Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Older

No, MOM, I'm not telling that you had a birthday in the past week and are a year older (even though ya did) I'm talking about 2 of our boys:)

Brandon turned 24 on Feb 22 ("someone" else's birthday too) and I got to text him?  

Yeah, when did life come down to text time? Can't even hear your voice.  This momma doesn't like this "new age" communication.

Now on to son #2 birthday, today Chase is 18 years old.  There will be cake and presents later today to celebrate his big day.

Saturday we barely saw daughter'o ours, between a friend's birthday party as well as her sleeping due to staying at church Friday night for a youth lock in.  

BUT it was a special day anyway-- 4 YEARS since she became our Chloe girl. How far she has come.  What joy she has brought, along with the shock of learning she had brothers:)

Someone who is NOT older, Princess Phoebe. She was having fun with Kat on Saturday night and for some reason she finally realized she is TALLER than Kat.  

So on Sunday morn she was pouting BIG TIME. Mad, I tell ya. She insisted she is 9, going on 10 and to prove it she is bigger than her "big sis."  So even after explaining she was born in 2004, Year of the Monkey,  and that in China they count the year you are born as 1, then when you should be counted at 1 they say you are 2 and so on.

Nope that didn't matter, she was still MAD. I had hoped we could avoid this till she had better English but no, girly wasn't giving up on this. She repeated it over and over, she was older and she was offended by us telling her different. OIY.

She did fine over the day Sunday, after church and all, and off to school she went on Monday, Hat Day. 

 Sadly, she came home crying. She also had no sunglasses on and it was the first very sunny day we had:(  Came to find out her head hurt (might have been that lack of sunglasses? Grrr, yes it was and I knew it)

After some medicine for her head and snack she seemed okay, although with some other issues (kids making fun of her on the bus and not being sure why she wasn't able to tell the teacher her head hurt, I was waiting to talk to someone at school before sending her on Tuesday (Team Sport Day).  

We called Grandma in China, I knew this would make her feel better, while I was calling school to get issues ironed out and see if she was even going to go to school.

Well, have I mentioned how much I love grandma?  Not only did she make Phoebe feel better, she told her she is indeed EIGHT years old, going on NINE:))))

Good grief if I had only known it could be that simple days before!  So now we are assured Princess Phoebe will not be crying her eyes out because we have a 9 on her birthday cake next month:) Thank you Grandma, you are the BEST.

We've had snow, ice, again here. I picked the kids up at the bus stop when it was hailing yesterday and was told I was  THE BEST MOM IN THE WHOLE WORLD. So there. All over a short dry ride:)  Doesn't take much to impress this bunch, obviously.

Paisley is having issues with her arthritis flaring up:( She's so stiff and sore. 

Her doc has increased her medicine 2 times to get her through to her appointment next week, figuring we will probably be looking at injecting medicine in her joints. 

That is SOOO incredibly painful for her, mostly for her wrists, but it helps for months.

 So she has accepted that it probably will be done and has gotten ready with who will help her into the bus at school, who will feed her-- such a difference from the last time when she was very upset to not be able to feed herself and I had to do it. I CAN-NOT-BELIEVE what a trooper she is. 


She doesn't complain unless she is really hurting.

Right now she has a cold, Kat had a sore throat, now Chloe says she has the sore throat, Camden came home yesterday with a headache.  No more "Swooshing" - at least none that I am aware of.

Speaking of SWOOSH, makes me think of Chance, who will eat and eat and eat and eat, taller than Dad now, as well as Chase. He actually left food on a plate, said he was full and STOPPED eating.

  We were in shock. Only 3 years for him to realize it really is okay to be full and let food go. There will be another meal, he will NOT go hungry.  

I did not make some of the kids happy with the food I made, a huge pan of lasagna. With garlic bread. 

Boy, you would have thought I cooked up a bug for Chloe to eat, well no, actually she probably would have liked a bug better than lasagna with cheese. 

Yes, we have some big time cheese hatin' kids here, and many of them. But dad, Camden and I LOVE cheese and every now and then I make the cheese haters mad and make us something we love. Like lasagna. 

Poor kids, as if there is nothing on earth but RICE to eat.


Someone who is not playing the "poor me" this week and hasn't cried at ALL  this week-- Miss Kitty. 

She's been doing much, much better with her jealousy and sharing and being kind and we feel like we have our kid back instead of some leaky, bawling mess of kid that someone else must have dumped on us--- ha ha. 

I even teased her and said "Who are you?

She took Phoebe to their Sunday school class and they made us cards, hers said we were the "best parents she ever culd have" and she was thankful for us.

 We are more thankful than she may ever know that she has found room for Phoebe in her heart.  

Camden has music in his heart, he loves Christian music and big sis Mal took him to a concert over the weekend. 


He had a blast and came back with a new tee shirt, I was actually allowed a picture of him to show off the tee shirt, you know, not like I want a picture of just the boy  or anything?

Speaking of birthdays, Camden will turn 13 later this year, giving us a grand total of 5 teenagers in the house at one time. 

A record for us. Should I start asking for prayer NOW???

So there's the much needed update as to what we are doing (You can stop calling now MOM) and that all is well,or as well as it gets here-- they *could* stop sharing germs?

Not likely huh?


Friday, February 22, 2013

School

Well then. The meeting concerning Phoebe's start to school went well. I was able to share what Phoebe is able to understand, words she does know and how she communicates. 

She drew pics while we were there, so they got to see how close she had to look to see things and how well she can draw:)

I clarified, skin and eye needs for any outdoor time, personal space and affection awareness for our bonding to remain intact and secure with her.  They set up an I pad for her with translation apps for use at school. Then they said "When do you want to send her?--- TOMORROW?"  Ahhhh, my BABY.

They wanted my baby!  

I agreed to send her because she is so very social, she wanted to go, she wants to learn. She is bored at home with just ol' mom and I have no concerns about her bond to us. She is very loving and knows who her family is. But it was hard to agree to the next day:(

 Phoebe was soooo excited she came home and immediately packed up her backpack. Pencil box, pencils, books, pictures.  I packed a bag of hat, extra sunglasses, sunscreen, umbrella, all to be kept at school.

She practiced her new teacher's name all evening.  And the ESL teacher was set up to spend the whole first day with her. Phoebe is in Kat's class, something we discussed with the teacher and Kat, so expectations would be clear. As well we had gone in the classroom and had an informal "meet and greet" when we first came home. 

So the first day went very well. They said she is very bright, the kids ALL wanted to help her, she told us the kids all talk to her and she can't understand them but that she had a great day.  I only called once (oh okay MOM twice) to check on her and she was "doing well."

They will be able to get vision assessments started and in the meantime give her time with other kids, as well as immerse her in English.  Today all the kids got dismissed early due to weather and now we are off the weekend so I am glad she started when she did. It was a short time but very positive for her.  

 She is thrilled when the bus comes but doesn't forget to tell me she loves me and get her hug from me before she goes on her way:)

I'm just blown away at God's goodness when it comes to this child. She has had such a wonderful beginning with her "grandma"- she is polite, kind, caring. I have no worries about her being too rough, loud, mean.  She's such a delightful, happy and loving child.

Speaking of happy, loving, delightful children--We have had to deal with some adjustment issues with Kat crying this week.  Phoebe worried Kat didn't like her, Kat was worried Phoebe didn't like her.  Lots of tears, typical jealousy with adding a new child to the family, having two almost 9 year olds.

 I did think I had heard it all out of my kiddos, being the mom of so many, but had NEVER heard this one-- "I'm sad because I didn't get to live in China longer." Uhhh, WHAT?  Are you kidding me?  I've sat and cried with kids who wished we had gotten them when they were little and here was the one we got as a little crying because we got her little? UH- really? Like I think I realized-- WE-CAN-NOT-WIN! Did you all know that?

So when Kat was showing her stubborn side in the midst of her fit throwing, Dad says to me "You sure she didn't come from YOUR womb?"  Funny guy I married here. 

 This certain child has also been known to have been the fulfillment of many a prayers, I've heard my own mother had prayed for years for me to get "a child as difficult as I WAS" so go figure:)  I still don't think she's anywhere near as difficult as I was- (yep MOM I wrote it for all to see) but then she did come off with the comment above? About being adopted "too soon?" OIY.

As  for other goings on this week, I overheard my delightful daughter Chloe explaining to Kat, Paisley, Camden and Chance something I have told them a number of times-- this is what I heard "Don't go there with the UNFAIR stuff, because if you do mom's gonna buy us all size 7 dresses and who will they fit? Only Kat.  Do you want a dress? (to Chance) 'Cause that's how she treats us all the SAME.  So knock it OFF."  

Now, I've been known to use the "Little girl size 7 dress" analogy, but I don't recall the  "Knock it OFF." Maybe that's where I went wrong but the big thing to me was "SOMEONE LISTENED TO ME. " I wanted to cry. It was such a special moment.

A not-so-special moment, Chance comes up one morning this week and claims, "Mom, I get up, my belly hurt, I go to bathroom and it SWOOSH." Insert Chloe here-- "Chance why do you not know that's called diarrhea?"  Then as Chance begins to repeat over and over, "diarrhea, humm, diarrhea, that called diarrhea."  

And Chloe is behind him muttering "He never gonna learn English, doesn't even know what diarrhea is. Why doesn't he know, it's diarrhea, not swoosh? Swoosh, really, swoosh?  What's wrong with him?"  

I told dad he surely must feel bad that he misses this circus special time every morning with our delightful children. It's always a fun time and so EARLY to have such learning and goofiness going on. I can hardly STAND it.

Dad did get to enjoy the girls sharing erasers, Kat gave Phoebe one and they hugged, they went arm and arm down to get their jammies on earlier, they both said "YEAH!!" When we told them they could stay up later tonight as there's no school tomorrow. Finding their way as sisters. 

As I explained to Kat, God gave her to us, as well as Phoebe and we treasure both of them. I also am sooo thankful we skipped over the "crying fuss mess" of 9 year olds, with Chloe and Paisley- see -- the benefits to older child adoption:)) 

We also got to laugh when Paisley said today, "I never cried and said you didn't like me." To which Chloe said "Yes you did!" And Paisley laughed and said "I don't remember."  So we all had a good laugh about "Things they all forget and how incredibly far they have come."

Really it's something we see, we are thankful for--- that we can see this progress and enjoy where we have gotten with our precious treasures.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Help needed

Times are tough. No doubt. For all. BUT-- imagine being in an orphanage and knowing the clock is ticking. Tick- tock, tick- tock.  Your only chance, almost GONE.

But then- a glimmer of hope, a family that says "Yes, this is our child."  The odds are about 2%-- 2% chance for a teen to be chosen to be adopted:( Yep. That's it. But for this one, she HAS BEEN CHOSEN.  God knows her path.

So what is needed? Funds. yep, to get this family to their daughter and get her paperwork done before she turns 14. It's down to DAYS.

I can't imagine life WITHOUT our teens we have been blessed to adopt. They are just FUN, joy, silliness, love, FAMILY. Our family. 

Please go here-- Please, I ask you to care, show you care as God asks us to do, no adoption required--- this is a way to care, show Him you believe in Him and His call to us to love and care for the orphans.  Show this one- she matters, she is worthy. 

She will be part of the biggest gift, a family. A family stepping out in FAITH. Let's get this girl HOME!!!!

 http://long-road-to-china.blogspot.com

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Photo shoot

So how was your weekend?

Ours was odd, I had off Sunday afternoon which is unusual but was cool because I got to see the kids go to Center Shot, a new archery program our church is doing.  They really like it. Although it *might* have something to do with the snack being provided at least for one of them- ha ha.

 I had a super conversation with my son Chance, I do believe he is back on track and was very happy that when I spoke to him about some personal issues he really seemed to get what I was telling him. 

He has such a good heart and is sensitive but at times his behavior is not showing that. Which is not where he wants to be or we want him to be.

 So helping him is our job because it's one place our kids are pretty far behind and probably always will be.

 The social aspect. They fit in well about 2-3 years behind their "number" ages. Sometimes even lower.

 Because of language, culture and lack of social skills learned as younger children.  This does NOT equate to meaning our children are rotten, mean, bad kids. Not at all. 
Our kiddos are polite, helpful, neat, and caring.  We are very proud of them  They just don't always understand that certain behaviors that were okay for a Chinese orphanage and culture are not taken the same way here.  And they want to fit in and have friends. They don't always know how to even BE a friend. 

How to invite someone over. How to make phone calls, how to answer phone calls or even talk on the phone with a friend the right way. 

 Odd things you wouldn't think of with a normal teen.  So we work on these things as we see they need the help and are ready/able to get it. 

And it's a wonderful thing to see them "get it" like Chance did.

What else were we up to? Well, I decided I wanted to torture I mean, ask my lovely children if they would so kindly sit for a photo. A PHOTO? What was I thinking?

 I SHOULD post the 30+ rejects-- Chance's eyes closed, Camden's tongue out, Paisley looking elsewhere, Chase's head looking like it glowed from the sun at the patio doors, the dogs at the top of the steps, Chloe pouting, Kat yawning, Phoebe's eyes closed.

It makes me feel ILL to think I actually asked someone to do a photo shoot for our family to have a picture of us all together. 

WHAT WAS I THINKING?  I so badly wanted a family picture once Phoebe was home (along with hoping to be many pounds lighter) but really? 

I can't get the 7 of them to smile and look decent in 30+ pictures? 
All I can hope is the sorry person who accepts this assignment will have photo cropping and can cut and paste their heads from the good shots to make 1 picture that looks real and good? 'Cause I can't. I'm stuck with threatening to never let them off the steps till I get a decent picture.  OIY. (Yes MOM I DID).

Tomorrow is my meeting at school, for Phoebe's needs. Hopefully she will be able to start soon, with adjustments for her vision and language.

We have been blessed with this easy going new girl, things here are going very well. She is picking up new words every day, she is amazing at communicating her needs.  She is a total delight:) Funny, smart,  she likes to tell me "careful" when I do anything.

  I LOVE bedtime when she comes to me and dad and says "Love you" (saying it in English now) with hugs and kisses for us. She's a sweetheart.

So thankful to all who helped bring her home, and wanted to tell you all how special she is-- a total GEM:) She is soooo loved!!

To all who are praying for the last post 3 families, all are doing "okay" for now, one is doing better, so keep up the prayers, they are working:) Thanks for caring everyone, it means so much.Showing God's love, just as He wants:)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Please

Please. A simple word. I ask it of you. Please. PRAY. Please.

I have 3 families on my heart. Family #1 and child "J". Need YOUR prayers. For     help with their troubles, for adjustment, for acceptance of love, for acceptance of parenting, for parents to have strength, to feel HIM standing beside them, even holding them when needed to parent this child.

Family #2 and child "E".  For adjustment, for healing, for overcoming things totally unfair and painful done to their child in an orphanage. For guidance in helping "E".    

Family #3 and child. For adjustment, assistance in getting where they need to be whatever that place is. For their whole family who is struggling badly.

Can anyone really think ANY child should  NOT be adoptable? Really? Let me tell you something, my world is filled with children and families that are REAL. Not always perfect, not even close, but the outstanding thing in all of this is "THEY ARE WORTHY." These kids are WORTH it. 

No matter the road. Maybe God decided, because you asked, or He saw you were ready-- to take on one of these "tough ones?"  Yes, He can and WILL use you to parent some of the harder kiddos because He knows your heart. He knows the path. He doesn't promise easy but He is THERE FOR YOU. Right THERE--He is not leaving you alone.

He may have a path you never dreamed you would be following to raise this child, or even have an issue that you can't raise the  child and have to re home. This does not mean you are failing. Either way, YOU ARE NOT FAILING HIM-- or YOUR CHILD.

This may be a way you grow in Him. I mean if things are going along smoothly-- do you take as much time with HIM? No, usually we do not. It's pretty typical, but is it what He wants? No. So if you have strife and need Him, where are you? On your knees? In prayer? Thinking about the issue?

I struggled when we first came home with Phoebe. Issues, yes, but also that she was so easy going and my focus of prayer has been on her for a LONGGGGG time. Like get up,praying for her, for the paperwork, for the fees, etc., all throughout my day!

And I haven't been as diligent now that my prayer is more of a "thank you FATHER" for answering  all those prayers. Is that okay?  No. It's not. It's not where He wants me.  Therefore He often sends me families that I can give advise to because we have walked the walk of tough, older child adoptions. And sometimes that's nothing more than saying "I know what you are talking about." AND I will pray for them, AND I DO.

Because God does hear each and every prayer and He knows the burdens of our hearts. He can and WILL get us through even our darkest hours.  He never leaves. 

As much as I love each and every single one of my children no matter where they came from, they have caused me more heartache and pain than ANY OTHER PERSON in my life. Sometimes more than one of them.  Sometimes I have felt battered by their issues, their needs.  But HE always gets me through and even provides now that I gave that over to Him.  

And I want for these families to have peace, to have the easy times come that they so desire, because they love these children from hard places sooooo very much. Even the toughest ones to love. Deep down, even when they seem totally unlovable, these families are loving them because they are doing everything possible to make it work for their child. Showing them God's wish- LOVE OTHERS.

Just know families 1,2 and 3---- I've been there. I know how tough times can be. Exhausting. Not what you expected. Not where you dreamed your family would be when you stepped out and answered His call. Draining. Upsetting. Annoying. Tiring. Joyless:(


BUT He knew you were the ONES.  Now, don't be sayin' "No thanks" even if you think you want to:)  See I do know what it's like:) Because this is a SEASON---

A season God has for you for a reason. You may not know why, someday you may look back and go "Ohhh. Now I see." Or you may NEVER know why.  It doesn't mean this is how it will always be, or that He wants you to struggle. NO. He wants you to trust in Him that the children you adopted were were meant to change your life.

And that doesn't mean bashing yourself for not being "good enough" YOU certainly ARE to HIM. He chose YOU.  He knows you and loves you. These children are treasures, even when they don't seem even a little bit lovable but the biggest treasure is FAMILY. You have given these gems of God, a FAMILY.  

If they accept it, super. If they don't, harder but you still have given them exactly what He called you to give. It's so hard for me to hear moms thinking they aren't "doing enough."  I beg to differ MOMS. Stop that. I don't know ONE OF YOU that is not doing everything humanly possible to help their child.

If you yelled today--  If you are fed kids cereal, sent them to bed at 7-- if you let the shower go because it would be a battle-- I don't care, you made it through the day and for that you are wonderful in my book. No one has the right to judge you if you are doing everything you can and judging yourself as failing is WRONG.  

This is NOT YOU failing---Your child has been traumatized and can not always do what they need to do to make it in your family. Sometimes they can with time. There is NO magic key to this, it's as individual as we as people ARE. What works for one child may work for another or may not.  Some behaviors are the same and some are individual to what your child has been through. 

We know this because we have siblings. ALL from the same situation just different ages/sexes. And ones who have jumped on board, ones who have had trouble that we could not/ can not FORCE to see their way to a healthy life. 

God has gotten us through, given us tools, given us people who can sympathize, give advice, have lived it too.  First I had to take the "It's personal against ME" out of the equation. Because we as parents want to take the blame for anything that seems to go awry. I'm telling you that's a waste of time. Use that time to connect with people, get help, pray, try a new tactic.  

Take time for YOU, to recharge, to come back at it fresh. If you must feel blame, place it where it belongs, on the situation, people, orphanage that caused it. NOT YOU.  I've sat and cried with my children over the unfairness of things they experienced.  For sure. Heartbroken for them.  BUT not able to take on the responsibility for their behavior to ME, because that just doesn't make sense, now does it?

Do exactly what you 3 families have done, reach out. Ask for prayers. Prayer Warriors, we are needed. We must wrap these families in our prayers, protect them, give them strength to go on and on.

I ask---- will you? Will you leave these families encouraging comments,  we can lift them up just in our support for them-- to allow them to know they are cared about, that we HONOR them and their commitment to their children, for giving their children families, for all they do each and every day.

This post is my way to honor them, to have them know I am soooo proud of you and I know you are wonderful families doing everything you can.  And I am in prayer for your families, your children.  Each one of you are special. 100% special and I am thankful to know you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Now the boys

Where do I begin?  Well the oldest  I guess. Donovan, who quit college in December thus worrying this momma's heart. 

BUT---- He secured a well paying job in the electrical field that he so loves and he is gainfully employed and making enough money to give his momma a  Mother's Day gift. 

Or at least that's what I told him.  Since every year he declares he is "broke" and I'm getting "NOTHING." I'll let you all know how that works out for me- ha ha.

He's our funny guy, who shows up now and then, always claiming he had  NO IDEA we were going to adopt ANOTHER child. And I am 100% sure we did tell him. 

No doubt, he even took part in the prep of it. He's just too funny, our Donovan.

Next is Chase. Well, Mr. Chase has made great strides in his life, he's visibly more at ease in his life, finding his way.

 Soon to be 18, he will also be heading to a food competition with his school, only 1 of 3 students in the district chosen to go:) 

 He has been heard telling Phoebe he loves her-- I kid you not. And he even told ME he loved me when he was telling her, even if he couldn't look at me and tell me at the same time, he still said it.

His heart is softening. He knows he is loved and is accepting of it:)

Although he remains our serious one, I doubt that will ever change. Just his personality type. He's very  responsible.

Chance is next. He is struggling. Not terribly, but prayers would help. It's a typical teen boy issue, finding where he belongs and where he wants to go with his life. 

Too eager to get out there and work to support himself, to "get ahead."  This is not where we want our son to focus his life on, who he can beat out--- to get ahead:(

We stress to him often, he has TIME, he has been given a family which means WE support HIM, and we are cool with that so he should be too.  That there is so much more to life than working, making money, getting "things."

He's still our smiling guy, hard to find him without a smile on his cute face:)

Camden-- well now, our youngest son. I think he was the most worried about getting along with Phoebe, that her and Kat would gang up on him. (Surely NOT?)

 But the minute the action figures came out, well, he became Phoebe's new BFF.  

He is the one she wants to play with, be carried around by, karate chop with (had to stop that) to carrying on with. 

She only annoys him when she is trying to watch him play a game and she is 2 inches from the screen to see it and HE can't see through her head/hair:(

I don't think ANYONE makes her laugh like Camden does. She has figured out he is a ton of fun.  

She has noticed he has hair the same color as mine, that his eyes are the same as mine. She asked the others, did he come from me? From my belly? Smart kid:)

 I don't know if they realize it but they have exactly the same skin tone. 

Lastly there's this mystery boy.......

 I'm not sure who he is, he showed up today after school and I think he believes he is staying for supper? 

As if I need another kid? Especially one sporting a 'stashe? I mean, really. Whomever sent this "boy" over really needs to come get him.

He even said "Oh you're doing a post only about the boys, who cares about the boys? No one."

 Well, then, mystery BOY, I hope you get SONS to bless your life  and then you'll get where a momma's heart goes when she has sons Because this momma LOVES her boys.

So whomever is this boy's parents, I think you surely would  want  your son back by now.  So head on over and get him, PLEASE.

And you might want to consider teaching "him" to shave asap.

Just a barrel of fun here with all our "SONS", just havin' a blast with them all.  God has gifted us many a sons, and we are so thankful for each and every one.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Those girls

What can I say? My life is a whirlwind of girly things. I'm just lovin' it. Hair bows, earrings, braids, cute clothes.

I mean, such FUN. I love, love LOVE all my girls:)

Someone decided she HAD to have earrings like her sisters. Yep, Princess Phoebe now sports pierced ears. 

Funny thing is, I took earrings and a piercing gun to China for her, thinking she'd want it done. Nope, no, thank you, she said, MAYBE when she was older.

Well, not even home a week and seeing Kat, Paisley, Chloe and me, as well as a few brothers with 1 earring, she HAD TO HAVE earrings. So she's got them. 

She also is wanting longer hair, not that we can remedy that any time soon.  She has marveled over Kat's super long hair.

She has also asked for black hair, to which I told her  that I love, love LOVE her white hair. And the kids told her they have white hairs, Chloe, Chase and Chance have all had random white hairs in their black hair.


 And they pointed out their mother has white hairs, much to this mama's dismay.

Other things those girls have said-- Chloe is totally set on adopting from China. She wants ME to do all her paperwork (gee, thanks Chloe) and she wanted to know if she could adopt 10 at once? 


Gosh, I guess when you know the need, have lived the need, you get a bit outrageous. But bless her heart, it's in the right place:)

Kat was so funny when I was reading a blog of 2 adopted girlies from China and she said "How come that family only has 2 adopted kids, tell them to get busy, we have 6." 

 I'm not going to share the blog so if you have two adopted treasures from China, Miss Kitty *could* be watching you.  YOU-ARE-IN-DEEP-DO-DO.

 Trust me when I say you do not want Miss Kitty (aka the Asian terror) staring at you while you sleep. (She hasn't done this to us in a while, thank God- talk about freaking you out)

Phoebe has been a total delight, she has caught on to so many things, she's very bright. I taught her to write her name while we waited for our consulate appointment, yeah, over 2 weeks ago. And yesterday she made me this-----

When asked, she says her name is Phoebe. ALWAYS. Not a WORD mentioned about her Chinese name. 

Usually when we meet up with our friends who are Chinese and they speak to our kids, all the others would give their Chinese name when asked their name. Not this girl, no way. She is PHOEBE.  

And Phoebe LOVES her mama and her baba. She is a love bug. Kisses, hugs, telling us she loves us. She did NOT want me to go to work Thursday, I realized a few hours in to my work that I really, really missed her:) 

Bonded right into my heart. Where she belongs.

She's taking on making her own bed, even telling on  Kat when she forgets:) Just like sisters do. Kat is seeing more and more ways she can help Phoebe, and has stepped up nicely as a big sister to her. 


 They are finding their place with each other and it's a good fit:)  Thank you Father. He knew what child would be perfect to allow Miss Kitty to be helpful and not feel misplaced by Phoebe.

Things that have happened I didn't see coming-- she is softening the hearts of those big bros of hers. They can't help but like her, she is sweetness through and through. 

Funny, kind, silly:)  I don't know if she reminds them of their blond buddy they grew up with but they are very kind to her.

I've seen smiles from Mr. Always-Serious-Chase. Chance finds her amusing. Camden likes her. She shares her sweetness with all. No one is immune:)

We can't get in to the eye specialist (He's gone on a mission trip to China- go figure?) till March so we are considering getting her in school this month and adjusting for her needs as best as possible till she has her appt. 

 We have a meeting soon about that, I want to be sure her experience of school here is good because she is scared of school. Of doing poorly, of being picked, of not being able to tell anyone what she needs. 

One thing is for sure, she clearly feels safe and cared for with us. She is so happy, content really. It's so neat to see that. 

She's picking up English words, yes, no, more, drink, sibling names, the dogs names. She communicates with showing me, she will pull on her clothes, meaning she wants to get dressed, or get in jammies. She always says "Sank you," and "Your welcome." 


She will point to her open mouth or pretend to drink from a cup. She was looking for her craft book and let me know that yesterday. 

She loves Mickey M*use and Sponge B*b although the latter is not something she is allowed to watch much at all. Now Mickey, well SURE, nothing wrong with that:)

 Who can say anything bad about a mouse? Other than he is a rodent, after all.

She even let me know that when she stands beside Kat and has them put their arms up like this----

 It means a heart:)  Did I mention how much we love this girl?

Every day she says "Let's Go" she loves to go places, one of the down sides to our China trip, every day going somewhere.  Although after she says "awwwww" she gets over it right away and finds things to do. 

Now, needless to say, we DO indeed have other daughters here, I have not ignored or neglected them (MOM)

They have been busy braiding hair, Chloe got some hair thingy-doodle that she can make all kinds of fancy braiding.  And usually Paisley is first one up to enjoy the fruits of Chloe's labors:)

Chloe is all caught up on her homework from our trip, she is missing her BFF Hannah who went on the mission trip to Costa Rica that Chloe had to give up going this year because of too much time off school for both China and Costa Rica.

She complained that Hannah was going and I asked her how she thought Hannah felt when she was in China and she said "Oh." Of course, Hannah missed Chloe.  Funny how that doesn't occur to Chloe.




Paisley had her usual blood work and it came back great, although the bitter cold we have had here is not helping her arthritis one bit. She has some stiffness and aches:(   Not that you will see that damper her spirits. 

 Nope, not this girl. She is also content, happy, knows she is loved.  Knowing her place in this family and I think feeling even more settled since she is no longer the "newest."

I guess since I have updated about the girls, the boys are next, they are hard to catch since they seem to think my camera is something evil:(  

But I'll tell them no lunch till I get pics, that will do it. (No calls MOM- if you want to see those grandsons of yours)

For now, enjoy the update on our girls:) All of them blessings and doing very well, indeed.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Done

Now don't panic (MOM) this is a good "DONE." Done adding to our family, done with this adoption, done waiting for Phoebe to be home. 

Done worrying that she is in need of things, health care, skin care, eye care, dental care. What her personality is like, if she will blend in well, if she's growing each day without us, her family.

What relief we feel. Our family complete. See how she fits right in?

And a sweeter last addition we could not have asked for.  Phoebe is a sweet girl, sensitive, loving and a joy. She's loving being the baby of this family. 

 Although our "baby" is learning so much this week, our routine, how to do things herself, she really wanted to, she was just so used to everything being done for her. But now she glows in the praise she gets when she tries and we help minimally, most often due to her low vision issue.

She has found Camden's action figures which she quickly threw over the Barbies for. She was sooo tickled when I got her a few of her own at the Dollar Store after the doctor visit today.  She did so well.  One shot and a flu mist. Declared healthy and on our way. We have more to do with a pediatric specialist for her eyes, as well as a huge need for dental work. That's set up as soon as the pediatric dentist is back from vacation, in a couple of weeks.

All in all she is quite healthy.  We obviously have skin and eyes to watch over for her lifetime but over all a very manageable condition for her and us. Not to mention the amazing beauty of her, God made her just perfect:)

So pretty. Everyone marvels over her hair. "Oh, so blond, so beautiful, gorgeous," etc.  Without a doubt, she draws attention and it's not the bad kind that we encountered in China.

But speaking of bad, I did want to put out there, because we did struggle so badly with our agency. Many asked, who in the world were we using? I did not want to do anything to jeopardize our adoption because the person hurt the most would have been Phoebe. We completely trusted God to get this girl home and He did it.

I'm not normally negative, I prefer to focus on the positives in life. But when I found a slip of paper with our "dates" on it-- well the pain of using this agency hit me again and made me realize it's something I need to share. 

These were the dates- 

PA--  April 2011 (after her file ended up with them and they refused to transfer to our former agency:(

DTC-- March 2012- yep, almost a YEAR later, due to agency holding up our HS- the whole time us fearing losing her file

LID-- May 2012- yep, agency did not check on us being logged in and there was an error, costing us a new fee implemented May 1 (of course) and 6 weeks of lost time

LOA--Sept 2012  after 147 days. YEP, again, asked agency if a paperwork issue was going to affect us back in MAY- they ignored my question and lo' and behold, 70+ days in, we had issues I had asked about. Less than thrilled by this time and had not only lost total faith in this agency, but actually cringed when they called, expected problems.

TA- Dec 2012-- Not unreasonable time there, they didn't catch that our clearances were too old by the time we applied for approval for Phoebe's visa through our government so we had that hold us up as well as being told we were not able to get confirmation of Art 5 drop off and pick up because they would not "micromanage" their In China staff. Quite rude if you ask me. 

We also found them to be unreliable, we asked for an update that we had to pay for, we had to ask over and over for it. It took 2 months, which can indeed be typical but with an email error sent to us we learned their in China staff had the update for a whole month and didn't bother to send it on.  Maybe micromanagement SHOULD be done?

At any rate, I am sure for the bad experience we had there is probably plenty of people who have a great experience with this agency. I'm only sharing what WE experienced, and our recommendation from the now 5 agencies we have adopted through.

We do NOT recommend Madison Adoption Associates. At ALL. Would never want to see another family go through what we did. And we went in with experience in adoption and hearing good things about MAA.  We can say they got our child home. That's IT. And we wondered on and off if it would actually even happen. 

When adoption comes with enough ups and downs just doing the steps, it was really hard to deal with the issues we encountered. This is NOT somewhere we think ANY adoptive family should be from their agency:(  In the end I was so disgusted by them it was unbelievable and I am not an unreasonable person. I understand the ups and downs of adoption. I also fully believe in God's timing. 


As I have quite a bit of experience I HIGHLY recommend Chinese Children Adoption International. www.ccaifamily.org for all aspects, the children, the needs, the ease of use, the assistance when needed, the costs, the trip. 

 Best agency, all around. Without a doubt. No fooling around, no trying to make themselves look good. ALL about the KIDS-- getting them HOME.

Now we return to enjoying our kiddos:) And being so thankful we are DONE. (No laughing MOM) 

Now don't think we are DONE caring, no way, we will continue to educate, support, pray and do everything we can in concerns to the  MILLIONS of orphans still needing their own mom and dad. Without-a-doubt.

 They are NEVER far from our minds- never. They are Our Father's children. Treasures. Waiting to be wanted. Cherished. Loved.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Doll Babies

Who can resist a girl and her doll? Or girls and dolls? 

See MY doll babies? Yep, I can say babies because we have regressed to baby status x 2. Not only can Princess Phoebe do very little for herself, Kat has now regressed to needing babied. I dressed them BOTH today. 

OIY. I'm wondering if there should be some time frame once home till children can start regression or issues. Call it "Jet lag relief?" Maybe? Because I am still feeling at least once a day as if I am going to pass out if I don't lay down and getting up at odd hours in the night. 

Just last night I laid down on the couch in the midst of 5 children playing and zonked AT 6 PM. Not just slept, ZONKED OUT-- hubby said he shook me, tried to wake me for some time and was worried that I wasn't getting up. (Note to hubby- unimportant question you woke me for-- well, I'm just sayin'-- REALLY?  I've heard people get HURT over less things in life.)

Any jet lag remedies you all know send them my way FAST, because I don't have time for that.

Not in the midst of all this adjustment.  

Princess Phoebe decided that we didn't get her jammies on fast enough the other night and she got her shoes and coat on? Not sure WHERE she thought she was going in the freezing cold? Yes, the  snow AND drama is deep here. 

Last evening it was Kat.  Bringing up something I knew would be an issue around this age. Her "REAL" mom.  Yep. That's what she said.  

And after I took 2 deep breaths and said "I AM YOUR REAL MOM." We got into how China's culture is totally different than here. That all our Chinese born children have the same issue, they had a birth mom who could not keep them. That could not take care of them.

That in Chinese culture you must pay up front to get medical care, your child can die while you try to get money to get them treated. It's a different way of life there. 

And I give them all the same talk-- if I had to choose between keeping a child I gave birth to but that child would certainly die from not getting the medical care they needed and giving up that child so they could hopefully get the care they need and maybe get adopted and loved so much by a "second mom" then what would they think I would choose?

And my smart kids have all understood this. I would do the same thing their birth mom did. Give them a chance to LIVE. Pray that God would care for them, that they would get a family and hope for the best for them.  

That I do not take getting  to parent them lightly, I am sooooo thankful God gave us each one of our special and wonderful Chinese born children because He picked each one for us to parent and become part of our family.

I make sure they know too, that in China it's a HUGE issue when they can't care for a child and they CAN'T tell anyone they abandoned their child. 

They would get in huge trouble, so we can't find a birth mom for anyone. And that their birth moms are sure to wonder, think of them, hope that everything turned out okay. 

Because I would never forget a child I gave birth to even if I never saw them ever again and I am sure neither does their birth moms.

And that we do not love them any less than their birth mom could. Because they were chosen to be our children by GOD. And we see them as a wonderful gift in our lives and family.

One of the plus things we do have, all of our Chinese children have the same "history." All had some medical/family issue that we can point back to and say this was probably the reason choices were made.

So that was handled for now, I have NO DOUBT  we will revisit that again. It's part of parenting these great kids, giving them the understanding of their beginning. Without shame, without blame. It's such a different culture/mindset.

So now everyone is dressed, off to school, except Phoebe, no school for her yet.  She is pleased as punch I bought her Cap'n Cr*nch Berries-- too funny though, she calls it "crackers" as a "snack." I know the other kiddos said cereal is a snack in China, not a daily food. Please don't tell Camden that- he will be devastated:)

Enjoying my "baby girls" today, because even through the tough stuff they are soooo very worth it. Loved, cherished, wanted. Treasures:)