Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I think I have to chalk this Thanksgiving up to one of new things and fun. We were blessed to have one of our Chinese friendship students need to stay with us for the break at college. He invited some friends to dinner and they were so sweet, they went and got shrimp among other things to add to our dinner.

Let's just say we think we will add it to our table every year now, as Kat LOVES shrimp. She ate more of that than anything :) And what was our guests "English" names?? Chloe and Enjoy. Could that have been a little sign?? I think so. If we couldn't have OUR Chloe it was fun to have another for the day:) A beautiful Chinese girl and her boyfriend named Enjoy.

Our student "Will" played the violin for us after dinner, he has played since he was 4 1/2 years old, he is 20, so imagine how good he is! It was really neat. He is so talented. He kept me busy during the tedious dishes by talking with me and we talked of the differences between cultures, countries, how he wants to help Chloe learn when she comes, and we will be able to CALL her while he is here :) I am soooo excited.

We had a big day for our new boys. They went with mom for lunch and dad for supper. They were very excited and seemed to have a good day. The older one said to me tonight. "Bickie, I need to talk with you", he is amazing at times how much he is able to tell you. Other times he is so wrapped up with his autism he is unable to tell you anything. So I was tickled I got a whole sentence from him. And I wasn't even "sister" this time :)

The little guy was in a little dress shirt with a vest and as cute as could be for pictures, I took of them with their mom and then their dad for the photo book. I make each child a photo book of their time here and give it to them when they go home so they have good memories of us. Our older one was not too happy with the pictures but he was dressed up in a sweater, he is NOT fond of long sleeves, something we have learned of him, and he refused to smile.
Dad, Will, Mal and friend are off to Black Friday shop, like a bunch of nuts, mom is staying here with the kids and SLEEPING, like a sane person :)

We feel very blessed and VERY thankful for it as our Thanksgiving 2008 comes to a close, the children are in bed and talking about Christmas already.........

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's cold here!

BRRR. It's really cold here. Snow fell yesterday, as pretty as it is, it made the roads slippy and we were happy to stay in:) Kat and Camden love the snow, they stick out their tongues and try to "get a drink" as Kat says.

We got a package yesterday, it came with a huge sheet of bubble wrap, the BIG bubble kind. I wish I had been able to get my camera out fast enough to catch the kids, all 4 of them dancing on the bubble wrap, having the BEST time ever. Cheapest fun I have seen in a long time:) They had a blast for about 4 minutes till they were sure they did not miss ONE pop. The giggles were just priceless.

We decided to do something fun for Chloe. We are writing little notes saying things we can't wait to do with her when she is home. We are going to fold them, put them in a bag with instructions for her to take one out each day and read it. It will help her feel closer to us, help her English skills, and there will be more notes than there are days till we go get her so she will have that to look forward to:) I plan to do 100 and say a HUGE prayer it is not longer than that. We will send it with the Christmas box we are getting ready.

Many prayers were answered for us this week when we had someone stop in to give us the ENTIRE amount of the funeral costs for the baby to be paid. A local agency that helped us during his passing felt we should not be burdened with those costs, even though we accepted him as our son and were going to pay them. So this agency came up with the funds so we were not taking money away from our savings for Chloe.

Our foster agency does not have funds for funerals of foster children, something we plan to try to change. But for us, the funeral home did an amazing job in his memorial service then cut their cost to the lowest amount that shocked us how low it was. It was a terrible situation, b-mom had nothing, the agency made it clear they couldn't pay for it, and what do people do in this instance? We did not know.

We are very thankful these people who only met us through the death of our precious boy felt compelled to help us honor this baby and his life and give him a proper service. We were so honored to be his family, as you can see from his picture, we adored him. He was such an inspiration to us all. We deeply miss him and will for some time.

On a happier note my mom is home and getting well. The new boys are doing really well, listening great and are calming down with the structure and rules they are being given. I think sometimes a child with autism is looked at as "slow" but the older one is quite bright. He can listen. He has typical autistic behaviors but he is also workable to keep those behaviors from being offensive. The younger one is also good, he just need redirected and rewards of a tiny candy kiss go a LONG way with these guys:) Spoken from the QUEEN of chocolate:)

Leaving you with pictures of our silly Miss Kat in her Yo Gabba Gabba shirt, she really enjoys that silly show.

That's our week in review...........

Monday, November 17, 2008

Still here, still sane, I think

I am so amazed how quickly time flies by. We are nearing the Thanksgiving season. We are at Day 72 logged in for Chloe. No word. I think if we get our LOA ( Letter of Acceptance) around 90's days it will be the first week of December. Then 3 weeks or so to get the TA (Travel Approval), then to schedule our consulate appointment, arrange travel and off we go, in JANUARY.

My sadness of not having her here for Christmas is MINE. She does not know of Christmas, she may be better off ( hate to say that) to not come during the chaos of Christmas time as it would be hard for her to know how to fit in during that time, with everything going on. This way it will be quiet and we will have many days to get to know each other and spend with Kat, while it is cold outside and not much goes on.

Truly it will be amazing to have her home, the timing is not in our hands, so we will rejoice when we have her, no matter when that is. We want her as a part of our family, we will accept the timing as it is. And in the meantime, love her from afar. NOT that I wouldn't pick up and go tomorrow if they gave me the go- ahead!

The new boys are doing well. Great reports from school. Only, the older one likes it here so much he doesn't want to GO to school. Was told that was NEVER an issue, but he bounds out of school, thrilled to be coming home. I think it has more to do with the cupcakes I made him than me:)

My mom has been sick, in the hospital for over a week now. She is on the mend, but it has been hard to leave the boys for any length of time to get to see her. We are keeping things as low key as possible for now, they do not do well with change and they are very used to me being here at home with them and do not like me being gone anywhere. Miss Kat is pretty much the same, she can't tolerate her momma gone for long either.

It has been spitting snow, as we say in these parts, for a few days now, a hint of what's to come. Baba is fighting the huge tree in our yard that drops leaves from October till January, he thinks just to annoy him:) Life is pretty busy here, the days go by and I can mark one more off toward our precious girl coming home with each passing day. We have much to be thankful for, this season of blessings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Random thoughts, all I have left

This post is going to be my random thoughts on things. So if I bore you, move on.

After 4 days of 2 kids with autism and no school for anyone, I am nearly bleary eyed. I haven't cried for our baby once, so be careful of what you pray for. (I prayed to be so busy I would not have time to cry) So as I got my wish and I got to really know these new kiddos, I can see some major issues they face. They clearly have 2 very different forms of autism. I am reading and learning all I can about it. I feel we are helping them to settle in well, we have had none of the behaviors we were told existed, but then we are still in the "honeymoon phase" and we are learning about them and they about us:)

They both seem very responsive to direction and are very happy about being here. I think a big part of that is toys, playmates, cupcakes and fun:) I am determined to wear them out to get everyone to sleep good each night and so far we have done it with minimal TV time. Not an easy task either.

S likes to call me sister for some reason and when I made him mad this morning with a BLACK shirt to wear to school ( not sure why black was so horrible) he told me to " go to my kitchen". Wow how mean:) He cracks us up.

H require redirection and supervision almost constantly. He blares out the MOM often and tells me EVERYTHING everyone is doing. We had to work on that fast, I can't handle knowing it all:) He is a handful. Cute as a bug, big eyes and long eyelashes:)

Cam got sick of being called Cameron, being followed and begged for some time alone- he got it and I didn't even hoist him up on the roof:) But the little one did sit at the door of the bedroom and cry, I told him "forget it, that doesn't work here." If Kat can't pull that and get away with it, does he really think I will fall for it from him? HA.

Mal has decided on her senior project, not due till next year, but we are going to start early asking for help to have anyone who wants to make a child blankey ( 1 1/2 yard of kid material, 2 layers of batting, 1 1/2 yard fleece or something warm on the other side, tied or quilted a little and sewn together.)

We need 30 of them for bundles she is going to make for foster kids coming into care. So many come with so little she wants to give them things they can feel good about getting and keep to take back home if they get to return home. She will be doing her required hours in getting donations of items for the bundles ( pillows, pillowcases, journals or note books, pens, pencils, toothpaste, toothbrush, stuffed animal, socks, pjs.) We have an offer of the toothbrushes and toothpaste already:)

She will donate these to the county foster care that places about 30 kids a year. IF you can donate a blanket, we need 18 boy oriented, 12 girl. PLEASE, let me know so we get the right ones made. If you can sew and need us to provide the material e-mail me. I can not sew, although I can hand stitch so I will be assembling a few blankets myself and asking Grandma to finish them. Sewing machines and I are not friends. I will work on boy ones.

We got pictures today of Chloe, through our agency so we can't share them:( but she is soooooo gorgeous. WOW. I see her smile and know it is for us. I hope I can see that smile in person SOON, my Christmas tree went up this past weekend, I love to have it up early so it is done. Then if I needed to travel I could. But most likely that will not happen till Jan and I am trying to remain patient. We sent a box and a short note saying I will be there, no matter how long it takes, she is our daughter, there is no way I will NOT come for her. I hope it gives her a measure of comfort to read those words and know how we feel.

Otherwise we are well, just watching the leaves fall and enjoying our life:) Make each day count.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One Answer

Ask and ye shall receive. An answer, what is next for us. Not the trip to Chloe- insert a sigh here, but 2 yep, TWO children came to us. Brothers that both have varied degrees of autism. One goes to regular school and one to a special school. They are Cam and Kat's ages so they are THRILLED, they have been asking for kids "their" ages to play with.

I KNOW Kat is going to be unhappy when she realizes the little one is her age and goes to SCHOOL. She informed me the other day that she was 5 now, as if she should be packing up her backpack and heading off to school each day, HELLO- MOM. She does not understand "next year". Yikes. Cam was spoken to about how his behavior can help/hurt these guys, that they react differently than normal and that may not be used to our routine of meals, playtime, bathtime, bedtime etc. He looked at me and said "WHY NOT" as if he was so shocked that all children did not have OUR routine in their lives. I had to laugh.

They all 4 piled around the sink this morning, as we tried to get the older one to brush teeth without success, I realized it's like I now have triplets, age 5 and Camden, age 8 is the leader. He is doing very well, I am quite proud of him, in fact, for taking on the "big brother" role and taking it so seriously. He is a caring and great kid.

Jay has been visiting and is leaving soon, isn't he a handsome dude? I have some really cool sons, since I don't mention them as often as the "girls", I don't want any of them to feel left out.

I borrowed our first foster girl's baby yesterday and loved on that boy:) It was soooo nice to have a baby in my arms again, even a borrowed one:) We enjoyed his smiles, his cooing, he is one pleasant little guy, and we took a nap, ohhh to have a little one curled around me was a gift. Not replacing our little man, just reminding me and allowing me to heal a little.

I still yearn for our Chloe too, I feel like someone took a part of my heart and stowed it away in China. I think of her constantly, I want her to be with us. But that is God's timing too. I'm just waiting and now BUSY:)