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, March 31, 2012

Great Kids

I just have great kids.  Is that bragging?  Well, yes maybe it is.  It is also just the truth though!  My kids have been making things to sell in the Hidden Treasures Auction that starts Sunday to benefit our family.  :)

2 baseball blankets

2 Sports blankets

I think they did a pretty awesome job!!  They were all tickled to get to help in some way.  These things may not be professional, but they sure are from the heart.  I watched Andrew (who has RAD!) work so hard to do his coloring the very best he possibly good.  They are all quite proud of themselves.  :) 
Dayton even let me take his picture to post online (not his style to be posted) so that he could hold up the child size afghan that I finally got done for the auction.  Sacrafice that siblings make for the siblings that they can't wait to hug!!

Here is a link to the auction.  There are lots of great items, including an ipad, gift certificates, hand made items, and lots more!!  I think there are suppose to be about 80 items!!  It starts on Sunday!! 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Large Family Play and Things that were Never Suppose to Happen

Yes, one of my great joys is to listen to my kids play.  I love to listen to them all running about and making up this huge scenes from their imaginations.  The laughing and the giggling mesmorize me!  I catch myself just sitting so still and listening.  I don't want them to know that I am listening to every little word.  Yet as their mother it thrills my soul. 

Today's "players" in the big production running through my house were Julianne, Cody, Zeeky, Destiny, Jacob, Dayton, Andrew, and Crystal.  There was so much going on that my mind couldn't keep up!  Eight children, all playing happily without even ONE argument!  You must know that it thrills a mother's heart to have so many playing at the same time and not one argument. 

Zeeky, Destiny, and Jacob all have Autism diagnoses, along with other "labels".  They are all children who we were told when they came would never pretend play.  That makes me laugh!  All three were supposed to have "mental retardation".  That just plain out makes me mad!  Destiny is one of the brightest people in the world!  Zeeky and Jacob learn differently, but they surely do learn!  I love it when my kids break all the "rules" that were set for them and exceed all expectations!

Andrew and Crystal both have Reactive Attachment Disorder.  They sometimes have some very rough spells.  They've both been home for years.  They've both had good spells and then gone backward.  Its the nature of RAD.  Yet for several weeks Andrew has done the best that he ever has!!!  Crystal just finished a very rough spell and is back to the sweet daughter that I get to enjoy.  Both gave genuine hugs today.  Both laughed and played and ran about as if there wasn't even RAD there.  They'll be more rough times for sure, but today they were pretend playing and goofing off with their siblings.  :)

Then there is Julianne.  She of course didn't say a whole lot during the course of playing.  She ran right with the bunch of them though!  They included her and Dayton protectively made sure that she didn't get run over.  They gave her a part and made believe she filled the role even when maybe she was just a little too ornery to do it. 

Let's not forget Dayton in it all of course.  He is so serious in so many ways, but he was so thrilled that he could keep the younger 4 playing along.  He went ahead and acted silly and pulled the little ones into the game.  He came every few minutes to report some great accomplishment of the younger kids.  He was so thrilled that they were playing along and that Jacob and Zeeky were following directions.  He doted on Julianne and Cody and made them feel important and he had a lot of fun in the process.  If Dayton didn't love his siblings so incredibly much, then he wouldn't have played because he is so "grown up".  Yet Dayton had a blast too!  He had a blast because of being with the brothers and sisters that he loves so much!

Then there is Cody!  Cody is the most recent addition and the youngest (by a little less than 4 months!).  Cody has CP.  I can remember talking to him on Skype before he moved in.  He was asking if someone would help him run the bases when he got home, because he "couldn't run".  lol  He sure can run now!!!  He was all over the place and didn't fall one time - well except for when he was spinning in circles!!  He kept right up with all the other kids and never missed a beat!

Now, do you see why my life is so wonderful!!  I got to listen to all of that while reorganizing my school closet!  All of those things that never were suppose to happen!  Not one fight or argument!  Just lots of giggling and running about, interrupted occassionally by a very proud older brother reporting to me the things that were thrilling him too.  He had no idea that I was fillled with the same thrill while I listened to him playing with them. 

Wow, how I can't wait to hear my next 5 blessings running about and doing things that they aren't expected to do!!  God is amazing!!!!  Being the mom of a large crew in which so many are considered "special needs" means that every single day I get to watch God's miracles unfold right here in my home!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Special Needs - My View

I had someone make a comment to me in real life about favoriticism and my talking about Julianne's "extra".  I thought I'd hit that here along with explain why I talk about her more than the other kids on the blog a much of the time. 

First of all, many of our children have special needs.  We have 5 on the autism spectrum, 5 with attachment issues, many with issues from their time with birthparents and in foster care, some with special learning situations, and then there are FAS, CP, drugs in utero, selective mutism, brain differences, cognitive delays, developmental delays, etc.  Special needs are just not a big issue here.  I don't know of any adults that don't have differences and I hope that all my kids are different from one another.  We talk about special needs here as a matter of fact, not an excuse or as a bad thing. 

My children who have Autism, know they have autism.  I was teasing Destiny one day and said "You have issues!" when she was giggling and running about being silly.  She stopped and said "Nope, I have Autism!" with a smile and a wink.  We don't view Autism or any other things considered "special needs" to be a negative.  My kids with Autism know that they have some challenges they have to work to get past, but also that they have EXCELLENT memories!  We teach them to use their excellent memories to help them in areas that may be harder for them. 

We always teach our kids that God uses all of these things that people make into labels as ways to make each of them special.  Julianne having something "extra" is just a part of that.  That is the way He made her special (and the 5 more on the way!)!  We talk about it in the same way that we do any other "labels".  We also talk about those "special needs" in the same ways that we do hair color, skin color, eye color, or any other thing that makes us each different and into the unique people God made us.

Where Down Syndrome is different, is that our world devalues people based on that "extra" chromosome!  90% of the babies who should be born with Down Syndrome are aborted in the US.  In Eastern Europe the children are abandoned at the hospital, put into orphanages, and transferred to institutions at the young age of 4! 

See why parents of children with Down Syndrome shout a little louder????  No one is creating tests to try and eliminate all people with CP, all people with Autism, or all people with selective mutism.  No just Down Syndrome!  The world is misinformed.  They don't understand the wonderful, glorious, and amazing people that they are trying to sentence to death.  We have to shout, scream, and yell about their worth because the world needs to know! 

I don't love Julianne MORE than my other children.  I just know what a gift it is that she made it into the world.  She wasn't born of my body.  She could have been aborted, but she was the 1 in 10 that wasn't!  She could have never been here to grace our home with such love and joy.  She could have been killed like the other 9 out of 10. 

Parents who have seen that joy and that gracious gift want to share it.  We are the ones jumping up and down.  We are the ones going to adopt more children with Down Syndrome.  Do you think we adopt them because our children are the "burden" that society tries to convince the world that children with Down Syndrome are?????  NO, WE ARE ADOPTING MORE BECAUSE THEY ARE THE GIFT THAT GOD MADE AND PUT HERE FOR US TO APPRECIATE!!!! 

So when you see me jumping up and down, yelling at the top of my lungs, and posting pictures of my beautiful girl know that is is because she is the opposite of what the world tries to make everyone believe.  Every child in this house would tell you that Julianne is who makes them all better.  I've had kids with behavioral issues who might not have even cared about themselves, but would have done anything for her.  It is a gift that God gave her.  She can make everyone love her with a love that would make them do anything in the world for her.  She makes the other children want to be good, just so they are free to do her bidding instead of grounded.  lol 

Down Syndrome is a gift.  God gave Julianne, Keith, Aleshia, Anita, Nicholas, and Ahnja all a little something "extra" in every cell of their bodies.  For that our entire family is thankful and we will continue to shout as long as there are people who need to hear it! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One of the Things that Makes Me Happy

I guess this will tell alot about me in a strange kind of way.  One of the things that makes me VERY happy is organizing.  Yes, today I splurged and bought some organizers for less than $6 a piece at Walmart.  They are the things that hold shoes on the back of closet doors.  I have added them to every space that you can possibly imagine.  I'm in the process of moving some rooms around to make the kids better situated for our new arrivals. I am pulling down all the shoes and deciding who needs what.  There are very few sizes of even shoes that won't be down and I need to be VERY organized for things to go as smoothly as possible with our new arrivals on the way. 

I have almost the entire house completely organized!!!!  The only thing left is to paint one of our unused bedrooms that I am moving some of the boys into.  Then I can move those boys, rotate a couple other kids into that room, and put together the last crib.  :)  I can find every pair of shoes in the house and all the clothes that should fit Ahnja, Anita, and Aleshia are in the appropriate closets.  Even my room (always the LAST on the list) is even clean and organized.  Keith's tiny clothes are hung in the closet and the bibs are being added to the drawers.  Nicholas and Cody wear the same size shoes and clothes (which works perfectly since we have other boys who have two and have double clothes in that size!) and those have been divided between the two boys closets. 

My kids all jumped in and helped move things around and organize.  I heard Denzell saying in the laundry room that he was really glad he had learned how to organize from his mom.  He must have learned well too, because he did a great job reorganizing in there!  Forrest and Jose along with some of the other kids took everything off of the shelves that were in the spare room and then put them back on in their new location.

Dayton used the shoe organizer to get all of his small items up, so that the little ones coming will have less to get into and did all on his own.  Keith is going to be his little buddy and share his room.  We moved Cody into a different room that he will share with two of the other boys and Nicholas since they are the same size in what was our old master bedroom before we added on.  I think they will be great friends and I need to keep Keith in a room where there is no chance of him getting hurt while he gets stronger.  Cody is a rough and tumble little guy and I know he wouldn't hurt him on purpose, but Keith is likely going to have very fragile bones for a while due to the severe malnutrition he has suffered.  Dayton's room is situated right off the school room, which will also allow him to have a quiet place when needed while still being where I can see him during the school day while he adjusts to life outside of isolation. 

Yes, that is what makes the Mama of 18 children happy.  :)  I don't know if its the fact that it is organized, the fact it feels like I accomplished something of use to the kids coming, or the fact that so many of my kids jumped in and showed some WONDERFUL organizing skills that made me the happiest about it, but I sure do love that "organized" feeling and the feeling of knowing that my kids have the life skills that will make their lives easier as adults.  :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Rough Part of Large Family Life

I always try to be completely honest about our family life.  In doing so I will now share the rough part.  Here it comes . . . . Are you ready????? . . . . . . The dreaded part of our life . . . . . . 


Laundry must be in the process at all times.  It takes about 5 loads every day to keep it done and during times of sickness, heavy outside play, or extra stuff going on will require more.  Nothing is as bad as the SEASONAL CHANGE OVER though. 

Because of our family size, closet management, and keeping children from pulling out winter clothes to wear in the middle of summer - we put all off season clothing in the attic.  They are loaded into the big plastic tubs and put up until the next season.  When that season arrives, then we must pull them all down, wash them on a light cycle, and sort them to whoever will be wearing them that season.  We have piles of the outgoing season ready to go into those tubs and put them right back up as we pull them done. 

We have been working on this for the last 2 weeks now!  I've done about 50 plus tubs up to this point and I have another 8 to 10 tubs that will come down probably tomorrow.  :( 

Every seasonal change over, I begin to wonder about joining a nudist colony.  Anything seems better than this!  Then I look in the mirror and quickly realize that I wouldn't even be able to survive the first day.  Then I go back to doing the laundry!

This seasonal change I am very thankful for one thing.  I don't have any sizes that need to go back to the attic this year!!  I have children in absolutely every size known to mankind.  I am keeping down clothes for our 5 Bulgarian Blessings that are on the way, since they should arrive home before the next seasonal change!  Every outfit that I've loved over the years will be worn again this season!  If you by chance haven't met our newest blessings, then be sure and hop over to our ADOPTION BLOG and click on the names Keith, Aleshia, Anita, Nicholas, and Ahnja.  There are videos and pictures of Brent's visits with them on there!  There are also several opportunities for you to help us out and have opportunities at some great gifts through 2 giveaways that are going on right now.  There is an upcoming online auction to benefit our family starting soon.  We would be glad to send you a "Thank You" picture as well.  All of those things are list in THIS post.

Right now, I'm going to do more laundry!  I will thank God for it this year, because He gave me all these wonderful blessings to do the laundry for and they are all jumping in and helping which makes it much easier!