Coach Chapman's Blog

Now that summer has sort of calmed down a bit, we have seen a side of Fahlin that we haven’t seen hardy at all; the pleasant, cute, smiling, curious, sweet, helpful, happy, and even the “I’m hungry can I have a snack?” Fahlin. Where did this come from? Was it our fantastic parenting skills that finally paid off? I doubt it was that. What I think is that the stress of school, homework, busyness, and constantly being on the go is not there in her life anymore, at least for the summer, and she has responded, albeit unbeknownst to her, with this personality transformation.

When she smiles, her eyes disappear and her face shines. There are two thing that make her laugh or giggle or smile more than anything else. First, being around her family at the dinner table when we are all together, and second, talking about girl stuff, and by girl stuff, I mean…well, you know the gross “girl stuff.” Without going into the gory details, she finds the female physiology fascinating. I, on the other hand have noticed that during a certain time frame of each month, Dad is neither seen nor heard, no matter what else is going on in our house. He does not exist. I am but a mere gargoyle sitting on the mantle of life, high above the world, watching, hoping to one day be heard in my own kingdom. But alas…

And Fahlin finds all of this hilarious. If I could share the conversations I have overheard, you too would laugh hysterically, but, my wife is thanking me in her mind right now as she reads this that I have chosen to bite my tongue, or rather not type the words. Suffice it to say, eventually one of us has to intervened with the famous parents’ words, “Stop, enough please. Girls this is not an appropriate subject. If you have questions or need to know more stuff about…you know what…ask your Mother.”

That usually stops it, along with the Wii or a movie, you know the ole, ‘distract and re-direct’ method of parenting. Then it’s back to funny Fahlin, smiley Fahlin, and even the Fahlin who wants to know, “When is my heart surgery going to be?” Way to keep things in perspective Fahl! By the way, we don’t know yet…

Read More about June 10, 2018

The past eight or nine days since my last blog have been a bit overwhelming. Not because of Nashy visiting, or because of Fahlin’s ups and downs, but because of all the peripherals. Summer swim team started, but a week early, in the afternoons no less, and not because I scheduled it because I wouldn’t have, but that doesn’t matter, it happened. That left no time to do anything else. On top of that, signups were a nightmare, again, not by my doing. And on top of that, there were the graduation parties and actual graduations of both my niece and her school, and those of my school. Again no time left for anything. And on top of that, my youngest biological had been driving our extra car, a car I loved, a car I was proud to have gotten a super great deal on, and what happened? Late Friday night, she rear ended someone on the interstate and totaled it. I am thankful she was not harmed, which allowed me the weekend to angry with her. That caused even more consternation and inconvenience at the highest levels. And that frustration has now dragged on for a few days longer than I would have hoped. But she is alive and safe. Thank God.

Deep breath here. Sorry to unload. I guess I am not alone. What family does not have ‘things?’ What family does not have ‘life issues?’ What family does not appear normal on the outside, but on the inside there is always a bit of uncertainty? What? You don’t? I know you do. We all do. But just about the time I feel overwhelmingly sorry for myself, in walks Fahlin. Walking, talking, laughing, crying miracle. In walks Jayne. Walking, talking, laughing, swimming, crying miracle. In walks Lydia. A little miracle in her own right. And then there is Izzy. Directionally challenged Izzy, but the tiny miracle who is now officially a senior that started this crazy journey of adoption some 16 years ago.

Reality check. Jim, you are blessed, not overwhelmed. You are provided for, not destitute. You have a wonderful, beautiful wife, not some old…okay; I’ll stop there. Your older kids are God’s servants in their everyday lives; their jobs, in their communities. 3rd John verse 4: I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. Deep breath. Smile.

Read More about May 30, 2018

Well, he’s back. The holy terror known as Nash. Nash Potato. Nashanator. Nashy. Nash-ville. Those are some of the nicknames he goes by to us adults. To Fahlin he’s known as “Nash!!!!!!!!!!!!!” “Stop it Nash!” “Ugh, Nash!” “Make him stop, Dad!” And “[Bloodcurdling scream, which I don’t know how to spell!]” Yes, he’s back. And he brings a whole lot of energy with him. Whew.

Now, the first three days have been rather uneventful. In fact, I would say they border on super pleasant, great even. Fahlin and Nash have actually been the best of friends. Best buds, even. They’ve played, read books, played some more, laughed, giggled and been quite hospitable toward each other. I even wondered aloud to my wife, “How long will this last, do you think?”

“We’ll see. It’s twelve days.”

But this evening, I started to see the cookie crumble a bit. We were playing Crazy 8’s when Nash decided it was time to climb on the chair and jump over our card game. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and well, you get the picture. Every time he jumped, she would roll her eyes, let out the obligatory “Ugh,” and mumble under her breath something about “He’s going to mess up all the cards…”

So, the great explosion seems to be coming. Don’t know when, but it’s coming. With Yolanda working this weekend and myself and Izzy and Abby in charge, what could go wrong? Thankfully, Sandy, Nash’s Grandma on his Daddy’s side, is in town and has agreed to take Nash Saturday. That should help.

Nine days and counting.

Read More about May 18, 2018

Fahlin had yet another procedure today. A CTA. Computed Tomography Angiography. I love big words I don’t understand. A coronary computed tomography angiogram (CTA) uses advanced CT technology, along with intravenous (IV) contrast material (dye), to obtain high-resolution, 3D pictures of the moving heart and great vessels. [Courtesy of the Cleveland Clinic] Then, those images are 3D PRINTED, yes; they make a 3D model of Fahlin’s actual heart. From what we understand, this process is fairly new. And now it’s available to help our daughter.

It’s almost an all day process. When she first arrived at Vanderbilt, they checked her in complete with name badges. After being called back, they hooked her up to a monitor and begin monitoring things like blood pressure, O2 levels, heart rate, etc. Then, in went the IV, never Fahlin’s favorite part, but necessary nonetheless. Then she was wheeled over to adult part of the hospital. Before she was put in the tube, they asked her what colors she would like to see while lying in the tube. “Red, pink and purple,” she said. Those were basically the only words she spoke while at the hospital, other than getting to choose which color of Gatorade to drink afterwards.

In fact, one nurse asked Yolanda if Fahlin was ‘non-verbal.’ “No, she’s very verbal,” responded my wife, “just not here.” She does not talk at the hospital…ever. Apparently today, however, she did smile a lot. The entire actual time spent in the tube was only about ten minutes. The only part of the day Fahlin did not like was when they squirted the dye into her IV. She said it “tasted funny.”

Little girl has been through a lot. I love her braveness. She is pretty chill on the outside, but I’m sure on the inside, as evidenced by her not speaking, there is definitely some turmoil. That behind us, the next time she goes to the hospital, it will get very real. Very, very real. A very serious open-heart surgery awaits. With the new information this 3D model gives the doctors, a plan will be formulated, dates will be set and we will sit down and hear it all. And then I will leave the room overwhelmed by the magnitude of the conversation and the seriousness of Fahlin’s situation. We have had several friends who have had children go through similar surgeries, some with wonderful results and others whose children didn’t make it.

For now, I need not worry about what I cannot control. I am not driving this train, God is and his ace number one passenger is Fahlin. She is in the only set of hands that I would ever want her in, and the only set of hands that matter, God’s.


Read More about May 3, 2018