Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year

Kung Hei Fat Choi /Happy Chinese New Year 2014

Year of the Horse:)

We are decorated, will be enjoying some yummy Chinese food, handing out red envelopes to the kiddos.  

 Happy Chinese New Year 2014 from our family to yours!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Wheels

Not for me, for Paisley.

Yep, the long awaited "push chair" is here. I can't say it was delivered because the medical supply company that took our insurance said our home was "outside their service area" so I agreed to pick up the chair at school. 

Now basically it's a larger stroller. It's not meant for her to push herself, it's for us to push her around when a lot of walking is involved, such as a park, the mall, etc.

For any of you with special kiddos who are wondering, here's the skinny---

It's a Convaid EZ14 EZ Rider 900301

Ours came with these accessories (which  are "extras" that I didn't pick)--

 Headrest  extension (although Paisley doesn't really need that, I think it was probably required due to her height)
Anti tippers (so she can't be tipped backwards too far)

It can be ordered with a 5 point restraint if your child has trouble with upper body weakness, Paisley's only has the lap belt. 

It's 18 lbs and collapsible like a stroller. It's new, so it's kinda stiff to fold so far, but it folds pretty small. 

Paisley is 4 ft 6 and 63 lbs, this works for up to 100 lbs, and I believe 4 ft 9.  As she is all the bigger she's gonna get we didn't have to worry about "outgrowing" it. We picked the color, it's teal.

If your child needs something like this your first step is to get their doctor to approve it's needed.  Then they send the prescription to a medical supply company (you can call ones in your area to see if they take your insurance) and have the prescription sent there.  

The medical supply company should then measure your child to make sure the right size chair is being ordered. 

You, the parent can research chairs, what type suits your needs, which is what I did.
And I picked this one for the weight (18 lbs), the ease to take it with us, (folds up easy)  and the size of the wheels(ease of movement).

We ended up with an extra step or 2, first we had to have a Physical Therapy consult which just meant we took her to a local PT place and had them say "Yes, she needs this." For the insurance.

Then we started with one medical supply company only to learn they did not take our insurance. And the company they sent us to that did take our insurance wouldn't come to our home. Thus the arrangement to get the chair at her school. Because we needed the chair and have been trying to get it since JUNE.

It's wildly expensive, kinda awful how much it was for all the more there is to it, but probably why we had the steps we did to prove she did, indeed, need it. And she does. It will get used, that's for sure. 

It didn't surprise me that it took so long to get it, honestly, because we went through this with our special guy, Tristan. We were trying to get an appropriate car seat and bathing chair when he passed away. It was deeply frustrating to care for a child with needs and not be able to get the equipment for them in any timely fashion.

 And obviously that has not changed:(

I'm very thankful we were able to get it, that we now have it, it just makes me sad that parents who have enough to do with caring for a special child has to push and wait and wait and wait to get something to help with that child's daily life. 

But today our lives are made easier and Paisley's happy she's got wheels and will be able to "keep up."  And we can look forward to summer and planning a few things without the worry of how she will be able to go:)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

And more GOOD NEWS

Remember HOLDEN?? 

Well guess what?  He's getting a FAMILY.  He's going to be a SON. 

Orphan no longer, he is CHOSEN.

Praise God, He loves these children and is OVERJOYED a wonderful family has come forward to claim this teen treasure. 

They are also adopting another very special son-- adding them both to their family.

Please be in prayer for speedy paperwork, the boys' adjustments, and for funding, there's financial need to complete this journey.

If you want to help with that---please consider how much your donation is going to matter-- you are helping change LIVES with your donation.  Can't spend any money better than to invest in a child:)  

Click here---Fundraiser for Holden and John 's family 

Praising God and His goodness as we get to see (and be a part of) FAMILIES being made:)

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Remember back in November on Orphan Sunday when I asked for many prayers and help to get a precious brother left behind HOME?

All of you were sooooo wonderful as you responded to God's call and got the family wanting to adopt this SONshine fully funded within DAYS of leaving.

Sometimes we give and we don't always get to know what happened in a special situation such a Joseph's.  

BUT---- this is NOT the case, no, you ALL get to share the JOY today, the amazing sight of this child, once called an orphan, now a chosen  SON- with his SISTER and look at those SMILES!!

Can't beat the love shining out of those 2 faces:)

To see the family all together and/or leave them a comment of congratulations go here---

Adoption is often a LONG, hard road. But, oh, are these precious children so very, very worth it ALL:) 

Welcome HOME Joseph!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Teen Times

It's been a week of teen happenings around here.

First we had a dinner that was for Chase's senior project. We were invited as special guests.

He takes culinary arts at  Vo Tech and very much enjoys the program.

He did a wonderful job.  He cooked the food and then did a small presentation where we learned what we would eat and that Bon Appetite is a very hard word for him to pronounce:) 

Although it was better than him saying"Chow down," right?

The menu was -

house salad
assorted dinner rolls w/whipped garlic butter
green beans almandine
roasted new potato medley
barbecue rotisserie chicken
char broiled flank steak with espagnole sauce (round here we call that GRAVY)
baked Alaska

The food was delicious. I had to laugh when I got to the steak and Chase was cutting 3 slices for everyone and I said "I'd like just 2" and he gave me 3, saying "Teacher said everyone get 3."  

Okay then. That's our son, by the book:)

He did surprise us by making a joke, when they took a few pictures of us with him he actually smiled. When someone else made a comment about it he said it was his "Once a year smile." 

His ESL(English as a Second Language) teacher is beside him on the right. 

I'm quite certain he is glad it's over, he just has to complete his portfolio on the dinner  with pictures and turn it in.  I know he was very stressed about doing this senior project and it has to be done for him to graduate.

Graduate. Yep, I wrote it. Hard to believe. 5 years ago this Sonshine of ours was sitting in an orphanage. Had NO HOPE. None. Was losing his sister even. Knew she was being adopted and had somehow come to terms that she should go because she was getting chosen and they were being left behind. 

And yet, instead of being???? Alone. On the streets. Dead? Abused. Homeless. Here is our SON--- doing a senior project (that's his culinary teacher with him)  graduating, dreaming of his career, a future, living with his siblings he thought he was losing forever.

So many things to be thankful for and we are, that our children were not LOST. That they get to do "normal teenager things" and make a life that includes dreams for the future for them. All of them.

Here's another fun teen happening--- Chloe and Chance headed out to the semi formal dance. Chance having his very first real date-- He asked Hannah to go and she said "Yes."  

Off for a night of fun, looking soooo grown up and handsome/beautiful.  Just takes your breath away to see them and know how far their lives have come. And what amazing young people that they are. So very special. 

I know of one special girl this week, so sad-- she aged OUT. Her chance is GONE. And it makes my heart break. So many children, wanting to belong.  People often ask- "What happens to the ones who age out?"  It's really NOT pretty. Not at all.  

They do not have family to go to for anything. No home. They have a name that identifies them as an orphan in a country that believes orphans are "bad luck". Therefore they are not able to get jobs. They don't have good schooling. There's VERY LITTLE in their lives they can do to "better themselves."  They are not valued as people.  The suicide rate is very, very high:(

And yet they are so, well, NORMAL KIDDOS.  They want to have lives. Go to dances. Graduate. Get jobs. Go out on their own but always knowing mom and dad are here for them.  They want to be loved. 

They are God's gems, waiting to be discovered:)

One who needs to be "discovered"---- Holden (Click on link-- I can't stop wondering if he will get a chance to be a SONshine.  Will he get to go to a dance? Date a girl? A family to "have his back?" 

He has so little time until it's TOO LATE. For another child. He will be LOST.  It's a burden on my heart. 

Even while I rejoice in my children, so thankful to have them in our lives, even coming in "late" in their childhood, these kids really are sooooo lovable. So wanted. So FUN. Wonderful. I can't help but wonder if anyone will come forward for Holden. 

 I pray for it to happen. For his family to see him and know what God is asking. That they say "YES, that's our SON!"

 Most likely now, in order to make it in time, he will need a family already started in the adoption process since he will age out and not be able to be adopted in June 2014.

I won't lie, it's hard parenting at times. It takes a ton of patience, love, tolerance and God's guidance. You gotta be prepared for long term work on schooling, adjustment, guidance. 

But the "perks" are endless when you are blessed to parent one of these very special treasures:) 


Monday, January 13, 2014

1 Year

Gotcha Days are BIG DEALS around here. And yes, we celebrate 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7 years this year with our six treasures from China!!

For our newest girl it's her very first one- Yes it is (MOM)  and because it's tomorrow in China--that makes it Happy Gotcha Day to Miss Phoebe.


Her take on life after the adoption is this--- 

Favorite thing about being adopted--Learn about Jesus and God

Miss the most- Foster mom (Grandma)

  Favorite food there--green beans, rice

And here-- hot dog, no roll or ketchup and corn dogs

School in China-- couldn't keep up and didn't get help and kids were rude

School here-- friends nice to her, has teachers to help her and equipment to help her see better

Favorite game-- Pretending to be super heros

What is best about adoption-- Having you come for me (Chloe and me)

Did you know you were being adopted (or what that meant)-- this question resulted in a very long story that boiled down to "NO" she was clueless. 

And even though we had sent pictures and they showed her the album before and said we were her "family" she didn't really know what that meant at all. 

 She was told she was being adopted to "help her eyes" by foster mom the day before she left the foster home then spent 9 days at the orphanage till we came. During that time the other children told her we were going to cut her eyes out:( 

Can I just say how thankful I am to have taken Chloe to adopt this precious one?  Because I really think she needed a big sister who could speak to her in Chinese and explain many things with no language barrier.

Speaking of language barrier-- there's none of that here. Nope. Phoebe is very bright and most of the time she understands when we ask her something-- sometimes we have to break it down to simpler terms but she's very smart. No doubt about that.

She's very verbal, matter of fact if she's awake she's talking and most likely asking a question (or two or three) about something. She's gotten in trouble for her non stop talking in school.

Other things the last year have brought--

She's gained 4 lbs, and 2 inches. She's  taller than big sisters Kat and Paisley.   She hasn't gained a whole lot but then she was not under nourished like her older siblings were. 

She's skinny as a bean pole, has to have 10 jeans for length but the buttons in the waist to make them fit. 10/12 shirts.

 But her feet and hands are much smaller than Kat, something she told me today she "Just don't understand why God made her this way." In regards to her hands and feet:)  

One thing she has come to accept-- being loved. If ever a child was in need of parents, siblings, and acceptance this child has blossomed in a way it's hard to even describe, to have seen her put down her hair, her coloring constantly to learning people here LOVE her hair color, her eyes, and we are colored the same as her. And we love her as she is.

I rarely ever hear that she wants black hair, or black eyes. She knows of God and is now aware He made her the coloring she is because He meant to. That she is quite special.

For today, she will receive some gifts, we will give her a card thanking her for becoming our daughter.

 Our kiddos LOVE Gotcha days, it's so special to them that we celebrate the day we met them:)

What does she think of this day finally coming?  Oh,  she is sooo excited! She gets GIFTS. Yep, that's what she's excited about. There's still some residual jealousy hangin' around, that she doesn't "HAVE" as much as the others, mainly KAT.

So this gives her another "thing" Kat has had, a GOTCHA DAY:)

Happy Gotcha Day Phoebe!! We couldn't love you more!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Keepin' warm

It's just downright freezing. I'm so thankful we have heat! -6 degrees this morning.

Although it may have been colder than that, probably was because there were no early risers here besides Dad. 

Here's one guy who doesn't mind the cold, he came up dressed for the day in SHORTS. Crazy Sonshine.

As of yesterday at 4 pm, they cancelled school for today. And since none of us really have gotten back to the "early to bed, early to rise" theme that school brings, it was late to bed and late to rise this morning.

I don't think the doggies minded, they had to be coaxed to go out at all. Brrrrr. They didn't like it. 

What are the kids doing with this free day? 

So far some game playing, lots of rubber band making stuff-- they have gone from making simple bracelets to headbands, earrings, dog collars and leashes, necklaces, you name it they are making it.....

I *could* say that the rubber bands everywhere drive me nuts. But I won't. You know why? Because they won't last forever.

 No they won't. My girls won't be little and want to make these crafty items forever. And a colored rubber band or 2 on the floor brings the thoughts of all these neat items they are making within seconds. Memories. 

Someday, God willing, they will be what is left of our time parenting.

 That and (hopefully)  time with some grandchildren will bring back the memories of the a day off of school bringing us nifty craft items. And we will miss days like this. 

So I chose to savor this day off, the kiddos haven't picked one bit on each other. 

The kids were hoping the big pot of chili I started was for lunch but it was supper so they had noodles for lunch. Some haven't changed out of jammies yet, and I don't care about that either. Why not stay snug in jammies all day?  

Now lest you think I missed the kids so much my view was off I'll include the pics of Camden and Kat when they both decided a 50 cent bouncy ball was "theirs" and they were arguing with each other all the various points they could come up with that would "prove" ownership.  

Can always count on those 2 if I ever have a dream of having perfect children. (Ha ha) They will destroy any and all thoughts of perfection happenin' here. And that's okay, really it is. Because we aren't perfect, we are just us. Imperfect. Annoying each other. Love. Tolerance. Sometimes ornery. 

Seriously, it's OKAY. Because it's all good. Our children are warm tonight. They are fed. They have clean clothes.

 Nobody has rotted teeth. No one is doing without medical care. It's never wrong to be thankful for what we have. Life, is never guaranteed. So we are thankful for what we have today and enjoying the children we have been blessed with.

Had to reschedule 2 appointments we had today, recheck on Phoebe's eyes and check up on Paisley's arthritis. 

Both are stable right now so that was a good thing, a delay in these appointments aren't a huge deal.  No one wanted to be "out and about" in this cold for any reason except an emergency. And none happening here.

So in we stayed. We already have a 2 hr delay for tomorrow, so I guess we get yet another day to be lazy. Wow. We may never get back on track at this rate?  

Hope you all are keeping warm, anyone lower than us at -6 degrees??

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Winter Retreat

I think I'm in kid withdrawal. Either that or I hit my head.

Because yesterday I shipped off the 5 teens to a weekend of fun in a lodge with their youth group. See how happy (and cold) they were?

Now we have just 2 kids, Kat and Phoebe at home. And it feels, WEIRD. Wrong. Odd. 

After we dropped off the 5 teens, some of whom refused the "HEY, where's my hug before you go?" offer (Chase) --- me and the girls went grocery shopping. WHAT FUN. (NOT)

The girls bickered the whole way through the store. About, well, pretty much everything:( I think they are sick of each other. Which is only going to be worse now that there's no-one-else-home to buffer the 5 MILLION questions from Phoebe from the time she wakes up till she goes to bed.

SERIOUSLY. The girl has to go to bed before everyone else  so she will be already asleep  (hopefully, doesn't always work)and not keep people up. Great for her learning, not so great when you are tired of sister's questions about everything. Kat did say today she "misses" the girls. Not the boys, mind you, just Chloe and Paisley.

So anyway-- After the girls bickered through the store, and I STILL bought them take out supper (of course I did, I can't cook for just 2 kids, now can I?) I  did realize I didn't need to buy 4 family sized cans of soup to make lunch today-- not for just 2 kids anyway.

I can't really wrap my brain around cooking for 4, verses cooking for 9-10.  It's not so simple after all these years. So for supper the girls got chicken sandwiches and ate totally unhealthy. (Don't bother to call MOM)

I DID think later--- after all that bickering happened, maybe, just maybe I sent the wrong kids off? It flitted through my mind that the girls do indeed have a grandma and they have not spent the night anywhere without one of us with them (EVER) and they have Outdoor  School next year to prepare for.

Can you see where I'm going here? Yep, I thought it, indeed I did. It didn't happen though.  Somehow I am thinking I should have been better prepared. As in, packed them ALL up and delivered the 2 girls to grandma's house right after the teens got dumped dropped off.

I'm not sure hubs and I would know how to act being childless though, I've heard rumors that we are pretty goofy when seen sans children, which doesn't occur very often at all. It's probably better that we aren't without them. We behave ourselves:)

So for now we are down 5, still at 2 and tolerating enjoying them in all their glory. Feeling the love, feelin' it:) 'Cause we do love 'em, ornery and all. 

Did I mention they go back to school Monday? If not then let me tell ya, they do. Now, before you go thinking that's something I am looking forward to, I will say they will be missed. For all of 5 minutes  Of course they will.

I'm already missing our teens. Till tomorrow, when they barrel in with their tons of wet clothes and all need their stuff washed ASAP. Then I'll know my "normal" is back.

Speaking of normal-- did you know there's a town in Illinois named NORMAL?  I think we gotta move. So we can say we are NORMAL folk.

 We learned this interesting fact when we starting listening to a station from there, it's ALL Christmas carols. Yep, I gave up the Christmas tree, but I refuse to give up the Christmas carols. I just LOVE them.

I told hubby I will reconsider giving them up maybe around the end of Jan. For now, we are keeping them playing-- I like that there's not ONE nasty lyric, not ONE really BAD Christmas song.  

So that's us, moving right along in to our new year, just being "normal"-- or at least OUR normal:)