Saturday, March 10, 2012

Getting ready

Yesterday was Friday.  After home school academy classes, kids and I came home to get ready to clean up. 

Alex, helping to sweep the living room.  Deal was, the kids swept all the rooms, and I mopped all the rooms.  We also did windows, bathrooms, etc.  With all of us, it typically won't take us too long to clean up.

It really is amazing just how much dirt can pile up in such a short time. I realize that I still have Valentine's Day math up on the door.  Oh well.  Reni is also a helper.  Nik, well, let's just say he's not going to volunteer. It is "forced" labor for Nik.  LOL.  

Reni and Logan helping sweep the stairs.  This drives me nuts as it's an orphanage thing...sweeping the carpet.  I make them vacuum it after but the sweeping is just weird to me.  Guess it all depends upon how you grew up.  We never swept carpet.  

Kids did great with helping clean up and make some things.  They were just about too excited to sleep.  They woke up asking when Nana was coming.  Poor Logan was trying to figure out relationships and who exactly was coming.  I think we translated okay.  

Today is Saturday.  I'll have a separate post on our visit.  Frankly, I"m just dead beat tired tonight.  Allergies are making me lose sleep.  Feel drained.  It was a gorgeous day today, had a good time and will tell all about it tomorrow.  Right now, we all need sleep.  Been a long day.  Enjoy your weekend.  More to come tomorrow. 

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.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pogo sticks and peanuts

Thought it was time again for more pictures.  I have been putting a lot of old posts back up.  Well, not yet.  Just two so far.  I will continue over the next few days.  But this post is new.  My kids are outdoor type of kiddos as you know.  Anything goes outside.  And no, I don't really mind.  Pogo stick is a hit again.  Unfortunately, so much use it got broken.  But, it was fun while it lasted.  If you ever meet Nik in shorts and wonder why his legs look like someone beat him w/ a baseball bat, you can wonder no more.  Between pogo sticks, climbing trees, bicycle stunts, trampoline, jumping off the swing set, skateboarding while doing a handstand(yes, you read that right), & whatever other stupid stunt you can think of it is a miracle the kid hasn't broken a bone.  Give it time.  LOL.  The other day, as if the pogo stick wasn't challenging enough, Nik built an obstacle course to use w/ the pogo stick.  Obstacle course started by going down the stairs while on the pogo stick and then jumping through various boards.  I don't even look any more.  I don't know where these boys come up w/ this stuff.  I'll take stuff away, say it's dangerous and minutes later they have a drill in hand!  Seriously.  That happened the other day.  Took Summer in to use the bathroom, come out & wham, they went into the garage and got the drill out.  URGHH!!!  My boys are boys through and through.  They have a sweet side but they give daredevils a whole new meaning.  So, some pogo stick pics are ready to go.

Nik, getting some pogo action in while Daddy cooks on the grill.

Lil' Sis taking in all the action.  

Alex getting ready to attempt.  

Logan & Alex were getting SO mad that Nik was getting so good at jumping.  Sometimes, it is nice for older boys to get knocked off that high horse by one of the little ones from time to time.

Nik, getting some height on that thing!  It was really impressive to watch him.  Remember, this is the one that wanted a unicycle and a zip line for Christmas.

Alex, finally getting the hang of it.  

Well, pogo sticks were not exciting enough for our kids.  Nope.  I thought a nice snack of roasted peanuts they have to shell would be a good idea.  

Summer, trying to take in what's going on over there.

Ignore the peanut crumbs all over her face.  Isn't she just beautiful?!

She is just such an amazing kid to have around.  You have no idea.  I want to share her w/ the world but be selfish & keep her to myself.  Summer is the type of person you want to squeeze all the time.  And, we do!  No words to describe the love we have for this little girl.  

Peanut war.  My kids hide nothing from the neighbors.  Poor neighbors.  

They stop long enough for me to tell them to stop.  Made them sweep up peanut shells later but they seem to have fun.  

I think this is like 6 posts today.  I'm done.  Need to go workout.  Lots of built up stress.  I know a full moon is either coming or here just by behavior yesterday & today.  We'll make it.  If there are any questions, definitely feel free to ask.  I've already had a few emailed to me and some emailed to me on FB.  Can't wait.  Might be way more interesting than me talking on here.  Have a great evening.  Guarantee you there won't be this many posts tomorrow.  LOL.   We have soccer and such.  And, company coming on Saturday.  you'd think a house that is going up for sale would not look like a demilitarized zone.  Nope.  It does.  I'm not sure if I'm the only parent of many that has this issue or what.  It's clean and then 10 to 15 minutes later, it looks horrible.  I used to be a neat freak.  Can't any more despite my efforts.  Anyhow, have a great evening.  Posts are done....for now. 


Again, this is one that I wrote last year but removed it.  Knowing others are going through the same grueling process, I've decided to put posts back up again.  Hope no one is confused.  

I questioned whether I should even write this post but I know other adoptive families that go through all kinds of things to bring their kids home.  In addition, at church today there was a sermon that was very relevant to all this and so it gave me the extra push to share here as well.  As everyone is aware, you must sacrifice when doing an adoption.  Everyone must in my opinion.  Sometimes you are sacrificing the things you love to do to save money, sometimes you are sacrificing your time by doing paperwork till you're blue in the face.  Sometimes, you are sacrificing your family relationships to pursue what God has called you to do...adopt.  Sometimes you sacrifice the things you love to bring  your kids home. Yesterday, I had to sacrifice something I loved.  It was more symbolic than anything really.  Not going to lie.  It was hard to do.  Very hard.  You all know we are still short money that is due THIS week.  Actually, it was due last week but I'm pretending I didn't know that.  Seriously though, I thought it was due after court but that's neither here nor there. It's due is the bottom line and we don't have it.  For these three adoptions, we have borrowed from retirement, put some airfare on credit card, got a job, sold what we could, babysat when I could, tried to fundraise a little, etc.  We tried it all.  Even resorted to asking people for help to help us rescue these three orphans  that we consider our kids through and through.  And for any parent, you make sacrifices for your kids.  Whether your kids are here or your kids are across the ocean desperately needing your help.  You do what must be done.  Call it mother's instinct, fate, whatever you will but there is something there that you feel.  You must protect them.  In order for us to protect them, we must get them home.  To do that, we must pay fees for documents and courts and whatever else.  You all know the routine. Well, a friend of mine was having a gold party yesterday. I didn't want to go. I really didn't.  Yes, wanted to see some of my friends and hang out but I really didn't want to part with anything that meant so much to me.  Yet, I knew I must.  Sometimes you are called to do things that are hard.  I believe in my kids across the ocean and will do anything to get them home.  There have been many generous people the last week.  For that, I am eternally grateful. However, we have a long way to go.  And as I said before, I'll do what it takes to get them home.  So, I reluctantly went to this party with what little bit of jewelry I have.  See, I don't really have any fancy jewelry to begin with.  But I had my little bag with a few rings in it and a necklace.  Those rings... our wedding bands and my engagement ring.  Now, you can probably understand why I didn't want to go to the party.  Most everyone was giving away jewelry that they thought was junk.  Me, I was giving away what I had and jewelry that I had NO desire whatsoever in getting rid of.  I let everyone go ahead of me.  Desperately wanting to change my mind.  Yet, I knew this wasn't about me or about Warren or the marriage.  It was about three little kids over in Bulgaria who are depending upon their mom and dad to get them home.  So, I sucked it up and sat down w/ my little bit.  Had them take the diamond out and try to keep a straight face as the atmosphere is pretty happy as everyone is getting money for things they don't want.  I wanted these things.  Shoot, it's one of the only things in this house that didn't get broken over the years.  Things that I looked at every single day for the past 13 years.  So, when she asked me if I was sure I wanted to take the diamond out, I said yes.  She put it in a little bag.  I quickly tucked it away in my pocket book.  Anxiously waiting to get out of there.  Not that I didn't want to hang around, I was just terrified I might break down and cry if I stayed too long and thought too hard about it.  The symbols of our marriage gone.  Yes, I know the marriage is just fine.  Not worried about that at all.  Just going to miss opening up my jewelry box and seeing those pieces in there everyday.  She weighed everything out piece by piece.  Told me what it was worth and asked if I wanted to do it.  I wanted with all my heart to scream at her NO.  I really did.  But I said yes.  Yes, because I know in my heart these are just things.  The money recieved will go toward bringing the kids home.  No, it was not the $4K we needed but every bit helps for sure.  It was a couple hundred dollars.  And Warren is still here, the love is still here and I know deep down inside that is what counts.  Yet, it is hard not seeing those rings everyday.   Once the adoptions are done and medical stuff for the new kids done, we plan to eventually be able to buy new wedding bands for us again.  And, I'll have a diamond necklace one day made out of that diamond.  I know most likely I will never have another engagement ring and that's okay.  I will have something much more important... a family complete.  And that my friends is totally worth sacrificing for.  I know some may think that was crazy to do and that's okay.  I agree.  But, I don't really have anything to sell that's worth much around this house.  I have a job.  I'm not talented at making handmade things to sell on an etsy shop, I can't sew, I can't really cook that well, I don't have much to offer as far as teaching goes so I really am limited.  I know many open up etsy shops.  I can't do that.  I'm doing all that I can do.  I am.  This was just one of those things that I could do.  I could sacrifice a little of what I love to help get my kids home.  Was it easy to do?  No.  Not one single bit.  I kept eating dip(which was delicious btw) to get my mind off the jewelry.  Pathetic, I know.  So tonight, I sit here getting ready to go get a few things done.  Don't think I"ll open that jewelry box for a few more days.  Again, it was my choice.  I had the choice not to do this.  However, I'm running out of options and time.  I will have another post on fundraising ideas that we will be doing.  Meantime, we have a tax deductible link you can pass around. Hey, you never know who may be looking for a tax break.  bring the kids home! Next post will have to be what we plan to do on the fundraising efforts to miraculously raise $4K in less than a week.  I know we can do it b/c we have to do it.  I definitely willing to sacrifice what I need to in order to help my children come home.  So, any ideas you may have,  I am still wide open.  I've got a few things in the works for sure.  Just takes time to get stuff together.  So far, we have $894 towards the $5K that is due.  This was from donations, gold being sold, stuff around the house being sold.  I think that is simply amazing for a week's time, don't you?  I know I can do this. Not sure how but I know I can.  My kids have sacrificed a lot in life by living in an orphanage.  They've sacrificed a healthy, happy normal childhood.  They haven't had a family. I know in my heart of hearts we are their forever family.  And, no matter what I need to sacrifice to get them home, I know it is absolutely nothing compared to what they've had to sacrifice their entire lives.  I know I got sidetracked here.  Sorry about that.  Need to go work on dinner and organize more fundraising ideas and such.  To all other adoptive parents who are sacrificing something dear to them, it will be worth it.  When we first started our adoption journeys years ago for Irina and Max, Warren had to sell his truck to help get them home.  I told him you can always buy another truck one day.  He never was able to get another truck but he has had countless precious memories with his kids that I'm sure will outlast that Dodge Dakota he once had.  Same with my engagement ring.  The kids are worth it.  Thanks for letting me share.

RSS-- Reluctant Spouse Syndrome

Okay, a few months before our second trip, we were told to take down various posts.  Pretty much any post referring to donations or money.  I did that but to be on the safe side, I took down any post that could be "taken the wrong way."  So, I saved a few of those posts and will be putting them back up over the next few days.  This was one that I had written last  year.  Just thought it was time some posts go back up.

RSS-- Reluctant Spouse Syndrome Oh my oh my.  Not sure I should write about this one.  LOL.  My husband may have a few things to say about it when I'm done.  Okay, so RSS is not considered a real syndrome but it definitely affects many when it comes to adoption.  Believe it or not, Warren has suffered w/ this horrible affliction since we started these journeys over 12 years ago!  Yes, yes he did.  His was so bad that the director of our one adoption agencies almost didn't let us adopt.  She told me this years later.  She said Warren just did not seem like he was on board.  No, no he wasn't on board and I'm going to be honest here so that others can understand. RSS can apply to men or women but over all these years, I've seen it seems to hit the men more.  I will use Warren as an example.  Poor guy.  He'll be okay, I'm sure of it.  When we first discovered infertility issues, we had two paths to choose.  We took the adoption path after much discussion.  We went to a seminar years ago(1998) put on by Frank Adoption Center.  We came out of there even less than hopeful as we both thought "How can we ever afford to do something like this?"  Once we got past sticker shock, we decided to move forward.  Yet, there was still something holding Warren back.  Even after we saw the pictures of Max and Irina, I knew he wasn't quite into this.  Me, I can look at a picture and just tell this is my kid.  I know that sounds odd but it's true. I used to volunteer and did advocacy work over the years.  I've seen many, many files, medicals, pictures, etc. of kids.  Yet, I always knew if I saw a picture of MY kids.  This was true of Alyona and I"ve told this in her adoption story. For Warren though, the picture is just not enough.  It's not.  It's not real for him.  Don't get me wrong, he goes along w/ the process but I truly don't feel it is a real experience for him till her physically touches the kids.  That first hug or hand holding.  He has to know these kids exist and not just in photos.  I think a reason Warren is so reluctant is the beginning is he is more the realist.  I'm more the believer that things will work out.  His concerns are always monetary in the beginning.  Really, hon, we can't afford another child in this house.  Yes ,I've heard this many times before.  In fact, I've heard it for every single set of adoptions we've done.  This time though, I really am wondering.  LOL.  Warren likes to know how everything is going to work.  And with adoption, there are so many unknowns.  I just don't think men in particular like that.  In sports, they have all these various plays for when situations arise. Umm, you can't do that in adoption boys.  You really can't. Now, some may give up hope and say there is no way in he** that my husband is going to change his mind.  It is made up.  Totally made up.  Yes, so was Warren's mind.  I mean, you couldn't even approach him about the subject.  I regret NOT doing what I was going to originally do about a year and a half before we signed onto this set of adoptions.  I was going to make a documentary.  In it would have included our very first conversation when I brought this crazy idea up again.  I swear I thought flames would have shot out of his head. Ahh, the big question.  How do you get a guy w/ RSS to come around?  Hard one.  It took Warren a year and a half this last time to come around to the idea of adopting again.  And then...adopting 3 of them!  Yikes!  That would scare anyone off.  With Warren, we would randomly bring the idea up here and there.  With some of our adoptions, the kids would get involved.  Or I would leave up their pictures on the computer.  Yes, despite that saying that all photo websites are bad and you shouldn't find your kids that way, almost all mine were found that way.  So, any time Warren would look, those faces would be there.  Or, some times I'd get daring and send him a photo at work. I think I did that with Alyona.  Maybe it was a different one.  Sent him a picture and said this is your daughter. With Irina and Max, though he was hesitant, he was pretty much on board from the beginning.  But to tell you just how unsure we were, we visited a group home in NC.  That's when we knew, we should be going to Russia.  BTW, that visit was just a week or two before we were to leave to Russia for Max and Irina.  Talk about reluctant.  Now, they are 18 and 16yo.  Funny how things work out. With Yana and Alex it was a bit easier.  Warren & I weren't sure we wanted to take the plunge again.  So, decided to host.  Warren said we're ONLY hosting.  I said okay.  Insert the devilish laugh here.  On like day two, Warren turns to me as we're going to sleep & said "We're going back to Russia, aren't we?"  I said "yes, yes we are."  But, they were physically in our home & I think that made a huge difference. With Bojan, oooh serious, serious RSS.  I mean, we had just gotten back from Russia.  What Warren didn't know, is I had seen Bojan's photo right before we left.  instead of telling him though, I wanted to wait till we got home and got settled.  After finding out he was available, it was time to broach the subject of adoption after ONLY being home a few weeks w/ two, count them two RADishes.  Yes, this one would not be easy for a man w/ RSS.  I didn't have much time to work on him and this one I approached purely as a monetary standpoint.  I wrote out exactly how we could afford this adoption so soon after the other one.  Phew, that took some doing.  Long story short, he agreed. Reluctantly of course. For RSS, it is a long process to get through.  Like I said, this set of adoptions it took Warren a year and a half to get over. But he eventually did.  Now, you ask him that now and he'll say no.  Why?  Because he met the kids and is in love w/ them.  He really can't wait to get back to them.  At first I was crushed when Warren didn't want to adopt this go around.  But then, I thought about it and said, he'll come around.  Just will take a lot of time.  Kids sometimes will ask him.  Sometimes I'll make charts out so he can see how we can do it expense wise.  Sometimes I'll throw hints out.  Sometimes I'll leave pictures up or around.  Don't get pesty if you have a husband w/ RSS.  Get creative.  Keep the positive attitude.  This by far is the hardest to do considering you want it so badly to add a child & they seem to not want it at all.  Eventually, they will come around.  I guarantee you though, it will not be at the same speed you want them to.   And, I don't think it's b/c they don't want it, I think it's because they truly don't like unknowns.  Adoption is filled w/ unknowns.  Many.  I think it scares the men off.  Now, the way I know Warren is starting to come around to the idea of more kids is he'll throw verbal hints out.  Some are more subtle than others. I never make a big deal of it though.  Secretly though, I'm screaming YES inside.  One of our adoptions he said we need to go looking at bigger vans.  One of them he said we probably should put two down on the INS form versus one just in case. One time he simply said how many kids are you putting down that I'm agreeing to this go around?  I said 3.  Yep, that was this time.  Just yesterday, he was in the van and kept having Freudian slips of saying we had 12 kids.  He said I have no idea why I keep doing that.  It's 10, no more!  Yet, we're talking about looking at shuttle buses & moving (another post).  Is ten it?  I think so, I do.  But I really thought we were done at 5 kids.  And surely 7 kids.  You never know. All I do know is Warren will always have RSS.  It doesn't seem to go away.  However, it is manageable.  Especially, once they put their arms around those kids for the first time.  That makes all the months or years of RSS seem to fade in a heartbeat. There is no magic way to get a husband w/ RSS to come around.  All I know is no matter how long it takes or how impossible it seems, it is worth it.  Warren truly loves those kids in Bulgaria.  It was just as hard for him to leave them this time as it was me.  I could see him w/ Reni.  That's the one that's going to have him "wrapped" btw.  LOL.  This was not the picture of a man w/ RSS, was it?  Not in a long shot.  Yet, in the same token, it was.   I really can't wait to show you the pictures of him w/ the kids in it on our first trip.  There is no way you'd look at those and say Warren had RSS at any time during this adoption.  I'm here to tell you he did indeed.  However, it slowly faded just as it always does when he meets his kids.  This is a hard thing for anyone in the adoption community to admit.  Especially, especially for the men.  Once their kids are home or they met them, they don't want to ever say to anyone that they once didn't want kids or to adopt them.  Again, I think it is b/c of all the unknowns.  Keep strong in your beliefs that you think this is right for your family...adoption.  Also though, keep in mind your spouse may not be on board right away.  It does NOT mean they never will be on board.  Just means it may take some time.  Be patient.  And, this is completely my take on RSS.   Now, hopefully my husband will read this and not be too upset w/ me.  Sorry hon.  Had to use you as an example.  I don't think they would have believed me if I put John Doe in there.  LOL.  And for the record, I believe we are all set at 10.  Yet, I can't say if an opportunity presented itself, I would say no.  But, we'd do as we always do down this adoption road..we'd make the decision together.  In the end folks you both have to be on the same page to do an adoption.  Maybe not during the whole journey, but in the end, you BOTH must want this.  And for Warren and I, we do.

Q & A time

Lately, I've had folks write me privately or ask questions in some blog posts.  I haven't done one of these in ages and thought why not.  So, if you have any crazy questions that you want to ask, I'm game.  Can be anything from adoption to punishments, to big family questions to all sorts of things.  So fire away! 

What's new

A few things are new around this house and not just the kids.  LOL.  Thought I'd share a few pics of just a couple of things that are new. 

Nik has learned a new trick...pop a wheelie.  He does it w/ a few of the different bikes we have.  I was trying to catch him in action but could never get a good shot.  Oh well.

Alyona showing off her new haircut.  A few of the kids got haircuts the other day.  Alyona said she wanted to look like a teenager.  

 View from the back. 

 Knitting is new around here and by far a very huge hit.

Another new thing here is Kota has seemed to become a bit calmer.  He still does NOT accept strangers and we have to be cautious when introducing new people.  But overall, getting calmer.  He is definitely the protector though.  As protective as he is though, he puts up w/ all kinds of crap from Summer.  She can do anything to that dog and I mean anything and he just takes it.  Alex & Logan love playing tug of war w/ him too.  

Even the boys are very into knitting.  Believe it or not, they were fighting about who got what sized ring.

When one of the knitting hats did not work out, they gave it to Summer as a headband.  Everything in our home always has dual uses.  

 Yes, those eyes still get me every single time. I believe she could model. 

I think Logan was a bit tired in this picture.  Nik, camera hog smiles as usual.  Funny thing is after myself, Warren and Max could NOT figure out these stupid loom instructions, Logan did.  He then taught everyone else. 

Nik styling in his new glasses.  And the optometrist was right.  This time he's finally keeping them on!  Wahoo!!!  He was working on fractions here.  He also does fractions in his home school academy classes so that is fantastic.  

Those are just a few of the new things going on here.  More to come later.  We did a ton of science today which I'm happy about.  Finally starting to catch up in that area.  We studied winter this semester and now amphibians.  Next, I think we'll be working on weather.  Not sure yet, may change that up a bit.  Hope everyone is having a great week.  Boys, mainly Alex and Logan, have not been the best this week.  Alyona gave a suggestion and I took it!  They get three more strikes, prison camp it is.  We haven't had to do a 'prison camp' around here in a l-o-n-g time.  However, if this behavior keeps up, we may have to do an installment.  We'll see. 

Church this past Sunday

Okay, those who know us or who may have even seen us in church, know that 1) we are inevitably late no matter when we leave the house and 2) the kids are not dressed in their Sunday best.  My rules for church are you have to look decent.  Nothing skin tight, nothing obnoxious, and no holes or dirt stains on the pants.  Now, you would think that is not so much to ask for 1 day of the week.  Every Sunday though it is the same dog gone thing.  Even if we make them pick it out the night before.  Still never seems to work out.  Don't know what it is about having to look decent one day of the week that kills them.  I will admit it.  Some days I have honestly given up.  One time I did not spot the t-shirt Max was wearing till we got home after lunch.  I said you didn't wear that today, did you?  Yeh, why?  Let's see why.  Other than the fact that it's an ugly looking shirt, maybe it's b/c of the wording "I'm bringing stink back."  Or maybe it's b/c of the picture of a monkey farting.  Really guys?  Please try not to make this family look like some backwards stereotyped redneck.  Please.  Despite my pleas, it seems to happen all the time. 

This past Sunday, I let them get dressed the way they wanted.  I didn't care.  Well, I did but my giving up trumped my sanity at the time.  So, I ended up w/ a hodge podge that day.  Bojan and Max wanted to wear their suits.  No idea why.  Do they have dress shoes for them yet?  No. Below are some before pics.

Ignore the blurriness.  Camera was just in from outside.  Max.  

 Max, showing me his "style."  Don't you just love the sneakers w/ the suit? 

Summer, posing w/ Max.  You'd never know they were going to the same place.  

We had a very nice service and then they had a lunch to help raise money for the missions team.  They are going to Bolivia this year.  They tried to go last year but it didn't quite work out.  The previous year they had gone.  They go to an orphanage over there to serve.  Wonderful ministry work they are doing in my opinion.  Anyhow, we decided to stay for the luncheon.  Spaghetti, salad and dessert.  Can't beat it.  We really had a great time enjoying talking with other people and getting to know new people.  I gave one of the kids my camera and they took pictures.  Here are a few:  

View of some of the kids at lunch.  Bojan and Max decided they needed a hankerchief.  So, they folded a napkin and put it in their pocket.  Creativity at work.  

I can tell Alyona had the camera here.  With her ONH it is very hard for her to see.  But, she tries.  

The boys.  Young men I should say.  Trouble brewing, I can tell.  You never know what these two will come up with or what they'll say.  

Another distorted view.

No idea what Summer was thinking about but she looks so deep in thought.

Now, this child can eat.  It's rather embarrassing just how much he can eat.  It doesn't show but boy he loves food.  True teenager.  Eat and no idea where it goes.  

While there, we got to visit w/ a missions team here for Habitat for Humanity.  They were from Westminster College and just very nice and welcoming.  Wonderful to talk w/ them.  They talked to us at length about adoptions and things of that nature.  We may get to go back & talk with some of them later this week.  They even put me in touch w/ some folks back at the college that are interested in possibly doing an adoption documentary.  Now that would be interesting.  Always nice to help spread the word about the kids needing homes.  

After chatting we needed to head out.  Irina volunteered to stay and help in the kitchen.  Max wanted to stay.  Why?  Because of this:

The Last Supper.  He saw it hanging in the cafeteria part and started to draw it.

And Max is one of these artists that does not like to stop mid-work.  So, he too stayed after and finished drawing it. I found it interesting b/c he typically is more mechanical in his drawings and architechtural items.  Usually, Max does not draw people.  Usually.  Neat to see his art work expand.  He left it at the church.  I'll have to take a picture once I see it.  I was bummed that I didn't get to see it!  Can't you just picture him in a design firm??  

More to come.  Playing catch up.  Lots of medical stuff going on next week.  Getting things lined up. Endocrinologist, ENT, and ophthalmologist.  Recess is over so back to work. Kids enjoyed meeting their teams last night but really just want to play ball.  First practice is next Tuesday.  We're ready! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sleeping beauty

Thought it was time for a picture of my Bulgarian Princess.  Well, one of them.  I will have a longer piece on Summer but these were just too sweet not to share.  She fell asleep watching TV the other day. 

Fingers in her mouth, sleeping like a baby.  Love it.   Just love it.  She is snug as a bug in the blanket her Aunt Mindy & Uncle Chris gave her for Christmas.  

Isn't she just the sweetest thing?!  We love her so, so much.  She's laying on the baseball beanbag that everyone loves in this family.  Trouble is, it's starting to split at the seams.  Nothing like the innocence of a sleeping little girl.  Content.  

We went to soccer meeting tonight.  Their first practice is on Tuesday.  Can't wait.  They are all so ready to play ball.  Logan was rather disappointed when he found out girls were on his team.  LOL.  This will do him some good.  What they were taught in his orphanage is that women are inferior to men. I was even told in Bulgaria that the boys do not listen to women.  Ha!  He found out differently when he got home he'd better listen to mom.  He's learning quickly.  So having girls on his team will do him a world of good.  It is hard to change thinking after it being drilled in your head for so many years.  But, he's sees the difference firsthand here so that helps immensely.  Different cultures teach different things and we must remember that.  

I have been sorting so many papers and emails.  Getting a lot done but still so far to go.  We may be part of an adoption documentary in the Summer some time.  Don't know for sure, don't know all the details but still very interesting to think about.  I will try and catch up on all our happenings at some point.  I honestly didn't think we'd be this busy after coming home w/ the kids.  I was wrong.  We will have soccer practice Tues & Thursday evenings, Church clubs on Wednesdays(starts in April I think), Friday is home school Academy, Saturday are soccer games.  Irina works during the week.  Yana has track practice everyday during the school week.  Yana has meets 2 times a week.  Church is on Sundays though ashamed to admit we don't go every weekend.  Hey, I'm lucky they have clothes on when we go is all I'm saying about that.  Once I was so mad at them getting ready I threatened to take them all in their pajamas.  Those who know me, know I would have done it.  I swear they were all dressed in like 2 minutes that day.  LOL.  Maybe that is a hint I should use that tactic every time.  Anyhow, we are keeping busy to say the least.  But, it is a good busy.  Hope all is well w/ folks. 

Manic Monday

Gee, can't believe it's already Monday.  Tons going on at Chaos Manor as usual but trying to handle it one bit at a time.  Kids are watching Sponge Bob now so they're just sitting there.  I made them come in and veg out.  After they finished math, reading, history, I let them outside.  For quite some time.  They made soccer goals and also went and looked for tadpoles for me as we're studying amphibians.  Doing a science lesson in a few minutes.

Well, started that this morning.  Tons of lists being made around here.  Tons.  It's been a bit overwhelming lately around here.  But, slowly getting it all done.  The house has got to be our main focus.  I will have links up in a few days to the site for the house we'll have to sell.  This one.  Our home.  We are trying  to really organize.  Staging  a home w/ this bunch is just going to be impossible.  It's just the way it goes.  Plus, buying new bedding, accessories and such just isn't happening.  So, using what we've got and hoping for the best.  We're going to paint the dining room this weekend.

Besides the house, got Yana's IEP done.  Next is Max's.  I'm one of these pesty parents who actually cares if they are learning the material.  Could care less about the grade.  Really, you can fluff up any grade.   Anyhow, more on that later. 

Well, it's now Tuesday.  Let me give you an indication of how my night went.  I have yet to determine the highlight of my night last night.  Was it Warren being late, sisters fighting, the lying, poop everywhere, Reni stabbing herself with a crochet needle, or discovering that the boys have been peeing in the neti pot.  URGHH!!!  So, that is why I never finished this last night. 

Today, Warren stayed home as he didn't feel well this morning.  Speech therapist came.  We did home school today but today the kids felt like doing math.  For 2 hours!  No idea why.  I went w/ it though.  We went to the bank and opened Irina her first bank account since she has a job now.  Then, to the post office to send in insurance claims.  Insurance company owes us a few hundred dollars and frankly, I don't want Ramen Noodles at the end of this month if you know what I mean.  We also went to Walmart.  Well, timed it right there.  Scored sweat pants, jackets, pajamas, etc. for the kids.  Better than a yard sale.  Get this...just a $1.  Yep, a buck for brand new items.  And these really were some nice things.  I'll take some pics.  The younger girls were excited b/c they could dress the same.  LOL. 

Made some homemade play dough for Summer today.  Big hit for sure.  Trying to prepare for company this weekend.  Also, may speak at the church some time in the evening this week regarding adoptions and our story.  So many more things going on that I'd love to tell you about but frankly out of time.  Going to eat dinner and then head out for the boys' soccer meetings.  Yana had her first track scrimmage today & can't wait to hear how she did.  going to her first meet but she did not want us there today.  Honored that request. Anyhow, many, many things going on at once at Chaos Manor.  Will write more after we get back from soccer & think I actually have some pics too.  More to come.