Friday, July 13, 2018

I’m Still Here!

our familyWith my lack of posting lately, many might be wondering if I’ve fallen off a cliff, but I’m still here! Life has just been very full as of late. Very full. I have so much to share in my little blog world and honestly don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll start by answering the questions I get asked the most…

How are you doing in year two of your second widow journey?

How are the kids?

Neither question can I answer succinctly, but I’ll do so over the course of several posts in the future, so you don’t have to a read a novel in one sitting. Fair enough?

Let’s start with the kiddos…

JosiahJosiah – Now a 10-year-old, Josiah is my hero. He has experienced so much in his first ten years of life…the abandonment from his bio parents to a Bulgarian orphanage, adoption, moving to a new country, learning a new language, school in America, and the sudden and shocking death of his adopted dad. He just finished third grade and is going to summer reading camp for three weeks to help him be better prepared for fourth grade. He made tremendous growth in school last year but still has some catching up to do.

At home, he is my rock! He has stepped into the role of “big brother” in an entirely new way. He tries to help me with all kinds of things (even without my asking): cooking, cleaning, dressing his siblings, taking the puppy out, playing with his littlest brother quite often (they are best friends), and much, much more.

I have high hopes for this young man. He is bright. He is focused (on meds, lol!). He lives in the moment but dreams of his future. He loves Jesus and is uber-sensitive to making sure mealtime prayers are not skimped on by his siblings. He is also a bit of a germophobe and makes sure manners are practiced.

KaterinaKaterina – The only girl (besides me) still living at home, surrounded by boys (even the canine boy). She will be turning 9-years-old in early September but is developmentally more like a 4-5-year-old. She is in an exceptional children’s class (special ed) at school and just completed 2nd grade, where she made substantial growth.

As many of you know, my little Kat has been riddled with diagnoses that have labeled her, to a degree, but she sees herself just like everyone else. She has Autism, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, ADHD, and has most recently been declared legally blind in one eye and low vision in the other. She receives weekly occupational, speech, and physical therapies and will begin hippotherapy soon too. She’s most excited about the latter, as she LOVES horses!

Not only horses, Kat seems to be a lover of many animals and tries frequently to be Hunter’s primary caregiver (our 6-month-old yellow lab). Unfortunately, Hunter has now surpassed Kat’s weight, so Josiah has the task of taking him out on the leash most frequently.

Kat is also a rule-follower. She frequently tattles on her siblings and tries to be Austyn’s “second mom”. We’re working on this, but I’m not sure much will change in the near future. I’m at least thankful she’s a rule-follower.

BenBenjamin – He is 7-years-old and goes most often by “Ben”. He is the life of the party in our house and loves to dance and listen to music. Anytime music is playing, you will find Ben bopping his head along, in rhythm, and singing his lungs out (even if he doesn’t know the words of the song). His smile is infectious, and he has most recently found a love for the harmonica!

Ben will be repeating first grade next year, but he was the only one of my Bulgarian kiddos to start school “on time” by American standards. This is certainly not a bad thing, and I welcome the opportunity for him to grow more in literacy. He, like Josiah, is attending three weeks of reading camp this summer.

Ben will begin occupational therapy again next week, here in Hickory (he had it before when we lived in Asheville). He has ADHD, ODD, and RAD (reactive attachment therapy) diagnoses, and I long for the day Ben can attach in a “normal” way, but this is not uncommon with adopted children.

AustynAustyn – Oh…my sweet “Aussie”, as we now dub him. He is our cute little four-year-old towhead. His cuteness, however, can cover up the little firecracker he actually is. He, too, has multiple mental health issues, stemming from his bio family, but we know God is bigger than all the “issues”.

He is excelling in school, and is smarter than we can wrap our heads around. He loves his big brother, Josiah, and follows him everywhere. He still sleeps with Mama and is “scared” to even walk through a room by himself. I continue to pray for God to release him of his fears and for him to walk in peace. He will be starting grief therapy soon. He grieves the hardest over the loss of his daddy and constantly pines for him. It breaks my heart!

As for me, stay tuned…so much happening (good and difficult), but I am prepared for it all! I will be leaving for a mission trip to Ecuador on July 27 and am most anxious about it but so excited to pour into the women of this precious nation. I welcome your prayers!

I will continue to update, as able. I have missed this community immensely and am thankful God has renewed my writing passion!

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  1. I was just wondering about you yesterday, Leah. Thank you for taking the time to write in the midst of your ultra busy life.

    • Leah Stirewalt says:

      Thanks so much Candy! I truly have missed writing, and I’m prayerful this is the beginning of a new and regular season of posting.

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