Saturday, December 19, 2009

10 followers--LOL / fundraising

Wow, I'm up to 10 followers of this blog!!-- LOL.  Wonder if I'll ever get to 20.  Just wanted to say hello to everyone.  We have lots going on at Chaos Manor.  Hoping I'll hear from the social worker this week as to when in January they'll come out here & visit.  Ready for this show to get on the road.  I'm currently going through all the grant websites & seeing which ones we'll be able to apply for.   Can't apply for anything until the homestudy is done.  cAtch 22.  I'm patient.  Just finding out all kinds of things.   Once homestudy is done, grant applying will become priority.  Fundraising is going to get a big boost in January!  We're going to kick it into gear after the holidays.  Some have already told me they'd participate but would have to be after the holidays.  Totally understand so have decided to wait before introducing anything else.  Have some great ideas & hope to share those ideas and get some of you involved as well if you'd like.  Simple stuff but fun.   Like I said, that is January and February's focus w/out a doubt.  I know we can do it.  Warren is currently thinking of how we are going to make more room in this home.  Garage will have to go away but it must.  It will become the girls room.  Alyona(10), & her two new sisters...3yo(NOW!!!) and the 7yo.  They will love it, I'm sure.  Alyona has already put in her request for theme/ color-LOL.  We will definitely be seeing pink.  The 9yo boy will be sleeping with Alex & Nik.  Plenty of space in that room & the bed is already in place for him.  Very excited about it all.  Just have to get rid of everything in the garage basically.  We have to find another storage solution.  A volunteer who does design/ engineering stuff has offered to provide designs and such for the room for no charge!  That would be awesome to get another perspective and see if we've come up w/ the same ideas.  Our biggest issue is the heating/cooling.  Not just for that room but the fact that our system is going to go soon.  It is 16yo and has had it's share of issues.  We know it will not last much longer.  But to replace it is about $5000 and with a current adoption going on, that just is not an option at this time.   We're working on a solution for sure.  Right now, it works.  that's what counts.  But seeing them be replaced left & right in this subdivision,let's us know our turn is not far behind.  They were all installed together,just makes sense they'll all die together.  One thing at a time though.  We'll hopefully start work on the room in February.   We see expenses for the adoption starting to kick up seriously.  So we have to do some major fundraising in the new year.   Any ideas, definitely send them my way.  I know we can do it.  For nothing is impossible with God!  (I think it is a form of the verse in Luke 1:37)  I'm terrible w/ scripture so forgive me please.  My kids even had that verse in vacation Bible School.  I should knwo it.  I used to say in high school:  "nothing is impossible unless you try shampooing a porcupine."  Either way, things CAN be done and can be accomplished.  I have no doubt.   If a little girl can raise over $26K for an adoption in 8 days, I can surely raise $20K in 6 months, right?   I know I can.   Nothing will stop this mom from bringing home her children.   We are ready for them.  January will be super busy for us for sure.  3 birthdays then.  One of htem mine.  Anyhow, lots to do in January.  Homestudy, getting dossier docs started, major fundraising campaigns, kids starting basketball, taxes needing to be done, school starting back up, and some other major things happening.  It will be busy but a good busy.   Just wanted to touch base here tonight.  Please, any fundraising ideas, send them our way.  Have a great week.  Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A birthday we can't celebrate

Okay, so this picture totally landed in the wrong place--LOL.  This is fron Nik's party back in Oct.  He was the last b-day we had here.  Kids always decorate the dining room.  I usually make a cake as I used to work in a bakery & can do that stuff.  However, my cake this time went horribly wrong (Diego's head got decapitated) & we ended up buying a store bought one.  Now, read the following & then I'll get the pics in teh right place--LOL.

Always hard when you are in the adoption process and a special occassion arises that you wish your new children could be a part of.  Since I'm not allowed to release b-day information, I can not tell you when my new baby's birthday is.  It is in December and it is soon.  Been thinking about her as most expectant mothers think about their children & what future celebrations will be like.  Sure enough, that's me right now.  Not just thinking about what the celebration would look like here for a birthday, but what are they doing at the orphanage for her.  Most likely, nothing.  Most my children have their first birthday party once they are home with us.  I wonder, if they are even thinking about her on her special day.  Do they care when she was born.  Do they wake her up and say Happy Birthday to her & make her day extra special. Does she get extra hugs like she would here.  Does she get to lick the beaters full of homemade icing that is to go atop her cake.  Does my baby get to do this now?  Most  Is someone going to fix her hair up in ribbons and bows for her special day?  She has got the most gorgeous, thick, beautiful black hair you've ever seen.  Can't wait to put it up for her.  Her eyes are big and just simply stunning.  I so wish I could share her pictures.  Your heart would melt as mine did upon seeing her.  She is such a beautiful baby.  I can not tell you how hard it is knowing you want to be with a child and knowing full well you can't.  I just hope someone thinks of her on her day as I will.  Next year, I wil be able to watch those big beautiful eyes light up as she blows out her candles on the cake.  Someone besides me, please think of her.  She deserves just this simple wish.   I just want her to know someone is thinking of her and people do love her.  Why oh why can paper not move faster--LOL. 

Another common practice at this house during birthdays is pinatas.  Kids love the candy and end up w/ way more than should all the time.  But, birthdays are special and that's what they do here.  Something I'm sure that does not happen in the life of an orphan.  This is another simple pleasure that children should be able to enjoy.  I do want to do some type of celebration when we leave the older kids' home in Bulgaria.  Some bring cake, some play games w/ the children left behind, but everyone will typically do a little something to let them know they have not been forgotten about.  In fact, in our house, we have a stocking every year that is hung up at Christmas time symbolizing all the children left behind at the orphanages we've been to.  Our kids know this and have sent things in years past to their orphanages.

Another simple game of the limbo.  Rest of the kids are playing games out back.  Nik is happy.  It is his birthday here.  He should be happy.  I can only hope my little girl will be happy on her special day.  Though not celebrating with us this year, I do hope someone will remember her and at least give her a birthday hug.  Would mean a lot to me.

I can not wait until the homestudy appt.  Really, can't wait.  Our doc called, and ALL our medicals are ready for pick up for the homestudy.  I want my ducks in a row for when the social worker comes here to do the visits & can just give her all the paperwork.  This adoption, I don't want anyone waiting on me to get stuff together.  Hence, why I already have our medicals done.  Next job for homestudy list is to make copies of all our certificates.  Birth and marriage.  Fine.  It will all be done next week.  No big deal.  I told you, I'm ready.  I'm ready to be the one celebrating our daughter's birthday, not some stranger just thinking of it as another day w/out meaning.  Happy Birthday Little Bit!  No, not her name.  And no, her birthday is not today.  Just some time in December. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Last post was so sad & serious that I needed a boost!  So, here are some pics.  Hope you enjoy.  BTW, if you click on the picture, you can make it bigger.  I'm still learning w/ this new camera.  Like today, I learned you get a soft focus look if you have a smudge on the camera. Umm, not intentional btw.  LOL.  Enjoy anyhow.

I went to some class parties this week in school.  This is Bojan helping to make the Polar Express Train.  Yes, I'm stealing this idea & we're going to watch the movie at home next week & then make the train.  Keep those creative juices flowing.  And, the snacking part isn't so bad either.

Okay, one, ignore the clutter corner in the background for now.  This was taken after school.  Ironically, Alex wore those pajamas to school for pajama day.  I didn't even know what he left the house in.  I was hoping for the best.  Here is Yana and Alyona again.  Alyona got a ton of toys today from her party.  A ton!  Yana if you'll notice is in pajama bottoms.  She comes home from school everyday & changes into pajama bottoms.  I dont' get it.  Maybe b/c it gets dark now at 5pm, I don't know.  I figure it's not hurting anyone, let it go.

This is Max.  Our oldest son.  And yes, for those who follow our facebook page, it is the one we actually paid money to tonight to bathe our youngest son.  Not a proud parent moment but every once  in awhile, it happens.  Max was happy b/c he made money.  Anyhow, this is him standing in our dead yard.  He & I went for a walk today.  I usually take one of the kids on a walk after school.  He went w/ me today.  We chatted and learned there is a girl in the neighborhood that likes him.  I think he is still kind of shy & just doesn't know what to say around girls quite yet.  Gave him a few tips.  Can't believe I just gave my son advice on how to ask a girl out.  I will indeed regret that later, I'm sure.  He is growing up way to fast.  He came home to us at 4yo wearing a size 18 month clothes.  Wow.  My young man.

This is minnie mouse.  Aka...Alyona.  She is currently our youngest girl but not for long!  She can hardly wait for sisters.  She is blowing bubbles she got in class today at a party.  She loves the simple things still and that is what we love about her.  I love this dress on her.

Hope you all enjoyed a couple shots.  I have to go make another batch of fudge for teachers.  Thank goodness it only takes me about 5 minutes to do.  Yeah.  Then, wrap 7 gifts I think.  Tomorrow is an early release day for the kids and they are psyched at the thought of snow.  Now, for those who don't know, we live in NC.  Closer to the beach then the mountains and have a pool in our backyard for a reason.  It usually is 90 to 100's here from May to October.  So, even the thought of a snow dusting here gets people giddy.  Especially, around Christmas time.  I'll be sure to take pictures if it happens.  

Stand by Me-- not so nice side of adoption

Odd title, huh?  Well, you know me and honesty.  I'm going to lay it out here.  I'm going to be honest.  this is real.  May be hard for some to hear but it is something that happens more often than not in the adoption world and it is very hard for adoptive parents to deal with.  What is it you ask?   Family support.  Just as parents expecting a biological child, adoptive parents expecting a child are just as excited.  They can not wait to share the good news with everyone in hopes that they'll at least get a congratulations, happy to hear or wonderful news.  Something, anything...especially, from family, relatives.  For some of us though, that moment never comes.  Keep in mind, this will all be from my experience and my perspective.  But trust me when I tell you I've talked to hundreds of families over the past decade who have had to endure the same harsh path we have in regards to family support.  I will not mention any names in my post nor relation to us.   Just know, we consider these people family.  Many in the adoption world have told us to sever ties with them.  We never have.  Always remaining faithful, supportive and hopeful that their hearts & soul will change.  They have not.  However, we forge forward as that is what we have to do.  The adoption world forces you to become strong whether you want to or not.  So, here's the story.

Warren & I have never been able to have children.  Does it matter why?  No.  Did we ever want to have biological children?  Without a doubt.  Always longed for that baby but apparently God had other plans for us.  Every time we adopt we always hear "well, now you'll get pregnant."  Umm, don't think so.  When we first learned it would be near impossible for us to conceive, we had a choice to make.  Spend the money on fertility treatments that would only give us a "chance" at a child or spend the money on adoption that would bring home children for sure.  You can figure out on your own smart readers which path we chose.  Do we regret that decision?  Not on your life!  For that decision hinged on how our family was formed.  It was our decision to make and ours alone.  When we first told everyone(I'm referring to family here) we were adopting from Russia, we were met with many why questions.  That is understandable.  That, I truly can understand and don't mind explaining.  when our kids got home though, I still can not forget the words of someone when they came over to meet the kids for the first time.  Looking at Max(& thank God he didn't understand any english at the time), they said "what is that?!"  They were referring to the fact that he was Asian looking.  I said "he's your xxxx, say hello."  To this day, I still can not forget that moment nor the look on that person's face.  My heart sank into my stomach.  This is nothing though compared to what was to come of the next two adoptions.  Have a strong stomach folks?  LOL. 

Remember, we had our first two children for four years before we even added any others.  Even hosted hcildren to see if we were ready to adopt & parent more kids.  Some of the things said to us include:  "you're just buying Irina a sister."  Why would you want to adopt someone else's problems?"  You're takign away from your other kids?"  Yes, these were just a FEW of the comments to follow.  I will not even get into the real nasty ones said.  Just suffice it to say, the grinch was looking like an angel at this point.  Just as bio parents can decide to add to their family & almost never get questioned, adoptive parents seem to run into bombardments of questions and oppositions for whatever reason.  Not exactly sure why.  I've been asked why I'd want to raise someone else's problem.  I don't see our kids as problems or challenges.  Now, sometimes they can create problems but that's just regular kid stuff.  I have to admit, I get jealous when I hear of the outpouring of support from relatives of other adoptive families.  It would mean so much to us but we know we'll never have that.  That hurts a lot.  If a baby were to be born here, I'm sure it would be a different story.  some of you are saying "well, how do you know."  What many don't know what kicked up the whole adoption feelings again this time is back in August, we were among a few other families that were being considered to become the parents to a 2 week old infant girl girl w/ possible CP.  I mean, it was summer time, I was watching 11 kids in the pool, writing a dear birthmother letter & filling out forms all in  a few hours time in order to have a chance.  That opportunity obivously fell through as we don't have her.  Though disappointed, we realized at that moment, we did want to parent again.  Not necessarily an infant but definintely another child.  Though an infant would have been nice.  God works in mysterious ways they say.  This was definitely our ahh-haa moment of wanting to adopt again.  I started looking at children then again.
But, back to this topic.  I had called a few family members & told them we were being considered for an infant girl.  Estatic, congratulatory ,etc.  Everything you would expect.  Though I will say I said the child would most likely be healthy & just has a chance of CP.  Don't know if that made a difference or the difference was that it was a baby.  Didn't matter.  Point is the excitement was there for that child but NOT for any of my others who do in fact matter.  We were told all kinds of things when we brought Bojan home & heaven forbid, he was missing a leg.  Really, is it that big of deal?  Not to us, not to him.  The bigger picture is he had a home, a family that loved him.  I think the other questions that arose was our ability to parent so many children.  Now, our philosophy here is once you're out numbered, you're outnumbered!  Doesn't matter if it is 3 kids or 10 kids.  If there are more than the parents present, you are outnumbered.  Relatives believed that we could only parent so many kids b/c of the ones we had at home and all their needs.  We know they have needs but in the big picture, their needs are relatively small.  They only see our children typically at a big family gathering (NOT normal behavior at those things for any PI kid or FASer) when out of routine and out of normal eating patterns.  Makes a huge difference.  Maybe that is where the narrow-minded judgements are coming from, I don't know.  Maybe it was a different time when they grew up.  We are told we are being selfish and tkaing away from the other children.  I still have yet to figure out what we are "taking away" from them.  Things:  No.  Love:  No.  Activities:  No.  Room:  No.  So what praytel are we taking away?!  I'd really like to know.  We are told we are getting older and should just enjoy our retirement years.  What?!  Umm, I'm only 37 and last time I checked, that wasn't near retirement age.  Did anyone stop to think we are happy with the children.  any relatives?  I know some have & I must say I appreciate those few more than they'll ever realize for their support.  During an adoption, emotional support is SO important to the family.  They can use that more than anything b/c it is a hard process, especially if you have family criticizing you the entire way through it.  We've learned to ignore it all these years.  Now, with the lastest 3 additions, we have not told relatives exactly what special needs they have or even if they ahve special needs though I'm sure they can figure it out.  We have been told we lost our minds.  We've been told you should go to counseling b/c you have a "problem."  We've been told again we are taking away from our other children and that we are too old to become parents again.  We have been told first and foremost that they will NOT support this adoption nor will any of the other family members.  Though all this initailly hurt us this go around, we can't say that we didn't expect it.  We were just ultimately too optimistic once more.  That once our relatives see our children in action once home they will change the attitude.  We are told we can not save them all.  By goodness, with 147 million orphans in the world I highly, highly doubt we are trying to save them all.   These next three childrne of ours are coming home and completing our family.  This is it for us.  We already know.  We already sense a feeling of completion when talking about what we'll do w/ them once home.  Places we'll go, things we'll see.  I will never get my baby.  Yet in a sense I will.  My youngest that is coming home is little.  She is indeed MY "baby."  I wouldn't trade the toddlers to older children we've brought home for anything.  Okay, so this week has been crazy & if I were asked that question yesterday, I may have answered differently--LOL.   But that is just normal, crazy, holiday, school stuff life.  I'm okay with that.  We are happy where we are in life and where we're going.  We would have loved to have had family/ relative support this go around.  Encouraging words mean a lot to adoptive families.  They really do.  Sad part is (or maybe not so sad part) is we get tons & tons of encouragement from friends, neighbors, and even strangers.  I have strangers help passing our blog address & message of our fundraisers out there.  We have people giving us donations, people encouraging us by words, the little things.  They mean a lot.  Do we wish we could receive this from our families too?  Absolutely.  We do wish that.  I know adoption is not for everyone and I don't force adoption on anyone whatsoever.  Supporting adoption does not mean you yourself have to go out and adopt.  I must say I'm jealous of the families that are able to go bring their children home and take their grandparents with them.  I know for us, that would never happen.  I've asked before if people have wanted to go.  It really is a life changing event.   I just hope one day that our children can be seen for who they are and appreciated for who they are.  I hope one day that our families will see that all our adoptions were miracles in themselves.  That our adoptions did serve a purpose.  It really is amazing how one life can touch so many others.  We have 10 little lives that so far have reached thousands with their hearts and courage.  Yet the ones we want them to reach the most, it just doesn't seem to happen.  We never will tell our children all the bad things that were said in reference to their adoptions.  Though I will say some of my kids have already been told they can no longer visit certain places if they get more brothers and sisters.  Simply not true.  We know 12 people may seem like a big number and we definitely don't want to impose.  We've always told relatives our kids don't mind camping and neither do we.   We are great at improvising. 

Point of writing all this isn't to put anyone down.  I'm just telling it like it is from our view.  It hurts.  You can't take back words once they come out of your mouth.  You just can't.  That has been proven time and time again here.  We wish we could force our relatives to think differently but everyone is entitled to their opinions.  I can respect that.  What we want more than anything though is encouraging words and support.  That, we know we will never get.  Going through the adoption process as some of you know is hard enough.  It is even harder when you don't have that family/ relative support.  Yet, somehow, some way, every time we've adopted, we have forged forward despite the lack of family support.  Support came from so many other sources it was amazing to sit back and watch.  We had people bring us food home, people take care of our kids, people sending us cards, people giving gift cards to take the kids out w/ once home.  Just an outpouring of kindness, generosity and overall goodwill was witnessed at each and every adoption we've done.   It made me smile and cry every single time no matter how big or how small the gesture.  It came from the heart.  Sometimes though you wish though your family would stand by you w/ their hearts as much as your friends and neighbors do.  I know this wasn't the happiest post but one that must be shown as to give new adoptive parents some insight as to what "may" happen.  Doesn't happen to all families but it does indeed happen to some.  Know though to stick to your guns if it happens to you.  If you have a calling to adopt or know these are your children, proceed with it.  ONLY you know what is best for YOUR family.  No one else does.  Only you.  If you know someone adopting, please encourage them.  Listen to them when they are going through a rough time.  Support them.  If you live by them, give them a hug.  Best thing you can give to another adoptive family is your support.  Stand by them.  I found a song on the internet today.  I've always loved the song stand by me.  This one just seems to have a meaning of its own.  HOpe you like it as much as I do.

Will some of you stand by me???  I do hope so.  It really means the world to an adoptive parent.  We love our kids before they are home.  Just as a mother loves her unborn child.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mini- Christmas pictures

Lately, I've been doing a lot of writing & figured you all might be tired of that.  I know I am--LOL.  So, thought I'd just post some random pictures & go from there.  First set is from Thanksgiving when my parents came down to visit.  Suffice it to say, we had Christmas early.  What some of you new adoptive parents may not realize, is the simpler the life the kids lead once home, the better.  It is very hard for some orphanage kids to go from having nothing to a room that looks like Disney World.  Our kids are very active children and spend most time outdoors.   I think my kids tend to appreciate gifts more than some other kids I've seen.  I've watched other kids at birthday parties & watched mine.  Just seems a bit different.  Like they savor each gift.  Remember, it wasn't but a few short years ago, none received a gift on their brithday.  Maybe an orange for Christmas and a little candy but that was it.  Nothing more.  So, w/ no further a due, some shots from a mini Christmas from Thanksgiving time when their Grandparents came.  Here goes:

Okay, how many kids do you know that would sit still patiently w/ a pile of presents beside them?  Not many.

You think Max was happy with this skateboard?!  What a smile.  He is even taking care of this one.  Wahoo.  Last skateboard he left outside & it got ruined.  They still use it. That is one thing about orphanage kids, they will use it even when it is torn, broken, stained, whatever.  They do not like throwing stuff away.  Yana even sewed my pillow that fell apart.  When orphanage kids first get home, they won't tell you their feet are growing b/c they are used to shoes being so small and so tight.  I learned that lesson when one of my kids was squeezed into shoes 4 sizes too small!!!  Small stuff that you just don't think about as a parent but as an adoptive parent to PI kids, something you need to think about.

This is when you know your daughters are growing up....when grandparents give make-up for Christmas.  Big smile of course.  The girls also got an MP-3 player which they LOVE.  Yana was not allowed to use hers for awhile b/c over Thanksgiving, she was still grounded.  We do not bend the rules here even if grandparents come & bring gifts.  Yana knew this, did not fight us on it and obeyed the rules of grounded.  I was actually proud about that.  My girls love to listen to their MP-3 players.  They even gave the little boys their old cd players so it went full circle.

My mom will appreciate this shot more so than the other shot I had of Nik.  LOL.  That is their Nana in the pink.  My mom.  Do you think she likes Christmas a little bit??  They have also given us money.  This will go directly to our big Christmas vacation that the kids don't know about this year yet.  Tell you all about that tomorrow.  Very excited.

This is a picture of my mom  & dad.  They are trying to figure out how to put the nerf gun together.  That is one of the smaller ones they got.  They actually got the boys these giagantic nerf guns that must shoot 30 bullets at a time.  I still have bullets everywhere in this house!  Everywhere.  The boys have played with these guns every single day.

These were just a few pics from the mini- Christmas they had with their grandparents while they visited for Thanksgiving.  Kids love it when they come.  The boys want my dad toplay football with them.  Told you all, outdoors kids.  We probably won't see my parents until the summer time when we go to our adoption reunion in VA.  Plan on tkaing the kids touring in DC again and then for a visit maybe.  The day after Thanksgiving when the pictures were taken, we went to our lcoal light show and rode the train.  Had such a fun time.  Old time candy store...yum.  Santa.  What could be better?!  Got to run.  Dinner to serve & get them ready for school tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Alphabet soup-- long one

Many of us in the adoption world use this terminology when referring to diagnosis' of our children.  Most post institutionalized children, especially older ones, come with a list of dx's once home as well as some "baggage" that needs to be addressed.  Now, I have been cautious over the years of never giving my child's name w/ their dx's.  I make sure they have their own identity and are not identified by their dx's.  I want them to be known for their abilities and personalities rather than their disabilities.  Some of mine have physical disabilities that you can see.  Such as Bojan w/ his missing leg so he wears a prosthesis.  He's learned not to let it bother him.  He's very outgoing so frankly, I don't think anything would bother him--LOL.  Well, here's an example of how I let my kids handle what they want to say about their disorders/ disabilities.  Bojan likes to call his leg his robot leg & will entertain anyone curious enough to ask questions.  He takes it off, lets them hold it and see what it's about.  After that bit is over, it is back to regular kid play.  Some parents take books to school, give speeches etc. about their children.  I do not do that.  Maybe I'm lax maybe I'm just not so overly cautious anymore w/ 7 of them.  I do not do any of that stuff.  I let my kids handle thier own situations.  Okay, sometimes I will give them pointers on what to say if they ask but that's it.  Now, if they were shy, maybe I would do it differently.  There is nothing wrong w/ parents telling about their kids disabilities to a class but the sooner the kids can do it on their own, I think the better they are able to handle it later on.  My 2 cents worth, worth even less w/ today's economy--LOL.  However, I like my kids educating and showing others what they CAN do.  Sometimes it is a good idea, sometimes it is not.  We learn from everything.  You have to do what is best for your own children.  For mine, it is them educating about their own disabilities.  So, I know some of you are wondering what alphabet soup we deal with at Chaos Manor here.  Chaos Manor is what we've always called our home.  For good reason too.  Anyhow, thought I'd share what we deal w/ on a daily basis.  I will not give their names.  Just whether it is a girl or boy.  I won't even give age.  So, here goes & then we'll discuss.

Girl-- FAS(fetal alcohol syndrome)/ asthma/ OCD/ microcephaly/ devel. delays/ anxiety/ SI (b/c of it, can rarely feel pain)/ MMR(mildly mentally retarded)


Girl--RAD(reactive attachment disorder)/ ODD(oppositional defiance disorder)/ PTSD/ CAPD(central auditory processing disorder)/ FAE

Boy--missing leg/ missing finger/ emotionally immature/ syndactylty/ clubfoot/ urology issues/ eczema

Girl--FAS/ devel. delayed/ microcephaly/ MMR/  radial articulation/ ONH(optic nerve hypoplasia)/ probable dwarfism/ FTT(failure to thrive)/ delayed bone growth/ ASD(atrial septum defect)

Boy--FAS/ RAD/ ADHD/ PTSD/ dev. delayed/ one kidney

Boy--Deaf/ SI/ Strabismus/ severe vision trouble(debate still out whether going blind or not)/ FAE

As you can see, that is a lot of letters!  I most likely missed quite a few.  I know it sounds like such a mouthful and it is.  We have some of the dx's that most people will steer clear away from when doing adoption.  You have no idea how many kids are turned down b/c of a possibility of FAS.  Yes, FAS is indeed a difficult one to deal with.  however, like other disabilities, once you get into routine of things, it is nothing more than another disability.  Yes, you do have to parent differently.  Yes, you have to know the disorder inside & out in order to better help your kids.  But that is okay.

We also have RAD...2 RADishes in fact.  Now, that I will admit is the most difficult thing to have.  A child who doesn't trust you, who shows no empathy and who doesn't know how to give or receive love.  Until you actually live with a child with RAD, you can not fully appreciate the magnitude or gravity of the situation.  Many parents of kids with RAD are falsely accused.  The kids can manipulate many things.  For us, we videotaped just in case.  We used hold therapy on our kids.  NOT recommended if you do not know what you are doing.  We were trained by a therapist years ago & modified it some to fit our kids.  You can not imagine how hard it is to remain calm while your child is raging out of control.  The longest rage we've ever had here I think is around 3 hours straight.  During this time, we keep our kids safe from themselves.  And, keep us safe for that matter.  This typically will involve a total hold situation.  It is a chance for the kids to get all that scrambled up emotions they are feeling and cannot express for themselves out.  Sounds odd but that is how we explain it here.  Thankfully, we are done w/ the RAD rages.  While we did have them, sometimes one of the other kids would come up to the RADish and stroke their head & say it's okay(used their name here) mom & dad did this to me.  You're not being hurt, they are just helping you.  We cradle them like an infant if they're young so other kids can see they are not being hurt.  BUT, to the RAD child, they are indeed hurt.  They will "feel" pain.  No,there is no pain but in their head, it's there.  There is even a book called Parenting the Hurt Child. Many adoptive parents with RAD children end up having to disrupt the adoption and rehome the child.  We were told to do this years ago with one of ours.  We stuck it out and he definitely has been transformed.

Mental and emotional issues are tough in children.  It is something that people can not see on the outside so most will not understand.  Trust me, I did not before I had children.  Just thought maybe some parents couldn't handle their children.  Was it that or was it an autistic child or an FAS child or a traumatized child that got overstimulated and reacted?  No one knows.  Don't stand in judgement in others unless you really now the situation.  Looking from the outside peeking in will not provide enough information for you to make that call of whether it really is the parents or whether it is a child that can not help themselves.  Some of our children will revert into an autistic state if they get uncomfortable in a situation.  Crowds do this for some of mine.  This is why we go at "odd" times out to restaurants or to shop.  Helps the kids remain calm.  Helps us. 

The physical dx's for us have been the easiest part believe it or not.  Hearing about your kids' traumatized past however, that is much tougher to deal with.  How do you heal a broken soul?  A broken spirit?  We can heal a leg.  We can heal vision issues and hearing issues.  But the deeper issues buried in some of our kids is so,so much tougher to dig through.  It is hard to know what you should say sometimes.  Hard to know if you should tell them everything that really happened.  The mental,emotional, and behavioral issues that many adoptive children come home with take years to work on.  Years.  We've gotten better over the years.  I must say.  Takes patience (unfortunately, I'm not the best w/ this department--LOL), a listening ear and a whole lot of love.  We've done therapy over the years as well.  We've since dropped all therapy.  much after  awhile is repetitive.  And what burns me up is insurance will pay ALL of physical dx's "stuff" but rarely ever therapy.  Therapy does help and is needed for many adoptive children.  Insurance companies treat mental illness and health a bit differently.  Ashame b/c if many are treated early, they can become productive members of society.  They really can.  I don't wnat new adoptive parents to become scared of all the dx's.  You take one at a time, get a plan going and it all works out.  Some may see things in their kids that they never would have imagined.  Did I ever think I'd have to literally sit on top of my son flailing in bed due to night terrors?  No.  Not just a nightmare, but night terrors.  Totally different.  But, you do what you have to to keep the kids safe and to make them understand someone does love them and that they will not let them go.  I will be the first to admit though, this is hard.  Imagine if you are a parent for a moment and you've travelled across the world to bring home children that you want to love, long to love.  Now, you are home and that child is in a rage, spitting at you, hitting you, punching you, etc.  We had a family member witness a rage once & my husband holding her down.  Remember folks, we've been trained by professional therapists... please, please don't do this unless you have been shown the right way.  It is imperative to know what you are doing during a hold.  Anyhow, she sounded like she was being skinned alive.  No one was being hurt.  They were shocked at the whole experience, tried to give their parenting take on things(again, unless you have a traumatized child, you have no room to comment!), and couldn't believe the other kids just went about their business.  Why are they desensitized so to speak?  Because most have gone through it themselves in one form or another.  It happens.  It is all par tof the process and if you see my kids now, you know that they have already healed.  They were no worse for wear.  I want new parents to be aware of the potential things you don't "see" as a dx.  There are many.  Like I said, we've dealt easily w/ the physical stuff.  Someone asked me once, "Oh, it must be SO hard to deal w/ his leg (referring to the prosthetic)."  I said "no way."  It ismuch harder to deal with them if they are calling you names, spitting at you, screaming in public, etc. That type of stuff.  Invisible disabilites are truly trying on parents and require a sort of hypervigilence of sorts.  We are always aware of where they are and what they are doing.  My FAS kids have no cause & effect thinking.  Some relatives will go "punish them" or "just tell them no" or " how come they can't remember."  Umm, no cause & effect thinking so they will do the same thing over & over & over again.  No lie.  They can not learn from their mistakes.  They have frontal lobe brain damage but you can not tell by looking at my kids.  I have gotten "But they look normal." so many times.  They are who they are & we love them dearly.  Realty is that these dx's are lifelong.  They will not go away. 

As an adoptive parent, it is imperative you learn everythign you can about your future childrens' potential dx's and actual dx's once home.   We have done this w/ each one of our children.  We've been reseraching the last few weeks & asking questions for the kids coming to join our family.  Learning what we can so we can do what is best for them.  It is so interesting to see adults w/ the same dx's and see what life can be for them.  Gives so,so much hope.  I recently read a blog that treated their kids' new dx of FAS as almost a death sentence.  I really was heartbroken b/c it is not.  When people have biological children and something is wrong, they do everything in their power to help that child.  Whether it is therapy or hospitilizations or whatever.  They just do it.  That is the same thing that adoptive families do w/ whatever alphabet soup dx's that comes their way.  And you'll notice, if you follow that family, most of the time, everythign turns out a-okay.  So, despite that long list of dx's you see, it is really nothing.  They are our kids, they laugh, play, fight (shh, act like angels 100% of the time), grow, experience new things, get sick, get better, and enjoy their childhood.  Isn't that what every kid is supposed to do despite what dx's are thrown their way??  We think so.  Whatever is to come our way the next few months, we will handle it as we have in the past. 

If I said anything to offend, I appologize.  I can only speak from my experiences w/ my kids over the last 10 years.  As a parent, I am always learning.  that's for sure. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Playing catch up; status update

Okay, so the blog took a little hiatis.  Sorry about that.  When you're under the weather and a mom, you don't get any breaks--LOL.  Feeling much, much better now and not sure if it was a virus or some type of severe food allergy reaction.  Crazy stuff.  Haven't been that sick for almost 11 years!  Yikes.  As always though, life goes on. 

On the adoption front.  Not much new news here.  Just got the revised fee schedules for the new kiddos.  Definitely need to kick the fundraising up a notch & into high gear.  I know it is near Christmas so that will be near impossible.  But, I'm up to a challenge.  As Michael Jordan has said:  "I can accept failure, however I can not accept not trying."  So true.  Where there's a will there's a way.  Anyhow, getting stuff accomplished slowly.  I had my medical checkup today.  For those new to adoption journeys, this is all part of the process.  Though it was scheduled anyhow, it serves more than one purpose this go around.  See, in order to adopt, you have to prove you are medically healthy & mentally healthy.  Ridiculous, I know.  I see it to a point but the rigorious screening we adoptive parents go through is more tense than a CIA questioning session.  If just half the parents had to go through this screening process & gather docs like we do, I think they'd think twice--LOL.  Was extra nice to doc as I handed her forms for 9 members of our family to be filled out by her w/ all our medical history on it.  Thank God we have a wonderful doctors at Wake Urgent Care & that they know our kids inside & out.  Yes, even the one that can't feel pain & comes to them w/ a nail in her knee!  They are very accomodating & when you have children w/special needs, you need that indeed.  My kids know every part of that building sad to say.  They know the "trauma room" and the regular appt. room and the sick room and the x-ray room.  Yes, they've been to them all.  We also see many specialists as well every so often.  4 of my kids go to a neurologist, a 5th will soon.  2 of the new kids coming will have to go to a neurologist as well but not for FAS.  We pretty much have every specialist covered.  Not as bad as it sounds b/c all our kids are stable & only have to go every few months.  Plus, since multiples go, we can schedule all at once.  At the dentist, we have them spilt 2 of 5.  We'll do 5 & 5 when the new ones come home.  Just keeps it easier that way.  Gee whiz, off on a tangent. 

So, adoption status update.  Yes, still adopting 3 kids.  Yes, we are still sane.  Yes, medical forms are in to doctors.  Yes, homestudy app is in the mail!  Registration stuff being filled out today & tomorrow.  Slowly but steady stears the ship.  Our biggest obstacle right now is honestly finances.  So please, please do pass this site along.  I will also be doing gift card drawings  this week as fundraisers.  Stay tuned for that one!  First and foremost though is if anyone would like to buy magazines for a gift or for themselves for that matter, do send them here & have them click on the right-hand sided link.  Takes you right there to our page.  Great shopping for sure.  More fundraisers to come after the first of the year.  But before Christmas, we will do a giftcard one this week!  So, if you need to shop, that would be a great gift to give.  Now we have a ways to go but I figure we're not far from our first thousand.  And for having an emergency appendectomy happen, some normal kid stuff, and a sick mom this past week, we're not doing so bad.  So, here's the tally:

Magazine Fundraiser:  $20(our part of it)
Yardsale:                       $316
Donation Bar:               $  50
Private donations         $225
Selling things:               $  70
Leftover PPR:                $125

Grand total:                   $806!!!

We are that much closer to getting the kids home.  Now, 2 of the children have a $10,000 grant with them which helps immensely.  However, we are still way, way far away from the $30,000 needed total to bring them home.  So $20,000 away really.  We will be applying for some grants but there is absolutely NO guarantee that we would even get one.  So all this has to be done on a total leap of faith that the money will come from fundraising and such.  I know we can do it.  As I explained in a previous post, adoption costs are much different nowadays and you can't borrow money like you used to.  Any suggestions or ideas, I am all ears.  One kind sir has offered his travel frequent flyer miles to us for trip one.  He said it should be enough for 2 international round trip tickets.  what a blessing!!!  If it all works out.  Some fo those transfer of points are tricky.  But, we'll do what we have to to make it work.  I know there is a Holiday Inn and a Hilton Inn in Sophia where we will have to stay part of the time.  Just very few nights.  Some business travellers I know get points to these hotels & if you don't use them, well,we'd love to have them.  Just get in touch.  Every little bit helps to save on trips.  So, that is basically where we are.  Need to fundraise, need to fill out papers.  The beginning stages of adoption process are SO boring.  Worth it, but indeed boring.  Keep you posted.  I do promise a Max transformation soon and one post about alphabet soup (dx's).  Also, I may just add pics for fun.  Love to show off the kids here & there.  Oh, and just wait till Christmas time!  I'm a picture hound and since we're not going to be here, they'll be tons of pictures.  Okay, so I can't wait.  Just a few random pics for now:

This is Irina.  She was our first child home, over 10 years ago!  Boy, did we ever have a lot to learn back then.  She has grown into a beautiful young lady that is going to surpass the expectations that were given to her years ago.  Very proud of that.  She has FAS, she knows it but has made peace with it.  Though sometimes she does still ask questions of why me.  That is normal.  Best part is as of recently, she has found a wonderful friend via pen pal that also has FAS and lives in CA.  They have even called each other!  My first born, my oldest, is turning 17 in just 13 short days.  I don't know whether to be happy or cry.  Just seemed like she was so little yesterday.  Came home only wearing a 2T.   Now, she wears a small ladies' size.  I blinked and she grew up.  Enough blinking.

This is Alex helping w/t he leaves.  We live on a very wooded lot.  Always leaves.  He is 9 years old now and will have a sibling this year that is the same age as him.  He is SO excited!  I do think they will be two peas in a pod.  Alex has so much energy and spunk.  He too has overcome so much in his young life.  To think, someone just left this little boy for dead is unbearable.  He does not know any of  his history yet.  Too young.  We are very selective of what we tell our children and when.  Fine line adoptive parents walk sometimes.  Alex has blonde hair, blue eyes and literally a following of girls in 3rd grade!  Yep, we're in trouble when high school gets here.

This is Alyona.  One of our 10 yo's.  She is anxiously awaiting the arrival of some new female siblings.  She has two teenage sisters who are way past her level of play.  the new sibs coming home will definitely be a welcomed addition for her.  She loves playing w/ the 2yo & 3yo across the street so I'm sure will love playing w/ the 2yo coming home.  (3 by the time home).  Alyona is our girlie girl still.  Her nickname here is Minnie Mouse.  She has  a very high squeaky voice and is just really tiny for her age.  She usually has her hair up in pigtails or a ponytail.

Can you just feel the excitement of this picture?!  Okay, we'd rather have a real tree but this year, no.  Trying to save some extra funds of course.  What most of you don't know is I used to work in a florist shop & interior design shop.  Well, we'd get things 75% off the wholesale price.  Yep, I used to ahve a 10.5 foot tree just gorgeous.  I mean, it retailed for over $700 in the store.  I paid $75 for it.  Yes, a bargin hunter I am.  LOL.  Anyway, 2 years ago, the water heater burst, ALL our boxes, Christmas stuff, etc. was totally destroyed.  We do not have nearly what we used to have.  We bought another tree last year but it is 9.5 ' tall & not like the other.  Yes, I was spoiled.  So, decorations are still slim around the house but next year should rapidly pickup.  Kids & I go yardsaling here and usually can find a bunch of ornaments.  Cool ones at that.  And, in Feb. here, TJ Maxx will have everything 90% off.  Told thekids we'd add some stuff this year b/c all ours still smells like mold what we had salvaged.  so, after this season, it is all being thrown away.  Sad, but has to be done.  Still, kids have fun with it this year.   We try to add every year to our collection of Christmas stuff b/c we love decorating for Christmas.  Well, we were all in Big Lots the other day.  That's where we get our bread from.  $1.20 per loaf.  Use 40 loaves a month & better than paying $2.50 a loaf or more.  So, what do we put in the cart?  Is it a classical nativity scene?  No,we have 2 beautiful ones actually.  Is it a light up reindeer that mom wanted for the front yard?  No.  What is it?  I'm frankly embarrassedto even say it on here.  It has Frosty & Santa around a campfire.  My BOYS have cracked up non-stop w/ this thing.  Can any of you guess what Santa is doing to the campfire?  Why on earth we have this thing is still beyond me.  But being that there was only 1 left ehre, apparently, a popular item.  Everyone that has seen it has just about fell over laughing.  Not one of our prouder purchases but definitley one of those that provides non-stop laughter and conversation.  Everyone has to have at least one tacky Christmas decoration, right???