"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


The church who does the special needs support group in our town, has VBS this week. It started on Sunday night and runs through Thursday (tomorrow) night. When they let us know that they were planning to provide trained teen volunteers to help the children from the special needs support group navigate their way through the sessions each evening, we decided that this could be a great opportunity for Katya to have some new and fun experiences in a safe and supportive environment.

Chad and Kristina were welcome to go as well, so we decided to send all three of them. The format of the evenings was similar to our own church's VBS which Katya had participated in, so we hoped Katya would find it similar enough that she would not feel stressed and scared.

The first night when it was soon time to start getting ready to go, we said, "Katya, do you want to go see Laura and the kids from the friendship party, and go to VBS?!" Katya's whole face immediately LIT UP and she began to jump up and down and flap her hands with excitement while she laughed in delight! Clearly, she recognized exactly what we were talking about and was all eagerness! ;-) She cooperated beautifully with getting ready, and went happily off, without the anxious rocking and keening that she often does when we go some where in the car and she doesn't understand for sure where we are going. She did great that first evening, and for each evening since. It's actually going to be sad to have tomorrow night end it because Katya is so clearly enjoying going! Chad and Kristina are enjoying going, are learning their Bible verses and generally having a good time too.

One of the teachers commented to me that she sees how protective Kristina and Chad are of Katya, and that they frequently will come and check on Katya to make sure she is ok. "That's a good thing," she said. My Mommy heart swelled a bit with pride because my other kids are just generally so awesome with Katya and truly do love her and are careful to be alert and watchful of her.

When Kristina and Katya go out together, Kristina loves to either match or coordinate with Katya. We can't always pull it off, but we do try. Katya has her red polka dot outfit that was her "coming home" outfit. It was so huge and baggy on her then that it still fits her now. Kristina wished she had a few more coordinating or matching outfits with Katya, so when we spotted a dress at a yard sale with a similar color and polka dot pattern for $1.00, it came home with us!

Charity cut off the bodice above the waist seam, leaving about an inch of bodice to turn over and sew down to create a casing for elastic. She hand stitched it since the fabric was a thin, soft and very super stretchy fabric. It was a quick and easy project to turn the dress into a skirt for Kristina! And Charity cut some of the top up yet to make a flower for Kristina's hair. Kristina happily wore her "new" skirt to VBS with Katya in her polka dot outfit as well tonight. ;-)

When Kristina came home carrying a white life preserver with red stripes that they had made as a craft in class tonight, I just thought we HAD to get a photo of the girls together with it. ;-)

Unfortunately, our camera is old and worn and very balky, and much of the time now will not focus completely so the next two photos are very fuzzy.

Still, even so, they show the smiles on the girl's faces . . . so I'm going to include them . . .  Love both of my dear girls!!

So thankful that they and Chad have been able to go to VBS and have good, wholesome fun times with other kids. Kristina said she has been able to see a lot of kids she knew already somewhat through her music lessons, and one of the girls from Katya's kindergarten class was there too. Katya clearly remembered her and is happy to see her each evening. M. has been happy to see Katya too! So . . . good times all the way around thanks to VBS!

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