Tuesday, November 19, 2013
I closed it last year in the middle of October and it's been private for a year. Don't worry, you didn't miss any posts. There weren't any.
We had a rough year.. a year full of ups and downs for our family. I am NOT going to go into detail about what happened. I WON'T be answering any questions about the past year. It is BEHIND me and I am moving on with my life. Those people that I can trust and I know are behind me, know my story.. those that don't... it's not your concern so please mind your own business and worry about your own lives.
Now with that out of the way, we'll move forward. Our latest news, most of you know is that we went to Bulgaria to bring home our newest additions. We are so happy to have Landon and Evelyn as part of our family! We are now a family of 8. Here are a couple pictures to get you through until I can update our blog with professional pictures that will be coming later this week! So until my next post, which should be soon with the way our life has been the past couple weeks, Here are our newest additions!!!!
Sunday, October 7, 2012
I haven’t blogged in awhile so I wanted to post a quick update on how things are going. Now that we have settled into school and everything else going on, I am hoping to have lots to blog about and be here often.
Hockey has started for Owen and Katie has decided to join in with him. Their first practice was Wednesday and they both did great. Owen (at 5 years old) got moved up with the bigger kids. He did awesome at line drills and puck handling on Wednesday!
Katie is with the beginners, but is one of the best out there. She gets the concept of skating and did such a great job on her first night with all those pads and with all boys except one other girl. We were so proud of her.
Here are a couple pictures of the first night!
Katie is all decked out in Pink… Don’t they both look cute??
Waiting his turn with the puck!
Still Standing.. she only fell a couple of times!!
She’s already got Hockey Teeth! LOL
Josie and Jake are doing great. Josie is loving school and so is Jacob. Here are a couple pictures of the two comedians!!!
Oh mom.. PLEASE!!!!!
Yep.. I am so darned cute.. booger nose and all!!!!
Posing at the apple orchard.. Much rather do a photo shoot than pick apples!!
Such a big boy with his walker at the apple orchard. He walked all over for most of the morning!! BIG BOY!!!!!
Josie let me paint her face and spray her hair for homecoming which is a HUGE step for her. She typically hates face painting and anything sprayed in her hair!!!
Now a quick update on the status of our adoption. We have been submitted to court. We are now waiting to hear which judge will hear our case and when that will be. We are hoping for a court date before the end of October, however I am thinking that it might be the beginning of November before we actually have court, which will mean the beginning of December when I travel to get the kids. We are in a waiting pattern right now so I will keep you posted on any new information! We are still quite short on funds… if you so feel led to donate to our adoption, you can do that with the chip-in on the right side bar of the blog… prayers are ALWAYS needed as well that everything falls into place for travel and court etc. THANK YOU all for your continued support!!!
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
I haven’t blogged in awhile… quick update on us… school started a couple weeks ago.. everyone is happy in their new classes and are off to a great start to the year.
Adoption – we had our VISA appointment about a week ago..went very well. Now we are waiting for the Article 5 letter to be translated and authenticated and it will be submitted to the MOJ next week. At that point, we will wait for a signature from the Minister and then we’ll get submitted to court for a court date. Then about a month after our court date, we’ll travel to bring our two new additions home! I can’t wait to get them here!! Ahhh I miss them so much!!!!
OK, on to the topic of the day! I have had a lot of people ask me recently about respite care for their children. Some agree that respite care is great and very needed…others disagree with respite care and can’t imagine going anywhere without one or more of your children.
…today I am going to put it out there.. my feelings on respite care.
We live in Iowa… where we have some of the best services for people with special needs. We receive respite care for both Josie and Jacob. We will add Landon and Evelyn to that plan when we get them home. We receive respite through the I.D Waiver. The Intellectual Disabilities Waiver (used to be called the M.R Waiver and yes it is what you think it is). This is a program in Iowa that if your child qualifies for, you can have services for your child while it waives the income of the family. With this waiver, we get respite, supported community living and medicaid (for us its supplemental to our private insurance) along with a laundry list of other services that our kids aren’t quite old enough for yet. The three listed above are the ones that we use for now.
We have quite a few hours that we can use of respite per month and we use every single hour. Sometimes we use it so Joe and I are able to have a date night once or twice a month… sometimes so I can do things if Joe is working or vice versa. There are other times that we use it for Josie and Jake together so we can do something with Katie and Owen alone. We have used it individually for Josie and Jake so that the rest of us could do something that might not interest the other one.
For instance this past weekend, our respite worker came to our home, to watch the kids while Joe and I went out for a bit.. then when we came home, she took Jake home with her and he spent the night there. The next morning we took the older kids to a tiny amusement park near us for mini-golf, go-carts and a bounce pillow. Then we went to lunch sans Jake.
I know some of you are thinking ….. WHY not take Jake with you?? I am going to be perfectly honest here. We love Jake, he is our son… he is definitely part of our world and we love to take him with us to do mostly everything, but he is a lot of work at times. He is 5, he’s mentally like a 6-12 month old and he is the size of a 2 year old. He doesn’t walk on his own, he doesn’t feed himself (at least not at a restaurant). When he’s overstimulated, he pulls hair and head butts. He needs a stroller or to be held wherever we go. Knowing all of this, we KNEW that he would not enjoy or get anything out of watching us do this stuff. We would have pushed him in the stroller the entire day and he would have been overstimulated and too hot to be happy at all.
We use respite and I think it’s the greatest service that we have for the kids. Some families use respite for a few hours here and there, others use it to have a little vacation from the trials and tribulations that are their household. We all need a break… we have to have a break and there is nothing wrong.. in my opinion.. with using respite. It makes me a better mother.. to have time away from my kids…whether that be an hour or two days or a week.
I would pray that those of you who don’t believe in respite, to please not judge those of us that use it….until you walk a day in our shoes at our homes, you can’t know. I need respite.. I love respite.. I will continue to use respite and I will suggest it to anyone that asks me. What is your opinion on respite? I would like to hear it!!!
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Our last few weeks has been so busy. I can’t believe how many things need to be done before school starts NEXT week! Ahhhh… So I will give you a rundown on what’s up at our house.
On the adoption front: Our I800-a should be approved in the next day or two. We have the same officer as we did previously. Officer L is AWESOME and she even has visited our blog to see Landon and Evelyn. She said that it was nice to see as typically they only deal with the paperwork and don’t get to see the faces attached with all those papers. That was cool. So as soon as we get that approval, it will be sent to the US Embassy in Sofia. Then we will have a Visa appointment that our AWESOME attorney – Toni will attend for us. We will then be issued an Article 5 letter and then I believe our documents will be sent to court, where they will sit until at least September 1st. Courts in Bulgaria are closed until September 1st and have been since mid July. Nice vacation huh?? So my best guess is that we will travel end of October to pick up the kids. SUPER EXCITED about that!!!! We still have a lot of money to raise, so if you are looking for something to do with a couple buckets of money, we have a chip in on our side bar or our Family Sponsorship Account with Reece’s Rainbow!
Home Front: Tomorrow we are having two of these delivered: (well since I am late in getting this posted, this was actually today and I will get pictures up tomorrow!!)
and set up in each of the kids rooms. We have been blessed beyond belief to be gifted these beds. Some gracious people who shall remain nameless have been so kind as to purchase these for our family. Also, the man that made them gave us a huge discount as well for our adoption. He is coming to our house tomorrow to set them up. We are super excited to have these beautiful beds in our home. Praise GOD!!!
Today we were also gifted two full size mattresses for them. I can’t tell you what a God thing that was. I can tell you though it was an answer to prayer for sure.
We painted these rooms this weekend and I will be taking pictures tomorrow of the empty rooms as well as with the beds so stay tuned.
The kids: We are getting ready for school that starts AUGUST 15th!! UGH!! I am not quite ready for summer to be over and for ALL my kids to be in school! Makes me sad in fact. I will be alone here at home on the days I have off work. It will be strange, but I am assuming that I will get a lot accomplished for the first few weeks and then I might be a little bored. We’ll see.
Josie will be in second grade, Katie in first and Owen in Kindergarten. Jake will have another year of full time preschool. We have all the backpacks packed and ready for the meet and greet with the teachers on Monday. Here they are, sitting at the ready and I have caught the kids sitting and staring at them since I have told them
they are grounded if the even so much as think about touching them to please keep their hands off the school supplies.
Our summer: At the beginning of the summer, we purchased a pool pass for our family. This is the first time we have done this, however with 6 of us at $3.00 each every time we go, it adds up. We weren’t sure we would get our money’s worth, but boy we were wrong. We were at the pool nearly EVERY SINGLE DAY this summer. We spent the days of 100 to 103 weather we spent having fun in the water! I must say it’s the best money we spent and we made some wonderful memories there this summer. I must say as well, that it has been much easier taking all 4 kids to the pool than it has been having them at home. Not nearly as much fighting and they got some serious exercise there. Here are some pictures from our time at the pool.
Stay tuned for summer part 2 post in the next couple days!!!!!
Friday, July 13, 2012
Today is Landon’s birthday! He turns 6 years old today. This day he has always spent in the orphanage…..but it’s his LAST birthday behind those walls. I am so sad that I can’t be there with him to let him enjoy some cake and ice cream and give him presents to open. I love that boy. I miss him like crazy and it breaks my heart that he is spending this birthday there and not here with the family that will love him forever.
Birthdays with Jacob and now Landon and Evelyn always bring me to a different place than they do with my biological kids. It gets me thinking about their “other” family… the family who didn’t think they could care for them.. mostly their mothers. Do they think about them on these days? Does she remember that 6 years ago she was in a hospital so happy and elated to finally be delivering this baby? Or has she blocked this from her mind because it didn’t turn out quite as she had hoped? Did she feel shattered at the thought that her little one was not “perfect” like she had hoped? Does she just more than anything want to forget this day ever even existed? I wonder.
I am glad! I am glad she chose to give her child life… I am sad that she didn’t think she had the strength to care for her child, but rather she entrusted someone else to care for him until we could come and bring him to our family. I am happy she did that! He was meant to be our son from the beginning.. God knew that! He knew that we would see him and fall in love with that glimmer in his eyes. He put this into motion more years ago than I can count! He knew!
Happy Birthday to my sweet boy! This year we will celebrate on your 1/2 birthday because by the Grace of God you will be home in our arms by then! Today we will celebrate your birth here with cake and we’ll sing to you while each of us blows out one candle on your cake! Knowing that when you are here, you will celebrate a lifetime of birthdays blowing out your own candles surrounded by the love of your ENTIRE family who already love you more than life itself!!
Saturday, July 7, 2012
So I got home almost a week ago. My flight from Chicago was delayed so instead of arriving in Des Moines at 6:30 pm, my flight didn’t get in until almost 8 pm, so then we drove home and I got to snuggle the kids for about 15 minutes and we all headed to bed. I had to work the next morning and the kids had daycare. Needless to say, jet lag reared it’s ugly head and I was wide awake and starving at 2:30 am. Nice.
Worked Monday mostly in a fog really, but got through the day. We had a nice 4th of July. Parade in Charles City and then back to Grundy for swimming and fireworks in Reinbeck. Here are a couple pictures from the parade that morning.
Loving the firetrucks and sirens!!!
On a quick break from candy gathering! LOL
I have been trying to catch up on housework, though Joe did an excellent job while I was gone… dishes and laundry stayed caught up while I was gone so that was the biggest thing.
Been to the pool a few days and this weekend is Felix Grundy Celebration here in town. We’ll be going to the parade this afternoon and to the pool for a few hours before the parade.
I have been keeping busy….. have to or I get all emotional that two of my children are 1/2 way around the world and I miss the heck out of them. I will be so happy when they are here with us and our family can start to function with 6 kids. Many people have asked about ages.. when they come home they will be 8, 7, 6, 5, 5 and 4…. so yes, they are close, but I think that will be great for the new ones to just fit right in the mix and learn from the other ones.
That’s it for today. I will be posting more… about our process, our busy life and mostly about our kids… here and in Bulgaria!!
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
This is where I am right now…. in Hotel Hemus in Vratsa Bulgaria. It’s a great hotel.. very nice and pretty cheap compared to American standards. It’s 55 leva a night which translates to $35 USD per night and that includes breakfast.
The breakfast is good… it was particularly good the first day here when we went to eat at the buffet breakfast BEFORE the about 20 high school aged boys that are staying here too. I believe they are wrestlers and I am not sure what they are doing, however they eat A LOT and sometimes when we get down there, there isn’t much left, but we make due with some bread and maybe an egg or two! LOL
There is a beautiful square out in front of the hotel… no cars… just walking… then across the little street is blocks and blocks of shops. Just stores, café’s and restaurants. No cars, only for people walking and it is really nice.
There are mountains all around here with these beautiful rock cliffs on the sides of them! Here are some pictures as I ventured around the city yesterday. It’s a city of about 65,000 people so it’s not at all the size of Sofia (2 million or a bit more) but it’s so pretty here.
I am sorry I didn’t blog yesterday… I went out exploring the city (photo’s on my blog post tonight). Then Phillip and I had great pizza for dinner.
So here is a recap and a couple of photos from my visit with her yesterday and this morning. Our visits are kind of like groundhogs day really. We are in the same small room with the same toys each time. She does good for about an hour and a half then she gets anxious to go back to her group. We have been staying about 1 1/2 hours in the morning. I don’t want to push her to much. She is hesitant to warm up to me too much though when we are together she wants to sit on my lap at times when she’s not perusing a book. She’s not super active and is content for the most part to sit and look at a book or throw things on the floor! LOL
She definitely prefers her caregivers to me. They must all be familiar to her because it’s someone different every day that brings her to us. We have not been allowed to go up to her groupa and other than the first day, we haven’t seen any other children at all. They run a very tight ship at this orphanage. It’s ok with me… it seems the kids are safe.
We play with the same books every day which I know she’d like me to read to her, but since they are in Bulgarian, I make up words to go with the pictures and she seems content with that. I swear that this morning she said OK to me…..(Phillip heard it too) as I put her down to get something. Probably a fluke, but not positive. I have told her in English to do certain things and she’s done them about 1/2 of the time. Like help mommy clean up… do you want to go?…… do you want to sit on my lap??… I asked her if she spoke English and she said “nay”. It was too cute.
On this mornings visit we took her to get her Visa/Passport pictures taken. It was funny because I thought the whole way there in the car, I didn’t bring candy to bribe her like we had to with Landon. Turns out, she didn’t need it. The woman took two pictures and the first one she turned away just as the flash went off.. the second one was perfect. That was that. Phillip had actually walked back to the car to get something he forgot and in that short time the pictures were done. They printed them out right then and that was that! We went back to the orphanage and played for about 1/2 hour and our visit was over. I have 4 more visits with her. This afternoon, two tomorrow and then Friday morning will be my last visit as we will be driving back to Sofia in the afternoon.
Here are some pictures of her from yesterday and today… yes she is in the same outfit.. yellow yesterday a.m. and green yesterday afternoon and this morning.. same exact outfit, just different colors. LOL
There is also one with her shirt off. Past days, she’s had a onesie on under her shirt and shorts so I didn’t want to take it off, but today she just had an undershirt. You can see how skinny she is. We’ll take care of that when we get home. Anyone know anything about the indention on her chest?? Indication of anything??? I don’t know for sure. I didn’t get a picture of her back, but her spine sticks out of her skin too.. not open, but you can see her entire spine with her shirt off.
Evelyn and Phillip in the background! She’s coloring…. this is just before she bit off a big bite of green crayon!!
Playing with my music toy!!!
They put a bow in her hair in the afternoon yesterday! So cute!
Hey.. get that camera out of my face.. don’t you have enough pictures??
Her TINY foot.. I am guessing a size 3 or 4 infants will fit her fine. She’ll be 4 in August.
Look at that beautiful profile picture! Stunning!!!
This is as much of a smile as we’ve gotten so far. I will take it!!!
She’s so skinny!! Goodness!!!
You can see all her ribs. They say she just has trouble gaining weight just like Jacob does. We’ll be getting Thyroid tests and Cardio appointments the minute we get home.
Here is a better look at that indention on her chest. Any ideas? Or are just some kids like this??? When she breaths that part goes in even further!!!!! But leaves me with …..why????