Edited 8/23/14 ALL GROWN UP
We cannot forget Tressa. Tressa is Ray’s eldest daughter. She will be a child forever in our pictures. God took her home when she was six years old due to a car accident. I know she knows all about her brothers and sisters and cannot wait to meet them someday.
Amanda is Ray’s daughter. Shortly after she was born, it was discovered she was deaf. As a result, she received speech and language services along with teachers for Signed English. As time went on, she was mainstreamed into school, graduated on time from high school and went on to Gallaudet University. She graduated with a degree in social work. She is now working in that field and is married to Chris who is also deaf. She is a very sweet loving daughter and friend. She is a great big sister and loves and plays with her younger siblings. As a result, our family knows SEE and ASL and freely communicate and know the deaf culture.
Caleb is also an adult. When I was pregnant with Caleb, I was diagnosed with pre-enclampsia and when he was born he had problems. He screamed non stop and when he grew out of that stage he moved constantly and was very impulsive. As time went on other things showed up. His diagnosis was never confirmed due to his coping mechanisms, but the therapists were sure he has Aspbergers and ADHD. After high school, he moved out and has been working various jobs. He works for our tire shop right now. Caleb is fun loving, very much the high energy big brother. He visits every week.
Levi is the most like his Daddy. He is a very physically loving big brother. Hugs, snuggles, reading books, carrying on the shoulders and anything else a snuggle bug big brother does is his specialty. He is working hard at the tire shop. He tried college, but decided that just was not for him. He loves to play his guitar and drive. He loves to drive so much that he is a commercial truck driver at the ripe old age of 21 and really loves it.
After Levi, I had my first pregnancy loss when I was about 11 weeks along. But had that baby been born, I would not have had: Micah.
Micah is still trying to figure out what he wants to do. He went to college for one year and decided it was not for him, at least not right now. He still lives at home and works at our tire shop. He is a bit quiet and takes responsibility seriously, wanting to do things right the first time. He helps out with Grandma who needs a lot of assistance now.
Still at Home
Ian is a gentle Giant Ian was adopted from foster care and was diagnosed with attachment disorder and developmental delays at the time. At birth, he was positive for multiple substances. That was a long time ago. He has come very far in every area. Ian is really funny and quick witted. He has decided to take auto mechanics in vo-tech this year in high school since he loves working with his hands. He is playing football and will be a running back and play a role in the defensive line up.
Shyloh is at the age between a girl and a young lady. She is very mothery to the little ones. She is the first to run when someone falls or needs a cuppy. She is very patient with Mazie who struggles to communicate. She loves to help. She gets really good grades and has a lot of friends. She is showing Brown Swiss heifers in 4-H and helps with the daily farm chores. Ray wanted to downsize our herd, and she resisted, so now she is helping!! Shyloh competes in academic contests.
When Faith was born, she did not pass the drug test, but you would never guess it now! She is our girly girl. She loves nail polish, jewelery, hair pretties, and dressing up for church. Faith is very affectionate, she loves to lean on you, and try to fit herself under your skin. Her love language is definitely touch!! She does really well in school and likes to be organized.
Mazie is the one who struggles the most. When we were matched with her, she was in the NICU and was 2 months old. She was born at around 28 weeks (estimated) since her mom had had no prenatal care. Her twin died at birth, but Mazie had a will to live. She was 2lb 5 oz and she fought her way to join us. She had an ostomy bag, had a broviac and was a very sick little girl. I held her for hours. She spent a total of four months in the NICU her bowel was resectioned and I demanded she come home since her little butt was so sore from too much diahrea. She was completely raw and I was angry. Since she was at weight and there was little more they could do, they sent her home after documenting the state of her raw skin. With much care, her butt healed, her spirit loved, and she began to learn. So exciting!! Physical therapy, Occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, massage therapy and love therapy here she is She is a very high achiever for her measured capabilities and her joy and exhuberance are unmatched.
After we brought Mazie home, I had two pregnancy losses around 12 weeks or so and then in May of 2007, I had a stillborne little guy we named Enoch. We had the whole labor/delivery knowing that he was no longer living. One of the hardest things I have ever done was feel that empty loss.
Benjamin is four years old. He has been diagnosed with autism. It is so heartbreaking. He is obsessed with spinning objects, his ABC’s and numbers. He is so very smart, but so very hard to understand. His food items are limited to about ten that he will eat and expanding that is challenging. We love him so much and pray that he will improve.
After Benjamin, I had my last pregnancy loss when I was around 12 weeks or so. I knew that this baby would not make it the day I was in the yard in my bare feet working on the electric fence and Ray plugged it in by mistake. The shock went through me, I felt it deep inside and I knew… I screamed and cried, but there was nothing to be done. In my heart she was a girl…
Eli was born in January of 2012 . He had to undergo the weaning process from Oxycotin and had intrauterine growth restriction and was very undersized. When he was three months old, he had RSV pneumonia and had to be life flighted to a children’s hospital where he spent a month. Some of that time he was on a ventilator and coded a few times. During that very extensive visit, they found he aspirated thin liquids and now all of his fluids are thickened. He now is in the average range for height, weight and head circumference. We do have follow ups yet to do with Children’s hospital. He is very pleasant and very determined. His eyes shine and he loves to smile. He is starting to say words now!
Josiah was born in May of last year. We finalized on Eli and two weeks later we got a phone call from one of our agencies branch offices that they had a new baby born with Down syndrome and no families. She rattled off a bunch of medical information and then asked if we would be interested. He was in a different state…we said YES. He does have some complications that require us to see a cardiologist. He sits, crawls and stands alone briefly now!! He is making a lot of progress! What a blessing he is.