Adoption Decrees and "The Hands"

We FINALLY received the adoption decree from our state. Whew! That took a ridiculously long time. Grant's re-finalization only took a few weeks and this one took a few months. Now Jake can get a U.S. certified birth certificate (actually certificate of foreign birth). Next week, I'll be working on a social security number for him as I have been busy  putting that off too long. 

All three kids had games at 9:30 today so I was back and forth between the boys' games and Omi watched Allyson's game. I know, I know. More soccer pics.  The boys have their last games next Saturday and Ally has one tournament towards the end of Nov.  Next week, after the games, we're off to someplace fun though!

Jake starts out with great intentions at the beginning of his game.

Then, the middle of the game....not so much.

By the third quarter, he starts asking coach if it is time to do the hands. He just wants to do "the hands".
In fact, he walks around the field like this asking and re-asking.

Yeah! Finally, "the hands!"

Grant plays hard the ENTIRE time. He doesn't slow down a bit and runs through all four quarters. (I got a nice line in one frame of my pics using the sport setting. Darn it!)

He comes home muddy, dirty, sweaty. Just like a boy.  Too bad I don't have any of that energy today! I'm out of it all!


Kazakh Kid on a Kazakh Rug

Mom bought a Kazakh rug and I'm getting over my jealousy considering I would have no where to put it. So I put my Kazakh Kid on the Kazakh rug!


Nepal Adoptive Parents Need our Help!

As is the case with any adoption, the government can put a halt on them whenever they choose. Whenever there may be a case of unreliable abandonment documents, further investigations need to be made. Because of this,  the U.S. embassy in Nepal has not issued any more visas since August.  The problem lies somewhere with the adoption investigation to make sure everything is legit. They aren't doing them. I completely understand why they stopped  processing visas. However, those that are already in-country with their adopted child should be able to have the investigation done to make sure the child was actually abandoned and available so that a visa can be produced. Then  they can move on with their lives and come home. American parents have been in Nepal since August waiting! What are they to do?  Do they turn their back on their child after all this time and abandon them AGAIN! This is not a logical course of action. So it is time to get into action! Please consider signing this petition asking that investigations be made and appropriate visas granted ,and forward to your state reps to help bring these children that are hanging in never never land home! It is the right thing to do. These children have been stuck in red tape far too long. 


Some Days You Manage to Make it Happen

I totally forgot to take before and after pictures, but I desperately needed to re-upholster my dining room chairs. I pulled this photo which was taken for our adoption paperwork. You can see the chairs have off-white upholstery.
What you didn't see is the ick in the chairs' seats! My off-white wasn't so bright!

Now, don't let the title of my post fool you. My mom came and did it for me while I watched. Lame, right? It's just that besides the fact that mom's hands work much better than mine, she is a wiz at things like this! Thanks, Mom!

Do you like the finished chairs? I'm hoping the fabric will hide some of our messiness. I just may place a towel down on the chairs where the boys sit. Hey, at least I didn't cover them in plastic!

So back to the title of my post. I actually managed everything today. Homeschool work completed, nagged children to finish their chores and music practices, cleaned the house, washed and folded the laundry, guitar lesson, basketball practice, bank, grocery store, pharmacy, dinner (so what if it was sandwiches),  started a new project with Grant,  read books to Jake, exercised, worked on the preschool workbook with Jake, and bathed kids. Fifteen more minutes until quiet bliss (I mean bedtime) so I can read by book
The Lucky Gourd Shop a novel about Korean adoptees.  It doesn't happen everyday, folks, so you have to celebrate the small victories. 


Firefighters and Fire engines

 Fireman Jake had a field trip to the Firehouse this morning. Of course, he was so excited! He listened to the instructor, watched the video, and then told everyone that he did not have a smoke detector in his house. Ahhhhh.........sigh! (of course, we do have them; he hasn't noticed them!)

He studied everything carefully and asked the firefighter if his truck had 2 wheels (the double tires that heavy trucks have). He wanted to know what every gadget did.

He REALLY enjoyed practicing with the hose. He said, "You see me, Mom? You love that?". 
He was feeling pretty powerful folks!

He was coaxed out of the truck as he was trying to tell me all about what it does and what things were.

Grant's school had the fire prevention instructor come in this afternoon so he received the same packet of coloring and activities as Jake did. My studious one got right to work reading through, doing the activities, answering the questions, and coloring perfectly in the lines.

This one just broke the crayons and squished his hat!


Youth For Christ

We headed out tonight to a Youth For Christ benefit. We have three centers in my state. The speakers were very, very good and we had a nice time out with adults! It is a rare occasion that all of our friends get to go out without our kids with us. More importantly, the evening was a great reminder that the kids right here who technically have parents, need our support. They need a safe place to go to and receive some direction in their life. They need a place to go with some pencils, books, paper, and a computer or two to do homework. One of the teens that attend the center was there and was saying that the building is in a drug infested area and is run down like everything else. But what he said next was what caught my attention. He said that when he went into the building, Mr. "Counselor" made it feel like a 5 star hotel. Wow!! The teen was telling us that he doesn't walk alone in the area around the center and that before he started going to it, he thought he would probably just sell drugs and try to take care of his mom. These kids certainly do need some guidance in their life, don't they?  Thankfully, Youth for Christ is taking on that challenge.



Jake still will ask the question: "Why my Chinese mommy and Chinese daddy not come get me?". He asked again today. 

I've explained, re-explained, and explained again. He needs reassurance.  He still has to be reminded that he does not have to change mommies or daddies anymore. I re-explained to him today that Chinese mommy and Chinese daddy were caring for him until we, his forever mom and dad, could come for him. Hard for a 4 year old to understand. Does he feel abandoned by his former foster parents? I try to make sure to always portray them as the loving caregivers that they were. However, I don't believe he ever saw them as temporary. This could take some time. 

Jake still asks this question as well: "When I am done eat this, can I have more?". Pretty much asks with every meal. The answer is ALWAYS the same and a resounding, "YES". 

It's only been six months and I know that the reassurance and understanding of certain things like permanency will take some time.  I just feel so badly for him when he asks these questions!


Adoption Weight Gain

Okay, so I'm the first to admit that adoption makes me gain weight. I have gained more weight with the boys adoptions than I ever did with my pregnancy. I delivered Ally on a Monday and was 3 pounds less than I was before I was pregnant by Wednesday. What can I say.....It was a tough, tough pregnancy.
With Grant's adoption, I gained about 20 pounds (ridiculous, I know), but lost all of it and then some with my 2 month stay in the land of Kaz. 

After his adoption came two knee replacements, 3 screws holding a foot together, lung surgery, joint fusions, and on and on and on. In other words, I'm not quite the spring chicken I used to be. Top that off with another adoption, eating my way through China, getting a 4 yr old adjusted to a new life, adjusting to 3 kids, homeschooling, getting 3 kids to soccer and 3 different schools, and volunteering at school......---sigh----
I just have weight I'd like to lose to feel a little better. Problem is that at least one child is always with me from the time I wake up until the time THEY go to bed. When I do work out at home, I'm always interrupted so many times that I wonder if it's even worth it. 

All that to say this, I joined a gym and somehow am going to figure out how to get there. Eric switched his gym membership to this one as well. Honestly, gyms make me feel so incompetent with those cute girls running on the treadmills with abs, buns, and everything else made of steel and then there are those buff guys who seem to know what their doing. I feel self-conscious with my large, wide knees, my scars,  my missing joints,  hanging out-of-socket joints, and my inflexibility. 

To help me feel more comfortable and get me all ready to exercise, Eric came home with this:

That's sweet, right? So he bought himself this:

Poor guy has to buy his own trophy! He's a funny guy! At least, I think so. 
So, to those skinny running girls (the girl next to me on the treadmill tonight is probably still there), keep running. If you were carrying around as much metal as I am, you'd weigh more too and would probably be running a lot slower! 



Eric was away for the Saturday soccer games this past weekend. (He surprised us on Sunday by leaving his golf weekend early to come to the tournament). I thought his text message on Saturday morning was funny:

Tell Ally to play hard
Tell Grant to control the ball
Tall Jake not to yell "RED LIGHT"

You see, Jake likes to play coach and yell "red light" to make the kinder kickers stop running!


Signs of Fall

Pumpkins Carved

Wagon pulling


Pretty leaves

Roasted pumpkin seeds


We Came and Conquered

 We came.

We cheered.

We brought fans.

Who enjoyed Coke.

She played.

And won....

all four games.

To win it all......


(not too intimidated by the taller, broader girls either)

Great job girls! Always fun to watch you play!


Conversations with Jake

Jake and I had our weekly lunch date at Chick-Fil-A today. He always gets the noodle soup and fresh fruit cup.  Today, I had to go back to the counter and order ANOTHER soup which he sucked dry as well. That kid can eat! 

Out of the blue, he told the employee today that he was Chinese and his brother was Kazakh. I thought that was cute!

Last week something significant happened. You see, for 6 months now, I have heard a story about China and/or his Chinese parents every single day. I've really enjoyed hearing his stories as you all know since I blog some of them to remember. The significant event is that he missed a couple of days. He actually did not mention China or his Chinese mommy and daddy.  Now, I don't want him to forget, but I think it just shows that he is settling, adjusting, and moving on with his new life which is an important step in the grieving process that adopted children go through. I've read that their grieving process can be long and not always recognized as we would invision grieving the loss of someone. We are moving in the right direction and I'm so proud of him. 


This and That


Shouldn't Acme's "homemade" cookies be able to count as homemade for a school bake sale????? 

THAT:  Jake was excited to learn how to play chess. Grant is a VERY patient teacher.

He is also really good at comforting the loser.

It's tough being the loser.

It's even harder being the teacher!


Not QUITE a Wordless Wednesday

Mom read my blog post late so she put on her "blue shirt" at work. Thanks mom! Eric and Dad wore blue too!


World Arthritis Day~ Wear Blue!

Did anyone else know that tomorrow, October 12, is World Arthritis Day? Did you? Ummm.....I'm the queen of arthritis and I've never heard of it. It's great that the Arthritis Foundation is bringing awareness and encouraging funding by Congress for more research. But this "World Arthritis Day" is nothing I've heard of before. 

Bet your wondering why I'm posting in blue. Well, in honor of World Arthritis Day, you are supposed to wear blue. Will I be wearing blue? Probably, not that it's going to be life changing or anything. Will anyone else know the reason I'm wearing blue? NOPE, but that's okay because I'll know.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at me and know that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis after all. 

So I'm doing my part to raise awareness about arthritis specifically Rheumatoid Arthritis: 

When I was diagnosed at 17 years old, there weren't many meds available. Methotrexate was just beginning to be used in younger patients as they weren't positive what the long term effects would be. There were no DMARDS or biologics like there are today. Patients have many options as long as their immune systems don't suffer. The DMARDS and biologics gave me some good years. However, since my lung infection issue a few years back, I have been unable to continue on them. I don't usually post my specific medical info., but there's a reason; stick with me. I hate it when my doctors run out of options. If I'm stuck and have no alternatives, I at least like to hear, "But there's something in trial that will come out called 'blah'!".  It's hopeful. I remember as a teenager trying a med for months for my RA only to have it be ineffective. I would be so discouraged. But my pediatric Rheumy would say, "I have something else up my sleeve". My, that was indeed a long sleeve! It took until my second year of college to find a med combination that really worked.

My point is that funding for research and trials is important to me because I need it. I'm not against homeopathic medicine and reflexology, but I am more interested in something that has the science behind it. The science to tell me how that protein injected into me is going to attach onto that T-cell or inhibit the TNF factors. That's where the funding comes in. Yes, we NEED cancer funding and cancer awareness, and Alzheimers funding and awareness, but I'm jumping on the band wagon too. I need arthritis funding by Congress and awareness too. 

Hmmm....hope I own a blue shirt!


Sunday Snapshot: Meet Maude

Ni Hao Y'all

This is Maude. She is 4 yrs old and lives in Haiti. No, she isn't coming home to us. (I know that's what you're wondering). She is our new sponsor child. I was headed for a boy. I always think that the boys are left because frequently people go for the girls first. However, Allyson chose our sponsor child and this little girl is the one that was laid on her heart. She looked over the table and swooped her up. I asked her if she was sure this was the one. A firm "yes" was her answer. Sounds like she's going to make a great mom when she heads overseas someday to choose her own son or daughter! (I can hope, right?)

Did you know that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere? 47% of the population is illiterate, and 75% of Haitians practice voodoo. 
Maude attends school at the New Missions campus in Haiti. She and her family can learn about what Jesus has done for them. With sponsor support, she will have a new uniform, education through college, daily meals, and her family receives medical and dental care. If we choose to take a missions trip for a week to New Missions, we are welcome and they will ensure that we have a day to spend with Maude. You can read more about New Missions here.  At their website, you can choose the child you sponsor. We were told by the organization's president that the children call their sponsors Mom and Dad and are excited to have our pictures and letters. Allyson, our world traveler, wants to know when we can go. When Grant saw her picture at church, he asked us when she was coming home. Actually, it was more like a "Oh, here we go again!" type thing! However, by the end of the night, he was referring to her as Mei Mei and Little Sister. Funny guy.

Jake is doing extremely well. Several times he said that he hurt, but was never in extreme discomfort. He has been running around in the backyard, gone to church, and helped around the house some. We've had to remind him to take it easy as he wants to wrestle and play roughly. Thanks to all of you who have emailed and commented. We appreciate your concern and prayers for our little guy very much!

Jake enjoyed finishing off the crabs with Daddy tonight. They sat at the counter this evening and talked about life like old men. He talked about the old days in China. They talked about what foods they liked best (Jake mentioned noodles and tea every time). Jake talked about having jiu with Chinese daddy (ugh!). He also wanted to know why we were speaking English. I'm sure he thinks it would make more sense to speak Chinese. However, I think that was a pretty thoughtful question coming from a 4 yr old. 


Home and Doing Well

Quick update: We stopped by the toy store on the way to the hospital to pick out a Diego toy (his new fav). Evidently Diego is phasing out because the toys were limited. In other words, I better start on line shopping now for the Diego rescue pack he keeps telling people I'm buying for him!

He did great and never shed a tear. We didn't get back to pre op until around 2 pm.  The happy med really didn't seem to affect him too much. He was his regular self. As they were wheeling him away into the OR, he was saying hello to the nurses he passed- such the Politician!

The surgeon said his hernia was large so I'm glad it is repaired. Maybe he won't have to lift it to pee anymore (sorry if that's to much info). The circumcision looks, well, sore.

He keeps trying to get up, but seems as if he has hit the "jiu". His two feet are not too steady yet. 
Keep praying for pain management for our brave guy! Gotta go take care of my patient! Thank you for the prayers. Thanks, Rachel, for taking care of my other two!!!


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