Saturday, February 25, 2012

What is it like w/ boys in the house??

Thought I'd take a short clip of what it is like at any given time to have boys in the house here.  Not sure how you'll react to this.  Not even sure I want to show it given the state of the loft area at the time this was taken.  When I say it's a disaster, it's beyond a disaster.  It was supposed to be cleaned up.  You'll see how far they got on it.  Here, take a look at 3 of our boys at Chaos Manor.

Since the other kids were showing off their singing skills and Nik obviously can't sing, he wanted to show off his break dancing skills.  Something Logan has taught him since coming home.  Nik is rather flexible as you'll see.  Max and Bojan and goofing around.  Not sure who's toothbrushes those are that they found.  Yet my 10 had no cavities last visit.  Go figure.  Oh, at the end Nik says bye.  I 9.  Sleep.  Night.  they were up way past bed time last night. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Recap of the week

As usual, Chaos Manor has been hopping this week.  Big thing was going to Duke and finding out Bojan and Alyona will indeed be getting surgery.  Some have asked why Duke wasn't going to amputate despite it being Bojan's desire.  As you all know, amputation is usually a last resort.  This doc seems to think he can fix the problem w/ Bojan's foot.  He said he will indeed be able to fix the pain b/c the pain in his foot is coming from where he old hardware is & not put in there quite right.  Bojan knows this is a long surgery and recovery will be tough.  He's ready for it though.  Nothing like selling a house w/ a make shift bed in the dining room, right?  Bojan has always been great with surgeries and we expect no different this time.  He's ready to walk right again and I'm hoping this will be the surgery that allows him to do that.  There is no question in my mind if this doesn't work, it will be amputated next go around.  But, they are confident this will do the trick.  For Bojan's sake, I hope so. 

Alyona's will be a quick removal of her plates and hardware that is in her arm.  Her problem is she is a very slow healer.  Duke has still not called us to schedule surgeries.  It is day 4.  On day 7, I'll call w/ a gentle reminder.  Though one of the best hospitals in the nation, our experience w/ them either calling you back or calling to schedule anything is a hair better than crappy.  Keep you posted on scheduling.

Nik's glasses were supposed to be in.  They did not pass inspection in the lab.  So, back to square one to be made again.  They may be in by tomorrow.  I stress may.  Can't wait to see if he'll keep this pair on.  His optometrist actually called me today.  He said are you sure they are giving the Ushers dx.  I said no.  That has turned around to a no which is awesome, awesome, awesome.  He said good b/c I was going to question that one.  This is a wonderful, wonderful man that checks up on his patients!  Imagine that.  Also, he lives down the street from us.  He has invited Max to work this spring with him on stain glass.  Now that will be fantastic and can't wait to see what they do.

We missed the FAS support group.  Too many appointments that day.  Nik's was the last one that day. 

Summer and Alyona.  Alyona is doing her math while on the way to an appointment for Nik.  Hey, utilize time when you can.  Some school days it seems like nothing is accomplished and others, they'll do 20 pages of math!  Don't get it.  I'd love to even it out but if it's working for them, I shouldn't rock the boat.

Alex, reading Pirates.  Alex and Logan looking at magazines while we wait for Nik to get called back for his new head pieces.  Explained that he is very active.  However, we both agreed the magnets in the new pieces should be enough.  Umm, nope.  Got home, on the pogo stick and off they flew.  Need to call.  Thankfully, they let me keep the old head pieces so that's what he's using.  

Summer and Alyona occupying their time.  Summer went back w/ Nik b/c Nik asked her to. The rest stayed in the waiting area w/ Dad.  He eventually had to take them outside and to the van when they got too loud.  

Nik's appointment was fine.  Neptune's cost $8K per ear.  I still need the chance to call AB and find out if they'll do trade ins and if so, for how much.  Maybe we can fund raise the difference or something.  We'll see.  Looking into it all.  

We've been working on the house.  Lots to do and running out of time b/c we need to list it NOW.  Doing the best we can.  We'll get there.  Slowly but surely.

My parents are coming on March 10th for a visit.  Kids are bummed b/c it is only one day.  They haven't met the newest additions yet so that will be interesting.  Kids don't have any games or meets that day so we lucked out.  And God knows Duke won't schedule surgery that soon.  LOL.  Trying to figure out what to do since it is only a day visit.  

We are trying to plan for all that is coming up in the next few months.  Lots happening and IF we get to sell the house, they'll be even more happening.  Track meets start March 6th.  Soccer starts March 5th.  7 in sports, 1 in band, 1 working.  Going to also be getting back to church.  Seems like we took a hiatus to adjust but think we're okay to get back into the swing of things.  

Church is going to do a lock-in tomorrow.  ALL 10 of my kids are going.  Did you hear that?!  ALL TEN!!!  A rarity in itself.  I am so excited.  Would love to have gone out to dinner or see a movie or something but trying to repair everything, just can't happen.  However, a nice quiet dinner is a treat at home as we never have anything quiet.  LOL.  Kids are also looking forward to hanging out with friends.  Very grateful for the opportunity.  

Yana is fundraising for track.  Well, yesterday we were all searching b/c she lost all the checks and cash.  Irina found them thankfully.  This is why in the past I've never let my kids fund raise.  See, last week, she took her purse to school.  In it, gift cards she received for doing a research study.  Stolen at school.  I have told all my kids take NOTHING whatsoever of value to school.  People steal.  Just a fact where they go.  Sure enough stolen.  It's gone. Yana isn't too happy as those were gift cards to Target and we can always use those.  It's a tough life lesson, especially after working hard. I feel bad about it but in the same token, I've said over and over don't take anything to school.  

We're ready for spring.  We're already doing spring cleaning.  Love it.  More to come in the next few posts.  Playing catch up as usual.  I'm slowly getting to emails folks.  One day, I'll say I caught up.  But not today.  

Oh, I started cardio workouts this week and have kept up w /them!  Feel great about doing them.  One of mine said "you can do it mom!"  Another said "looks like you haven't done this for awhile mom."  I get the gamete of words, don't I?  

Pulled Irina from school today and we have a job lined up for her already.  She is excited.  I am too.  This is a new chapter in her life and I think it will do her some good.  In addition, she can volunteer at the church as well if she's not working.  

More going on but too much to write.  If you made it to the end of this, I'm impressed.  Have a great night.  Need to go make some pizza for everyone.  Discovered mozzarella cheese in the freezer so told the kids it's pizza time.  Only need dough.  Yum.  Hope everyone enjoys their weekend. 

Nine is fine

As history serves me well, age 9 is the age I hate most of all.  There is no rhyme or reason for my disliking of this age so much but it is what it is.  I try.  I do.  But for some reason, every single one of my kids hits this age and they drive me absolutely bonkers. Well, this year, I happen to have 2 nine year olds.  Yikes!  However, these two are telling me that age 9 is just fine. 

Reni and Nik telling me that 9 is just fine.  On this day, her glasses had broken.  They really do make a difference.  Nik is still waiting on his glasses.

Reni, my 9yo girl this year.  Love the kids but just not a fan of the age 9.  I think for me it is that they are slowly entering that pre-teen stage.  Right now, Reni is testing my patience w/ her tattling.  The other day she came to me and I said unless someone is on fire or bleeding, I don't want to hear it.  She huffed and puffed and went on her way.  BTW, she was tattling b/c her brothers were outside.  Got to love the petty stuff.  That's how you know they're true brothers and sisters.  

Much more to come.  Going to do a recap of the week a bit. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Twin wannabees

I have two girls recently who have decided they want to be twins.  They want to be like each other in every way.  That's both good and bad depending upon the situation.  Yesterday, they really wanted to look alike so enlisted the help of their older sister, Irina.  She happily obliged. 

Alyona and Reni showing off their new do.  

 I think they're content to be sisters.  See, they're in a good mood here.  I think earlier that day they hated each other.  LOL. 

They both wanted a side braid from Irina. A simple move to show they are united.  

Irina proud of her work and sweet to her sisters.  

Summer decided this was way too much fun to miss so she got a bath and got her hair braided as well.  Pretty sweet, huh?  Moments like these you never question why you went half way around the world to bring them home.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Missing part of her brain??? Oh my!

I guess it's time to share a few things.  Like, why we chose Summer.  One, she was a doll.  First and foremost.  The video of her looked like a lost little child.  Not sure of anything.  Her medicals, well, they truly weren't the best in the world.  And, I'll be honest here.  Since I thought the majority of all the medicals we've received in the past were all off base, I assumed for the most part this one would be too.  Ahh, that's another one of my 3 little rules of adoption:  2)  ALWAYS expect the unexpected.  So true.  So true. 

Looked up agenesis of the corpus callosum and saw something.  Majority of the symptoms are identical to FAS which makes total sense.  Even more sense since of few of the FASers are missing their CC.  Anyhow, knew we could handle it as we have 6 kids w/ FASD.  What's one more w/ a brain disorder??  Seriously though, I didn't think much of it as I assumed she wouldn't have this rare birth defect.  Especially, after the first trip.  I thought her damage was more emotional.  Get to the connection of that later. 

Just in case, take her to neurology.  Well, she is indeed completely missing her corpus callosum.  It is what connects the two hemispheres.  Sends messages from one side to the other. If you are missing it, your right brain can't talk to your left brain.   Your brain has to make new pathways and learn to process things differently.  That's why most of these kids are delayed in many areas.  Their brains have to take time to catch up. 

The most frequent clinical findings in patients with ACC are mental retardation (60%), visual problems (33%), speech delay (29%), seizures (25%), and feeding problems (20%) (Schell-Apacik et al., 2008). All ofit.   There are many great websites and support groups for kids w/ c-ACC.  This site is a great resource for information.  This site  also has a wealth of info.  Links to many, many more sites on this page as well. 

Apparently, these kids benefit quite a bit from therapies early on.  Ahh, we miss the mark again.  Adopting her at age 4.  She is now 5 and doesn't qualify for any early intervention services.  She is not only behind b/c of the c-ACC but also due to being in an orphanage her whole life.  We have tons of ground to cover.  Tons.  But, we are indeed getting there bit by bit.  I'll share more of trials and tribulations in another post.  This post is more about the why of taking a chance.  Most who looked at this medical I'm sure said ooh, missing brain part.  Not us.  We said "ooh, look at that cute little doll!"  You have to see past the medical and get to the personality of the child.  That's just the bottom line.  The before and after of orphanage kids are amazing.  The love of a family can really transform lives!  It truly can.  So, think twice before reviewing that 'scary' medical.  Look at the child.  Take a leap of faith.  NOT saying don't research.  We did.  Know what you can and can't handle and be honest w/ yourselves.  Remember, we turned down the twins before we got these 3.  You have to know what your family dynamics can handle as well.  More experienced parents probably could handle more than new adoptive parents.  I was scared out of my mind w/  my first two!  LOL.  Had I gotten these 3 first, I would most likely not have gone back.  Not kidding.  However, we have the knowledge, the ability and the experience now to deal with many issues that I do not think new parents should take on.  Just my opinion.  Keep that in mind.  Adoption is tough.  Adoption w/ issues is tougher.  Know truly what you can and can't handle. 

Did we know Summer would be missing part of her brain?  Yes and no.  We knew but didn't think much of it.  We've dealt with so much and after meeting this charmer, we knew she was ours.  Now, she's sound asleep.  Spoiled rotten to the core and loving life!  She does not fall any more.  Wobbly still a bit but not by much.  I will do a separate  post on all her accomplishments as they are many!  Today, she counted to 2!  To two!  Clear words and she even understood.  Amazing.  She gives kisses all day long.  I guess what I'm trying to say is take a chance or you may miss the most wonderful thing in the world.  Same with Nik.  Can not ever imagine our lives without Nik in it.  Yet, I checked off 'no' to deaf child b/c I didn't think I could handle that need or didn't know enough about it.  Well after signing to him tonight and him crying, I knew I know plenty for him.  Yes, he was crying.  Why you ask?  Because I told him no, you can't have a rabbit for a pet, you have a guinea pig, fish, and 3 dogs already.  He asked me if we could get one at the new house.  So I do think communication is going okay for a hearing person like me communicating w/ her son.  Yes, learning more slowly.  However, think of this conversation I would have missed w/ my son.  Please take a chance.  Take a leap of faith. 

Had I been scared off, I may have missed this moment the other day.  I can not even imagine.  I really can't.  They are here for a reason.  Most would read the list of these two kids' dx's a mile long and run for the hills.  I guess we run towards the volcano instead.  LOL.  In my opinion, running towards the unknown was totally worth it, don't you think?? 

A Sweet Treat

Last week was of course Valentine's Day.  Warren was really sweet & gave me chocolate dipped strawberries and cheesecake.  My favorites.  Well, I also had a daughter who decided to do something just as sweet that day for me. 

Picture has many a missing pieces of candy as it was snagged early on.  LOL.  Yana gave me this!  Used her own money and all.  Wasn't that just very sweet?!  Just really, really thoughtful of her.  Just had to share.  Definitely brightened my day.  Just had to share. 

The Grand Plans and why we must move

I have been asked this question quite a bit.  There are many reasons for us moving so thought it was time I laid them out there.  First of all, I'd like to say we really and truly love our current home.  It has served us well.  The home itself isn't all of the issue.

We live in roughly 3100 sq. ft. on an acre.  For the average family, it is fantastic.  For a bit bigger family w/ different needs and circumstances, it is not ideal.  With costs rising, kids not being able to live independently, services not what they should  be, we knew it was time for a change.  We have been contemplating this change for almost 3 years now.   We have been going back and forth for a long time now.  However, it became abundantly clear once the new kids were home, it needed to change around here.

The size of our home is not bad at all.  We have remodeled quite a bit over the years as it started out as 1900 sq. ft.  It has a brand new kitchen.  It used to be our old dining room and kitchen combined.  All new flooring as well.  Over the years, just about everything has been replaced as is the case w/ every house that starts to age.  Nothing wrong w/ the house whatsoever.  In fact, one of the best locations around.  We have the best of both worlds.  Lots of privacy b/c most lots in here are at least an acre surrounded by woods and we live in a subdivision where kids can play w/ friends.  Peaceful, yet 4 minutes to our Urgent Care.  Hey, when you have kids, this matters.  Easy commute for Warren as well.

What comes in to play here is what do we want for us and the kids in the future.  What can we do to possibly help others around us in similar situations?  Well, think we may have an answer or two.  ALL of it however, pends on the sale of this house.  So, what are these grandiose plans we may be dreaming up?  What's been in our minds and in our hearts for years now?  Time to spill the beans and hear the words "you're crazy!" yet one more time.

Once we move, the plan is to inquire enough acreage to build a house.  Our house to fit enough of our kids.  And Warren said just b/c it may have 12 bedrooms does NOT mean we're getting 12 kids.  LOL.  Love how he's always on top of that thought.  In a few years time, we would add on to the property.  Little cottages.  Well, that's what we're calling them.  During that time, we would also be prepping the land for some farming.  Now, what we've noticed over the years is there really isn't all that much for disabled young adults or developmentally delayed young adults despite them having plenty of skills.  We are seeing this with our kids as well.  The best these young adults seem to strive for is working for fast food as it seems to be the only option.  Not saying restaurant business is bad.  Used to run a restaurant years ago as a manager.  It's hard work.  But, most the dd adults end up doing minor jobs at best.  Yet the ones I've met, typically have other talents not being utilized.  Our dream would be to have a place where dd adults can live and work.  Not just working the land but also taking part in selling local produce.  Not only that, there could be an FAS shop.  Fudge & Sweets!  I have one that loves to bake as do others I've seen.  I've met more kids than my own that love to wood work.  They can create local furniture to sell or wooden toys.  Some that love to knit.  Some can do art. The possibilities are endless.  They truly are.  I don't know if we'd be allowed to take on the responsibility of a supervisor or have to hire someone as Warren would still need to work his job.  Like someone checking meds or things of that nature.  These young adults could gather for different social events as well like a cookout or something.  Lots of possibilities for sure.

Now, there is ALOT that would have to go into this.  A lot.  Will it ever come to fruition?  Is this the "plan?"  I have no idea.  I really don't.  These are some thoughts we have been thinking about for years.  What do you do when they get older?  A big question that is coming to light even more so now.  We've been mostly gathering information, looking at if funding would even be possible (umm, nope), and finances of it all.  Is it something we can even do?  Not sure yet.  Just know the only way to find out is to move first.  I think this is something that could benefit many people in the long run.  Time will tell.  For now, it's just an idea, just a thought. 

Either way, we need to sell this house.  Not even sure we can but we're going to give it a good shot for sure.  We've been trying to fix it up on our own but that is difficult at best given our situation.  Some volunteers have talked about the possibility of helping us one weekend which would be incredible.  I do think we could knock out the small stuff over a weekend. 

Now, if for some reason we can't sell the house, we can stay here.  Not a big deal.  We would then move the 3 girls into the garage.  Finish it first of course.  Then, Bojan and Max would move upstairs to the room that the 3 youngest girls are currently in.  Honestly, I'm really hoping we can move b/c I think it is the best option & not only that, but I think we can make a difference.  For now, keeping busy trying to figure out if this is even possible and also getting the house ready to sell.  If you are wondering why I am taking forever to write some of you back, that's your answer.  LOL. 

Well, there you have it.  Those are the hopeful plans.  This is Mission 2012 for us.  Sell the house and build.  Sell the house and build.  Last year, it was adopt 3 dogs, adopt 3 kids.  Gee, what a difference a year makes.  I also know plans change & as soon as you make your own plans, someone has a different set of plans for you.  Shoot, isn't that how we ended up w/ 10 kids?  We made plans.  First ones were to get married & have kids.  That didn't happen. We adopted. Family of 4, both parents working, one boy, one girl.  We were done.  Those were the plans for Pete's sake!  Nope.  Plans changed.  Stay in the house so we can pay it off and live comfortably.  LOL.  House literally fell apart & went in the hole $30K.  Plans changed.  Fix up house & stay.  Nope, plans change.  Move and adopt Yana and Alex all in the same year.  Done for sure.  Wait, just one more.  Plans change.  Bojan came along.  Remodel house to fit everyone and be done w/ adoptions.  Get caught up financially.  Nope, plans change yet again.  Alyona was to come home.  Just one.  Plans change.  Now, add Nik.  No more adopting special needs b/c I think that would be too much to handle.  BTW, specifically asked for no deaf children.  (yes, being honest here & SO happy I was wrong!).  Plans change and end up w/ Nik along w/ Alyona.  Absolutely, positively NO MORE KIDS!  Going to travel more with the kids and save for retirement and things like that.  Nope, plans change.  Added three more kids.  Now, saying we're officially D-O-N-E.  We have plans.  They are good plans we think.  They're our plans.  Question is, will these plans change as well??  Only time will tell.  I swear our blog title should have been Neverending Story instead. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2 surgeries due

Yep, those were today's results.  Okay, first Alyona.  She is getting her hardware all removed which we somewhat expected.  Cast for a few weeks.  Remember, due to her FASD, failure to thrive, delayed bone growth, etc. she is extremely slow to heal in the bones.  Hoping this time it will be different. 

Next is Bojan.  More complicated.  They are not amputating.  They will be cutting the bone, realigning the foot, taking out hardware and a few other things.  This doctor seems to think he can fix what the previous doctor messed up years ago.  He said the previous doc did not take into account the growth Bojan would be experiencing as a normal growing child.  And yes, he's really shot up this year.  He will be wheelchair bound for 6 to 8 weeks.  Then, on a walker or crutches.  Bojan will have to sleep downstairs.  Our doorways are NOT wheelchair accessible.  Makes it hard when Bojan gets his surgeries.  Anyhow, we are hoping to get these down quickly so that he can heal in time for vacation and enjoy it.  We'll see though.  This is going to be a very rough surgery.  Sawing bone is not easy.  Cast, all the way up.  Bojan is typically a fast healer.  Hoping so.  He's just ready to have it fixed. 

Now, Duke has to call us to schedule the surgeries.  Hoping they call this week so we can set it all up.  Irina's appointment is the 13th.  We'll know then when her surgery will be.  Chances are, she'll need it.  Hey, knock em out all at once I say.  LOL.  Waiting to hear from a neuro-ophthalmologist I called for Summer as c-ACC kids are more susceptible to ONH & SOD.  Okay either way.  Very familiar as Alyona has ONH and they thought Nik had SOD.  I think she's fine though but we'll find out to be on the safe side.   Endo is the big appointment for her and one that I may be a little nervous for. 

Warren does not want to do the surgeries at once.  I would prefer it but then again, last time we did that, Alyona's went horribly wrong.  It was a nightmare and having two out at once was beyond difficult.  Seeing what they say at Duke. 

This afternoon, we took Nik to Castle to get new head pieces for his implants.  Poor kid wants Neptunes SO badly and I want them for him.  I asked today.  Insurance will not pay for upgrades.   I asked about trade-ins and need to call Advance Bionics.  Doing it tomorrow.  If we could get a decent amount for the trade-ins, maybe we could swing the new neptunes, somehow, some way.  See, the Neptunes are implants that are waterproof.  He could swim in them, not worry about being outside in the rain, not be scared when we come in the bathroom to get him out of the shower, not worry about sweating in them.  Let's face it, Nik is an outdoors kind of kid.  This would be almost vital at this point especially since he's getting older.  He's outside more.  He asks me all the time about the Neptunes.  I'm wondering if I could do some type of fundraiser.  who knows.  It's not like the kid has asked for some video gaming system or something frivolous. He's asked us to help him improve his quality of life.  Bottom line.  Time will tell.  Just keeping hoping that a trade-in is allowed.  And not like a $15 trade-in type thing. LOL.  I'll let everyone know to be sure as others may be interested.  Advanced Bionics has been nothing but helpful and prompt w/ all Nik's repair.  Their implants are very durable so really hoping that the Neptunes can be obtained.  Hey, I'm sure Nik would be happy to be a spokes person.  He asks me every dog gone day about those things. 

Someone dropped off a bag of clothes for the girls.  Alyona & Reni have been having their own little fashion show.  Love it.  Would love to thank the person but have no way of knowing who it was.  If you're reading this, thank you a bunch!  The girls look so cute and really have enjoyed the clothes. 

Pulling Irina from school Friday.  She already has a job lined up.  Wahoo!!!  Yana is doing a track fundraiser so she can get a uniform.  Apparently, they cost a couple hundred dollars.  Now, I'm not into the clothing business but I am a bargain hunter.  I can guarantee you I could find the school a MUCH better deal on uniforms than a couple hundred bucks a pop!  That's crazy.  We even have athletic outlets in a very nearby town (15 minutes away) that does clothing.  Just saying I think they need to look at budgets better is all.   Anyhow, they are to purchase if they can't raise the money.  We would not have had it.  But, she only had to sell 10 cookie orders.  However, she already did that in 2 days!  Very proud of that.  She went out and sold.  So, a relief she has a uniform.  And, she beat her time today. 

More to tell but dinner awaits.  3 posts in one day.  I'm working on getting caught up.  If I have not written you back yet, trust me, I'm getting to it.  There is a lot going on here and too much to write about for sure.  Need some more picture posts. 

Anticipation-- interruption for cuteness

Two lengthy posts w/ no pictures.  Definitely not me.  Must get back to some serious cuteness here.  As you can tell from this blog, there are more pics of Summer and Nik, our two youngest, than the other kids.  Well, you know why w/ the 4 teens.  Teens aren't much for the camera and I respect their privacy.  So, I do limit pictures of them on here  quite a bit.  I take pictures of them but do get that look of "if you take a picture of me, I will rip that camera from your hands mom."  You will see more pictures of the younger kids than the teens.  Though, I do manage to sneak some in here of the teens.  Shhh. 

So, the other day I made cupcakes for snack.  Each time I make something, a different kid will get to help.  They know the kid who helps gets to lick the beater so there is some incentive here.  Especially, if it's chocolate.  It was Summer's turn. 

Just beaming w/ anticipation of making her first cake with mom.  

All smiles and ready to make some cake.  And of course, lick the icing.

Nik had to get a picture in.  Hey, he didn't jump in front of her this time.  

 She can barely stand the wait for those cupcakes.  And yes, the stove handle is completely ripped off the door.  Got to love it when you're putting a house for sale.  

Never get tired of that smile.  The kids enjoyed the cupcakes as much as they did making them.  When we make cakes/ cupcakes, someone helps make the cake part and someone helps make the icing.  And, they have learned over the years that if they fuss at who's turn it is, they won't have a turn for awhile.  That  took some teaching.  LOL.  They were awesome cupcakes and fun to make w/ Summer. 

Manic Monday & a few questions answered

Someone had asked me a bit about the orphanage boys and when they are moved.  I needed to make sure I clear a few things up.  Many things are dependent upon the situation to that particular child and what country they are in.  Each country and each orphanage for that matter have variables as to when the kids go to the older kids home.  In Russia, it was typically when they hit 7 or 8  years old.  We know this as we fought tooth & nail to keep Yana at her childrens' home since they knew we were coming for her.  Didn't matter.  At Alyona's orphanage, they did hold her there.  Mainly, they feared for her life they told us at the older kids' home.  She was 7yo when we brought her home but only 21 lbs I believe and in a size 3T (those were even big on her).  Orphanage director was afraid she'd get beat at the older kids' home so they kept her there for us.  I was very relieved.  Truly, her personality & disabilities would not have allowed her to survive there.  So, it is really dependent upon the country & even then, the region and orphanage director & each child's situation.  Bojan was also kept in the baby home and not moved to an older home.  He and one other girl at the time.  For our 2 older kids from Bulgaria, I'm still trying to gauge & figure out exactly when they were transferred over there.  Remember, the rock incident for Reni which caused quite a deal of her trauma, happened at the old orphanage before the one she was at.  Also, many things that happened at the orphanages you will not learn about till months later, possibly years later.  One of our kids recently revealed to us they got in trouble b/c they tried to take toilet paper from the director's bathroom.  At that orphanage, the kids used newspaper.  Many, many things you will not discover till they are home.  The younger ones just there, say 7 or 8 don't seem to be nearly as affected.  They've learned but they are much easier to "un-learn" some of those behaviors. 

Today is Monday.  Manic Monday lives up to its name, that's for sure.  We have a bunch going on this week and lots of answers are forthcoming.  Tomorrow, Alyona and Bojan go to Duke Orthopedics.  Bojan's surgery will hopefully be determined then.  He is really, really wanting them to amputate this go around & frankly, if it's an option, we'll take it.  He's 13, able to make these decisions and endured enough pain, surgeries and non-functioning of a foot to know yet another surgery will most likely not help.  Mentally, he is ready if that choice comes up.  He's asked and told me he's asking the doc tomorrow to amputate it.  There is zilch ROM in it, it can't touch the ground, scar tissue galore, toes crossed over one another(brought this up at the LAST appt. btw), back heel can't touch the ground, and so much more wrong.  Will be interesting to hear what they say.  It will be either yet another clubfoot surgery or amputation. I know how reluctant doc's are at amputation but this is really slowing him down & he's realized it.  He is a teenager you know.  Alyona's will be simple.  If she has grown a certain amount, plates will need to be replaced.  Otherwise, no surgery.

Nik has an appointment for new head pieces for his implants.  Not exactly sure why yet but find out tomorrow.  Once again, Nik's excited b/c he thinks he's getting the AB Neptune implants.  I am determined to call AB, ask what the turn in price is and then get started on fundraising for his waterproof implants.  For him, they truly are ideal. He has always told me why they would help.  So, he knows.  I will do my best to make his dream come true.  shoot, not like we'll be buying him a skateboard or something.  This is something to help him hear and live life to the fullest.  If anyone out there in cyber space knows how much the trade-in value will be & cost of the new ones, please, please let us know.

Our church has graciously stepped forward to have all 10 of our kids attend a lock-in on Saturday evening.  Till Sunday after church!  I am so excited and relieved.  Warren and I do need some quiet time away from the noise.  Chaos Manor is loud.  Not going to lie to you.  It's loud here.  And some days, we just need to be able to think.  We have a ton to think about the next few weeks.  A lot.  I will explain more in a bit in another post.  One huge decision has already been made.  We are withdrawing Irina from school this Friday.  There was much that went into this decision.  Much.  More on it later and what the plans are for her.  Anyhow, having the kids gone will allow Warren and I to work on paperwork that has needed to be done for awhile now.  Hard paperwork.   Guardianship papers for one.

There are so many other little and big things happening here and priorities have come into play.  So, that's why blog has been, shall we say, slack lately.  This post was started yesterday.  It's now Tuesday.  Getting ready to start home school in a bit.  Bojan and Alyona already left with Warren to go to Duke.  Let you know later today the decisions made about those two.  Nik's implant appointment is at 3:30pm.  Speech is today as well here.  I'm relieved that I'm carpooling w/ another neighbor for picking up Yana from track and her son.  This week is not my turn which is wonderful as we have a lot going on.  Not sure we can make our FASD support group meeting this evening.  We'll see.  Busy, busy week.  Despite that, I managed to do a cardio workout last night.  So trivial but I was proud I actually squeezed it in.  I walk everyday but time to add in the 'good stuff.'  Comments ranged from "mom, you can do it!" to "Gee mom, I can tell you haven't done this for awhile."  Got to love the times.  Going to make it the same time every evening.  I need it.  I do. 

I've gotten some supplies for Summer's orphanage but need an address.  Staff over there is going to send it tome.  When they do, this package will go off.  These were some of the things we just could not fit in a suitcase a few months ago.  I have other packages to get off to folks as well.  I need a catch up day one of these days.  But for now, it is what it is.  Much more to come as I have lots of things that need to be said.  Love to tell how the kids are doing.  All of them.  Love to explain exactly why we need to move.  And of course, would love to share some pictures.