Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Whew!  Dusting off this blog!  Bringing home two more mobile children was hard!  We've dealt with a lot of behavior and medical issues this last 18 months, but things are settling in nicely.  I'm hoping to use the blog this year to document how i modify our homeschool curriculum for our kiddo's who have cognitive disabilities.

Our boys are 11, 10, 9, but cognitively much younger.  They are getting to an age where it isn't really appropriate to continue doing young preschool level work, even though that is where they fall academically.  It is always a struggle to find curriculum that is age appropriate, but also falls into a cognitive level that they can fully participate.  I haven't found great ones yet for the disparity between my boys ages and their cognitive levels, and it is a goal of mine this year to adapt more of our curriculum for them to participate in.

One simple thing we do for handwriting, is to show the child where they need to make each letter.  It sounds like a simple thing, but the blank lines are overwhelming and they have no idea how many letters i expect them to make.  Asking them to count a specific number and then write that many letters is actually working on two goals at once, and can also be frustrating for them.  Simply putting a dot where i expect them to write the letters is a quick and low tech way to ensure they can complete the worksheet with minimal help from mom.  I always demonstrate how to make the letter and watch the first couple they write to make sure they are forming them correctly.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Not what i wished for

You're not what i wished for
when i wished for you,
a sweet baby girl,
with a little something extra,
who would run around,
and sass us with her funny words.

You're not what I hoped for,
when we saw your sad picture,
success stories dancing through my mind,
of children who do and do and do.

 You're not what i imagined,
when i pictured our future together,
shopping dates, prom dates and a house of your own

You're not what i wished for,
with your solemn face
and your slow movements
and no sassy words at all.

You're not what i hoped for, 
with your fleeting eye contact,
and your content to just be still.

.You're not what i imagined, 
for us, and you,
b/c you are so much more.

When you meet my gaze,
my heart leaps.
Chubby arms reaching across to 
be held safe.

Deep, dark eyes, 
holding all your mysteries.

I lose myself in them

Dreams change.
Wishes change.
What might have been
look what is.
Look at her,
isn't she amazing?

And i'm so grateful
that we didn't say no
when reality was different
than my silly wishes.

B/c i would have missed
a better reality
than i could have
ever imagined.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

confession time

We went to church tonight, and they played the song that seems to have become the anthem for me with regards to adoption.  Invitaction Fountain.

True confession here.  I hate traveling.  I hate leaving my kids at home.  I hate arranging childcare.  I hate the showers and the food and not understanding the language.  I hate feeling like a standout sore american thumb.  I hate fast crazy driving that makes me want to puke.  I hate missing out on what my other kids are doing for a week.  I hate jetleg.  I hate the pervading smoke in other countries.  I'm spoiled.  I get it.  I really do.

But this song.... it has become my anthem.  B/c this adoption is NOT about me.  It's not about us.  It's about following a calling, even when i DON'T want to.  I know that's offensive to some.  But it's the truth.  We are in a good pattern right now with our current kids.  I know the next six months to a year are going to involve a lot of training and retraining and tears on all our parts.

 I know i will be shown MY flaws as a parent yet again.  Believe me, nothing shows you what a terrible parent you are when you just can't take it one more minute and lose your cool on a kid who was an orphan just a month ago...when i'm on my knees just praying for help with MY heart, with MY flaws, with MY weaknesses i think of this song.  It was being played when i first started attending this church, and i really LOVE that it was sung tonight.  This was my last time at church before i go and get the boys.  I'm particularly nervous b/c we are supposed to fly through Paris.

Something about these lyrics though, man they just resonate in me.

" Come on, be set free!"  Yes, come with us boys, come and be set free.  See the world for the first time.  See what being in a family is like.  So many firsts to be had, even at their ages.  Be free to make your own choices, good and bad

"Where you lead me i will go, if you lead me i will follow." I will follow and i hope that we can lead them down a path they can be proud of.  We weren't particularly looking to start another adoption, but when we saw their pictures and we just knew, they were ours.  So we will go.  Again and again and again.  As long as we are called.  As long as we are able.

 Invitacion Fountain 
Let all who are weak 
All who are weary 
Come to the Rock 
Come to the Fountain 
All who have sailed 
On the rivers of heartache 
Come to the sea 
Come on, be set free! 

If You lead me Lord, 
I will follow 
Where You lead me Lord, 
I will Go 
Come and heal me Lord, 
I will follow 
Where You lead me Lord, 
I will go 
I will go 

Let all who are weak 
All who are weary 
Come to the Rock 
Come to the Fountain 
Let all who have climbed, 
The mountains of heartbreak 
Reach to the sky 
Come on, and give your life 

If You lead me Lord, 
I will follow 
Where You lead me Lord, 
I will Go 
Come and heal me Lord, 
I will follow 
Where You lead me Lord, 
I will go 
I will go 

Heal me. 
Heal me. 
All who are weak 
All who are weary 
All who are tired 
All who are thirsty 
All who have failed 
All who are broken 
Come to the Rock 
Come to the Fountain

song below in case you want to hear it. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015


A little late posting, but we were officially granted the pleasure and privilege of being these guys parents forever last week.  I am humbled and grateful to be adding to more little guys to our house.  I am anxious to go get them.  I will travel with friends the week of Thanksgiving to spring them forever from their orphanage and free them forever.  No longer orphans, now beloved sons and brothers.  Welcome Welcome, Benjamin Richard and Maximus Jon.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Baby

Lanie girl.

Here we are again.  It was your birthday this week.  Sorta snuck up on me.  You are five now.  Five.
what's this birthday nonsense you speak of mother?
 On paper anyway.  Mostly, still just my squishy fishy baby.  I think you may be our baby forever.  I'm okay with it. Don't get me wrong, sometimes i wish for YOU that things could be easier for you.  That you could walk and talk and run around like the other kids.  Maybe next year.  .

 Maybe not

 Either way, we traveled the world for you baby, and we would do it again a million times over.  You are worth everything.  You are worth all we could give and more.

 We call you a "lifer" around here, meaning you will most likely live with us forever.  Daddy and i used to talk about what we would do when "the kids" were grown and gone, and now those discussions have changed.  In a wonderful way though, have no worries.

 We laugh thinking about your grumpy little face when you are 30, or 40 or 50.  We wonder if you will still grump and fuss at us when we don't do what you want.  It doesn't seem like the life sentence it used to when we would think about kids staying forever (long before we started adopting).

 It seems more like a life gift.  We get the gift of you with us as we grow old together.  And that's pretty cool.  Life together with you seems pretty awesome.

 Happy Birthday darlin

why is there no cake on this tray woman?

that's better!

let me think about this

who cares if i'm dirty?  Cake is delicious!

glad you got with the cake program mom!



Wednesday, August 26, 2015


I've had several people ask me for an update on the kiddos!  So long overdue and here you go!

 Eli Came home in October of 2012.  He had a few words in Lithuanian but not many and was not potty trained.  He is closing in on three years home and oh has made such amazing progress.  He speaks in sentences and is VERY good about asking for what he wants and needs.  He has grown much taller and loves to play with his siblings.  Unfortunately, he struggles still with attachment and making good choices. When children don't form an early bond to a parent, it can damage their brains and make it hard for them to connect in the future.  We are working on this with him every day, and pray that one day he can just accept our love without trying to push us away with behaviors.  We made the decision to home school him last year and continued with that this year.  He is not ready to be away from us for hours everyday.  We feel it is important for him to be more firmly attached to us first.  He is doing very well academically at home, learning his letters, numbers, sight words and many other exciting things!!!!

Jocelyn came home in February of 2014.  She weighed 25 pounds and was 36 inches tall.  She was scared of everything.  She would not sit facing an adult and would fight to put her back on our chests and hold our hands down on her lap.  We can only surmise she was afraid we would hurt her, and this way she could ensure she knew where our hands were at all times.  She still does not like anyone to walk or be behind her and will turn until she can see what you are doing.  She would scoot on her bottom but was unable to bear any weight on her legs.  She bit often, when she was feeling overwhelmed or scared.  She spent most of her day rocking herself or banging her head on the floor.  She would pat her hands on things when she was bored.  These are unfortunately all really common behaviors in kiddos who have been left in cribs and have no stimulation.  She would silent cry when something was upsetting her, with tears falling and her mouth open but no sound.  It was (and still is) the saddest sight to me.  How in the world was she taught not to cry out loud?  It breaks my heart to even think of it. She also struggled greatly with feeding, she would take a bite and then whip her head to the side and bring her hands up defensively.  In short, she was a tiny, scared little girl who had no reason to believe we wouldn't hurt her.

We have spent the last 18 months teaching Jocelyn that we will always be gentle with her.  We do not force her to eat, and if she turns her head we vocalize, "okay Jo, you tell me when you are ready".  Trying to let her know that she can control what and how she eats.  Some days feeding took a REALLY long time, and that was okay.  She needed to know that we would never force her or hurt her.  She is bearing weight on her legs beautifully and using a walker at school and church to get around.  However, she sees no point in using one at home when she can scoot on her bottom and chase her siblings just fine thank you very much ;)  We are working on it.  She was recently fitted for a wheelchair.  Although she is making GREAT progress, the truth is that she was stuck in a crib for 7 years and is closing in on 9 years old and still not an independent walker.  A wheelchair will give her a measure of independence for longer distances in the future, instead of having to have someone push her around she is learning how to control the wheelchair herself.  She says "mama" often, and each and every time she does my heart just melts.  She loves being loved.  She will wind her hands around my face and just stare at me so intently before she smiles and hugs me.  Knowing love and giving love were new experiences for her but she has grabbed hold and never looked back.  She gained 9 pounds and 5 inches in 18 months, a very respectable gain!  Jojo goes to a special school for children who have disabilities, and her staff is so loving and great with her.  She takes walks down the hallway to visit friends and they are teaching her to use an electronic talker to communicate her wants and needs.  In short, she is amazing.  We are so grateful everyday we "added" her to our adoption of Lanie.  I can't imagine our lives without her, and i shudder to think of her still stuck behind those crib bars.

Lanie was 3 when we brought her home at the same time as Jo.  She had major heart surgery in Bulgaria around age one.  She would also bang her head on the wall all day long for stimulation.  She, unlike Jojo, was EAGER to eat and be fed!!!  She has gained 10 pounds and only one inch in 18 months, and is being followed by an endocrinologist for this and several other issues.  She was unable to bear any weight on her legs and also was not crawling or scooting around at all.  When she came home we could place her on the floor and walk away and she would always be in the same exact spot when we came back.  She would shake her hand in front of her face for hours, lost in her own world and perfectly content to stay there.  She has been more like the turtle in this race, slowly moving forward at her own little pace.  She is starting to bear weight on her legs and is being introduced to using a walker.  She can stand if you prop her on the wall although she prefers not to.  She has recently learned how to scoot on her butt and i NEVER find her in the same place anymore!  She prefers to scoot into the big girls room and steal things off the floor to shake.  Hey, it's a start anyway.  She still bangs her head if she wakes up in the middle of the night, but not so much during the day.  She had open heart surgery again in May of this year, and came out of it very well and has made a lot of progress since then.  Attachment has been really slow with her, and i had resigned myself to the fact that we might be at a standstill with her.  After surgery i think she realized that hey this mom person was here the whole time, and she started to show more signs of attachment. She will eagerly reach for Jared and i now, and LOVES to be smooched right on her chubby little cheek.  She will grab my hair and bring me close for silly games!!!  So excited to see her turn this new and exciting little corner towards enjoying having a family.  She was recently diagnosed with Autism, as well as her Down Syndrome.  This was not a surprise to us, as soon as i picked her up in Bulgaria i thought she might be autistic (i used to work at a behavior clinic for children who had Autism so very familiar with it).  We love our little "squishy" fishy and the children fight over who gets to hold and play with her! She is firmly in the "baby" position of the family!

Family is more than blood.  It's our motto around here.