I just love you gals all giving me more things to answer--
Let's see-- As far as Chase and cooking he said he prefers to cook "Mean meals" which he was trying to say "Main meals." (Chase's accent is still very heavy and at times he is hard to understand) No pastry chef for him. Although I do occasionally get hungry for something sweet and will give him pie filling and say "Make me something yummy" and he does:)
He will help make meals but I usually like to cook suppers, although he will cook anything I ask him to, say if I don't feel like it? He will stir/ keep an eye on anything I am cooking which is a super help:)
He learned his cooking skills in VoTech, this year will be his 3rd and final year in culinary arts. It's a half day of his school day and he has learned a bunch, they serve banquets as well as cook for fun.
He even chose to do his senior project using his skills, he is cooking a fundraising dinner at our church (details coming soon) to raise funds for cancer.
Chloe isn't sure what she wants to do as in a career yet, all she knows is she is adopting a child from China and she is greatly offended that she must wait until she is 30. She wanted to know if they would make an exception for her? I am betting by the time she is ready to adopt if the low age range doesn't work for her she will MAKE CHANGES HAPPEN:) She's just that determined.
She did inform me that I have to "be around" for her to do ALL her paperwork and guide her through the steps of adoption. Since it's about 13 years away I told her I totally plan on being here, but that God has the final say on that one. I would HOPE His plan is to allow me to be around to love on my grandbaby/babies, and adopted ones are just fine with me. Actually we hope and pray it's the route we get many, many of our grandchildren:)
Chloe does want to do something with her Chinese/ English skills, as well as her Spanish she is learning and she would love to do something that allows her to travel to China often. Maybe adoption agency? As mission minded as she is, even if her chosen career doesn't line up with those goals I wouldn't be amiss to believe she will go back to China one way or another, and it will be with orphan minded reasons. Although she doesn't want to live in China.
But maybe she'll join me-- yes, my dream is to go to China long term and work in healing homes with orphans. Like, when I retire (No calls MOM it's years away)
As far as our older kids, I really don't talk about them much because, well, they aren't adopted right?
Let's take it from oldest to youngest--
Derrik. He actually IS adopted. By Dad. He is my bio son and he was 15 when he asked Dad to adopt him and so he did. Derrik lives in an apartment that was located next door to us, up until we moved 1 1/2 years ago. Although he is about 8 miles from us now, so still not far.
We see him about once a week or more, he comes out for a meal once in a while. He has always been a quiet, shy person but he loves kids. He is good with all of his younger siblings and they look up to him-- literally and figuratively-- he's 6 ft 4:)
Although that size only means he is a BIG TEDDY BEAR of a brother, lots of jumpin' on him, having him hold up little girls clinging on to one of his arms like their own personal jungle gym. Yep, that would be their biggest bro.
He usually handles the kids a few at a time better, since he is used to his quiet solitude of his own apartment- I think I sent over 2 at a time mostly when they wanted to go play videos games at his place and we were next door neighbors. Although I'm pretty sure I sent 4 over once and rocked his world- ha ha.
Derrik was always someone I could count on with our precious Tristan, when others were scared of him for his big head, his "conditions," Derrik saw a BABY that needed love, and he worked his calming magic he has with kids on that baby brother more than once:)
On to Jay. Jay is much further away, although still within our state lines. He will be re-joining our crew in about a week or so, yes, he is coming home after some issues in his life that have not gone well. He's told us how he plans to use coming home to make some much needed life changes.
The kids all like Jay and are eager for him to come, we think it will be a time of healing for him and we never stop being their parents or being here for any/all of our kids when/if they need us.
Jay hasn't been home since before we got Paisley, so he has her and Phoebe to meet. (Where does time go?) He has a very special bond with Kat, you see when he struggled greatly with some personal issues over the years he always knew he could come home and see Kat, the love bug.
I think she believes Jay was "hers" to love on, or else she just sensed he needed unconditional love at times. She has always been carried around on his back like a baby monkey and called him "Her Jay."
Brandon-- he also doesn't live close, but in state. We see him about once a month-- wish it were more. He is very, very quiet. Always has been. The kids often pepper him with questions, the first one being "Are you Jay? Or Brandon?" Yep, poor guy, they can't always tell them apart. Might be the buzz cuts they both favor, or they are both skinny with dark eyes? (Or maybe a reason both he and Jay should come by more often?) He's always amused by the kids and their many questions/comments as well.
This is what he said to me when I got back from China and he met Phoebe (after she left the room) "So they told you she was Chinese, huh? And you believed them?" Another funny guy in the making here, she was speaking Chinese.
He also said, "Well I can imagine how she stood out in a crowd of black hair" as he was marveling over her beautiful white head of hair. When meeting Paisley he said "How old is she?" (About Paisley) as well, "And you know that for sure? And she won't get any bigger? Bummer, how's she gonna drive?" Loving concern:)
Malaree- we see her the most, she is on her last year at our local college, studying to be a social worker, of course:) If I had to say any of the older kids were favored it would be her. (By the other kids MOM, not the parents-- we don't play favorites, no way)
She drives, works, goes to college, most of these things our older ones are looking forward to. She's close in age to the teens, and she finds them totally funny. As they really are. Even just bombarding her with questions, because that's our kids, full of questions-- Mal-ree- (they miss the Mal -ah- ree) are you staying here? Did you drive here? Did you go fast? How you take test and pass to drive? Will you let me drive your car?
They LOVE to grill her and she handles it all so well. She's really a gifted person, with tons of patience and love for her younger siblings. And they think she is soooo cool, which of course, she is:)
Donovan-- he is about 25 miles away from us. We see him about every 2 weeks or so, depending on his work hours, if he is working nights. Donovan is our son with Aspergers (very mild on autism spectrum) so it overwhelms him to be surrounded and questioned. Not that is stops his siblings. Because he drives as well, and has a job, tried out college, so the kids have to ask him all kinds of things. He complains that we "breathe up all the air" when too many try to talk to him at once:) Which, I must say amuses the teens to no end.
They think Donovan is as funny as can be. He's loud, he doesn't want them hanging all over him, so they do, and he often "pushes" mother in ways the others will not dare to try (talking about bodily functions, etc.) all while exclaiming it's all nature's fault and he shouldn't be held accountable for having brought it up. (See what I mean about FUNNY?)
He also says "OH MOTHER" when I complain I don't see him enough and the teens just think he is ALL THAT. The younger girls are a mystery to him, without one doubt we told him all about Phoebe ( he was there when the social worker came and did home study interviews as well) but the first time he visited once she was home he said "What, you got another one? You gonna have a ball team of your own?" Yeah, funny guy, he is.
And even though I have told him of Paisley's medical issues he never once fails to not say "How old is she? How come she doesn't get any bigger? She's the same size every time I come here." Yep, she is. So observant, that's Donovan.
Now I won't tell you there isn't "some" jealousy, you see the older kids were the first ones we raised, and I think certain one/s feel, well-- bummed, that they didn't get the more experienced, more patient, better equipped parents that we are now:( We can't change that though. And truth be told, I am sure the younger adopted ones feel a twinge of jealousy that the bios have always had us. It's just how it is.
I think too, that Malaree and Donovan are closer to the kids because they lived with them-- the other older kids were grown by the time we started adopting with Kat, them being busy with life/ us basically starting a "second round" of parenting children made it different for the older ones. The 2 (Donovan and Malaree) that actually got to live with some of our adopted kids got to know them better which gave them a different, closer bond. Not that any of them don't love their siblings. The current kids still at home love their older sibs and really do look up to them.
And the older kids love their little sibs and find them interesting, fun, helpful, busy and I've never heard that they denied us as their family-- we are known as "the family with all the Chinese kids." Not a ton of diversity (obviously) in our area. But no denying us:)
I do have to share a FUNNY story about 2 of the older kids, Brandon and Jay, they once applied to the same place for a job, when I asked them what all they had to put down on the application (It was one of the first time filling out applications for them both) and because it was a job working often with groups of kids one question was "How many siblings do you have?" One put 12, the other 14.
Neither one had that many siblings at that time, nor did either get the job. 12/14 siblings, not even close, guys. FUNNY BOYS. Real funny.
So there you have it. All about cooking, futures and our wonderful older crew.
We love them all, each one is so very special to us in their own way. It's one of the greatest things about parenting this many kiddos- all the different personalities, seeing them grow, seeing the different life paths they choose, the bond they have with each other, adding the new siblings and having great older siblings giving the new kiddos more people to love/who love them.
I think adoption has been a special blessing to all of our children, when some of the older children have had hard times, have struggled, I know they have drawn strength from the younger kids, knowing where they have come from.
Our adopted kiddos have seen/lived through life experiences that *should* cripple a grown person-- yet most always the added on siblings here are happy, they are learning, they are eager to enjoy each and every day. They find joy and happiness even in the smallest of things.
They really do inspire even their own family members with their personalities, their joy, as well as amuse all of us. I mean, how can you not smile when they are thrilled just because we are having a food for supper, something we've eaten a thousand times but they are THRILLED and willing to SHARE THAT with anyone and everyone around:)
Never a dull moment. Nope, not here.
Even the blue eyed monster (NOT dad or Phoebe MOM-- the blue eyed DOG) keeps me hoppin'--- of course late the night before Chloe and Chance's birthday celebration that rotten bugger (the dog) went and got sprayed by a skunk. Yes, he did.
As it was "late" and dad was tired, he parked the dogs in the kennel outside on the porch and I got to bathe them when I got off work in the morning as well as air out the house before our guests arrived. He (Dad) thought I was no less than amazing for getting the smell off the dogs and out of the house in that short time.
As for me, I finally got in bed and dreamed of choking a blue eyed dog and that a skunk was running around in my house. I even dreamed we had to call "T*rtle man" to come get the skunk out. OIY. Even my dreams are nuts.
What can I say? The party went on:)