better way to package bandages

We recently received a bag of Tru-Colour Bandages from the company. These beauties will be launching next month! I’ve already shared that we are super excited about the darker skin tone options. So I was not surprise that when I opened the mail and Moriah spotted the bag, she exclaimed happily, “Mom! For brown babies?!”

She was truly excited! She wanted to rip open the package and cover herself with bandages.

I said she could have ONE. I’m a party pooper.

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(We had just returned home from a kids’ party in town. She went dressed as Princess Anna so she has yarn extensions to get those long braids.)

I opened the package and started looking it over. As I did, she quietly swooped in for her prize.

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Perfectly blended little bandage. Sigh.

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My thoughts about the package (the bag):

PRO: It’s a snap-lock bag made of durable material (plastic?). It reminded me of those bags I stash in my purse for entertaining Riah at a restaurant or in the doctor’s office. You know, the ones with a mini coloring book, stickers, and crayons. The bags seem to last forever, despite being shuffled around daily in my catch-all purse. I only tested this one for a week in my purse but it did just fine.

PRO: It’s flat. Most “other” bandages come in bulky boxes; these do not. I like that. (It’s very slim, practically the thickness of 2 pieces of paper.)

CON: The bag seems bigger than necessary for what it contains. It’s about 8.25″ x 5.5″ (approximately the size of a piece of copy paper folded in half). I think it could be smaller, especially since the bandages can fold/stack — even half the current size would be nice. I have a large purse so there’s PLENTY of room in my purse. However, I see the benefit of a smaller bag.

PRO: The extra space in the bag leaves room to create a mini first aid kit: alcohol wipes, ointment, etc.

Overall, it’s a better way to package bandages! The bag offers versatility and convenience for an active life. I’m told the bags are even waterproof. See a video about the bags on Tru-Colour’s Indiegogo campaign page.

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We get serious about our bandages, people.

Family: if you need gift suggestion for Moriah . . .  I’m just saying Christmas is coming up! Haha!

Look at her. I think she’s plotting her next “injury” so she can wear them.

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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Hold on. Watch and see.

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“Because the people God uses don’t have to know a lot of things, or have a lot of things — they just have to need him a lot.”

-The Jesus Storybook Bible, page 210

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This week I have caught Moriah singing parts of Steven Curtis Chapman‘s song “The Glorious Unfolding” when it comes on the radio.  I smile.  It’s interesting because, when I first heard the song, I cried.  I thought, “This song is about me!”  Now, when I hear it, I often think about adoption and birth mothers.

The song is really about life turning out differently than you imagined. But that is okay. God is the Storyteller!

I have needed that reminder lately.
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Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold
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And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding
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God’s plan from the start
For this world and your heart
Has been to show His glory and His grace
Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of
His unfailing Love
And the story has only begun
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And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
We’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding
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We were made to run through fields of forever
Singing songs to our Savior and King
So let us remember this life we’re living
Is just the beginning of the beginning
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Of this glorious unfolding
We will watch and see and we will be amazed
If we just keep on believing the story is so far from over
And hold on to every promise God has made to us
We’ll see the glorious unfolding
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Just watch and see (unfolding)
This is just the beginning of the beginning (unfolding)

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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Caring for Baby with Prenatal Drug Exposure

In our state, all perspective foster and adoptive families are required to complete a checklist of characteristics as part of the home study.  Couples and individuals must determine the “type” of children they are willing to consider.  Questions include: gender, age, race, family history, medical conditions, mental and emotional health, education, personality, behavior, etc.  It’s lengthy and (for us) overwhelming as every possible condition is considered.

One section that seemed particularly intimidating was related to maternal drug use.  The form distinguished between babies born addicted, babies who had positive toxicology screens at birth, and babies with prenatal drug exposure. At our initial licensing, we did not understand the differences. We checked “will consider” to each but prayed that we would not be called.

Of course, we were called (numerous times). Now, three years later, we are NOT experts by any means but we have learned what works — and what does not — for infants with these birth histories. The first few weeks are very challenging; controlling the environment is critical.  However, I no longer hesitate to accept newborns with drug addiction.

We were particularly helped by a handbook developed by PICC. We were trained using their therapeutic handling principles, including baby wearing, swaddling, and controlling environmental stimuli.

I’m a big fan of swaddling for all babies! I love little baby burritos:

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I am not qualified to offer medical advice. I do, however, want to offer a few suggestions based on our experience. AND I’d love to get feedback from other foster and adoptive parents on what has worked for you! Please comment below (or email me if you prefer).

For these newborns with difficult backgrounds, the symptoms will vary. The type of drug, the length of use, frequency of use, and the nutrition of birth mother are all factors.  Do research on the particular drug, if possible (resources linked below).

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Signs and Symptoms might include:

-tremors /jitteriness

-pronounced Moro reflex (feeling of falling when the baby throws arms out and stiffens to support self)

-increased muscle tone

-sometimes difficult to comfort and settle

-over-active and agitated

-severe colic

-sensitivity to light (hiccuping, sneezing and frequent yawning are signs of over-stimulation)! This can be the biggest tip off that you need to reduce stimuli.

-exaggerated sucking reflex

-loose stools

Finnegan Scoring System is used to assess these babies before discharging home with caregiver. Many are treated with morphine while withdrawing. Ask your hospital about your newborn’s score. (Our local hospital requires score of less than 8 every 4 hours prior to being discharged.)

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Tips for Caregiver:

-swaddle

-wear baby in wrap or carrier close to parent’s chest (frequent skin to skin contact is great too)

-offer pacifier

-dim lights at home

-reduce noise and fragrances in the home (we are SO GRATEFUL when our friends do not wear perfume or scented lotion)

-hold baby in “C position” (bend knees upward toward chest and curl back forward slightly)

-soothe baby by moving him up and down (vertical rock) in head-to-toe movement (keep baby swaddled and in C position); some babies like to be in a swing but bouncers are often too stimulating

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Resources:

Toolkit for Children Prenatally Exposed; distributed by Macomb Intermediate School District. I found the chart most helpful.

Pediatric Interim Care Center (PICC), (their handbook was helpful or try these therapeutic handling tips!)

The Happiest Baby on the Block

The Nature of Nurture : Biology, Environment, and the Drug-Exposed Child

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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3-year-old Portraits

We try to get family portraits taken each fall, after Moriah’s birthday. I always hope we get at least one shot that is Christmas-card worthy! Haha!

I kept her hair loose and it was a bit unpredictable during the session. But most of the shots worked out (I did edit out some wild strands in the one of me and her). Her “free” hair matched her free spirit this day! (She usually cries during studio sessions.) The photographer did a great job with a squirmy, excited toddler and two adults wearing glasses (glare).

We are thankful for our 3 year old!

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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conversations with our toddler

So, back in the day, I studied linguistics. I thought that some day I might go into translation work. (This, of course, was after I changed my major five times . . ..) By my senior year of college, I had completed a lot of research (and written a lot of papers) on language acquisition in children as well as gender-specific instruction. Sure, I had been around a lot of kiddos, but this was mostly the stuff of theories and text books.

Now, as a mommy nearly ten years later, language acquisition is important to me but I don’t think about the technicalities from day-to-day. I know that, ultimately, interaction is fundamental to language learning. Interestingly, by the age of three, 86 to 98 percent of words in a child’s vocabulary are words that his or her parents say (S.B. Neuman). Children depend heavily upon modeled communication to be able to acquire their native language: a child’s level of linguistic knowledge and the rate of language learning rely greatly on his or her support system (J. Bruner; B. Otto).

This is not news to you, I’m sure.

Still, those little minds can amaze us — they remember so much and make connections quickly! Lately, I’ve been laughing at the things Moriah says, like when she told me, “My belly button growling.” Ok, sis. Let’s go get a snack.

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On the drive home from church this weekend:

Me: Did you have a good time in the nursery tonight with Michelle and Mrs. Pam?
Moriah: Ham?
Me: Michelle and Mrs. PAM.
Moriah: I did not eat ham.
Me: Sis, listen: HHHam is what you eat. I’m saying PPPam.
Moriah: Pam.
Me: Yes.
Moriah: Oh, yes.

That ended our conversation for a few minutes until she broke the silence.

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Moriah: MY SHART!! I lost my shart!
Me: [silent... trying to figure out what that is]
Moriah: Mom, where’s my shart?!
Me: Your shirt?
Moriah: My shart.
Me: [silent]
Moriah: My shart on my head. My shart.
Me: Your scarf? I have it in my purse. You took it off and gave it to Michelle.
Moriah: [silent and satisfied]

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I love conversing with a toddler. She is learning so much each day.

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Here are a few photos from putt-putt in August that I shared on Instagram but haven’t shared here yet:

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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Birthday Princess

Happy Birthday to Moriah Joy — our three-year-old princess!

I snapped a couple pictures of her and Daddy playing with her new LeapPad tonight. We plan to limit her “screen time” and let her play the learning games only while she gets her hair done. Today, of course, was an exception…

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We had a great weekend celebrating her life — we are thankful that she is our daughter! She had two requests for her family party: brownies and some cheese! Haha! She helped Mommy make lunch and prepare the cake and brownies for the get-together. She’s so special!

We cannot remember her birth date with remembering her first mother and praying for her today. She will always have a special place in our hearts.

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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1st Day of Fall

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This little lady is enjoying the (slightly) cooler weather so she can play outside longer! I didn’t intend to photograph her pants so I let her wear sweats… oh well. ;)

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I made a digital scrapbook page for her album:

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Credits:
Repartee Full Kit and Repartee Wood Flairs and All Laid Out – Vol 7 template from Dawn by Design
Fonts are Pea Elaine, Pea Eleanor, WaterBrushROB, Traveling Typewriter

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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wedding hair

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Since Plan A didn’t work out for Moriah’s flower girl hair, we went with an afro. I used a curl defining product on most of her hair (applied in layers, a.k.a. “shingled”), and I added 3 flat twists on the side so I could clip two satin/tulle bows to the front. It worked — and she looked nice all day.

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These photos were snapped before the wedding as the girls got ready. Moriah loved playing with the other flower girl.

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Of course, Aunt MaryAnn looked GORGEOUS! We are glad she’s now a part of our family!

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The reception was casual and country. It was perfect for the new couple.

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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unworthy

Last night I thought about how hard it is to show gentleness, kindness, and patience with those people “unworthy” of love. You know, the people who make life really difficult.

It’s tough to swallow that we actually think certain human beings are unworthy of love. Humans: those Christ died for! Me! You! We were still in our sin when Christ gave His perfect life as a ransom payment for people who did not want Him.

And, if I’m honest, I still struggle with that me-centered thinking. I often want to cry out, “Give me only easy things, God. Ok? Oh, and I still want to make a difference please. Thanks!” My own selfish intents are evident. I fight my flesh to yield to His ways, not mine.

As a foster parent, I am always thinking about the children and families we know and those we don’t know – yet. I often wonder who will be in our home next month or next year. How long will we be foster parents? Will we adopt again? I remembered 104,000 children in foster care are waiting to be adopted. Many of those “hard to place” children are teens or have disabilities. Children with cognitive delays. Children with physical needs that require lifelong treatments and care. Children who will wait for a permanent family due to neglect or abusive early in life.

I believe all life matters. I wonder if one of those waiting children is the “right” fit for our home.

Then I got an email this morning about a special needs toddler who needs a forever family. “Give me only easy things, God. Ok? Oh, and I still want to make a difference please. Thanks!”

Can we do this? Should we do this?

I ask questions. I wait. I pray. I am reminded that I was once unworthy but the Rescuer changed me. He made me ready to serve. And so I continue to wait and pray but I am now saying, “Use me, Lord.”

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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