Thursday, April 29, 2010

Boys helping dad

Our boys all look up to dad and assume dad can fix anything.  And for the most part, he can.  Last year we had a strong storm come and blow the umbrella down onto the glass patio table.  Completely destroyed but the frame was good.  So, this year they decided to fix it.  We looked into buying a new one but $1000 was NOT in our budget for a new set.  Plus, the chairs were still great on this one.  Off to Lowes.  We decided to make a picnic table top out of it w/ decking material.  Great idea.  And of course, Warren had plenty of help.  I will admit, Warren is very, very good about letting them help despite the fact that most of the time the boys will become a hinderance versus a help.  LOL.  So, they got started on it. 


This is Bojan excitedly getting ready to get started.  Ignore the ton of trash in teh background.  Long story short, we could not make it to the trash site that day.  The work bench was a much welcomed change.  Last "work bench" was an old rickety aquarium stand.  This big one someone was giving away.  We were lucky enough to get it.  Obviously, being put to good use.


You can see the little aquarium stand that used to be the workbench.  The guy in the middle is Max carrying the old patio table for repair.  It now takes two people to carry it as it is so heavy w/ the waterproof deckign material used.  


Ahh, the boys in their element.  Power tools at hand and dad standing by.  Bojan and Max are really ready to get down to work.  In the distance are the other kids jumping on the trampoline.  There is another patio umbrella actually drying in the background and also waiting for repair.  


And, the finished product.  I think they did a great job, don't you?  Alex is testing out the chair of course.  He fell asleep so must be comfy.  Come on over and eat out w/ us.  We'd love it!  Kids like doing homework out here now too.  It is peaceful for sure.  

Just thought I'd share a project the boys did about 2 weeks ago.   Next project iscoming up this weekend so I'm sure I'll have pictures.  Hoping to go to the company picnic on Saturday.  I may be in a brace and hardly walking but I'm game for some fun.  If it's not raining, that's what we're doing.  Enjoy the day tomorrow.  May take the kids to the field day at school.  (the kids I watch).  We'll see.  Have a great evening. 

Thoughtful Thursday

I am still hurting from yesterday's injury.  That being the case and I can not think clearly, I just have one thing to say for Thoughtful Thursday.  ALL the kids were awesome when I got hurt. They were all helping clean up, asking if they could start dinner, giving the little kids a bath, helping to carry stuff, etc.  All of them were extremely sympathetic and genuinely caring.  I was rather impressed and began to wonder if I should get hurt weekly.  Just kidding. 
Yesterday I was at a neighbor's house when their dog came to greet me full force..head on...target...the knee.  Yep.  Left knee got it head first and then I fell onto the concrete...knee first.  It was NOT the dog's fault.  She was just being a friendly dog.  Iced it and tried to elevate.  Tried to sleep w/ no avail.  Warren took me in this morning after I hit the ground again in pain by turning the wrong way w/ it.  X-ray was clean.  I go back on Monday.  If still hurting, it is onto an MRI to see if I did something to the meniscus.  fun, fun.  Again, life is never dull here.  I will admit, I am exhausted.  I forgot how getting hurt really does wear you out. 

Not too much else going on right now.  I will update a little more, including that older child post that I keep saying will get done.  Kids have field day tomorrow.  I may try to go.  Can always sit and watch them.  Enjoy your day.  My leg is immolbilized at the moment.  A very hot long brace to enjoy just in time for the 90F weather this weekend.  Could be worse so I should not say a word.  More to come when I'm more up to typing.  Hard to sit in this chair & type w/ the leg straight out.  LOL. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happenings

Well, so many wordy posts, I'd thought we'd do some pictures finally.  Always fun to see the kids, right?  So, I guess we should get started. 


Sometimes, homework is just too much for them.  LOL.  This is Alex.  He does this every single day.  Falls asleep while doing homework.  I truly think the school does not believe me.  It's the truth though.  Just look at him.  





Another sleeper.  But, notice Alyona behind her.  Not as sweet as she seems now, is she?  She has a feather and is getting ready to wake Irina up by tickling her.  And yes, she did wake her up.


Yes, not the best snack options I know.  HOwever, every once in awhile, you have to have a Pringle.  But, that is not what this picture is about.  Our 11yo son, Bojan, is almost caught up to our 17yo daughter, Irina.  Irina is not happy about being short but smiled for the picture anyhow.  With adoptive children from EE, most of the time you will have very limited birth history.  So, you have no idea how tall they may be.  Of course now Bojan thinks he's hot stuff b/c he's grown so much.  Yep, that's a boy for you.  


What is Alyona pointing to?  Well, she believes it is her first pimple and she's was thrilled beyond belief.  She said now I'm one of the big girls!  I did not have the heart to tell her it was a misquito bite.  And that the rash on her belly is simply poison ivy.  No puberty yet.  Can you hang on a few more years for me?  I think she has a little ways to go but funny how she'll idolize  her sisters even down to the littlest things.  Why do they all want to gow up so fast?




Bear is still hanging on.  What a champ.  He is 100 lb. flat coated retriever.  Best dog ever!  Very tolerant of all the kids & even the little ones I watch that tend to grab his tail.  He's never bit anyone.  Bear loves to just lay outside and watch everyone go by.  He no longer can chase squirrels and I think he's getting cataracts now.  He loves the outdoors and can still smell food up on hte table.  We love our teddy bear dearly.  





Anyone who has kids with some behavioral issues, I can tell you physical activity does indeed help.  My kids are very, very physically active.  The trampoline was one of our best investments for sure.  They use this and the swingset literally everyday.  They love it.  The swingset Warren had built when Max & Irina came home.  It is over 10 years old.  We love how the backyard is surrounded by trees.  In those woods is a creek that surrounds our property.  Kids love to play in that as well.  

Those are just a few pics from around the house.  I'll have Nik's "event" tomorrow.  Right now, just in some pain.  My neighbor's dog loves to greet me every time she sees me.  Well, this time she greeted me full force into my knee.  Not broken, I can tell.  Swollen though and excruciatingly painful.  When Warren gets home, I may go in to doc to get it checked out.  I'm hoping it is just very badly bruised.  This of course is the bad knee.  I'm using crutches, icing it and trying to rest it.  Hard to do at times here.  But, the kids are really helping out so that is great.  Going to see if I have a spare brace.  Never dull here, that's for sure.  


One step forward...

two steps back.  Remember that post I wrote about Yana and making a change?  I apparently spoke too soon.  And that is the thing with RAD, it is always a rollercoaster of a life.  Always.  But, we've come to expect it over the years so it doesn't phase us as much as it used to.  Though, nonetheless, it is still disappointing when something happens.  For new adoptive parents, with RAD, you will have lying and stealing.  That is pretty much a given.  Yana has made awesome progress in that the RAD rages are almost non-existant anymore.  she's done phenominally well in school and helps out at home now and even offers to help w/ Alyona when needed.  Yet, yesterday still went backwards.  Hard when you see so much progress & then face an incident.  Yesterday, I had all 3 older kids pack their lunches when they came home from school and I checked them.  Fine.  Sandwich, apple, orange and yogurt.  Later, I go to check all the younger kids' lunches.  I said "Bojan, where's your yogurt?"  There wasn't any left.  What?!  I said.  I had gotten 7 out so I knew there was enough for each child.  I go back to check the lunch boxes and sure enough, Yana purposefully went back and stole her brother's yogurt to put in her lunchbox as well.  What makes it worse w/ these kids w/ RAD is they will try to cover up one lie w/ another.  Gets them in more trouble.  I always remind mine even after they apologize that this is the reason I can not trust you so much.  This way later, when we say no to dating or going somewhere by yourself, they have an inclination as to what behavior led us to say no.  I know she is working hard on this stuff.  Again, you take progress where you can.  She didn't deny it, she fessed up and apologized to Bojan.  That believe it or not is showing maturity.  We're getting there.  Baby steps for sure. 

Another one step foward, two steps back deal is the SBI fingerprints.  Got them home and noticed Warren's social security # was wrong.  Yeh, that won't pass, will it?  Call up the lady and she said she can easily fix it.  Bring it back on it.  I have to give credit where credit is due.  Debra Wright at the Johnston County Sheriff's Department just rocks!!!  She goes above and beyond to help.  Not just w/ us.  I saw her interacting w/ a future applicant for a job there.  Nice demeanor, friendly, and knows her stuff.  One of my prints was having a hard time taking.  Umm, do not play w/ the kids and glitter before being printed.  Just another adoption tip for you.  LOL.  We dropped off the prints in the mail today.  Should be back next week. 

There is so much more going on here.  Just no time to cover it all.  Don't want to bore you all either.  Yana got two awards yesterday.  Field day events are coming up for the kids on Friday.  I'm going.  Should be fun.  Going to be really hot though.  Warren and I are trying to decide once again whether or not we should move from this home.  It is really a diffiuclt decision.  This house was never made for 12 people and we know that.  But, we've come to love it , our neighbors, our community, and everything else.  That being said, we still know we need more land and more space as the kids get older.  Remember, some are going to be with us long term and not live independently.  So, wanting to make sure we are equipped to deal with that.  We found a home that is 8000 sq. ft. on 10 acres.  We would be paying less there than we do here.  Here's a link to the real estate listing:  http://www.haganandhagan.com/real-estate/details/33443 .  Doing a move during an adoption is never easy.  Trust us, we did it during Yana and Alex's adoption.  But, it is doable.  Selling this one is the trick.  Trying to have a sense of calm when you have kids w/ FAS and RAD is at times, well, just impossible.  That is the only thing that worries us about selling this house.  The kids.  Transition is tough on them an djust prepping the house for sale is a crazy process.  We could do a lot more having more space for everyone.  WE have no crystal ball so we honestly don't know if it would be a good move or a bad move.  Just know that as the kids get older, this county will be tough for them to live in.  That is what I'm told by other special needs parents who've been there done that.  Time will tell. 

There is more happening but I've been a bit busy.  I'll try to catch up.  A big event for Nik too.  We have an awesome schedule for May.  Can hardly wait.  Goign to a Lego exhibit, to Deaf Camp in the mountains of NC, to a family event at Warren's work, and to the zoo.  We're ready to do some fun things for sure.  Got to go.  Will try to post some more later. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Homestudy docs

Since I know some are new here and new to adoption, thought I might make a list of what documents are needed for our homestudy. These are docs for US to gather in addition to social worker visits and such. 

Copy of marriage cert
Copy of divorce decree(if applicable)
Copy of birth cert for EVERY member of your family
Copy of military discharge (if applicable)
A recent (w/in 3months) color picture of everyone in the family
A recent photo of exterior (front & back) of your home
Completed health examination of EVERY member of your family
Proof of life insurance coverage
Proof of health insurance coverage
Proof of health insurance coverage of the adopted child at time of placement
Individual autobiographies
Guardianship letter
Copy of your recent federal tax return
Financial statement
Education tracking sheet
Child abuse clearances
FBI clearances
NC Responsible Individuals List (only if you live in NC)
NC Sworn Statement

 Well, this is the list we have to gather.  I'm working on it.  I have almost all of it done.  We got SBI fingerprinted this morning.  We are lucky that we don't have to do the autobiographies as we've done them before for same agency.  They're on file.  After tonight, only one thing left to gather.  My part will be D-O-N-E!  Can't wait.  Take that back, still have to do the stupid parenting classes.  Yes, even after 7 children, we have to take adoption parenting classes.  It is a lot of paper indeed.  BUT, it can be done.  Has to be done in order to get the kids home.  This is only for the homestudy folks.  We haven't even dove into what is needed for a dossier for a country.  OY!  Those are monsters to do.  But, one piece of paper at a time.  One appointment at a time.  It slowly comes together and then years after the kids are home you say, Yes, I could indeed do that again.  LOL.  Hence, why we are here once again.  Got to go put my papers away that I got out.  Already had peanut butter on the FBI fingerprints I sent off.  BTW, they didn't say a word.  I wiped them pretty clean.  Don't need any kid stuff on the homestudy docs either.  Which reminds me... I now have to send a note in regarding Maxx's homework over the weekend.  Nik & Alex were making paper airplanes out of any paper laying around.  Yep, Max's homework became victim.  He doesn't think the teacher will believe him.  I assured him teacher will believe mom.  So, for obivous reasons, going to go put these docs away now. 



Nik's drawings & a quick update

Good afternoon!  Figured I'd do a real quick update as I have so much else going on here.  Teacher just called me and she cancelled my meeting today which actually works out fantastic for me.  Warren and I had gone this morning to the courthouse to get SBI fingerprints done.  Yes, we already got the FBI ones backand that clearance letter.  These are for the homestudy.  Gathering all the docs I need so when our social worker, "M" comes, we'll be totally ready for her.  We've had her before for a few visits and a homestudy so she knows us well and all our craziness here.  She "gets it."  I don't have to hear the you're crazy speech.  yeah.  Courthouse was $30 for the printing.  It's the little things in adoption that add up as you all know.   Need to mail those off today.  One other little thing checked off those 2 pages of documents needed for the homestudy.  Warren was printing stuff off last night as well.  We're getting there.  EAch document printed is a step closer to our children.  Love it. 

I've got a list today a mile long so not going to make a long post.  Still working on the older child adoption post.  Add a bit at a time.  Oh, we have decided to cancel Alyona's surgery for now.  No big deal just have to have her get a checkup first and offical cardiology clearance.  Plus, Warren and I are now thinking of holding off on the tonsillectomy as now she doesn't seem to be having issues /w it.  Don't want to put her through a surgery that isn't necessary.  Kind of  a relief.  Next thing is to work on getting Bojan back to the orthopedist he has and scheduling what surgery we'll do for him.  He has asked for an amputation.  More on that antoher time.  Trust me, Bojan knows what he's getting into w/ that.  Again, I'll explain later. 

I've started a support group for other parents w/ children who have mental health disorders.  We're going to meet for the first time this weekend if all goes well.  Having support w/ kids like ours is crucial.  We'll see how it all turns out.  Had to do something.  There was nothing in our area.

Now, for something a bit lighthearted.  Nik loves to draw as you all know to express himself. That's fine.  In school though, he's been drawing some crazy things.  You remember, Humpty Dumpty getting pushed off the wall and then fried by the sun.  Or the kid swinging who gets decapitated by another kid kicking.  Stuff like that.  Don't know where he comes up w/ half this stuff.  Well, he's at it again.  Here's a pic:


Looks innocent enough, right?  It says " The little red hen wants to share her food."  There is a bird, a dog and a chicken.  Well, red hen.  The chicken has got to be a canibal at this point.  Why?  He's cooking on the grill!  And when I asked Nik what was cooking on the grill, he said chicken.  So, little red hen is going to eat one of her own.  LOL.  Hey, everyone's happy in this pic at least.  


Ahh, finally.  A happy drawing by my Nik Nak.  I just liked this one a lot.  I think he did an awesome job for a kindergartner.  Don't you?  And the clown is happy.  Nik likes to express himself by drawings.  And he does so very well.  What he did this weekend though just made me want to cry.  He was trying so hard to learn sign language.   He picked up our ASL dictionary and started to do the signs.  First one he was on was abortion.  Umm, no, not learning that one at this young age.  So, I turned the pages and went to something that I could show him and was nearby.  Blanket.  Easy.  So,we learned that one together.  He also this weekend "fixed" one of my signs.  Told me I was doing see wrong.  He fixed my fingers the way he wanted.  He showed me first, I tried and then he fixed my hand to do it the right way.  Smart little cookie.  He gives me a big hug every time I learn seomthing new.  He also corrected me on the number 20 not too long ago.  We're learning together.  

Okay, this was way longer than I thought it would be for a brief hello.  Time to get some real work done.  Have a great week. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A RADish makes progress...

For those new here, RADish  is not a type of food I'm referring to.  RAD stands for Reactive Attachment Disorder in the medical field.  It is the one thing parents fear most I think in the adoption world.  Unfortunately, or fortunately(depending upon how you look at it), I have two children with this disorder.  This disorder is what causes many families to disrupt.  I won't lie, it is very difficult to deal with and it took us many years of successes, failures, ups, downs, etc. to get a real handle on RAD and what all comes with it.  Still don't know if we're doing it right but hey, if it works, we go with it.  RAD children can overcome much.  They have to.  Recently(this week), Yana wrote a letter to me.  I will copy it here, unedited, even down to the spelling and punctuation.  Here goes:

Dear Mom,

 Im really sorry for everything that I did this school year.  I do mean this because I love you so much mom!  You saved my life by bringing me to America the best country!  If it was not for you who knows what would happened to me.  Im sorry for lying to you about everything mom.  I should tell the trufe the first time like you say.  That is going to be my goal for this year! (lol)  I love you mom.  Love, Yana Boyd

There is much to say about this little note that came out of nowhere.  She actually feels remorse for what she did.  Still can't talk with me face to face much but this  note is huge progress for her.  Huge.  She actually said I love you!  Again, huge.  She recognizes that lying is wrong.  Though her lying was petty, for RAD kids, even the little things count and have to be dealt with.  Give them an inch and they take 10 miles.  So, we have the same punishments no matter what the lie is.  We have never said to any of them what would have happened had they stayed in Russia.  However, Yana was 8.5yo when we adopted her.  She had to have a pretty good idea of what would have happened to her had she stayed.  So, for her to express how she feels made my day.  I want to let folks know that there is indeed hope for a child suffering from RAD.  It may take years, but never give up.  This is the same child who has threaten to kill me in the past, hit me, punched me, kicked the walls in, etc.  You name it, she did it.  Now look.  Look at the love and the progress this child has made.  Just look at it.  She has taken it upon herself this year to imporve her grades.  She has asked on her own for extra credit and tutoring.  She is excelling in school now due to determination and motivation.  Teachers are impressed w/ academic progress.  So, very happy with it all.  Night and day from almost 5 years ago.  Parents of RAD kids, do not give up.  YOu can make it.  Because the day you have your daughter tell you she loves you (even if on paper) is worth all the heartache.