If you have something that the Lord asks or expects you to do and you don’t know just how to proceed, do your best. Move in the direction that you ought to go; trust the Lord, give him a chance, and he will never fail you.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hanging On

Today was Fast Sunday in our ward. For those of you reading that are not sure what that means, I will try to explain.
On Fast Sundays we as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of latter Day Saints (Mormons) will miss 2 meals. The funds that would usually be spent on those meals is donated and distributed to those that are struggling. It is a blessing to be able to help others by doing such a small act. But there is also another reason we do it, a more personal reason. By fasting, we also believe that we are able to become more aware of the promptings of the Holy Ghost. This allows us to better receive answers to prayers. Heavenly Father recognizes our sacrifice and we become more in tune with his spirit.

During our church meetings on fast Sunday, we as members are allowed (as prompted) to speak to the congregation and share with them our testimony. Today while I was sitting in sacrament meeting I was touched by the spirit. I heard some beautiful testimonies. One in particular touched me greatly.
This sister mentioned that we are all here to be tried and tested. Without those trials we are not able to draw close to our Father in Heaven and depend on him. She spoke about HANGING ON through our trials. That he is with us. That he knows us intimately. He knows the struggles we have faced or are facing. His son Jesus Christ has felt them, and understands. He would not give us these trials without also giving us a way to come to him for help with them.

This was exactly what I needed to hear today. Isn't it amazing how the spirit works!!

Life has been hard. Nastia came home 2 weeks ago and to say it has been anything else would be a lie. We were hoping to be able to transition her slowly back into family life, but it turned out that our insurance company had other ideas. So here we are, and here I HANG! I am hanging on by my teeth some days. I won't share with you all the ugly details of the last 2 weeks, but it is enough to say that she is home and life is hard.


Therefore the message I received during our meeting today was a blessing. Those of you who know me well, know that I have been struggling. I have struggled to understand why if the Lord wanted us to travel this journey, why would he make it so painful for us, especially me. I am not sure I still fully understand the answer to that question, but I do KNOW that he knows who I am. He KNOWS I am struggling and he is there to help me if I am willing to ask for it. But I have to be willing. I have to allow him to help me, and that is hard for me. It is had to turn it over to him and trust in him fully. Asking for help, even from someone that completely understands, is so very difficult.

I was blessed to be able to attend the last few minutes of my daughters young women's class today and hear Miranda sing. She was asked to sing the song His Hands by Kenneth Cope. This is a song I have known and sung for many many years. It is probably my favorite church song ever. It was such a blessing to not only hear my daughter sing it, but also, to once again through the power of music, be reminded of what Jesus did FOR ME. I need to be reminded frequently that the Atonement was not just something amazing that happened for everyone else, but it also applies to me.

I am so grateful to my Loving Heavenly Father for the privilege I have of being a mother to all 6 of my children. They are hard work, but it is such a blessing to have them all in our home. I KNOW with all my heart that even though she makes my life and hers so very difficult sometimes, Nastia is meant to be in our family. I felt it when I met her and I know it still now. I am grateful for the feeling I had when I met her. That is something I frequently go back too. I know that the Lord sent us there to find her and I know that these trials, as hard as they are, will pass eventually. My hope is that she will one day realize how truly loved she is, not only by us her family here on the earth, but how VERY loved she is by her Heavenly Father. He sent us on this journey, for her.
I am grateful for the Gospel in my life and for the knowledge I have of eternal families.

I would love for each of you to listen to the song that Miranda sung today. I hope that you too will feel our Heavenly Fathers love for you, as I did today.
And I will keep Hanging On, by my teeth if necessary, because I know he understands.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why is HOPE SO Hard right now?

HOPE is something that I always thought came easily to me. It was right up there with Faith. HOPE and Faith always seem to go hand in hand.
But lately I have realized that they don't come as naturally to me as I always thought. They both need to be worked on and nurtured, otherwise they can easily disappear.

It has been hard to sit by and watch while Nastia has lost HOPE in herself, in the treatment, in us and in life in general. It is heartbreaking for me as her mother, to hear her say things like "I just want to die, I don't care anymore."
It was our HOPE that during treatment she would be able to recognize, not just the things that are obvious to everyone around her (her eating disorder) but mostly the under lying issues that she struggles so deeply with.
We HOPED, all the while knowing that it would be slow progress because of all that she has to deal with,  that there would just be progress in the right direction.
We HOPED that she would be home by now.
But as many of you know, life doesn't often work out the way we HOPE it would.

She is still there. She is purging all the time. She even started refusing to eat at all again this weekend, she has lost ALL HOPE. So today I went with her to the hospital to have an NJ tube placed. If you are unaware of what and NJ tube is, I will explain.

NJ (Naso Jejunal): Runs from the nose to the intestines 
This type of feeding tube was placed non surgically, but because it runs into her intestines and not her stomach, it had to be done in the hospital. 

She was given this kind of tube to try and eliminate her throwing up the food that she is fed through it.
While I am unsure that I believe there is anything physiologically wrong with her, The center is trying to eliminate all reasons that she might be throwing up, and I appreciate that.  I am trying to be HOPEFUL that this will help settle her stomach and help eliminate her need to throw up, but my HOPE is diminishing.

I know that my trials aren't as hard as many of yours. I know of a friends brother that has just been told he has stage 4 Melanoma. He has a beautiful wife and 3 little kids. I don't know what his outcome will be, and stories like his make me feel very guilty for being so frustrated with my own trials.

I just never imagined when I set out on our journey that it would go this way. Maybe that was naive of me. But while I knew it was going to be hard, I didn't imagine this. I didn't imagine I would feel like, I don't know if there is any real way of helping her.
As a parent all I want is to provide a good life for my kids. I want them, more then anything else, to feel loved. Nastia won't let me do that, she won't let me love her, and that is the hardest thing for me.




So if you feel so inclined, please pray for her that she will find some HOPE in her situation. Because without it, she will not allow any of us to help her.  Pray that she will allow us to Love her and that she will be able to recognize that love. And lastly pray that I might find some Hope and Peace as well.
Thank you


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Aint' Life Fine!

Life has been hectic and fun and grumpy and stressful, over the last few weeks. Summer has been a little lazy. The kids and I have had many many late nights getting ready for our play. SO, I decided that I wouldn't push them to be busy during the days. Unfortunately with a lazy summer comes a lot of computer and Xbox playing as well as a little reading and singing. While I am okay usually with all of these things in moderation, I am usually so much better at making my kids do some school work and chores before they get to do them. That hasn't been the case this year. A little disappointing for me as a mother, but I have also needed the rest both physically and mentally. So I am trying to be alright with it all.

We are in our final week of our play "The adventures of Tom Sawyer". We have 3 shows left to perform and then it is over. Miranda is the understudy for Becky Thatcher (the lead girl role) and was given a chance to perform itfor friends and family along with the understudy for Tom (Eli Bradford) during one of the dress rehearsals. It was wonderful to see her perform and shine. She even got her first kiss (onstage in front of everyone!)
It has been an awesome summer getting to perform and also getting to know everyone. There is nothing like the friendships you make spending every night with people. I am hopeful that the friendships made, not just mine but those of my kids will continue long after we finish this weekend. 
If you haven't had a chance to come and see us in the show, please do. It is a fabulous show that is really great for the whole family. It will make you want to get up and dance with us.
I am so proud of each one of my kids for the time and effort they have put into the show. It has been so much fun spending the summer with them and getting to see them do so well on stage. They are all wonderful performers. Please come see them and support us and community theater!!
Here are some pictures of our show. Some I took and some other people took (Ann-Marie Mair of Ring Lite Photography, our shows photographer and Kendra Creer Hill our shows videographer. Both ladies are amazing) I hope it's okay that I posted these?







Our phenomenal band!

our cast





Me (widow Douglas) teaching Huck Finn to read.


our scary villain Injun Joe (aka Jarom Loch)





these are of a dress rehearsal when Miranda was filling in as Becky Thatcher.






Our fabulous Tech crew.

Tom, Becky and Huck


Nastia is still plodding along with her treatment. I say plodding because that is exactly how it feels. She has gained almost 20lbs (is almost at the low end of her goal weight range) and is looking so much healthier. But she is getting frustrated because there are people that have been in the program with her that are getting to leave and her treatment is going slowly. Partially because she isn't as open as the other girls to do what is necessary to move it along. She has also been struggling with purging (throwing up after she eats) for the last few weeks. This has put her progress back a little way and it has also upset her because there are consequences that come when you purge in an eating disorder clinic. We have tried many things to help her understand why she is doing it, but it still continues. They have started her on medicines to help her digest food more quickly to see if that helps her at all. We are constantly praying that something will help her and that she will at some point understand what needs to happen and be willing to do it, to help her come home. But for now she is still there and is still very unhappy about it.
Thank you for all your prayers on her and our family's behalf. They are felt and appreciated.

I tell you these things not because I need advice or condolences or anything else. I share them with you because I know that many of you have been interested in Nastia's treatment and how our family is dealing with it all.  I know there are many of you that are very supportive of what we are doing but I also know that there are others that don't agree with us placing Nastia in this treatment, especially for so long. To you I say, please keep your opinions to yourself. I am not in a place emotionally to deal with harsh criticisms or any criticisms at all for that matter. This placement has been not only hard on Nastia but also on the rest of us. But as her parents and family we believe that this is the best course of action for her and so are dealing with it the best way we can. We understand that her not being in our home, brings up feelings of abandonment and memories of past experiences for her. We are dealing with all of those issues as they arise. I am so very grateful to those of you that have been supportive and willing to just listen when I feel like I need to vent. Sometimes that is all that we as women need, a listening ear.
Please only leave supportive comments. This situation is hard enough. I don't need to feel like I am a bad parent for doing what we feel is right for our child.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Blessings

I am trying really hard to think about the many blessings I have. But that can be a hard thing to do when all you feel is exhaustion from your trials.

Nastia is still at Center for change. We have had the chance to visit with her a couple of times and I have spoken with her most days on the phone. Each time I speak with her she cries, well sobs and begs me to take her home. She tells me she can't stay there any longer. Then I tell her that she has to stay until she is better. She gets mad at me, but continues to beg. It is emotionally exhausting to have the same conversation over and over. But I am trying to stay calm and happy with her.

Our visit with the family on Sunday didn't go so well, at least for me. She refused to look or talk or hug me. But when asked she would deny being upset with me. As we left she finally did hug me, but It is so hard for me to continue to be punished for something that I am doing because I love her.  I will continue because I know in the end it will help her and that is my goal. Even if she doesn't ever understand it!

Life at home has been a little better. Less drama, but sadly not drama free.  I think we are all still feeling the effects of the Nastia situation and unfortunately, I think that will last for a while yet.

Thank you all for your kind words, thoughts or prayers. They are felt and appreciated.

I heard this song today. Thanks to a friend. It is beautiful and I am trying to look at my life like this.


"What if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousands sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?:"

I am hopeful that my healing is coming through all the tears I have shed over the last few months. I know my Heavenly Father is near. I KNOW IT, even though I have been struggling with doubts lately.  I know it because I feel him through all of you!
I am so grateful for that knowledge. Without it, I think I would feel completely lost.

I have so many blessings and I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for them.

On a different note:

Miranda and Olena had their dance performances on Friday night. It was so much fun for Mike and I to watch them perform. Miranda danced 2 ballroom dances an Olena was in a Jazz number.
















We are still pushing along with our summer musical The adventures of Tom Sawyer. It is a blast making new friends and spending time doing something fun with my kids. I hope all of you that are near by will be able to make it to see us perform! Here are some pictures from the Springville Parade we participated in on Saturday.







Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Rough One!

This is a hard one to write, but with permission from my daughter, I am going to share with all of you that have joined us along our journey, a little of what we have been dealing with lately.

This morning Mike and I admitted Nastia to an inpatient facility for eating disorders called Center for Change. Sadly this will not be a quick one or two day stay. She will be receiving 24 hour treatment for at least 2 weeks but will possibly be there for up to 3 months, depending on how she responds to the treatment and if she will gain weight. 
Luckily for us, this amazing facility, that is one of the best in the country, is situated right here in Utah. Even better, it's only 20 mins from our house. That means we will be able to attend family days and visit with her on weekends without it causing more financial strain. What a blessing.

For those of you that are unaware of what is going on, or why it has come to this. I will explain.

When Nastia came to America she weighed in at a measly 95lbs. We knew she was skinny and we knew that she would use food as a way to control situations. This has been an ongoing battle since, and her weight has gone up and down.
We have struggled to find a healthy weight for her and we have struggled to help her be happy. (We believe that her eating habits are wholly determined by her mood. Bad mood = not speaking and not eating at all) But, over the last few months her periods of not eating(days at a time) have become more frequent and her weight has dropped without any rebound.

This past memorial day weekend, I reached my breaking point. Nastia refused to eat or drink anything from Friday to Monday night. At this point I decided it was long enough and we weighed her. She weighed 80lbs (36kgs or 5.7 stones). When I saw that number Mike and I decided that we couldn't let it continue. I took her to the ER and tried once again to get her to talk to me. She did a little and told me that life is just too hard. School, English, listening to us, everything is to hard and she can't do it anymore and wants to die. I told her I was so sorry to hear that but I couldn't ignore her wish to die, so I took her in.  We had her speak to a crisis worker who tried without luck to get her to tell us a reason to believe she would be safe and not harm herself if she was to go home. We were there all night and nothing we tried could elicit a response that would help her. So we were referred by the Dr to Center for change. 

This was not what I planned would happen when we came home with the girls. I knew she was broken and needed some help. I had just hoped and prayed that our family would be able to help her, that I would be able to help her. I was wrong. Our family can't do it alone. Nastia needed help that we couldn't give her. So with heavy hearts we admitted her.
This was not easy for her either. She told me that even though we had told her on many occasions that if she continued to lose weight, our choices to help her would be taken away and she would end up in the hospital, she didn't believe we would actually take her. She thought we were just trying to scare her. In part that was true. I did want to scare her, but it didn't work to just tell her.

What does this mean now?
Well, we aren't sure. We are now just doing what the Dr's at the facility believe is best for her. She will be there as long as is necessary to help  her get where she needs to be. I am hopeful that it won't be 3 months but she is stubborn and she may make it take that long.

Has it affected the other children?
Yes I believe it has. The chaos she has created over the last few months has definitely caused a level of stress in our home. That in turn has made the other children feel a little neglected and tired of the upset. They cry about nothing or fight over silly things they wouldn't have before. I am hopeful that the break will do them all good.

What can you do?
Please just pray for her. She needs to feel the love of her friends and family and their support. She needs to recognize the Lords hand in her life right now, so she can heal.


I will keep you all updated on her progress. We are only allowed to call or visit on the weekends. She will be allowed other visitors on the weekends as well. So if any of  you feel like you might like to stop by and see her, just let me know so I can tell her Dr's.
Thank you to all of you that have been a support to our family. Life has been rough and I am sure that it isn't going to get much easier for a while yet. But we can get through it, and



Friday, April 25, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

Sometimes I feel like I am drowning. Then, just for a few minutes it feels like someone or something pulls me up for air, only to let me fall back in again. This is my life lately.
It seems like this blog has become less about our daily life and more like my journal from when I was a teenager. I only ever wrote in that when I was upset or mad about something. Then every so often I would read back over it and tear all the pages out because I was embarrassed by how unhappy I sounded. So I want to  preface this blog entry with this, I know it seems like it is all  miserable times here in the Maurin family. But, I promise it isn't. There are many days when everything runs smoothly and there are no incidents, or tantrums or consequences that have to be dealt with or dished out. It is in fact beautiful! But sometimes it feels like those days are few and far between. That is how the last few weeks have been for us.

I found a quote from a fellow Ukrainian teenage adoptive parent yesterday that said "Our goal is not perfection, but incremental progress." I clung to that thought all day because while I understand logically that perfection is unattainable, I STILL WANT IT! I want to see improvement in behavior. I want to have them recognize that their lives are better just by being here and being with a family that loves them. I want them to understand that they now have so many opportunities that they didn't have before. And in the words of Verruca "I want it now!" But like I said, I know logically that those things come slowly, and because of that my wants are are just that, wants.  SO my new goal is to focus on the incremental progress that is attainable, and that is visible. It is just so slow and painful sometimes.

There are so many stories I could tell you all, but in an effort to follow the rules I shared in my last post, I am going to do my best to not over share about my kids.
But I will say this, the last few weeks have been HARD!


Every time I feel like I break through the wall, it is built up immediately, much stronger then before. I am repeatedly punished for trying to love and teach. I am punished for days, sometimes longer, whenever I feel like I have made a breakthrough, because (I am told) I was shown a vulnerability that I wasn't supposed to see. I am punished when I say no for a request to buy something. I am punished when someone else gets attention instead of them. I could go on and on. 

I am punished a lot, But I STILL LOVE THEM.

I am told by my therapist (yes, I see a therapist. It is so great to be validated and taught skills) that none of these things are about me. Well yay. But does that knowledge make it hurt any less? No!
I say out loud sometimes, "It isn't about me. It is about her and her fears!" and most of the time that knowledge helps me calm down and address the situation a little better then I was before. But it still hurts. It still sometimes feels like I am having a knife stabbed into my chest. 


But I STILL LOVE THEM. 

I don't know that I will ever feel like I am fully equipped to deal with the issues that are set before me. But I am going to continue to try. I am emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted almost all the time. My house is a wreck because I just don't have the will to clean it most days. I am tired of the extra arguments and sassy-ness that have come from my other children because of the stress level in the house some days and because of lack of attention. I am so tired of the stress that some situations puts on my marriage and the arguments it causes. 
But I am grateful, SO grateful, to have a husband that still loves me, even though most days lately, I don't have a lot left in my bucket to give to him.  Life would be much harder without him and his support.
 

Adoption is hard. Would I change it? NO! Why? Because I know that these girls are meant to be here with us. I know that we are meant to be their parents and they are meant to have a family around them to help them through their tough times. I know that Miranda needed sisters her age to be there for her. I KNOW that this is the path that our family was meant to take. So I will continue along this crazy path and continue to try my best to show them love and support and teach them that they are GOOD and KIND, SMART and BEAUTIFUL and that the things that have made them so afraid are NOT THEIR FAULT!!!
I will keep watching for their incremental progress, because even though it is slow, it is definitely there, and that is a miracle.


Here are some pictures of some of yesterdays bright shiny moments. I love days when smiles are in abundance :) The girls and I had a Dr's appointment in American Fork yesterday. Since Miranda goes to school up there and I didn't want to make two trips, we decided to meet up with some of my friends and see the tulip festival at Thanksgiving point to waste a little time until we had to pick her up.  It was fun to relax and not have to think about school or chores and just enjoy the beautiful day with friends.  (My friends asked me to share some of the pictures I took of their kids. I am still learning how to use my camera, so they are not fantastic, but the colors were so pretty!)




























It's smiles like these that keep me going :)

























Her smile just cracks me up!! Holly, I love her :)



If you haven't had a chance to go, visit the tulip festival. It's beautiful. My amateur pictures don't do it justice!
Keep smiling!!