Friday, October 25, 2013

On the Road Again

We are on the road again (or will be shortly) and can't wait.  We are taking a trip this weekend to another part of the state to just relax and enjoy a family campground.  Kids are beyond thrilled.  They have fishing, bounce pillow, playground, basketball, etc.  In addition, since it's a Halloween weekend, they'll have pumpkin carving, costume contests, RV site contests, trick or treating, a DJ Dance party, and so much more.  BTW, kids are ready to trick or treat at 146 RV sites.  LOL.  They know exactly what that means.  Piles and piles of candy. 

We have procrastinated.  True Boyd fashion sadly.  But, we'll pull it off and be on our way soon enough.  Since such a short trip, kids will do fine packing.  Not worried a bit.  It's going to be absolutely perfect fall weather to camp.  50's in the day, 30's at night.  We've already packed the important cocoa and apple cider.  As usual, we will be for the most part technology free on this trip.  Though all the campgrounds have wifi now.  Sofie, Summer and House guest all packed their backpacks.  Though Sofie was a little miffed that I took out the tambourine.  Sorry, too close of quarters to be packing a tambourine kid.  Nik's about to lose his mind over the trick or treating.  Seriously, this should be a relaxing and fun weekend.  Lots going on in the upcoming weeks so want to take time to enjoy this. 

More to come when we return on Sunday.  Hopefully, some really cool pictures as well!  Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Farm Fun

The other day after Camp Woodbine (working on that post), we went to our friend's farm.  Winterpast Farm if anyone in the area is interested.  Awesome place and VERY kid friendly.

When you go, you go through the gate.  Farm information is on there.  Not sure if you can read the picture on the $10 fee part but in parenthesis, there is the part where adopted children get in free.  Farmer Mary's kids, well, 2 of them are adopted as well.  2 of her kids spent the quite a few years w/ our Yana and Alex  That's how we all met years ago.  I encourage locals to go.  Not b/c I personally know her but this isn't like other petting zoos where you just look behind the cages.  Nope.  This is ALL hands on and she's an awesome teacher.  My kids have always learned something new every time they came.

Summer petting a donkey.  There are donkeys, emus, llamas, goats, chickens, rabbits, peacocks, ducks, guineas, guinea pigs, dogs, pigs, and much, much more.

Nik and several other kids love the tire swing.

Bojan and Irina with the llama.

Logan and Reni are not so sure of that llama.  Really wondering about their exposure to animals in Bulgaria. They are the only kids of mine that are not too keen on animals.

Nik and the rabbit.  They can hold anything in the cages.

 Summer enjoying her guinea pig time.

Sofie had her turn too of course.  A big thanks to my friend Kelly for those boots.  They sure did come in handy at the farm!

Sofie and Alyona having some fun swinging.

Can't go anywhere w/out something interesting happening.  During pushing Nik and House guest on the tire swing, it came back and knocked out his knee.  You know, the one w/ the torn ACL.

Not sure what Yana is doing here.  LOL.  But, they were all playing basketball.

Reni enjoying feeding the rabbit.

Irina I think had a good time as well.  The farm was after Camp Woodbine.  Those pics are next.

 Farmer Mary was explaining about the animals.  Here's she's taking a picture of them.  They all really and truly enjoyed their trip to the farm.  My kids love going. So much to do.  More pics to come from that day.  Camp Woodbine is next.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's time to explain....

what's been happening at Chaos Manor over the last few months.  It is no secret we are in the process of adopting again.  Though, I did keep that quiet for longer than usual.  This adoption is different however.  Different than any of our others in the past.  See, I had become friends with a family online.  They happen to live in the same state we do.  As with other families in the past, communication was kept open even after they got home.

But, there was something different this go around with this particular family.  And finally, I was let in on a secret that SO MANY other families as well don't like to share.  They were struggling when first home.  This is not uncommon and that is why I want to write about it a bit in more detail. Why?  Because I too struggled when first home with Irina and Max.  And I had no one but no one to guide me along.  It was a lonely time.  Anyhow, this family asked for advice.  They reached out to others.  They took the advice to heart.  They listened.  They tried and they tried where others would have given up completely.  It was a dark time for them I'm sure.

Imagine for a moment.  You save, you wish, you dream for years to have a child in your home to complete your family.  When that child comes, she is different.  But that is not the part whatsoever that bothers you.  It is the fact that she is just not connecting with your family.  You're trying and trying and trying but the connection is just not there.  Your fearful for her well being, her health both physically and emotionally.  What some of you new adoptive parents may not realize is emotional health is critical in these kids.  Orphanages can do a number on them.  The emotional health can be damaged that it can present in pretty severe physical and behavioral health issues.  Ask me how I know?  And no, it's not because of this child.  Try my own when some of them came home!  Alyona was an emotional mess.  How did this present when home?  Not wanting to eat.  She had no stomach issues, she just would refuse to eat.  And she was failure to thrive so you can see where this would be dangerous.  So, you have families coming home dealing with much, much more than expected and not only that, many doctors do not understand the PI emotional/ physical/ behavioral connection.

The family I was in contact with had tried everything in their power to help their daughter.  This is not a case of not loving a child.  I want to make that more than abundantly clear.  They have loved and still do love this child.  They have sacrificed much over the last few months.  This is not an easy out.  Not an easy path to navigate down if you ever find yourself in this position.  This is dedication to the well being of a child.  It is love beyond understanding.  You are willing to do what it takes to give your child a better life even if it means the child is going somewhere else forever.  I should not say better life.  I meant to say a family that would meet your child's needs whether it is due to environment or previous experience or whatever. 

To tell you how hard this was on this family, the decision to bring her here kept going back and forth.  Yes, no.  Yes, no.  Again, this is not easy.   This could be life altering and they knew that.  Yet, deep down, they also knew this was not what they wanted for their daughter or their family.  They had to try respite.  We offered.  We have never ever offered respite to anyone.  We did not know what to expect.   Would this hurt our kids?  Would the behaviors be too much for us to handle?  Would she even want to attach to us?  Could she attach?  Would this be long term?  Could we provide for her needs?  What if she got more sick here?  The questions could go on forever.  We all agreed she'd come here after our snow tubing trip.  I prepped the kids.   Told them what behaviors we may experience.  She came.  I had never met her before.  She walked out of that car but I didn't want to scare her.  Shoot, scary enough coming to a house w/ this many people.  She was clearly a little nervous.  Who wouldn't be.  The Dad was trying to be strong.  You could tell.  We talked about her medical needs.  We talked about her habits, emotions, etc.  they were very helpful.  Very informative.  If you ever do respite, please, please be open with your family.  It is critical.  Having honest, open communication between both families is only a positive for the child.

We all got adjusted.  We were back in toddler years, diapers and sippy cups.  We had none of this as Summer was to be our last.  After the first week here, I knew we were all falling in love.  But you reserve it b/c it was still unknown.  This was a trial period.  Would they be okay w/ out her?  Would she fit in w/ our family?  At two weeks, the questions were asked to each other.  Both sides were on the same page.  We both had this peace come over us.  I can't explain it.  I can't.  Months later, we still remain friends.  She is still here with us.  Is the family "over" her?  NO.  They never will be "over" her.  that is not how disruption works.  This was hard.  I know I sound like a broken record but I want to be clear.  We felt tremendous guilt on this side.  We felt like we were taking their child away.  Their heartbreak was deep.  This was a huge sacrifice they made for their daughter.  An unconditional kind of love.  True love.

All that being said, I want to say one more thing.  Thank you.  Thank you for the greatest gift anyone can give a human being.  A child.  I had dreamed for years to adopt a young toddler.  Before this, youngest was 3yo and was Alex.  He turned 4yo shortly after we got him.  So, I had always dreamed of adopting a toddler a tad younger than that.  To enjoy those toddler years a bit longer.  I had resigned the fact that this was not going to happen for us.  Then, this whole situation came up unexpectedly.  We said yes, not knowing how any of this would turn out.  All I can say is we are undoubtedly forever in love with our little girl.  The one full of spunk and joy and life.  I have so much to say about our newest daughter.  Though not our daughter on paper yet, she is in our hearts.  The homestudy is almost complete and papers in order.

I have one other thing to say before I show you our newest addition.  This is not anyone's fault.  It is not the result of someone doing something 'wrong.'  It is not the fault of not enough love.  This family will always hold a special place in our hearts.  Always.  And our daughter will know how she came to live with us forever.  It is a story worth telling.  It is full of hope, love and joy.  I know many will not see it that way but we sure do.  And, without further adieu, here is our newest addition:

This is Sofie and I.  Yes, some of you might recognize Sofie when she first came home from Bulgaria.  She has adjusted, bonded and fit right into this crazy bunch.  She is one of the gang and acts as such.  We love her to pieces and truly can not believe she's here at times.

Sofie on the Cape Hatteras trip.  And that is pure sassiness. 

This will be Sofie Rose Boyd.  She had a different middle name but it was the same as one of the other girls and also very close to a new other little girl.  So, needed to change it despite us loving her original name.  The name is not that important right now.  It is her personality, her zest for life.  And that mischievous side she definitely has.  It was the sacrifices of one family that allowed this dream to come true.  For that, we are forever grateful.  I will share more as time goes on.  for now, needed everyone to digest this.  The family and us wanted her story to be told with respect.  I hope I have conveyed that into words.  Some children just follow a different path when coming home.  There is no right or wrong way.  In the end, what matters is the child is happy with their forever family.   I can truly say without a shadow of a doubt, Sofie is happy here.  And we are most definitely happy she is here.

I had written the above post a few months ago.  Obviously, it is official now.  I had asked the family if they thought it was okay to publish, if it represented the situation well.  And, they gave me permission to write it out.  See, this is just one situation.  I have been in the adoption world for over 14 years now.  I've seen a lot.  After such negativity on rehoming recently in the news, it was time that light was shed on how some of these situations come about.  I don't want the families who have to make these most difficult decisions to be vilified in the media.  It is not fair to them.  As I've said before, this was NOT a case of not loving a child.  Just the opposite is true.  I truly believe Sofie is blessed to have two families love her so much to give her this life.  Thank you for listening and thanks in advance for respecting Sofie's story.  From here on out, you will see Sofie as part of our family.  Telling of her life, not on how she got here.  Again, I ask anyone in the adoption community who knows of us/ the other family to respect what has transpired.  We all love her and that is what counts. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Manic Monday

busy week is an understatement.  But, we'll get through it just like the other weeks.  We were so lucky last week was kind of a lazy week.  Well, shouldn't say lazy.  I'll just say not as packed.

  • Alyona has scoliosis appt. today
  • Surgery will be forthcoming
  • Appt. for neurosurgery cancelled for tomorrow
  • CSF leak has healed itself...wahoo!!!
  • Need to catch up more on Alyona's schooling
  • Nik is talking more
  • Max needs new glasses
  • Alyona needs new glasses
  • new insurance plan came out for us 
  • Need to order more Advantix for dogs
  • Speech therapy this week
  • Sofie getting evaluated soon & starting speech
  • Wish we had more hours inthe day
  • Art class tomorrow
  • Summer's first field trip was today to pumpkin patch
  • Watching a friend's kids this week
  • Going camping this weekend
  • Need to make Halloween costumes
  • Wish there were candy gift certificates.  
  • They'll be a couple hundred children trick or treating at the RV park...yikes!
  • Almost done w/ apples
  • Summer needs shots
  • Making Sofie's MRI appointment
  • Still going through kids' clothes
  • Need to write thank yous
  • Thinking of Thanksgiving
  • Ready to pull kids out of public school
  • Have an IEP meeting for Max
And as usual, lots more going on.  Kids are really excited about the upcoming trip and so are we.  Seriously can't wait.  Enjoy your week folks.  Many posts forthcoming.  Just today sort of threw us for a loop. We knew it was coming but Christmas time is hard enough w/ out surgical stuff happening.  But, she needs this to be well.  Just means I need to get more organized.

Alyona's Scoliosis Appointment

Today we went to Duke.  Love the doc there that has worked with us.  The news today isn't all we wanted to hear.  Remember  awhile back when they told us the tethered cord surgery may make the scoliosis better?  Umm, yeh, that didn't work.  In fact, got quite a bit worse. I think before it was around a 46% curve.  Now, it's 61.2%.  Great news, it is NOT life threatening at this time.  Now, surgery obviously has to take place.  No exceptions.  They will use at least 18 screws, 2 hooks, and titanium rods.  Have to have titanium b/c w/ her tethered cord, future MRI's are likely.  Surgery will be at least 6 hours.  Recovery of feeling crummy, around 2 weeks.  Limited activity for much, much longer.  He said this is much more difficult than the tethered cord surgery she just had done.  He told us this will be a rough one.  Nurses told me it is a brutal surgery.  Their words, not mine.  nurses told me expect at least a week stay even though surgeon says 5 days. 

So, we got our new insurance info today and all the changes that will be taking place.  For a family like ours w/ multiple children w/ disabilities, it will have a profound affect on us and not all that great.  We are still getting details, still reading like crazy but not liking it.  It is what it is.  I won't get into political discussions on all this but most know where I sort of stand politically.  Healthcare debate is in the news enough.  Won't give it more publicity.  I'll just leave it at I'm not a fan and move on.

Back to Alyona.  Surgeon is booked.  We were all scrambling to find something available. Something 'may' come open on Dec. 3rd but not banking on it.  So, that leaves us w/ two possibilities.  Dec. 24th and Dec. 27th.  Possibilities.  Right now, the plan is for Dec. 27th.  If that falls through, we will have Christmas in the hospital.  Hope not.  So, Irina's birthday it is.  In addition to this, there are more medical happenings taking place.  Sofie will get a sedated MRI at some point soon.  Bojan will get new leg parts. Other leg is almost finished.  Nik will hopefully get his new implants, and house guest is outgrowing some AFO's.  So, medical stuff is happening around here.  Busy time but we'll all get through it one step at a time. 

We have never been more happy to get away this weekend and go camping.  Kids are VERY excited and little kids want to keep putting stuff in the 'bus.'  What they call the RV.  So tomorrow will be filled w/ phone calls galore but after that, it's all Halloween costume planning and making.  We're ready for some FUN this weekend!  Just wanted to share Alyona will indeed be getting surgery.  For now, scheduled for Dec. 27th.  We were originally going to get a second opinion at Shriners but we really like this surgeon and feel very confident w/ our decision to do it at Duke.  I'll update more as we here more.  If an opening becomes available, surgery could be much sooner.   We told him we'd be flexible.  Much more to come.  Just wanted to let you all know about Alyona.  She's ready b/c she wants to be taller.  LOL.