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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Define 'Normal'.: A Family's Story.
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Sunday, February 05, 2012

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A couple is raising five children, all with special needs. This is their story.

Image (c) 2011, by Karla Dorman.

Name is Andy Jenner.  I live in Ponca City, Oklahoma, with my wife, Hulda, and our five children, all adopted .. and all with special needs.  

My wife is a stay-at-home mom/homeschool teacher.  Meanwhile, I work for the University of Oklahoma (BOOMER, SOONERS!!).  I work for the football coach there; I am one of his assistants and enjoy my job very, very much.

Our children range in age from 15 down to two.  Their names are Jericho Michael (15), Jordan Eric (13), Jennifer (Jenni) Laine (11), Johnathon Daniel (J.D.) (8), and Joslyn Michaela (2).  Three boys and two girls.

As I said, our children all have special needs.  Jericho was born with something called Cornelia de Lange syndrome, which means he has both physical and mental disabilities.  He can walk just fine, but he has missing fingers and toes, peculiar facial differences, and is very small for his age and height: he doesn't look any older than eight or nine at the most.  In addition, he is tube-fed and has asthma really bad. (He is often on oxygen.)

Jordan and Jenni both have Down syndrome: they are mentally disabled and wll probably never live independently on their own.  Jenni has had several heart surgeries and faces another one next month, as her heart is acting up again.  Twice during the past year she has had to go to our local ER because of her heart.  It has been a very scary time for all of us, but we are praying and believing for a miracle for our daughter.

Jordan, thankfully, has far milder heart concerns than his sister: nothing more than an annoying heart murmur that he gets cheked every three months by his pediatrician.

Johnnie has numerous allergies and asthma and like Jericho, he too is a regular visitor to the ER.  Other than that he is fine, but his asthma/allergies keep us both on our toes (especially Hulda, as she is the one who is home with him more).

Meanwhile, Joslyn, our youngest, was diagnosed as having cerebral palsy shortly after we had gotten her.  There is talk as to whether she will ever be able to walk: she has very poor muscle tone and still can't really sit up on her own.  She can hear and see perfectly; it's just her physical developments that are so messed up (her muscles).  Even if she ends up having to use a wheelchair, we will still love her; after all, she is our baby girl, our cute little "bugaboo"!

Hulda was a nurse until she messed up her back; she now stays home and receives a small disability check.  We struggle mightily with bills (especially medical), but God somehow always provides for our little family; if it were not for our faith in a great big loving God, I don't know what we would do!  (We are Pentecostals; we go to a Bible-believing, spirit-filled church where all faiths are welcome to come and worship with us.)

So that is our family.  All seven of us.  :)

All of our children came from foster homes.  They didn't have anybody to love them, so we took it upon ourselves to raise them, to take them in.  While it has been a bumpy ride a lot of the time, we wouldn't have it any other way.  Hulda and I love our children way too much to turn back now and we are not going to shirk on our responsibilties as parents!

Well, Jericho's heart monitor is squealing, so I'd best see what is going on here.  Hopefully it is nothing more than a loose connection or him playing the "let's-unhook-myself-from-the-heart-monitor-and-scare-the-parental-units-to-death" game!!   Jericho is famous for that and that is one of the main reasons why I, at 35, have gun metal-grey hair!!

I will write in here another day!  Until later, this is Andy Jenner saying I'm outta here! (I'm coming, Jericho, I'm coming!!)

~Andy.  :)   


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Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 2/7/2012
Great story Karen love the way you draw us into your characters lives
In Christs Love
Michelle~
Reviewed by J Howard 2/5/2012
There are not enough loving foster homes or adoptive homes for children...let alone special needs children. God blesses all his babies and this family is HIS blessing to these five.
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 2/5/2012
Excellent, Karen.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Paul Berube 2/5/2012
Nicely done, Karen.


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