If you have visited here before, you can probably see that I have changed the name of the blog again. I started blogging at 4URuthie to tell the story of our journey to adopt our 1st daughter. I changed it to Mountains for Maggie when we were praying for God to move mountains on behalf of our 2nd daughter. Well now it is no longer just Ruthie’s or Maggie’s stories. It is now our family's story, and the stories of those we share life with, as we Conquer Mountains together. Both ConqueringMountains.net and 4URuthie.blogspot will lead here.

About Me

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I am a pastor's wife, mother of 4 kids (2 adopted and 3 with special needs), physical therapist, and photography junky. This is where it all comes together for me. Feel free to join along as I process life out loud.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

An Update On My Girl and Her Precious Heart

This is not another post about my child hating wildflowers.  It is actually all about her heart but the pics I took for the update do indeed reveal her dislike for sitting in wildflowers.  Once again....

For those of you just now tuning in here, Maggie has a single ventricle.  This is a very serious heart condition that will some day require open heart surgery.   This surgery is called the Fontan and is generally performed in 2 parts.   Because Maggie was an orphan in China, she missed the normal time frame for the first part.

We expected that she would have the first part soon after arriving here, but this week we were told that she would wait.

This is not because she is a poor candidate but instead because she looks so good.  Her heart is well balanced and is doing a good job at protecting itself.

Her surgeons have decided to continue to monitor her and hopefully wait until she is 3 to do surgery.  At that time they will perform both procedures at once.  This will mean only 1 open heart surgery instead of 2.  This is great news.  

We are relieved to just get to enjoy her for now and not have to worry about what is just around the corner.  I would love for God to perform a miracle and heal her heart between now and then. 

For now, I am just thankful she is home, she is stable, and she is mine. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Once Upon A Lilly Pad- Our Stage Debut

Okay so you have to get the back story for this to really appreciate it.

When I returned from China, Sam informed me that the 2nd grade musical was coming up and that he was auditioning for the lead role.  Had found a dollar in his pocket (that may have been from God because they kid can't keep from spending every dime he has) and purchased the music CD at school and had already learned the audition lines.

I was a bit surprised by his enthusiasm and acts of responsibility toward this goal.   I was also a bit nervous because it seemed to me like the big parts should go to a teacher's kid or someone the music teacher knows well and can count on to be there and do the work.  That is not a shot, it is just what I would do if I were casting 2nd graders.

The day of the audition came and he walked out very sad because so many kids auditioned that he didn't get a chance that day. He would have to wait one more day.  On the day they announced the roles, I rehearsed in my head how I would comfort him when he didn't get it.  I know that sounds terribly pessimistic but I am just being honest.

So Sam ran out of school, came up to me, and said "Guess what mom.  I got Freddie the frog! I am the lead!"   I couldn't believe it.  Apparently when they announced it at school, he jumped up and started screaming.  We went home and called the family to let them all know.   Sam learned 8 scenes of lines in one weekend.  He was thrilled and we are so proud of our little Freddie.

The performances were yesterday and he did AMAZING! It looks like we have a theatre kid on our hands.  I love when we get to see what our kids are passionate about and get to watch them walk in it.  I can't wait to see who my little frog tries out for next.

Here are a few pics from his big day.

My friend Bernie was recording with her phone so Maggie decided to do the same with hers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

She's Little but She is Tough

My sweet little princess is an intense soccer player.  Don't tell her that she is a head shorter than all the other players.  She doesn't care.

She's tough and I like it!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

7 Tips to Thrive in Those First Weeks Home

We have been home a month now and I would say things are going really well.  This is adoption #2 for us and we have also spent 7 months with a foster child.  I am writing this post because I am a member of several adoption and foster care groups and my heart aches for the number of families who struggle in those first weeks home.  I was pondering it in the place where I do my best thinking (the shower) and I came up with this:

7 Tips Not Only to Survive but Thrive in Those First Weeks Home:

*Don't stop reading because #7 is key but you have to get there first.

1. Get some SLEEP girl!  

When I lack sleep I am one crazy lady.  I have found that bringing a new child into your home through adoption or foster care is just like bringing one home from the hospital.  You lose lots of sleep and enter into what we Hendersons call "The Fog."  In "The Fog" you forget what day it is, can't remember what you are supposed to do next, and are super-emotional (like post-partum equivalent emotional).

You have to figure out how to get some sleep.  Many of you are also recovering from jet lag which is a whole other issue.  Try this - you go to bed early and let your spouse take the evening shift then you be the one to get up in the middle of the night.  Your spouse who slept through the night then gets the early morning shift while you sleep in an hour or two.  The next night, switch.  If this doesn't work for your family, find something that will and get some sleep to battle "The Fog."

2. Eat Healthy (Avoid the sugar crash)

Okay I realize that I just lost 50% of you because I was you with our first adoption.  I lived on Dr. Pepper and Fruity Pebbles.   Eating right was the last thing I could think about, but this time it happened unrelated to the adoption.  When I gave up Cokes and sugary cereals, my energy level skyrocketed.  Two other things have helped too.  Advocare makes a product called Spark that has caffeine and Vitamin C in it.  It gives you energy and helps keep you from getting sick.  Another product I take occasionally is the appetite suppressant from Plexus called SLIM.  It helps me control my cravings, balances my blood sugar, and gives me more energy.  Whatever you do, avoid those foods that give you energy for the moment and zap you for hours afterwards.

3. Forgive Yourself

Sorry friend but you aren't going to be the perfect parent.

Confession moment - when we had our foster child we would do great during the day, when it was just the two of us, but when the big kids came home from school he would melt down.  He couldn't handle the competition for attention.  I needed to help kids with homework, go through folders, clean out lunch boxes and get dinner ready.  A screaming kid was not helping me get it done.  All I could do in that moment was send him to his room to scream.  I explained that he could be downstairs if he could play quietly but laying at my feet screaming was unacceptable.

The Connected Child book says I really messed that one up and I knew it.  The Connected Child says instead of isolating him that I should have placed him in "Time In" and then let him have a re-do to get it right.  Well folks, I didn't have time or energy for "Time In" right then and a screaming kid in "Time In" did not let my others get their work done.

I wasn't the perfect foster parent and you won't get it right all the time either.  Remind yourself that you are leaps and bounds better than where they came from and give yourself some grace every now and then not to be Connected Child  textbook perfect.

4. Stick to the Basics

Occam's Razor says when given two possibilities, the simplest solution is usually the answer.

This is so true with these kiddos.  They need food, sleep, consistency, and positive physical touch.
For example, if they are screaming in the middle of the night the day after they got home from China, they probably aren't missing their favorite nanny.  Instead, their stomach thinks it is Noon.  They are hungry.  This happened with Maggie.  A peanut butter cracker or two later and she was sound asleep.

We tend to overthink these kids.  We turn into pseudo-therapists trying to solve their complex psychological afflictions when really they don't need us to figure them out and talk it over with our Facebook friends.  They need food, sleep, consistency, and positive physical touch.  Remember this acronym I learned in PT school - KISS (keep it simple, stupid).   It pays off.  Trust me.  Besides, you are still in "The Fog" so you don't make a good psychologist right now anyway. You can't even remember what you were just looking for. :)

5. Establish A Routine and Stick to it

Here is the stinky part on that.  You aren't in complete control here.  They actually probably own 51%.  Maggie does best if she naps from 11:00-1:00.  We can push that back maybe 30 minutes but more than that and we pay later.  This means I give up lunch dates with friends and walk out of church early.  Occasionally we have to violate this, but it is rarely worth it.  Remember how I mentioned consistency as one of the basics?  A routine / consistency is big in attachment and feeling secure.

6. Be Good to Yourself

For me that means time away and alone.  Remember that shower where I wrote this blog post in my head? That was my "me" time today.  I also made mental plans to rejoin the YMCA to work out after Trent gets home on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Whatever that thing is for you - scrapbooking, exercising, reading, girls night out, etc., don't give it up!!! You need it and that is okay.  You are not failing as a parent if you take some "me" time.  You will be a better parent when you return.


2 Corinthians 10:5 says, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

In my family,  we don't even mention the word divorce.  We made a commitment to each other and taking every thought captive is the first step in honoring that commitment.  I look at adoption the same way.  

How do you do that?  Glad you asked. 

You do it by combatting it with the TRUTH.

So a level one thought might be, "Did I make a mistake?" 

You combat that with "God called me to this.  He does not make mistakes.  That which is most rewarding is often most difficult." Then you think on other times when things were hard and you stuck them out and saw the victory. 

If you don't take it captive, then in creeps the level 2 thought, "What are my options to correct this mistake?"  and then level 3 "I am justified in taking that step because ..." 

Sounds a lot like divorce doesn't it?  

You have to take every thought captive and combat the enemy with the truth of God's word and His calling on your life. 

Remember, girlfriend, as I wrap this up, you are called to more than living for yourself.  You have got what it takes to do this well.  That which has the greatest rewards can require great work and sacrifice.  You are not alone.   "The Fog" will be lifted, you will sleep again, you will hit a routine and this will be worth it.  

Please feel free to email me at ginnyhenderson @ hotmail.com if you ever need encouragement. I know it is hard but I have seen that it is sooooooo worth it. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Apparently "We have Flava"- A Culturally Enlightening Evening

For months I have been wanting to try out Houston's food truck park.  A friend went there last fall, shared her pics, and I was sold.  Well last night we had nothing on the schedule and decided to make my dream a reality. :)

One of the best part of living in Houston is that there are always really fun cultural things to do.  The worst part is that traffic makes getting there a nightmare!  Last night was no exception.  It took us an hour to get to 610 which might have put me in a bit of a bad mood.  I am glad we pressed on though.

After looking at the options, we settled for the Waffle Bus.   One of our other truck options was a hamburger on a donut with a fried egg on top.  Hmm.

Warning!!!!- I may have dressed my girls a little funky for this experience.    
Bigger Warning!!!! - We weren't the worst dressed people there. 

We were in for quite the surprise when a rap video was being filmed on the premises.  Apparently, a key wardrobe malfunction  component was rapping while wearing your pants at your mid-thigh.  The lyrics were less than uplifting and I told Jack that he was witnessing where kids end up who cuss and act disrespectful in the 5th grade.  I think he bought it for now. :)

Maggie fit right in.

And I had to snap a few pics around the graffiti.  I told Sam to think of the prettiest girl in his class for this one.  I wonder who he was thinking of.

More pics for dad's office.  I mean don't Easter bunnies go with graffiti, rainbow shoes, and hip hop hats for you?

We actually stayed longer than I expected because we met another group with kids and they all started playing with the styrofoam airplane and bubbles that I threw in my car at the last minute.

Funniest moment of the night- Trent and I were invited to be in the 1/2 dressed rap video.  Our line, "we got flava".  Apparently that means that we have style.  Good to know.  Now I can't help but wonder if it is going to end up on Youtube. 

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