Friday, September 28, 2012

FUNdraising

Phoebe's adoption has been quite the ride. WOW. Taking me soooo far out of my  comfort zone. You know what I mean. A predictable life, pretty much each week is fairly typical even with adoptions, I mean we KNOW the steps. But this has taken so long and been such a hard process. Not that Phoebe is not worth it. SHE IS. 
So we finally got  LOA Letter of Acceptance, our approval from China that Phoebe is our girl.  You got us here with your prayers! Without a doubt we know God has shown precious Phoebe to be our daughter.  

We've felt so blessed to be chosen to parent every one of our children.

 I have to tell you, God has provided so far every fee we have needed for Phoebe's adoption. Every last one! And this adoption has been more than others. More requirements from China-and higher fees. We've paid for Home Study, immigration fees, fingerprinting, agency fees, paperwork fees. We feel so blessed and thankful to know we have had the funds to pay everything up till now.

You all know how I feel about fundraising, it's a way to let others share in the joy, so many people can't adopt, are done adopting, but they want to honor God's word to "love the orphans" and this is one HUGE way they can help. I will NOT deny the blessing. So many times we don't ASK and God can't call people to do His will when the need is not known. It's hard to ask. It's humbling, but again, God can't come calling to help if we shut the door on Him.

We have the means, the love, the desire to parent  Phoebe once we get blondie home, it's only the funds to get there and get her home that are the issue. I do want to say here, we are not looking to raise funds to-- go on vacation, buy a new car, etc. It seems like a no brainer but I've heard of people doing that.  We take asking for help very seriously in that we do our part- work more, save all we can, live as frugally as possible, sell anything we can (MOM! Not the kids, that's illegal! I meant STUFF), apply for grants, etc. 

 No new pics of Phoebe  YET, we've asked for some-- but here's pics of 5 LESS orphans, now sons and daughters (and their redheaded bro), ones who can't wait to have another lil' sister. 

So I ask, will you help us get this precious girl home?

Don't you want to be a part of THAT?? God's work, right here!

We've already had one family offer to do a fundraiser for us, please see Beth's Etsy page, she's gonna donate  a portion of her proceeds to US:)  It's that COOL? Check it out here--http://www.etsy.com/shop/bethcsmith
We need more ideas, any help we can get to bring our girl home. We live in a very rural area for those of you with ideas that may need to consider that:) We want to do FUNdraising, that's right, anything FUN?? To get our girl home!

 And if  even if you can't donate will you pray for us? It's doesn't cost a thing and our God hears and answers prayer:) 

Leave me comments, share your ideas, share the need PLEASE--- in any way you want to get the word out.  Chip In  is posted for those who prefer to donate money  and we have permission to accept donations through our church for Phoebe so I have posted that info for those who prefer that route and/or need/want a tax receipt.(Look up there on the right:)

 I've decided to help my blood pressure (just joking MOM my BP is fine) the Chip In is gonna reflect what we need for steps, first one is tickets for me and Chloe. If they run less, then monies will go to fees in China. It just looks so BIG (to me, not GOD) when a total figure for China travels, fees, orphanage fee, etc is totalled.

And yes, it will be me and Chloe traveling. That's it. I'm trusting the girl to NOT get me hauled off to the police station again this time. (You all can  tell me I'm nuts later)

  Can you all ask God what He wants you to do and then RUN WITH IT-- He never makes mistakes so you'll know it's right. And we  know for sure, we can't out give God, no way, no how, it's just not possible.

We trust that God will cover these fees, He never fails us so let's have FUN watching God take down this mountain.  

Can you? Will you?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

147 Days

So many things have happened in 147 days. So many have prayed,  stormed the Heavens, fasted. Knowing in His perfect timing it would, indeed happen.

And it HAS. We are THRILLED to announce we have been given ---(drum roll please)


LOA (Letter Of Approval) MOM

This means we check off and sign that we accept this child (Of COURSE WE DO) and then we send off this paper along with other forms to the next step. Depending on how long the next few steps take we are looking at late December travel? Not too thrilled on that one, but again, GOD'S timing.

 Gonna trust HIM in this 100%.

Please give a shout out, even you lurkers, I wanna hear from you ALL------

Because today is also the day I received word that my last surviving grandparent, my wonderful, God loving grandmother (mom to my dad) who turned 100 years old this August passed away today, and I'm betting she had something to say about the 147 day wait---- as in "Get that moving there, my Lord, this girl needs to be HOME." 

See her there in the middle? Surrounded by her surviving sons, her grandchildren, her great grandchildren and that baby beside her-- her GREAT GREAT grandson.  We live on Grammy, we live on.  Enjoy those streets of gold, being with my dad again, being with your husband, long gone- again, and most of all, being held by the Heavenly Father who loves you beyond measure. I'm sure you are soooo incredibly happy up there:) 

We'll be looking to do some fundraising for the next part of this journey, I'll write more on that soon enough, for today, we celebrate 2 fold--

Our approval
My Gram is HOME

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tough Love

Still no LOA.

We have not "missed the boat" because no LOA's for our agency YET. IF that happens you will all hear me scream. Not to be confused with the "WE GOT IT" scream. No, this will be the "WHAT!! Vickie's gonna hurt someone" scream.
Just to clarify there. (MOM)

So in talking this week to another wonderful mom parenting a disrupted "tough" child, she said "Ohhh you need to post about this." 

I *thought* I was fairly open, although respectful of my children's privacy.  But NO, she said-- this MUST be shared.  So here goes...........

Our oldest adopted son. Son of my heart. Son that God created MIRACLES to get this boy/young man here. I have not one doubt that he is MEANT to be our son. He has been home now over 2 years. Yet, he is still living in survival mode:(

 He does not like ME. He blames ME for things I did not do, things that happened to him in China. Sounds silly, huh? But I'm available, I love him. And for him to accept that means that I *could* (in his mind) go away, once he "lets me in."  Just like everyone else has done in his life:(

So how does this matter? Well, our daily life can get sucked up in his behavior. Not to say it's all bad. No, it's not. He goes along, is quiet, maybe even compliant for about 1-2 weeks per month. Then something happens to make him mad, usually something I say or do. And he builds. We SEE it happening. He refuses to speak to me, refuses to listen to me, starts doing things he knows will annoy me.  He escalates in self care behaviors- therefore cutting US out of his life, he "doesn't need us."

Then as he continues along this path, I eventually have to take a stand and we end up butting heads. Because he tries to take over MY HOUSE. The running of my house. In weird ways, things other people say "WOW, I'd be thrilled to have a kid put clothes in the dryer, rearrange my kitchen, etc."

But I know my son, and this is NOT to help, it's his way of showing HIS way is faster, better than ME. To OUT DO me. As one of the "bosses" of this home and family.  I often say he wants to "be me" and that's what I mean.  He would like to take ME out of the equation of his life so he can do things how HE WANTS them.

Of note, at first these behaviors showed up in him bossing the younger kids, hitting, being mean, running away, creating as much chaos as he could within the home. None of which got him anywhere. Our other children refuse to "listen" to him when he tries to parent them, they come to us and so he gave up when it became unsuccessful to do. AND we do believe him being male and taught many years of  the Chinese preference for males makes him think he is superior over me, a woman.

Why does this matter? Well.. we got him older than most. Much older. And he has so little time to get basic things missed. Our son is a survivor, great for surviving the streets of China, not so great here. Because he will not ASK anyone how to do something, or if he SHOULD do something. And we've explained to him over and over this will not WORK when he is on his own. He will not succeed, which he wants to soooo  badly when he can not and will not show his own MOTHER respect, ask for help or instruction, thinks he is always right, no bending on that at ALL, gets very offended if you even suggest he is WRONG.

We've run into a number of issues from him doing things how HE thinks is right and it's NOT. He's damaged things, hurt himself, created issues for the other kids, made us more work:(

 He is respectful to women at church, he is respectful to grandmother. He is rude, hurtful and downright WILL NOT LISTEN to me at all on a fairly regular basis. And he thinks it's OKAY to act like that? No it's not, not to this momma. Sadly, he treats his ESL teacher this way as well:( She has gotten the brunt of his anger because she is teaching him English that he really doesn't like learning, 'cause, it's hard. He got a huge, rude awakening when he got here and could not communicate for a long time. And he decided he WOULD NOT learn.

He likes to say he listens to dad even when dad yells at him because dad gets over it right away. Well, dad has explained to him I am a different person who has been hurt deeply in the past and I DON'T get over it fast. Hurt me and I'm going to be hesitant toward you next time. I work on this issue with God's help but it's part of MY history and I can't always change that quickly. I also get the brunt of his nastiness and quite frankly get tired of dealing with it.

 I mean, yes, I'm the adult but how many times is anyone going to take the constant "slapping in the face?" (NO one hitting me MOM, don't come over) and turn around for some MORE. I try my hardest with this because it's what God tells me to do even when I don't want to.

It's hard for dad to see because he never and I mean NEVER acts this way with DAD. Which again, tells me he knows it's wrong to be doing it. But each and almost EVERY month (I call it his PMS time - NOT MINE MOM) we have a blow up, problems, have to sit him down and explain what is going to happen if things do not change.

EVERY SINGLE MONTH.

I feel- tired, sad, annoyed, angry, aggravated, bummed out, hurt, drained.

Tired, of doing this over and over with a 17 year old.
Sad, will he EVER get this?
Annoyed, doing this over and over with a 17 year old.
Angry, for his sake, what was done to  him, that I can't change it for him.
Aggravated, that it's ME he has chosen to do this to.
Bummed out that we may never see him heal in ways he needs to.
Hurt, that we go through this over and over.
Drained, that we have to do this again, every time, same stuff, different day!

Now, this is not to say things haven't improved, they have:) Whooo hooo. It used to be every week, then every other, then every 3 weeks or so, now we are seeing every month.  So I'm not saying he's not making progress and we are thrilled even to see him make baby steps. Because God gave us this son, He didn't promise easy, but He did promise to be here for us and He is, He hears from me OFTEN about this son.

I just don't think our son is going to STOP living in survival mode for a LONG time, if ever. And no, I do NOT think he needs a new home, a new start, because this child needs to stay where he has a mother who loves him, who loves his siblings, one he sees WANTS him, and that's ME.  He's not going to give ANOTHER mother a chance. No way. He doesn't even want to give ME a chance, so  another home is not his path. His best odds of "making it" is seeing his siblings, including Paisley accepting the love and family we offer to them.

So Monday night was "the monthly talk", he clung, and I mean CLUNG to his crap behavior, "Whatever, I don't care, I don't know," were his answers, wouldn't look at us and even said he'd rather be in the streets of China begging than to be here with us.  Yup, he sure did. 

We have to be TOUGH with this child/young man. We want him to "get it." And wimp parenting isn't gonna do it.  So he has been informed, that if he is going to disrespect me, ANY disrespect of me,  he will be met with punishment. And we hit where it hurts (not hitting any kids MOM, don't call!) We take things that matter until the behavior changes NOT a set amount of time because he would just wait out that time.

He tries to let on like he doesn't care but I know he does. So yes, he will get angry, and that's okay, because in some ways ANGER is a healthy emotion.HE needs to address his anger over what happened to him in China. BUT in a healthy way that does not mean taking it out on ME.

So what do we do? We take away TV, extra curricular activities,  he sits in his room with nothing to do. We have had to take his clothes, we take the right to go shower as he pleases. This angers him deeply. Last time we told him he had to ASK to use the stuff we were providing for him (shower) since he was using us (his words) to get what he could from us till he could "get out." So he snuck off and showered. I turned off the water on him and took ALL of his clothes. We made him SIT in his clothes for a whole day. Told him we would provide an outfit when it suited US to allow him to change. 

Let's just say he straightened up VERY fast.  He did NOT like that one bit. He is very (got some OCD for sure) picky about his "things" so for us to take them was horrible for him.

How does this work when we are trying to bond? Well... let's just say this is a different road than I expected, but it's one where he does know we love him, we do tell him, we do tell him how wanted he was/is. He also has been told we do not take in people just to provide for them-- we chose to adopt him and make him our son, God brought him here and that includes us loving him. That comes with a whole set of expectations of HIM.

 He MUST learn because he lacks skills to work things out. This is teaching, tough love, whatever you want to call it, but it's building the skill to ASK for help. To rely on us, even when he doesn't WANT to.

So when people ask me for help, I understand.  I can say what things I saw in the beginning with our guy that we didn't address, not realizing where they were leading to with this son. I can understand the draining of the family, of the person this anger is so often pointed at in the family and it's usually mom, more often than anyone else. I live it.

I also know how manipulating a child can be. Our son has gone to school, said he wasn't allowed to eat. Didn't have ANY breakfast because (MOM-- I'll say it for you--- THAT POOR CHILD!) wasn't ALLOWED to.  Thankfully our ESL teacher has learned (although the hard way) that he is a master at trying to manipulate things. She pulled in the twins and asked, "What ya got at home to eat for breakfast."  And the answer was pop tarts, fruit, cereal, breakfast bars, toast, etc.  Hummmm. Sounding fishy about now?  Yeah, so she called me. And here was the skinny of the matter-- he was cooking noodles and making a MESS and I got tired of it and said "NO noodle cooking in the morning, eat American food for breakfast." 

SO instead of listening to me, he wanted HIS way. And he figured if he got ME in trouble by saying he "couldn't have" breakfast he would be assured to get his way to cook noodles for breakfast.  Yep, he did.  To be honest it makes me mad just remembering that he did this.

So I take all these very strong emotions I have and what do I do with them?  I channel them right where I need to.  I have to feel that God has me parenting this son for a GOOD reason, and that this is for me to grow, me to use this type of parenting  for some better cause.

This is why I help people adopting, people struggling, people re homing, people taking a disrupted child. I get ALL of them. I don't claim to be an expert. But as either one of the first mom's to get one of these "tough ones" or possibly one of the few willing to share how tough this is, I didn't get much back up over these past 2 years. And since Sonshine goes off smiling and happy in every situation but HOME no one believes how tough he can make our home life.

 I do all I can to educate parents taking on an older child and honestly there are families struggling with much younger children with these same behaviors as well. I want to see it work out for both the children and their families but I also do not judge people who decide their family just can't take anymore and child needs to start over to make it. I understand, sadly, I DO.   I also know it often works for the child. Just look at Paisley:)

Paisley had many of the same "survival mode" behaviors and still has a few. But this time round, I knew where we had to stand firm and not tolerate it. For her to be emotionally healthy. And it's worked. She told me this week in English, on her own "I love you."

I don't EVER want to discourage people from adopting older. NO WAY. These kids are treasures. They want so much to be loved. But I also want to share because families are getting these "survival mode kids" and think they are ALONE. Something is wrong with THEM that this child is not making it.  It's just not true.  I look at our family and I know without one doubt we have done everything, 100% everything to help this son of ours make it. To help him overcome. To give him every benefit of being a family member, of being our son, of being adopted, of being with his sibs. Because the others are thriving, they are doing WONDERFUL.

It's HIS choices to be angry, unwilling, rude, miserable. And yes, we have him in counseling. We had him on some great vitamins that he now refuses to take even though we saw improvement. He has accepted God into his heart and he has been talked to by Youth Pastor, Youth Leader, Pastor's wife, Chinese mentor, his siblings. He makes the choices.  Pastor's wife did explain to him that accepting God into his heart meant following God's rules and honor your parents is one of those biggies.  And that not doing it is giving in and giving himself to the devil.

He actually apologized to me right away (after she said that) and sincerely, not something I usually get. And he's making effort today-- doing what he needs to do quite well.  I am enjoying my son today. Other days I want to quit. I want to cry "Uncle" and take the fast train outta here. (Not going anywhere MOM)

Wanna know what finally set him off this month? (He had been working up to it) Look at the picture. Was asked to stand there with his siblings and break something of a smile? Not look as if he hates the world?  Yup, that did it. Something that small, because it came from my lips:(  AND yes, we do know some of things he does is VERY normal teen stuff, no doubt. We make allowances for that and always have.

What does this do to our other kids? Well, at first his behavior deeply hurt the other kids. We had to reassure Chloe we did not blame her for wanting her brothers here and him behaving badly, because she thought it was her fault. She was appalled by his behavior toward me. Chance took refuge with US, to protect him from Chase trying to boss him. Camden knew to come to us, as did Kat. Our newbie, Paisley has watched his behavior and how we respond with great interest and adjusted HER behavior ( just little things) when dealing with us and her siblings, taking her cues of what he does is NOT GOOD.

So there it is. No sugar coating prettiness in this. But have NO DOUBT-- much, much love for this son, as we continue to weather the storms, savor the progress and know he is our son whom we love now and always. We also work hard to teach our son he has God, the ONE who will never leave him. Who kept him safe and got him here, Who loves him unending, He who will never fail him:)

I'm so thankful to have God to get us through the tough and to give to our son to allow him to heal. I don't think I personally could weather these storms alone or would have made it this long with our son without God giving me the guidance/strength.

Now for some GOOD news, Paisley has been doing so well--- I have to share, we have been working on her bond with dad, a very sore and hard place for her to go. So last evening when I was cutting up our roasted chicken for our meal, she said "I want the skin." And I told her, "That's DAD's favorite part, you'll have to fight him for it" as I pretended to punch the air:)  And she said "I won't have to fight him, I just ask him and he will give it to me." OHHHHHH-  I laughed and told Dad, "She's got your number dad!!"  Because she is right, he would. She's getting to know him and he's a big ol' teddy bear. He loves his girls, (and the boys too MOM) and would do anything for them. 


He also took her to PT this week, and to get the candy toppings for her "cell cake." (NOT a jail cell MOM) Animal cell, a school project, I made a small round cake and cupcakes, added a cupcake in the cake for the nucleus and then she used candy to make up all the parts of the cell. Neat- o huh??  Wonder what my--- oops I mean HER grade will be?

Loving the progress of ALL of our children, they are all, each and every one, soooo very precious.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A letter

DEAR CHINA,

We are the family of a blondie girl we are adopting from your country. We think you have forgotten us.

Blondie, who has known about us for over a YEAR, is surely thinking we are never coming for her:(

WE are on the verge of craziness. Now, we KNOW that if we head over that "verge"--- then we no longer qualify to adopt this precious gem from your country. So we are clinging to our sanity by our ragged fingernails.

We think it's..........

W-earing, wasteful of time, woefully sad
R-ude, really, really mean, ridiculous
O-utrageously mean, obtuse, ornery
N-asty, non-necessary, negative
G-rossly wrong, greatly painful, grievous

And are asking very nicely, could you PLEASE, PLEASE send our LOA (Approval for Phoebe MOM) as in, like, YESTERDAY?
We have broken down and counted it out, 140 LONGGGGGGGGG days as of today since we were logged in.  Added to our insult, we were logged in 6 WEEKS after our paperwork made it to CHINA.  Yep, I can't even add those days in without becoming a total puddle of mess.

We know you are very busy, Mr. Signs-the-paper-dude.  We get it. But we also get that our girl is waiting. She doesn't understand you are too busy. 

We also have lovely friends who are hanging on the edge of their seats waiting to see us travel again to get this treasure home. These friends worry us, SIR. They are becoming quite restless. They are making threats.  You may hear from them if you can't find the time soon to sign your little scribble on that one little paper.

We can not take ANY responsibility for the wording these "friends" may use. We can not take any credit. 

We are too busy hanging by the phone, praying, checking e-mail, checking adoption boards, stalking our agency to find out if today is THE DAY. (It was NOT)

So, needless to say, it would just be easier if you send us the paper signed and we can assure you we will be signing YES, we want her. No question on that one. Matter of fact it would be really cool of you to just send it on out. No tears, no nasty phone calls, no mean thoughts, nothing. We all can just move right along.

So any day now, Mr. Signing Dude.  ANY DAY. Tomorrow would suit, next week would be hard, but we would take that too, just NOT forgotten, like we think we have been:((( 

And if not ---weeeellllllll, we COULD give MOM your number?? Hummmm, you really would LOVE mom, she'd be happy to tell you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, why to do it, who is to do it,  how to do it.  Just might make you feel, well, kinda like us-- NUTS??  I'm just sayin'.....................

Friday, September 14, 2012

Foolin' Around

Not me (MOM) the kids. They are just too funny.

Look at some of the fun things they do with/to each other. I mean, having siblings has just got to be the coolest, right?

Hummm. Well, Dustin and Camden used to think that, then they got upset with one another and we had a life lesson on living with others. How people can and do get on your nerves (no matter who they are) and that's not a reason or "okay" to be mean to the other person:(

Miss Kitty had to be included too, and when I asked her to write down her own punishment for not being nice she wrote--- No TV for a year. WOW. No. Then "NO FOOD for a year." AS IF.  Then NO WATER for a year. Drama queen. So we went with the milder "No DS for a week." I know, how could I?

I was amazed at Paisley who tried jumping, Uh, the kids even said "Mom, look, she is feeling better, she can JUMP!" (Doesn't look like it but her feet were off the floor!!) Too cute, even if a fuzzy picture of how happy she was to be doing something physical they were doing. Although I lost years off my life thinking, please don't FALL It was a delight to see her having such fun.

Later she was talking to me about going back to China to live. Yep. Still her plan. Doesn't surprise me-- does it you?  Even though we limit contact greatly to build a solid bond, I accept that some of my children will for (VERY) long periods and when angry, when unable to understand what it means--- they will want to go back to "live in China." 

I think Chloe and maybe Chance have the best understanding of what this means, really means. As in, going back to being an orphan. NOT that we would deny them as our kids (NO WAY), or not go visit them (NO WAY), but being seen in that society as an ORPHAN.  Not being able to get work. Not being seen as worthy. No matter how hard they work.

I do not deny my children their feelings. Nope.  I will give them a heads up on the reality of it though. I tell them it costs thousands to go there. I tell them that we definitely want to return with them someday to visit all the places they are from. But only to visit. We get into further as they learn and grow (not yet with Paisley, yes with the others) how even though they have friends who "SAY" they can live with them if they return, the likelihood of that being true is low.

That for Paisley, we will eventually share with her that she will not have the access to medical care she gets here. Not that we don't want her in China. If she wants to be an adult and live there, we will be---- still her parents, visiting often, supportive and need to visit often, get the drift?

But do I think it would be an easy life for them? NO.Therefore I pray for them, that they do go where they not only want to be, but where God wants them to go.  Maybe they are meant to go there and change some of those attitudes? I don't know so I respect their desires.

For the time being Paisley started Occupational Therapy in school, typing class. A great way to strengthen her weak wrists as well as give her skills to do that will not require great amounts of stress on her body. 

Chloe is finally able to see out of her eyes, and the poison ivy is down to dry patches, hardly noticeable. Thank goodness. She looked like someone slammed her in the face but good:(

Chase has been busy cutting up chicken (already dead ones--mom, from the store)  and shaping watermelon into some type of flower looking thing.
He seems to be finding a content place with this new school schedule of learning culinary arts.

No complaints out of Chance either, so he is adjusting with the new schedule he got and to high school life. Camden really likes Middle School, as well as Paisley.  It's nice that the phone calls home are more often good news than bad:)

I didn't post anything to follow up on re homing, there's some great comments on the last post left by families affected by this, as the e-mails I got were personal and I won't share personal stuff of someone else. Just know that it's a ton of pain. I'm so thankful for anyone involved, the first family who goes with the call from God, the strength to see the child may need a different situation, people who step up and offer support, help, homes.  All of these people are wonderful in my book (no, not writing one yet).

Adoption is so complicated, it's like an onion with many, many layers to peel, whole and pretty to start, then getting down to core when you get the layers peeling away.  Although adoption is not STINKY--- MOM-- don't call--- my kids shower, they aren't stinkin' like onions. Geeeshhh.  Although I might be callin' someone stinky if we don't get that LOA for Phoebe soon---- come on!


No, adoption is LOVE- pure and sweet LOVE. Just look at my treasures, how could you not love those faces? 


Monday, September 10, 2012

Here goes

Disruption, re homing, whatever you want to call it, I've SEEN the good. It lives with me:) She's a treasure who I think would have stubbornly held on to her anger forever with first family for things SHE felt they did, not that they were wrong. What if they kept her in her misery and never cared to look for a place for her to overcome? Should they have? Just so people wouldn't judge? Just so they wouldn't be looked down upon?

Someone asked us how we feel about first family. Well, first thought is "GRATEFUL". For giving us this daughter. She's a JOY. It comes up in front of her sometimes, at the doctor's "How long have you had her, did you go to China to bring her home?" And I say "She was adopted from China by a first family and it did not work out. We got her in May and she is doing wonderfully."

Notice, I do not BLAME. It does NO good to teach her blame. On her or first family. It's the plain truth. It did not work out. I will not say "They didn't want her." That would be a lie. They DID. I will not say "She was AWFUL to them and they couldn't bond to her" because I didn't live there.

I think with more and more people adopting older from China, as well as more awareness happening, more about disrupting is coming to light. It's out there. It's not something that people want to talk about, think about but it is HAPPENING. And ignoring it is not going to make it- not happen, go away, not affect you or someone you know.  It is NOT a disease. It can not be passed on.

It's a reality. We are human beings. There are people you meet you take an immediate liking to. You "click" and it can be awesome. Then there's people you meet and you totally CAN-NOT-STAND-THEM. Don't want to be around them.

Maybe they are rude, hitting you, hitting your children, swearing, passing gas, giving you the finger, spitting at you,making fun of others, scaring others,  peeing their pants, and then what if this is a child you just brought into your family as a NEW FAMILY MEMBER??

Ya thinkin' they look really lovable about now? NO?  So you all say "Okay but it's a KID, stick it out, it will get better."  Fair enough. But then WHAT IF IT DOESN'T get better?
Then what? Make said child continue to be miserable, making your whole family miserable? Hurting others, pets, YOU, breaking things, setting fires, running away, lying, stealing, telling teachers you beat them, acting out sexually, etc. Looking even prettier? NO?

Since I don't live anywhere but HERE in my house, I do not project my ideas on others, of how long, what they should/shouldn't tolerate onto others. I WILL support people who don't want to disrupt and just want helpful hints from a BTDT parent, for sure.

 BUT I also will support parents who have decided they may want to disrupt or that they are going to disrupt because it is NOT my place to make that choice, it is- THEIRS.

No one, I don't care WHO you think you are, WHO YOU ARE, unless you were living in the home or standing at the door wanting to raise that child, if a family decides to take the re homing step, no one has a right to tell them they are wrong.

Families who disrupt have enough heartache over not being able to parent a child for whatever reason. I think some of the most SELFLESS parenting is seeing the child's need and giving that child a chance to make it. I don't see it as "giving up" because I know a few families who disrupted and I know for a fact they were 100% drained.

They gave it their ALL. And to say to them by looks, words, whispers "You shouldn't have done that--- ohh, how could you, maybe if you had tried a little longer? Maybe you didn't love them ENOUGH?"  These things are like taking a knife and cutting their wound open a few more inches deeper. It's pain to them.

Because people who disrupt are not "monsters, unfeeling, cold, uncaring people."  They are PEOPLE-- they have feelings, they often went to foreign countries to bring these kids home, they had hopes, dreams, excitement, love for these kids. And they have had all of these things DIE a slow (or fast) death when it didn't work out.

Were they unprepared? Should they do MORE? Maybe. I can't say for sure. I don't live with them remember? But here's the thing---- You are NOT changing MANY of these kids. You aren't changing their personalities. You aren't changing things that happened to them that they remember. One of the HARDEST things about adopting these older treasures is they DO come with pasts. Pasts they remember and sometimes can slam you with the depth of pain they caused when your child shares.

It's ugly. And for some, the ugly doesn't go away. We may NOT be able to heal them. Love doesn't FIX all.  It can be hard to find a happy medium of "We love you, we want you, you are worthy of love and how to move on without being an emotional cripple over that past" for these kids. And I don't just mean TEENS. Sometimes these kids are YOUNG and things happen to traumatize them.

I'll share with you something I have not shared until now. Kat came to us at age 3. Turned 3 with us, in China. She came from a very loving foster home, deeply loved her foster parents. Was with them for 2 years. So orphanage care for first year of life.
When she first came home and started to speak English one thing she said was "I wish I was BOY"  and I thought, WOW, she already knows the cultural preference for boys there?  I assured her we were THRILLED she was a girl, we wanted a girl.

Time went on, we'd hear this maybe once a month? She added on later to the "I wish I was a boy---girls DIE."  And I thought, HUH?  Wasn't sure what she meant, but assured her she was safe, she wasn't going to die.  Later met up with a girl from her orphanage (see Rissa's page here )http://aredthreadsmile.blogspot.com/
 and the girls told us the most AMAZING story, they recalled being crib mates and how they held each other when they were scared and left alone at night. 

Even down to the scrap of cloth Kat held onto as a "security blanket" of sorts. HOW? We wondered. Could they remember that so YOUNG?

My doubts about this were thrown right out when our blessing of Tristan, our foster baby came along. Because a few days after he passed, Kat was in the kitchen and she looked at me with total horror on her face and she said to me "Is that girl, the one the man hurt, oh mommy--- she died, mommy, is she in Heaven with our baby?"  And I KNEW, somehow I KNEW she was there, where ever THERE had been reliving something she saw IN CHINA.  So I asked her what happened and she said "A man, mommy, he swing that girl around and hurt her, she hit her head, mommy, she's dead, girls die, why did he do that?" 

As I looked at my daughter, her face so distraught, I gently told her, "Kat, that man, he was WRONG. What he did was wrong. He should have NEVER done that to her. We never hurt Tristan, Jesus decided to take him because he was born broken, but Jesus also took that little girl and now HE loves her and HE made her whole and not hurt anymore and she is SAFE now in Heaven."

She processed that and her relief was visible. She had just found the words to tell me what she saw when she was too little to have words. She had finally put together what happened and needed to know how to cope with that.  I'm fairly sure I got her there. Because about 1 month later she said to me "Mommy, that girl and Tristan, they are together in Heaven and happy right, they are playing together?" And I told her I had not-one-doubt they those 2 precious babies were together in Heaven playing.

At Tristan's 3 year passing date I asked Kat if she remembered about the "girl" she had told me about, and was surprised but also PLEASED that she did not. Didn't remember a thing. Because it told me that the anger, fear, hurt, shock, pain, the trauma she had bottled up over what she saw was gone. God gave us the insight to it just so we could help her get past this. He loves HER and the little girl who suffered SO MUCH.

We never know what our children have gone through, seen, been exposed to, suffered through. Maybe something in a family or home triggers the pain, the upset, anger,from a past event and within another family it does not. Or a new start is needed, when a child is not told or doesn't want to be adopted and blames first family. Maybe a child has more needs that were disclosed and needs a stay at home parent and got parents who only have 6 weeks off, expected to put child in school and child needs to be home schooled? So do they quit their job, thus lose their home, possibly destroy a marriage to not re home a child?

Where do you draw the line?  I'm personally going to let the family living with a child decide. These people go through a grief process like a DEATH has occurred.  Seriously.  None that I know have taken re homing lightly or with anything but caring and desire for the best for that child / other children in the home, the family, the WHOLE picture. They will grieve, some fast, some slow, they will not forget the child, even with no contact. They may wish to NOT have contact to ease the pain but the memories are still there.  I'm not going to be someone who ADDS to a family hurting like that by looking/saying/doing anything purposefully to make them feel BAD about a choice they are making. AGAIN- I don't live with them, I have NO RIGHT, NO ONE has that right.

And if you are a family blessed with taking on a re homed child, here's some things for you to consider--

Please, I will beg you here, don't ever tell you child their first family did-not-want-them. PLEASE.  They did want them, even if it seemed like in the end they didn't. I don't care if the child is adopted internationally, foster care, it's your sister's kid that she has a drug problem and can't take care of them. DO NOT burden the child with "YOU were not wanted." SO many of our children carry such burdens already and feel unwanted already, don't add to that, PLEASE.

Consider your words. Your actions. We do not WHISPER ( Paisley had a first family) it's said when needed, out front. And that it did not work out. No blaming of her, them, just the facts. It's not shameful. They are not "bad people" we need to shame.  They are loving and caring people who gave her their ALL.

Give first family a name to distinguish families, maybe "your INSERT STATE HERE family" if they came from another state. Especially if you have other children who do not understand how you got this kid from China but didn't go to China and why didn't the family who brought them from China keep them? This can get hairy. Especially if your other kids are adopted as well. 

Allow the new child to guide you in where they need to go for closure. Paisley had already found her closure, she had shut first family firmly from her life, therefore she does not wish any contact with them. If she suddenly came to us and wanted contact we would be fine with that.

We know down the road she will revisit this issue time and time again. She will wonder if she was "unloved" by them, or "unlovable."  And we fully expect to help her understand she is very loved, by very many including her first family. More importantly she is loved by God, she always has been, always will be. She has always been a treasure to Him and is now to us.

I would be happy to share ---- jump in here if you have re homed a child, please!! Let us know how is your family doing now? How do you feel? Share (no names needed) send me an email ronvic7@yahoo.com and I will post only responses with NO identifying info, because I won't help anyone slam you. 

Do you have regrets? Does it help to see the child doing well, or do you take that as an insult?  I'll post what you what to share- whatever that is. Or if you wish, leave comments to this post.

Let's break the silence of this issue, let's get info out there, so parents who are struggling can get help, if it's advice, respite, re homing, whatever, we need to be supportive and not judging. I for one think adoptive families ROCK--- 100% rock.  ALL of you. God calls, you answer. Might not be where you planned, when, or even turn out how you planned but He is still here with us all, getting us through and these children are SOOOO very worth it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Birthday Boys

So exciting today! We got to share a birthday with cousin Dustin for the first time ever. You see living in Japan for his whole life doesn't allow fun family gatherings for birthdays.

But he is here now------ and Camden's 12 tomorrow, Dustin is 11 on Wed so we got them a cake and P-A-R-T-A-Y time was here.  Whoo hoo.

The boys loved sharing their cake, they each had candles on a side so they could see who could blow them all out (they both missed 1) and then they opened gifts together.

Their BIG gift comes next weekend when they go with dad to a BIG Christian concert:)  They are so excited. They both love music and we love that it's Christian music, it's really neat that they can enjoy the sound and the words, no worries of smut being included.

It's been an incredibly busy week. I've been helping 2 families that are looking to re home. (Not with us MOM)  I don't ever mind anyone contacting me, I try to get back to them asap, if it's questions, needing help with an older treasure, re homing advice, whatever. It just drives home how important it is that judging is NOT the goal when a family struggles. Support is so needed.  

I feel a big post coming on that but no time right now, so I'll go back to other news.

Paisley had a orthopaedic appt to see about her hip yesterday.  Doctor explained she  does have the back side of  the damaged bone that is smoother than the front so her bones adjust to glide over that area (hence the limp as it rotates) and it allows her to walk better that way. So for now it's stable and we will maintain her as best as possible with the walking she does.

The doctor was super with her, and he was very interested in where she was from. He said he has been to China 4 times and I asked him how many kids he brought back. He said "NONE".  So I told him to "Get on the ball, bring back a kid or two."  He was also interested in my tattoos, I have a plum blossom flower for each kid and each of my Chinese kiddos names (in Chinese) on my lower leg, wrapped around one foot. So I explained that to him and told him he would be perfect to adopt a special need kiddo to his life (not to mine MOM).

He actually said his oldest child was a senior in high school and it would be a good time. So when he told us we didn't have to come back unless we have a problem for a year- I told him I want to hear he has an orphan-turned-son-or-daughter home or coming home by the time we go back:)))

You just never know who you can influence. He said to me "Oh what a good thing you have done" and I made sure to tell him "They are OUR blessings, it's not about us, we enjoy them."   And I told him 163 MILLION orphans. China's special need includes ALL of our children, yet they look just perfect to me?  Yep, can't tell me what need they have, maybe to be SPECIAL to us?

No pictures of Chloe still, I think she rapidly got over the "My tooth is chipped" when she arrived home on Wednesday with poison on her face. By Thursday morning she had 2 eyes swollen shut:(  Yep, another allergic reaction that she had to take Prednisone for (she tells people she is taking "pregnant") which raises some HUGE eyebrows.  She is looking better but the eyes are still swollen, just not SHUT.

We went to school Open House for Kat and Dustin. It seems everyone knows Kat. No surprise there. I heard PARENTS saying, "Oh there's Kat." And I was thinking "who are you?"

I took Paisley for her monthly blood work due to her medicine at the Quick Lab and some guy heard her talking to me about mixing up her friends MaKenna, and MaKenzie. He said "Oh what grade are you in, I know 2 girls named that, are you in first grade, honey?"  She looked at him and didn't answer right away so he said "2nd grade?"  She said "7th grade" and he looked at me, I said "Yep, she's 14, almost 15. And he was visibly shocked. I told him she's small but good things come in small packages. And left it at that. I could tell she was glad I took care of it and ended the conversation.

Big brother Brandon did come by this week and asked how much English Paisley spoke, she's very quiet. He said it's hard to get past the size of her, she is so close in size to Kat, who is 8. But I told him just to get to know her, because you get to know the teen she is and you forget the size. I know we do.

Everyone is doing better in school, the adjustments are going well for all, and I go in Tuesday to sign the adjustments made for Paisley in a 504 plan for her disability, that I agree with them.

For now the Birthday boys are happy, Dustin got what I call a "Boy Toy" Paisley helped me pick it out, it's a small electronic gadget that makes burp, vomiting, and other obnoxious sounds. DO we know boys or what? He thinks it's the COOLEST. He likes the "police car" one and said he was going to hide it and play it in the back seat when he rides with his dad.  I told him he might not want to do that, his dad might have a heart attack. After all he just got something we all aren't talking about SPEEDING TICKET, and he's OLD, well, okay, older than ME.  

So, your welcome big bro. I KNOW you'll love when he plays tricks on you with this annoying funny little toy.  (Remember all those years you annoyed me as a kid??)

Pay back time. Teee, heeeee......

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It's a Squirrel

video
Or better yet, Miss Kitty describing a "swirl" aka SQUIRREL.  That girl, she's just too funny.  

Dustin and I were at the bus stop when she did this. We laughed and laughed. What a great way to start the day:)

Other starts to the day-- Uncle Roy drove out in his U- haul with all his stuff. Many boxes. Headed to his new house that he is closing on right this minute. Thus the extra room in my house, and the pictures of boxes. He is moving 2 hrs away from us, after 23 years in Japan. It was much cheaper to send me over 200 boxes from Japan than to have a mover do that. 

And since he's my bro what's mine is his (my space)  and what's his is mine (all those boxes, his son), even though I want his stuff to be his (although I'm enjoying his boy) and am so excited for them to be living so much closer.  Now if we can pray his wife here?  She needs her visa stuff to clear (she is Japanese) so she can bring cute little Jerry (their 5 year old)  and have their family together again, living in their new house.


Another start to the day- Paisley is now sniffling and Camden sounds stuffy:( Kat brought home a cold the first week of school and she's shared it. Can't share nothin' else, but germs, ohh yeah, they share them easily.

Still got that cute smile I love from Paisley , as well as Camden's:)

Someone who is not smiling, couldn't even get a shot of her face this morning. See the pink blur in the picture?  That's her. Chloe. Very upset. She came to me last evening and said "Mother, I don't know how this happened." 

 She chipped her tooth:(  It was the one chipped before but it's worse this time.  I told her this morning it wasn't worth being upset about, it's fixable and it happens. 

She was so happy when she got her tooth fixed from the original chip, she was so self conscious about it. So it really upset her to have it chipped again:(

I started my day with hope, hope that today could be the day we have LOA for Phoebe. How, why, do I still have hope and am not whining, complaining, suffering deeply over this horribly long wait? Well, the first thing I can say is "God." Seriously. I prayed, not just prayed, but prayed without ceasing. Every time I thought of it (which was constant) I lifted it up to Him. And when it did overwhelm me, I went to Him. And I told Him I needed peace about this. 

And He gave me peace. This is His timing. His call. We have to accept He is in control, and this is NOT about us. For whatever reason He has we wait. His timing is perfection as is His plan. We will not lose sight of that. As my good friend always says--- "There's no TESTimony without the TEST.  This journey is HIS. He is blessing us with this child. We give Him the praise. I do not lose sight of that.

So even if today ends and the call doesn't come, we will go on, trusting Him and knowing it WILL come.  And it will be the RIGHT timing. He never goes wrong.

It's a new day and I'm thankful to be here even if we continue to wait---I'm working on a second cup of tea,  needing to do another load of laundry.

How did you all -or if you are around here we say "you uuns" start your day? I hope it was with a laugh, and if not, well go back to the top there and watch that video, that'll do it for you:)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

What cha know?

The boxes are leaving my house. I hardly recognize my own bedroom. 27 boxes less, and it looks, well, BARE.

The kids all helped wonderfully and got the 125 boxes out of the attic and down to the garage so we can load the truck tomorrow and send him on his way.

Although 47 boxes are still to come. Our lil post office has been overwhelmed with all the boxes. They have called me every day this week asking begging  me to come get the boxes. Friday I had to go twice, another load came in:)

So what else is up around here?  Well the school situation has gotten better.  MUCH better. The letters seemed to help, we got a good response. We adjusted classes for Chance, he was really not placed well and needed more hands on classes.  He is a visual/oral learner and too much book work/classes he can't follow in deeply discourage him.

Chase is doing fantastic. He is really excited about his culinary class, he was thrilled I brought him a watermelon (no, I didn't really bring it just for HIM but if he thinks I did then who am I to correct that idea?) because he wanted to practice cutting up the rind into fancy shapes.

Chloe has gotten time with the ELL teacher and she is feeling much more capable in her classes.  Camden is loving the new middle school and I am very happy with the modifications made there for Paisley. She seems very happy and getting more used to her days. We want to keep her as mobile as possible for as long as we possibly can-- so I love the scooter idea but not yet:) Paisley talks of her buddy "McKenna" here and there and I feel confident they are getting along well. 

She has had homework each night, I've been very surprised by how quickly she has been able to pick up sounds, writing sentences, she needs a lot of help with spelling, just like Chloe did. I don't mind helping just no more mention of "homeschooling" PLEASE. You all that do that are such wonderful women, I totally admire you--- I can NOT homeschool. Nope. Not for me. No. Never. Not gonna. Can't make me. Not for ours, you get the drift?

Dustin is doing well, although he said the school is too cold. He misses his momma and we need prayers for her visa stuff to come through so she can get here and get their family back together.  It's tough on these guys and I am sure on his momma. Aunt Vickie is cool but not the same as MOM:)

Kat is  happy with her teacher. So far we have only had one drama over a paper she wanted to return for a "prize" and I had put it in my "throw away" pile and THREW IT AWAY.  How dare me?  So far she has been fairly reasonable about her clothes for the day, we pick them the night before. She did have a melt down one afternoon and then fell asleep, come bed time she couldn't sleep so at midnight and thought TV would be a solution.

Uhh, no, not allowed. So she now has no cable hooked up to the tv in her room.

She went off to a friend's house to play yesterday, giving her something to do:) The twins went to a friend's as well, Chase, Camden and Dustin helped with boxes.   Dad went mountain biking yesterday, we live just 2 miles from some really super trails near a lake and he loves to go biking

Friday I did something for ME. Just me. My HAIR. It's been ages since I got it cut professionally, and I'm talking the local salon attached to W@lmart. Can't find the time? Always thinking of the waste of $$, I mean, I can make it another week, therefore saving more $$ for an upcoming trip to China. Every little bit helps, right?

But I stopped in  to check how long it would take, and the line was long. I had grocery shopped so I didn't want to wait, figured I'd be sporting my pony tail look for a few more days at least. But as I stood in line to return something I said a quick prayer, "God, I know my hair is not important but can you please send me where you want me to be?"

And I went to leave the plaza. Just then I saw another salon I have gone to before-- it's a few dollars more for a haircut but they do a better job, take more time to see what you really want. Not just snip, snip. It was Friday morning. ALWAYS busy, right?

 But what did I see, but a VERY blond stylist standing at the door waiting for customers?  I could not have missed seeing her. So in I went. And the girl listened and did a SUPER job with my hair.

Not high on God's list, I'm SURE, but the thing is, it showed me that He loves me even down to my hair.  I needed a style faster to dry, easier to maintain. And I really needed to get it cut. The stylist asked when I had last gotten a haircut  and when I asked her to guess, she said "A YEAR."  Yeah, it was BAD.

Why do us mothers let things go and go? Poor hubs. Although don't feel too bad, I lost 6 inches of hair and he didn't even notice. So clearly he either --

1. thinks I look bad  no matter what
 2. his eye sight is going

It's okay though, we are an "old" married couple. What does that mean? Well it means I can go a year and not get a hair cut and he will love me anyway. And his eyesight can go and I will still love him the same:)

I'll have you know this post is probably not up to my usually snuff, but then a certain redheaded brother o' mine has pestered, made comments "Something wrong with the blog, no update to read", to MAKE ME post. Not that I don't enjoy keeping up the blog, it's just that whole "Big brother thinks he's gonna tell me what to do??" HA.

 But yet, I did it. Not sure what that means, he's a pest?  He wins? Oh well, doesn't matter, here it is:)