Monday, September 30, 2013

We did it

Well, kinda, anyway.

























The (apparently) dreaded family pictures. I begged. I pleaded. I cajoled.

 I dumped guilt in 2 ton loads on each and every one of my wonderful children to TRY to get all 12 of these precious treasures dressed in BLUE (Donovan, blue NOT BLACK) jeans, and a blue shirt and to show up at my house for a trip to the lovely Rainbow Falls for a photo shoot.

Now do not think this came easily.

Nearly ALL the adult children had some sort of complaint about this and I ended up buying almost everyone's "blue shirt" and even some jeans (BLUE Donovan, NOT BLACK) to get the right attire on all.

Not only that, this would be the SECOND time we attempted this, a no show of Brandon for the first time and again yesterday, (Your mother is MAD ---BRANDON) we were not able to get Brandon in the pictures.


 He may be photo cropped later, but at this point I was just thankful to have 11 of the kids all together and dressed--

 I haven't had a picture of them all with us since way back before we had Kat, then once the big kiddos were grown, I got one of all the "newbies" but not one picture of ALL of my children together. All 12 of them.

And I guess since Brandon didn't show up I still do NOT have my picture of them but it was not for the lack of trying. No it was not.

I really, really tried. (I DID MOM)

But here's what we did get and they turned out so nice, the background is soooo beautiful. 

  The pictures were taken in a very special location, where  Ron and I used to "hang out" as teens.

 We even had our names--- Ron+ Vickie---- carved on the bridge but sadly the bridge has been replaced since those days.

And yes, (MOM) we are aware that's now called vandalism and we did NOT allow Chance to carve his name in the newer bridge.

We had a few people stop off and gawk-- guess that's typical since we are such a large family, someone asked if we were a church group, guess that's a "Yes" if you know us, but mainly we are just a "family."

My good friend Anita took the pictures, she does this as a hobby (She's GOOD) and she was so patient and tolerant of the kids, I mean, after all we had---


Chance playing in the mud, water and rocks

Phoebe whining she was cold

Donovan smiling crookedly and the boys laughing at his commentary

Chloe slid down an embankment

Camden climbing all over the place
Derrik reading a book?

Jay refusing to smile

Phoebe unable to tell where she was supposed to be looking

Paisley being carried to each spot we needed her at

And did I mention BRANDON was a no show:((((

Just driving their mother nuts, like usual. 
 
 At any rate, here they are, in all their glory---

 Our family pictures, September 2013. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A week

Let's see--- a blog post because I've been slackin' big time. Life and stuff, you know?

This past Sunday was Youth Sunday-- we were surprised to see most all of our teen kiddos- front and center. Camden went up and announced we would pray over the offering.

 He then looked at Chloe, who was holding the collection plate waiting on him to pray. She did nothing and he said again that we were going to pray and he motioned to Chloe. And again, she stood there. 

About that time another teen whispered to Cam "You are supposed to pray." Oops. So he did. "Bless this offering." Short and sweet but he covered it so it was all cool. 

The kids all got a good laugh after church-- someone stopped dad and said "Hey, I got a bushel of potatoes for you." Which was super, we aren't turning down any food here. But when we went to get them the kids all thought it was funny that they also gave us APPLES. 

Yep, more apples. Because we took  some of our extra apples we have been blessed with and shared them with 2 families at church that very same day. 

So it was funny how God sent it back to us 10 fold, and we didn't even mind the "extra" apples because they were golden delicious apples, a kind we do NOT have. 

And wouldn't you know they are a favorite of 2 or 3 of the kids here. Isn't it amazing how God will do even small things when you least expect it? 

Just those little reminders of how much He loves us:) Don't ever forget that- so many of us go about our daily busy lives and forget when we have any issues that come up-- your Go-To Man is right there, waiting for you to hand over the burden, wanting to take care of it for you but YOU have to let HIM.

We went to a local prayer walk on this National Day of Prayer. Some of us stayed at the "base" while the others walked, the girls were able to sing some songs of praise which they enjoyed so much. 

Something I enjoy-- the "notes" I am a daily recipient of from the girls. They enjoy drawing and always seem to have something they want me to know.

 I thought the picture of ME Phoebe drew was really cool, she got my hair part, color, eye color all right on. 

They give me such joy, yes, such a small thing but  honestly it warms my heart so.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Huh?

Picture this---

It's early morning. A day I have to go to work. I'm in the bathroom getting ready after the teens all leave for school, because the littles don't leave for over an hour after the teens. 

And I see a mouthpiece (in a case) on the counter. Grr, I think-- "CHLOE".  Knowing she has a field hockey game after school. And she's already GONE.

So being the good mom that you all KNOW I am, I head off after getting the little girls on the bus and I run like a nut (I did MOM) and get to school before I have to be at work so I can drop off the mouthpiece.

They know me in the school office ( of course they do) so once they buzzed me in, I literally dropped mouthpiece (in the case) and tell the secretary who it belongs to. As I am running out the door she assures me that she'll call Chloe down to get it.

So-- as luck goes-- it pours and the game is cancelled. Chloe still has a shortened practice, so she's not home when I get home but she comes in shortly after.

And she says-- "Mom, I have a question."  And I said "Yeah, what is it?"  She says "Who's mouthpiece is this? And why did you bring it to school? 'Cause it's not MINE."

Uh oh.  I told her it was on the bathroom counter. She starts laughing. I ask her "What's so funny?"  She tells me-- "This isn't my mouthpiece, it's DAD's to keep him from snoring."
Oh, dear.

She laughed and laughed and said she even asked the secretary-- "Are you sure it was MY MOM-- Did she have RED hair?"  

Thank goodness she brought it home. Dad doesn't normally leave it on the bathroom counter-- and I doubt he ever does again. Not after learning it's been to school and back:(

Oops. It's all I'm gonna say. Oops.

One mistake I have not made recently--- making yummy apple crisp. Yep, we have an apple tree and the apples have done amazingly well this year, some bigger than a fist. 

The kids were so kind as to go picking those apples. 

Can't eat them all even with all the people in the family, thus we have been enjoying some yummmmmy apple crisp I whip up (yes I do MOM) every few days. 

Lots of it too.  And YES, it's as delicious as it looks:) 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sad

I am saddened by the recent media "blitz" on adopted children who did not make it in their first home and their family looked to disrupt their adoption via the wrong means. Bad people preyed on these families and children were hurt.

It's WRONG. Horribly wrong.

There ARE reasons adopted children can not make it in a first family, I've written of it before. The families trying to find a better fit for these children-- they are NOT monsters, I've written about that.

The children need to be in homes that they are able to thrive- I've not only written about it but provided a home for one of these precious children.

The news reported was needed. For sure. Because children were being sent to live with people who were not who they said they were. There are legal ways to find a new home for a child in need--- just as our first family did to bring Paisley to us. Agency involvement to meet ALL state guidelines BEFORE a child is moved across any state line.

All the children the news reported on ended up with inappropriate people  because of the huge lack of help/understanding/support/knowledge of what to do when you are overwhelmed with the care of an adopted child and are thinking the child may need more than a family can do.

Firstly SPEAK OUT. Ask for support, help. Sometimes just having someone say "Oh yeah, I know what you are dealing with." Is ENOUGH. You realize although not a path you expected, the behavior is typical.

Sometimes it's much worse. It's a matter of safety for other children and the child, it's issues beyond the scope of what a family can handle, resources they have. At that point they NEED to know what to do, where to LEGALLY turn to find the right placement for their child, no matter what that means--- another home, foster care, a treatment center, etc. There is a total lack of information for families.

As the news stories were based on the lack of charges, the horrible results for the children involved, I will not be linking up the stories for you to read. I will not exploit the children involved any more than the news is already doing.

I read the stories. They are sickening. For sure. SHOULD-NOT-HAPPEN. To ANY CHILD.  The saddest thing( beyond the pain these children went through)---- not one mention as to WHAT TO DO if you are struggling. Not one mention of disrupted adoptions and children who ARE doing well, in a legally obtained home with a family who loves them, while they bloom and thrive. 

No, it was all horror, as if that's all that comes of disruption:( 

Which is untrue. So I will not promote it. I will say we need to pray for the children involved and that yes, the unfit people taking children from unknowing families should be stopped. Without one doubt.

But what is also hugely needed? GET STRUGGLING FAMILIES HELP. This is not just a wake up call for parents looking to disrupt and wanting to find a new family for a child- this is a huge wake up call to AGENCIES-- step up to the plate here-- once the adoption is over and all fees paid DO NOT leave families floundering with seemingly no where to turn. 

And another note here----- do not charge THOUSANDS of dollars for finding a child a new home. An agency fee to do this after being paid for the first adoption of the child is WRONG. Consider it "follow up care" and suck it up. Because no one should be financially benefiting from disruption. Too many families are drained from the initial adoption and then faced with outrageous fees is just wrong. 

Paisley's first family's agency (say that fast twice) did the legal paperwork for her to come to us for no fee. Yes, they did. It's NOT terribly complicated and if the agency does domestic adoptions they know all the in's and out's of the state regulations anyway. 

Man up here agencies-- get on the ball. Because the ball has been dropped, and more than once.  It's a serious problem affecting many children, children who don't deserve anything less than the right family to raise them, love them, cherish them and be their forever.

Monday, September 9, 2013

He's a TEEN

So hard to believe, my last born son is 13 today. Giving us a grand total of 6 teens WOW.  More than we have ever had at once. 

So, more about this birthday boy--- he is sensitive, a sweet,caring soul. Loves BIG. Looks just like his momma, but has dad's personality through and through.

He likes Christian music and LOVES sports. Football, baseball, soccer, the more action the BETTER. He had a game Saturday and he made one of only 2 touchdowns for his team. Do you think I remembered my camera? Of course not. Hoping someone else got the shot-- or else it will just be a great memory for us all.

 This son o' mine, a  not-so-little-now redhead is a precious gift indeed. He was the voice God used to start our adoption journey, when he asked for a little sister and I said it "Wasn't coming out of me!"  Nope, we were done building our family by birth, yet God had such treasures to come via adoption that we adore and love JUST THE SAME:)

As does this boy, adopted, foster, brother, sister--- hasn't mattered. He has a huge heart and loves them all. He's a precious child of God and we Thank Him for this newly TEENAGE son:) 

Happy Birthday Camden, couldn't love you MORE.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

School calls

Without a doubt I knew we would face this yet again.  And it's SO annoying. It was the subject of my call to school to a certain teacher bright and early in the morning. And it  was something I asked this teacher  to stop and think about before assigning this type of project.

What is it?  

An autobiography. Poster size. Grrrr.

Asking all kinds of questions that I, nor half of my children, know the answers to. Where were you born? Weight? True birth date? Parents at birth? When they first walked? What they enjoyed playing with?

WE DO NOT KNOW. 

And while we do not linger (normally) over not knowing these things, here we are having to try to help a child fill in the blanks as best we can:(

It's not as if we want a poster listing "UNKNOWN" under most of their early childhood life in any classroom for all to see. 

It's inconsiderate of teachers to make these  assignments. Certainly not all children have wonderful childhoods they want to talk/write/post in the class for all to see:( 

Yes, it's "cute" to know you sucked your thumb. Yes, it's something that you were a 10 pound baby. But is it necessary?? NO, it is NOT. 

Now here's some cuteness for you, pics from when the twins went to the beach with friends over the summer:) Aren't they just too cute?

So, yes, I called. And I spoke with the teacher and I told her she would have to accept that my child may very well write that we are her parents, she was born in China to US with the name we gave her, and listing the siblings she has now as her birth siblings. 

That it was gonna be what SHE (Chloe) wants to share.  And that this needed to be accepted and graded and not pointed out to all. Teacher very nicely agreed and was quite understanding, so there was that.

In some ways this assignment is very much a useful way for Chloe to decide what to share. As she will many times over in her lifetime. So I didn't have to release  "Mother Bear" too much with my call, and I was very proud to know Chloe had emailed the teacher herself-- something that has been too scary for her to do in the past. 

My other call to the school? Camden. That darned football. The school nurse (I know her) laughed and told me I was paranoid and she couldn't believe I called her to tell her my child is covered in bruises on his arms from FOOTBALL. That's right, we don't hit children here at all (nope, we won't MOM) and I was mortified to see his arms after his game on Saturday. 

The nurse's son plays on Camden's team and she said her boy looks the same and that I needed to let the boys be boys.  Okay then. 

 But really, do you see why I took issue with him playing before this? I can't believe I'm just gonna ignore this and let him keep at this horrible "sport" (Yes, I will MOM) because he LOVES football. 

Can't like some "safe" sport like golf or something??? Nope. He says. Football. Grrrr. 

I had Paisley's IEP meeting-- she is doing well, the walking she does at school is increasing her stamina as I had hoped it would. She is doing good in her classes, it seems all the teens are settling in well and shocking both me and their ESL teacher:)

Everyone is sharing a cold, Kat, Paisley, Phoebe, Chance, Chase have all been heard sniffling and snotting around-- eewuuuhhhh.

Can't share nothin' else but they share germs quite well:( 

Go figure.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Archery

Last year our church decided to try a new program, one aimed at the community surrounding the church as well as our own church family.


It's called "Center Shot."  And it's an archery program. It teaches participants of any age about archery, then they get to shoot at targets.

At the first round, Chase, Chance, Chloe and Camden all participated. Really enjoyed it.

So when it was offered for the second round, we decided to let the rest of kiddos have a try. Now this didn't come with some concern, Phoebe for her poor vision --a bow with an arrow, in her hands!! Yes, we did MOM.

And Paisley's weakened wrists were a concern for her. But the program is geared to EVERYONE being able to do this. And having them try this out has been a wonderful thing for the girls. 

Because both Paisley and Phoebe, as well as Kat have had a great time and are doing well.

 Paisley and Phoebe's targets are closer, but they are not the only ones using closer targets and no other modifications have been needed. They use a lighter weight bow, but again, they aren't the only ones and it's not really an issue since the bows come in all different colors and sizes.

It's not something we would have ever thought of that would allow the girls to be the same as other kids and not just participate but to do well within the activity. But it has been very successful for them.

Each child has an adult "helper" to maintain safety, and guide all the children throughout the activity. The kids get to have snack and a devotional time in between the groups who are shooting. 

They also get a shirt, the first time they were tie dye, this time they were bright orange.

 Do you see how proud a certain "someone" (Paisley) is that she got ALL 4 of her arrows on her target?

 It's been a blessing to have this for all of our children. Such a great program:)