Friday, June 3, 2016

Graduates




They did it. High Honors, both Chloe and Chance, graduated from High School.  WOW.

We couldn't be prouder :)

Chloe has signed on with Americorp. She leaves in October for 9 months.  Chance has some job prospects.

These 2 are amazing.... they are fantastic kiddos.  We are so very blessed to be their parents.

Congratulations to them both!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Awards

It's not been a month since I posted.....can you believe how "on the ball" I am?  NOT.  

I'm trying though, so that counts for something, right?

We had a busy weekend on Mother's Day.

 I'm still behind on and wishing for pictures of each kid and the lilac bush blooms are gone:(

But I did snap a few pictures while out for lunch for Mom's Day on Saturday since I had to work after church Sunday.

I'm so thankful I get to go to church. And we even managed to do a late supper after I was done working, thanks to Chase who footed the bill for Mom's Day supper :)  I was very spoiled.

My gifts (besides my wonderful children) were new pots and pans which I badly needed and a gift card for my favorite store for clothes.

 Taken for Saturday lunch then shopping at my favorite store where I got a new outfit (I am wearing it in the picture with Chance) that I really like and a new workout top. 

As for the "Awards" title. Wasn't me.... even though I have a tremendous amount of kids-- ha ha!! 

Chance did it. Yep, gotta give a BIG shout out to our son. He had the awards ceremony for the Vocational Technical program he has done (electrical) for the last 3 years of high school.

He got the Hite Company award (tools) and attendance award ($$$--his favorite thing).

It was funny that I knew he hadn't missed any school but when they said about "this student liking consistency," I had no doubt he was getting the award....one thing he thrives on has been consistency. For sure!

He's a very hard worker. He's reliable and willing to work. Has an amazing work ethic.

We are quite proud of him. 

He even rescued me from a little garter snake last week.... I was mowing and didn't that little gross thing come slithering our from the apple tree? Yikes. I do not like snakes at all.

We have quite a few blacks snakes which I leave alone because they are harmless and "good" but any "patterned" snake I am worried could be a copperhead. 

Not Chance....nope. Out he comes to save me and grabs it by the head, assuring me it is not harmful (I'm freaking out by this time, telling him he better be right and not get bitten) because he's got his hand right in there grabbing the squirming thing. 

He declared it stinky, and off he went to relocate the little harmless creature out of my mowing path. Phewww.

What would I do without my Chancey? 

 He also informed me that I "could get dad to show me how to run the lawn tractor."  Seems he was concerned I have been push mowing the whole yard and I don't let him help.

He offers, I say "Nope."  He does do the trimming. But I explained to him I wasn't going to get a work out by riding a tractor to mow.  He wasn't impressed... pretty much looked at me like I was nuts.  Shook his head and said "Okay....."

Chloe and Chance have only a few weeks now till they graduate. Goodness.  Where in the world did my new teens go?  Right in to young adulthood, huh?

Chance has been looking for work. Has not been successful yet.  The issue of coming here as a teen, being placed in a lower grade (although we have NO REGRETS because it helped them tremendously) and now being almost 20, just graduating, no job experience does not go in their favor.

There's no place on job applications to explain arriving here just 6 years ago but I am praying for him to find a job because anyone who does hire him will be thrilled with how hard he works.  He is EXTREMELY motivated by $$. 

Just one of the "things" we have seen with adopting older kiddos, it takes a little more effort for them to obtain jobs and longer for them to mature.  Doesn't make them any less a blessing to us. 

They "fit" perfectly right where they are, graduating and heading out in to the world.  So we continue to stand by our decision to "help" them by giving them more school time and allowing them to mature with kids just a few years younger than them.

The benefits have far outweighed the negatives of this. 

So there's a Mother's Day update and post, hope you all had a lovely Mom's Day!!
 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

April sunshine

It's been a fantastic thing to see sunshine, warm days, being able to walk, bike, hike and play outside. We love to PLAY!!

We've grilled supper many evenings and are just thrilled to report spring is finally here. We even got down mulch and mowed twice already.

It's such a blessing to be able to go out and enjoy warmer weather and be able to take in the sunshine. So uplifting.

Not too soon for flowers, I started them yesterday with all the front porch pots done, the front flower beds, the back porch pots, also done.

  I have the driveway stone bed and side and back flower beds around the house to do..... loving the colors, the planting, the warm soil... the budding plants with so much promise to come of color filled days of summer.

The kids are all busy with finishing school tests, projects, some field trips coming up.

We've seen one child with RAD make some small steps of improvement, another has regressed.

 At least they take turns at that it seems.... Not a blast to cope with that but it's our life so we do it. Because it's part of the commitment to our kids.

Always hoping, praying and looking for any ways we can help them better/differently to see progress, all while remembering to enjoying the other children and their accomplishments as well.

Got graduation announcements for those 2 twins:)   We did a combined picture/announcement  since it was such a great shot of them (done by sister Malaree) and they would be sending announcements to the same people... of course.

Tomorrow is infusion day for Paisley. The doctor had to up the dose, it's not holding her the 6 weeks it's supposed to:(   It is helping, that's good news but some side effects she's had aren't so great.

 Last one was hives, she hadn't wanted to take the allergy med prior to infusion and ended up with hives and had to take it.

It's set up to go " on board" before the infusion this time so prayers she doesn't have any reaction would be great.

She really needs this medicine to work and keep her mobile. She's been exercising every day (YEAH HER!) and doing what she should do for her part in keeping herself as healthy as possible.

I took her and got her hair cut this week, no new pics of it yet because she's still working with it to get it how she likes it.

She was having trouble managing it being longer so she went shoulder length:)  Good solution for her.

I took Phoebe along and got her new glasses ordered, no pictures of those either because they aren't in yet. She picked black with purple frames that "felt good" on her face.

Her doctor appointment was interesting. She was ordered new glasses because her nearsightedness has worsened.

Has nothing to do with her albinism, glasses don't really help the deficit with that issue other than to have transition lens for blocking the blinding sun for her.

But he also offered a suggestion of correcting her crossing eyes which is very hard to actually notice and would be only to make her eyes "look" more normal. It would not help her eyesight at all.

We are not interested in subjecting her to any surgery for that reason but she asked a few   good questions and didn't freak out which was surprising since she's been worried for some time about needing any surgery on her eyes because the kids at her orphanage told her we were adopting her to "cut her eyes out." ( just to be mean to her because she was getting adopted)

I took these pictures of everyone pre- school one day last week and --- they all look tired! 

Chloe was already gone, can't catch her hardly ever. I told them all my lilac bush is blooming which means it's yearly "sit in chair in front of bush" picture time. 

They all seemed to disappear quickly after I said that????

Don't know what they have against my camera.  Such teens/tweens we live with here......


So that's news for our month of April,  I will have to try harder to post before it's the end of MAY and I am thinking "How did that happen??"

My bad. (As Chance likes to say:)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

As March ends

It's been a busy month and flown by like nobody's business.

Easter was a beautiful service at church.  Our Savior died for our sins and then rose again. WOW.  So amazingly powerful to know Him! We are so THANKFUL!

Next we were off to Grandma's for Easter lunch and then the yearly egg hunt to follow.

We had a great time with all the kids, well, the ones who made it there.... many had to work or were "otherwise engaged" so they weren't able to all be there this year.

Phoebe's birthday happened on the 20th.  She was very excited to pick chocolate chip cookies for in her homemade ice cream cake.

Kat braided her hair for her and she waited all day for her party to happen.  She's very happy she's now 12! Our youngest girlie.  12. That's hard to believe but so very true.

We had a great conversation about "birth mom" and abandonment a few days after her birthday. She's growing up and has a good understanding of how special her life is:)  And  more importantly she knows how much God loves her.

Phoebe got gifts for her birthday, of course,  but also some cash and so after the church egg hunt on Saturday dad stopped off and let her shop. For shoes.  Yep, SHOES. 

 Can't say I don't understand that because I was heartbroken that losing weight meant my feet would even shrink and new shoes had to be part of the new wardrobe. I LIKED my old shoes.

But she picked out some snazzy sneakers, blue, NOT pink, of course. She doesn't like anything pink.  Kat's favorite color- PINK.  Of course on that too:)

Gotta give you an idea of who else likes some "bling" around here.  This girl who calls her car the "grandma car" then goes and buys EYELASHES for the car? And pink fuzzy wheel covering? 

 She's too funny.  She tried to tell me the eyelashes would "look good" on my car, uh, NO. Not going to be seeing those silly things on my car any time soon (or ever) but one thing it does do--- I certainly know it's her coming when you see those crazy eyelash things on her car.

All the better to get out of her way- HA ha.  She's actually a very good driver, quite cautious out there.

Everyone here continues to do well.  We are enjoying their progress in to spring and nearing the end of the school year. Can't say our 2 seniors are carefree-- no, they take adult life quite serious and are both stressing about future choices for their lives. Both have been reassured (of course) that we want them to get jobs/ go on in school but they are also able to live here and we still will provide a home for them. 

It's funny how we take for granted  that as teens we expect to continue to help but we have to reassure them because they think they  will graduate and should immediately be independent.

We remind them Chase wasn't able to do that for many months and not all the older kids were set on more schooling, some were but we are here to help them all navigate those things. Typically they think they know it all:)  Didn't we all think that our senior year? I know I did!!!

I'll leave you with pics of Easter, none of Chance with his basket, he was doing a job for someone so not home on Easter Sunday till later and didn't have to "hunt" his basket down.

Happy Easter to ALL!!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Guest Post By. Kat.(=^.^=)

Oh, how do you all like that title?

 Isn't Miss Kat creative?  And yes, she has done a guest post.

 I thought it would be fun since she likes to write and it's gives me a break but also gives you all a glimpse in to our world again :) A win/win, right? 

So here it is------- BY KAT

   We're off from school for a 3 day weekend after a whole bunch of big tests. Another load of tests is taking up a whole week of school (or two) coming up in April.

 I should start a countdown for summer to come, a school free season. It already feels like summer for a few days with spring coming just around the corner. We saw some geese fly north, and leaves are starting to grow on trees. 

Even though a lot of people have told me that this school year is  flying by, to me it feels like decades due to about eight hours of long classes, and of course, a lunch break. All of that takes up 5/7 of each week, and about 3/4 of each year.

 We are getting outside more with the warm weather. I like to play with my soccer ball. Camden likes to throw his football around. Mom and Dad like to go walk and ride bikes, and play with the basketball & hoop.

But there are also some things we like to do inside the house too! Playing the keyboard, table tennis, and air hockey. But of course I wait until all my homework is done to go and play.  

  I feel my hair is getting long since the last time I got a hair cut. My hair was just straight, but then I got layers while my hair was cut. So the Pros of that are that, my hair isn't always bugging me, it is easier to comb and wash, and it feels more full... (even though it is less) and the Cons of it are that, when I try to braid my hair at first, the layers popped out everywhere. But eventually hopefully, they will grow out.

     Our cat, Toffee is getting pretty spoiled. When it is cold outside we usually let her in the house. Even though she has a comfy bed with memory foam, food available at all times, and a bowl of water in the garage. 

Even if the bowl of water runs out ( we make sure to refill it) she still has a water hose to turn the knob simply, and she will get water. (Mom here-- no our cat is not talented enough to turn on a water faucet, thank goodness)

But when she is in the house we usually feed her canned food that is moist, and she likes that the best. But whenever she is in the garage, I've noticed her food bowl has been at the same amount from time to time.

So at one time I gave her the canned food, she eats it. She was waiting for the good stuff all along.  (Smart cat and Kat:)

So other stuff (me here again) going on--

Good report at doctor for Paisley. New infusion medication and her daily (yep, something finally "clicked for her") exercising is improving her mobility.  She is walking much better and in much less pain. Behavior has improved a little too, which we are sure that hurting constantly affects that.

Things are still going along smoothly.... glad to be able to say that.  Not going to say they are "perfect"--but then this is real life and it's rarely perfect, now is it.  It's good and we are thankful for "GOOD". 

We still have (and probably will for a long time) issues with one child who will go great time lengths refusing to speak to me.....and here's my take on that--- Oh, well. BTDT.  

Yep.  I don't stress it. This child goes without stuff too, because there would be times they should speak up to ask for things but they won't (totally common RAD behavior) so they miss out. They know this too. If it bothers them it's not enough for them to talk?

I, on the other hand, continue to care for them with no regards to them speaking to me or not. It's THEIR ISSUES, THEIR LOSS.  I can not take that burden on because it's theirs and they choose to not want to work on/ admit they have any issues.

 As one friend said to me -- "My skin must be so thick!" Yes, it is. (The tattoo still hurt though- ha ha!!)   And I trust in God that He is guiding us with the strength to parent these tough ones.

And we move right along each day loving and caring for all of them. Because that's what family life is about.

I hit some personal goals this past week too-- 1000 miles since I started logging workouts.  300 workouts too.  100+ pounds lost.  AND (much to my mother's dismay, I am sure) rewarded myself with a tattoo session.

I finally added to my leg tattoo for all the kids, 2 more flowers and Chinese names of Paisley and Phoebe.  And all the older kids names too, it honors them all. 

 I had put it off (It HURTS) but really wanted to get it done and said I would at 100 lbs loss with healthy lifestyle living. And here I am. 

I also got a few others-- "Faith" on my wrist written like a cross.  I was very happy how they turned out. 

I'll leave some stuff to blog about again soon, some progress the twin seniors here are making in looking forward to graduation in June and becoming adults/ their future plans.  Plus we have Phoebe's birthday coming up and Easter, my favorite holiday of all.

We didn't get to have much of a celebration for Chloe's Gotcha Day, she worked till late and we gave her a gift.  We did go to the kids favorite Chinese buffet restaurant for Chinese New Year which we were able to get them all together to go for that--- they still love their food so that's not usually hard to convince them about that:)))

Chase had to work but he wants to take me and dad out to eat soon, so he says.  Chance has planned a "wing night" at a favorite place of his that he found with some school friends and is taking us to that soon. Funny they are now old enough they are taking US out to dinner, huh?

They are wonderful and helpful kiddos, all of them, just like the good sport Kat was when I suggested she help get a post up.  Hope you enjoyed her "take" on things:)

Monday, February 29, 2016

Rejection

I've started a post twice now only to not finish.  Sigh....

I just couldn't write about fluff. COULD NOT.

This post will most likely end up "deep" because it's been mulling around in my brain for more than a week and it usually gets deep when that happens.


Firstly I have to say this... we are doing really well right now. We are.  It's feeling good and we are enjoying the blessing of the smoother days we have been experiencing.

It's a welcome relief.  And we are so thankful to God for giving us these blessings. We need them :)

You see, we are working very, very hard to have a "normal" life for all our kiddos, a life not taken over by attachment issues of certain children, as there have been too many days we are coping with some/ many Reactive Attachment Disorder behaviors. And trying NOT to let the behaviors swallow us up in a pit of despair and ruin our family life.

DEEP, I'm telling you. Seriously. Like the snow we got a few weeks ago. 24 inches!!!

And as unfair as it is that some of them don't have RAD and I don't post who does and who doesn't, because our kids who struggle do not deserve to be singled out, it also was bugging me that we do have children who DON'T have RAD and they "could" be thought to have it from my posts.

Then I realized.... WE ARE ALL LIVING WITH RAD. No duh, huh? Yes-- we, indeed, are a family with RAD.  Like it or not (some days I do not and I can say that) we live with this. It affects us all, typical adjusted kids, mom, dad, older siblings, ALL OF US live with RAD.
And instead of trying to live WITHOUT the RAD, we have/continue to learn to cope with living WITH the RAD.  Because we aren't loving it out of them. They progress painnnnfulllllly slowwwwww.

Their behaviors are maddening and designed to do as much damage to the family structure as possible, because that's what RAD is. An attack on the family structure to keep them feeling safer ( in their minds) if they aren't loved.

And given the chance, it can and will overtake EVERYTHING. It's so UGLY. RAD.  UGLY.  But our children are NOT.

They can't help what happened to them to cause them to lose their main "mother" figure when young which rewired their very brains to believe they can not trust ANY mother to love them. 

Therefore they do all they can to REJECT my love for them. It literally freaks them out.  They are sure (in their rewired brains) they will be abandoned by ME if they allow me to love them.

So they do as much as they can to REJECT.

I'm not sure about all of you, but I don't handle rejection well.  I tend to take it quite personally...... of course I do. Wouldn't you?

Here I am, mom of many and just wanting to love on some kids who need a family....... fast forward to 6 adoptions later and more RAD behaviors than I care to tell you about having been thrown my way.  It was uncharted waters for us. Many times we have felt like we were drowning.

BUT.... as I slowly crawled my way out of the pit of RAD despair our family was experiencing I have come to see a few things that seriously need to be said.

 First off and the most important thing is--

EVEN IF OUR RAD KIDS CAN'T HANDLE BEING LOVED, THEY NEED TO BE LOVED.

Everyone NEEDS to be loved. Even if it feels icky to them.  THEY NEED IT.

Sometimes that love does not equate out to hugging, kissing, caring in ways we mothers tend to think of cuddly, warm love. Especially with a TEEN.  This is when you re evaluate what defines LOVE.  Feeding them, washing their clothes, or teaching them how to wash their clothes, picking up their favorite snack, housing them beyond 18, teaching them to drive, teaching them to cook.

Love CAN look different and still be OKAY. 

Our trust building/ healing for them is caring for them each and every day... day in, day out, even with the worst of the worst crap behaviors being aimed to hurt us as much as possible:(   I'd love to say we have done this with grace and patience and unending tolerance but then I'd be dishonest and I don't go there.  I'm not going to tell you it's anything but HARD to love a kid whose behaviors make it hard to LIKE them......it's HARD.

There's days it's been all we can do to tolerate, do damage control from the behaviors and crawl in bed exhausted and pray for strength for the next day of battle, yes, BATTLE. The fight for our kids to overcome because they deserve to learn to be loved. 

 I've been blessed by God in so many ways and a huge way was to have "self care" pushed to the front of my life. Why? Firstly, when not taking good care of me drains the "Mommy well " DRY. And I can't afford to have a dry well. Nope.

So in getting healthy I gained energy and a great way to relieve stress, get emotional strength from work outs. Because the biggest hurdle to living with RAD is for mom to NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY.

This one is REALLY, really super hard for me. Because none of the "normal" parenting we know well WORKS with RAD. Nope.  So the more I show them I care, often times this bring up the abandonment fear, and the worse the behaviors get toward me.

And since many people do not live with RAD and I realize it's really hard to "get it"-- I'll try to give you some examples.  RAD kid lies to me.  Or won't answer ME. Then when hubby asks, they tell the truth/answer...... simple right?  They just didn't want to answer me?

Uh, no. It's a whole level of manipulation/ disrespect of me (the mom figure).

Then hubby (who is great by the way, but it did take some time for us BOTH to understand these RAD behaviors and what was going on) has to back me on "NO disrespect of mom" even when child acts perfectly normal with HIM. 

Because that's what they do. They try to make it all "Mom's fault" for whatever........ so that they can treat mom poorly and try to keep mom from loving them and even malign DAD against mom, if possible. ( "maybe mom didn't ask clearly, maybe the child was afraid of getting in trouble so they lied").

This is a very small example of the CONSTANT battle with a RAD child (and we have more than 1) that goes on in their brains which is telling them it's "unsafe" to be loved.  And our battle is to show them it is SAFE TO BE LOVED.

Please understand-- if you are dealing with a RAD child, something HUGE for me was--- they would do this to ANY mother figure they got. This is SOOOOO not about ME, my mothering, my faults, my strengths, my way of mothering, etc.

This is RAD. And when I take that HUGE factor in to account it makes it so much easier to understand that it's not personal.  We didn't get the "wrong kids."  Still no regrets here, because God chose these children for us. 

Doesn't mean I haven't had to cope with some anger, for sure I have. Anger at God. Yep, I wrote it. ANGER.  Why they had to have RAD in the first place. WHY we got ones with RAD. Why it has to be so hard. WHY it can't be loved out of them........

But, not allowing that anger to overcome the family any more than the RAD can be allowed to is crucial.  It's acknowledged, owned and let go. 

Because there's no difference in our rejection of HIM, His gifts, His desires for us that we place in our lives......He "gets" this. He gets this too well :(  And He has never once left us alone in this battle for our kids.

It's not "too much" for us to live through. It's not overtaking us.

Stretching us? YES.

Bringing us to Him more for strength? YES

Teaching us? YES

Worth it? YES!!!!

ALWAYS, they are worth it.  For sure! 

 And we are up for this---- that's me Fat Biking- (called that for the large tire size)

Finding balance.  Living life. Loving our family. Trusting in God.

Life is a huge challenge..... grab it and live it :)







 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Three Years

And here we are.  Three whole years since we met Miss Phoebe. 

Things about her--

She loves wearing red (and she looks good in it too)

She's a very quick learner in school, works very hard

She doesn't have a mean bone in her body, is very compassionate

She's very artistic

She's learned about and lives for God

She is legally blind, but you would never guess that

She loves food, all of it and lots of it except for carrots and mashed/ baked potatoes

Year one for us was tough.  Not gonna lie. It came to our attention (through things she finally shared) that she was not prepared in ANY way for the adoption.  She was CLUELESS.

And add on to this she was threatened  she had to come with me and was not told her foster mother was not her bio grandmother, which Phoebe did, in fact, believe she was.  (She is not)

 This was a terrible situation to burden her with. Because she basically believed we "took her" from her grandma and had no understanding that being adopted in to a family was a good thing :(

This explained her anger, her outrage with us. She didn't want to be forced to do things "grandma" had always done FOR her without question. 

 But it's not so cute when she's going on 9 coming here and can't dress herself. We did, indeed, seem "mean" and made her learn.

Year 2 saw her getting more of what "family" was about and we've seen her make huge leaps and bounds of progress.

She's in middle school this year and that's been a whole new experience for her.

We can only imagine what this 3rd year will bring for her, good things we are sure because she's such a special and wonderful girl.  And now we can say "You've been home 3 YEARS!" Which, to be honest, is usually followed up with "And you are still slurping food?"  HA HA!! 

Happy "Gotcha" Day Phoebe!! Love her tons :)