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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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'...There Was An Old Woman. ...': Special Needs Parenting 101.
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Monday, October 17, 2011

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A woman copes with raising over 20 children, most with special needs. This is her story.

If Felton or I knew what was involved when we first started adopting 15 years ago, we would have probably stopped while we were ahead.

Yet when I saw their sweet faces, Jim or I could NOT say "No", so now we have 24 children, most with special needs.  And now we can't imagine the family without any of them!

Our children come from a variety of places:  Guatemala.  Nicaragua.  Ecuador.  Mexico.  India. Vietnam.  South Korea.  Laos.  Ethiopia.  Russia.  Hungary.  The United States and Canada.  They range in age from 25 down to 3.  They are beautiful!

They also drive me crazy at times, since I am the one who usually takes care of them while Jim is on the road (Jim is a long-distance truck driver; he drives all over the country for Wal+Mart, so he's gone for weeks at a time).  I'm just glad I have help in the guise of my mother and the older, more able-bodied kids; I don't know what I would do if I had to do everything all by myself!

Our kids are named Catie Jo (25; Down syndrome), Adam (23; Down syndrome), Radames (22; autistic tendencies and behavioral issues), Kirk (20; fragile X syndrome; mentally disabled), Holli (18; asthma and severe allergies), GiGi (16; juvenile rheumatoid arthritis), Tonya Michelle (15; vision impairments; legally blind), Tori Grace (14; cerebral palsy, can walk with crutches and braces on her legs), Ryder (13; rare form of dwarfism and heart problems), Jake (12; spina bifida; can walk with braces and crutches), Janicka (11; had a stroke at age four; partially paralyzed and aphasic), Ezrah Noelle (9; severe allergies), Maddox Ross (8; deaf and nonverbal but can communicate with sign language), Jaydin Danielle (7; very hard of hearing), Abraham Dean (6; leukodystrophy; cannot walk or talk; needs total care), Filis Elena (5; asthma and allergies), Joanna Rose (5; heart issues), Miracle Faith (5; mild cerebral palsy and vision problems), Hudson Daniel (5; Down syndrome), Tiger Miguelo (4; autistic behaviors), Yancey Grayson (4; Tourette's), Joslyn Mariah (4; cerebral palsy), Hayden Charles (4; spina bifida); and finally, last (but never least) Liberty Freedom (3; spinal muscular atrophy; needs total care).

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and I end up feeling like "The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe".  There is never a dull moment around this place!  I just thank God for Mother Domino and for caring members of my church family, as well as the older, more capable kids!  If I didn't have them, I would have probably ended up in the mental hospital long ago!

Well, I hate to run, but it's time to get the little ones ready for bed and get their meds/overnight feedings in order.  That takes well over an hour to get everything ready and then hooking them up for the night.  +Sigh+  And then I get to do it all over again in the morning, excepting this time they get UNhooked.  That is the price I pay for adopting these kids and even though I might grumble at times, I look at their dear little faces and I go weak in the knees!  It never fails!

I hope you liked reading about my family.  Just pray for strength, wisdom, and courage for me whenever things go wrong or if I'm by myself; I could really use any (and all) prayers I can possibly get! Thanks in advance!  Until later, this is Rhonda saying so long and God bless!

~Rhonda McDonnell-Domino, Aberdeen, South Dakota. 

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Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 1/13/2014
As always Karen, you tell a wonderful tell, but a lot of kids names to remember of course I think Louisiana and Kendra have more
In Christ's Love
Reviewed by Heather Payer-Smith 11/18/2011
I love the comparison of "the old woman who lived in a shoe". It gave me an immediate image. What a wonderful family.
Reviewed by Paul Berube 10/18/2011
Well told, Karen.
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 10/17/2011
I couldn't remember all of those kid's names! LOL Lot of love in this family ... well done, Karen.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.

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