Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Adoption Update

After going through the process and becoming home study ready in upstate NY, we are now getting ready to leave and move back to NJ.  We have to start over from scratch:-(  Last week, we attended the orientation meeting (Yup, we even have to attend the orientation meeting again!) and got our application.  It appears that the process here will be much quicker and for that we are so excited.  I will keep you updated, but for now, it looks that it will be several months before we have the possibility of having children in our home. 

God knows why we needed to do the whole process in NY and then move without our kids.  He knows where our kids are and He knows when they will be ready to come home with us.  We can't wait.  Pressing on.....

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Once a year, we have a golf tournament called Duffers for Davin.  It raises money for Davin to attend special intensive physical therapy.  It has provided the funds for us to be able to do this for the last 11 years. 

Each year we go and I am just amazed and humbled at the whole process.  To think of 70 or more golfers coming to support Davin is overwhelming to me.  Our family is truly blessed by both these people who have known us a long time and those who only know us through the golf tournament and yet they all feel led to support my boy.  I am so humbled and honored. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Star is Born

Well, I knew Davin might be sad to leave camp, but tears???  Real ones???  I wasn't expecting that.  As soon as he saw us, he hardly made eye contact.  Much to concentrate on to get ready for the program:-)  I understood.  He was enjoying his last little bit at camp.  But, then, I saw his eyes.  There were tears in his eyes.  He actually shed some tears every now and then during the couple of hours that we were at camp.  A small part of me was sad that he wasn't the son who was hugging his Mom so glad to see her.  A huge part of me was SO thankful that my boy had such a great time at camp that he hated to leave.  How awesome is that?  My non-verbal, non-ambulatory, feeding-issue, boy with asthma goes to camp just like lots and lots of other kids!!  I am so thrilled for him.  Feeling so thankful tonight and blessed that a fantastic group of people loved my boy for five days and took excellent care of him while giving him fun, fun, fun and helping him to grow spiritually.  Also excited that Davin can go to this camp for the rest of his life!

As if I didn't know my Bubby was dramatic, he had a part in the drama today during the closing program.  Complete with costume and everything.  Adorable!! 

I have so much more to write about, but can't seem to make much sense right now:-)


Cheney and Renee are living far away from each other this summer.  I know it must be hard to be engaged and not be near each other.

Since Renee is now part of our family and we have Davin's golf tournament on Monday, Renee is coming today!!  So, my Cheney Boy gets to go pick up his girl from the airport:-) 

They are pretty cute, aren't they? 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


25 years ago, after exactly four hours of labor, we welcomed Bethany Alyssa into the world and our family.  Hard to believe.  Celebrating who she is today:-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Living Two Lives

I am seriously living two lives presently.  I have one life in upstate New York.  Things are well organized there.  I have one husband and one child and a routine that is comfortable and stress free for the most part.  I am living in an apartment, so if something is wrong, I can call the very nice man and he will come and fix it.  I can clean the whole apartment in about an hour and a half. 

Then, I have a house in South Jersey.  I have gardens to take care of that have been neglected for the year and a half we have been away.  I have a basement under construction.  I have a house that has many, many jobs waiting for me when I visit. 

My life in NY has me up early every morning and  busy for the first few hours, but then the pace slows and I have choices to make as far as what I want to do with my days. 

My life in NJ is filled generally from the minute my feet hit the floor in the morning until I am collapsing into bed at night.

I love both of my lives, but they are so different, it sometimes startles me when I switch from one to the other. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Camp Veteran

Well, I dropped my littlest (so far) boy at Handi-Camp this morning.  After days and days of making lists and checking them twice, we were ready to go.  We had the bag for the nurse.  We had the bag for the cafeteria.  We had the towel bag.  We had the bag of extra bandannas.  We had clothes!! 

In case anyone thinks Davin does not remember things, he was totally psyched when we pulled up for his second time at camp.  The counselors rushed over to him and said hello while he was still in the car and I was unloading the luggage.  We met his new counselor (I thought he was having Sam just like last year and was surprised that he wasn't, but I did not let it throw me:-)  and saw Sam once again.  Davin was thrilled to see Sam again!!! 

My boy knew the drill.  After all, he is a veteran camper at Handi-Camp.  We went through registration, and the other registration and the first nurse station where we went over his meds and then the other nurse station where they checked him out.  Then, he was ready to roll.  Davin was pointing to go and get on with his week.  His attention was SO not on me.  It was not on his Mom Mom and Pop Pop who were there dropping him off with me.  He was in the camp zone:-) 

So, after letting his new counselor (who I was SO impressed with) ask me some questions, we said our goodbyes and let my boy be at camp.  It is where he belongs this week. 

It is a funny thing how God prepares your heart and changes your mind about things.  Last year, I could not wrap my head around taking Davin to camp and leaving him there for five whole days!  I made the appointment for us to be interviewed and went through with it.  I sent in the forms they required, but I just KNEW that I was. not. going. to. be. able. to. send. Davin. to. camp.  I mean, really, can someone else take good care of him?  Can they even come close?  God led me to send him last year and stretched me in a lot of ways.  I am thankful. 

This year, I was excited for Davin and today, although I do miss him and find it odd that he is not here, I am happy that he is at camp.  I am so thankful that he has camp memories just like my older kids got to have.  His have come a bit later in his life, but that is okay.  I don't even have to feel guilty about him missing out on earlier camp memories since he can go to camp for the rest of his life!  How great is that?

The only downfall to me about camp is that literally... What happens at Handi-Camp, stays at Handi-Camp:-)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


Davin looked quite spiffy in his pistachio shirt last night.  We picked up one tired Davin and he certainly didn't want to get up this morning, but I think it was worth it.

The woman in the picture with him is "Miller" his teacher.  She is awesome and he adores her even though it doesn't look like it in the picture:-)

We also learned last night from one of Davin's friends that "Davin is mad popular at school.  I can tell you that."  That just cracked me up! 

Monday, June 04, 2012

Combo Pack

My husband and sons have always been big fans of the "combo pack".  I am not talking about food or anything like that.  I am talking about a shirt and tie that come together in a pack.  Since Cheney was young and started buying ties for school, he and Alan have loved the combo packs. 

Davin has his dinner dance tonight!  He is super excited and actually stayed up part of the night coughing and maybe dreaming of how he will be getting his groove on tonight;-)  We went out shopping on Saturday for a new outfit for him.  We knew going out that if we could find a combo pack, things would be grand. 

We first looked in the adult section and tried on the smallest shirt we could find.  Davin thought it looked great, but he was basically swimming in it.  He also picked out two suit jackets that he thought would look quite handsome on him, but I suggested we go to the big boys' section and look a little further to see if we could find something that fit.  (Not to mention that if he wore a suit jacket, he will probably sweat himself silly and then he will smell terrible and that is a whole other problem!)

We got to the big boys' section and like the clouds parting and a bright light shining down, we found "the combo pack section"!!  Ahhhhh!!  Alan's eyes lit up.  We had found the gold at the end of the rainbow.  We had limited selection of colors in his size, but eventually (after begging to have a black shirt that was not in his size) he picked a pistachio green shirt with a navy paisley tie.  He is going to look fantastic tonight:-)

First thing this morning, Davin wanted to get dressed in his shirt and tie.  I didn't think we would make it through the day with the outfit still being really clean by the dinner dance, so we decided to wear our school clothes until after school. 

So excited my boy gets to have such a dress up night out with his friends and teachers! 

Friday, June 01, 2012

His Story

I needed to update Davin's story for his website, so I thought I would share it here, too:-)

Davin Bruce was born on November 12, 1992 in a small hospital in Pennsylvania. We were thrilled to add our 4th child to our family and he was a delightful baby. Davin did a couple of things that caused me to call the doctor and make sure that everything was okay. The doctor assured me that I had a good baby and to enjoy him.

As time went on, we noticed that Davin seemed to stay curled up in that newborn position and that he did not move his arms. His arms stayed down and to his sides. However Davin passed his 2 month check-up and his 4 month check-up with no concerns. At 5 months of age, I took my concerns about Davin's arms to the pediatrician. Davin saw another pediatrician in the practice and he assured us that we should watch him for 4 weeks, but that it was nothing neurological because that would start in his legs and his legs appeared to be developing normally.

I took my baby home and tried waiting, but only made it for about a week before calling Davin's pediatrician and requesting that he look at Davin personally. When we saw Davin's doctor, he didn't feel it was neurological, but sent us to be evaluated at Easter Seals. He also mentioned that if Easter Seals offered to have Davin evaluated by a neurologist, we should take them up on that offer.

Davin saw his first physical therapist when he was six months old. He was evaluated and given an appointment to see a neurologist at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia.

On June 11, 1993, Davin saw the neurologist and my mother-in-law and I were told that, "Davin has cerebral palsy. Any questions?" It was a shock and I felt like his words crushed my perfect world. He also gave us a list of tests that needed to be done on Davin in the near future. There was no test to show that a child had cerebral palsy. There were only tests to show that he didn't have something else.

We drove home after my mother-in-law prayed and gave the situation and Davin to the Lord. I then had to go home and tell my husband and my other children what the doctor had said. It was a difficult day.

My husband, Alan, said something the day Davin was diagnosed that will always stay with me. He asked me if Davin was any different than he was yesterday. I replied no, but somehow everything felt different. Alan said that Davin was the same baby that he had been the day before, except they had given this disorder a name. He was right and that has become our family's approach to raising Davin and our other three children. Davin is our child. There are things that are different. I am not sure that anything is harder or more challenging, than our other kids, just different.

After Davin was diagnosed, he began receiving physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and eventually special education. Our time with those therapists that helped us through those first couple of years was so sweet. They provided much more than therapy. They were an emotional support and a source of knowledge, love, and acceptance for someone who isn't exactly like every other kid.

Over the years, Davin has made slow gains, but we are thrilled with each new development, no matter how small. He rolled over for the first time when he was 2 years old and had some success feeding himself for the first time much later.  In between, there have been many other things, like learning to pick something up, being able to hold a crayon in a certain way, and being able to right himself when he leans over in his wheelchair.

I have sat and held Davin while his entire body seized from a seizure disorder that he was diagnosed with at age 2, I have sat in the emergency room with Davin for 15 hours while doctors tried to determine if Davin had appendicitis or not. (It is very difficult to tell things like this because Davin is non-verbal.) I have sat in a therapy room in Mielno, Poland as Davin received intensive therapy and prayed for his body to respond. I have sat by Davin’s bedside in St. Christopher’s Children’s Hospital while Davin struggled to breathe following a hip surgery.  Were any of these things any harder than the things that I have been through with my other kids? Probably not. Just different.

When Davin was little, it sometimes pained me to look at other “typical” kids his age.  My heart hurt to see where he “should” be at a certain age.  I mourned the life that Davin would not have….the life I thought he should have.

God has done great things in my heart since then.  I have PROUDLY watched my son participate in bowling for the Special Olympics (and by participating, I really mean making sure that everyone was watching him), I have dropped him off at a dinner dance as my heart soared looking at my handsome boy in his shirt and tie and experiencing what his siblings have experienced.  Just last year, I dropped Davin off at camp for five whole days and nights and wondered how in the world someone else would take care of his needs.  They did and he survived and more surprisingly, I survived.  (The camp staff wasn’t so sure I would make it.) 

I can now celebrate Davin’s differences.  Or maybe I don’t celebrate the differences, I just celebrate Davin.  I love who he is.  I love what he teaches me every day.  I love his perseverance and the way he can convince most anyone to help with him do things even without speaking a word.  I love the way he adores his siblings and they adore him.  I love the impact he has had on the lives of those around us.  I just love him. He happens to have cerebral palsy.  That is all.  Nothing more and nothing less.  

My perception of “perfect” has changed so much since 1992.  I am thankful and I am blessed to be Davin’s Mom.  It has been one of the greatest joys of my life.


I have always loved watching my kids do things.  If they were playing on a team or sitting on a bench on a team, I was there and I was watching them.  I love it.  I always said I like watching a Hester play anything. 

Davin is now practicing track and field for his special olympics team.  Yesterday was our first day to the track.  Every single time Davin was pushed for a race, my heart swelled.  Just swelled.  I KNOW that he is being pushed, so he is not actually doing any of the work to run in the race, but I see his face.  He is proud.  He is excited.  And tears well up in my eyes every single time.  Love it.