Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer begins







I'm pretty sure we started the summer off with a bang. I worried that the boys would think we were trying to kill them when their big brother (#2) invited us all out to try the Raystown Zip Lines.

Chance was up for anything climbing into the gear with no issue as well as Chloe. Chase held back till big bro promised to go down the line next to him at the same time. I don't think I have ever seen a smile so big as when he came down that line flying and came down the exit hill. I asked him if he was "okay" and he gave me the grin and thumbs up sign. He even high fived me:)

He was right back in on going back to the top. They had a blast, they want to go back. Brother is working there for the summer so I am sure they will. And before you ask-NO, I did not zip. I don't do zip, I am deathly afraid of heights. Can't go there. Miss Kitty was left to play on the training line, they do not have a line for kiddos under 50 lbs yet. I told the owner he needed to get one, as long as it has taken her to get from 23 3/4 lbs to 36 lbs (almost 4 years) it could be another 5 years for her to make it to 50 lbs:(

We did the chore of cleaning up the yard today and getting my flower boxes ready to plant. It had to be done. As usual Cam spent more time whining that helping and got himself grounded. Chance helped do anything and everything, Chloe was "bored" and Chase was worried he was going to mess up his hair. I taught the boys how to hang up clothes on a clothes line. Never hurts to give them life skills:)
I had to laugh when Chase was using the online translator last night and told me he is a "good boy" then changed it to "good man" and I told him "good YOUNG man" and informed him he was here to be a child, to play, enjoy his time as our son, that he isn't allowed to work till he is 16. Yeah, he wants a job to make lots of money. No lack of ambition in him.
Very typical teenager, him and Chloe have net book computers on the brain, they want to save enough money to be able to buy their own. Chloe wanted to know how a bank account works, that was fun to try to explain.
I guess she thought it sounded too tough, because my niece stopped over and she said "Debbie, will you give me money and I not pay you back?" That rotten niece of mine said "no, I'm not your parents!" So Chloe has it all planned how she is going to save for the next 2 years to get herself a computer. She MIGHT just be ready for one by then:)

After we finished the yard we went and got the boys new shorts for school tomorrow, that's right, tomorrow is the big day. We got my flowers, cucumber and watermelon seeds and for supper the kids wanted YAMS. They were going to boil them but I convinced them to let me bake them. They said they are better "put in fire" but they were pretty good baked:) I had mine with butter and brown sugar, they ate theirs PLAIN. SO yummy- NOT.
And so our summer begins, it usually goes by so fast but big things will be sure to happen with the boys progress so it's going to be a summer of fun, I'm sure.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Picnic fun






Yes, we picnicked today, it was a beautiful sunny day, we ate and then the kids headed down to the creek to get messy. Of course:) They love anything to do with water, and were kind enough to bring back some crayfish to the picnic pavilion. Which Baba made them promptly put them back.

We enjoyed our day with Dean and Lisa and their crew, including Em, Evie and Ethan. Em and Evie are China girls and Kat, Evie and Ethan are all the same age. So they have enjoyed being able to get together over the past 3 years we have known our friends. We try to get all the kids together even with a small adoptive base of families locally, to give them children just like them.

It was a fun picnic with lots of yummy things to eat and I even got a picture of the elusive Donovan!

Enjoy the pictures, they even did well getting along, at least so far today:)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Security

I tried to let Chase go with Chloe to Hannah's house. Kat and Cam were going too, just to play. That way Chase could be around Abby, the girl he is going to be following in school on Tuesday.
The initial plan was to allow all the kids to go but Chance was rude to Cam over the TV this morning so he was not allowed to go. He was told this was the reason. He was unhappy and pouting but that's how it is. No behave, no fun.

So off the kids all went to see the Memorial Day parade and I was visited by 2 former foster boys who happened to stop in, making me very happy to see them. They went around the house and explored and said "it's the same here." Yep, that's why you did so well here. Always reliable, secure and a good routine.

Next thing I know I get a call. Chase is on his way home. HUH? He is upset and saying Lu Kai (Chance) over and over. So they brought him home. I sat with him and asked him if he was okay and rubbed his shoulder, told him I loved him and that's all I could do. He seemed fine once back here with Chance.

So we went and did some yard work, Chance and I, and it wasn't long till I got another call. Miss Kitty was on her way home. She was homesick and ready to come back. Homebodies. My kids are. And you know what, that's fine with me. Our home is their safe haven. I am glad to know Chase feels safe here, so many kids don't have that security and we are building it with them already.

I do hope they are okay being in the same school but different classes on Tuesday, that's my only concern. I think because it is a school setting they will be fine. Let's hope so anyway. If not they will be.. well, back home. With me.

And I'm really not upset by that. I understand them, I am secure and happy at home too. Guess they really are my kids, huh?
See my cute little Tommy dog? Chase yells, "DOG- AHH!" every time he barks, which is pretty often:( Not fond of dogs, either of the boys- they like the cat, who makes no noise, much better.

Have to tell you what Miss Kitty said to me, she said I have "so many Chinese kids, God must have made me Chinese on the inside since I'm not on the outside." I'm not quite sure how that works but they sure are in my heart:)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Chase and the Diva

Chase is my quiet one. Doesn't give me any trouble at all. Helpful. Very picky about his belongings and his hair, clothing. He is a fun one though because every time we look at him he smiles. It's like he can't help it. And if we keep looking he smiles more and then nods "yes." It's like he's confirming "yes, he's here, he's real."

Chloe, his loving and wonderful sister, told him he "doesn't have eyes when he smiles." Isn't she so nice? NOT.

For many months I prayed about this child, we knew we were approved for some time for Chance but the big unknown was Chase. We had him named. We felt he was our son, as well as the twins. But we didn't know HOW it was going to happen. I told God, "you know my heart, I can't go to China and leave this boy, I just can't."

I would have been heartbroken. To know we wanted him so badly and he wanted to come but for a RULE we couldn't parent him? I couldn't bring myself to think of us NOT being able to bring him home.

To see him sit on our couch today, smiling, he rarely isn't smiling, knowing we came back for him, he KNOWS how much we wanted him. I can see his puzzlement when I mention God brought them home, when Chloe translates and he doesn't know what we mean by that. But he will:)

This young man is a true blessing and I know he has a special purpose in life. Won't it be fun to watch his life unfold? I give both boys a kiss on the cheek every day and tell them I love them. Chance usually wipes my kiss off, but Chase just lifts the cheek up knowing I HAVE to do it:) I love them so much.

Chase just helped me to get stinky brother to get in the shower today. Chance was arguing with me that he could wash his face and not change his clothes, that only his feet were dirty and he was trying to wash them with tissues and the spray bottle of water we use for hair fixing in the mornings.

So I called Chase up and told him to make brother take a shower and he gave him the dickens. It worked, I now have 2 clean boys:) No problems with Chase, he is very eager to stay clean and keep his hair just so. He tried it down for a day, I think I like it both spiked and down.

Chase is all concerned he will gain weight, yeah, his skinny butt? As he tried to go without lunch yesterday and Gie Gie #1 was visiting, I told him he needed to come get lunch. He said "no" and hand motioned his belly getting bigger and bigger. So he got Mama's evil eye. Gie Gie laughed so hard when Chase gave in and came out to eat. He said "wow mom, you even span languages!"
Uh, yeah-- no language required to understand you are making momma unhappy and we don't go there:)


The boys called the orphanage the other night. I was surprised to hear "mama, mama" and asked Chloe what are they saying about me. Then she told me they called one of the caregivers "mama." I'm going to be REALLY honest here and tell you I felt a twinge (okay so it was a STAB) of jealousy.

But then I thought more about it and I asked God to help me with it and I realized, this meant my sons had someone who meant enough to them to earn that title. In an orphanage. They had a bio mother, who I am not sure of the amount of respect they had for her with her disability and inability to care for them, not that they could totally understand at their ages.

So for them to build this with a woman who merely cared for these boys each day, that's a blessing. No need to be jealous, they aren't solely MINE anyway, they can have the love of many and it doesn't take away from me. I was glad to be able to step back and see what it meant to the boys. And they came to me able and willing to make ME their forever mama. They do not hesitate to call me mama.

Also the mama of the DIVA, Miss Kat, who last night was asking if she was in trouble. She threw her hamburger away from supper and Chloe saw her do it. Then she lied about it. Thing is, she couldn't STAND that she had lied and wanted to be punished, she ASKED to be punished. I don't think I have any worries of her becoming a pathological liar and landing in jail.

But she did want to know if she needed to go to jail, ahh, my little DRAMA Queen. I asked her if she thought she belonged there and she said "yes!" In her most dramatic tone. She had to settle for her room, where she cried then said "can I come down now, I think I'm done." Oh, and she asked "What's a Diva, is that a bad thing or a good thing?"

I don't know honey, maybe you can let ME know, okay?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Who turned on the HEAT?

Man, it's hot here. Must be God. Warning us to behave or else. Ha ha. I totally believe God does have a sense of humor, now don't you think He enjoyed the little "surprise" He gave us on Chloe's Adoption Day? I can just hear it "oh, a little bored today, let's drum up a fun surprise for Vickie and Ron, hey, how about 2 more kids?"

Since He knew it would turn out how it did, He could do such a thing, right? Not that He messes with us, He just enjoys us. As we enjoy His blessings after we got over the shock and now can love on our sons.

Anyway, it's very hot the AC went on and the boys turn it off every time they think I am not looking. And I turn it back on.
The kids are getting along better, translator is coming about 3 times a week for an hour or so, just enough to get any bumps smoothed out. It's helping a lot.

I have to share a "conversation" I had with Chance this morning as we waited for Kitty and Cam's bus. He was checking out my nails, and pushing on them, he was telling me to eat better foods and my nails would be longer and stronger.
That they were too flexible and I think he said they could then stab someone with my thumb if I wanted if I got them strong enough?
I just say "uh huh, uh huh," and he goes on and on. Maybe I should have told him they are soft from doing dishes, something he does NOT run to take over and do for me:) Can't believe I got 2 more who avoid dishes like the plague.

The kids were weighing themselves last night, having fun seeing what all they could "add" to their weight to get it higher and trying to convince me to get on the scale, yeah sure, like when they all go blind. (mom do not call and tell that was a horrible thing to write, they should not be tormenting mama to get on the scale.)
Chase is a whopping 119 lbs. Wayyyy too skinny, he needs some weight for sure. Chance is 84 pounds. They have gained 4 pounds each. Well on their way to the 19 pounds sister gained in 4 months, that she needed to look healthy. Chance doesn't seem as skinny as Chase in person because he is so close in size to Chloe.
BTW, they ate the hot chili sauce on bread last night for a "snack." I am sooo not going on "their" diet.
As I type Mr. Chance is combing my hair out. Fixed for the day or not, he combs my hair down flat at least 2 times a day:) Good bonding... at least that's what I tell myself as he rips at my hair:) He does try to be very gentle, so I guess it's a good thing. Wonder if he is just that bored or going to be a hairdresser?

It's supposed to cool down for the weekend, making nice weather for our Memorial Day picnic we have planned. That Chloe was funny when she asked what the holiday was for and I told her to honor people who have passed on and she said "why they care, they dead." Okay then, no picnic fun for her- ha ha.

My all time fave shirt finally wore out it said "Who are all these kids and why are they calling me mom?" So I replaced it with this one- my new fave, it's my funny for today:) Don't ya just love it??

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

School

Okay, I caved. I signed the boys up for school. They want to go, there's 10 days left and they will go for a week. So be it. It may just work out for the best for a number of reasons.

First being the "newness" of them may wear off before the next year? They are not going to know how to handle their "rock star" fame, which is really typical for a small student body like ours. Everyone knows Chloe and that the boys were coming so they will be bombarded with attention- something they are not comfortable with.

Secondly, it will give them something to do for a week, and me a week of silence before the whole crew hits the door for summer vacation. And maybe my woodwork will get a break:) I swear that Chance isn't even fully awake and he is calling out "Mama suefan, suefan (eat, EAT)?"

Number 3 is an iffy, but they may decide to give them English tutoring for the summer if they are registered for school and start now, it will be up to the school to provide it. These guys are not learning as fast as Chloe did, they speak Chinese to her and to themselves and even to me, which is not getting their English skills started. Chance tries more than Chase, but he still thinks that I secretly understand Chinese and am just pretending not to. Don't I wish! I know "eat" and "I don't know what you are saying."

Chance has his hair spiked into a small mohawk today. Reason #4 to send them to school. Less hair products in use. Today it was mousse he had to have, when I went for a pack of noodles for supper and walked out with $75 worth of groceries- AGAIN.

Chance totally cracks me up. He is just like Chloe in some ways, the spunk, the non stop talking, but in others he is her opposite, he is male, he is left handed. He is also much less shy than her, he is always the first to say "hello" to someone new. He loves to mess with my hair, he told Chloe I have "very nice" hair. Then he argued that he doesn't love me. Then he asked for a peach and told me he loved me:) He also will hold my hand when we go places, something Chloe wouldn't be caught dead doing!

Chase is clearly used to being the quieter and calmer one. He is anxious to go to school, then was concerned when I paired him up with a girl. He said "he doesn't talk to girls." Uhh, you don't have to have a huge conversation with her, she's actually very quiet herself and is just a guide for him for school. I did make it clear to not follow her into the WC. Thought I better cover all bases:)
Mal asked if he got dressed in the dark yesterday? Uh, no, they have no understanding of "matching" clothes, and they have favorite clothes they like to wear that I can't wash fast enough for them to wear over and over:) Guess we'll have to help them with their school clothes outfits.

Both are very nice boys, Chance will RUN to help me with anything, groceries, laundry baskets, dishes, trash, they both do chores with no asking. I'm going to have to guilt their siblings about that, for sure!

I set up dental appointments, the boys have never seen a dentist, I figured that due to Chloe never seeing one either. Also their physicals for school and titers for shots, mainly Hep A and chicken pox, I am sure they all had chicken pox since Chloe did, but it has to be checked or shots given to go to school.

So I have everything ready for them and we'll see how this goes. Hopefully good, I would have never thought of doing this with Chloe and her being so shy, but each child is different and we have to consider each of their needs based on that. The boys are raring to go, go go. So go they will:)

P.S. -earring question, yes, I have a gun from WalM*rt. I buy a set of earrings (about $10). They come preloaded for the gun in sterile sets with the cleaner and alcohol wipes. Super easy, just load the cassette in the gun, aim and shoot. I've done 6 sets of ears so far. No problems.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A sighting of US

Yes, we were sighted. Close to home in a nearby town, we had gone to the store to get the boys earrings and go to the Asian grocery store to get some "dark vinegar" the kids wanted that wasn't really vinegar but some sauce- only after I bought them white and dark vinegar, of course.

They also had to have tofu, garlic, and hot chili sauce. I doubt I will be testing anything they cook. Not if I want to keep my stomach intact.

We were standing in the jewelry section and here comes our FAN:) A mom and part of a small adoption group local to our area that we are a part of too. I HAD a picture but certain said children of mine who take camera and think they can delete whatever they WANT..... and now no picture for you all:(

It was tons of fun to meet her in person and for her to get to see the Min sibs. All 4 of them. As Kat's Chinese name is Min as well, so they are now the 4 Min sibs. And they were acting like it too, driving Kat in the cart so wildly she was squealing.

Cam decided to stay with his big bro next door, they watched a movie and ordered pizza, Cam just loves Derrik and I thought it would be good to give him a special treat away from the 4 wild children. He had a blast:)

He even brought home 2 slices of pizza, shared one with Chance, who immediately smothered it in chili sauce. Ughhhh.

We got home and I pierced the boys one ear each. They fussed over who was going first and Chase finally did after Chance checked out the whole kit and decided he couldn't tell how it worked:) It didn't hurt them at the time but they say it hurt later and put ice on their ears.

There was no post yesterday due to Baba, it would be all his fault, not that I didn't have a post to write, it was there stuck in my brain since he was hogging the computer. So any comments (MOM) direct them his way in regards to this issue.

I have to tell you some things that amaze our sons. We take so much for granted here, it's so fun to see things through their eyes. And they are big enough to tell us about it:)

Cows munching in the fields, the tree covered mountains, the blue, blue sky. The pink sky of the evening. The open fields. Goats. Squirrels, ground hogs. A herd of deer grazing at dusk. Everything they are in awe of. It's really something, to see these things we have grown up with and think nothing of, yet the children are so excited to see.

2 big funnies for yesterday, Chloe in the Chinese restaurant, saying "people are looking at us." I looked around and said "Who, I don't see anyone looking and why would they look?" She says "because 4 Chinese children, no one have 4!" As if they are celebrities. I told her "uh, sure people do and no one here cares if we do. It might just be the amount/way the 3 of you are EATING??"

And when we got home and they all had to hit the "WC" as fast as possible, Chloe and Kat clogged the WC- a total nightmare here because we only have one WC and Baba gets in a rant every time this happens, so as the boys are standing outside the WC yelling "WC mama, WC!!!!"

I am trying to fix it without Baba having to know (didn't work) and Chloe drags them off to their big brother's house next door to use HIS WC. I am SURE he was thrilled to get a visit from them just for that reason.

See, you all who "think" you want to live next to us, you may just want to rethink that. BTW, thanks for the WC answer, I KNEW you all could tell us. Guess we'll just have to go a wee bit o' British on the kids..... but they don't like tea??

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Translation Sunday


Our translators showed up today. Both a guy and gal. College students, just 19 and 20 so not too much older than the kids. And Chloe already knows both so the boys saw her comfort with speaking to them and were very open with them.

Both boys want to have their one ear pierced, just like Cam and dad. I told them that was fine. They also understand I don't like crew cuts but I am not expecting them to sport hair long enough to braid either:) They do not need to have their heads shaved, they don't even realize this yet as they are so used to it being the norm for orphanage care.

I did break it to Chance that we do not expect him to work to eat. Chloe told me yesterday at the picnic he was doing little jobs for me because he thought he had to in order to be fed. As much as the evil me wanted to let that go a little longer, I had our friends tell him we are very glad he so helpful but he will be fed no matter if he is helpful or not. And food will always be here as well. It would have just been WRONG to know he thought that and not tell him. Just wrong:) He is still being as helpful as ever, he's a really sweet boy.

The translators said the kids are having the same issues that Chloe had, understanding everyone is equal here to us and fitting in with Cam. But that the kids were working it out and they understood we see them all as our children, none more important than the others. It's just going to take time for them to believe it.

Poor Miss Kitty, she was not happy when the translators were here and she was sharing a few things the boys have taught her like "school" in Chinese then when they were all chattering away she said to me "I don't speak Chinese, I don't think I'm really Chinese." I reassured her she sure was and she was even learning more Chinese than anyone since she spoke Cantonese when she came home to us.

One of our translators gave me "heads up" on an English class being held by the local college for the summer by a Chinese teacher. A perfect set up to help the boys. Their language is being delayed due to the Chinese speaking with Chloe, although they are much more willing to speak than she was at this point home. It amazes me how verbal they are, they do not hesitate to try to tell me what they want even if they have to end up showing me. And I hear" Mama, mama" constantly, every time I walk in a room Chance is in he never fails to say "Ni Hao Mama."

The boys called the "aunties" last evening and talked for about an hour. They were surprised when Chloe whipped out her life book to show me kids they were talking about to the aunties, and I pulled out THEIR life books I had started. They gave me the "thumbs up:)" and I was happy they could see we cared enough about them to make them books of their lives as well.
I was saddened when they were telling me of their friends, one who has a vision issue and is 9 years old, one that has albinism and is 12 (listed with HOLT) and another boy (unsure of his age) that so badly want to have families. They wanted US to go back for them, but we can not, I assured them we will advocate and try to find them a family. It's heartbreaking to know these children are just as precious as our sons and they sit there day after day hoping it will be soon they learn that a family wants THEM.
Of course, I forgot to ask the translator one thing- we can't figure out why their teacher taught the kids to say "WC" when they need to use the bathroom. All we can think of was it was supposed to be "I have to pee?" We are puzzled as to what she could have meant? Any other ideas?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Better Day

Well then. Chloe must have gotten something worked out in her head because she came out of her room dressed for the track meet this morning. Too bad she did not plan enough time to sit and talk with me to make it to the track meet. She was thinking she would just scoot out of here and we would forget all about the trouble but I nipped that thought right in the bud.

We talked. She understands more of where I am coming from with what is expected of her and how we want things here to go. That we are not here to just provide food and shelter and the children run amok. Nope. We are the bosses of this family and a family it is. We expect them to act like the siblings they are, all of them. She did not understand me saying what she did to Cam was like a "slap in the face." She right away said "I no slap Camden in face." Uhh, yeah, not what I was saying there:)

I think in many ways taking Chloe back to Ch*na brought up many feelings, behaviors and hurts she has had in the past. Probably good in the long run for her to work through. Maybe not so great in the short term to have them affecting her behavior now. But we will work it out with her. Our #1 commitment beyond God is this family. And we will do what it takes.

I am sure she did not and maybe still does not like me today. That's okay too. Because she knows we love her and we aren't here to be her friend. I'm her mother and Baba's her dad and we are here to love and guide all of them to become decent people in this world. And being obnoxious and rude is NOT acceptable to us. We will call her on it.

The boys all got along amazingly well without her. No issues at all. Proving that they can blend in and not cause us great aggravation, even with the language barrier. Bless my mother too, today she showed up with tons of fruit for them, she must have thought they really would be chewing on the woodwork soon. It was a generous help:) And it won't get wasted, that's for sure.

It took Chloe about 4 months and 19 lbs to slow down her eating and she still eats more than most of us, just healthy stuff and she's very active. She still only weighs 89 pounds. Not large in any culture for her height or age.

And I have to break it to you all, we have 5 teens here, yes FIVE. Mal is 18 and tonight is Prom night. Her last year of high school and she is headed to college in August. She is an honor student and holds down 2 jobs so we don't even see her much, let alone get many pics. Donovan is going to be 16 soon and has had some struggles dealing with Asperger's which affects his social issues greatly as he tries to fit in with his peers as a teen. He also holds a job, he loves $$ and he puts his hand in front of his face every time I try to take a picture of him.

Our older guys are 25, 24 and 21. Mr. 21 came over the other day covered and I mean COVERED in hives, wanting me to fix that. Since I'm a nurse? Uh, yeah, but that still required an ER visit, his 3rd in 3 days. I was in Ch*na so he didn't know what to do. Apparently he caught some virus and his body reacted this way. It's got to run it's course before he wil get better, they slammed him with everything they can give him. Kind of scary to think he is randomly swelling in the throat a little MORE, and then it lessens and they have given him everything they can? Did I say these guys still needed us often, if not I should have??

Then we have Chase who is 15, the twins who are 13, Chloe and Chance, Camden is 9, and Miss Kat is now 6. We have had 7 kiddos here pretty much steady for years, either with fostering or now our own. So we are used to many children and ones with huge needs from special needs fostering. Children are very special to us, their present needs and their future needs. They are our future, not just OURS, but everyone's.

If no one cares about the children then what happens when these children all go out in the world and they care about nothing then where does our world GO?? We have followed God to these children, we call on Him to keep us strong in raising them. He hasn't left us just because the boys are home and safe. It's the next phase of His journey for our family.

We went to the local park where the kids all come to take pictures with their prom dates. Mal's guy is in basic training so she went with her friend. Nice that they can do that and not miss out on the prom. Isn't she pretty with her friends? She's in the pink and black dress at the end of the "line up."

We had a picnic with our church friends at the park and the kids had a ball. They played and it rained and they got wet and they played some more and got a little wetter! They played volleyball, a card game, played on the teeter totter and swings. Chase was such a joy to watch, this child playing as hard as can be, having a blast just being a kid. Just what we want him to be.

He was all worried he got dirty and wet, I told him it was "okay" and that I could put him in the dryer when we got home- he said "okay!" Too funny these guys are. He learned how to play a card game and he was going at it, he picks things up so fast. Cam wasn't in the pics as he was busy playing, they all did fine playing and even though Chance didn't want to share the swing he did:) Chase was also making fun of mama, I said "gentle, gentle" and he was teeter tottering and saying "gentle, gentle" every time the other person went down, copying me to a T. I love that he is comfortable with me and can tease and play like that. Like I said, there's plenty of child left in him.

Cam won 4 first place ribbons in his track meet this morning, out of 4 competitions he entered. He's a fast one. I told him we were proud of him and he said "I know." Oh, okay then.

Glad to say it was a better day after all:)

Friday, May 21, 2010

No Bowl of Cherries here

Not only would the boys have eaten them but we have issues. I've been quite honest about the good and the bad and I'm gonna vent. Big time. About that daughter o' mine.

We run into issues that obviously most people will not. I realize that. Doesn't make them any extra fun. Even if we do get three times the joy. Sister has been a snot. A real rotten SNOT. And no, that doesn't stand for Sweet, Nice, Overly Terrific. It stands for Stinkin', Nasty, Overly Terrible. SNOT. Good thing we love her as much as we do.

So what is that she has done?? I know, you are just dying to know. WELLLLL---- she decided to tell brothers that SHE didn't like little bro Cam and and that he is terrible (not perfect but not terrible either!) so that when they came here they had already decided not to like him. And he was THRILLED for them to come. SOOO looking forward to it. Now he is sad, upset and angry. Because the boys are hurting him. When I am not looking, when I am, they pretend to be nice, but they are still too rough with him. Both of them but Chance more so than Chase.

How did we figure this out? WELLL.. we skyped poor Jaxon who was a bit overwhelmed with the 3 goofs, who can't take turns talking, who can't keep from carrying on and yelling over one another, and she told him "she really didn't like her little brother". Not NICE. I mean, it's not as if she hasn't gotten along with him this past year, they have been buddies most of the time.

So then when we went out in the yard to get some pics, the boys started their usual when he got near them and I asked what was going on. I could see the guilt on Chloe's face and then Cam told me before he went running into the house upset. I even posted the pictures for you all to see, I mean do they think their mother is stupid?? If they do- WRONG ANSWER. And you can see SNOT's attitude in the picture as well, then how funny she thought is was that they chased Cam into the house upset. WOW, who is this girl?

So after we went inside and I talked with Baba, we had Chloe translate that this was unacceptable behavior and it better stop immediately. Then we talked or should I say reprimanded Chloe for her nonsense, telling her she should be ashamed to have sabotaged the boys coming here like that, she KNEW better.

We asked her how she would feel if the boys and her were here first then Cam came with a sibling and THEY ganged up on them and picked on them and made them feel horrible after they have looked forward to them coming for over a year? What if SHE had to share a room with people hurting her any chance they got?

Then I got really mad at her because I told her she was really making it harder for the boys, that her "translation" was only what SHE wants to tell them and it's going to stop. Here we are only 5 days from being home and having this BIG issue. I told her it was terrible that her brothers had to witness this and were probably standing there thinking we did not want them here and might even return them, and that made me really sad and hurt for THEM- I could see Chase was upset and I went over and hugged him and told him I loved him and held him. Chance was hanging next to sis snarling at me.

I told her it wasn't this way when she came home, she didn't get in big trouble and have to worry if we were taking her back, she was eased into issues we needed to work on. But that she is giving them a harder time of adjustment when she is doing what she is doing.

After that she was told she is grounded, she is not going to Hannah's tonight, as planned, and she is going to come up with some answers for what she is doing. She refused to speak, her usual coping method when faced with something she doesn't want to answer to. So she will get plenty of time grounded to figure out what she would like to say to us to work this out. I know it's hard for her to take on the responsibility to help her brothers but she is going to have to shoulder some of the burden, it's just how it is.

I have someone else coming to translate for us to the boys so they will understand what the issue is and we will know what is being said to them. We also want to make it clear that Cam can not being doing things to them, he is not a favored child here, a very common idea for these new kids. Chloe thought when she first came and Kat was doing stuff to her she couldn't tell us as Kat was here first. I don't want any of them to think they will be able to rule my roost and pull stunts on the others. They must become siblings, all of them. I did tell Chloe as well, I am not raising the 3 of them separate from Cam and Kat, I can't.

And funny enough, they accept Kat. No issues with her at all. Although they do the same as Chloe, Kat is very cuddly and often Chloe does not want to be hugged, so she pushes Kat aside. Kat has become used to this and doesn't take offense to it, it's just how they are. Older kids often aren't used to how much we touch, hug and are affectionate with one another. They are not told "I love you" even in a normal Chinese household. Makes me sad for them to miss out on something so essential to us, just a hug can make things so much better.

Another thing we have not really seen yet but I know Jaxon's mom has been dealing with is the issue of trust. When we ask the kids "how was your day, what did you do?" They look at us like "what did I do wrong?" They have not had to answer to anyone, I know our boys went to school, went out to play and as long as they were back at bedtime no one asked where they had been, did they do their school work. If they were questioned about anything it was because they were in trouble. Any attention toward them is usually met with concern from them.

Chloe very much still has some issues with that, it took MONTHS for her to learn if we are looking at her she is not in trouble. She comes off with "what?" when we look at her. We do not see this with her brothers, I was looking at Chase last night, thinking what a nice kid he is, and he smiled at me, then I kept looking just to tease him a little and he looked over again and then laughed. I had to laugh because I knew if he had the English to say "what?" he would have.

Chance and I are getting along a ton better than we did in China, that little bugger worried me. But other than his following sister down the wrong path, he is doing wonderful. He is very helpful to me, anything he sees me doing he will jump right in to help. It cracks me up that the "man" of the family, Chase, sits back and tells Chance to help me. Although he will help with things as well, even on his own.

Both of them are bored and want to go to school, with only 14 days left, there's really no point. I enjoy having them here during the day to myself and getting to know them without sister and it is building a strong bond with them. It also gives me the time to get to know them better and they are learning to rely on me for their needs.
Speaking of needs, we are off to the grocery store today, we need more of everything, including the potatoes, good guesses for the "2" but it was 2 servings, one for them, one for Chloe when she got home. I NEVER would have gotten that from the 2 fingers he held up to tell me 2 :)

Also loving the fun you all are having in my comment section, thanks for the laughs, I need them about now! At least I got to vent, I feel better already. It's an adventure, alright. Still glad I signed on for it:)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another day, another meal/s

Yep, they are eating their way to the woodwork. Chase cooks. Yesterday he made green peppers in oil, but put some spice on it he didn't like so he didn't want to eat that. Today he peeled then sliced thin potatoes and they are in a pot of water and he told me 2. 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days- I don't know. It's an adventure.

I got to speak with Drew and Jaxon's mom and we were comparing kids. And their behaviors. Some very same behaviors, the washing of the faces with tons of water left over on the sink twice a day. The grooming worse than girls, the mismatched clothes. It just makes you feel better to know someone else is in your shoes today, even if we have done this before.
We are going to have our kiddos Skype later today as well. It also greatly helps THEM to know someone is walking in their shoes today, dealing with new parents, lack of language, new siblings. I highly recommend this when bringing home an older child.

I'm off to drag my son Chase out of the bathroom, Chance used the other half of the hairspray can today to groom his short hair into a small side part, it would barely go as it's so short. We're off for a walk, I guess to spare the food cupboard an hour and work them up an appetite. Ha ha. As if they need one.

Chloe the bear slept from 5 pm last night till 5:30 am today. Let's hope she is caught up after that sleeping marathon. The girl will never make it as a world traveler:) Her brothers made it a bit later, about 7 then they were out too.
It's odd to have 7 kids in the house and it be so QUIET, although I am sure I will regret writing that.
Only 14 days of school left then the fun begins.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My name is....

Yesterday Chance was hanging around when Chloe was trying to do a homework assignment I was helping her with so I put him to work. Learning his name, that is. I wrote it for him and then had him write it over and over. I noticed later he had something written in his palm? Yep, his new name:) Isn't he the cutest?

We took all the kids to track practice and the boys did 2 things we expected. Chase hung around with us, and Chance was right out there as if he was in track. The coaches were cool with him following along and he actually went with Cam for a long time, before he ended up right back at Chloe's side. She was hanging out with her friends, GIRLS, so he wasn't totally thrilled.

It's very funny that in the one picture of him standing beside the hurdle, his pose and expression is just identical to Chloe. I know I have seen the exact look and pose from her many, many times. It made me do a double take when I saw it!

It has been 14 months they were apart, but to look at them now, just 2 weeks back together and you would never know they had been apart at all. It's very obvious they have a twin bond that is very strong.

Chase must have changed clothes 3 times yesterday in addition to spiking up his hair, and spiffing up his shoes constantly, I told Chloe to tell him "NO girlfriends- too young" to which we got the usual nod with a smile. I'm never sure if that means "okay" or "I'll agree to humor you mom."

He's wayyy too cute for his own good. My pictures do not do him justice. He's gonna give me grief when he hits the school this fall.

Chase was walking the track with dad last night, you can just see how much he enjoys having a dad, he's just so amazingly comfortable with us both but you can see he is drawn to his Baba. And Baba really likes him, they share a love of music, and they are both the quiet, strong types. So they get along very well.

The boys will be enrolled in school for the fall, Chance is going to 7th grade (middle school) with Chloe, Chase will go to 9th grade (high school) with a buddy helper. I have lots of work to do with them this summer. They will not progress as fast as Chloe because they fall back on her too much to speak Chinese with her. She did not have this option so she became fluent in English very fast.
We do not have to change ages of the kids for the schools. We have no records of schooling for the kids and our school district has learned it's best to just let me decide where to place them and be done.
Seriously, I know my kids, and there is NO LAW saying they must go where their age states they normally would be placed. They know I will fight them if they try to force my kids where we do not feel comfortable placing them. Chloe is very much a perfect fit for 6th grade right now, and with her age being wrong, it was not that far off of where she would be per her right age.

Other than our children being the only ESL (English as Second Language) students in our district, the school has been on top of providing whatever our children need. Although the ESL teacher is retiring this year- after only a year of Chloe- I think it will be time for a fresh new teacher ready for these 3 anyway. Chloe doesn't exactly LIKE her ESL teacher, making it tough on both of them.

As far as "someone" changing a birth date to make Chase eligible to adopt. I'd have to say I think someone did. I do not know who- the amendment for his file was translated but not signed. I have no other copy, nothing in Chinese. We believe that God touched some one's heart to understand this boy NEEDED to come with us as his siblings would both be here and they KNEW we wanted him.
I don't believe anyone there purposely made the mistake of not reporting them as siblings and to amend this was making that long ago error- corrected. As best it could be.
You can imagine the thoughts we have been tormented by-what if someone had picked one of the boys and not learned of the others till too late? What if we had learned of them too late? It almost WAS too late, if not for God's miracle for these 3.
We can't begin to think this working out has been anything BUT a God thing, too many ways this COULD have gone, but instead here we are. Blending them in as our sons. Blown away by His provisions for the lives of our children is putting it mildly. We are in awe. And we hope our children's story touches as many people as possible to see God's LOVE, His total love for His children. It's why we feel led to share them:)

What else are the boys up to. Well, eating. And eating. And eating. You won't believe what they ate since we went to the store in just 24 hours. 2 bunches of bananas, an entire case of ramen noodles, 2 POUNDS of lunch meat, an entire loaf of bread, 10 tangerines, 1/2 container of cherry tomatoes, a large container of strawberries, 4 big cucumbers, and this would be in addition to MEALS, just what Eating Machine #1 and Eating Machine #2 ate. No one else!!

I swear EM #1 and EM # 2 are going to be gnawing on the woodwork soon. I may need to request donations for food- ha ha. I can't believe what all they have eaten, nor can Baba and we have BIG grown sons that could eat a ton of food, EM's 1 and 2 could put them to shame. They are asking "go shopping mother" again already today! Too bad that won't be happening, Miss Kat is home today not feeling well. So that rules out food shopping for today for the Eating Machines. Their complaints that their pants are too loose in the waists are not going to be an issue for long. And trust me, they need the weight added, they are painfully skinny.

The boys actually slept today till 6 am, a big improvement over the 4 and 5 am they had been getting up and being loud. They seem to have 1 volume and it's not quiet:( Pretty typical teens.
Chance is my little buddy, he will help me in any way he can see to help. He's really fun and I am actually picking up some of their more common sayings "no problem, I don't know what you are saying" and they have picked up a few of mine, "uh, huh, dog, get up, stop, tea."
Maybe since they "slept in" today Chloe will be a bit nicer, she has been like a bear with a sore tushie, jet lag has hit her hard and she is miserable trying to go to school and get back to our routine.
I can't think of anything else to share except we were puzzled why the 2 deodorant sticks I gave the boys were in the shower, I guess my pantomime skills are poor, they did not understand what that was for and thought it was soap? Chloe helped out with that one, I wonder how well that worked for them? Oh well, they would at least be smelling "Arctic fresh" even if they weren't? Just a day in our life:)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Miss me?

2 WHOLE days, no blog post. Are you in withdrawal? Ha, ha, now I know my blog is not that exciting- come on! Please forgive me but jet lag stinks. You feel good for a little bit and try to get tons done then you crash and you are worthless. Mom will you PLEASE forgive me? (Stop calling and bugging me)

Can you believe they gave us crazy looking people more kids? Hopefully I will make up for my break- I am going to try to answer questions that have been posed-

How did we learn of the boys? When receiving Chloe in 2009 I was handed a translated police report stating there were 3 children found together guessed to be around age 8. I questioned who the "other 2 were." When they brought me a paper with 3 children's registrations, Lu Fei, Lu Kai and Lu Yun, I KNEW they were siblings. I just knew in my heart.

We asked the guide to find out where their files were, how old they were, were they still at the orphanage, were they adoptable, and made sure they knew we wanted both these boys since they were her brothers.

Our agency for Chloe had no idea there were brothers. Neither of the files for Chloe or Chance had anything about a sibling at all.

The agency that already had Chance's file was willing to help us by reducing fees as a returning family. All three children had been on many lists and on the shared list for years, no one had picked the boys. God led us to Chloe.

When we had gotten Pre Approval for Chance and then worked on our dossier for him, we started inquiring about the other brother. We thought he was aged out. But when our dossier was done and sent we ASKED- is he really aged out and asked them to make it clear that we wanted to give this boy our name, to adopt him, to love him, give him a family.

Word came back, no, he had NOT aged out, his birth date was WRONG. We do know this was God's work right here. Not going to give anyone or anything credit beyond GOD.

So after an amendment was made to his file, we were allowed to apply to adopt him. Sounds simple now. We did not know what exactly had been done to accomplish this until we got his paperwork in Ch*na, and really, we didn't care. Before we even asked we MADE Chloe call him and ask him- did he even WANT to come here, to be adopted by us or stay there and we would help him any way we could. he said "YES" he very much wanted to be adopted, wanted to come home with his siblings. I wasn't going to bring home a child/teen who didn't want to come.

During this time Chloe was getting more and more English and was telling us she thought her and Chance were twins, but she wasn't sure, and knowing their family story I had suspected this, along with the amazing likeness of them.

You see, they were living in the street, but she shared they were with their mother. Their crippled mother. Begging to keep them all fed, and Chase was the "man" of the family. The kids were starving and someone reported them and the police came. They took the children, but left their mother. I am sure they told the authorities their names, and that's it. These kids KNEW their mother had been left to die. She was all they had other than each other.* I can't imagine how much pain these children had to be in at that time.

* I share this with Chloe's full permission, some people think an adopted child's family story is private, Chloe has no shame, nor should she, she doesn't want pity, don't even try to pity her-- and she doesn't mind sharing that this was her life. It's a part of HER, of who she is today, the strong and wonderful child we are proud to call daughter.

So we amended our home study to reflect the acceptance and approval for 2, we did the immigration request for 2 and the biggest hurdle was taken care of by many wonderful people who heard God's call and wanted to be a part of His Hands in bringing the boys home- they donated the funds to get us there. We also received a generous grants from Gift of Adoption as well as A Child Awaits.

As far as immigration, medical exams, everything, these were two 13 year old boys being adopted. No one questioned it. And really, let's be honest here, these were 2 children, boys who no one was going to adopt in their home land. They were going to be back in the streets within MONTHS to fend for themselves. There is no shortage of boys in Ch*na, and no families from any culture lined up to adopt 13 year olds at all- boys or girls:( from Ch*na.

Of note, while we were in Ch*na, there was another family adopting 2 boys from another agency we went to supper with, I thought it was hilarious that Chloe and Shai were giggling and whispering and I asked what they were talking about. Chloe said "we don't think that one boy, he have mustache, he no 13."

And as his mom said later "luck of the guess". That's right, these are guessed dates, many from years previously that could be right or wrong. Again, no one lined up to take these boys home. Thank God for his family finding him.

We completed our adoption in province. They were our sons right then.

We asked Chase if the 2 younger were twins. We did not ask about real birth dates as we knew they were all guessed. All 3. And we already had figured Chloe was NOT 14 going on 15, no way. So as far as going to the consulate we were truthful, we clearly said we knew the birth dates were guessed and we were okay with that. Really, we didn't care. These were our kids, meant to be. A birth date is in reality just a number.

Now we are home, we have Chase's real birth date. He told us. He turned 15 on Feb 27. Chloe and Chance are 14 on July 22, still a guessed date but a correct age. Chase can't remember their actual birth date, he just knows the twins are 13. Funny that Chase's real birth date is not one of the 3 different birth dates we have in paperwork at ALL.

What do we do now? Well, Chance's birth date is the only correct one. So we will proceed to change Chloe and Chase's to what we know to be as correct as we can get. I have a call into our attorney now. And we accept them as our children. Again, just a number, so we really don't worry about it. We go by maturity and responsibility here to parent, not your number age. 'Cause for us, it's what works.

It was a heartfelt moment when I finally saw the paper I had seen and learned of the brothers from, the police report for Chance and Chase and it finally had the amendment that they were found together, these 3 children and they were siblings. I cried. It was for me, the moment of what was wrong being righted, for our children. Confirmation they were siblings from their Day 1 history at the orphanage. Didn't really mean much to anyone else, but for them, it's RIGHT.

So do we think others will be able to do this. Huuumm-- I don't know. I don't know how much of the "these are siblings and everyone knows it and it's only right for the same family who wants them to have them", came into play. We KNOW what God did. Do I think this could and should happen for other children to come home? YES-- I do. WHY? Because a 14 year old child, even a 15 year old child, hey, we even have kids up to 21 years old to adopt in the USA, they NEED a family.

I don't think Ch*na sees families as wanting these older kids to love and cherish. Yet, they are so incredibly lovable and loving. And fun. I don't have a diaper in sight. I do not have crying in the night. Watching them fast forward grow in language, skills, love and all the other ways is totally amazing. I wouldn't change it for a newborn any day. It's a different road but a cool one to follow. Worth every step.

I hope and pray Ch*na sees older children as worthy of adoption and releases the "age 14 and no family ever" rule. We were told they do not ever make exception to that rule. So if you know of a child and you think it's too late, I will advise you to ASK, it hurts NO ONE to ask if that child really truly IS aging out. We've all heard of the ones that were found to be younger than they were on paper (like Chloe) it's not an exact science. Mistakes can happen and can be God- led to be "corrected." We know this.

These kiddos need to have someone to guide them, to love them, to turn to if times are rough, to go home to have a meal with, to get their laundry done. We have a 25 year old son, he lived NEXT DOOR. Our grown children come and go often. We encourage them to be independent but they also know we are here for them. No matter what. Some of our grown ones are doing things today I do not approve of with their lives, but we still love them and they know it. Our job of loving them will never be "done". Ever.

Do we feel we are going to have a rough time with Chase as he is 15? NO, we have half the battle won when he came to us full of trust as he knew we wanted him, we made our intentions clear, we wanted to give him our family name- something that is HUGE in Chinese culture. We are so encouraged that he is playful and testing us, just as a normal child should be doing. He clearly has a ton of "child" left in him, that he will be able to channel into fun things to do while he lets down his guard of protection and really understands his place here. As a son and brother, but mainly as a child.

Also you may look at him and see a young man, as we have sons up to age 25 and at 6 ft 4 inches for the biggest, this guy at 5 ft 7, skinny as a can be and even aged 15 is still a "child" to us. Easily. I am glad he has older brothers , he is no longer the "oldest son" to need to take on so much. Although we realize it will be part of his personality forever. Can't you just SEE how happy he is in the pictures? I know we did the right thing for these kids- all 3 of them. No regrets here.

So there it is. What else do you all want to know? I'll try to answer if you let me a comment.

Donna, I am 42. So I qualify for the 40 and over- lack of control issue. No insult taken. As far as a sense of humor, some days it's all I have left, so I guess so. I've heard it's a fine line between sane and insane, so we'll call it sense of humor and leave it at that- okay?

What have we been doing? The boys figured out how to say "shopping, mother?" and they said this numerous times, driving mother bonkers. Chase actually took his turn at annoying mother, he wanted a haircut, hair spray, refused to clip his fingernails which are longer than mine and didn't want to eat his supper last night, he kept making gagging noises. Do you recall the comments above about "still being a child??"

I'd call him a booger but then that comes to another subject, the nails had to go because he was using them for things I won't write about (2+2=4) Y'all are smart, figure it out. So the nails went. Gone. Baba had to tell him, he would not listen to me. As Baba said "Mama mad, family SAD."

Both the boys were hilarious watching me curl my hair, they stood and watched and walked all around me looking and touching my hair. It was so sweet. I didn't take a curling iron on the trip so they never saw me with my hair curled. Chase wanted to try out the iron but I told him "no". He did fix his hair with my hair spray then:)

I ran the sweeper and they watched, I do not mean they sat and watched --they stood beside me, one on each side and pointed out the dirt I hadn' t gotten to yet, while Chance had to get down and check out the window where you could see the dirt swirling into the container. Then Chase pointed to upstairs and I said "okay" and off he went, he swept the boys' bedroom. Cool with me!

I bought them a ton of noodles, cup of soup and they went nuts over all the meat, packaged meat, hot dogs, lunch meat, sausages, etc. I had to tell them "no" as they got stuff and wanted to give it to me, I want them to see I PICK the food. I was careful to pick fruit, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, things they can know exactly what they are so they are not wasting food. Canned food is much harder, it's not always what you think from the picture on the can:) They got some more jammies, Chance didn't like that his were shorts, he doesn't realize he may like them when it's 100 degrees here soon, but he gave them to Cam. At least he was nice enough to give them to Cam.

Kat was struggling with Chase's name he was so sweet, he said to her "me GieGie". Which is "big brother." They are finding their pecking order. All within normal range, no one knocked anyone else out so all was well in our world.

I took pictures of the meal they didn't like since it was the first time we sat down together as a family with them to eat. Something we do every night but for so many evenings it seemed as though some were missing.

Now our table and our hearts are full.