Just wanted to share the wonderful, amazing, awesome news that the cost of Ian's communication device is covered, thanks to some extremely generous donations. Tom and I can't even talk about it without "losing it." We are blessed and humbled beyond words and just completely overwhelmed. So....first thing Monday morning, I will be on the phone with the Prentke Romich company and the ECO 2 should be shipped within 3 days!!!!! Praise be to God!!!!!
Stay tuned for videos of Ian using the device (if he will cooperate!)
And to those of you who made this happen; you will never know what it means to us and especially to Ian!
For all of you who saw my rant on facebook and wondererd what was going on with Ian's communication device, I will post the Reader's Digest version of the saga. First though, I must say that I didn't intend to rant, but I was/am very frustrated. Ever since Ian came home (over 2 years ago), different folks have been trying to figure out what kind of device would work best for Ian. It's all so very complicated because we don't know exactly how his eyes work (we know he sees, but not sure how), his hand is fairly functional but he doesn't have great fine motor skills, and he is only just now starting to learn how to read (actually, memorizing sight words). So, after trying several things that didn't seem to be working well, we took him to Easter Seals Crossroads (wonderful folks there!) and had him evaluated by a therapist who, after trying several devices, landed on the best fit for Ian. It is larger than most, so he can see and access the icons. It is an amazing piece of technology made by the Prentke Romich company (more wonderful folks there, too!) and we were able to rent it for 4 months (they usually only allow 30 days) so we could evaluate Ian's ability to learn to use it. During that time, the wheels were already turning to submit the proposal to our insurance company for the purchase of the device so he wouldn't have to be without one, if we decided on it. Also during that time frame, Ian has been learning to use it to communicate with the staff and peers at school. He carries on conversations with the secretaries when he takes the attendance to the office; he asks his classmates who is getting lunch; he participates in calendar and weather; he answers questions about time, letters, sight words, math, etc. At home he can tell me which toy he wants to play with while he's on his wedge for therapy. When everyone is talking, he can say "Excuse me, I have something to say." He can tell knock-knock jokes (which you can imagine how much he loves doing!) and all of that is barely scratching the surface of what it will do. This is getting long and the bottom line is that the rental unit has to go back next week and I found out on Monday (why does it have to take so long???) that our insurance will only cover about half of the $10,000 price tag because Prentke Romich isn't "in network" (although they've been trying to get in for 2 years!)
All that to say that this very determined mama will find a way to get him that device and sooner rather than later. I am contacting service organizations, United Cerebral Palsy foundation, etc. If anyone knows of a philanthropic group who might want to give a child a voice, please let me know! Everyone who knows me knows I abhor asking for money (and was terrible at doing so in a job that required it!) but I'll do whatever it takes for Ian to have what he needs. If you care to see more of what this device is, here is the site: https://store.prentrom.com/product_info.php/cPath/11/products_id/53
And, believe it or not, that is an abbreviated version of the story!
Twelve years ago today, in another country, a woman we may never know gave birth to a very special boy. Because she didn't feel capable of caring for him, she took him to a wonderful children's home where he was loved and cared for for the next 8 years.....until God brought us together! Today is the 3rd birthday we've been able to celebrate with Ian and I say it all the time, but what a joy he is! He has taught us so much but the one thing we continually marvel at is his contentment. He can't walk, talk, eat without aspirating, drink, brush his teeth, dress himself, write his name, and of course the list goes on. And yet, God has given him great contentment and such a spirit of joyfulness in spite of his disability. I recently attended Ian's annual case review for school and the first paragraph of his IEP begins: "Ian is a very happy and loving young man, and is well liked by both peers and adults. He quickly establishes rapport with new people. Ian actively seeks attention, is motivated to communicate snd wants to please others....."
So, it's not just us....everyone who meets and gets to know Ian seems to love him. We just happen to be blessed enough to be his parents and for that, we are so thankful to our sovereign God.
Because of crazy schedules, it worked best to celebrate last night so here are a few pictures from the gift opening.
What you can't see here is the dump truck that goes forward and backward and dumps and makes all kinds of annoying noises. He loves it!
A semi that has a tool kit built into it
Crazy glasses and nose!
This is a picture from Ian's 10th birthday, which was 6 weeks after we brought him home. Boy, has he grown up and filled out and made so much progress!
Thirty one years ago on a beautiful (very warm) fall evening, Tom and I stood in front of Pastor Ron McDugle and many friends and family and committed ourselves to God and each other. After dating for almost 4 years, we thought we had it all figured out. Ha! God uses marriage to humble us, to grow us, to complete us and mostly, to reflect Christ and His Bride, the Church. That's a scary responsibility and one that we have messed up time and again. However, we serve a merciful, long-suffering, patient God who has used His Word, people, circumstances and experiences to continue molding us into the union He desires. We realize daily that we have a long way to go, but know that He who started a good work in us will be faithful to complete it. I am thankful beyond words for the husband and marriage that God has blessed this underserving wife with. He is the most important person on this earth to me (yes honey, even more than the grandaughters) and the one who puts up with me, encourages me, challenges me, listens to me, protects me, loves me (even when I'm not lovable) and knows me better than anyone.
Over 30 friends and family gathered to celebrate Brenna's first birthday! Here are a few pictures from the day:
Not too sure about all the singing and a cake in front of her
She had more fun playing with it than eating it!
Drew, thanking everyone for coming and for the influence they have had and will have on Brenna's life, noting that she will be surrounded by the gospel as she continues to grow and develop. The grandfathers got to pray for her before she opened her presents.
Brenna and friends (Miriam on the left is a few weeks older and Liam on the right is a few days younger)
One year ago today, I arranged for a sitter to stay with Ian after he was in bed so Tom and I could celebrate our 30th anniversary (which was 3 days away). It turned out to be the best anniversary date ever and one we will never forget! We picked up a Subway sandwich for the hungry, expectant father and headed to the hospital to pace the halls, awaiting the arrival of our grandaughter. It seemed like forever but wasn't really too long until she made her appearance and soon after, we got to hold her and look into those big, beautiful eyes that melted our hearts immediately. Brenna Noelle joined our family that evening and what a joy she is, still melting our hearts with every flash of her smile!!!
Happy First Birthday, Brenna! We can't wait to celebrate with you!!!!
Grammy is reluctanly wrapping up a few days of an "Olivia fix." Thanks to my wonderful husband and some amazing friends, I have been in Memphis since Monday evening and enjoying every minute with this beauty (and her parents.)
We had to go to the zoo, of course! Memphis has an impressive zoo!
Watching the penguins.....or the people - I'm not sure which
Fascinated by the rooster in the barnyard
Taking it all in
Prettiest fall decoration there is!
We also went to the park.....
She loves to swing!
Walking the plank
Phoebe gets a hug
We also visited the most amazing botannical gardens with a children's play area that I can't even describe. It is out of this world and we all had so much fun!!
Getting ready for a voyage
It even "rained" while the sky was blue and the sun was shining!
Peeking out the window in one of the play houses
Adorable flower amongst the beautiful flowers in one of the many gardens
2 pretty ladies
Hmmmmm. How many pictures is this crazy lady going to snap?????
Oh wait.....perhaps this is my favorite! :-)
I'm beyond thankful for a husband who took over all the home duties on top of his busy work/church schedule and for all the friends who helped watch the boys after school to give me the time to be a grammy!!! What a joy to spend uninterrupted time with this sweet little blessing. God is good!