So, some of our followers have asked, “who is Lizzie?”
So I thought I would tell you a little about Lizzie. Lizzie, or Lisette Nicole, is my sister. She is 16, soon to be seventeen, on October 30th. She moved in with our family in August.
Are you wondering why?
Well, Lisette was born with an in utero brain injury. Lisette’s birth mom was a very scared immigrant woman living in New York. Due to lack of prenatal care and nutrition Lizzie was born with serious brain damage. This brain damage caused her to have severe cerebral palsy and epilepsy along with other issues. My parents adopted Lizzie as an infant. They had adopted other severally handicapped children, and they quickly recognized that Lizzie may not have the physical mobility nor the verbal capabilities of other children her age,yet she was very cognitively aware. So they began to advocate for her. Lizzie does not talk, but she can communicate with yes and no questions. Lizzie does not eat orally, but rather is tube feed. Lizzie does not walk, but get’s to where she wants to go with the help of others. Lizzie has a great smile, and loves to laugh.
Lizzie needs assistance with all basic needs of life, so it was our joy to take her into our home this year. Mom and dad have done great work with her, and love her a great deal, but it was becoming more difficult for them to care for her daily. One reason is because Lizzie is in constant pain. Not only did her brain not develop correctly in utero, but her bones also did not form correctly, and she is without a lot of cartilage. So he bones rub on each other, and cause extreme pain.
This pain is tolerated pretty well by Lizzie during the day, as long as we constantly adjust her body throughout the day. But at night, when her body needs to rest, it can not. The pain is extreme and she can not move her own body to a comfortable position. So, often someone needs to get up with her a few times a night to shift her body for her.
Caring for someone through the night can be very exhausting. So, it is a blessing that at our house, we have seven people who are capable of caring for Lizzie. We each take one night a week. So no one ever feels exhausted day after day.
Since coming to live with us, Lizzie went through the honey moon stage, and then we went through some rough weeks. But now, I truly see Lizzie blending in with us.
It is a very different thing taking in a sibling. It is not like adopting someone else’s child. I can honestly say, I wasn’t sure how to do this. I have such a love and respect for my parents. They truly are the best parents I know. So, I didn’t want to offend them or upset them with the way I choose to parent Lizzie, if it is different than the way they did things. But, it has been amazing. They have been so encouraging and supportive of the changes I have tried making.
Now, I am trying to remind myself that I am not just Lizzie’s sister anymore. I have to remind myself when she needs a parent, that I am that person. Disciplining your sister is a little weird, and Lizzie has tested me on this. Of course, she is a kid/teen after all. But I see in her a desire growing to be a blessing to others.
Recently, we have decided that Lizzie needs a job. In our family everyone has a job. When we have a job, we feel important, we feel needed, we feel like we belong. So, we are still trying to think of the best job for her. One of the kids suggested she tell me when it is time to shift activities during the day. I tend to get long winded during lessons, and they thought Lizzie could make a noise and let me know time is up. I am not sure about that. Maybe you have some ideas of a good job for Lizzie to do. I do ask her to watch on the little ones when I take a shower or go outside (of course, she is not all alone with the little ones, just to make that clear). She really loves that job. But I would like to give her a daily task.
We look forward to many years with Lizzie as a member of our family. Anna, Mary, and Benny love aunt Lizzie and love playing house with her all day.
So now you know who Lizzie is.