Amazing! It is 2010, almost officially spring, and two years since Sophia became officially ours! How quickly the days fly by! Let me catch you up on our "flying"...
Yesterday marked the two year anniversary (St. Patricks Day!) of our adoption court date in the Republic of Georgia that changed all of our lives. Two years ago today, we nervously but excitedly met her and her foster sister at a park where we wandered around and then took her back to our home for our time in Georgia. It was the day all of our lives really changed forever. Sophia asks me to tell her the story of the "little girl" at night before bed. I have told her that there was a little girl who was sad (she actually told me the girl was sad before I used that to describe her and now she makes me say it) because she was not with her mommy or daddy, but that her mom and dad flew all the way across the ocean to come and be with the little girl and that they became her mommy and daddy forever. She loves the next part where I tell her how her mommy flew back with her to bring her to her brothers and that the little girl peed on her mommy on the plane...she laughs so hard and says "and then the little girl was happy! The End!" So, that is my report on Sophia...she is happy! She is so full of life and personality. It is hard to imagine her as the little shy and timid girl we met two years ago. We have been facing some medical challenges with Sophia recently and as we are trying to work out what everything means, we are so amazed at the way she is so able to make things like CT scans and ultra sounds a joy to do with her! She is finishing her first year at a three year old program at school and is working her way out of speech and OT as she is just learning and growing up so much.
Jesse is almost 12 and almost through his sixth grade year at his middle school! He has changed so much from the tiny, fearful boy who moved in with us three and a half years ago. He has been spending time with our great friend David who runs the Athletes Serving Athletes (the group that shane did the marathon with) training one day a week with a group of foster kids in a program near us. He has also started playing Lacrosse! (I guess I need to work on learning the game!) He is still the smallest kid in most settings but is less upset at his size. Jesse has still been struggling with school some and his behavior, but we are so thankful for a great counselor, and his youth group at church. We pray daily for God to keep healing the broken and painful places inside of Jesse. We can see so much change and pray as he keeps experiencing opportunities to grow and change, that there will be people (and friends) around him (other than us) to cheer him on this race he is in.
Shane is 18 years old!!! It is funny to see people trying to understand when I tell them our oldest is 18! Shane's year has been pretty stable so far. In terms of his health, he has continued to lose movement in his arms and hands. His contractures (his joints get "stuck") are getting worse too...especially in his finger and his neck. He has been able to stay healthy this year and that is such an answer to prayer! He actually has a strong immune system so that is a God-send. Shane loves his new school he started late last year when we moved. He has a wonderful Personal Assistant, Tony and is growing in his social and educational skills. He is starting his adaptive Lacrosse this coming month. It is something he loves. We are working on getting him set up with some more assistive technology so he can have more independence. My dream would be one day to have a door on a remote to open (expensive dream huh!!!) since it is so hard knowing how many things keep shane from being independent. Those little things we take for granted, like the ability to go outside when we want to. Keep praying for Shane to be open to making friends and for him to stay healthy this spring.
Ben is coming into his second year of being the director for Young Life Capernaum. It was a challenging and full year that has really helped him grow. He still just shines when he is with kids and talking about ways to provide things for them that we again take for granted. He has been working hard on being a great dad and husband. The fact that we have three kids from 4 to 18 all with some sort of disability and have only been married 5 1/2 years really has felt like a crash course in parenting, medical things, marraige, and just life! Ben has just started training for a triatholon (a half I think) with Shane. He still brings the fun to our family and there is not a day that goes by that he isn't being "crazy" (Sophia often says, "my dad is crazy!") and bringing laughter and joy into our home. God knew to bring us together. He is the fun one, I just make sure we dont miss our many doctors appointments!
My life feels full...probably because it is! I started the year praying for no hospital visits in 2010. Well, within the first few weeks Ben had a trip to the emergency room (he was ok) and my father with a longer, more serious stay in the hospital with an aortic dissection and anurysm. He is recovering still but it has been a miracle to see God spare his life and to bring our family together as it all unfolded. We also began doing a lot of testing for Sophia to figure out the syndrome that has caused her challenges. We are still working through her tests and results so please be praying for wisdom and clarity. She was also diagnosed with moderate hearing loss in her left ear. So, this paragraph was supposed to be catching you up on me! I guess the medical stuff has felt like my life a bit! I am still blessed in my job and am really grateful to be a part of a church who really wants to make an inpact in the community for the kingdom of God. I wish I had more time to do more there but that will come. I did get a huge gift of being able to go for five days away with my cousin Sarah. It has been years since we have had time just the two of us and it was an huge blessing. It was hard to come home after just taking care of myself for a handful of days! I am so excited about spring coming and have turned into my mom as I am so thrilled to get into the yard and my garden and even mow the lawn! It helps to live in a beautiful place!
So, there is our update on life as the Mortensons! Everyday we are aware at the gift of another day of life, grateful for opportunites that are challenging us and growing us, thankful for our eclectic family, and working on seeing the beauty and joy in broken places.