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120412_8004 blog

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My beautiful Adalia. Sixteen years old. She just sent in her official packet to become a certified PALS Doula. She is about to finish her first quarter of community college. She got a 98% on her last English paper. You could say I’m a wee bit proud of her.

I finally gave in and gave Apollo melatonin last night at 10:45 (it would have been his sixth night without). He slept with no nightmares. He is, however, choking on food again. I can’t even tell you how nervous and worried this makes me. After his first heart surgery in March, we had a short honeymoon where he seemed to be eating better. Six weeks later he was admitted to the hospital for more testing. He is scheduled to see his GI doctor next week, so I’ll be asking about a swallow study then. Meanwhile, I’m keeping a journal of his choking (how frequently and on what) so we have a good record of it.

{And a little blog business. I very rarely delete comments. Only if they are extremely crude or insulting and hurtful to others (I’ve occasionally had blog readers fighting with each other). Over the last few months I’ve been getting more and more negative comments. Not really a big deal, I’m the one putting our life out there. The big deal is when they come from the same  person, using different names. I’m not sure why people do this. I figure it’s like a train wreck- they hate my family, but can’t *not* read about our life. Probably figuring it wouldn’t look good if they *always* posted negative comments under their real name, they choose to use several. This is the second time I have noticed this and banned someone from commenting. I don’t need my blog to be a Renee’s-Family-Is-So-Wonderful fest…but really, if you hate us, how about you just don’t read? No need to always be happy and positive in the comments, but how about being honest?}


  1. Katie

    I appreciate your honesty in your writing! How are your oldest children doing? I pray that Apollo gets settled at home and the chocking stops. God Bless!

  2. ann

    I don’t understand the need for people to use sockpuppets to comment on blogs. I think you’ve got more than your hands full with Apollo and his medical needs, your growing children and the children that are getting ready to leave the nest. I applaud you for sharing the bad and the good. Life’s too short not to tell the truth.

    Hoping things will settle down and his swallowing gets better and he sleeps through the night.

    PS I’m nearly 60 and I have to have a night light on.

  3. Joolzmac

    I’m sorry you’ve had trouble with a few commenters, they must lead miserable lives if all they have to entertain themselves is to pick on a busy mama and the way she handles her busy life with a big family and a sick child. Good grief, you and Chuck need a meddle! Carry on, love!

    Cheers- Joolz

  4. Jo

    Adalia is such a lovely and accomplished young woman. I feel like I know you, I have been reading your blog almost from the beginning. I remember Tucker and Avi being babies. All of your children are so much bigger, and so confident. they really know who they are, you and Chuck have given that to them. I am so sorry you are having trouble with someone commenting, that seems very unkind. If someone doesnt agree they could be quiet or not read. So unnecessary, doesnt seem like this person would think that he/she is offering constructive criticism. Wow… You were very professional in requesting that they stop being nasty, I commend you for that. I am praying for Apollo’s nightmares. My very anxious 10 yr old has been focusing on him, and oddly has not taken her herbal anxiety remedy for 3 nights. I am more than happy for her to take it, its completely natural and it helps but sometimes she is up several times a night for more due to a nightmare, or she woke up randomly and had a frightening imaginary thought. I have often felt that she has PTSD or RAD due to her daddy’s deployments. I know this is not the same was what Apollo lives with but their symptoms are similar. While she is of course verbal, she is not when she is having an anxiety attack. She goes into a sort of weird, convulsive shock. We have talked about Apollo a lot and she feels that his problems are “more concrete and deserving of distress” than her issue. I certainly dont say her issues are not credible, we are very kind about it. But I can say that changing her focus to another very real child, not just an imaginary scenario, has helped with her bedtime routine. I know that is not helpful to Apollo, just telling you that she has him in her thoughts and prayers, and is falling asleep focusing on his needs in hopes that those prayers will assist him.

  5. Kathy

    Adielia is beautiful and you should be very very proud. You have raised an amazing young lady!

    As for people posting rude comments, it makes no sense. You are such a kind family, a brilliantly honest writer, which helps so many people in many many ways and you are beyond fabulous with all you go through yet you shine with grace and wisdom.

    Thank you so much for sharing so much of your family with us!

  6. Sam

    You have good reason to be proud of Adalia- she’s only sixteen and look at all she’s accomplished 🙂 What a great role model for the other kids! And it baffles me why someone would leave rude comments here, ah well :/

  7. Tori Raiguel

    Hi Renee, We didn’t have the nightmare issue with melatonin but we did struggle with some other side effects and I found that giving it every other night often worked well. Just a thought.

  8. Carolynn

    OH NO!! I read this and just remembered I was supposed to write a referral for her. I AM SO SORRY!! I really wish you had reminded me. Really, It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, I just didn’t have it written down.
    Good Job Adalia!

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Carolynn, nor problem. David wrote one for her. He called and talked to a mom who’s birth she had been a doula at then wrote the letter.

  9. Heather

    Wow, I wish I had so much free time I could justify reading the blogs of people I dislike AND have even more time to concoct a fake persona to comment with. Of course, I’d use my free time differently, but it sure would be nice to have that much. People are so strange.

  10. cecily spencer

    Hey I’m confused, what is there to hate about your family? also I was interested in the comments by Jo whose daughter has anxiety issues. There is a new book out about an adult child of a vietnam vet who suffers from ptsd secondary to her fathers. We are military too and are all too familiar with the effects of deployment. I think they are going to find (if they admit it) that there are huge effects on the whole family. How could there not be? I was wondering what anti anxiety supplement she uses. You might want to try empower plus supplements they are on the web at . They are very helpful . Renae have you considered that some of the anxiety and sleep issues with Apollo could be because of his rather unique food issues? You know how nutrition plays into so many things. I know just what you wanted to hear something else to do with food. Praying for you?

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Large family- we can’t POSSIBLY give our children enough time and attention. Christian- enough said. Adoption- I’ve talked about it being hard (never mind my adopted kids have extreme special needs) that means I’m a bad mom and love my birth children more. We homeschool. Need I go on?

  11. SAE

    I appreciate you putting your family out for us to read, as you inspire me. As well, Though I’ve never met you I pray for you and Apollo. SO sad that some people seek out places to be mean.

  12. Sarah

    My kids have sleep issues. None related to surgery, so I don’t have any advice on that side, but with sleep itself I do. A couple of suggestions: if he sweats badly at night try 5htp (a vitamin). It is a sleep aid. Just one pill is enough about a half hour before bedtime. If he’s waking up about 2 hours before he should this will do the trick. There is always L-tryptophan (vitamin), but it is more extreme, and I found it didn’t work as well as melatonin

    My son has vivid dreams from Melatonin, so every night before bed I tell him a dream. This helps not to have nightmares. Often times the dreams I come up with are from whatever book I’m reading…. Like last night:

    “You can’t fall asleep tonight. It’s the middle of the night so you look out the window and see a giant going from window to window blowing something in. He comes to your window and snatches you!! But wait! Did I mention this is a friendly giant? You and him are going to be great friends and do many fun adventures together. Tell me about what it was like to meet him, and what adventures you had in the morning…”
    (I am reading the BFG by Roald Dahl)

    Other nights if I can’t think of anything I’ll say something short, such as, “You are stranded on an island with your best friend. One day you two find a ship in the middle of the island!! Tell me about your adventures exploring the ship when you wake up. Why is it there? How long has it been there? Who put it there? What is on the ship??”

    Of course he’s 7 so the story line is different than a 2 year old, but maybe it would help to preset his mind on something else???

  13. Chenning

    Adalia is growing up to be such a beautiful young lady!
    How cool that she is training to be a doula. Glad you guys are home from Texas. We will continue to pray for Apollo and the family. Love, Chenning

  14. Laura

    You know when you briefly wrote what people write unkind comments about, in your comment above, it reminded me of my thoughts on how I share about being a missionary. So many people write only the best, most wonderful stories (of which there are many) and never anything negative or challenging. Then a person becomes a missionary, faces challenges and thinks, “what’s wrong with me, it’s so easy for everyone else, I must not be called to this” and sometimes give up. That’s how I feel about honestly in adoption. It is just as hard as parenting biological children (and sometimes harder) so sharing about the challenges helps others to feel they aren’t alone and that it can in fact be very hard. Which has nothing to do with how much it’s worth it! I hope I explained that well – I feel passionately about honesty being one of the best ways to come alongside one another in this journey of life!
    I for one so enjoy your blog, it’s one of the top two I read, I am inspired and informed by it. I work at a children’s center in Mozambique and my boys love our Wedgits I learned about from you, just one small thing!

  15. Sue

    I mentioned about the 34 minute movie “Genius.” Really… you, Chuck, and your older children should take the time to watch it. The movie talks about John Lennon and his faith/lack of faith and challenges us to look at our faith/lack of faith. Here is the link:

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