Saturday, January 29, 2011

Strep it is

Confirmed strep for Alyona.  Poor kid just finished getting over the flu last week and now this.  She had one good week.  Part of it is her and we know that.  We try to teach her personal space.  She has a real problem w/ this & wanting to touch everyone.  Doesn't help during cold & flu season.  All of them in her class do the same thing just about.  So, another 10 day course of antibiotics for her.  Hoping she'll be better soon and fast.  As you can guess, that hike today & clean up at the church did not happen.  It has been a doc visit instead.  Oh well.  That's life.  You roll with the punches. 

Okay, I have to write this before I forget b/c I can't believe what I just heard from my 18yo.  Irina said Bojan is taking pliers and pulling my hair out for DNA.  They love to play pretend but seriously, that is too far.  Told them no more CSI. 

We have stayed at home all day today.  Not bad to do that every once in awhile I guess.  Even had some of the windows open for some fresh air.  Felt wonderful.  Walked the neighborhood w/ the pups.  Just nice outside.  Kids helped me clean up the front yard and porch.  Getting spring fever a bit I think.  Some of the crocuses are even starting to come up.  Color coming soon.  Max & Warren started to build the bike rack.  Okay, the other day Warren asked Max if he could cut the wood 30".  Max said yes.  Warren went to measure today & almost all are a different size.  When telling Max, he tried to blame it on the people who cut the wood at the factory. Kid you not.  Then, tried to blame anyone standing around him.  Ahh, the male ego in him.  Max finally went on to do another task instead.  We had one shrub w/ Christmas lights still on them.  Crazy, huh?  Tomorrow, since Alyona is still contagious & not sure if Alex is coming down w/ something or just tired, we're not attending church.  Think the older kids and I will rake up some old leaves around the front and just do a little more clean up. Bike rack will get done which will be nice. 

Lots to think about lately.  More to come.  Just kids are chatty and really driving us crazy tonight.  Ever have one of those days?  Need to get Bojan shoes tomorrow as his shoes are way too small now that he got an adult foot on his new leg.  I have to download some more pictures soon.  I'm a little slow this week b/c it truly has been packed full of some new issues that need resolving and some that have recently come to light such as the seriousness of Alyona's eye issues.  How will she learn academically?  She is a very visual learner as are all my FASers.  Need to go.  Redoing some of the things I do w/ my preschoolers.  In addition, Irina now wants to be homeschooled.  She is too indecisive and right now, I told her no, give things a shot b/c just a few short days ago, she was gung ho to stay at school.  Again, another big decision Warren and I are trying to make.  I know next year we will be definitely homeschooling a few of them.  However, I really did want to wait till the fall to be better prepared.  I really wanted them in school when we travel out of the country.  It would be a definite distraction.  Remember, many of ours have a traumatic past and this does cause issues when we leave them.  Though at the same time, it is good for them to be left & know mom & dad will return.  Plus, was told last time they did fantastic while we were gone!

I have a lot of random thoughts tonight, don't I?  Happens.  Need to get a RAD post in at some point soon. 

Oh, thanks so much to all those who emailed me about the raw potatoes.  I really didn't know they could hurt dogs.  Mainly, b/c Aspen & Bear used to play w/ them all the time. However, they were bigger than the puppies so maybe that made a difference?  Not sure but we've since moved the potatoes for the pups sake.  An additional thanks for the hints on the LLBean backpacks.  I had thought about buying them years ago but figured I couldn't afford it.  Now, those things would have paid for themselves by now.  May have to do that this year for sure.  Relatives ask what they want, that would be a wise suggestion I think.  I do appreciate when I get ideas, comments, suggestions.  It definitely helps.  And when you're a mother to 7, sometimes you can use all the help you can get.  LOL.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bits and pieces

Well, it's Friday evening.  Alyona is sick again & I can't figure out why.  Low fever.  Remember, she was sick w/ the flu the week before last.  Throat hurts, chest hurts, etc.  Came on VERY quickly.  Hoping it is just a 24 bug.  We truly want to get out and go hiking tomorrow.  Well, more like walking than hiking.  Since Bojan got his new leg this week & is adjusting, we really have to go on pavement this go around and that's perfectly fine.  It's supposed to be near 60F tomorrow.  Are any of you snowbound states jealous?  Just kidding.  Sunny and gorgeous is the forecast for tomorrow.  Hence, why we really want to go out in the morning, enjoy the great outdoors and then clean up the church later.  Come home for a movie that evening.  Now, if Alyona is sick tomorrow, plans will change.  We'll play it by ear. 

Irina has an appointment w/the ENT.  Discovered this evening her problem may be a bit more serious than we thought.  History:  She had a broken nose at some point while she was in the orphanage.  Never documented there of course but surgeon here said it was definitely broken in the past.  She had a deviated septum, massive sinus issues & some other stuff.  Irina had surgery here & came home that evening.  Despite us begging the surgeon to NOT give her pain meds, they did anyhow.  You see, Irina has major sensory integration issues.  Including not being able to feel pain like you or I can.  Last year she had a nail shoved through her knee that she only discovered that evening b/c it kept catching on the sheets.  Anyhow, after her surgery a few years back, she came home & her & Yana were dancing in their rooms.  You know, when they shared a room & got along!  Yana kicked Irina in the nose.  Surgeon said since she had the splints in it, it should be fine.  Years later, we're guessing something may have gone a miss.  Yes, she did indeed go to many post ops & follow-ups that appeared fine.  So maybe over the last year or so?  Don't know.  What we have now is a hole literally in her nose.  Shine a light in one side, you can see it clearly through the other.  A not so small hole. She goes February 8th.  Soonest I could get her seen.  Don't know how long she's had this b/c remember, her pain tolerance is different than ours.  Keep you posted on her.

Nik goes to audiology this coming week.  Should be fine.  Nik & Alyona go to the opthomologist this coming week too.  Nervous about that one.  Really hoping Alyona's vision is steady.  oh, and Nik lost his glasses this week & we can't find them.  Great.  Alyona can't see the board at school.  She sits in the front.  Her teacher hands her what is written on the board.  Teacher has also started to give her large print for the visually impaired.  You know, in the past I haven't thought much about Alyona's ONH.  I'm starting to more & more now.  We're going to have to get a plan in order for her of some sorts.  Ask doc this coming week a lot more questions and mainly for suggestions.  Her vision seems to be getting worse & we were told w/this disorder, usually there isn't much progression.  With each child home, we learn more and more.  Had I become a doctor, I could have been a world reknowned expert by now.  LOL.  My kids have experienced quite a bit of disorders.  learning even more as I go. 

Puppies get surgery next week.  Spay & neutering.  And removing an extra toe.  Both pups have extras on them.  These puppies are looking more and more like grown dogs each day.  We think Kota's paws have become "Clifford like."  His paws are HUGE.  They really are.  Others have commented on the size of his paws when they come in too.  Even the vet thinks he'll be off the charts.  You know, they can predict what size they'll be.  At first she said he's supposed to be 60 lbs. according to how they calculate at a certain age.  She then said there's now way.  She thinks at least 80 to 85 lbs.  Yep.  That's what Bear was...originally.  Bear ended up being 125 lbs.  That's a lot of dog.  And Kota LOVES being a lap dog.  I think it's high time to break that habit.  Both dogs are fantastic w/ all our kids & the "littles."  Love our pups!

If you haven't please read the post below.  It's imperative we get the word out about the towels. Enjoy your weekend.  And if you are not shoveling snow, do enjoy a great sunny day. 

Awesome Easter gift idea!

Before you know it, Easter will be here.  It is definitely not that far away.  Tends to sneak up on you a bit.  And, if you're like us, your kids get an Easter Basket.  And, if you're like us, you really dread it b/c you don't want it to be filled with tons of candy.  So, why not offer them a different option this year.  I have just the thing to:


or


That's right!  One of these many fabulous towels!  We have many more choices and colors as well.  They come in pink, purple, blue and red.  Quite the variety of designs.  The quality & care that goes into these is excellent.   You will not be disappointed.  Can't you just imagine the surprise when your child finds a hooded towel  w/ a princess crown on it or a superhero in their basket that morning?  And as parents I think we'll feel great about having something other than tons of candy & trinkets.  Why not get something they can use years to come?  Something they'll enjoy night after night.  Wrapped up nice & cozy after their baths.  Shoot, my kids run around w/ their bath towels now that aren't nearly big enough if you know what I mean.  LOL.  These towels are huge!  30" X 54."

I know w/ all this snow in some states it is hard to think about summer but it will be here before you know it.  How about a great towel after a day at the pool or beach?  these towels are perfect for that!  So many options.  Gift giving, birthday gifts, friend gifts, grandkid gifts, Easter gifts, Christmas gifts(they keep), & too many other ideas to name.  Unique baby gift.  Just so many ideas.  You really can't go wrong w/ these.  In addition, you will be helping to save not 1, not 2 but 3 lives in the process!  Three lives.  That is no small feat and you can help.  I am still taking orders.  We only have till Monday.  THIS MONDAY!!!  Please help spread the word.  Here is the direct link:  Towel Fundraiser.  We have such a long way to go but I know nothing is impossible.  I've seen it been done before.  I know with all your help between ordering and spreading the word, we can really meet our goal and bring our kids home.  Thank you so much for your support and any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.  More details are in the link.  Including all the choices you have.  Have a wonderful weekend. 

Random pictures

Thought it was time for some random pictures off the files.  So, here goes.


Nik has become so proud of himself that he can do a handstand now.  His next trick has been trying to hop up on his feet from a laying down position w/ his leg bent.  Looks like he's going to crack his head open w/ that one.  And no, I don't think any of my kids ever have a matching set of pajamas.  I gave up on that one long ago.


Just thought this was too cute.  Kota sleeps w/ his tongue out.  And boy, those paws are getting huge!  Notice we tend to have darker furniture & blankets?  That is for obvious reasons in this house.  11 kids running around & two puppies equals dirt.


Nik thought he'd be cute and make a necklace out of his implants.  We were not happy.  We tell him all the time they are not toys but explaining that to an 8yo is not always that easy.  The other day, he completely twisted his coils all up.  They are totally messed up but still work.  I hate having kids w/ such expensive equipment on them.  


Alex is another one of ours that loves to swing.  This swingset has been with us for over 10 years.  Warren made it.  We moved it from the other house.  Gives him a chance to wind down sometimes.  FAS kids need lots & lots & lots of physical activity.  We've often said a giant hamster wheel would be awesome at this house.  They seem to have endless energy for sure.


Alex just sat here for the longest time like this.  I don't know what he was thinking but sure would have loved to have known.  It was one of those moments w/ him though that I didn't think I should ask.  Alex has a very, very traumatic past and well, many things go through his head I'm sure.  For all I know this time he could have just been staring at the dirt on the side of the pool.  who knows.  For Alex, we give him space sometimes.  With RAD & FAS kids you just need to know when it is.

More posts to come.  Easter gift ideas and RAD.  Alyona had the flu week before last.  She has a fever and feels bad again tonight.  No, not the flu again but not sure what's up with her.  I'll let you know how she is.  Got to go.  Warren is making homemade milkshakes this evening...yum! 

Busy, busy day

Okay, so yesterday I called to check on everyone's eye appointments.  You know, those annual checkups.  Only to find out that 2 of my kids hadn't been in 2.5 years!  I was stunned & kept asking her to check the date sure that I couldn't be that bad of a mom to forget such a thing.  Umm yep, I was.  They were able to actually make the appointment for 9 o'clock this morning.  Original plan was for me to take Bojan & Yana w/ all the "littles" in tow.  Well, didn't work out quite that way as they didn't get here in time for me to execute said plan.  So, Warren took them for eye appointments.  He was actually in & out at a reasonable time frame.  He dropped them off at school & went straight to work.

I had 4 "littles" here today & decided to do some crafts since it was a mud pit outside.  We also went shopping at Dollar General for some craft supplies.  And we all decided it was in our best interest to sneak chips in the cart.  LOL.  They were even pretty good considering the store had trouble w/ the debit card machine & it took me a good ten minutes to check out.  Came home & had lunch.  After lunch, craft time.  I decided on tissue paper flowers.  Okay, before you actually decide to do a craft, do it ahead of time to make sure it won't frustrate you or the kids.  I know this, I just didn't do it.  The painting project went better than the tissue paper flowers.  Oh well.  Learning experience for us all.  Funny, as the stupid level had 'easy' by it.  Well, yes easy it was but what about frustration level?  Shouldn't that have a rating?  We watched a movie & then everyone started to leave & my kids start to come home.  Speech therapist is Thursdays as well.  Also, found out my father in-law & sister in-law were stopping by for  little while after dinner. 

Tried to clean up but gave up.  What I didn't say earlier is I thought it would be "creative" to use flour on a cookie sheet to write letters & shapes and stuff.  Yes, it was fun for everyone but it looked like a bakery had been bombed when we were done.  I also had received a letter from the JCPS system stating that Bojan could be retained due to all his unexcused absences.  URGHH!!!  He had surgery & also had the flu this year.  They're all excused.  So, wrote out all the reasons & dates of why he was out.  In addition to that, received an email from USCIS that was really vague.  I didn't quite get it & forwarded to agency who agreed it was vague.  Of course, gave no time frame in said email.  Apparently, I have a different officer now.  The email said " On behalf of Officer XXXXXX I have reviewed your case & will process the case accordingly.  Once the process is complete you will be notified via USPS mail."  Okay, the great news is I think it means it is currently being processed as it said it's been reviewed.  I'm keeping fingers crossed here.  Anyone else have a little insight?  Anyone else gotten an email similar to this before?  If so, can you give me an idea of what it means?  I'd appreciate it.  As you can imagine, we're anxious to get approval in order to go to Bulgaria.  Remember, back in November/ December, our officer said all we needed were Irina's fingerprints.  Everything else in the application & homestudy was fine.  Maybe I'm reading too much into it, too worried, I don't know.  Agency said give it a week & I definitely will.  I trust them, they've done this plenty of times before.  Doesn't make me any less nervous.  Why couldn't email say "you're approved, limited time only, go to Bulgaria now."  -- you know, like a car bank commercial would.  LOL.  A date would be nice.  I'd love to have a date of when the application may be approved.  For new adoptive parents in the process, once again, waiting is the hardest part about this process.  It truly is.  Thankfully, I have a family to keep me busy.  Doesn't make it easier but at least keeps the mind busy. 

As if all that wasn't enough yesterday, Irina decided she wants to stay at school.  URGHH!!!  I'm trying to give her the flexibility to make decisions as she is 18.  though in FAS age, that is not near adult age.  At all.  Still, need to let her do this some times...make decisions.  She has, she is staying at school.  Classes and people are different this semester.  Plus, she has a real confidence booster.  Irina is taking ASL I.  She made a 100 on the test today.  Obviously, she knows a little ASL.  Where she is having trouble & I'll have to talk to the teacher, is we have some "family" signs.  Many things we learn are from either the ASL University site or Joy of Signing book or our Speech therapist or Interpreter.  Combine it all and not everyone is going to sign every single thing the same way.  Irina has already gotten no, you must do it this way speech.  I use Nik signs a lot as he gets it directly from the interpreter & teaches me when I ask him.  So, I will chat w/ the teacher & explain our situation.  Hopefully, she'll be accommodating.  You know, I've had this blog for well over a year & just realized I have the spell check option.  Can you say duh? 

More to say.  This was from yesterday but got to busy to post it.  Hope all is well w/ everyone.  Have quite a few more posts tonight.  At least two more.  However, need to go cook dinner.  Chicken gaucolmole fajitas & rice.  Max & Irina are having a friend over for a spend the night deal.  Warren & I were going to go out to dinner tonight as we haven't had a date night type thing in well, l-o-n-g time.  However, coupon is not good on Friday or Saturday.  So, Sunday it is.  We use restaurant.com for gift certs when they have their 80% off specials every few months.  Nothing like a $10 gift cert for .80.  It's 80% off their prices.  Anyhow, great deals and every bit helps.  I'm sure most of you use this site anyhow.  We use it for a local restaurant and Coldstone Creamery.  Yum.  Enjoy your weekend everyone!  Much more to come as far as posts go.  Just been very, very busy the last few days w/ a few issues going on.  Oh, Bojan & Yana's eyes were fine btw. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

For Oprah...

I saw an email on one of my yahoo groups with a link.  Thought the link was worth sharing.  It is about a grown orphan adopted from Korea trying to get Oprah to start a tv show about orphans.  Not just orphans overseas but in foster care too.  Awareness for sure.  Very interesting.  I hope she gets her dream.  Was interesting listening to her story & how she was interested in doing what she wants to do.  Thought I'd share.  Here it is:

For Oprah

Thoughtful Thursday

thought it was high time we did a Thoughtful Thursday post.  I do these to remind myself that I do have sweet kids.  It is very easy to forget that when you deal with the amount of FAS and RAD that we do on a daily basis.  Behavioral and mental health issues are rather tough at times.  Yet, there are many, many thoughtful things my kids do & this helps remind me of that.  So, let me get started.

I thought this was VERY thoughtful of Irina and Yana.  My neighbor & I have a birthday a day apart.  So, their daughter came to my house & my girls helped her make a homemade pumpkin pie. 


I thought it turned out gorgeous.  They made the crust homemade even!  Found it out of my Southern Living Cookbook.  I was proud for them helping their friend and working together to do something nice for someone.  I thought that was just really sweet of both Irina and Yana.


May decided to help Warren put up the fence.  Max did almost the entire thing while Warren was at work.  Max wanted to help out his dad and I thought that was very thoughtful of him.  

Well, that took care of the teens a bit.  I guess I'll start on the younger kids and see what I can think of in the past week.  We'll start with Bojan.  Bojan was sick so he didn't have too many opportunities to do much.  However, he was well enough to even help out Nik with homework.  Despite not feeling well, Bojan was thoughtful enough to think of his brother needing help.  Bojan also offered many times to help me cook but I gladly declined help from a kid w/ the flu.  LOL.  

Then we have Alyona who was also sick w/the flu last week.  But, once she was better, she too had her moments of being thoughtful.  She cleaned up her whole area even though she didn't make the mess.  The "littles" did it & Alyona didn't complain...not this time anyhow.  Thought it thoughtful of her to pick up someone else's mess w/ out being told.


Ahh, another one of my sous chefs.  Nik also likes to help in the kitchen and it was quite thoughtful of him to help me that day.  Nik has also been very sweet to the puppies lately which is wonderful.  He does have his moments.

We then have Alex who has had a rather rough week and another RAD cycle.  However, he did indeed step up and help out his younger brother when getting ready for school.  He said "I can help Nik mom, while you get the lunches."  It was a morning we were running behind.  Okay, so that is pretty much every morning but it was really behind that day. 

I truly believe there is good in every kid.  You have to look each day.  You'll find those little things are actually quite thoughtful things.  Have a wonderful day & write more later.  fundraiser post coming up next.  Please spread the word if you haven't.  We must get these kids home. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How do you know they're your kids??

We have been asked this question over and over again through the years.  Simply, how do you know these kids are meant to be yours?  No real grand answer for you there.  For me, I always knew by the pictures.  Always. I could look and tell.  A little background on some of the kids we've adopted thus far.  First of all, all our kids are special needs so it is a different referral process for sure.  We kind of work it backwards.  LOL.  Though many say never to look at a photolisting, ALL our kids were found via photolistings w/ the exception of Yana & Alex for whom we hosted.  Also, saw their photo first. 

See, in most these countries, you are not supposed to know information beforehand or see a picture.  Though we all know for a fact, it goes on all the time.  Most of the time, countries seem to be a little more lenient when it comes to photolisting special needs kids.  Though there really is no identifying information on any of the listings so half the time you don't even know what country they're from.  Anyhow, if you are new to adoption and looking at photolistings, just be careful.  Many times, they are not up to date.  In addition, multiple agencies can be listing the same child so multiple people inquiring.  In other words, ask a lot of questions please.  And don't let any agency say they can't give you any info w/out an application fee.  The good agencies will not require that.  Though most will require you to sign something saying you won't share info.  We've only paid money when we have committed to a child.  Last time we were sent quite a few profiles & pictures of kids before we had even committed to any child.  Of course, the agency knew us well too so knew we were serious.  Believe it or not, there are some "crazies" out there that just nag agencies but do not commit.  I used to do quite a bit more adoption advocacy work before.  I'd run into some interesting folks, that's for sure. 

Back to the original question of how do we know they're our kids.  I can tell by looking at them.  I don't know why or how but I can.  When I used to do more advocacy work, I'd see hundreds of pictures and profiles.  I remember one time seeing Alyona's but she had a hold by her name.  Meaning someone else was already committed to her.  HOwever, I could not get her out of my mind.  So, I looked at her picture every single day until the hold came off.  Doesn't happen all that often but I knew in my heart & w/ all my being, that that kid was mine!  And it was the most horrifying picture of her to boot.  But somehow, I knew.  Then there was Nik.  My response to the agency when they sent me his picture w/ a note attached was " I don't care what's wrong w/ him, he's MY kid!"  They had sent me a picture w/ the phrase I don't know what's wrong w/ him, will get that info shortly.  Max & Irina were also pictures.  In fact, we said yes to Max but then they said someone already decided to adopt him.  We chose another child though we really wanted Max.  A few days later they called to ask if we still wanted Max.  Rest is history.  Bojan was also discovered by a photo I saw but we were on our way to pick up Alex & Yana in May.  Said if his picture was still there when we got back, I'd look again,  It was.  I said I'd call if still there in August.  It was, I called & the rest is history.  Same type of scenario w/ the next set of children though I can't really say more than that.  So, you basically get the idea though of us seeing the kids and then just knowing in our hearts, they are our kids.  Wish I could explain it.  But it has happened w/ every single adoption thus far. 

Now, knowing them & feeling a connection once you adopt them is something totally different.  I think I was connected to all my kids right from the get go w/ the exception of Yana.  Being honest here so just listen for awhile.  Yana has multiple dx's, including RAD(reactive attachment disorder & yes I will have a post at some point this week).  She has severe "mother" issues from her past & tends to transfer that onto me.  Though over the years, she has started to see that maybe I'm not the enemy.  However, anything goes wrong, it is always mom's fault.  The neighbor's car could get stolen, & it would be my fault.  A sibling could fall & it would be my fault.  She gets in trouble, it's my fault.  This is relentless.  An uphill battle & we fight it often.  Yana is very close to Warren.  She was visited by her bio dad a few times at the orphanage.  So, she knew he cared whereas the mother did not visit a once.  Orphanage kids will pass on their feelings to the new parents.  It happens.  Not sure how often, but it does.  So, attachment to Yana has been difficult b/c it has always been a battle.  Gosh, hope that made sense.  Again, a lot of all this has to do w/ RAD and I will have a post on it.  Just been so busy this week. 

All in all, I know when my kids are mine.  I knew then & I know now.  I just know.  I've heard other adoptive parents say the same thing.  Wish I could explain it better.  I think it comes a little more natural to mothers than fathers.  Warren never feels they're "his" kids till we get them on the plane.  Well, hotel room.  LOL.  Then he's playing stupid games w/ them in the hotel room.   Umm, hon, we're not going to be tossing them like that when we get home.  They love it though.  Hey, you're stuck in a hotel or apartment w/ kids that can't speak to you, you get pretty creative.  Many will ask if they feel like ours.  I can tell you w/out a doubt, they do.  When we hosted Yana & Alex for just a week here, when we put them into the van, I literally fell to my knees in tears.  Felt like I had given my kids away.  They had been w/ me just a week.  Yet, they were mine, through & through.  I hadn't had that feeling again until Alex went missing.  Don't even ask.  He was found by search & rescue in our own yard.  Long story, has to do w/him getting grounded.  I'll tell it another day b/c now I can laugh about it.  However, when it was happening, that same feeling came over me that I had when we had to put Alex & Yana on the van to go back to Russia.  It was a tremendous about of hurt.  That's how you know, they're yours....you'd go through he** & high water to get them & do anything for them.  Anything.  That's how you know they're yours.  Right now, we're fighting to raise funds to get our kids home.  We're willing to drop everything & go thousands of miles across the ocean to meet them.  That's how I know they're mine.  We put up w/ the nightmare of paperwork & odd requests.  That's how I know they're mine.  Once you're home w/ the kids, you will still get asked that question.  I remember Max had been home a little over 2 or so weeks when I had to take him to the ER.  I knew something was wrong.  Doc said "well, you haven't had him that long, how can you tell?"  I said "because he's MY son & I do know him very well."   Nasty, nasty ear infection if I remember.  Usually, we wouldn't go to the ER for something like that but this was when we were new parents still in the learning phase w/ our son.  To this day, if Max gets sick w/ anything, his fevers are high...104/105 high.  So needless to say, I was worried back then.  Now, I don't even blink.  LOL. 

They're my kids.  I know they are and that's all that matters.  Love each & every one though right now it's 10:34 & Nik is trying my patience as he's the only one still up!  URGHH!!!  It's amazing the attachment you can form to a picture.  When we know, we put pics of the kids to be up around the house.  Mostly, to get our kids used to the idea.  Most will ask us to print some out for them to take to show their friends at school.  We feel confident when we commit to a child, that we will follow through & bring that child/children home.  Always been children except for Bojan who was adopted by himself.  Once you meet the kids, that's when it all takes an even deeper meaning.  The pictures become real. You start seeing the changes that are in your kids.  The ones you have had only a picture of, you as a mother, can see the detailed changes that took place over the months after seeing that picture.  That's how you know they're your kids too.  You cherish the changes. 

I know this post was kind of all over the place but there were 4 "littles" here today & it was a tad hectic.  Understatement there.  Realized today that I had not had Yana or Bojan's eyes checked in 2.5 years!  Who does that?  Every other person in this house has gone every year.  Neither kid mentioned anything to me.  Please all, please help spread the word on the fundraiser.  That will be another post.  We are really behind and would love to meet our goal.  I honestly thought w/ such a wonderful idea & product that more orders would have come in by now.  Praying it happens before next Monday.  Trying to spread the word everywhere.  Off to spread it some more again on Facebook.  Have a great evening & more to come.  Fundraiser is priority right now. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bonfire fun

This past weekend we were fortunate enough to attend a bonfire w/ friends of ours.  Amazing the people put in your path in life.  This family shares something special w/ us.  Two of her kids are from Stavropol, Russia.  In fact, two of their kids came over on the hosting event Yana and Alex were on.  Yes, they were all in the same orphanage.  Small world, huh?  We get together throughout the year.  This was the annual bonfire.  Many come to this event every year to burn leftover Christmas trees & other things.  Well, that & the wonderful food everyone brings to share.


Irina and Alyona trying to decide what to get.  I know you can't see it but w/ three tables of homemade food, it's a tough choice.  Great food for sure!
Some of the kids played in the living room.  Yes, there are swings in the living room.  Nik decided to use both swings at once.  He has snow boots on b/c it was muddy outside.  Figured those would be the best option.


Some of the kids decided to rock climb in the living room instead.  My kids love this idea.  Umm, no we are not installing those things here! 


Once done inside, the kids head outside towards all the animals. None of my kids are afraid of farm animals as they come here often enough.  They pet the chickens, emus, rabbits, goats, etc.  No fear.  It's awesome.  No Alyona, no pet chicken at home.


If bored w/ the animals, what better to warm up w/ on a cold day than a huge bonfire in the middle of the woods.  Was SO toasty warm and just great to sit & enjoy the view while eating dessert.


Alex, one of the many kids that are throwing sticks to feed the fire.  Ahh, Alex's element.  He did well and listened too.  There were quite a few men feeding the fire & making sure the younger kids stayed a certain distance.  



His smile says it all.  Again, my kids just love the outdoors and freedom of exploring nature.  I don't mind one bit that we don't have any of the latest & greatest tech toys.  I think this type of life is just more beneficial for my kids.  

Alyona was smittened by one of the kids there.  He grew up w/ Yana.  So, someone handcuffed them together as a joke.  She was thrilled to say the least.  She literally followed him around like a little puppy.  


An emu egg.  Forever learning here.  Beautiful egg and you can eat them.  We may need a few emus the way we go through eggs.  Shell was so hard compared to regular eggs.  Just unique.


What would a family outing be w/out some sort of injury?  Alyona was climbing the rock wall & fell on the edge of the wooden couch.  Ouch.  Fortunately, she fared pretty well.  Nothing an ice pack & a kiss can't cure.


Poor kid had the flu & then this.  Can you see that goose egg on her head?  She was more tired than anything at this point.  Unlike her sister Irina who doesn't feel pain, Alyona seems to act overly sensitive to pain.  Yes, even mosquito bites.  So, she was not too happy but then we showed her pie & other desserts. 

We had a wonderful time at the farm & bonfire.  Got home late that evening but still managed to get to church the next day.  Great evening w/ great friends.  Just relaxing and that's what we needed after such a long weekend.  Yana and Max were there but never got any pictures of them.  they were off w/ friends the whole time.  More to come.  Been a very busy day today and even busier tomorrow.  So, need to workout some & get paperwork done.  Enjoy your week everyone.  Calling USCIS tomorrow so wish me luck!  Please be nice to me Mr. Immigration man and approve our I-800A so we can go meet our kids.  That's all we want to do.  Got confirmation that Bulgaria has all they need from us except the approval.  That is all they're waiting on.  Got to go.  A RAD post will be forthcoming.  Lots to say on that one.  I think it's important to share what we've learned over the years & what works & doesn't work.  Even if just to let other RAD moms know they are not alone. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hurry, you're running out of time!!!

We are only one week away from the towel fundraiser ending.  Just one week!  That is not long at all.  We have such a long way to go to meet our goal.  So far, we have only sold 6 towels.  That's it.  We have had quite a few people help spread the word too.  I've done facebook, email, the blog, the church, and a local forum group here.  If anyone thinks of anything I've missed, please do let me know.  Easter is right around the corner folks.  Wouldn't one of these look wonderful in your child's Easter basket??


Just think of all the excitement when they look inside that basket?!  These are just such great gift ideas I can not even begin to use the right words to describe them.  They are just beautiful and the love that goes into these is incredible.  Their workmanship radiates care & a love for the orphans for sure.  There are just too many styles to choose from!


What kid wouldn't love their initial on their own bath towel?!  I can tell you from personal experience in THIS house that it has helped alleviate the problem of who left their bath towel on the floor.  Our Alex has already declared he wants one w/ a big A on it.  So, it is not limited to just little toddlers.  So much variety, so many options, so much love, how can you say no?  Please consider buying a towel to treasure & to help save 3 Bulgarian orphans from their orphanage life.  They have a family waiting here to love them.  They just need a way to get home.  Hope you can join us in this great adventure.  And, get a wonderful product in return!  Feel free to email me w/ more questions.  Towels are $25.  There is a write up in more detail a few posts back.  The title is Kicking it off!!!  Thanks so much & please feel free to help spread the word.  Our deadline for orders is January 31st.  Next Monday. 

Puppy updates & pictures

thought it was time for a puppy update.  And pictures of course.  Alaska and Kota are doing fantastic!  Kota is still fiesty and full of life.  He loves to play and is all puppy.  Alaska is still our sweetheart.  She is like holding a rag doll.  Both can be left for a few hours in the house.  We come home and no messes whatsoever.  They are trained now which is awesome.  No accidents in the house for awhile.  They can both sit.  Still working on come & stay.  It's a joke at this point.  LOL.  Working on it.  Very sweet pups that play hard. 


Aren't they just too cute for words???  They chew their chewies.  Thankfully, most other stuff they leave alone.  They love coming in the bathroom when we're in the shower.  Drives me nuts b/c they stand outside the bathroom door barking like crazy for you to let them in.  If you do, they want to lick the inside of the shower.  Drives everyone crazy in the house.  Funny, but nuts.  The puppies both LOVE potatoes.  I have bags of potatoes by the bookcase.  The puppies go over, help themselves and chew on potatoes.  

Puppies are both fenced in now which is wonderful.  Alaska is now too big to escape.  Wahoo!!!  Both have grown immensely.  Both get surgery next week for spay & neutering.  AFter that, they're set for a long time for vet visits.  We absolutely LOVE these dogs to pieces.  Oh, Alaska loves to get on the bed first thing in the morning & lay between Warren & I.  This would be okay if it weren't for her waking us up each & every time.  LOL.  


This is Kota about to go to sleep on his favorite spot... the staircase.  He likes to sleep there and on the recliner.  Just look at the size of those paws!  This is going to be one huge dog I believe.


Another one of Alaska.  They really & truly are members of this family.  They have already played a key role in healing.  We cherish everyday with our puppies and love them being a part of this family.  Small puppies no more.  Alaska is now 22 lbs. and Kota is 27 lbs.  

I'll sporadically update on our puppies.  For they are part of this family.  Helping our kids heal for sure.  Today, all kids & pups were up on the playground, together.  Having fun, enjoying life.  Love it.

Manic Monday

Well, lots of posts today as lots going on at Chaos Manor.  We recovered from our long weekend.  Kids are off school today & I don't have the "littles."  Hence, why I can write so many posts.  thought I'd catch a few things up.  Our upcoming week is relatively quiet for now.  Things going on. 

Bojan.  Bojan is going back to school after his bout w/the flu.  He is also getting his new leg tomorrow.  He is SO excited and definitely need to show you before & after pics.  It really is a wonder how he's walking on his current leg.  I also will be scheduling his surgery this week I think.  Trouble is, I really want to time it right for Bulgaria so it is a little tricky.  Most likely, his surgery will be April or May.  Full length cast this time which will really suck.

Max.  Max will be practicing driving this week more now that he has his permit.  Max also starts a new semester this week.  He is healthy.

Alex.  He's driving me insane but other than that, nothing going on w/ him this week.  Nothing medically thank goodness.

Nik.  Need to sort out insurance issues for Nik's speech therapy.  If they can't do it, we'll have to stop it which I really hate the thought of.  Time will tell.  Nik also needs his eyes checked soon.  I am making that appointment this week as well. 

We have decided since this upcoming weekend will be gorgeous, we're going to go hiking a bit.  Nothing far but just to get outside and enjoy it.  May even take a picnic lunch & surprise the kids w/ Wendy's Frosty's.  Their favorite & we got those free coupons for them leftover from Halloween.  LOL.  Can't wait to go though.  I'm ready for some fresh air. 

Max & Warren are building a bike rack for the back yard.  Maybe it will then stop looking like Sanford and Sons.  It's horrible looking.  Really is.  16 bikes.  yikes!  Our 9 and then a few others for the little kids when they come over and some spares as well.  After they're up, we're going to inventory what we need to fix and start one by one fixing them up. 

Need to call for the pups to have an appointment as well to be spayed & neutered.  No fun but needs to be done.  Need to send some photo books off to Serbia too.  I'm so far behind on a few things & really do need to catch up.  working on it slowly. 

Oh, we've decided to pull Irina from school & homeschool her the last two years of high school.  Have to do that this week as well.  Need to also make Nik his dentist appointment and check on the others. 

So, busy, manic Monday for sure.  Checking things off one by one.  Made homemade pizza for lunch which the kids love.  Me too.  We also had hot cocoa earlier as we cleaned up the yard a bit this morning.  Got to get moving and get some chores done still & appointments made.  We'll have surgeries for the puppies coming up.  We'll also have surgery for Bojan, Irina coming up as well.  maybe even Alyona but don't know yet.  It's hard making a decision when to do surgery when your travel is so up in the air.  Don't want to stick a sitter w/ a child after surgery.  Or a puppy after surgery for that matter.  Trying to plan all this stuff is like mapping out a strategic battle plan.  So, off to battle I go.  More going on but that's what I could think of for the week.  Fundraiser post, farm visit post & RAD post coming up.  For now, got to get going.

Our past weekend

Well, we wanted to take it easy a bit since some were still recovering from the flu. 


This was Alyona last week.  A rarity to catch her eyes open.  Poor thing.  Yes, her new room is still not done.  Any volunteers to paint?  LOL.  Alyona recovered from the flu after a few days.  Her and Bojan both had it and were prescribed Tamiflu.  Both really turned a corner this past Thursday & Friday.  So, by Saturday Warren and I deemed it safe to go out w/ them. They were fever free & doc said it was fine.  

Warren and I went to the grocery store and then we went to the Eddie Bauer store here.  For those who don't know, we only live about 15 minutes from the huge outlet stores that everyone flocks to.  They have buses that go there.  We avoid peak season.  Well, I had a gift certificate (rewards thing) and wanted to use it before it expired.  Wanted to get a hat for our upcoming trip.  Living in the south, the only time I seem to buy winter wear is for our adoption trips.  LOL.  No hat.  Oh well.  However, picked up a few t-shirts.  When you can get great quality for only $3, you do it.  They have 70% off racks at the outlet store.  And that is 70% off the outlet price folks.  Great deals.  So, we used the cert to get a few shirts & back packs.  Well, we pretty much covered the back packs ourselves.  Warren and I no longer have back packs.  Mine lasted for every single one of our adoptions as did Warren's.  However, our kids go through back packs like water.  Just this semester, Max has gone through 3 back packs!  He's working on his fourth.  Same w/ Bojan.  We buy them on sale whenever we can or at yardsales or anywhere cheap.  That left Warren & I w/ none to take w/ us.  Got two new ones for us.  


Since our children took our back packs, this is what we got.  They fold up into little bags.  VERY lightweight so hoping they'll be okay.  We love Eddie Bauer for the quality.  And deals.  We still have the SAME duffle bags we had when we got married.  Over 13 years ago.  They've been on numerous trips, numerous kids & still have them.  Recently added to our duffle bags last year from Eddie Bauer.  $12.  Huge bag.  Same w/ the sleeping bags. N-I-C-E.  Each have one.  Again, Eddie Bauer.  $7 a piece on sale.  Had them for years.  Reason I share this is b/c I know some others of you are cost conscience.  We find what works.  If you go to outlet stores, off season w/ no tourons (tourist morons), then you really can swoop up deals.  Though we do get most our stuff from yardsales, craigslist, etc., we also find new items deeply discounted.  It helps immensely.

After the store, we got to cooking for the bonfire that we were going to.  Warren made chili and I made a red velvet cake.  Kids were SO excited to be going.  Remember, due to the flu, we missed our Marbles Museum outing.  Had an awesome time at the farm and the bonfire.  More about that in another post.  Great to be around friends and just relax.  And, that's what we did there.  After a full week of craziness, we had a pleasant evening Saturday night.  Woke up Sunday & went to church.  That, was NOT so pleasant.  More on that later too.  Oh, before we got there Saturday, Alex, Bojan had earned 15 minutes w/ us when we got to the farm.  Yana had earned herself 30 minutes.  She claims she did not bite Alyona on purpose.  No, what she claims is near impossible.  You know, Alyona's arm magically landed in Yana's mouth...NOT!  You'd think at 15yo, this would not be a problem.  URGHH.  Been a challenging Sunday, that's for sure.  I'll tell more about that later too.  We're in the midst of a nasty RAD cycle as I call them right now.  Both my RADishes are acting up and trying to get it all under control.  Takes time.  Our RADishes have done a lot of healing but that doesn't mean it's gone.  That's the frustrating thing about having a child with RAD.  I will catch you up on the RAD action as I think it is important to talk about it.  Many adoptive families seem to suffer in silence when their child has RAD.  I think if we all share just a bit, we can all feel a little more united in helping our children.  For those who don't know, RAD stands for reactive attachment disorder.  It is one of the more scary dx's in my opinion for adoptive families.  Anyhow, didn't mean to sidetrack.  

Enjoy your week.  More to come.

Have a laugh-- Darwin Awards

 I'm not sure how many of you have heard of these but thought I'd share.  I copied & pasted them.  They crack me up each & every year.  I love the RV story.  I always have this fear of my photo being taken as one of those "people of Walmart" posts.  However, if I ever did something so stupid as to get a Darwin Award, I think I'd be best off to crawl into a cave.  You have to ask yourself what in the world were these people thinking.  Have a laugh.
 
 
Yes, it's that magical time of year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us.


Here is this year's glorious winner:

1. When his 38 caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James
Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.

And now, the honorable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and after a little shopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger..

The chef's claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies.. The deception wasn't
discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious headwounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit..

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer... $15. [Hmmmmmm. If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?]

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly.. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape...

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."

9.. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti , Michigan at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and
demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast...

The man, frustrated, walked away.
[*A 5-STAR STUPIDITY AWARD WINNER]

10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street by sucking on a hose, he got much more than he bargained for.. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline, but he plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

In the interest of bettering mankind, please share these with friends and family....unless of course one of these individuals by chance is a distant relative or long lost friend. In that case, be glad they are distant and hope they remain lost.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dead things & driving

Time for a little less seriousness.  I guess you can tell that w/ the last post, a lot to think about.  So, thought it was time for some pictures. 



My kids are always finding dead things.  Always.  Bojan was so proud to come home & show me his find.  We have no idea what kind of skull this is.  Too big for squirrel or rabbit.  Doesn't look like fox.  Who knows.  Was interesting though for sure.  I don't mind them bringing stuff home.  Feel it allows them to explore more and learn more.


Max, getting ready to drive the car for the first time.  We won't let the teens drive the big van for obvious reasons.  So, they practice in Warren's car.  It's a Chevy HHR.  


You notice Warren is the first to buckle up.  LOL.  He's trying to explain all the settings that need to be done when you first get in a car.


Max adjusting the mirrors.  The power mirrors are broken on his car so we have to adjust by hand.  It's a pain when you're the only driver.  But, the car runs, and everything else, knock on wood, is working.  The noise issue stopped recently so that was good.


And...he's off!  Yes, Max is driving.  Warren says he does great.  Just needs to give more distance when stopping.  As Warren soon found out down the road.  LOL.  Put it this way, when Max stopped, the car rocked back & forth.  



A few of the kids stayed out to watch him leave.  Too cute.  some of them were standing to the side.  Overall, Max did well.  Needs practice but feel confident he'll do fine as a driver in years to come.  He goes a little slow but hey, that's better than the alternative.  We're going to try to give him some drive time a little each week.  We still need to get Irina her permit as she failed the first time she took it.  She'll go this week.  She only missed it by one.  

Lots going on here as usual.  Chaos Manor is really full lately of activity.   Big decisions to make.  Lots school & house related.  I will post more later I'm sure but Warren needs the computer.  And, I need to get the kids ready for bed.  They don't have school tomorrow but I still have 3 other "littles."  So, 10 kids here tomorrow.  I look at it as practice.  

Oh, today at church we discussed David and Goliath.  Determination and hurdles and stones of ours.  Very interesting and very relative to the current adoption process.  We had  an emotional day today and some of the kids are acting up.   I'll get into it more later.  Suffice it to say, Yana is grounded.  Didn't help that she went to youth group & misinterpreted the message.  URGHH!!!  Hate it when my kids do that b/c it takes time to undo it.  Again, I'll explain more later.  Not the youth group, it's my kids and them not understanding due to how their FAS brain processes stuff.  Got to go.  Enjoy your evening.  Lots more to say of course.  We had a very, very busy weekend.  More thoughts, happenings and pictures to come.

What do you do....

when you find out your child is much more mentally challenged than you thought?  And, maybe going blind or severely visually impaired?  Okay, really going to be honest in this post so hope you don't take things the wrong way.  I think people who go into adoption need to know that down the road may be a different direction than you originally planned.

So, yesterday we had Alyona's IEP meeting.  Little background first.  Alyona's last IQ test was 54.  Now, I usually do not share this info and NONE of my kids know their IQ's let alone their sibling's IQ's.  However, I know for a fact her IQ is much lower than what is on that piece of paper.  That will become clear next year when they do retest her.  I guess since I am being honest, I should discuss some dx's.  Almost all that visit this blog know we have many children affected by FAS or FAE.  Alyona is definitely one of them.  She is FAS.  Also, failure to thrive, microcephaly, devel. delays, MMR, optic nerve hypoplasia, sensory integration disorder, radial articulation, and most likely a few other dx's I forgot about.  Oh, possible form of dwarfism but haven't confirmed that one yet.  Many times, I don't have every single dx, dx'd.  I know she has ADHD.  It's quite clear to me and her teacher.  We see it.  We have two other children with it & we know she has it.  However, we haven't taken her to see anyone for it as we know it will not change a thing to have another diagnosis for her.  In fact, I don't even think the school has every dx on her.  Reason I do this for my kids is b/c I want the schools to first see their potentials, NOT their dx's.  Sometimes though, that backfires when you are trying to get services for your kids.  For years, we never told the school about Irina or Max's FAS.  Partly, b/c they have no earthly idea what it is and partly b/c I wanted them to see my kids for who they are.  Not the things scribbled on paper. I sometimes think people see a dx and automatically forego any abilities the child may have to offer.  So, we just say a limited amount.  Again, just what we do, not everyone else.  Everyone has the right to educate their child the way they see fit. 

Back to topic.  Alyona had the IEP meeting Friday.  I really like her teacher.  We're on the same page, feel the same way, etc.  And,the vp KNOWS special education as it used to be his field for a long time.  We all understand Alyona is delayed.  However, we've always tried to push her.  To an extent.  Alyona will be 12yo in June.  She can not read.  And, unless a miracle upon miracles occurs between now and then, she will not be able to read by then either.  This greatly, greatly limits what she can do in life.  Really limits her.  In addition, she can not comprehend anything.  This puts her in a difficult position for school as well.  Yes, she is in self-contained so that helps.  Alyona is a few grades behind so she's in 4th grade.  What probably disturbed me more than hearing she couldn't really read (kind of already knew that since we work w/ her at home), is that she can't really see either.  Now, we know she has ONH(optic nerve hypoplasia).  She is regularly seen by an opthalmologist though she is overdue for another appointment.  Making it tomorrow.  We think her vision may be deteriorating.  This is not good.  She also has strabismus.  Well, her one eye is essentially blind.  It is not used at all.  Not a bit. So, she has one "good" eye even though that is not a very good eye.  The opthalmologist explained it to us in a different way.  If it were to be analogy, the doc said it would be like us looking through grains of sand.  That's how she sees w/ her one "good" eye.  Over the years, she has compensated very well.  Teacher now gives her the sheets at her desk.  She can't see the board.  Alyona sits in the very, very front.  Teacher is going to try to give her much larger print & see how it goes.  We'll also get recommendations obviously from the opthalmologist.  IF she were considered legally blind, she would qualify for many more options at school.  Last time Alyona was tested for vision last year, she did not qualify for that status.  I think it is 20/70 WITH corrected vision.  Her corrected vision is a little better than that w/ the one eye.  Remember, she's blind in the other eye but for dx on paper, you must count both eyes to be considered to be legally blind.  I think.  I'm still learning this too.  My kids have had vision issues in the past but pretty mild.  We have a feeling this may become a big issue for Alyona and her schooling.  What happens if she can't see what she's doing, her cognitive abilities are severely delayed, & the school can't provide resources b/c the dx is not on that piece of paper?  They'll provide services, just told she'd have more options if she had the official dx.  Time will tell & I'm sure her opthalmologist will let us know.  Just hard not knowing right now if it's deteriorating or not.  But going from being able to see the board to not, concerns me for sure. 

So, that's where we stand.  She has made progress.  Alyona can name all her letters and can sound them out.  Her math is a mess but I expect that as math is very hard for FAS children.  All my other children struggle greatly w/ abstract concepts in math for sure.  Anyhow, I just want to know how to help Alyona reach her fullest potential.  It's something Warren and I are talking more and more about lately as we try to figure out what to do w/ our eldest daughter and her schooling.  These are very, very tough decisions that will effect their future.  Want to make sure I think it out very thoroughly for sure.  But first I must make sure medically, nothing is impeding their learning.  I will keep you all posted.  Just thought I'd share.