About Me

I have adopted 4 children from a specific orphanage in Eastern Europe and I want to see more children redeemed from that orphanage and brought into families. I want to make sure that the children who are still left behind in that place are never forgotten.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Julianne Fed Herself with a Spoon

I know that maybe not all moms are terribly excited when their 4 year old feeds themself. All moms are not me though and definitely all little girls are not my Julianne. Julianne has Down Syndrome and didn't come to us until she was 2 1/2 years old. At that time she was fed by gtube with rarely a bite of some baby food beans thrown in. Since then she has learned to LOVE food. She eats just about everything and will make sure that you know exactly what she wants even though she doesn't talk much yet.

Julianne has been feeding herself Cheetos, cereal pieces, M&Ms, and lots of other "finger foods". She has occassionally grabbed the spoon if we aren't feeding her fast enough. She has not however fed herself with the spoon, that is until today!

The kids spent almost the whole day outside today. Julianne has been very active since her stomach got sewed up and was right in there with the rest of them. I had to go to the grocery store for a few things, so I picked them up some of the small lunchable type things. I also saw some new individual packages of yummy looking stuff in the yogurt section of the store. I decided that my kids would like to try them and brought them home to go with lunch.

Evidently those were some really yummy things! All the kids were crazy about them. Dayton however was "too full" (or too anxious to get back to his wiffle ball game) and left his sitting on the deck box. Julianne took me over there and I offered her a drink thinking that it was was she wanted. Well it WASN'T. lol

She decided to take things into her own hands! She grabbed his spoon and his "yummy". She ate and ate and ate. It was slow going, but she was persisitent. She ended up eating most of it before she got sand in it. (yuck) So I went in and got another. She LOVED it. She ate the entire thing and was so proud of herself.

Now I guess this is how you know you are the mommy of special needs kids. I had that camera within moments of her first grasping of that spoon! I didn't care at all that she had it in her hair, and all over her entire body for that matter. I stopped the wiffle ball game to show Brent and the boys the pictures. I forbid any kid to go near her. (She might have had them feed her. lol) I even tried to call some people closest to us to tell them (but of course no one was near the phone, but that didn't matter either bc I was in heaven). I smiled until my face hurt at her cuteness.

I am so blessed!

Friday, August 6, 2010


I have to say that my very favorite thing to do on the planet is to listen to my kids playing. We were putting together the big climber tonight and moving around the yard toys to get ready for construction to begin. Brent was also helping and Denzell too for much of the outside time.

As a result of all of the "older people" working, the younger crew had to entertain themselves. No ball games were going on out there tonight. No "home run wiffle ball derbies".

Tonight what you heard was the chatter of 9 children, ages 4 to 11. There were children in the little playhouses. Zeeky pretending on the phone. Julianne squealing at the dogs (they were in the kennel to keep them from taking our parts or escaping) from outside of the gate. Julianne insisting that the sprinkler be turned on. Destiny saying "Mom, look at this!" despite my telling her that I was trying to put together a new toy. Dayton, Jose, and Forrest playing Star Wars and Zeeky laughing out loud when Forrest when pretend to fall to the ground.

Those were the main sounds that I heard tonight. There were other things of course, but those were the loudest. Squeals of joy and lots of laughter were in abundance. They already have plans for that climber tomorrow too! I am looking forward to listening!

Homeschool Day #1

Well we started back to homeschool today, but just part time. We did only about 2 1/2 hours today. We will probably to do the same until Destiny starts back to school which I think is about August 18th. She is participating with us right now, which is awesome because it will get her back in the groove before school starts back for her.

We started out today with journal writing. I read a Veggie Tale devotional out loud and then asked them to write about that topic. The topic for today was about Jesus giving us life and salvation. I knew that was going to be an interesting topic to read what they wrote about and it really was. Crystal and Andrew have not yet accepted Jesus as their Savior. It was interesting to read their thoughts on salvation and see how close they really are to probably making a decision. Forrest, Jose, and Dayton have accepted Jesus as Savior and it was so great to read in their journals about what that means to them and how important it is to them to grow up and serve Him. Destiny wrote too. She wrote very much like a 1st grader and it was so sweet to read. It was also very great to read how much she understands salvation already and how much she does love Jesus. I am excited to see what He has in store for her!

Precious and Unique are 17 & 18, but very much under the level of even Destiny in so many areas. They weren't able to come up with much to write or write much that I could understand. I helped Precious by writing some stuff that she could copy correctly. Unique was able to write some things down that I was able to make out and help her to write to where others would be able to understand some of what she meant. What is great though is that they both do love Jesus and know what He did for them. How awesome is it that God made it simple enough for each one of us to know Him?!

The kids then worked on some math in each of their books. Destiny worked on some "same/different" type activities which are harder for her normally than writing, but she did great today. I was very impressed that the kids all did so well on day 1! Of course Dayton is a "go getter" so he even did his reading workbook today after he finished math and while the others were still working on it.

The kids have been very excited to use some of the new art books that I got. I was very impressed with how they each worked on them. I love these new books because it has them working on "creating" their own designs for things. The girls are designing clothes, shoes, and bags as well as other activities. The boys are designing robots, bugs, and spaceships as well as other things. They were so excited about these books that they didn't even want to work on the more "messy projects" that I have for upcoming art projects.

Zeeky, Jacob, and Julianne all joined us today. They worked on coloring, puzzles, and books that have pieces in them. They were cooperative for the most part. Julianne threw a few things. Zeeky realized that I was giving out M&Ms and waited hoping for more until he realized that he had to work more to get more. Jacob had a small meltdown that required a visit to his bed, but was able to rejoin us shortly thereafter. All of these are improvements over last year because they were able to be maintained and participate for much longer.

Denzell decided that he'd help with some cleaning today. He is doing an online school for high school this year. I got his classes scheduled/assigned today with the liason by phone and we'll get his school year started on August 25th. He did wash down some walls for me though :) I am hoping to repaint some of the existing part of the house soon and have it looking new too as construction will be done in October!

All in all I was very impressed with our first school day. Everyone seems to be looking forward to another partial day tomorrow. I think we will try out a few other subjects and see how they go. These partial days are a big help to us all. It lets me know if I need to make adjustments before we get into full swing. It also lets them get use to the setup and expectations slowly since summer has been lots of fun and it is so hard to get back into full swing too quickly. I can't wait to see what this year will hold!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Most People Wouldn't Adopt Themselves

I know that sounds funny, but it is true. I hear people in "adoption groups" all the time and meet other adoptive parents who are so "sure" of what "type of child" they want to adopt that they can't get matched. I've had people complain to us that we "always" get matched easily. I have to explain that we stick in homestudies on alot of kids and then wait for God to match us with whichever child/children He has planned for us.

See no one seems to be wanting to adopt children who have "special needs". They don't want kids with "quirks" so to speak. I know that I personally would not meet their "criteria" for their idea of the "pefect child". They have strange criteria. They often expect more of their potential adoptive child than a parent who is giving birth has control of most certainly. I just don't think it is fair to expect more of a child that you are adopting than you would of a child who you would give birth to anyway. I mean, any of us could give birth to a child who develops autism, has a heart defect, is hearing impaired, blind, or a variety of other "special needs". Why then are people so "picky" in adoption?

I've had people say to me that if it was "your own child then you would just learn to deal with it and figure it out because you love them". Well crapola! Every child that you adopt is "your own child"! Why shouldn't we as a world just love them and learn to deal with their special needs because they are children of God that if He should choose to bless us with the opportunity to parent then they are immediately "ours"?

I guess the whole topic kind of ticks me off. I just don't understand why skin color (eye color or any other color for that matter), autism, cleft palate, Down Syndrome, or differences in ability determine a child's worth in our society. I know I am a different kind of person who isn't "normal" in my way of thinking, but the love of children and the acknowledgement of the gift of God that they are just doesn't seem like such a hard thing for me to expect of others.

I just think that if the adoptive parents who are out there waiting for the "perfect child" to come along were to think about it, then they would realize that they wouldn't even adopt themselves. So sad really when so many children are waiting. Children are all gifts from God!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Teenager Wisdom

Denzell has been talking to me a lot lately about what he thinks. I LOVE THAT!

You always wonder as a parent which things make a positive difference or if you are just spitting in the wind so to speak. I've been quite encouraged that he is far enough removed from past difficulties to bring up those type of subjects with me. I love that he feels he can talk to me and is mature enough to think about the things that he is telling me. Also I guess if I was to be truly honest, it is nice to get a pat on the back from your kids when it comes to how you are doing with raising them.

He let me know recently that some major decisions that we made for him are things that he believes really helped him. We made him room with Andrew where there was a door alarm several years ago after some dishonesty and food issues both came up. The door alarm would stop the sneaking food to a degree and would also make it to where any further dishonesty would be less likely. We gave him the choice of telling us the truth about where some of his money went or move to that room and he packed his stuff and went. The food issue was a bigger problem as well because of his high blood pressure and the specific foods that he was hiding. He let me know that rooming with Andrew stopped him in his tracks and also really made him think about the choices that he was making as well as their effects on his life.

I am big into "writing" for discipline. I have been known to make children write reports every time that they have a behavior while upping the number of pages each time. I require that they write about what they did, why they did it, how they could have dealt with the situation better, and often what the Bible says about their behavior as well. Denzell said that those reports really did help him to see the choices he was making and change them.

Denzell was the first child that I pulled out of school this time. He was hanging out with a group of kids that didn't have the same values and allowing them to download songs onto his mp3 player that made my ears turn inside out. Shortly after that he thanked me because he said it had kept him out of a lot of trouble. He has since told me reasons why he thinks it is best for everyone when I was pondering pulling the rest out. He says that he has learned lots more at home and is glad to not be exposed to some of the things that children in public school are exposed to as well.

I must say that he has really turned into a great young man that I am so proud to have call me "mom". He is mature, helpful, insightful, and someone who wants to do the right thing. I am so glad that he can see that the limitations, structure, and report writing weren't just me trying to be "mean". I am even more glad that he used those things to help him get through a rough spell and turn things to "great". Having your child tell you what he learned from the discipline and behavioral management you used is such a blessing and seeing the results is a blessing that I can't even describe. I am so blessed to be the mom to the crew.

I'm Not Running a Factory

I often hear the question "Do you have people come in to help you?". I thought I'd answer that one really quickly. See sometimes I find it funny, sometimes I think people are really wondering, and other times it just annoys me. Mostly what determines the way I take it is the tone and intention of the person asking the question, but I will admit that sometimes my mood could play a part as well. I usually just answer the question by saying "no", but the title of the post is what I'd like to say.

I do not have anyone come in to help. Maybe someday I would need it for some reason, but currently I certainly do not. I would do it if I felt like in some way my kids would benefit from it most certainly, but I do not see that to be the case right now. Here is why.

I'm not running a factory. We don't MAKE kids here we just raise them. There is a mom and a dad here and we are perfectly capable of taking care of the children. We are a FAMILY not a factory, facility, or daycare center. As a family, we all do our part. My children sort their laundry, help put away their laundry, onload the dishwasher, throw away their own trash, pick up their own toys, get their rooms ready for me to sweep, dust, and even wipe down bathrooms with Clorox wipes in between major cleanings. I will give you that there are a lot more people in our home than in most homes. The thing is that the sheer number of us alone means that there are more people to do small chores around here. No one person has to do as much because there are a lot of us. The smaller kids can make some messes, but we can all jump in and clean up a monster sized toy mess in just minutes. (Practice makes perfect)

Another thing is that while on paper or with their "labels" it looks like a lot of craziness, here at home things are just calm for the most part. Autism, Down Syndrome, RAD, and other labels can lead to some extra stuff, but for the most part my children are the best behaved kids that I know.

It all boils down to that here at home, we are just a FAMILY living a NORMAL FAMILY LIFE on a LARGE SCALE!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I am Scared

Ok, I will admit that "scared" wasn't my first thought. I was sharing what happened in the matching meeting today with a good friend. She knows me way too well and emailed back that she knew I was "scared" among other things. My first thought was "nope I am MAD". lol The truth is that she was right and I am SCARED. Here is what happened and why.

The matching meeting today was one that my worker described and the hardest she has been a part of yet. That in itself is amazing, because we turned out to be the ONLY family being considered. They asked some good questions and some just ridiculous ones. They asked about what "denomination" we were because our former church was nondenominational and was still listed on our homestudy. That was ridiculous as was the fact that they googled the church! A lot of the questions that they asked were ridiculous considering that we were matched with a child from this specific region and office before. I understand the questions about our ability to care for his special needs or the number of children that we have. I understand that people who don't live here can't possibly understand how calm and under control life really is.

It turns out that we can't be "matched" with him yet. That to me is just ridiculous since it was a "matching meeting". They have to send out letters and put stuff in the paper first. That annoys me!

First of all let me say that I am all about reunification and keeping children with their birth families when a good situation can be found. I just know that this child has been waiting in foster care for years already and that parental rights were terminated. It would have definitely been the case that bio family members would have been given opportunity to take him into "kinship care" while parents were working a plan or first chance as an adoptive resource when parental rights were being terminated.

If there are birth family out there somewhere who cared deeply about him then it seems they would have jumped at the chance to keep him out of foster care. It also seems that they would have jumped through every hoop imaginable to make sure that he was with them. On the other hand, if bio family would only want him because there is a family who wants to adopt him then that is more "possessive" than "loving" in my opinion. Maybe if I better understood the situation then I could find a way to deal with it, but I don't understand at all. We've done a lot of adoptions and never had this kind of situation.

So you can see where frustration, anger, confusion, and other stuff all comes in, right?

Then there is the scared part. See I am actually scared for several reasons. I am scared of not being able to be his mommy. I really have my heart set on him and know him a little so this is different for me. I'm actually more scared though that our wanting to adopt him will drudge up some bio family member who does want to "possess" him. I don't want him to be with anyone who doesn't absolutely adore him for just who he is. I don't want my desire to be his mommy and give him a forever family be the thing that ends up putting him into a not so good situation. I am terrified of what all of it means.

Now this wise friend also told me that she doesn't believe anyone will step forward and want to take him. I would actually be fine with sending letters and pictures to anyone if they wanted. She also reminded me what I know which is that God is very much in control. For that I am very thankful.

Now if we were to parallel this to a "nonadoptive folks" situation then it would be like if you took a pregnancy test but no one would give you the results maybe. lol Except once again this child is already on earth and days he could be with us are being lost. I already love him and can see his face in my mind every time I blink. This could be a long 30 days and I don't know what God has in store for sure.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Matching Meeting

We are up for a matching meeting tomorrow. I can't go into details because well - I just can't. lol What I can say is that I really want this to work out and to know tomorrow that I am a mommy to this little one.

Some probably wonder what a "matching meeting" even is. Well that is the day that they determine to decide which family is a "match" for a certain child. They may have many families or even just one. You only get chosen if you are considered to be the "right family" for that "specific child". I guess in some form that "nonadoptive" folks can relate to, it would be similar to taking a pregnancy test when you've been waiting and trying for months (or years for some) and finding out if you are "paper pregnant" in our world. Except for "adoptive folks" that child already exists and is somewhere waiting. You are waiting in hopes of being "chosen" and in hopes of that child having a forever family as well. If you aren't "matched" then another family could be "matched" or the child could just continue to wait for who knows how long or maybe forever. See the significance and the pressure?

For those who wonder what the next step is after getting matched, it is kind of hard to say. See every adoption that we've ever done is different in so many ways that I don't even know what to expect. What I do know is that I go from my current state of "God, which child do you want me to be a mommy to and where are they" to the next state of "God, please please please please please let this process speed up. Thank you so much for letting them be mine, but please please please let me have them in my arms and home SOON.". I'm hoping to be in that state by tomorrow evening. :)

If it doesn't work out then I pray for the child and whatever family they are meant to be with. I then get even more determined to put out more homestudies and find whoever God does have for me. Now if you are wondering if I am crazy, then the answer is "OF COURSE" and if you know me personally then you already know that.

Tomorrow's matching meeting is a little more personal and my heart would hurt more if the answer is "not you". I kind of have my heart set on this little one and I am a little afraid of that because I hate it when my hopes are this high. So if you all want to say a little prayer that God's will shall be done tomorrow then that would be great. If you want to also pray that we really do get answers tomorrow instead of some "we'll let you know sometime" then that would be great as well.

I'll let you all know what happens and more details if I'm able to tomorrow evening.

Our Crew went to the Zoo

Brent and I took the kids to the zoo yesterday. I have to say that all twelve of them behaved wonderfully, which is what determines how good of a time I have. I mean really think about it, if you took a tiny one with Down Syndrome, 4 kids who have autism, 2 kids with RAD, 1 child with MRDD, 1 child with RAD and Autism, and 3 typical children all to the zoo wouldn't your "rating" of the trip depend on how they acted??? lol

We saw some really neat stuff there though. I think that the cutest was definitely the tiny baby gorilla behind the glass with its caretaker. She brought it right up to the glass so people could see too! We also saw the polar bears for the first time since they joined the zoo. We saw some strange little animals being walked on a leash. A chocolate lab named "Charlie" came to see the kids while I was resting with the four youngest ones. All the other animals were great too, but those were definitely the highlights!

Today everyone has just lounged around. Dayton actually told me a little while ago that besides going to church "sleeping" was the thing he wants to do most. Church can't happen tonight, so he is gladly headed to bed. They slept till after 10am, watched tv, played quietly, and all look sleepy. Julianne took a nap and didn't want to get back up for dinner. I got her up and cuddled her, but she was going to use me to cuddle her back to sleep. I put her on the couch with Dayton and Jose thinking that she would stay awake better that way. I went back to find her curled sweetly on Dayton's lap and sound asleep. I love this crew!