Welcome!! Grab a cup of coffee and visit with us! We hope you enjoy our story! (((HUGS)))

Welcome!! Grab a cup of coffee and visit with us! We hope you enjoy our story! (((HUGS)))
CLICK ON OUR BOYS PICTURE AND READ ABOUT THE REST OF OUR FAMILY!

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Angels are rejoicing in Heaven

Our world suffered a huge loss yesterday. A Dear Sister in Christ went home to be with Jesus.

I called her Dr. Elizabeth. She happened to have a lot of friends named Elizabeth. She once told me that even though the name Elizabeth was not that common she knew many. She called each of us named Elizabeth ~ Mrs. ___ by our last names as not to confuse us! LOL!
But I always signed my e-mails to her just Elizabeth. Or my initials EMA. And I called her Dr Elizabeth.
She was my only friend named Elizabeth, and she was a Dr. I found her to be an Elizabeth that we all should aspire to be, even without her credentials, she was most importantly a woman of God.


                                        (Jacob is walking!)

Because Dr Elizabeth loved the orphans, she was instrumental in helping so many of us fund raise to bring our babies home.
She also had cancer. But cancer NEVER had her. She packed her days full of life. She told me she would help me fund raise until I was FULLY funded to bring my 3 boys home. I was skeptical. 

There were times the fund raising dried up and she would think of something new to try and do. It always worked. I was a doubter and she taught me to believe.

She will not see all the fruits of her labor. The little miracles I wish I could continue to share with her. Before Jesus brought her home, she read my blog and kept up with our many little miracles. She always had such kind things to say to me. I cherish those e-mails, especially now.


 (Jacob refuses to walk while we watch, or ask him. So Isaiah did his best to capture a few of the moments. If you comment or cheer him on he will stop walking. So we hold our breath watching him and collapse into joyful crying after he sits!!)

Dr Elizabeth will not see these pictures of Jacob walking. But I have a feeling God will share with her!
You see Jacob was 5 months post op experimental brain surgery when Tom visited him in Bulgaria for first visit in April 2012. We had no idea. However I knew there was something very wrong when he came home. He was 9 months post op. When I went to cut his hair there was the incision.

The cysts he has on his brain are not operated on unless extremely necessary. If there were signs that he could not swallow, or any other concern. Then they might consider operating. We feel sure Jacob did not have any signs. He does not now and if he did the surgery they did would not have "corrected" anything. In fact it set him back developmentally in ways that break my heart.

Dr Elizabeth consulted neurologists for us. One even commented on my blog that surgery is rarely if ever performed for this. Jacob nearly died from the records we saw. He was at hospital 2 weeks after surgery. And then returned to the orphanage only to be sent back to the hospital again for 2 more weeks. The orphanage could not afford this. That same orphanage director refused care at the hospital for kids who truly needed it to survive. This hospital was hours away. It was even a hospital known to have a poor record in caring for patients. We think it was paid for by the Dr experimenting.

Jacob's neurologist here takes regular MRIs to watch the cysts. Other than that Jacob should be fine. Unless he presented a concern like extreme body weakness, and the inability to swallow. 



 As you can see here, Jacob has grown in strength and size. We have no concerns about the cysts, and may never have concerns about them.
Jacob is catching his balance here. He has incredible balance. He will not fall on his bum. He will correct himself. It is amazing. In the background Mosie is in his "distress" pose. He thinks Jacob will fall! LOL!


 I never owned a pair of Dr Elizabeth's amazing socks. I was never a sock sister. But 2 pairs of her socks were sold on ebay for my 3 boys Noah, Moses and Jacob. One pair brought in $300.00. We were BLESSED by her precious socks. We were BLESSED by our precious friend/Sister Dr Elizabeth.

When Jacob came home he had a very thin left leg and very flat feet. He was so weak all he could do was grab our arm and cling to us as we fed him. I had little hope of those thin shaky legs ever supporting his body weight. And now look at him. He is 55 pounds and he can support his weight to walk! Dr Elizabeth would be so proud!


 Here he has to maneuver stepping over the gate thresh hold.

Dr Elizabeth and I had many things in common. One we often shared was that we knew how hard it was not to be able to do everything we want for our children. I've said before that I have a chronic non-disabling medical condition. It was stated on my medical forms when we adopted. I often am not able to have the energy to do all of the things moms do. Birthday parties, big holiday dinners, things like that exhaust me. So I have to prioritize. My priority is not entertaining, dusting, raking the yard, making my bed, vacuuming, laundry. 

My priorities are hands on education, therapy, documenting Dr visits and recommendations, and stream lining what we all should do together. Tom does diapers, laundry, dishes- I cook and bathe. Tom takes them to half of the Dr & therapy appointments. I do half. Or I do phone consults.

Dr Elizabeth and I would talk about how hard it is to delegate our responsibilities to others, when once we could do it all. She helped me feel blessed that I could still do things like homeschool even with my strength challenges. 
And I now appreciate more what I can do than what I can't.  



                              Jacob walks along the furniture.

I have such an empty spot in my heart now. I miss Dr Elizabeth dearly. Please pray for Dr Elizabeth's children, husband and parents. She loved them with every ounce of her being. Their loss is huge. I thank God for them sharing precious Dr Elizabeth with us all. I pray they find some comfort in the fruits of her labors to save these precious orphans/children. 


Isaiah still trying to get a good picture of Jacob walking.
Jacob is walking better every day.

The funny thing is that Moses was the tiniest, he wore a baby size 2 shoe. He could barely sit! Who could imagine that he would walk! And Noah who had the strength to stand when he came home is struggling with walking. But now Jacob who we thought would never be strong enough is walking too. You just can't even begin to guess what these beautiful precious children can do once they are home! And home because an Angel named Dr Elizabeth fought tirelessly for them.
We LOVE you so much sweet precious Elizabeth. Our hearts cry with joy as you are now completely healed. I anxiously await the time I can come and see you face to face.


I hope this link works. Another silly video by Isaiah. He tried to catch Jakie walking. :o)

(I'm sorry if my post sounds disjointed, my thoughts are grieving. So much sadness and JOY) 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Is it Friday already?

 MA and her puzzle in the living room. :o) Next to her on the left is her walker loaded with things to do. If the walker was bigger she'd bring out more! 

She turned 58 this year. For years she would tell everyone how old "I" was. Because we are the same age. I hated it! I don't need everyone to know how old I am do I? But now that she has Alzheimers, and she is very quiet. I miss that. I don't know why I put up a fuss when she had to tell everyone. 
Now she denies her age because she has a fear of dying. She confidently tells us all "I'm young yet. I'm in a thirties."


Thank goodness my boys travel with very little! :o) A toy or a therapeutic chewie that Noah has here, are all they need! :o)
Noah loves this chair! His bed is behind him.

He turns himself sideways in his bed and bends his head back and bounces like he did when he lived in his crib. 
I move him time after time, in his sleep he works his way back. Then he gets a little sore on his forehead from it.
It took him a long time to stop seeking a bed or laying on the floor like he was in bed. He was so used to that life.

Crazy hair days here, everybody needs a trim!


 This silly boy runs from room to room to room. He's not interested in any beds! LOL! In fact when his bed rail is opened in the morning he runs out of bed and into another room as fast as he can. As if to say I don't need to be in bed!! I need to be free!
He wants to be independent in every area.

Sometimes Jacob is mean to his brothers. Sometimes he'll fight for toys, or push. I never have to worry about Mosie because he will run or avoid Jacob if he sees that Jacob or Julius might hurt him. 

Jacob doesn't always win the toy fight with Mosie now! :o)
Julius used to push Mosie every time he walked past him. Mosie learned quickly to avoid Julius' arm. Sometimes he even went back and pushed Julius. Which was a challenge because little brother Julius is taller! And a push from Mosie doesn't hurt.


 Julius here watching Isaiah with the camera! He is our curious little monkey and if you don't watch his hands, he'll touch everything! :o) He'd love to touch the camera! 

Julius is good about letting us know that he's in trouble by crying. He hates trouble. He also hates if anyone else is in trouble, not just him.
Unfortunately that never stops him from finding trouble.

Julius is such a big boy he has the top bunk bed! There's a bed rail on the side and on each end of the bunk a piece of fiberboard so he won't hang over! 

Julius used to like to share a bed with Pauly, and then he started to be mean to Pauly in the night. The same way Jacob was mean to Noah when they shared a bed. It seems they mature to a certain point and then Jacob and Julius decided to assert a little dominance. If Jacob is mean to Julius he wins. As tough as Julius thinks he is, he won't push back. And Jacob is eye to eye with him.

 Julius and Pauly used to do everything together. But Pauly has remained behind struggling and Julius has grown leaps ahead. Julius still has a soft spot for Pauly and gives him a kind touch here and there. I love when I see that! Pauly loves it too.

Julius is still mommas boy and I LOVE that. But its hard when I want him to listen to his older kids! He thinks he only has to listen to me. But he'll talk back to me sometimes too!!


                                  "Oh-Oh! Arms down Mosie!"
Pauly prefers to play in the hallway where he can look out the big hallway windows. Mosie has decided that he wants to help Pauly. He noticed that Pauly needed a friend. :o) Pauly likes to hold hands. Before only Julius would let Pauly hold hands with him. Mosie would throw his hand off. And Jakie and Noah would let go. Now Mosie holds hands with Pauly and leads him here and there. Or he sits by Pauly and sweetly takes his hand. It's so cute and Pauly treats him as the big brother even tho Pauly is bigger and the same size! That is Mosie's truck he is sharing with Pauly. :o) Such sweet boys! 

 Isaiah can always get Jacob to laugh! I can never get Jacob to laugh! Normally he is so grumpy! I LOVE his goofy boy smiley face! He's in his sister's room looking around. Most times he likes to go in his room and stand near his bed. He would like to get in his bed but the bed rail stops him. Those old habits die hard. :o(


 Jacob likes to take toys, pinch and push. Noah and Pauly can't defend themselves from Jacob so we have to watch them around him. Noah and Pauly don't understand meanness at all. They are too trusting. In fact Mercy one day decided to bite Pauly's foot. We knew she would bite us, and herself. But she had never bitten her brothers. Poor Pauly let out a scream. We rescued him, he was too afraid to move.
All 5 boys are not so sure about Mercy. And she kind of just does her thing around them like she's part of the group. But she's so much taller- the boys aren't sure what to think about that! ;o)

Miss Mercy here thinking about if she will cooperate with pictures or not. On her right side is a piece of fiberboard so they don't "hang" over the stair railing. Pauly especially was fascinated with doing that!! OY! Now they can only walk past. And I don't have a heart attack seeing Pauly hang over! Thank goodness for zip ties and fiberboard!
Mercy is stronger than the boys and she pulled the board out the first time Tom put it up. She hates boundaries!
I just noticed in this picture the remnants of her poor little bloody nose. People with Sotos have "soft" skin. They bruise and bleed easily. Once I washed her face and just from the rag rubbing it, it turned so beet red I thought I'd injured her! She gets bloody noses so easy. Just like our Molly did.

She is the youngest girl of 5 older brothers from Bulgaria. So we have to dress her cute! :o) She has a wardrobe to die for! LOL!

 Julius taking Mosie's truck - busted!! LOL! 
Mosie is too busy in the background watching Isaiah take pictures to notice!

Mosie likes this chair too! He's not fond of sharing it. But he knows sharing with Noah is safe. Julius might push even a big brother out of the chair for fun.....sigh.



Miss Mercy singing a happy song. No words, just lots of pretty "ahhh-ah-ahhh" :o) When she's happy she is incredibly happy. It helps for us remember her struggles when she's crabby. Life isn't easy for my little(big) peanut. :o)

So what's new with you? :o)


Friday, March 13, 2015

Time to Eat!

Jakie waiting for his dinner. 
It was cold this Sunday so some of us stayed in our jammies.
We attend our Church livestream. The internet can be such a blessing! It also brought us 5 precious boys from a Country across the ocean!
(behind Jakie our glass collection we sell for diapers- LOL! It is a blessing. :o) We enjoyed it, but now we have more important needs.)

 I had noticed this punpkin (Julius) who writes with his right hand was eating more frequently with his left hand?
(on the shelf behind him is our tea party supplies for the older 4 kids. :o)

And then I saw this. :o( 
Some helpers are not being careful which hand they help the boys eat with!! OY!
So Jakie here is not happy at all to eat with his left hand. Showing my helpers their error helped Jakie try harder to hold his spoon!! 

But Julius refuses to use his right hand to eat now! So now I'm wondering if we should let him use his left hand to write since he's so good at using it for eating? OY!

This was another problem. My helpers were using a large (Mercy) handled spoon for Pauly, and his hand is too small to hold it!!
Julius above is using the correct adaptive spoon size for him and Pauly.
Mercy uses the large handles because her hand strength is poor and she has long beautiful hands/fingers.

My helpers are doing fantastic jobs helping. Especially since the boys need less hands on help from me. I couldn't get everything done without my loving caring helpers! During the boy's meals I cook for MA and SP and the older kids. Dad was watching, but he is less observant and had not noticed the things I mention. ;o) I guess I have to check up on their progress myself more often rather than go by verbal reports! :o)

Miss Mercy has a new habit that needs correcting! (always sumthin! like her mamma!) She now likes to put her head "in" her bowl!! Here she's giving me the look- "don't touch my food!" LOL!
I wish I looked this cute when I was cranky! ;o)

Mosie and his brothers do not like to "hold" their bowls as they eat. The bowls do have rubber grips on the bottom. But when we eat out the bowls don't! So we encourage no wild/free hands as you eat! ;o)
Of course it takes time! We get excited when all we have to say is "hold your bowl!" as a reminder and they do it! Otherwise we do hand over hand as we ask them to hold the bowl. Soon they listen/learn to respond to our verbal requests on their own.

They teach us patience every day. And with such adorable faces- who wouldn't want to be patient for them!

Noah is getting the hang of feeding himself. He is so proud! He laughs when his food comes and he concentrates hard on it! This is amazing because he's such an easy going boy that you could easily think he doesn't "care" about learning skills. Especially since he is lower functioning. But he does like learning things that excite him. Finding out what they are is some times hard, but always worthwhile!

You can see Kitty at the end of the table is quite bored! She's standing there so Julius can't throw food onto the floor- he does that for fun! Such a little mischievous monkey! 
If you have ever watched the"Noddy" show? It used to be on pbs. We have a Noddy video called "Bunky" about a naughty monkey who says he's a "Bunky". A Bunky is a "Bunny-Monkey". We call Julius our "Bunky" LOL!

Spring came to MN quickly and we bought another picnic table/bench for the boys to eat outside! Sunday is supposed to be 66 degrees!! Hoping we can have our dinner out there! We'll take photos!

Tonight we have our Family Fridays dinner. (that we have every Friday) Big sister Grace and her husband Dan always come! So much fun!

((((HUGS)))) to all! God is GOOD! 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Teaching challenges for me

One of these days I am going to get "one" photo where all 5 boys are looking at me! LOL!
We were in the midst of helping them dress for bed. When I thought of giving it another try! LOL!! 
We actually have 5 pairs of matching jammies this year. So I am going to try again when we can coordinate that!
Here I said Noah's name and only he and Pauly looked!! LOL!


My Julius in the camo shirt has serious ADHD. In a few years we may consider trying medication. In these pictures you can see his constant fidgeting. He is beginning to disturb his brothers during school time. And it could start interfering with his school work. So far I can work his wiggles into his IEP! LOL!  

 I know I say it all the time but this boy has little angel wings and a halo. He is such a sweet soul. He's playing legos here with big brother Samson. Samson dislikes the "toy" pieces of the lego sets and Noah dislikes the lego blocks! Perfect!

 Don't mind my mess behind them. :o) I was asked to make some special prayer shawls for a dear friend's red hat group. The other boxes are storing yarn. 

The boys always keep busy. Samson has chores and school work. The little boys and Mercy have school and play. Samson likes to join in during free time. 

When the little ones aren't doing their school activities we use Montessori resources to teach them adaptive living skills- setting tables, putting their things away. The hard part of this is that with their years of having nothing, owning nothing, they do not view their things as "theirs". They don't even claim possession to anything. We all say "this is Noah's" or "this is Jacob's", but they don't really care. 

A dear friend wrote on her blog about how quickly they change physically for the better once they are home. But their minds take much longer to heal and learn. So we plug along. :o) 

They'd prefer to do school or play than help out or develop independent living skills. I'm hoping and waiting for a little light bulb to go off in their heads one day! LOL! I had thought watching our 4 non SN kids, Samson, MA, SP, Tom and I that they'd get the idea. But not yet.

I'm glad they can have school till age 22 for special ed. It has been a blessing for Samson. That way we can work at their pace.