, tying their shoes and Kimmie fixing her own hair. She can do a side pony tail but hasn’t mastered the back ponytail yet (though she continues to persevere to master that everyday!). Kimmie can put her hair in a barrette which I think is pretty amazing. Do you remember how hard barrettes are to fasten? Impressive!
Kimmie can clip her own nails and Keith hasn’t tried that yet because, well, I’m scared to teach him because he has quite a lot more energy than Kimmie and I’m afraid he’s gonna clip a finger off. 🙂 Neither of them have required occupational therapy as they seem to do fine learning and trying on their own and with the help of our large family of cheerleaders!
How are they doing socially?
Admittedly, Kimmie and Keith have different hands than other children. This has been cause for many questions on the playground and out running errands. Because of our faith in the sovereignty of God, we know it was no accident how the Lord formed them in their mothers’ womb. He has a great plan and purpose for these little ones, and we have taught them that from day one. So when they are asked, “What happened to your hands?” they confidently reply, “God made me like this!”
What’s going on in their hearts? They’re human! There is hurt and discouragement at times. We can expect that no matter what our hands look like. We live in a sinful fallen world. But Kimmie and Keith know Jesus and are known by Him. They know He loves them, He died for them to forgive their sin, and He rose again to secure their eternal life with Him! And Jesus makes all the difference in how one handles hurt and discouragement.
We homeschool all our children, and this has greatly reduced the amount of possible ridicule they might incur if they were in a classroom. That’s not why we homeschool, though. We homeschool because the Lord called us to it. But an added benefit is that Kimmie and Keith and all our other special needs children can learn and grow at their own pace and in their own time in our own home. I fully believe this has increased their confidence in what they can accomplish.
It also helps that we have a large adoption community in our church and our social circles, so Kimmie and Keith are surrounded by others who can relate to them so well. I assure you these children do not view themselves as different. They’re just regular kids!
How do they do in school subjects that require writing?
I’m laughing as I reflect on their handwriting. Kimmie has always printed beautifully and taught herself cursive and has mastered it! Keith could care less about writing neatly because there’s football to be played and video games, mom! But he can write well when he tries! To sum up, I would say they write like typical boys and girls. They do hold their pencil differently, and I have never taught them how to hold it. I let them hold it however it works for them.
What about sports and activities?
As I said earlier, Kimmie and Keith have a lot of cheerleaders. So when Kimmie wanted to try violin we all said, “You go girl!” And she did. And she has been playing now for four years! Keith plays back yard football, basketball, soccer, baseball… you name it. He’s an athlete! (And he has enough energy to light our city so he needs to get it out.)
What about their future?
I think about that more and more as they’re entering the preteen years. What will driving look like? I don’t foresee any issues or special considerations right now. What about when they graduate and go to college or get jobs? It would be easy for me to worry about this. Will their hands hold them back from getting a good job and being respected in their work? I trust the Lord. And we continue to do our best to point them in the direction He wants them to go. We continue to give them opportunities to learn and grow and serve Him. And we pray fervently for them. And we trust the Lord! Will they get married and have families? Jesus knows! So we will do our best to be faithful stewards of these blessings He has given us.
Since we are now further down the road a little, I can look back at how far Kimmie and Keith have come, and I praise the Lord! And I look forward to all He is going to do in their lives.
Because Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”