Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Eyes that see

Another week of eye stuff,  Camden gets his contacts (had to reschedule due to SNOW) and today had Phoebe's yearly eye exam for checking on nearsightedness/ glasses.

While her vision will always be severely affected her nearsightedness is not part of her lack of pigment. She just happens to be nearsighted. So it was great to hear that her eyes have not worsened and her glasses are still the right strength to help her see best.

I always enjoy taking just her to appointments because it's a rare chance to talk with her about life, things she's concerned about, and as always to marvel how far she has come in maturity, English skills and behaviors.

She actually stopped in the play area and said "I don't think I should play because I am not a little kid."  Now, when I assured her no one cared if she played with the toys and no one was looking at her funny, she was more than willing to go play:)

She's growing so much. 

She shared something Paisley said to her too.  Oh, my heart. Let me tell you....

It's a continual thing to make sure our older kids KNOW they are loved. They are wanted.  They were meant to be part of this family.

I don't think we can say it, show it, live it, ENOUGH.  It seems like a "no brainer" to US.  NOT to our children who were abandoned. 

Abandonment runs sooooo deep.  So very deep in their tiny souls and minds.  It breaks them in ways no one understands. And our love can, in a way create healing but it takes a ton of time.  A TON. So much time, and all of that time being consistent, steady, loving, caring for them without fail.

EVEN when they aren't pulling their weight. Paisley has struggled greatly with that.  I keep a close eye on her, knowing that every so often, it's time. Time for what?  Time to reel her BACK IN, to the loving fold of this family.  She TRIES to isolate herself. Pretend it doesn't matter if she doesn't participate with family stuff, or put forth any effort to be involved.

NOPE. It matters.  She matters. And I notice because that's being her mom.  She isn't behaving in a healthy manner and I call her on it.  And every time I do we are reinforcing that she matters.  She is loved. She is a wanted part of this family.

We are never wiping away ANY of our precious treasures added to our family by adoptions, abandonment stories.  NEVER. 

 That's going to be an issue if you adopt ANY child from orphanage care with an abandonment history because even an infant is going to grow up and at about 10 or so say "How did I get here?"  And figure out what being an orphan, abandonment, adoption MEANS.

And it's going to HURT.  There's no getting around that. Even if you think your child is easy going and it doesn't seem to bother them--- they have feelings about it.  And for some teens it's later because they come later and they struggle with this at different points of their adoptions.

I always tell them if I could have birthed them I would have. And I mean it. I would love to be able to gloss right over those rough and terrible realities of their beginnings in life. But that's not when God sent them to me and all I can do now is let them know I love them and always will, that I understand their life story hurts.

And encourage them to see the positive things God has given them since they ended up as orphans and how blessed we feel to have been allowed to add them to our family.  Each and every one of them chosen by God. Not to be orphans, no way--- but chosen after they had that happen to join our family as a second option.

Yes, second best.  We get that. Because "first best" was that they never be orphaned at all. 

And in their cases we are thankful each one of them  got us "second best" folks who love them with all our hearts:) God has gifted us with these precious ones and we continue to love, guide and prepare them for life as best we can all while enjoying them as much as possible too:)

Even this last girl pictured, who refused to put anything on her new room walls. So I did it for her.  She took everything back off and away. So I re decorated again and left her a note-- "Do not take things off walls."  She didn't take all off but most of it. I re decorated AGAIN (stop laughing MOM)  and left her second note-- "DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING!  FINAL ANSWER. She still complained but as of today.... walls are decorated...... phew.  The BATTLES:)

If only everything in life was so simple, huh?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Celebrating Changes

We've had a lot going on around here.

Changes. All of them seem to be good too.  First we decided to change rooms for the 4 girls.  Now, understand, this does NOT come lightly.  We probably have some world record for the number of times we have changed out rooms for kids between the old house and this one. Between fostering and adopting it's happened A LOT.

 Matter of fact, few of the bedrooms are even painted in colors that wouldn't suit EITHER a boy or a girl and all the carpeting is neutral. 

We did that for a reason.  If we see a situation is not working out for the best of any child we can "mix things up" to find a better fit.  And as more and more time has gone by with the 2 younger girls not getting along, playing tricks (sometimes mean and dirty) on each other, creating as much trouble as possible for EACH OTHER, it became time to evaluate the best way to separate them.

It made me sad, quite frankly because as all mothers wish and dream our children will all get along wonderfully, we thought Kat would be a good example for Phoebe to follow and Phoebe would be happy to have a sister to follow the lead from.  WELL...... that's happened some. But some NOT.

Some of the immaturity, jealousy, competitive stuff was just, quite frankly, out of hand.

So we started at the beginning of the week and had to move mattresses, some furniture (we did not have to move beds this time-- phewwww!) and a ton of belongings for each girl to a "new to them" space.

Chloe was the least displeased. But for the good of the family we had to do it.  She ended up bunking in the biggest room with Paisley. For which I think it will do a world of good for her to be bunked with Chloe.  She also needs guidance from an older, well adjusted sister.  And that will happen now.

Kat went to Chloe's old room. Phoebe to Paisley's old room. Both rooms upstairs and on opposite ends of the house, but both within hearing range of parents. Which is already making huge impacts on the fighting/picking/ nonsense. Because so much less is able to be "pulled" when they have no NEED to be in the other one's room.  And if they want to play they certainly can, in a common area, also where eyeballs are seeing them.

Now, we are seeing HUGE leaps of progress from Phoebe. Because Kat was truly treating Phoebe like a sister... meaning she was picking on her, pulling tricks, only Phoebe isn't at Kat's level of maturity and she was ending up the "loser" in all the games which caused her to get mad, yell and more often than not, get in trouble.  NOT GOOD.

AND-----There's no more 50 times a day hearing "Kaaaaaaaatttttttttt stop!"  Right there made it worth everything!!!

Funny enough, we have had more trouble keeping them OUT of each other's new rooms than anything-- they do love each other and want to play with each other. It just has to be in a HEALTHY way. And now we can monitor that. So for now it's a WIN/WIN for all.

Other things we are celebrating changes of ---Miss Phoebe!! Another year older:)

Yep, on Friday she turned 11.  She woke up and found out there was a 2 hour delay that quickly turned in to a cancelled day of school.

 First day of spring and 6 inches of snow.  And we could hear birds happily chirping, even with the big snow fall.  So odd!

Phoebe was very happy it was her birthday and she dressed up in one of her fanciest dresses ALL day.  Even with no where to go:)

I knew she was disappointed to not get to go to school, so I curled her hair in anticipation for her Birthday Party that evening.  I had even made her an ice cream cake, she doesn't like regular cake so I learned another mom trick for ice cream loving/cake hating kids.  Making a homemade ice cream cake. She was thrilled.

She was very happy with all of her gifts, she got some MONEY, some clothes, a journal, a big body pillow.  She did so well with the whole "big day"-- that's a huge improvement of her behaviors, not melting down either before, during or after her birthday. She's growing so very much.

Such a lovely person she is. Just so special. We had her IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting this week which is to make sure all modifications are being made for her visual issues at school. Her cane instructor said he had to tell me what she said when she met him the first time.  "Do you know Jesus?"  Yes, that's our Phoebe. Jesus/ God means the WORLD to her.  She wants to be sure everyone knows Him.  She's a wonderful child of God and I am sure He is as proud of her preciousness as we are.

We also (told ya I get busy so don't worry if I can't find time to blog!) had Phoebe's low vision evaluation done. This was to make sure she is using the best devices for her visual needs. 

And although sometimes it's actually a little weird to be the "poster mom" of adoption from China ( you adoptive moms know what I mean) I've gotten a promise from the doc who did her evaluation that she will pray for guidance if adoption is for HER family.

She was very taken by Phoebe, she just has this way about her that draws people in.  An innocence and sweetness that can't be denied:)) 

So when I told her (of course I did!)  about adopting older kids and the NEED out there, she was very interested.  I figure if God wants to use this precious girl to get others on board to adopt then I certainly can't hinder that:)

The only changes we got from the low vision evaluation is that it's better for Phoebe to read WITHOUT glasses, up close.  Not enlarged. Not for tons of reading BUT for every day stuff, reading a menu, looking at a box for ingredients..... her glasses help her see distances and they don't help (actually they make it worse) for her trying to see up close.

So doc recommended she take them off to read close and it's not hurting her eyes. It's actually stuff she will do as an independent adult so it's teaching her how to handle life in the real world because as she said-- "No one is going to be following her around enlarging print for her." Which is true. And magnification is actually harder for her to see with the glasses on.

This made sense to us but was the first time it was mentioned to us. So it was an interesting appointment all around.

The  only other news I have is kids are sharing colds it seems-- Camden, Kat and Phoebe so far. No one sick enough to stay home or anything. Just colds, sneezing, runny noses. Phoebe was funny when she came to me this morning and said "Uh, I sneezed and for the first time EVER there was so much it landed on my jacket, should I still wear it?" 

Um, NO. How about we just wash that first, ok?  That's what's been happening around here with us, snot and all. 

 Sorry for grossing ya out:( 

Friday, March 13, 2015

30 hour Famine

Guess it was a good thing the teens stuffed their bellies with dumplings because they decided to participate in a 30 HOUR famine with proceeds going to a mission trip.

None of the children were told they HAD to do it, in fact it bugs me to see them go without food when I know this has been a sore place for them in the past.

Just another reason they are amazing people to me:) When they decide on their own to do such a caring act it just reminds me how far they have come and what great people they are.

Lots to tell ya about the elusive Mr. Camden.  Today was Pi/Pie Day.  He made a shirt with fabric paints about Pie (in front) and Pi (in back) and took in cookies (round) for Pi/Pie day.

Yesterday he dressed up as the football team does each Thursday. Goodness is he growing in to such a TALL and handsome young man. Do not worry (MOM) that is not his bag to leave home already, it's a bag of chips for snack he "had to have."

He's really super good at that " I NEED for tomorrow---a white shirt, fabric paint" and it's 6:30 pm.  At least I was near a store, waiting to pick up Chloe from work.

This week also brought Camden new glasses ordered AND......... contact lens!  Yep, I told him he "had to" because last year football did not go well with non breakage of glasses and the sport goggle glasses he got that were not supposed to fog up, they FOGGED UP.

So I told him he's got to do the contacts if only for football. He doesn't like the contacts so far, but he's getting more used to them. I wouldn't be surprised if he decides he likes them better than glasses eventually but either way at least we have the sport playing issue resolved.

Oh, I just gotta tell you this one.  You know that darn ELF that lives here?  (No, not that ELF on a sh-lf) but the ROTTEN elf that lives here and does ALL the nasty things that NOBODY here could possibly do?

Well, apparently yesterday he got kicked to the curb and I believe he is off pouting somewhere.  BECAUSE--- I came home from a long day of work, had to run to store for Camden's stuff, waited to pick up Chloe then as my tired butt came in my door I, as in ME--- was accused of "breaking" off a shelf in the fridge door. 

 The claim I heard was that because I "had a soda for work" (yeah, one little 16 oz soda) in that shelf that it MUST have been the cause of said broken shelf. This shelf is deep enough and strong enough to hold 2 gallon jugs of MILK.  (not that we use them for that)

Ummm.  Here's the ONLY problem with this scenario.  When I left for work the shelf was PERFECTLY fine.  In the fridge.  When I got home, the shelf was sans all the stuff in it and on the counter.  The children DID NOT come home to find that shelf on the floor. SOMEONE opened the fridge and that shelf SOMEHOW became broken and empty on the counter.

It's a MYSTERY I tell ya.  I think the kids might be wiser to bring back their "elf friend" because I would be more likely to believe he did it than KNOWING it wasn't me.  Nice try kids. I'm not falling for it......

Our weather has been a HUGE topic around here, A WHOLE WEEK, no snow, no school delays, cancellations, nothing. Even SUNSHINE--- some serious Vitamin D showed up in the form of DAYS of warmth (ok so 50 degrees isn't sweltering but we are calling that WARM)  and most of our snow melted away.

Catching up on appointments cancelled (even multiple times) because of weather. And thankful we can get out not worrying about snow coming like last week when CPR class had to be excused early to get us home safely.

Don't be concerned, I passed:) I can save a life. If needed. I just can't save shelves from my children.  Oh well.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Little Dumplings

I feel the need to add on to my last post some info you all probably know but I'm gonna write it anyway.

Every single one of our children is a gift from God. We feel extremely honored that God chose us, ordinary, broken people for parenting the special ones brought to us via adoption.

NONE of the issues that we see with them are anything we ALONE can handle. God equipped us when He asked us to go for them. And we did, and He is with us guiding our family.

We have not-one-regret. NONE.  Would we change any of their paths?  Of course--- if we could make every child we parent that was called "ORPHAN" before never be an orphan at all, we would do it. 

EVEN if it meant we never got to parent them. Us adopting them is second best------ yes, I said it. SECOND best. First being they never became orphans.

But this is not their reality. And for older kids/ any orphaned child from ANY country, it's better to have an adoptive family than NO FAMILY. I liken it to the not-so-great childhood I had.

Do I wish I didn't have a difficult childhood?  Well, of course, BUT.......although I do NOT believe God allows any child to suffer I do know that much of what I went through equipped me to parent children from hard places. I know the fear. The hurt. The difficult time trusting people that I still struggle with.

So often God uses people who never thought they were worthy for amazing things. That's how I feel, unworthy of the gift of our children. I wouldn't change ONE THING about them, although it does bother me to see them struggle I cling to the fact that Father may need them to be strong to use them in ways I can't even fathom.

Each one of my children are people I am proud of. Proud to know. Proud to be called "Mom" by them. They have grown ME in ways I needed and am happy to be "stronger" in. My faith in God.  HUGE leaps because the struggles with the kids has taken me to hard (for me) places. Trust (again) in Him. Had to happen.  Couldn't do this without Him.

Started out very selfishly adopting to add a little girl to our family and instead He took me asking Him to use me how He wanted to show me His broken heart over the older orphans. Again, no regrets. 

 He led us through 5 more adoptions. Attachment struggles. The ongoing hard road of raising these precious ones.  Helping a ton of people "behind the scenes" who are struggling/ need support.

There's no boredom in my life. There's no wondering if I should be "doing more." There's a mission field right in my home.  Not everyone is set up to be a missionary and travel.  Here's the way to bring the mission to you:)

What I am saying is, YES-- adoption is beautiful, broken, hard, wonderful, a tremendous blessing.  And YES, children need to be adopted. THEY DO. And yes, older children are amazing treasures worth everything to bring home and raise.

Even the ones afraid to let us love them, the fear they will "lose us too" based on their not receiving basic timely care as infants and learning not to rely on anyone.  THEY NEED TO BE LOVED. And here, they are loved and will always be loved. We are here for them always.

Ok, done being all gushy on ya---- so the "dump-ling" title that's not the kids?  It's dumplings, real homemade dumplings. 

 Ohhhhh. YUM.  Chloe and I were both off Sunday and we decided to break out the pork. Well, she wanted hamburger too, which I thought was totally gross to put in dumplings, but we did it. (I only ate the pork ones:)

We made a bunch, cooked some in broth, fried some, and chowed down. They were so good!  They are a favorite of ALL the kids. Since we were snowed in AGAIN, it was the perfect day to do some cooking after church. Paisley's cheek is full of dumplings, not swelled up:)

We are SURE (you read it here) that spring is indeed, coming. Even though we have another storm (ice) going on today and another one coming tomorrow night (3-6 inches of snow so far is the prediction) but I can tell you on good authority SPRING IS COMING.

You know how I know???  SKUNKS.  Yep.  The skunks don't come out till spring is coming and we have seen a number of dead skunks (and smelled them) on the roads locally. 

 We always laugh when we smell that and everyone goes "OOHHHHH, gross!"  All except Chance, who has always told us that the skunk smells like------- Chinese food?  Seriously!

Not sure who was cooking for him but I've never been able to "recreate" anything remotely like it for him. (thank goodness, huh?)

We had a delivery Sunday--- a new washer. Yeah, wasn't thrilled but the old one died. Not like I don't use it EVERY SINGLE DAY.

 But it made me smile because usually every appliance you have dies while you are adopting and I recall quite a few "dying" on us while we were in process so it was a sweet memory. (NO, MOM, we are not adopting-- do not call.)

So we are eating dumplings and washing clothes.... big news, I know.(ha ha)  Sorry that's life around here, just normal family stuff:)