Friday, March 9, 2012

Questions answered... part 1

Starting to answer some of the questions I'm getting.  Feel free to ask away.

1.  How much does it typically cost to feed your family say lunch at McDonald's or somewhere similar?  

We usually try to stay away from Mickey D's.  But when you have to, we go to Wendy's.  I know, not that much better.  Usually, it's around $50 and that's b/c we never get drinks.  We take things to go.  Nowadays, if we want to go to a casual dining restaurant, it will cost us roughly $100.  Hence, why we've only gone out one time to casual dining since home.  That was to Logan's.  Kind of like an Applebees. That's why everyone jumps up and down if we ever get restaurant gift cards.  LOL. 

2.  If you were going to adopt again, would you go back to one of the countries you have been to before or would you do something different?  

Warren is rolling over on this question I bet.  If (big IF) we ever were to do this again, I'd be open to new experiences.  Whether it would be from a disruption or something of that nature.  Our experiences w/ various needs are quite diverse especially when it comes to mental health issues.  I know we would not go back to Russia.  Too much red tape & always in a constant state of change.  Serbia, you can only adopt one at a time.  If you've noticed, we tend to adopt in pairs.  LOL.  I would absolutely LOVE to go back to Bulgaria and adopt a little one.  Never had he opportunity to adopt a little one before.  Youngest we ever adopted was 3yo.  My dream is to adopt a 2yo.  For now though, think we'll have to wait for grand kids.  Both of us loved Bulgaria.  Country, process and people.  Wonderful travel.   I've learned over the years to never say never.  So, I will not say we'll never ever do this again. 

3.  Did you go looking for children in those specific countries or did the children just find you? 

A little of both.  Our first two, we just saw them on a hosting program and went w/ it.  Second two, we hosted Yana and Alex from Russia.  Serbia, I saw Bojan on a photo listing via an agency.  Called when I got back b/c didn't even know what country he was from.  Just had this idea he was to be here, despite just arriving home from Russia.  With Alyona and Nik, saw their pictures & they happened to be from Russia.  Now, with these last 3, I wanted a country w/out such a lengthy stay b/c it is very hard & expensive to leave our kids behind while we travel.  Bulgaria just seemed like a good fit for us & then we started looking at the kids available.  

4.  Why, why, why does it take so long when there are millions of orphans in the world?

This is what everyone asks when first adopting.  It does seem ridiculous to take so long.  Seems like an eternity while waiting.  For Max and Irina from start to finish it was 6 months.  Yana and Alex from start to finish was 10 months & that is only b/c she had forgotten to be listed on the data base.  URGHH!!!  Bojan would have been 4 months start to finish but we requested it be delayed as we were just home.  So, it took 6 months.  Alyona and Nik were 7 months start to finish I believe.  These last three were about 2 years almost but that was due to some VERY unexpected roadblocks.  Should have been much less than that.

Reason it takes so long is b/c many countries change the rules mid-process.  In addition, new rules/ documents are added every year it seems.  Difference between our first dossier for Russia and our last was night and day.  Insanely different.  Other countries do this to "protect" the children.  I do understand their reasoning but having two different documents saying the same bloody thing is well, a bit bureaucratic.  I think it is awesome to check out the parents.  But I also think a lot of these countries need to think this waiting time between trips.  It's very hard on the kids.  The reason there are many, many countries that have two trips now is b/c years and years ago, some folks would change their mind.  Still happens.  However, having that second trip allows people to really think it through.  It is crazy though the amount of time it takes for an adoption in some countries nowadays.  Some give up. I also think it shows just how dedicated the parents are on following through w/ an adoption when they wait so long. 

5.  You mentioned once that Max's DL was taken away from him.  What is happening w/ it now?  Any chance to get it back?

It's still gone.  We did not take it away.  The DMV did.  In NC, if you fail a subject, you automatically lose your license or permit.  This was his permit.  Now, the trouble was, it was in math.  He has a very, very well documented learning disability in math.  However, in this county, you must fail the subject twice disability or not in order to get an alternative course.  Stupid, really is. I think it should be a case by case basis.  But, it's not.  He passed last semester.  However, it was barely and I personally feel it was given to him though the school will deny that.   So, he should get it back at the end of this year which would help me out immensely.  I trust Max driving.  My daughters...not so much.  LOL.  I feel bad about the whole thing as he did fine in everything else.  Why should a disability in math get in the way of getting your permit.  Really does nothing for the student.  Trust me. 

6.  What home school program do you use?  Also, where did you get the loom kits?

We don't really use a program to be honest.  I tried that once years ago and it did not work out.  Tried Life Pac.  Didn't like it.  My kids are all over the map and on so many different levels.  So, I prefer unit studies.  Like now, we're doing one on amphibians.  Next, we'll learn about the desert.  Then, spring and earth day.  My kids are extremely visual so they like doing lap books.  Anything to reinforce what they learned.  For spring, we'll be planting gardens, naming parts of flowers, etc.  So, for history, we backed it up w/ the America series documentaries on netflix.  Math, I order workbooks.  4 older ones have been doing a multiplication lap book and surprisingly learning it.  that's all Alex wanted to be able to do this year...multiplication and it looks like he'll be able to.  I did writing (1st grade) w/ Alyona at the beginning of the year but it was like torture for her.  Many of my kids w/ FASD have multiple processing issues so learning is very difficult for them.  We do what works.  And, it is not the same for each child.  My kids are very hands on type of learners.  They were getting very lost in the shuffle in traditional school.  I am going at their pace.  Remember, all my kids have memory issues so it is tough.  You have to repeat something at least 50 times for them to get it.  And I'm not exaggerating.

Though they spend a lot of time together, I think it's good for them.  They also have soccer w/ friends.  So, on Tuesdays, soccer practice.  Wednesday, church clubs are starting back up.  They did this in the fall and loved it.  They took science, ASL, cooking, etc.  Thurs. is soccer practice.  Friday is home school academy.  Saturday, soccer games all day, activities w/ other friends as well.  Sunday church.  So, with 6 days of 7 being busy w/ people other than us, I have no fear of any social issues developing.  Plus, they are learning skills and such at these activities. 

For the loom kits, we got them at Walmart.  The round ones come in a package of 4 and more than one can use them.  It was $12.  They have really enjoyed knitting hats, change purses, etc.  So it was very much worth the money.  Oh, were also making sure each of the kids learns to cook.  This year was my first year home schooling the younger ones.  I learned  a lot of what to do and what not to do.  Next year I think we'll have our groove and really grow.  I will not be putting Alyona back into middle school next year.  I would mind if she could go but she is in a category that does not fit in.  IF she were to go back, the ONLY class she can go to is a life-skills class and she is far beyond life skills.  Yet, will NOT fit in w/ the normal population.  Even though Bojan goes to the middle school, I don't feel it's safe for her to attend.  Teachers from last year felt the same way.  Just want her to be able to read and be independent.  Working on it.

I'll have more questions answered in the next few days.  Feel free to ask away.  My parents are coming into town tomorrow to visit. Kids are excited and today cleaning up.  Went to home school academy this morning and they really enjoyed it.  I think we only may have about 2 weeks left. Not sure on that though.  I'll have to check.  Well, need to get moving here.  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  Next week is super busy for us.  We'll find out if Irina will be getting surgery.  Then, we go to the endocrinologist w/ Summer and the ophthalmologist w/ her.  Going to be very interesting.  Next week will be a week of answers for sure.  I'm hoping for an all clear for all 3 appointments but won't hold my breath.  LOL.  Irina is working today.  She will help me bake later on today.  I think we'll stick w/ a St. Patty's Day theme for family coming tomorrow.  More later.  Hope I answered a few questions.  I'm working on some of the other ones that have been asked as well.

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