Saturday, June 12, 2010

All about awards

Well, school is out.  Summer fun begins.  Hot & humid weekend for it too. It's going to be 93 today & 96 tomorrow.  Got to love it.  Kids swam all day yesterday.  And helped to clean house.  We have friends coming over later this afternoon for a cookout and just chatting.  They have 3 boys so should be fun for all.  I'm still on a mission to declutter this house.  I get this way w/ every adoption.  Maybe it's that so called "nesting" instinct.  Don't know.  Just think it's b/c I can't stand the clutter or the mess.  It will do us good to streamline a few things and raise money at the same time for stuff we'll sell.

We are having a little of a rough transition period but I suspect that will get better towards the end of next week.  Go through this every year w/ our kids.  Anyhow, I attended some ceremonies last week and thought I'd share about some of the great things.  You've already heard of Nik's graduation so I'll leave him out of it.  We'll start oldest to youngest.  So, Irina is 17 years old and now officially in 10th grade.  She is labelled as OCS for high school.  It is where they learn an occupation and take that track.  The focus is less on academics.  I hate that b/c I feel they are giving up on the kids way too early.  They may not be able to get a college degree but I still feel they have a ton more potential than what the county gives them credit for.  We are struggling w/ this as parents.  And when I say give up on the kids, I am not referring to just our kids but special ed kids in general in Johnston County.  It is truly sad.  After speaking w/ other parents for years, we realize it is a tragedy in this county.  Shoot, the county doesn't even recognize dyslexia as a learning disability & that is illegal.  Takes money & lots of lawyers to fight this.  Hence, why the problem still exists here.  So, Irina is getting very little in the way of academic education.  We have decided it would be in her best interest to be homeschooled next year & for the rest of her academic career.  She also has begged us to homeschool her as her peers do not accept disabled kids as much as they should.  Lots of bullying, name calling & these kids(again, NOT just ours) can not handle it.  Since being out of school, Irina is showing less anxiety, better demeanor, less attitude, and just better all around.  So, I'll need to work on a cirriculum for her.  As for awards, I did not attend hers.  Why,?  Because she said she didn't want to go.  Instead of calling out the awards for what they are, they call them out & preface w/ saying these are for the OCS students.  Irina said everyone knows I'm special needs then &  I don't want to be embarassed mom.  I understood completely and so she didn't go.  I hate it when they single out special needs kids.  IRina received her award for language arts.  Very proud of her as that is her weakest subject.  One of her class grades was a 96 and the other class was a 100.  Not bad at all!  Irina is a highly motivated student.  I have no doubt she'll be able to hold down a job.  I just want her to learn some things academically before she does.  So, Irina is in 10th grade and homeschooled this coming year.

Next one to talk about is Max.  Max struggled this past semester as he transitioned out of self-contained & into a regular setting.  It crushed him.  Some FAS kids just can not self-regulate and in a normal classroom setting, you need to.  Max also is one who has begged to be homeschooled again.  We are seriously contemplating this for him as well.  Don't know yet.  Max is smart.  He has a very severe learning disability in math but other than that, extremely bright & artistically talented for sure.  Max did graduate from 8th grade and is now an offical high schooler!  His future is looking bright for sure.  I want to clear up on misconception I've heard people speak of in regards to children w/ FAS.  Most seem to think chidlren w/ this disorder are mentally challenged.  Fact is, 85% of children w/ FAS have normal to above normal IQ's.   This percentage has seemed to hold true at our house.  It is wonderful that Max pushed through a regular setting to graduate.  Way to go Max!  Though he had a hard year socially, I think that is about to change.  This is the biggest complaint I hear from other FAS parents as well.  The kids not quite fitting in.  They are in the middle & that makes it extremely tough.  They do not fit in w/ the "regular" crowd due to lack of social skills and judgement issues and do not fit into the category of special needs.  We are working on this area a bit w/ all our teens.

Yana.  OMG!  I couldn't believe it this year.  FINALLY, we have turned our life around.  This child we were terrified about for awhile.  Yana does have FAE, PTSD, RAD, and CAPD.  Challenging is an understatement.  She tests waters.  however, I could not be more proud this year.  Yana has become a self-motivator in regards to academics.  Writes her own stories right now.  She went from a 2nd grade level in reading to a 6th grade level in reading in ONE year!!!  That is huge.  She is now officially out of self-contained special needs setting and into a regular ed setting next year.  She will be in 8th grade next year.  She won two awards this year.  Highest average in mathematics (her strong subject) and highest average in language arts.  How about that?!  She has really matured this year in school.  Yana has friends and typical teenage attitude(working on that part still).  Academically, I am no longer worried though.  She turned it around.  She will be able to attend a college later in life I feel if she chooses to do so.  Quite the turn around.  A few years ago, this would not have been possible.  I say this to let other parents who have children w/ severe mental health disorders & post institutionalized behaviors that it IS possible for them to overcome this mess and move on w/ life. 

So, that is the teens.  Do one on the elementary kids a little later today.  I now have an 8th, 9th, and 10th grader in the house.  Yikes!!!  They may all take driver's ed this summer.  Keep you posted on that one.  Now,t hat is where I should be worried.  LOL.  Great strides were made this year.  GEtting out of a self-contained seteing is huge.  And for 2 to acheive this goal, I think shows a lot for their character.  I'm proud of all the teens' progress this year.  Future is looking bright for all.  More on the rest a little later.  Lots to do today.

Okay, wrote this on Saturday & never hit the publish post button.  Figures.  I will write about the other 3 kids later today for sure.  Justlots going on here as usual.  But good stuff.  I'm keeping the kids out of the sun today.  We've been in it a lot & it shows.  Even w/ sunscreen on all the time.  So, break from sun & chance to vaccum out the pool.  Some kids are wathcing a movie right now, some playing cards.  They're all taking turns figuring out where we are going to go on our D.C. trip next week for our adoption reunion.  We travel up Thursday, play in hotel pool and then out to dinner at the Olive Garden or Red Lobster.  Have gift cards so one or the other of those for sure.  Friday, we wake up, have breakfast at the hotel & then off to tour all day.  That is what we have to decide...what to tour exactly.  Without breaking the bank for obvious reasons.  We have a book of free stuff to do in D.C. so probably pick one of those ideas.  We'll be going out to eat Friday night as well thnks to restaurant.com gift certs.  If you've never used this site, I highly suggest it.  SAves us a TON of money.  All of us eating at a nice place to eat for about $20 for all 9 of us is never bad.  Saturday, we wake up & head to Bull Run Park for the reunion.  It has a water park that the kids will love, I'm sure.  Anyhow, trying to plan it all.  I completeed my parenting classes last night.  Waiting to be able to print out the cert that says I'm a parent.  LOL.  Mroe later today with some pictures.  

Friday, June 11, 2010

FASers & learning lessons

I do promise the rest of the awards post & adoption anniversary post soon.  Just been SO, SO busy lately.  A quickie update here.  Bulgaria is wanting our dossier ASAP.  Well, wanting it like yesterday!  No lie.  Remember, we sent in a mini one a few months ago.  Money was the hold up to get our homestudy done & that is what put us way behind.  Frustrating but it happens.  Anyhow, I was needing to take a parenting class.  Yeh, right.  No, I'm serious!  Not trying to be snippy or "greater than thou" attitude, but if you have 7 kids, purposefully want more, I think we can assume we know what the heck we're getting into by now. 

I do understand new parents.  Shoot, we were there once.  But now....um, no.  I can safely state we are parents.  Normal parents.  Yes, we make mistakes sometimes.  But, we fix them as soon as we can.  Our last adoption w/ Alyona & Nik I think confirmed us as parents in the Moscow Embassy.  You know, where you all gather to get that golden ticket home?  Well, we're all sitting there w/ our new kids.  I could spot the new parents right away.  The ones holding their children so lovingly and staring at me like I'm insane.  Really, they were.  Maybe it was b/c I was explaining to Alyona not to stare at the man in the window w/ a missing hand/ deformed hand as her brother has the same thing at home & a missing leg.  Or maybe it was b/c I was tossing Nik up in the air like a pizza & grabbing him by one arm.  It was the end of the trip.  So,after one of the stares I said "I promise I won't break him."  A little sassy but tired of the staring.  I think that is when you realize you are a real parent.  You don't care what the other parents think, you are just there for your child's well-being.  And, if that means entertaining them in a boring room by tossing them up in the air, so be it. 

Yes, I do think I have this parenting thing down pat.  Why just today I was nominated as the "worst mommy ever!"  Why you ask?  Well, because Alex said so.  Okay, we all know it is the first day of summer break.  FAS kids do not do so great w/ transitions and the end of school is one of these transitions.  Alex & Alyona were fighting in the pool.  Calling each other names and just plain being nasty.  Told them to get out  They continued.  Fine.  Time for punishment.  You two have to work on something together to learn how to get along.  Go clean up Alex's room together.  They start throwing stuff at each other.  Typical.  I expected this.  So, they come out again to me.  (I was swimming laps in the pool at the time)  I said here 's the deal.  You two are only allowed to play w/ each other the rest of the day.  No friends over.  Just each other.  You ahve to sit by each other at dinner.  BTW, I did this while I made them hold hands. Oh, the horror of it all.  LOL.  Alex threw a complete fit.  Full fledge tantrum.  Not a RAD rage thank goodness but had the markings of becoming one for sure.  Anyhow, Alex stormed off.  Came out awhile later.  NEVER chase down a child w/ FAS or RAD when in that mood.  It will only exasperate the issue.  We never, ever go after them.  Never.  So, he comes back & starts to play w/ Alyona.  Go figure.  Later, he said, it's fun to play w/ her.  They laughed the rest of the afternoon instead of screaming & mauling each other.  Small sign of success.  Okay, till the next sibling fight appears.

That was one lesson learned.  FASers have a hard time learning lessons.  They really do.  It is partially due to lack of cause & effect thinking and partially due to being a stubborn kid.  I am one of those parents who does NOT blame everything on my kid's disorder.  I have seen it many times before.  I don't think it is good for the kids at all.  Just my opinion though.  I'm honest w/ my kids.  They don't like being told a monkey can do it better.  Why do I say that?  It sounds so mean, right?  No.  They understand what a monkey(something concrete that they can imagine) is and therefore want to prove me wrong by proving they can do it.  It works and in this house, we do what works.  Period.  With having 6 of them having FAS, you go w/ what works as not to lose your sanity.  Now, don't think I'm calling them a monkey.  I'm not.  There's more to it than that.  I would never call my kids a monkey.  Hope I'm explaining what I mean okay.  Don't want anyone to get the wrong idea.  Anyhow, this whole week is an out of routine week.  It was the last week of school. Schedules were off, they were feeding the kids crap at school & they have gone haywire.  Reasoning abilities gone.  Want to guess what happened here:

I do not like showing my kids in this manner but feel it is part of being honest of what living with FAS is like on a daily basis.  Arms are folded.  No eye contact.  Mind has been set.  Voice is angry.  What some of you don't know is I randomly search the kids' backpacks and clothing.  Sure enough, Max was trying to take his new camera to school w/ him.  Normally, not a problem. However, we had told him not to take it and he had lied to us.  See, FAS children are easily manipulated by others.  Just a fact.  His school has rampant theft and I knew he'd most likely lose it.  But, main reason here is the lying about it.  For those new to FAS, when they get in this mood, do not back down.  Approach your child w/ caution but w/ a you mean business face.  Now, since most children w/ FAS have processing issues, when you say something, you let it sink in for about 15 seconds before you say another sentence.  It helps.  We start by getting Max to unfold his arms.  Warren has to "test" him to see how cooperative or mad Max is before we can proceed w/ our plan of action.  Depending upon his level of anger, depends upon how we handle the situation.  Sometimes, you just have to sit it out a bit.  Warren asked Max to uncross his arms & then left to "go get a drink."  He wants to see how far Max will listen.  You can not talk to a very anger FAS child.  You just can't.  When the kids get like this, we have to first gage how cooperative they will be.  He was extremely angry that we wouldn't let him take it to school yet.  But, we did not.  They are not victims no matter how much your FAS child will convince you or anyone else(teachers) that they are.  Know the signs.  When we talk to our FAS children during one of their "situations," we are matter of fact.  Do not show emotion.  Do not.  They can not relate emotion into many abstract concepts or morality issues.  The hardest part of this for me is being patient.  It really is hard.  You wish they'd understand but they don't.   For Max, the lesson of lying was learned.  You must give consequences immediately for FAS children.  Must.  Again, I am NO expert by any means.  Just sharing what works & doesn't work for us as we get asked all the time.  

Along w/ lessons, you must give praise where praise is due.  I will talk more in depth about this in another post.  Today, Yana and Max scrubbed the entire front porch w/out being asked at all.  They just thought it looked like it needed it.  It really, really did.  But, my kids love being praised for a job well done.  shoot, who doesn't?  LOL.  Seriously though, even if you've had a horrible week w/ your kid, give them at least one positive thing they did that week.  Thanks for getting dressed everyday.  I mean it can be so simple.  FAS kids are always tending to get in more trouble b/c of lack of judgement.  So, having something good to say about your kids, does help.  They like physical touch, even the older ones.  Hug generously.  Yes, even the teens need it once in a while.  Just not when friends are around of course.  LOL. 

More lessons here.  Want to guess what any of them are?



Even Dad is getting in on this lesson.  Any idea what it is yet?


Any ideas yet what the lesson is or who it is for?  Okay, so Bojan once again does not have a shirt on.  Nothing new and no, that is not the lesson.  That tacky flower lamp is the one Alyona & I found at the yardsale.  It is the one that will go into the new girls' room.  Warren thinks it belongs in a Brady Bunch episode. 


This lesson was for Yana.  Learning not to slouch.  She slouches so badly that everyone thinks she is depressed.  It is horrible.  So, you have to approach any critical comment w/ a RAD/ FAS child w/ caution.  Why?  Because they do NOT take criticism well.  At all.  Trust me on this.  It's true.  Even if innocently presented.  So, we told her the way people should walk and then all had fun w/ the books on the head.  You have to sometimes make a game out of something to explain it to our FASers.  Give them something to remember.  This is true of many things that can come up.  FAS kids are all very visual learners.  As you can see, she was having fun w/ this and not angry about it.  We all actually had fun trying.  

The reason I'm writing some of these things about my kids w/ FAS is b/c I know many have this misconception about FAS.   That somehow it is all bad, the kids are horrible and you can't parent them.  it's not all bad.  Though some days, I'll be honest...it feels like it is.  You have to find what works as a parent.  There are tons of experts out there.  I am not one of them.  However, I have daily experience w/ multiple children w/ FAS.  I know what makes them tick and what makes them ticked off.  You don't have to feel like you are walking on eggshells as an FAS parent.  Find what works.  Doesn't matter what others think.  They are not the parents.  You are.  Society will not cut them a break later in life.  Allow them to know what the "real" world will be like.  Dont' sugar coat anything.  It does not do them any good.  My kids know they have this disorder and what brain damage it has caused them.  FAS kids an succeed in life and lead a wonderful life.  It may not be what you dreamed for them, but it can be good.  FAS children have many lessons to learn in life.  OUrs are not near done.  I hope we are doing the right thing by them.  I really do.  My kids are good kids.  None have been in trouble w/ the law.  None have been to RTC.  None have behavioral issues in school.  They are doing what I would consider well.  No, none date.  However, we limit our kids very much so as due to their reasoning abilities.  Keep in mind when you have an FAS child, you can count on their mental/ emotional age being about half of their chronological age.  This helps us gage how to handle certain life lessons for our children.  I kown this was long.  Maybe something on here can help another FAS parent as well.  Don't know.  Maybe I'm all wrong.  Again, I am NOT an expert nor do I claim to be.  Just when you find something that works as an FAS parent, you want others to know.  Parenting these children is not easy.  I'm not going to lie.  It takes a lot out of a parent.  But, seeing them handle situations on their own, is priceless.  If any other FAS parents have suggestions, I'd love to hear them.  We are always open to trying new methods w/ our children.  Have a great evening.  Small errands and cleaning up tomorrow.  Then, a cookout w/ friends.  More to come later.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Last weekend

So, so much to catch up on that I don't really know where to begin.  I did Nik's graduation and told of Yana's awards.  I will do the rest of the awards tomorrow in a post.  For now, just going through some of our last weekend's events...umm, well maybe not events.  More like laziness.  Nothing planned so just a take it easy kind of weekend.  I'll do it in pictures of course.


In case you're wondering, the leak is still here.  Hard to tell but there is water in that bucket.  Great news is it only happens during a heavy rain.  Bad news is... there have been a lot of heavy rains lately.  We help it along though....


Hard to tell what this is but it is the archway between kitchen & dining room.  To help the leak, we've drilled a few holes up there to let hte water flow better instead of building up.  Helps a bit but still not a fix.  Which brings me to the next awesome news.  We have friends that have offered to help here.  They are from another part of the state!  I have also talked to some people locally that also want to help.  Still in shock to think of folks giving up a weekend to help us fix up the house.  How wonderful is that?!  So, we are making a priority list of things that need to be repaired.  If anyone wants to help, come on over.  LOL.  It will truly be one big party.  We're feeding everyone & kids are all goign to help(to a point...we're not that crazy).  Can't wait.  It is the weekend of the 24th of July.  July 24th & July 25th.  VERY grateful and am simply overwhelmed w/ the kindness of people.  


Any future doctors in the house???  Alyona & Nik love to play pretend.  Great at imaginative play.  Love it.  Well, I took Nik to a birthday party on Saturday afternoon at a craft store.  Yes, his "beloved" Ava was there so he was more than thrilled.  LOL.  Well, to kill time I looked around a bit.  Found a clearance rack w/ .50 costume masks.  These have been a hit & have been played w/ ever since.  Max also got something that I'll explain in another post.  That morning, Alyona and I had gone to yardsales together.  Just the two of us.  We had a great time and even found this cool looking lamp for the girls' new room.  Warren said it looks like something from the Brady Bunch era but we love it.  Lots of cool stuff.  


Any guess what this stack of stuff is?  Or maybe what this is for:


Ahh, looks like a party to me.  Max & I went to a local party store that was going out of business.  80% off!  I went in thinking we would be in there maybe 15 minutes.  Yeh, right.  AC wasn't working quite right, people were offering to go get other folks drinks & only 2 registers there.  Long wait is an understatement but no one was mean about anything and I loved to witness human kindness.  It was getting late & Max & I knew we couldn't stay b/c we had to get to Nik's party.  So, a wonderful gentleman offered to put our stuff away.  Wecame back later but part of it was gone b/c he had thought the box was for the lady in front of me in line.  No biggie.  Still ended up w/ tons of stuff.  Tons.  Alyona's birthday is in 2 weeks and this will absolutely make her world.  Tinkerbell supplies along w/ a tiera.  Many other supplies too. The picture of this was of all the cards I got.  They had ALL greeting cards for .20 each!  Yes, just 20 cents a piece.  Stocked up a little.  Max was an awesome sport w/ all the ladies too.  Max is like his dad.  They both hate shopping w/ a passion.  Men.  


We get up Sunday morning, & this is what my kids decided to do.  Tolerant neighbors for sure.  5 of my kids out shucking corn early Sunday morning.  In their pajamas no less.  Well Alyona was in clothes from the previous day.  But, the results were worth it.


Yep, 30 ears of corn.  They have eaten the majority of it already.  They love it.  So do I. Unfortunately, I am allergic to corn.  Food allergies suck.  I'm hoping to get a whole bunch more to freeze for winter.  Nothing like fresh corn in the middle of winter.  


Swimming in the "swamp."  That is what we have nicknamed the pool.  Ironically, this pool was crystal clear blue the entire winter.  Turned green about a week ago.  Lovely, just in time for summer.  So, hot weekend, I let them swim in the swamp.  Today, the pool is back to being clear and blue thank goodness.  My kids live in the water in the summer.  I don't know what we'd do w/out a pool.  Honestly, it is what they do and great exercise and therapy.  Plus, I get to do laps.  Haven't gone in yet.  Too cold for my tastes so far.  As you can see, they are plenty warm and no fear of the swamp.  LOL.



These pictures are just because pictures.  Wanted to end on a bright note b/c one of my upcoming posts after awards is going to be about some FAS days we've had lately.  These pictures are of our fushcia plants on the front porch.  They are just so vibrant w/ color.  Love it.  Just gives you that wonderful summer feel.  Great way to start anyday by going outside the door & seeing two of these plants hanging w/ lots of bright flowers.  Makes me smile.  An awards post to come and an FAS kind of day post to come.  Just been extremely busy w/ the ceremonies at school.  Wait till you hear about all the awards!  Very proud.  more writing tomorrow I hope. 


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nik's kindergarten graduation

Well, my baby boy is no longer a baby boy for sure!  He will be considered a first grader in just a few days.  The ceremony was today.  Irina and I attended.  Nik won a few awards and I was quite proud of them.  It was awesome to witness.  Pictures will be at the end of this post.  (click on any to make them bigger)  You'll never guess what he got an award for.  Any ideas??  Can you believe it was for art?!  What a character.  All those drawings this year.  You've seen them on this blog before.  You all know exactly what I'm talking about I'm sure.  I have a whole other pile of drawings to share.  It's hilarious. 

Anyhow, I had no idea just how popular Nik was with the ladies.  OMG.  this kid is just an absolute riot.  What a ladies' man.  Yikes!  I'm in for it when he gets older.  But, poor kid has to follow in Alex's footsteps.  Alright, Alex has the reputation even as a 3rd grader for breaking hearts.  One of the sisters of a girl that likes Nik gave her some advice though.  She said "you better watch out for him b/c Nik's brother Alex broke my heart!"  Nice.  3rd grade and Alex is a heartbreaker.  And, the 3rd graders are warning the kindergarten girls to watch out for Nik as well.  LOL.  I am truly in for it when these two boys get to middle school.

The teachers Nik had this year I can not say enough good things aobut.  I really have no complaints whatsoever.  The class was welcoming and everyone there had no trouble being his friend.  It meant the world to us.  They cared about Nik.  very touching. Love it!  There was a pizza party & then Nik wanted to come home w/ us.  He played video games and swam w/ Irina.  Just a nice day all around.  Tomorrow is Bojan's awards.  And now, for the part you've been waiting for. Pictures.


Nik was so proud.  I was in the back so won't bore you w/ other photos.  They did a wonderful program and his whole class signed their program.  It was awesome!  The Lion Sleeps Tonight was the song they performed.  Nik received so many awards.  Awesome artist for his class, hardworker for his class, Wise Owl for the school(that's great behavior), Student of the month for courage and an art award from the art teacher for best artist.  Hope I remembered them all.  He was proud and cheered every time he got an award.  Cute.  
Well, this is one lucky lady.  Or should I say one lucky guy?!  She is the most adorable, sweetest little girl.  Her name is Ava and Nik just adores her.  And, vice versa.  Nik walks into the room and Ava will just run up to hug him.  These two are connected in a way I haven't seen in many young children.  Seems to be something very meaningful between them.  I know that sounds strange for kindergarten but you truly have to see these two to get what I mean.  They will always sit by each other, wait for one another, hold hands, help one another, and put each ohter in their places.  LOL.  They are like a young old married couple.  It is just precious and I do hope she is in his class next year.  She is going to come visit over the summer.  Nik was literally distraught when he found out she could not come over yesterday.  He takes care of her and she takes great care of him.  Beautiful match of friendship. 


Nik went around taking pictures.  Mostly of Ava.  He did take this one of Irina and I.  Not the best picture for sure.  It was hot, we were sweaty and our hair is a mess.(especially mine).  But, always nice to have a one on one picture w/ your kids.  


What better to end a day than to swim w/ your brother?  Yes, I'm well aware the pool is still cloudy.  It's getting there.  Ironically, it stayed crystal clear all winter long.  Should be fine by tomorrow but still safe and great enough to swim in when it's 95 outside.  

Nik had a great graduation and it is wonderful to see my kids move forward and make such incredible progress.  Truly is.  Yana received her awards today.  She received highest average for math and for reading.  She told me she received something for music as well but they haven't printed off the cert yet.  Not sure about that though.  Many children w/ FAS/ FAE will misinterpret things said so there is no telling.  I just know about the 2 awards I saw and that is quite an accomplishment for sure.  BTW, Yana is TOTALLY out of self-contained setting at the end of this year and in regular ed!!!  She'll still receive a little help for language arts but that is it.  For someone who was just on a 2nd grade level last year to fly by and be on a 7th grade level this year, I think it's phenominal.  I went to Bojan's awards today.  Fantastic is all I can say.  More about that later.  Nik is being uncooperative right now.  Guess I need Ava here to put him in his place!  More award stuff later.  SO, so busy w/ things this week and still getting back to people who've emailed me.  Just didn't realize this week would be this insane.  Great things happening and I will explain in another post at some point.  Have a great evening. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Deaf children needing homes

I will get to the point as I know that is what you all are waiting for.... the kids!!!  An agency recently sent someone to EE (not Russia either) to visit an orphanage. There are 17 deaf or HOH children available for adoption.  It is a great school.   However great it is, it is still NOT the same as a family and we all are well aware of that fact.  These children need families to truly reach their fullest potential.  Some of these children even have CI's (cochlear implants) or HA's(hearing aids).  They are also working with software to improve their speech!  So, a great school indeed.  Told all the kids are pretty healthy as well.  This is for married couples only.  Hate it when they do that as I know many a great single parents.  But, we do not make the rules.  I'm just passing the info forward.  The children range in age from 5 years old to 15 years old.  There is a 15yo that turns 16yo & ages out in November.   They are really trying to find her a family as her time is short.  I do hope some of you reading this have a heart for some great deaf kiddos.  I know I do & would in a heartbeat if we weren't already thoroughly committed to go to Bulgaria and bring our 3 home.  I started out looking for a deaf sib for Nik.  Now, here we have 17 available.  Timing.  This means though that there are 17 beautiful children available for you to bring home and become a forever family.  Please help spread the word.  You can contact me at boydbunch@gmail.com for more info.  I will get back to everyone.  This happens to be an extremely busy, busy week for me.  Nik's kindergarten graduation is tomorrow.  The rest of the week is award ceremonies for me to attend.  So much to say but so much to do.  Will write more tomorrow once some other things are ironed out.