Saturday, October 29, 2011

Temperature Regulation Issue??

For those who've been here awhile, you've heard me talk about Alex & how we think he has temperature regulating issues.  Why do we think that?


Well, this is part of why we think there may be a problem.  Alex has pajamas on under that fleece jacket & always wears this hat to stay warm...in the house!  Notice Nik has no shirt on, Yana is sleeveless and Alyona is in thin pj's.  She's always cold but that's just her.  Alex seems to be more serious.  

Now, Alex also can not take the heat at all.  A few weeks back I showed you how red he was after he had cooled down.  He can't handle the heat at all above 70 outside.  Umm, we live in NC people.  That's NOT good.  At first I thought maybe it was related to his horseshoe kidney.  Not sure.  Just know in my gut something is not right here.  Yet, can't get an appointment to save my life.  URGHH!!!  Alex goes to Raleigh Neurology & sees a developmental pediatrician.  Love her.  Been going there for years (since Irina & Max).  They gave me a referral for Carolina Endocrine.  Getting an appointment w/ these people is like getting the code for nuclear missiles.  Seriously.  I finally get someone and am then told they didn't get the medical records from neuro.  Neuro told me that wasn't true.  It is frustrating to say the least.  Alex needs to be seen, neuro gave me the referral & faxed the records but no one seems to want to give me an appointment.  Don't feel like going to Duke just due to distance.  Yet, after months now, we may have no choice.  I'm calling again Monday & if I again get no cooperation or appointment, we're moving onto someone else.  Think an electric blanket is in Alex's future.  Poor kid.  I know there is something up just trying to get him seen to figure it out.  Any suggestions on motivating people to give me an appointment w/out going crazy on them, let me know.  Just want to figure out what's going on w/ Alex.  So, in case you were wondering, we are no further ahead then we were a few months ago.  Waiting, and waiting on an appointment.

Updates of sorts

We're doing okay.  Tired but that is to be expected.  I think when you prepare to travel, you run around like a chicken with its head cut off until its time to leave.  Just the way it is b/c you don't want to forget anything.  Especially, the second trip.

Kids are doing well.  They were beyond disappointed with the date change of the trip.  They understand but still doesn't make it any easier on them as they want their brother & sisters home for sure.  Slowly, we are getting our house ready for the new kids.  Beds are all up, washed & ready for kids to sleep.  Girls' room is picked up.  Always is.  It's the boys' room of horrors I fear.  LOL  They'll clean it up and I swear 10 to 20 minutes later it looks like they did nothing.  I just don't get it.  In the past, I've even gone so far as to strip the entire room w/ nothing but a bed.  You know what happened?  The mess came to the room!  No kidding.  Things were pulled in from other rooms and plopped on the floor.  After speaking to a # of my friends, I have realized I am not the only parent w/ this type of boy problem.  And I have not noticed it getting better w/ age.  They cleaned their room up the day before yesterday.  I went in, all in its place, etc.  Clothes put away, clean bed clothes, beds made, etc.  Today, walked in this morning and looks like a tornado hit.  Just don't get it.  Going to try again.

Nothing much going on.  Taking the younger kids to a Halloween Trunk or Treat put on by the community.  Should be fun tonight.  Tomorrow, Saturday, soccer games in the cold, wet rain all morning long.  It's their last set of games.  After that, we're cleaning up a bit and probably watching a movie due to rainy weather.  Sunday is church day but I do believe we need a family day away somewhere.  So, if weather is okay, going to go on a family hike.  Have a picnic and just admire the peace for right now.  I think we all need that.  Many big, big changes coming in the next few weeks w/ the addition of the holiday season as well.  My kids need that slow down feeling for a little bit and we all can always use the fresh air and exercise.  Otherwise, just trying to not stress our upcoming trip.

Oh, had a comment on the virtual twin post.  I can assure you no rules are being broken.  We have a great agency and everyone makes sure i's are dotted & t's crossed. LOL.  I had never heard of a ten month rule.  I know of many other families who have adopted from this same country w/ children very close in age as well.  There is also no limit on family size.  Many large families have adopted from here and continue to do so.  With larger families, many who adopt do have children very close in age just by the # of kids they have.  I do know they are thinking of doing an age limit soon between how old parents can be to adopt a very young child.  But, not sure when or if that may go into effect.  Each country has their own set of rules in regards to adoption.  As with any country though, I do know there are exceptions in various cases.  Take China for example.  I know quite a few who adopted special needs and got waivers here & there for income requirements.  It truly varies on the situation of that particular family.  Also, many countries have waivers for special needs adoptions.  All adoptions are family have ever done have been categorized as special needs adoptions per each country's rules.  I know when we had 2 children, Russia could not understand why on earth we'd ever want to add two more.  Once you explain it, they do seem to understand.  Many countries the cultures are so different in thinking it takes time for them to understand these "crazy Americans."  I use that term b/c when I lived in Germany, we heard that in their culture a lot.  Anyhow, just want people to know whatever country you adopt from your agency will guide you in the rules of that country & if indeed there are exceptions for certain situations.  This is again why I tell folks who are potentially adopting to first and foremost find a very good agency that will guide you.  It is impossible to know all the rules of every country if you are adopting.  However, I guarantee you your agency will as it is their job.

Well, started this yesterday.  More to come in another post.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Sweet Surprise

Yesterday, the postman drove up in our driveway.  Did I ever tell you how much we like our delivery guy?  He really is just simply nice.  Always has a smile, always takes time to talk to the kids if they start talking to him, always drives right up to the house if there is a big package.  Just a pleasant man, Perry is.  Anyhow, yesterday we all noticed the car driving up.  Went to greet him & he had this big box. 

Everyone was anxiously awaiting to see what was in the box.  


 No, it couldn't be, could it?  Not this early in the season.  But wait...


It is!!!  It is a gingerbread house!  One that can not be eaten despite how tasty it looks.  Even Kota seem to want to try it.  


Alyona checking out the house.  I'm telling you, those candies on top look SO dog gone real.  We really wanted a taste.  


This was such a beautiful gingerbread house.  Some of the candies fell off (too many touching hands!) but we hot glued them back on and you can't even tell.  The great thing about this house is 1) I didn't have to make it & 2) it can be used year after year.  

And who is this great gift from?  My mom!  She surprised us with this wonderful gift for the upcoming holiday season.  We really enjoy it and can't wait to add it to our collection.  This year I will have a gingerbread house that will stand.  Though the homeschoolers and I will attempt yet again to make a gingerbread house.  Love the smell of them.  Guarantee you it won't look as good as this though.  LOL.  Thanks Mom for the sweet gift.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Virtual twins

As some of you may know, we have a few sets of virtual twins in this home.  Our ten kids are ages 4, 9, 9, 11, 11, 12, 12, 16, 16, & 18.  And no, we never planned 4 sets of virtual twins w/ an oldest and a youngest as well.  Just happen to work out that way.  Many in the adoption world will tell you you can't adopt out of birth order or not to adopt a child the same age.  Umm, we blew that theory out of the water a long time ago.  LOL.  Maybe it works for us as none of ours came here as very young children.  all ours were 3yo or above.  I like having "twins."  All our twin sets are a boy & a girl except for the 11yo's.  They are both boys.  I have enjoyed having my kids somewhat close in age as well.  They've always had someone to play with.  though you have these "sets," none are even close to being alike. 

Bojan and Alyona are the same age.  Both 12 yo.  No trick photography here.  And, keep in mind, Bojan is not real big for his age. When Alyona is next to other 12yo girls, the difference becomes quite clear just how small she really is.  A petite little thing.  Healthy, but just small.  She has many dx's.  One being failure to thrive.  Much of that was due to orphanage life in Russia.  But she has really grown in the last year.  We finally got her out of toddler sizes last year and she is steadily in a size 7/8.  Though small, Alyona is full of personality and spunk.  Even though her sibs tease her, they also look out for her as well.  Bojan and Alyon though both 12yo, are both very different.  Yet, both have huge personalities and "spunk."  For that reason, they are indeed virtual twins.  Those considering doing the "virtual twin"thing...do it.  Though so different, the love is the same.  And, ours look out for one another I've noticed. 

The Adjustment Period

Some in the adoption community know what I'm talking about and some don't.  Mostly, the new to adoption folks don't know.  However, it is something very real and something that needs to be dealt with.  I have been in the adoption community for over 12 years now.  I can safely and confidently say I've learned quite a bit along the way.  Don't think I'm bragging.  I'm not.  As most of what I've learned has been through trial and error.  I am going to be very honest in this post.  May rub some the wrong way but I still feel things need to be said.  So, here goes nothing.

Way back in the day, there really weren't any blogs when we started adopting.  You went to informational meetings and heard people who had adopted talk.  But, something was missing in those conversations.  Despite them living through it, they never talked about it.  The adjustment period.  No one.  Everything was all cake and roses.  And, let me tell you, that is just NOT TRUE!  It is not normal to have all cake & roses.  How can you?  It is a major, major shift in family life.  And I don't care if it's your first child or your last.  It is the same either way.  It is a huge undertaking.  Especially, if you are adopting older kids.  I think I have a say in this as we have done nothing but adopt older children.  In addition, this go around we will be adopting our oldest child ever.  He's 11 yo.

Back to the adjustment period.  When you go over to adopt children, some orphanages will prepare the children for adoption and some will not.  I've had it go both ways.  Let me tell you, you DO want your orphanage to prepare the kids.  Irina was the worst.  I don't say that lightly.  When did she know she was being adopted or when she was leaving her life forever?  When we walked out with her.  They never, ever told her what was happening.  Now, think about that for a moment, will you.  People, strangers who don't speak your language, come in and just take you away...forever.  It is a bit traumatic for them to understand.  We have not one single picture from that adoption trip of her smiling.  She laughs about it now at 18yo but trust me, none of us were laughing at that very mad, unruly, upset, scared 6yo little girl that wanted nothing whatsoever to do with us.  If you can convince your orphanage to prepare your child for adoption, I suggest you do so.  It is hard enough as it is. But, for them to be totally blind sided, it is hard.  And despite you having a first trip, the younger ones don't always remember you that much.  Even Nik & Alex didn't remember us quite so much.  I think after awhile they did.

Let's put things in perspective from the kids' point of view.  No matter how "great"  you think their new home is, it is not their home in their minds.  In their minds, you have uprooted them from the only 'home' they've ever known.  Despite it being an orphanage, it was a home.  Their friends in their groups were like their brother & sisters.  In fact, some of my kids called their friends brother/ sister.  Scared us at first for sure.  Many of these children have a very tight bond.  You, in their minds, are responsible for breaking that bond they had.  This in turn forms a little resentment in them towards you.  This is normal.  I assure you, it's normal.  All of it.  You must, must give them time to grieve. 

Grieve what, you ask?  The children that are adopted from orphanages have suffered a great loss.  They must grieve that loss.  They have lost all their friends, 'family', foods they love & were used to, smells, routines, clothing, & everything else that was familiar & comforting to them.  No matter how we feel about it, to them, it was their life & they have just lost it.  Does not matter how good the life or the family is that they are about to enter into.  What matters is what they left behind and you as an adoptive parent need to be aware of that & work with it, not against it.  Do not fight it.  Let  it happen.  The grief needs to happen.  They can not move forward w/ family life till grief takes place. 

Grieving comes in all shapes and forms.  Trust me on that one.  I've experienced it all at this house.  Irina was not happy w/ her life here in the beginning.  One day, she climbed in Warren's lap & literally sobbed, not cried, sobbed for 2 and a half hours straight.  From that point forward, she was okay.  We've had very angry grievers.  Those, are the worst btw.  For Yana, we made a critical mistake.  Haven't made it since, let  me tell you.  We allowed her to keep mementos from her orphanage.  B-I-G fat no-no!!!!  See, she would scream, rant rave and then go back to her room and take out the pictures from Russia.  Her former life & religious icons she brought back were comfort to her.  This needed to end.  Let me explain before I get the nastygrams sent to me.  See, she needed to let go of that life behind in Russia.  So, we took all the pictures out of her possession, all the religious icons (she was Russian Orthodox-- I grew up w/ this faith so know a bit about it), & any other memento she had.  Sure enough, that did the trick.  Why?  Because when she needed that comfort and to grieve, she now had to go to mom & dad versus those pictures.  It was now us she was talking to.  Made a big difference.  She got the items back but not for a few more months.  However, sorry we ever gave her the items back b/c she cut them up.  The pictures, she cut out the people.  These are pics that we do not have replacements for & could not get copies of.  Alyona was another griever that cried.  Did not take her long either.

This is another point to make as well.  Each child will grieve in their own time frame.  It is NOT the same for every child.  There is no magic #.  Some of ours grieved in the same week even if it was something simple.  Some grieved weeks out after being home.  Once they have that grieving period though, you can focus more on healing from there and adjusting better to American life.  Much different than orphanage life for sure.

When first home, there are some simple things we do to help w/ their adjustment period.  We have learned many of these along the way.  Thought I'd share.  When they first come home, they are typically overstimulated.  We do not tend to take them anywhere the first month home.  Not to Walmart, not to Target, not to parties, not to events, etc.  Trust me, they have a lifetime of that to experience that stuff.  And they will.  Give them a chance to settle down first.  They first and foremost have to know where home is & that they are there to stay.  They can not do this if constantly being shuffled around from here to there.  Just won't happen.  Keep them home.  This means school too.  Now, some kids adjust very quickly.  We had planned to keep Alyona home.  But, due to some of the techniques we have in place, she adjusted record fast time.  A week!  Yep, that's about how long it took her.  So, we let her go to school b/c she knew we were mom & dad, this was her home & she wasn't going anywhere.  Some kids will adjust quickly.  Others need that extra time. 

Keep stimulation down to a minimum while adjusting.  No outings if at all possible.  Also, they do not need a room that looks like a Toys R Us toy store.  Seriously.  They aren't used to much & when you give them too much, they have no idea what to do with it all.  Overstimulation is just not good for these kids. 

Get a routine in place immediately upon return home. My kids have chores the first day home.  They do.  It helps we've found.  Why?  It is something familiar to them.  You need to establish a basic routine.  They are used to this at the orphanage.  it doesn't have to be as rigid as the orphanage routine but something that they at least expect to know what is coming next.  It gives them that feeling of consistency.  And I mean simple chores folks.  Nothing harsh or crazy.  Shoot, some of mine were upset b/c I wouldn't let them mop the floors. 

Learn the cuss words first if you are adopting older kids.  Umm, don't even asked how we learned this tidbit of knowledge.  Let's just say American cartoons like Hey Arnold are NOT as innocent as they seem!  Max & Irina were cussing up a storm in Russian at the ripe old age of 4 & 6yo.  So, learn those first & nip it in the bud right away.

Speaking of language, I'll say something that I know I'll get comments on.  If you do not plan on being fluent in your home in both languages, then drop their native language altogether.  Trust me, the older ones just want to fit in anyhow.  For us, we speak to them in the native language for the first month along w/ English.  At the month mark, we completely drop the native language & do not answer them in it.  We have them answer us in English and teach them how.  This has been highly effective for them. All of them.  In addition, last time we did sign and they learned English at lightening speed. This next time, we will also do sign.  They must learn it anyways.  I know for a fact if you don't use a language, you lose it.  My fluency in German is gone. 


Bonding time.  Do it.  For younger kids, we cuddle, read together, I'm in the bathroom at bath time washing them.  3 & 4yo we bathe them.  Orphanage, they are used to doing this alone.  However, water is a great bonding tool.  Play with the letters, engage them.  Let them have bubble baths and play.  Let them show you the bubbles.  Remember, they've missed out on these simple pleasures as toddlers.  This gives them the chance to get some of that back.  Bonding is all about trust.  Older kids, we walk the dogs together, play board games, & yes, even cuddle.  They are never too old to cuddle on the sofa & watch a movie together.  You need to establish that closeness.  In summer, swimming together is a great bonding tool.  Fun pool games & trust just being in the water. 

Keep things simple.  The adjustment period will happen in its own time.  It will.  The first month home is typically very rough for everyone involved.  You are jet lagged, you're beyond exhausted, the kids are sometimes tantruming, kids at home are adjusting to new sibs, everything has changed.  PI (post institutionalized) children have many, many issues to work out.  The older, typically the more issues they may have.  It takes time folks.  There will be rough days that you feel like giving up.  That is completely normal.  Let people know.  No reason to hide it at all.  I'm here to say these things happen.  Adjustments happen.  However, if you have others you can rely on, it helps.  Also, if you know what to expect, it helps.  Talk to someone who has done this before.  Ask questions. 

I'll be honest.  Our first two children we had no idea what in the world was going on.  Why?  Because we were fed cake & roses!  No one told us what they'd be doing.  No one told us of possible night terrors or remnants of orphanage life & how it would effect the kids.  Now, compare that with our last 2 kids home who adjusted remarkably fast.  Why?  Because we knew what to expect, we had our things in order, we'd been there before, and we were okay with the process of adjustment.  We too know this go around there will most likely be issues.  And, that is okay.  We will deal with whatever comes our way and move forward.  I'm not saying this is easy folks.  Far from it.  I am saying this b/c I think everyone out there should understand the adjustment periods.  As of late, I've seen many blogs out there returning from various countries in EE and having many issues.  It appears like some may have been given cake & roses like us instead of the truth of adjustment periods and how to get through them and how to make them successful for the children.  I was pretty honest in this post and do hope I didn't offend.  This is an area that everyone has an opinion on and this is just my opinion based on my kids and my experiences.  That and listening to hundreds of adjustment stories over the years.  BTW, after a few months you'll be saying how great it all is.  Well, until your new child gets into some sibling squabble over some stupid toy.  LOL.  That my friends is a welcome sign though.  Why?  It is normal childhood behaviors.  Good luck on all the adjustment periods.  And remember, these are my opinions.  Yours may be completely different.  Would love to hear what others do to help with adjustments and bonding. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TRAVEL POSTPONED!!!

I don't even know how to write this at the moment as my head is still spinning from the news.  We were to fly out Nov. 1st and return the 11th.  That date has now been postponed. This is now the 4th set of travel dates I've received.  We are now leaving the 7th and returning the 18th.  Yes, it is now longer.  Yes, it will now cost much, much more.  Changing airline tickets and waiting for a new quote soon.  I know you have to go with the flow but I was just getting SO excited.  The kids were counting down the days.  Literally, the first thing out of Nik's mouth every morning for the past week is how many more days till we leave.  He told me he was going to cry.  Break....my.....heart.  Alex was really, really upset.  The older kids don't even know yet as they're at school. 

I'm trying to be reasonable but when you are just 6 days out from leaving, everything arranged and then wham!  I even was getting the suitcases out finally.  I know this is just par for the course & to go with the flow.  However, it really is easier said than done.  I know the difference is only a week.  But I had it all arranged.  Drivers, sitter, dog stuff, trash to the dump person, medical appointments and everything.  Now, all is to be rescheduled.  ALL of it.  That is not an easy task.  I'm being truthful here b/c those in a similar situation need to know what to expect.  Things get postponed for all kinds of reasons.  There is nothing wrong whatsoever w/ the adoption or court decree.  That is wonderful to hear.  But having to change the 20 appointments I had made for the week we got home is a bit much.  And no, I"m not exaggerating on that #.  So, my work begins.  There is no homeschool today.  Teacher workday for sure.  I know this all shall pass. I do know that.  Just hard b/c I really & truly was ready to go and bring the kids home next week. 

I'm not sad.  I know this will happen.  I know in the long run this makes me a better person.  I have to find the silver lining in all this.  Great news is, now I can eat all the candy I want on Halloween and not be worried about being sick on the plane.  And, we get to see the kids Upwards Awards Ceremony for soccer.  Hey, those two items are definitely a silver lining.  And, I may, may, allow my one teen daughter to go on a date before we go now.  Not even posting about all that yet.  Plus, much of my kids' social lives I will leave private out of respect for them.  So, yes, there are some great things we'll be able to see & do.  And, I know of others who will be in Bulgaria the same time we are this go around so maybe we can meet up!  Yes, there is good news in the bad news.  Just when you are this close to bringing your kids home, it really throws you for a loop.  Promise, that is the last of the whining I'll do.  Onto other things.  Like changing 20 appointments.  Enjoy your week.  I am just happy the kids are ours and that we do get to bring them home.  And, they will be home for Thanksgiving.  How can I even get disappointed when I think about that?   That in itself is a very happy thought... all 12 of us at the dining room table for Thanksgiving.  Love it.

Alex's favorites

Alex has quite the personality.  He's our athletic one for sure.  There isn't a time when you don't see Alex either throwing or kicking a ball.  Actually, it is one of his compulsions.  However, we've used that compulsion for the good and so playing ball it is.  He lives for his soccer days now.  He can't wait for his brother to be home and teach him some "skills" as Alex calls it.  We were told while on our first trip that his brother competed in soccer tournaments in Sophia.  His orphanage is over 6 hours away from the capital city so we can only assume he is a very, very good little soccer player.  We actually can't wait to see this ourselves as we know how much Alex loves the game, I can only imagine how much his new brother will love the game.  The two of them will be a pair for sure.  I see a lot of similarities in their personalities.  It will be interesting to watch the bonding.  Alex's new brother even has the same taste in clothing as Alex!  URGHH!!!  Drives me crazy w/ one of them.  Yet, can't wait either.

I sit here wondering what his new favorite things will be.  Anything like Alex?  Only time will tell.  We know Alex is crazy for anything that involves kicking or throwing a ball. 


We also know Alex has other favorites.  Alex in his snuggie.  Remember last year when all my kids wanted Snuggies for Christmas?  Well, they still use them.  Love the mess on the stairs right?  Trying to get out clothes for the three kiddos across the ocean.  House is a living billboard for a mess.   Yes, it is in that pre-travel mess mode and I don't care. 


At only .18 a package, I love that Alex LOVES these things.  This is his favorite flavor...creamy chicken.  I buy a case at at time for my kids.  Their cheap, not that great for you but they love them.  Noodles. 


Alex was rather happy he bought these.  Well, we bought them.  He actually asked me to take a picture of him w/ the Ramen Noodles.  I said Alex, that's ridiculous.  He just smiled.  Geez, if only as adults something as simple as noodles made us happy like that kid feeling.  Oh wait, it's chocolate for me.  LOL.  

Alex has a few favorites.  Those three things though, the ball, ramen noodles, and the snuggie are by far his top three.  I look at him & hope he doesn't grow out of any of these any time soon.  I know at some point, one of those favorites will be replaced by girls so I best enjoy this now, right?

Busy day today a bit.  Running around.  School has gone nowhere fast.  Did a bunch yesterday & was proud of us.  Today, we are slacking.  They have science & cooking clubs tonight.  They love those.  And, they are learning so much from the experience.   More going on but focus has to be on travel & preparing.  Will try to write more later.  Have started a few posts but haven't finished them all yet.  My list is getting done which is great.  Got to go.  Much more to come.  Adjustment post, apple pie post, getting ready post, etc.  Off to teach some history.  On colonial times now.  Speech therapist will be here soon too.  So far, we have 20 appointments scheduled for that first week home.  I think.  Yet, still can't get an endocrine appointment for Alex..URGHH!!!  Stay tuned as the countdown has definitely begun.  It's the final countdown.  We are at 6 days! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Double trouble

Couldn't resist a cute picture.  Okay, so I think it's cute. 


When we first got Digby, Kota and him could not be in the same room whatsoever.  It was awful.  In fact, we thought we'd have to give Digby back.  But, after a week, they came to realize they are both here to stay.  Now, they play with each other every single morning.  As you can see, they sit next to each other on the couch.  The bond is there.  It is really nice to see.  Both have given up their quest to be the alpha dog.  Though, Digby does still have reign over the space under the dining room table.  No regrets adding this muttley crew to our family.  It really has been wonderful having them around.  Well, maybe not the chewing part.  But the cuddling, playing, being there part...that's what I love.  And is it just me or does Kota seem like he's growing?  Wanted to share a picture of these two cuties together.  Our dose of double trouble.  Gee, 5 posts in one day.  You'd think I had time on my hands.  Not really.  Going to do a post on adjustment period when you get home with kids and what it is like. 

Need I say more???

The other day I needed a few items.  This was not on the list:


Yes, I was a sucker for cuteness that day.  This shirt almost made me cry.  So many thoughts when I pass clothes for "little bit" and the sibs.  Something just wakes up inside saying "yes, they really are coming home!"  There is an end in sight.  This shirt is just a piece of that.  Plus, we truly need some shirts for her.  Alyona is in a 7/8 so we had no 3T's.  Found a few at consignment shop and yard sales but still needed just a few more.  So, walked past this and said "she sure is!"  She is definitely a gift.  I know we're there in November but close enough to wear a Christmas shirt. Hey, I could careless about fashion rules or which ones I'm breaking.  I just can't wait to see my gift all wrapped up in clothes that belong to her and no one else.  To see her in something hand picked by me.  Okay, so this is a little lot tackier than the other stuff I bought, it still has that same meaning.  She is my daughter and I can buy her clothes.  Something only for her from me & daddy.  I remember in past adoptions the joy my girls got going through their suitcases in the hotel room.  For the first time ever, they realize they had clothes of their own.  Not sure if "little bit" will have this reaction or not.  She is the youngest girl we've ever adopted.  Will be interesting if she acts like her sisters trying on clothes.  Just another thing I can't wait to tell you about.  Count down has begun!

Max's makings

Max is up to chopping up wood again and things.  He loves to make things. 


Max was working away w/ scrap wood the other day.  Gee, if we found an old pile of wood there is no telling what he'd create.  This time, he used his iron man pull up bar so much that it broke.  So, he measured & decided to create his own replacement for it. 


This is a side view of it.  You know what?  It actually worked!  We just won't let him use it b/c it will scratch up the door.  And the fact that he could get splinters.  Know he wants a new one but told him we must first get his sibs home.  In addition, Christmas is around the corner.  But, I did think it was very creative of him to come up w/ this.  If you saw the original & then saw this, you'd know that this is really a great copy.  Here's a link: iron gym
I just thought it was really clever of Max to create it.  We still have his bench in the front yard too.  See saw in the back yard.  Max's makings are all over this house.  Do think he has great potential as an architect or someone who does drafting.  Max has always had a mechanical mind.  Comes in handy around here for sure.  Such talent.  Now, if you could only get him to clean up his room. 

Taxidermy & trumpets

Cool title, huh?  Well, Alex has decided to play taxidermist.  How?


Came in & saw he tacked these animals up on the wall.  Have no unearthly idea why.  Ever wonder why we have so many holes in our walls...wonder no more.


Yes, Bojan has stuck with the trumpet.  He's practicing here.  This is after I told him to lift the trumpet up.  It is a good fit.  He's missing his right ring finger and then has many digits that are shortened on top of that.  Plays just fine without all those fingers.  At first we weren't sure if it would work.  He found a way though.


Nik is seeing where the sound comes from.  Irina is watching her brother practice.  You know, while giving rude comments of how it sounds.  He is just learning you realize.  He has that dying cat sound currently.  I recognized one song & almost recognized the other.  


Warren trying to teach Bojan a few notes.  A bit rusty but you could definitely tell he's played before.  I know I could never remember my flute or piccolo notes.  Been way too long.  Look at Bojan's face watching his dad play.  

Glad Bojan is keeping up with the trumpet.  Hope he continues.  Currently, we have no other musicians in this family.  No one else is interested except Bojan. To each his own we say.  That's why I guess I'm happy he's still playing & more than that, he's enjoying it. 

Manic Monday

Well, it definitely is a manic Monday.  Nerves are sinking in a bit but not too badly.  Knowing I can only do one thing at a time helps.  Today, we only had a "little" for a half a day so now we're moving on some other things.  Getting ready to do history in a minute.  No fun projects or crafts or any of that stuff today to the sheer disappointment of my kids.  LOL.  I told them it can't be super fun everyday. 

I've made many of the medical appointments.  So far the new kids have appointments w/ the dentist in January.  The week we get back is going to be killer w/ appointments though.  Oy!  Ophthalmologist for our 9yo girl is that Monday.  Tuesday, 4 of my kids go to the dentist (not the new ones..theirs are in January). 2 of the new kids have eye appointments w/ eye doc.  2 of the  new kids WILL have neurology.  Umm yes, still working on that w/ them.  Not getting marks for customer service, that's for sure.  3 of the new kids go to the pediatric doc. 

Trying to get the list chopped away bit by bit.   All the kids here are really ready for us to leave & bring them home.  I'm still kind of shocked at that.  Really, I am.  I expected more jealous or some type of sibling rivalry type stuff.  We have gotten none of that.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy about it.  Just,is it normal?  LOL.  Do realize, these immense feelings of joy & love for their future siblings will quickly dissipate after that first sibling argument.  I've seen it time and time again.  Yes, they love each other here but let's get real...they are TRUE brothers & sisters and will argue from time to time. 

We are 8 days out till departure.  That still is hard to wrap my head around.  In less than 10 days, my kids across the ocean will be in my arms.  They will sleep for the first time with their family.  Not in a room at the orphanage.  Someone will kiss them & hug them good night.  No, it won't be in our home just yet, but it will be by mom & dad saying good night like a child deserves.  Can barely wait.  For now, need to get busy on that list again.  We said we'd wash the van today(cleaned it out yesterday).  Umm, we lied.  Not getting washed today.  Just too beat.  Tomorrow it is actually supposed to be a bit warmer so will wash it then.  See, if we didn't have someone else using our car, I guarantee you that thing probably wouldn't see a rag & brush till spring.  LOL.  I know, horrible.  But really, washing the van is always an after thought.  Now, cleaning it out every time we get gas, yes.  Washing it, no.

Fortunately, we have a light week this week.  Well, other then getting everything ready to go.  And that my friends is indeed a lot to do.  We do still have soccer practices but thankfully, cross country is over.  Gives us more time in the afternoon.  So glad Yana had a good season and really enjoyed herself.  She's going to try out for track in the spring.  There's more home meets for that so can't wait to go see her run.  Posts will most likely be short this week.  Just too much happening at home for me to write a long time.  Priority is getting the children home.  A few more posts to come. Pictures too for a change.  I know, tired of hearing me talk for sure. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thank you is not enough

When you are at this stage of the adoption process (about to bring your kids home), your mind is racing in so many different directions, you truly can't think straight.  Hey, I'm being honest & shooting from the hip here so watch out.  Yet, there is one thing for sure, we would NOT be where we are today w/ out the support from so many of you.  The financial, emotional, spiritual, & friends' support have been incredible during this entire journey.  Words could not even begin to describe it.  Few know our entire story.  That is yet to be told.  Our journey has taken many twists and turns during the process.  However, I think it really has taught us many, many things.  Perseverance, trust, faith, strength, endurance, and love come to mind.  So many people in our path to thank.  And I know, I have not thanked them all. 

So many blessings along this journey.  Prayers & support coming during the difficult times meant a lot.  Meant people really cared about us and our children.  My friend giving us their child's old bed since I inadvertently got rid of ours (don't even know how!).  A farmer giving my kids little pumpkins to decorate.  2 garbage bags full of delicious bread.  A donation today at church that is now enough to cover for the extra suitcases so that we may take the orphanage donations.  Drivers to the airport and back.  Extra clothes for our kids this year.  Donations here and there adding up.  Phone calls to see how we're doing and what we need.  One of Bojan's friends mom, wrote us two cards this past week.  Congratulations and asking if they could help.  So many things we have been given that we are overwhelmingly thankful for.  A gift card to Walmart over the summer.  A local church taking the time to paint the entire girls room  & prep it for the new girls.  That same church donating all the girls' new bedding.  Someone giving me a coupon on the way out the door of Great Clips to use while we went in. Friends taking my kids out.  Friends calling up my kids to say Happy Birthday to them.  Nik got calls this year from my daughter's teenage friends. The joy so many have brought us just by saying they care.  Just by asking what they can do to help to bring these three kids home.  Amazing things.  Thank you is not enough.  People showing love to our family in so many ways.  It's incredible to be a part of.  It really is.  These kids mean the world to us.  Just as our other seven do.  We knew that from day 1.  The first day we saw the video of the sibs, we knew.  They were ours.  No doubt in our minds.  Same with Little Bit.  We just knew.  I can not wait to share them with all of you.  Who they really are and wanting you to see what your support has been for all this time.  Why they needed us and why we wanted them.  With out  all this support from people, we could have never made this family possible.  That is just a fact.  That is why thank you is just not enough.  How do you say thank you for your family?  So many people played a part in this adoption.  It truly took a village to get them home.  I just wanted to say thank you for all you have done, donated, & contributed to the adoption of the three newest members of the Boyd Bunch.  It means more to us than we could ever express into words.  We promise to pay it forward if it is even possible. For you have given us our family.  I don't know how to even pay that forward b/c it was such an incredible gift.  One we will treasure the rest of our lives.  So, even if you think you did something little, I guarantee you, it was not.  Everything meant something.  Every little step was part of a bigger picture.  I know we are not done yet with this journey.  Close, but not yet.  Knowing we have such wonderful people behind us though, makes it that much easier.  You have allowed us such a peace of mind during the entire adoption process.  Knowing we are cared & supported for means the world to us.  It really does.  Thank you once more.  This support does not go unnoticed. 

How are we holding up?

Ahh, the question being asked nowadays.  I think we're handling all the changes that have been thrown our way fairly well.  We are trying to stay well grounded and not lose our minds in this process.   My list is slowly getting chopped down.  Of course, things are being added to it every single day.  I'm up to 75 items now and say we've gotten about 30 of those done.  Not bad for just getting started.  We have the main things covered...plane tickets, sitter, & airport drivers.  Those are critical for sure.  Because without that, this whole journey would not happen.  Of course, there are many, many items on the list that are just as important.  Making doc appointments for immediate return is critical, especially for our son who is currently on medication over there.  I asked them to give me a two month supply if they could and they will which is  a relief.  You  all know when you get home you must take them to various doc appointments.  And, some of those I've made & some will not return my calls yet.  I figured 2 months of meds that must be taken everyday is enough to get me an appt. for him.  Appointment will determine if he'll still needs those meds or be weaned off them.  So, we have many things to think about for sure.  Some big, some not so big.

We haven't even yet thought of Christmas.  Though for now, focus is just getting the kids home, nothing more.  Making sure Irina is on track w/ the job situation.  Making sure Max's IEP is up to date and being followed.  Making sure kids' activities are where they should be.  We got Bojan and Nik all fixed up w/ equipment recently so they should be fine while we're gone.  Also, ordered all meds so that should also be a-okay.  We're chiseling away at things to do.

For now, I'm okay.  The nerves are kicking in though.  The reality of it all is starting to sink in.  The kids are ours.  Part of our family forever.  Kids are already sitting in new assigned seats in the van.  Starting the assigned seats at the dinner table tomorrow.  We are getting there.  When I say ten out loud it just seems like this giant number.  I know it's not.  It's really not.  Just 3 more than we have.  Yet, some times, I still get nervous.  We've been down this road before so know exactly what to expect.  Yet, we also know each child is different and will react differently to a new family.  Just the way it is.  I'm taking everything with a grain of salt right now.  Trying not to sweat the small stuff.  Hard when you don't want to forget a single thing. 

Trying to think of everything for the trip.  I want each kid to have their own brush.  No way they're using mine!  Now, that may seem mean BUT until you get kids home, you have no idea what they may have from the orphanage.  And yes folks, that can include lice & scabies.  How do I know?  Well, Nik came home with scabies.  So, it does indeed happen.  You don't take chances.  Tooth brushes are needed.  Still don't know the sibs shoe sizes.  Little things like that for the trip I need to seriously start thinking about.  You don't want to miss a thing.  Hard when your mind is going a thousand different directions.  We would like to pack a little food but know our space is extremely limited.  See,  we'll be staying in an apartment the whole time versus a hotel due to the # of kids we're adopting.  We actually prefer to stay in apartments during our adoption trips.  You're able to cook for yourself more which saves on costs big time.  And, kids have more space.  No idea yet what apartment we're staying in.  Wish I did b/c then we could maybe organize outings and such.  That is easier to do from here before you have kids hanging all over you.  LOL.  Again, just thinking of the little things so we don't forget anything.  Got to get some sleep in soon.  More to come.