Breaking Wolfpack3 News
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We did it! Chris will be getting the adapted bike he needs. As of June 13, we had raised $1200 to buy him a recumbent trike. We are so thankful to the over 50 people who gave to his fundraiser. The bike is now ordered and will arrive in August.
We're currently working on acquiring iPads for both Chris and Rachel to increase their independence and help them in learning functional life skills. As part of this effort, I (Cindy) have gotten involved online with "communities" that support the use of this kind of technology for children with special needs. We were already very blessed to receive one iPad for Chris from Gus Communication Devices, Inc, and it came with a code to download their wonderful AAC app, called TalkTablet. The president of Gus Comm, Gordon Harris, also generously donated a case for the iPad so that it will be protected in case of an accidental drop or fall. Already, the two kids are eagerly lining up to use it and my concerns that we truly need two devices have quickly come into reality.
So, we've set up a ChipIn page to begin fundraising for a second iPad for Rachel. The nice thing is that we've already received many wonderful apps as they were given away or placed on sale by the developers in the community networks mentioned above. Each child's iPad will be tailored with schedules, routines, and apps that are specific to that child and their needs. Dear friends and family, would you please pray for us that we can make this wish for an iPad for each child come true? Thank you!!
May 31, 2012 Breaking News:
Rachel is getting an iPad! Between the generous donations to her iPad fund and gifts from family for her birthday, we were able to order her a refurbished iPad 2 with 16 gb for just $319. We thank everyone who helped from the bottom of our hearts! The M-Edge case from Gordon Harris is now protecting Rachel's iPad and we've encased Chris's in a sturdy Griffin Survivor to protect it better from liquids. Both kids are getting great use from their iPads for both educational and recreational purposes.
-a widow since my youngest child was 4 months old
-a mother of three children with mild to moderate disabilities
-someone who greatly enjoys music and wishes she had more time to develop her talents
-a volunteer for Boy Scouts, particularly in the area of including scouts with disAbilities in their mainstream troops
-a missionary in my own home
-a graduate of Old Dominion University ('04 - MS Special Ed.)
-a graduate of Penn State University ('82 - BS Health Admin.)
-a co-moderator for an online support group of over 1400 parents from all over the world who have children with microcephaly
-residing again for the past 6 years in my hometown in PA
-a former 18-year resident of N. Virginia
-a special education teacher, now underemployed as an IT para for our school district in order to best meet our family's needs
-a fan of good books and music
-a great cook and a total "foodie"
-a person who is always working on being a better witness for Christ and on deepening her relationship with God
-a disAbility advocate/case manager/therapist/medical liasion/chaffeur/teacher all rolled into one
"Don't let your happiness depend upon your happenings."
"Courage .... is fear that has said its prayers."
"It's never boring around here (our house). Not always happy, but NEVER boring!"
"We're doing our best to be a functional family under dysfunctional circumstances."
"It's always a brain thing with us."
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."
All children, even those whom people would view as less than perfect, are a gift from God. Sometimes it takes the presence of a child with special needs to help us to re-order our priorities according to His design. We learn to be thankful for all the things we previously took for granted. We begin to celebrate the little miracles of everyday life and we learn to live with child-like faith. Life is richer and more meaningful.
No matter what happens in life - death of a spouse, finding out your children have disabilities, ending up in a career path that was completely unforeseen, nearly dying, almost losing everything one owns - one can still have JOY. Why? Because God is in control, he can overcome anything or any set of circumstances in our lives and use it for his purposes and glory. He is the creator of our galaxy, our universe! Is anything too difficult for Him?
It has been my great privilege to see Him work through what appears as the most difficult of circumstances and bring abundant blessings, despite painful circumstances. He is faithful and never late in His timing. So often we have seen the body of Christ (literally, Christ with "flesh on") heed His call and minister to our family the same as one reads in Deuteronomy 24:19-21, Psalms 68:4-6, and 1 Corinthians 12.
Thanks be to God, our Father, for the gift of His son, Jesus Christ, and for the gifts of each of our own children!
Timothy, age 20, Life Scout, an expert on WWII, played ice hockey (Go NOVA Cool Cats!), skis, plays chess, enjoys the Trebuchet and Gaming Clubs and an occasional pick up floor hockey game at school. He wants to be a scientist or engineer someday. Tim is gifted and has mood & anxiety disorders, Asperger's, dysgraphia, and ADD. He is currently living in a community-based therapeutic setting and enrolled full time as a Penn State student: the third generation in our family to become a Nittany Lion!
Christopher, age 17, a Star Scout in Troop 32 and Venture Crew 321's Vice President, is an enthusiastic young man who lives with great zeal for all the blessings in life. He has gotten several gold medals at state level competition in Special Olympics, and has played Challenger Baseball for 9 seasons. He is an active member of the Best Buddies club at school. Chris loves puzzles, mylar balloons, race cars, anything with lights and sirens, and airplanes. He enjoys googling his latest interests, including hot tubs, recumbent bikes, carpet/floor cleaners, automatic toilets, and more. He has microcephaly (by history) with Dandy Walker Variant, Autism, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, cognitive disabilities, mild cerebral palsy, a disorder of the hypothalamus, severe ADHD, multiple severe food allergies, and more.
Rachel, age 15, is our energetic girl. She likes to sing, practice her percussion skills, draw pictures, read, "write" music, and do anything that her brothers are doing at the moment (to their great consternation! =D ), which is why she also played ice hockey with the Cool Cats. Rachel has earned several medals in state level competition through Special Olympics in Athletics, Alpine Skiing, and Tennis. Like Chris, Rachel has microcephaly, cognitive disabilities, mild CP, mild sensory integration dysfunction, ADHD, but also has scoliosis, slight hearing and vision impairments, PCOS, migraines, and more. She enjoys playing Challenger Baseball in the spring, and has played Soccer, Bocce, and Softball with Special Olympics, in addition to the SO sports in which she competes. Rachel is also in Venturing and is the Secretary for Crew 321.
We have another new family member!! Yes, we're nuts! We adopted a second Goldendoodle pup. His name is Onyx and he was in training to be a service dog for a very special young lady. Sadly, he is extremely prone to motion sickness and was miserable driving back and forth to the hospital with his girl. Onyx is awesome and he and Sampson are like best buds/brothers/etc. They are both keeping us on our toes!
We have a new family member!! Sampson, an approximately 9 month old Goldendoodle pup has found a forever home with us. We adopted him from a rescue in the Mechanicsburg area on the first of May. Poor baby had a rough few months before we adopted him, but he is so smart, non-shedding, and has a wonderful temperament. The kids are really enjoying him and he has been a positive and therapeutic influence on us all.