Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
This is Holly- Holly is a dear friend I grew up with who is doing AMAZING things in Tanzania:
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Last night I got the email! Isaac is out of Parquet (court) and is officially "OUR SON" and officially a REESE!
We have been elated the past few weeks with the reality that YES someday our son really is coming home. But it's also been hard too! Knowing that our son is coming home, makes us that much more anxious holding out hope that there aren't anymore hangups from here on out. Robert and I would like to ask you all to please keep Isaac in your prayers. We still have a couple more steps: Legalization, MOI, Passport and Visa.
Legalization SHOULD take between 4-8 weeks we have been told. However... nothing is a set standard and we know families who have been held up for months in this step. MOI is moving these days (as long as there aren't issues with paperwork)- it should take 2-3 months for MOI.... the passport shouldn't take long, and our birth parent interview was done, I-600 approved for the Visa- so the end part shouldn't take long either... so we are guessing- Isaac will be home sometime in the next... 4-12 months!
How is that for a wide timeline? :)
(I figured that I better give some sort of a timeline because Isaac's Nana yesterday said she thought her grandson was going to be 13 by the time he arrives home!)
So we thank you in advance for your prayers. We (all of us- the kids sometimes the most) for Isaac to come home. They all (especially Grace) want to travel when its time for him to come home. (We likely won't be able to buy so many plane tickets to Haiti unless we hit the lotto between now and then!)
Very soon Isaac's little friend, my dear friends son, comes home from the orphanage. I am so happy for my friend, insanely jealous, and I am SO looking forward to hearing all the adventures they will have over the next few weeks having ALL of their family FINALLY together. What a blessing. Congrats S. family! :)
Have a great day.
Isaac's OFFICIAL Momma
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
(Pic of Bean and Danny-I can't believe Angeline's hair was so long!)
I have been really blessed this past week having my husband home. He has been working out of town most weekdays, so having him working in town this week- particularly since I am sick has been such a huge help.
I am especially happy to have him home today. Danny, our oldest child at home, is moving out today. He is going to live with his friend A. and his friends Mom. They are a family from Vietnam and his friend A. takes care of his Mom and the household. Because A's older siblings (who don't live nearby) wanted A. to stay living at home while going to college, they offered Danny a great deal to move in to their house, rather than A. and Danny going to get their own apartment.
This morning Danny finished packing his things and loaded the van to take his "stuff" over to A's house and get moved in.
I thought that I was prepared for this. I thought I was almost excited about this. Having Danny move out, and Tyler halfway out the door already, means that we have an EXTRA huge room downstairs that will has already started being transformed into a fabulous school room/art room for the kids. I was really looking forward to having the extra space.
What does space mean REALLY though?
I am not even sure that I can get through typing this post without crying, that is how pitiful I am! I think that I keep flashing back to the phone call that came many years ago. The foster care worker was looking for a family to take three siblings in, all boys.
"Sarah, hi this is C. We have three wonderful boys that we need a foster family for. They are actually from a larger sibling group but these three have been living together for the past two years. Their foster family decided today to not complete the last three hours of the 30 annual foster parent training that is required so we have to move the boys."
I reply: "Well, that's pretty sad. Can't the foster parents just get a video or something and get it done?"
"Well they could have, but they chose not to continue to be foster parents... they chose that TODAY. The boys really love their foster parents and haven't had any troubles since living here." she said
"So the boys know that they are going to have to move despite loving their foster family?"
She quickly interrupts: "Oh no, they don't know yet. The older two boys are at school and the youngest one probably wouldn't understand, he is young and has some special needs. So I know that the oldest boy is older than children you typically foster, he has recently turned 11. But since we can get a waiver for your family (due to the number of children we had), and they would fit in so well, would you and Robert please consider?"
"Sure we will talk about it and call you back."
Robert and I talked and debated what to do. Because the ages of the kids we had at home and the experience we had fostering "peers" to them previously, we found out fast that it fit our family to take children typically UNDER 10, and we were open to most special needs. We rarely got a call for "white" children needing a home. Where we lived in Southern Ohio, they had a lot of foster families that didn't take children other than white children, so the calls we got were typically different (which was of course fine by us)... and the last time that they asked us to take a child older than the ages that we normally fostered (infants, toddlers, preschoolers, younger school aged children)- the boy had stabbed his brother in the leg "on accident". (I kid you not, we did get called for a 12 year old that had stabbed his brother... on accident or not... not for us!)
Of course we called back and said YES! Bring them over!
It was going to be several more hours before they arrived. The foster family that they lived with was over 2 hours away. The foster Mom had been packing up their things while they were still at school, so there was no formal goodbye with the woman they had loved as "Mom". Just a caseworker/transporter that came with the boys bags packed to get them at school, little brother in tow. On the way to my house they explained what was going on. We fostered for a great private agency who rarely had situations like this. Because it was last minute and would have been violating state law for them to keep the boys in the foster home without a license, unfortunately, they had no other choice. The good "Christian" foster home that they had been in, turned out to be not so great after all.
We got the beds and rooms ready and waited for the driver to arrive with the boys. The two younger boys said "HI MOM!" when I answered the door. "Mom" to them was just another word you called the lady who you live with. And in staggered Danny, head hung low, bible in one hand, basketball in the other. He didn't want to talk about it, he didn't want to talk about much.
The caseworker from the county arrived shortly after. She was a worker I hadn't met before and she arrived frazzled and looking concerned. She was stressed. She was frustrated because the boys should have been available for adoption by now, and this foster family that had the boys were going to adopt them- but the case was taking longer to process because the courts were so back logged. And now this happened!
I mentioned that it would be great if the siblings could ALL stay together- she laughed and said:
"Who would adopt ALL of these kids together?"
I said... "Well, WE WOULD!"
She laughed again... "They aren't going to let someone with six children already adopt a large sibling group!"
(IN the back of my mind I was thinking, well sweetheart, we will just SEE about that!)
Danny had spent the first 11 years of his life caring for his siblings. He has an older sister who also did the same. Together they had four younger siblings to care for. (Ages newborn,14 months, 2.5 and 3.5 when they came into foster care.)It took a LONG time to get Danny to understand his only job was to be a "child". We used to secretly celebrate the moments that he would stay up late, sneaking the TV, or playing video games despite us telling him bedtime was hours ago. We celebrated those moments because they were SO NORMAL. Instead of feeling like he had to be perfect and his brothers protector all of the time, he was able to just relax and be a child, a part of the family.
I had a fleeting moment of concern when my Mom and family came to visit thinking that they would have questions how we were able to parent such an older child. (Keep in mind at this time I was 24-25 years old, with 6 children (his and mine) and "other" foster children at home too...) But instead my family spent the day with the boys then asked how we would ever let them go? they were fantastic, and they suggested an attorney if they came available for adoption, why you ask? So that we could fight to try to get the other siblings too!
So the rest is history. That is exactly what we did. We were able to bring home the boys younger sister and adopt four of the six siblings.
We have been SO blessed to have Danny in our lives and as a part of our family. He is amazing. Because of the past he has had the "statistics" would have it that he may never graduate from high school, and the percentage would be especially low for him going on to college. He defeats all the odds, he is hardworking and kind, and I am so honored to be able to be his Mom.
We love you and we will miss you Danny... even though your only a mile away! :)
Why is Lena gone you ask?
Because she went last night back to the hospital because she had an early morning surgery this morning to remove her sutures and get tubes in her ears. I was so thankful that my sister Nina and daughter Lauren were willing to make the long drive to take Lena back to the hospital. There are moments that I get flustered with my sister but who else could I call upon to ask to spend a week watching ALL my kids, or to spend two days driving and take the baby for surgery. (And thank you Kika for spending the week out of town with me last week and bringing S. along too. And Grace too... and Kika for driving us there and back!!) I truly, honestly, 100% would NOT be able to do the volunteer work I do without an entire team of people behind me getting my "back" all along the way!
So since I was sick I have been especially grateful that I was able to count on my sister Nina to step up to the plate! :)
Although it was a bit strange to not be there for little Minky. I just have 100% faith in her doctor and she is such a strong little baby! She did just great of course and they are already on their way home.
I am assuming that most of you saw Lena's new smile on the MAT blog the other day. But I wanted to include some more pictures of her because there will be even more pictures of her in the days to come with her sutures out. I am anxious to see if it seems like she can her better. Because of the fluid in her ears she wasn't actually able to hear very much.
She is being fed though a syringe for the next two weeks... we then should be able to start giving her a bottle again and also let her "put things" like her fingers and toys in her mouth. Lena does fairly well when she has her arm holders off as long as we are holding her and making sure that things don't touch her mouth. Its nice to give her little arms a break from sticking straight out all the time!
Monday, July 14, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Lena looks absolutely adorable. I can't even believe the difference in her appearance and I am definitely just getting used to the new Minky!!
We are likely going to be here another night. I will post some pictures this weekend.
Next week Lena comes back to have her sutures (micro sutures) removed under anethesia as well as tubes in her ears!
Thanks for your prayers!
Sunday, July 06, 2008
1. Safe travels
2. For Lena to have surgery (they are checking her out tomorrow to make sure she is physically well enough and LARGE enough for surgery, she is now 11 lbs 7oz and seems healthy so we are hoping she is ok!)
3. That the surgery to repair her cleft lip goes well and she doesn't have a lot of pain
4. That Bean does ok with me gone for five days (and the other kids too, but Bean I worry about the most)
5. That Nina (my sister) remains sane while here caring for my children :)
6. That my children are on their best behavior and helpful to Nina
7. For Kim's children and husband while she is away this week
8. That my children stay safe while I am gone and no one gets sick, hurt or injured
THANK YOU! I will try to blog at some point and let you all know how things are going.
After 5pm the kids have supper and then they have their third daily bath and get dressed for bed. While they wait to brush their teeth and watch a movie the kids like to sing and dance together and the nannies teach them bible verses. Movie time is at 7 and the Elephant Room kids come and watch it with them (usually the movie is one with a lot of kids singing in it) and they also have their teeth brushed. Before bed they drink another glass of milk and pray are usually sleeping by 8:30pm.
Isaac is the lead singer in the Alligator Room; he always tries to sing louder than all the other kids together, he sounds adorable when he sings on the patio while they all play outside. Isaac loves to sing “I’ve been working on the railroad” and “e-i-e-i-o” he also sings a few songs in Creole, his favourite being the “B-I-B-L-E”. One of his favourite movies is a Raffi concert, Isaac can sing most of the songs word for word that are on that, he’s always enthusiastic about movie time and if anyone stands in his way it doesn’t take him long to start swaying his hand motioning them to move. Isaac loves mangoes; he gets to eat lots of them when he’s playing on the patio and he’s good at sharing if he already has one to chew on and finds more on the ground he offers them to his friends.
This past month Isaac made a trip to the doctor’s office for his adoption paperwork. Isaac always talks about the ‘machin’ but when we sat in the truck he was not impressed. He cried a little while we left COTP but calmed down after a few minutes When we got to the doctor’s office he cried and screamed and kicked, he wouldn’t look at toys and even refused the snacks I had packed for him, I was surprised that he didn’t do so well in this new situation as he is a very outgoing kid here. Isaac was so excited when we returned to COTP and he got to play with his friends again, he loves being around them.At school the Alligator kids have been learning to share by giving toys to their friends and saying “merci”. They’ve also been working on recognising shapes, Isaac was one of the only few who knew pointed out a circle when asked, he’s a smart boy. The children have been learning the names of the different parts of their bodies too, Isaac is very good at pointing out the different parts of his body when asked, he always knows where his “head, shoulders, knees and toes” are as he loves that song too.
it was more fun to knock it over and break it instead. He does great with cleaning up and loved putting the play doh back into its containers and trying to put the lids on them. Isaac is such a sweet, fun loving boy; he’s perfect for your family.