Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving

We had a nice Thanksgiving visiting family. Mark had to work Thursday and Friday, so the kids and I hung out at home. I grilled out a turkey in the snow(!) and we did lots of playing. We left to visit family late Friday and got in even later (well past the kids' bedtime). Of course they were still up early Saturday so we put all of them (and Mark :)) down for a rest at 10:30 Saturday morning so they could have some down time before family arrived.

And when they arrived, the kids had a blast. They had lots of second cousins to play with and of course lots of food to eat. Once lunch was done, Mark and I took all of the kids (still loving the 12-passenger van) to a playground. We had to laugh when we got out at the playground and watched the other moms' faces when 8 kids got out of our van, ages 13, 13, 8, 7, 7, 6, 5, and 5.

The other adults at my mom's house were quite happy we had rescued them from the swarm of small children. :)

We spent about an hour at the playground before heading back to my mom's house. The cousins had to head home (two of them were in the car three hours each way--just for lunch!) so the kids all said goodbye but are excited about the possibility to see everyone again at Christmas.

I loved getting to meet my 3-month-old niece for the first time. She's a sweetie and the kids adored her--although Alex decided she needed to go home and take a nap when she was crying.

We've paid for the quick trip and the overstimulation of lots of people with some increased negative behaviors with Danielle and Emily. It's unfortunate, but it's going to be quite a while before they're really able to handle a lot of family. Of all the things we have to be thankful for, I am so thankful for our supportive family and their understanding of our need to do things differently for our kids. It sometimes takes a little extra planning, but it helps so much to be able to have them rest, or take breaks, or whatever they need to help them better process and enjoy the holidays. :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Breathless

We were submitted yesterday.

Wow.

:) :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy thanksgiving!

And indeed, we have so much to be thankful for. Four beautiful, healthy children with one or two more on the way...Mark's job that he loves and is stable (particularly since we live in the most dangerous city in the US, apparently)...a warm house and plenty of food...friends and family that love and support us...and a God and savior who gave his life that we might be His again.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy some turkey...
And some ham...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Picture and video

Halloween, at a trunk or treat. Alex isn't in costume yet as he had had some behavior issues earlier in the day. We took his costume with us and told him if he could pull himself together that he would be able to wear it later. In the midst of lots of excitement, people, and candy, he was able to improve his behavior and DID get to wear his Larry the cucumber costume later! And no, Danielle is not taller than the boys. She's standing on the tree roots. :) And yes, she has a huge scrape on her nose from a face plant in the school parking lot.

And from our two kiddos with the speech issues...

video

video

Monday, November 22, 2010

Few and far between

Indeed. But hopefully you will be seeing more of me now, because we shipped our dossier today.

Did you hear that?

We SHIPPED our DOSSIER today. After I shipped it, I felt like throwing up. :) It's been a bit like being on a roller coaster for a few weeks around here--non-stop action in regards to paperwork gathering. I was ready to get off.

For those following the timeline...we committed to Candace on Oct 14 and shipped our dossier today, November 22. We gathered everything for the dossier from scratch, but it did help that the same social worker that did our previous homestudy did this one. We didn't have to write autobiographies again, but we did have to do absolutely everything else. I usually like the paperwork gathering stage (you get to make lists! and cross things off!) but this one went so fast I hardly had time to breathe, much less cross anything off. In fact there is still a list in the front of our dossier binder that I found yesterday, and we did everything on it a few weeks ago and nothing was checked off.

I was returning from FedEx this morning and realized that I was holding my breath. Not sure how long that had been going on but it could certainly explain my headache. :) :)

Now...we wait. If the dossier arrives in Ukraine by Wednesday, it might be submitted this Thursday. If it doesn't get there until Thursday, it will most likely be sitting with our facilitator until February. But at least it's done!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Huh

So I really thought I had posted that we were planning on adopting two, but perhaps I just commented on it, or sent an email, or thought it... ;)

Yes, we are hoping to be able to adopt two kids again. The problem we're up against right now is that Candace has been transferred into a place where Reece's Rainbow does not have any other kids. We've been waiting to hear who else is available there but don't have any information on that yet. So we sent our paperwork requesting Candace (by the way, not her real name :)) as well as an additional child at her orphanage.

There is a chance that we will only come home with one. We recognize that and if that is what God has planned for our family we are fine with that. Otherwise we fully intend to keep the "ark" theme going around here. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where things are

So many updates to give...and apparently I need to post more pictures as you guys were so excited about the family one. ;)

BIG NEWS: We no longer have a bedwetter!! I had mentioned (a LONG time ago) that we had gone back to pull-ups for the summer. As the end of summer neared, I reminded our bedwetter that he would be back to using the alarm and changing his sheets. All of a sudden, he decided he wanted to wear underwear to bed and was dry! I think we definitely made the right decision to go to pull-ups for the summer, as I needed a break from the alarm and we wanted to give his body a few more months to grow. But I am super excited that now it isn't even an issue!

I should note that we do occasionally have problems with a little "leakage". I don't think either of the boys are particularly good about getting up as soon as they wake up and they sometimes wait a little long to go to the bathroom. But all the leakage involves is a little bit in the underwear--definitely manageable! And boy, is that ever perfect timing before we introduce a couple more kids.

Our dossier...is done. With the exception of our 171H. That is all we need. We have filed our I600A and sent our homestudy, but we still need to do fingerprints and get approved.

By the end of next week. Yikes.

Ukraine will stop accepting dossiers for their annual winter break at the end of November, which means the last day we have to submit is November 25. Which means we need to mail our dossier to Ukraine by the end of next week.

And of course today is a federal holiday. ;)

I really have no idea if God intends for us to submit now or in February. We are still pushing forward, trusting Him to close doors wherever He needs to. I'm alternating between being really excited and wondering how on earth this is all going to work. But I know once our kids are home that even the difficulties will pale in comparison to the joy of having two more little ones!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Therapy and a wedding

Our days here are filled with normal, for the most part. Danielle's ankle study is almost done, and I am so happy for that. I do believe it has strengthened her ankles, but I will not miss the extra three days of therapy we've had. The other kids have been relegated to a kitchen off of the therapy room to do homework while Danielle is in therapy. It's not ideal and sometimes we have a hard time getting everything done that needs to happen at night. But the kids haven't complained at all and I'm so grateful to have kids who are accepting of our sometimes bizarre schedule.

One of the things I neglected to blog about was our trip to Colorado. We went to Colorado for a quick weekend trip for Mark's sister's wedding. We flew out there on Southwest and the kids loved it. It's the first time they've all flown together and they did so well. Apparently they're spoiled by the international traveling though, as they wanted to know where the music in the armrests was and why there weren't any TVs. ;)

My future sister-in-law (as of next July) managed to get this picture of us. I was impressed she managed to get all of us standing still. :) :)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Backing up

Surprised? So were we. :)

We weren't intending to adopt again yet. We had things we wanted to get done, certain things we wanted to finish, situations we wanted resolved before we adopted again.

Notice the key word in that paragraph? We.

I had actually stopped looking at the RR kiddos because I knew we weren't adopting anytime soon, and I would just fall in love with someone. :) :) But Mark was still checking periodically, and I still volunteer for RR through document preparation, dossier assistance, and chat moderation. So I was well aware of who was being advocated for, and there was one little girl who was due to be transferred imminently, possibly to a place she could no longer be adopted from. Everyone was advocating for a paper-ready family for her, which we were not, so I kept ignoring.

One evening, we were talking about various RR kids and in particular this little girl that was due to be transferred. I confessed that I felt like we were waiting for the wrong reasons.

We have a large house, plenty of income, and plenty of love, but because we didn't feel this was the ideal time to adopt a little girl might lose her only chance of ever having a mama and papa.

Selfish? Yes. And not how God calls us to act. So we agreed that if this was what God had planned, he would have to make it happen, and quickly. We knew Ukraine would not be accepting dossiers after November 25 (this is an annual occurrence) so we only had a few weeks to see if this was even possible.

And God opened all of the doors. Every time someone said "there's no way you can get such-and-such done in time," God made a way. And so, 3 weeks after committing to Candace, we have a nearly complete dossier. We still are not sure if we will be able to be submitted before the closure but we are trusting God to get our paperwork (and us!) to Ukraine at exactly the right time.