Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sad eyes

It's hard to write this post.  I know I said I'd write another post but I fear we will have to make a heartbreaking decision soon.  It involves a very beloved member of our family:

This is Bear.  He is 13 years old and is our flat-coated retriever.  Actually, he's not just a dog.  He's not just any dog.  He's our dog, our "teddy bear."  The kids have all grown up with Bear.  They know no other dog.  Well, they knew our dog Aspen too but he passed away 2 years ago this month.  Bear is 125 lbs.  He has puppy fur still if you can believe it.  So soft.  Vet always ask what we do to get his fur so soft. Umm, forget to bathe him?  LOL.  

Bear is the best dog.  No, really, we have the BEST dog ever!  He is so tolerable. Our kids are the roughest.  With 4 boys, you're going to have wrestling and yes, sometimes it will involve the dog.  Bear has never bitten any of our kids nor the ones I sit for no matter what they've done to him.  True.  Bear is loyal.  Everyday, he goes outside rain or shine to wait for Warren to get home from work.  

I could use so many adjectives to describe our dog.  Friend, companion, loyal, loving, fun, etc.  Too many words to use.  But lately, we've had to use words like sad, hurting, lithless.  I can not tell you the gut feeling I've got.  We know Bear's time left on earth is limited.  Very limited.  Yesterday, he did not leave his spot all day.   Not even to go outside.  His fur feels differently.  His eyes look so sad.  Yet, he wags his tail like crazy when you pass by him.  He can still get up and down the steps outside but he can barely get up off the floor at home.  We are torn on whether to take him to the vet.  Deep down, I think we know his time is limited.  His tumors may have become cancerous at this point.  They're huge now.  He has Cushings Disease.  He has arthritis.  Yet, until recently, he never complained about it at all.  Not a whimper or a yelp.  We are hoping and praying that yesterday was just a bad day for him.  Next few days we're taking a lot into consideration.  We knew when it was getting close for Aspen to leave us.  We know Bear will not make it till next Christmas.  We are questioning whether he will make it to this Christmas right now.  It is beyond difficult to talk about.  BTW, this is "Warren's dog."  This dog LOVES Warren to death.  We have never, ever not had a dog in this house.  Never.  I am NOT writing Bear off folks however, I am being cautiously optimistic at this point that he has a few more months left.  Maybe weeks, maybe less.  No one knows.  We just know Bear hurts, and we will not let him suffer.  He deserves no less.  

Right now, it is hard to look at him b/c I know he hurts.  I want to make it all better but know I can't.  Like I said, this dog had it all.  He was the glue here.  Everyone loved him and he really does help some of our traumatized ones through their tough times.  When Alex was having a tough time w/ Bojan's surgery, he was right there petting Bear.  Bear was willing of course.  We love our teddy bear.  Always have, always will.  For however long we can, we will love him.  I'm calling the vet Monday and asking for some more Rimydl for Bear for pain.  If that does not ease it at all, we will have to think of some other options.  

this is not a picture of a sad old dog.  This is a picture of a dog that has lived a very full and happy life.  He's been able to be outside when he wants, eat way better than most of the humans in this house--LOL, have someone around to pet him any time, chase as many squirrels as he was able in his life time-- catching a few of them, going camping w/ us, going on rides in the car when he used to be able to jump better, a dog that was terrified of balloons,  terrified of thunder, and is loved by many, many people.  He is truly one of the Boyd Bunch.  You will never know just how much we love this dog of ours.  I don't even want to think of parting with him.  It will be losing a family member.  So much more I could say about our Bear.  I'll let you know how he is feeling this coming week.  If you can, say a little prayer for our Teddy Bear.  We love you!  Thanks for letting me share just a tad bit of our beloved dog Bear.  Right now, kids are watching Toy Story 3 and Bear is being petted by one of them.  Years ago, when Warren and I were going to the fairgrounds to look around, we never planned on coming home with a dog.  Never.  Plans change and Bear changed all our lives...for the better. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

Well, it's been awhile since I did one of these posts I think.  For those new here, having children with FAS can be difficult some days.  Yet, as parents we still need to find the good in each and every one of them.  So, we try to recognize what thoughtful thing they've done throughout the week.  If you look hard enough, most of the time you can find at least one if not quite a few more.  So, here goes.

Max-- really has stepped up to the plate and taken care of Bojan in the wheelchair for us.  He is there to load him on and off the bus and carry him up the stairs when needed as well.  Not an easy thing to lift 90 lbs plus a cast.  Very thoughtful Max.  What a brother!

Bojan-- though he is limited, he is still showing his gratitude & thoughtfulness.  Bojan read books to Nik for us this week.  He volunteered to.  We did not even ask. 

Alex-- Alex helped us out one day:

I thought this was incredibly thoughtful.  Nik was having trouble w/ his shoes one morning and Alex jumped right in to help him.  Have no idea why Bojan's leg is laying there.  
Nik-- Nik's thoughtful moment definitely was teaching Alyona to skate this week.  It was very sweet of him to do.  

Irina-- Irina new I was having a rough day earlier this week and really tried to get everyone in order and everyone's lunch made.  Really was thoughtful of her to take into consideration how mom was feeling that day.

Yana-- Yana has actually been helping out w/ chores more.  Not her chores but everyone's!  I'm shocked too, trust me.  LOL.  Very thoughtful.

Alyona-- This is difficult b/c Alyona has had the most difficult week to date.  Hard time at school and at home.  However, when Alex was sick this evening she was concerned and wondered if she could get him anything to make him feel better.  

I know many times FAS children get a bad stereotype attached to them as "difficult" children or misbehaving all the time.  I hope that from these thoughtful Thursday posts you all can see FAS children are very, very capable of having a kind heart and doing the right thing.  For that, I am very proud of my children. 

Lawyers, lace & laziness

Phew, what a day is all I can say.  Warren took the day off.  Had to.  I ended up having the day off as well which worked out beautifully for all we had to get accomplished today.  First up was an IEP meeting for Irina.  Warren basically nodded b/c we knew we were pulling her out of there.  Still lies from some of her authority figures which I think is stupid for adults to do but hey, it's an IEP.  They will not cooperate & give her the IQ testing she needs for the SSI we need to apply for.  She was tested last year as we requested.  But, the idiots never gave her the IQ test part of it.  Ridiculous as they KNEW that is what we were after.  So now, we have to pay for private testing...$1500 I think it was the last time I checked.  Lovely.  And no, there is no way to fight this per the law.  She was tested & it is not required they do an IQ test, just required testing every 3 years.  URGHH!!!  I told Warren to leave the meeting no matter what by 8:30 due to all the things we had to do. 

He got home and then we headed to pick up the medicals.  Not ready.  Onto the post office to mail some docs to placing agency.  After that, onto our courthouse to do a background check for Irina.  It has gone up from $10 to $25.  So far, this little "snaffu" w/ immigration has cost us an extra $175 but who's counting?  They were nice at the courthouse and it was onto the clerk of court there to inquire about re-adoption.  Hoping and praying the waiting period required here had changed.  Umm, nope.  However, she recommended a great lawyer down the street.  Went to visit.  Lady seemed to know exactly what she was doing.  Hired her.  (no, this is not a pro bono lawyer.  LOL).  After that, decided we needed lunch.  Quick lunch and then off to the outlet mall.  Remember, it hasn't hit tourist season yet so we are cool w/ no crowds there yet.  Able to get Irina and I the rest of what we needed for our Christmas Family Portrait tomorrow evening.  Warren also picked up a sweater for the picture.  As soon as that was done, it was down to the social security office, which we were secretly dreading.

Took our # and sat down.  We were #58 and they were on #54.  Doesn't seem bad even though I only saw 3 windows.  Well, a lady in the waiting area w/ us started having medical trouble.  Fortunately, there was a nurse in the waiting area also.  She called 911, took the ladies blood sugar level(she had diabetes), and started telling folks what to do.  This was an elderly lady w/ diabetes, high bp, and heart issues.  She was sweating profusely, disoriented and seemed like she was on the edge of passing out.  Irina was scared and worried.  Not one of the best kids to have w/ us during an incident like this.  Paramedics were quick to arrive(would hope so, we were only a few miles from the hospital) and tend to her.  Our # then came up and we were taken to the back.  Had no idea there were like 10 more windows in the back.  Guy there had no idea what to do so sent to one of the ladies in charge.  She fixed Irina's social security card wording w/ no problems!  Wahoo!!!  Passport did the trick.  While there she made an appointment for Monday for the SSI issue.  Working on it then.  Much progress made today for sure on multiple issues.  After this, it was back to the lawyers office. 

We had arrived at the lawyers office and things were already in motion.  DSS has been contacted & have to come out.  Our waiting period is going to be waived most likely (she already spoke to the courts) due to the length of time Irina's been in the home.  That waiting period is there for kids who are just adopted.  Obviously after 10.5 years, I think it's safe to say she's staying.  Most awesome news for sure to hear that we may mostly make that time deadline. 

Headed home after all that business.  Went right back out to pick up medicals.  Drum roll  ink!  Now, those who know international adoption know this is a big no-no.  Blue ink only when filling out papers.  We'll have to work on that one.  Went to Wally World to pick up pantyhose & such for the pictures.  Came home to kids.  Alex didn't look well to me & was lethargic.  Speech therapist arrived and worked w/ Nik.  Alex cried after I made dinner.  Just tomato soup & toasted cheese today.  He was crying and holding his ears.  Sounded like an ear infection or sinus infection to me so Warren is there now at the doc's with Alex.  Waiting for them to get back.

Yana came to me earlier w/ her sweater w/ the lace for the pictures.  You know, the ones tomorrow.  I knew by the look something had happened.  Sure enough, sweater never worn, BEIGE, and new ruined.  I used the laundry stick I have.  Love it.  That thing has gotten everything out.  Hoping for positive results and we'll know in a bit. 

Now, Warren was gone this morning at the meeting and I was getting all the kids ready to go to school.  I get a phone call.  Max's teacher.  URGHH!!!  There is no "nice" way around this whatsoever.  My son is lazy.  Just pure lazy.  He's not stupid.  By far he is NOT stupid.  However, he is the epitome of laziness.  I can't stand it.  The child is 15 years old, has the intelligence to do the work & do it well yet choses to fail.  He simply doesn't do the work.  We know he can.  How do we know?  Because if he takes a test, he does great on it.  Well, except math.  He does have a severe learning disability in math.  however, all other subjects, he does fantastic on the tests.  Does no other work though.  Now, he had the chance to make up all other work and hand it in.  Did he?  NO.  So now, he is to fail.  Teachers want to give him yet another chance.  I said no way.  No way as we have said over and over there are consequences for not doing your work.  He has absolutely no privileges nor freedom until further notice.  None.  The child might as well wear a prison jumpsuit right now for he is our prisoner until his grades improve.  Again, this is not a lack of ability.  It is a lack of self-motivation.  I am open to suggestions as we have tried everything.  He doesn't have a gaming system or a tv or anything of that nature in his room.  We've used his art as motivation.  We've grounded him.  We've tried rewards.  You name it, we've tried it w/Max over the years.  Otherwise, he is a great, kind-hearted kid w/ much talent.  Just hate seeing him ruin his academic career. 

Well, they're back.  Alex has a sinus infection.  He'll be fine.  Warren is cutting Max's hair right now.  More going on but I'm beat.  Next post I will do is a Thoughtful Thursday post.  Tomorrow, I'll have a post regarding Nik's activation this past Monday.  It was amazing!  For now, more to do downstairs.  Have a wonderful weekend folks. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Outdoor happenings

After so much seriousness lately, I need some peppy things on here I think.  So, I thought why not get some outdoor pictures out.  Things my kids have been up to during this most gorgeous weather we've had.  My kids love being outdoors and glad we are able to go outside most days.  In NC, it never really gets cold.  they consider the 40's and 50's here cold.  But remember, our sense of hot here is skewed as well.  When it's 100 degrees out and humidity at 100%, then it's hot.  Not before though.  90's are not hot here.  Anyhow, loved some of the pictures. 

Alex LOVES to ride a bike.  So much so, he doesn't care that he's riding his sister's bike this time.  They go down the hill, do wheelies and tricks and ride all behind the house and back around.  Notice the path worn in the yard.  No yard of the month here folks.  LOL.

Another favorite activity in our yard is soccer.  Alex loves soccer.  Loves it.  I told him if he does well in school, he can play in the spring.  He doesn't want to sign up for basketball this winter like he usually does.  I was surprised.  Just Nik and Bojan will be playing this year. 

thought this was funny.  Yana was trying to pose the boys for pictures and then she'd take the shots.  Cute idea though.  Notice he's not holding a soccer ball?  They don't care.  they'll just kick any ball laying around in the yard.  
Nik decided to put on Yana's roller blades.  Many sizes too big.  Here, he's just trying to get up.

Yana tried to capture him skating.  I think he learned just fine & it didn't matter how big the skates were.  Though it may now be on his Christmas list.

Alyona learning how to skate.  Sometimes, she has issues w/ gross motor skills so this can be difficult for her.  
I love this picture.  Nik was being so thoughtful teaching his "little" big sis how to skate.  He held hands w/ her throughout the yard.  Very cute.

And, resting after a nice skate in the yard.  If any of you are considering adopting a deaf child and terrified b/c none of your kids know sign or you don't know sign or are afraid they won't be able to play w/ each other...please, please think again.  Nik fits in perfectly w/ this family and does play and have an awesome time w/ each of his siblings.  Love can make the world go round.  

My day was hectic but it got done.  Doc signed our papers and we'll have them tomorrow morning.  Relief for sure.  Much has been accomplished in this short time.  I received my wonderful pink slip today from immigration.  Gives me the list of what I need.  Should have it all done next week.  Social worker meets us Monday.  Well, Irina b/c you know, she's considered an adult now in USCIS' eyes.  LOL.  But, we will comply and get it done.  Sooner it's all done, the sooner we get on that plane and meet our kiddos!!!  So, worth the headache for sure.  Tomorrow is hugely busy.  It's raining today and we just all kind of want to veg out.  Not happening though.  More pictures eventually.  Just trying to get the priority stuff done... redoing of all Irina's paperwork.  Enjoy your evening.


Thought I'd compose a checklist of sorts to see how far we've come. just a day.

Contacted homestudy agency & informed them of situation-- check

Contacted placing agency & informed them of situation-- check

Set up in person interview w/ social work for Irina-- check

Faxed Child Abuse Check for Irina-- check

Mail Child Abuse Check for Irina-- check

Sent in additional fee for homestudy addendum-- check

Printed off Supplemental I for Irina-- check

Filled out Supplemental I for Irina-- check One of the "littles spilled milk on it.

Reprinted off Supplemental I for Irina-- check

Getting background criminal check done for Irina-- (doing Thursday)

Trying to see the silver lining-- check

Getting parent medicals redone-- check (appointment is today for us)

Filled out new declaration page for Bulgaria-- check

Got declaration page notarized-- check (notary put wrong county on it so needs to be redone today)

Mailed off homestudy agency recommendation letter-- check

Get shoes, tights, etc. for Christmas portrait on Friday-- check

So, I think in the midst of all this chaos, we actually got some things done.  What do you think?  We have so much going on between the adoption, figuring out SSI, figuring out the housing situation, and figuring out all the school situations, I dont' think we fully appreciated how much we have gotten done.  The fact that everyone is healthy.  The fact that school is going very well academically for most of my kids.  The fact that Nik's implant works.  The fact that Bojan is almost done w/ that cast & wheelchair.  (trust me, it is really difficult w/ a house that is not accessible).  The silver lining is we have gotten stuff done.  We have still managed to have fun with the kids.  We have for the most part, kept our sanity in the midst of all the adoption roller coaster ride loops.  Now, if you don't mind, I have one of the "littles" that is about ready to go with me to story time.  Enjoy your day.  Pics to come later today.  Appointment w/ social worker is Monday btw.  Thanks for all the helpful info on the SSI.  I now have some new info and we are headed there tomorrow to try to get all this initiated if at all possible. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I know these capital letter posts are getting exhausting.  Just think of how I feel.  LOL.  This post is in regards to Irina.  I am the parent to seven special needs children.  All adopted.  No secret there.  I do know of families who receive services and funding some times in the form of SSI for their children.  I want to preface all this with saying I have absolutely nothing against that.  I really don't.  It is a choice that everyone has to make.  That being said, we chose to never apply for anything of that nature b/c we felt we should be responsible for our kids' needs, medical care costs, etc. if it was at all possible.  And, it was.  Thankfully, we have wonderful insurance.  Well, by not asking for assistance, we may have shot ourselves in the foot.  We have a major problem now and trying to locate a lawyer as not sure it can even be fixed.  Let me explain.

Irina turns 18 at the end of December.  She will be consider an adult by law but as you all are aware, FAS children do not mature until around age 25 to 27.  Her social age is currently around 12 to 13.  We spoke w/ our neurologist who said we must apply for SSI before she turns 18 or it is near impossible to get it as an adult.  BTW, been told by people who work there that they are told to almost always automatically do a denial on the first application and that you have to apply several times.  I had a friend who used to work w/ the adult section of the SSI department here.  Now, we can not go down and apply for SSI for her currently.  Why?  Because we never readopted her in the state of NC.  If she is not readopted, she will not qualify for SSI no matter what.  Well, to readopt her in NC there is a 60 to 90 day waiting period once you apply.  Yep, past her birthday.  So, we must apply to redopt, magically have it waived(the waiting period) and then apply for SSI for the first go around.  I feel bad as we may have cost our daughter income for the rest of her life due to us not wanting to rely on anyone for assistance while they were younger.  Irina will not be able to hold down a job that pays like someone who is able to hold a college degree or such.  She will most likely have a minimum wage paying job and will need that SSI to maintain basic living expenses.  It is still questionable whether she'll be one of our children that can live independently or not.  She is our first, new territory for us the next few years.  We're all learning. 

All these years, that we've been paying their medical costs, their therapies, etc, it never occurred to me maybe we should have applied for help as maybe it would affect my kids' future.  Never once thought about it.  Now, I am.  I had a friend in my daughter's class that had a child that received $700 a month SSI, and mileage to any appts. she had.  That child was way higher functioning than my daughter w/ many less issues.  I don't know if that is common place as this is all new to me.  I had another friend who received free respite care for her kids.  One lady had people come w/ her to help w/ her child.  I was stunned all this help was out there and was at no cost to them.  All their kids were bio kids so not sure if that makes a difference or not.  Yet, since we were doing okay w/ just us and things were working out, I didn't inquire or even think it might be an option.  Okay, I admit, respite would have been a dream come true!  Like I said previously, I have no issues with folks getting services or getting help for their children.  I just hope since we didn't use it all these years, that Irina is not "punished" for that as an adult.  I'm told if they don't have SSI as kids all this time, it is very difficult to get it as an adult.  I'm so confused.  We go Thursday to try to figure out this mess.  Anyone with insight, do let me know. 

Do any of you with special needs have children that receive SSI?  If so, what were you told?  Will it hinder their future if they don't have it as young children?  I'm looking for answers for sure.  For some of you families out there that had the choice to apply for SSI or not, did any of you go the same path we did?  I have been told many times over the years to apply for SSI from teachers but never understood why.  They really never said why.  I mean, with excellent insurance, I never saw a need quite frankly for our family.  Again, I have no ill feelings for those who choose it.  I want to make that clear as I know some may take this all the wrong way.  I just want to make sure that since we didn't collect this as a child, that when she needs it as an adult to meet basic needs, it would be there for her.  Irina will definitely be able to be a productive member of society.  That, I have no doubt about.  She is highly motivated and an awesome worker.  Been told by her current on sight job that they would hire her later if she wanted to.  Great to hear for sure.

Over the years, we've had nasty things said to us about our kids and some times I think that is why we chose not to get assistance.  We've been told we were adopting special needs children simply to receive stipends.  Umm, NO stipends here I can assure you.  We've been told why adopt special needs kids as they'll grow up and leach off society.  I can assure you, I will make sure all my children grow up with a great work ethic and so far, I've been told the teens have an awesome work ethic and work hard and proud when at a job.  They may not end up being rocket scientists by any stretch but they will indeed contribute to society and not "leaching" off society as some have suggested.  Some of these myths and mindsets I think have also had me shying away from asking for SSI any of these years.  Don't know.  Just know my head is about to explode from all the thinking we've had to do these last 2 days.

I'm ready for some boring posts soon.  LOL.  What's for dinner or what are you doing?  Something simple, not complicated, not an issue, not a time sensitive thing.  Maybe next week, huh?

Tomorrow is Wednesday.  Warren and I go mid-day to redo our medicals that Bulgaria has requested.  They want the date of exam, to match date of letter to match date of notary.  Now, try asking your docs that favor and ask them to hurry.  Not the thing I wanted to do.  I mean, it is flu season and busy season for doctors.  We love the lady we go to.  She's great and understands all the adoption stuff.  Wish us luck and no complications w/ that.  Oh, hospital called me today & said they must reschedule everyone's MRI on Friday.  Why?  Because there are no techs available to do them.  Umm, okay.  It's a hospital and they have no MRI techs this coming Friday.  Not feeling much confidence w/ that.  LOL.  What hospital is missing staff for a whole day?  Too funny.  Well, to a point.  Scheduling mishaps happen so not stressing it.  Just have to reschedule everything for next week now.  Again, minor compared to other things happening here. Thursday is a huge IEP meeting for Irina.  After it, we'll head out to go down to get her fingerprinted and background check done.  While there, also inquire about the whole readoption thing.  See if we can pull it off ourselves versus hiring the lawyer.  Normal time frame, no problem, but w/ ours it will most likely need a helping hand.  Then, head off to the SSI office to fix the social security card and try to ask about applying for SSI.  After that, outlet mall to find Warren a sweater for the Christmas photo this coming Friday evening.  We live near a huge outlet center that is a mecca of sorts for tourists.  They literally come by the busloads to shop there.  NEVER go during peak seasons.  The beginning of November we're still okay.  I mean zoo mentality if you go during tourist shopping season.  After that, it will be time to pick up one of the "littles" from preschool.  The other one is w/ me all day as a ride along.  Making sure I wear her out tomorrow outside.  LOL.  She's 2yo btw.  After we pick that one up, we figure out what is left to cover.  I've missed a ton but can't think right now.  Have to go to find an old adoption contract for one of our agencies.  Going to try to convince Warren to go for a walk at 11pm.  Yep, that's when I have free time today.  Is it Friday yet?  The week seems to have lengthened for me.  More pics soon I hope.  Need to get back to some normal topics but then again, I know other adoptive families experience stuff like this so nice to share to others who understand all this and some times can offer advice.  Have a wonderful evening. 

Halloween fun in pictures

Well, I can't take such whiny posts as mine lately.  Need to liven things up with pictures to let you know life goes on even if you're thrown huge loops in that adoption roller coaster ride you're on.  So, here goes some preliminary Halloween pictures.  Hope you enjoy them.

Nik trying on the Patrick hat from Spongebob.  We were digging through costumes in the living room.  Kids were trying to decide what they wanted to be.  We save a bunch of them every year and the kids get to pick out what they want or come up w/ their own creation.  I get things at yardsales or consignment shops throughout the year and throw them in the bin.  costumes at 90% off are not bad.  

Sometimes, friends come over to help out.  They were letting Alyona try on some of their stuff.  I kind of like the green hair.

Nik, hamming it up for the camera.  BTW, it's not the camera, his shirt is truly that dirty.  If you look closely, you'll notice Alyona is back in her dog bed area.  We had actually sold her dog bed and now she's crept back downstairs again.  We just don't get it.  She has a bed.  She chooses to sleep on the hardwood floors by a bookcase.  

Bojan getting ready for his Halloween party at his friend's house.  They had a great time.  Love all the costumes we see.  Such clever people.  For 11 kids being home that day, stuff to do and no costume, this is what we came up with...head on a platter.  Not our best but hey, it worked.

Death and the injured skier.  Bojan's not in full costume yet.  Poor Max said it was too dark so eye holes were cut out.  

Yep, even on Halloween Alyona gives us trouble w/ her eating.  We had grilled pork chops, peas and rice that night.  She's never been a fan of anything but sugar.  She managed to shovel it in at the last minute in order to go get candy.  

Our huge pumpkin had rotted through and through.  Max carved this one literally in about 4 minutes.  He is so quick at stuff.  Yes, we were so slack on any decorations this year.  Oh well, more kids to help next year, right?  LOL.

The four younger ones ready to go.  And would you believe Nik kept that mask on for most of the time?!  Bojan had ski poles made by Max but we thought it best not to take the ski poles w/ us.  Yes, that would have added to the adventure of hauling him up and down the hills and driveways here.  Keep in mind, our subdivision is named Southills for a reason.  Some steep driveways for sure.  Some folks thought Bojan was faking but not too many.  Thought he was faking when he said he couldn't walk up the stairs.  I explained that was not a costume or a "prop" on his leg.  And yes, the other leg is gone.  LOL.  Alyona kept wanting to come out of costume.  But, we made it.  

And here is Nik starting early on his sugar rush.  Kids all had a great time.  It was nice getting out and talking to some new folks.  Very pleasant night and great time.  

Now, onto Thanksgiving time.  We like to be outside most this month.  Lots of togetherness as well.  Or, at least we hope.  Some plans in the work despite the chaos happening here.  Tell you all more later.  I do know this weekend we are staying home.  Why?  

This is now our back door area.  Completely rotted from the brick moulding to the door jam.  Had our contractor today(here for the windows) check this out as well.  We have major water issues at this home.  Yet, don't have the time nor money to fix them.  In the meantime, things are going from bad to worse.  Today, we just replaced a few windows.  They ALL need replacing but we are for now doing just the ones that are in dire need and getting to be  a structural issue as well.  How will we fix this one?  No idea yet.  But, know this weekend this has to be done and garage cleaned out so termite guy can come.  No termites thank goodness.  We also need to pull out stuff from under the house.  We have this fear that natural springs have appeared under our home now as well.  Again, water is an issue here.  It is soaked under the house.  Never been this wet before.  Something is not right.  More on the home later.  

Lots more going on for sure.  I will fill you all in as I can.  This has by far been the busiest week ever & it's only Tuesday.  Got to double check some homework.  Have a great evening. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thanks & more detail on our situation

First off, I really wanted to say to all those on & off thanks for the encouragement.  Me of all people knows about delays in adoption processes.  However, when you know that approval "could" have happened & you "could" have traveled shortly, it just hits you in the gut no matter what level your experience is in adoption.  I don't even quite remember the details I gave earlier frankly.  Manic Monday is an understatement.  Really, it is.  This snaffu, the fact that I ordered Nik the wrong color implant, the fact that I forgot to give Alex his medicine this morning or the many other things that have happened today have all caused this to be a chaotic day even for Chaos Manor.  But, we will push on.  I would quote Winston Churchill but save it for later. Oh, why not.  "When you're going through he**, keep going."  So true as it's the only way to gain experience and learn from it.  That's what we're doing, pushing forward & getting stuff done. 

So, a little more detail.  BTW, this is part of what is going on.  I can not quite explain another situation on here yet but will in due time.  Today, I called immigration to check on our status.  Truly expecting them to say they haven't gotten it yet.  NOT to say there are issues that they need to attend to first.  It all has to do with our oldest daughter, Irina, who will turn 18 at the end of the year.  Though we would most likely be in country on trip one before that would happen, the agent does not want to take a chance that something could happen in country since she would be turning 18.  I totally understand this and would rather a problem be fixed stateside.  However, it is not a problem...yet.  And, that's a good thing.  Our homestudy agency said they've been doing this 25 years and this has NEVER happened before.  Yep, we bring learning experiences to everyone during our adoptions.  LOL.  BTW, they have been beyond awesome and get to that in a minute.  So, Irina will need a background check, child abuse registry check, another interview, etc.  I'm not sure about biometrics.  I'm praying NOT as that would delay it beyond belief.  This other stuff is being expedited by our agency.  In other words, they are already on top of it sending us forms, making arrangements for her in person interview, etc.  Can not say how grateful we are to Carolina Adoption Services.  Thank you is not enough.  We will get Irina's background check done this week.  I have to also send in a Supplemental I form to USCIS w/ a pink slip that I'll soon be getting in the mail.  So, we are moving and that's what counts.  We're getting it done despite this happening on the busiest week we've had scheduled yet.  Not going to whine any more about it all as it won't help.  Just do it and move on. 

Now, though this seems all rosy I fear we may be "flagged" somehow someway.  Do you all remember Irina's social security card mess w/ her "alien" status?  Now, you all know Irina is indeed a legal US citizen.  She even has a legal US passport now.  However, we were going to go this week to fix her social security card mess.  What is this mess?  It reads on her social security card like she is an alien.  Umm, no, she's not.  So, I am praying that this mess w/ her social security card does not hinder or interfere w/ the process w/ immigration.  We know there will be major major issues as Immigration said to fix her ss card all I need is her US passport.  Social Security office said they will not accept a  US passport, only a COC which we clearly don't have as she was adopted back in 1999.  Again, I have more details but this would take forever to go through.  Trust me, I've explained a dozen times to too many officials to count.  We're working on it.  My fear is it somehow messing up w/ our other immigration process.   Normal adoption?  Not here folks.  We must make unique loops in our roller coaster ride. 

I will keep you all posted on the progress.  This will add costs to our adoption.  Not only that, since there is no way of paying the majority of the expenses before the end of December as I highly doubt we'll be allowed to travel before then, then we are not able to take advantage of the tax credit this year.  That will hurt us financially....a lot.  So, trying to think of some upcoming fundraisers as Christmas is coming up and things will be tight.  I'm not trying to whine, trust me.  Just trying to tell it like it is as some on here are new to adoption.  Things happen.  You must plan.  We did.  However, we were not anticipating the windows all rotting, nor the door, nor the entire roof needing replacing nor the countless other things that seem to have come all at once.  When it rains it pours.  However, we moved during one of our adoption processes and we made it through.  We will persevere through this one as well.  Much more to say about other things today.  Things that mean miracles do happen once the kids are home.  BTW, the kids and I all witnessed an upside down rainbow today...a smile.  There was no rain in sight.  Don't know why it just appeared.  Just things to think about.  There is beauty and good things out there even when you have a bad day.  More to come.  Stay tuned.


Okay, I'm catching my breath after just getting off the phone w/ immigration.  As you know, prints were last week.  Approval could have been this week.  Is it?  No.  I'm so distraught right now, I literally almost have no words.  I need to go pick up Nik from school so this will be short.  I'll fill you all in later tonight.  Right now, running around making phone calls like mad to agencies and trying to do everything humanly possible to get things expedited.  Luckily, I have the BEST agencies who understand and do things for this crazy family.  Anyhow, they will not issue approval.  They are "invoking the right to treat my child as an adult."  Yes, this was quoted to me.  It doesn't have to be done but it is being done.  In other words, since Irina is turning 18 at the end (27th) of December, they want her fingerprinted, child abuse checked, addendum to homestudy & the whole 9 yards.  I have a list of forms to send in.  Yes, more money & I will get to that later.  Shocked, heartbroken, angry, & the whole gamet of emotions is inside me right now.  Now, in the defense of the agent who did this to us, I DO understand his reasoning once he explained it.  However, I do know that this has inevitably made us come to a grinding halt in the process.  I SO wanted to be over in Bulgaria in early December as that's what it was looking like.  I'm crushed.  I don't blame USCIS for doing it, I do indeed understand the reasoning.  Just doesn't make it any easier to swallow.  Have to go pick up Nik.  Getting activated today.  More later.  Heartbroken, disappointed, saddened by it all.  Irina is no more of an adult than the other kids.  I hate the adoption rollercoaster ride.  More to come. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!

Just wanted to wish everyone a safe & Happy Halloween.  Yes, we are indeed going trick or treating.  We love going out and seeing all the costumes.  I especially love the creativity of some people.  Just amazes me.  And, who can forget the candy of course.  Now, some of you have seen how large our dining room table is.  It's actually two dining room tables put together.  Well, we dump all the candy out to share.  No one actually keeps their own bucket.  We all share.  It covers the entire table.   We eat some and Warren then takes a bunch of it to the break room at lunch.  We are making the teen girls stay home this year and pass out candy.  Why? you ask.  Because last year the deal was the teens stay behind for a little while till we get back & then they could go out w/ their friends.  Well, they conned Max into staying by himself to hand out candy.  They left w/ their friends.  URGHH!!!  So, this year Max is going w/ us to help push Bojan up the hills.  Irina and Yana WILL stay behind to pass out candy b/c of that stunt last year.  It was wrong and they knew it.  Not like they don't get the candy anyhow.  They have agreed this year.  One of us may come home early and let them go back out but keeping that a secret for now. 

Can't believe tomorrow is November.  We are hoping for some really good news in November of course.  Keep you all posted.  As a family, we are also hoping for a little down time soon.  So, we will have one weekend scheduled at Peacehaven farm but other than that, nothing currently on the calender.  Girls are going to a pilgrimage for church in mid-November.  Otherwise, we are going to really work on the house. 

Hope you all have a Happy Halloween and get some candy.  Chocolate for sure! 

This is Nik's creation.  Can't you tell by the angry faces?  Most kids will draw three triangles and a mouth.  Not my kid.  Nik has to be unique.  Anyhow, all mine are so excited about Halloween tonight.  They are a very, VERY rough night last night.  We woke up late & missed church.  So, Warren and I decided to go and get the kids donuts from the grocery store.  I know, sugar on top of sugar today.  Hey, it's once a year, indulge a little.  Warren and I are getting ready to go out to Wally World for supplies.  Kids were so happy about getting donuts this morning that they cleaned up the entire house while we were gone!  Nice surprise to come back to and very thoughtful.  Much to do today.  Just wanted to say Happy Halloween.  Next holiday....Thanksgiving.  Yum.