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 THE BOYS PICTURE TO READ OUR FAMILY BLOG

Saturday, December 31, 2011

All we can say is WOW! surgery dates - prayers needed


We have been OVER BLESSED with donations! WOW! Our kids ages 7,8,9 and 11 are running in circles jumping for JOY!!
Gabriel almost 17 is a little more reserved! LOL!
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Me, I just fall to my knees Thanking God!
I am overwhelmed with the LOVE you all have for our three precious boys. I say "our" boys, but we all know that they are God's boys!
We continue to pray for all of you who are donating and praying for our boys!
We are so humbled!
God Bless!
We can never say this enough!
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Surgery dates are scheduled-
Pauly's is January 10th- circumcision/tonsils/adenoids/extensive ear wax removal. Here in town. Both ends. Ouchie!
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Julius' is Jan. 31, at the Children's Hospital about 70 miles away. Circumcision/exploratory surgery through the belly button area to find missing testicles, bring both down if possible. (otherwise start to move them and follow up surgery to complete moving them in 6 months) adenoids and tonsils removed. Poor baby that's alot. And both ends. Tom will be going with him, we will be home. :o(
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Please pray that their surgeries go well and that Julius' surgery turns out to be simple and easy to complete without any surprises or unknown concerns.
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We are praying that we will have lots of opportunities to witness to the people we meet; so we can encourage them to join us in adopting these precious children (with special needs) that are available all over the world! When they see all of the fun we are having- they'll want to join us by adopting their very own little pumpkin!
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((((((((HUGS)))))))) everybody!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

THANK YOU!!


Another precious donation to our three boys!
Thank You! So much!
Praise God for your kindness!
God Bless you all!
((((HUGS))))) and prayers from us to you!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our new normal!


These two boys are different as night and day. But they are not different in their slow adjustment to family life. Pauly pictured smiling, will generally allow a photograph to be taken. But Julius-pictured with Hope, will avoid having his picture taken at all cost.
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Sometimes when I read other adoption blogs I am sad. So many of the kids are progressing and healing emotionally so much better than our boys. I find myself wishing my boys were so happy and friendly! Our boys are very behind developmentally for their ages. Even more so than most kids with DS. I shouldn't even compare them to the other kids I read about. But it's hard to see so many of the other family's children excited and happy about their new lives; while our boys avoid even "looking" around their environment. They are not observing our routines or interested in recognizing cues of what to do. Some of this still seems grief related.
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Pauly usually finds one of us to sit on or he sits alone. He even looks for a place to lay flat on his back-alone. Always doing his repeated-rhythmic hand movements, stiffening his body, contorting his head, hissing and spitting.
He has quit slapping his face and grinds his teeth much less. But he still doesn't respond to us appropriately. He knows us from strangers, but he just likes to "exist" with us.
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Julius is "hyper"! Always on the move. Moving quickly from one activity to the next. Throwing toys, taking toys. Grabbing lamps, pulling blankets off of everyone's bed! Crying to get his way. Demanding, and yet we can't understand what exactly he wants so in frustration he cries and spits. He just wants to "get away" from everyone. But we don't know where he wants to go! So we have to keep him near.
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None of these things deter us from LOVING them. We LOVE them unconditionally. They do like that we LOVE them, even if they don't reciprocate. We kiss them and hold them alot! Sometimes we just wonder how can we reach them or if they are reachable. They often still "act" like they are in an orphanage. Will they ever relax and just be little boys? If we sit them together they turn back to back to each other. They never communicate with each other. If we try a group picture, Julius tries to escape. Pauly goes into his "stiff" mode.
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Will they learn to say "hi" or "goodnight" or call us mom and Dad? The skills are there. The desire to do so is not. Their hearts are not willing to open up to us in any intimate way. They don't know how to reach out to us. Waking them each day-we smile and tell them "good morning", but it means little to them. Julius can clap hands, he's shown his brothers and sisters. But he won't show Tom or I. He "plays" dumb. (Our little RADish Molly used to "play" dumb when she didn't want to attach with us.) Is Julius showing signs of RAD? We've already bonded to him regardless! :o)
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Our boys don't act like typical kids with DS. Pauly acts like a boy who has Autism and happens to have DS. Julius acts like a child with RAD who happens to have DS. The DS may "soften" these things. We wonder how much their developmental delays add to the "wall" they have built around them. And then of course being raised in an orphanage has not helped their mental health either.
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These things are not bad things. They just are what they are. We wish our boys could feel our LOVE . And relax and enjoy their day more,rather than stress about things so much. They both are very serious. No matter how hard they laugh, they always return to being very serious, on guard.
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What I love is that God sent us these boys because He knew we were the parents they needed. We are humbled. We are overjoyed! No matter what- they are our precious boys!

Monday, December 26, 2011

We are crying tears of JOY!


Our boys are so LOVED! By people who are selfless. People who may never meet them, hug them or see them in person. Beautiful people who pray for them and are helping us pay for their expenses to come HOME!
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THANK YOU! God Bless you!
We are humbled. We are crying tears of joy!

THANK YOU!!!!!! Oh my goodness!!


We are so excited! We have received more donations for our three precious boys!! This helps our boys tremendously!!
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THANK YOU!! God Bless you!!
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We can't "see" who donated. But we have been praying daily for those who have donated. God knows who you are!!
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(((HUGS)))

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Our hearts for adoption



We've come home with 11 previous adoption bundles of joy over the last 29 years. All from America. One was abused way beyond what a mother should ever do to the gift God gave her. Others were hurt emotionally. Some were given to us after birth. Each one precious. Each one sent from God. I used to tell my oldest girls (Shirley and Angel) that some lovely woman somewhere was carrying my baby! :o)
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I tell people all the time, that God already knows who will birth the child and who will parent the child. Because it is His plan, not ours. He is the creator of adoption. He adopted us. None of us belong to each other, we all belong to Him only. He orchestrates our lives and allows us to make choices. The choice of adoption or being adopted by God is beautiful!
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It crushes my heart when I hear those who were adopted say some of the cruelest things against adoption, out of their pain. I understand the pain of being raised by parents who aren't the best. I was never adopted and my parents were not good parents. But I don't speak out against "birth" parents. As adoptive parents we are criticised easily by lots of people. We are expected to be more perfect than birth parents. Birth parents can have excuses. But because we "chose" to parent, we shouldn't have flaws.
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Is that fair? Is it fair to tell me I failed my daughter as a parent because we aren't the same color? Because I didn't give birth to her? Should I need to have Down Syndrome to raise a child with DS? This is so much silliness that causes pain and division among us.
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Is it fair to say that if my grown birth son doesn't speak to me because of his mental illness, that that's his choice. But if my adopted adult son doesn't speak to me because of his mental illness, I must have done something wrong in how I raised him? I mean seriously, I've failed everyone because I'm human, not because they are adopted or birthed by me.
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Even with all of that. I too had my own prejudices in adoption. I thought that we should only adopt here, in our Country. Our children here needed us first. I was fine with sending money to other Countries to help orphans. But to go all the way there and bring one back, when a child here waits. Nope.
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So in 2009, with our youngest child 5 years old and our oldest child 33 years old we thought we should adopt again. And we prepared ourselves. Each child has added alot of work and changes in our lifestyle. So we needed to think about what we would be able to handle at this stage of our lives. As we were considering, children were becoming available and we were asked if we wanted to submit our Home Study. Of course we did!
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We also called adoption agencies and asked. Even agencies that had placed with us before told us our family was too big, we were too old, the "square footage" of our house was too small, homeschooling would frowned upon. We were crushed.
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No wonder there are waiting children here in America. In fact in our sate, the next target group they are "considering" to target, to adopt these waiting children are- single career women. Nope, not "old" people. And yet we have the experience and time needed.
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The government has destroyed adoption as we knew it. 29 years ago when we started, in the early years if you had the love- you adopted. We have had to use the amount of square footage of our house to qualify as a licensed Group Home, or for a Foster Care or Day Care license. But adoption had always been- take your blessing home, love them and they will share the same square footage your other kids share!
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If you love them, who needs square footage? The hoops they wanted us to jump through this time excluded us over and over. On top of all of that our Social Worker was not doing much to help us! She ended up getting removed from the agency. We think she was prejudiced.
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But that was God's plan! :o) God knew that we needed a heart adjustment regarding International adoption and orphans. So He kept leading me to http://reecesrainbow.org/ . My heart needed to be softened because we were never going to adopt outside of the Country.
Our hearts were always wanting to adopt a child with DS; because of the many children and adults with DS we have and still care for in our home. Two gifts/children we adopted who had/have DS. (one now in Heaven) So the faces of the children on RR with DS kept calling to us.
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Then we saw that the beautiful Country of Bulgaria had no age limit and large families were welcome. We were in love! The rest is history. But we had to have a huge heart adjustment to realize that it did not matter where our child was. We couldn't be "adoption snobs" if our hearts were really for adoption. We needed to go where God sent us. I remembered thinking we were like Jonah not wanting to go to Nineveh. Because we did not want to go to Florida! LOL! But now Nineveh had moved all the way to Eastern Europe!!
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God sent us Julius and Pauly.
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If you've never adopted Internationally, I don't even have words adequate to describe it to you. If you've never adopted an orphan from an orphanage, you just can't even imagine. Just do it. You'll be glad you did!
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People ask me every day. "How are the boys doing?" And I tell them I don't know where to start. These boys are so special, so very very special. These boys are the easiest children to love that we have ever parented. It's not their DS. It's not their ages. It's not their personalities. I wish I knew what it was. Whatever it is, it is from God. Even through all of the hardships two little boys from orphanages bring. There is this overwhelming urge to just LOVE them as they are. No expectations. I wondered allowed to a friend once that maybe it's because they NEED so much love. They are like huge sponges, soaking up all of the love you give them. They never learned to ask. They used to push us away. But now that they know we aren't going to stop loving them. They just soak us up each and every day. It is so wondrous and joyful to experience. And to think we almost missed it because we didn't want to adopt from another Country.
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This is our gift at Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!


We have received another blessing! Another donation! Thank You SO much! God Bless you!!
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Today we drove 140 miles round trip to get our Biometric Fingerprints. There were 6 of us. And they cost $85.00 each. This is our Christmas gift to each other. We don't "need" anything. And our children have more than enough.
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But this little boy- our Noah Faithful. He does need something! He needs a forever family! And we Thank God that He chose us to be Noah, Moses and Jacob's forever family!
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When we got home Thursday from doing the prints, we saw a bill from the State for our Group Home license. It had more than doubled! My heart sank. Last year it was $450.00, this year $981.00. We had just paid our Commercial auto policy for the Group Home, another $908.00. You have to buy a very expensive auto policy to drive "clients". So we have been hit hard this month.
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You might think that we get paid enough from the Group Home to cover these things. Yes, we used to. But in the last 3 years, the State has reduced our income every year. Some group homes lost 10%! Praise the Lord ours was less than that. Our gals/clients have also had increases in things they have to pay for like higher co-pays on medicines, and they only get one dental visit a year now, they must pay for the more. We help them with paying these since we love them like family. But now this is becoming more impossible for us to do. There are big changes coming in Group Home care. We'll trust in Him as we face them.
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However, please know that we are not complaining! All of it is God's money. The State can do what they'd like. The bills can come. We will forge ahead firm in our faith, Thanking God! Because He has blessed us beyond what we deserve.
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After our finger prints were done on Thursday, we called USCIS, we are not assigned a worker yet. :o( We so wanted these prints approved by Friday p.m. We continue to pray! We pray for God's timing.
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We want to (((HUG))) these boys soon!! Isn't Noah just a doll?
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Thank YOU! for loving these boys with us!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

saving money on hair

We can't save money on Dr bills. But there are lots of things we do to save money on!
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One is I cut everyone's hair except mine. I get mine cut 2-3 times a year for $17.00 a cut. That's a $12.00 cut plus a $5.00 tip. I tip big because my daughter Angel was a Beautician and I know how hard she worked before she went home with Jesus. I tip in her memory.
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I started doing hair 30 years ago. Before that we went to the hair dressers. I learned how to hot comb from a dear Sister in Christ, eighteen years ago. I taught myself how to press, straighten, braid, bead, and cut naturally stick straight hair. My daughter Hope (18) had told me she wanted to do hair when she was small. So I taught her as well as I did hair and now she is my one blessing who can work it with a straightener and a brush like nobodies biz! :o) (hugs-Hopie!)
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My favorite is cutting curly hair! Oh how I love cutting curly hair! And I do like hot combing my Miss Lovey's hair. She's 21 but she still lets me! Stick straight hair is hard to cut. My Molly, my blessing from Korea, not only had straight hair but could not hold her head up and was in a wheel chair. Hair cuts were a challenge!
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Tonight it was boy's hair cut night! Five boys ages-16,16,7,4 & 4! (soon it will be 3 more!)
I give buzz cuts to my boys because I LOVE boys heads! Brown heads and pale beige heads! The hair grows back so fast, it's crazy. They are just so cute! And well we have a strong military back ground!
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Gabe had let his hair grow this fall; explaining to me that the bugs would bother him during our 5 weeks up north if he got his hair cut. So we let it go and what a mess! He refuses to comb his hair and he's almost 17. Even Dad said "Cut his hair!" LOL!
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Julius, Pauly, Samson, and Isaiah did get their hair cut at the end of August and it was already loooong! J & P were looking like they had "bed head" hair!
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So we cut Pauly's first. He was happy because he was staying up later than usual. He held perfectly still- Wa-La! We were done. We told him "BRAVO!" He just sat. He slowly started to shake and made his "I'm in pain" face and started to cry!! Hey we were done! LOL!! We loved him up and put him to bed. He was so cute, but not happy!
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Julius had watched Pauly. He seemed to act like all was great. As soon as the clippers touched his head he tried to grab them! So Lysa held his arms and Isaiah held his legs and I held his head! He was having none of it! It went pretty fast. He didn't cry or complain. He just tried to escape! When I was done he went into his bed which was moved closer to the wall to make room for hair cutting. The lighting is perfect in their room. As quick as lightning, to pay me back he ran to the end of the bed to grab a hat rack and rip it off the wall. Oh! My! Stinker! We had him lay down!
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The other 3 boys cuts were un-eventful and they were thrilled. They love to show everybody, and look in the mirror!
We saved $70.00. I'm so glad I can do it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Good news

This was posted on Shelley's FB page. This was exciting news for us!
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"I am VERY pleased to be able to share that the director at the orphanage in Bulgaria where children with special needs were neglected, starved, etc has been FIRED!!!! That orphanage is NOT indicative of the level of care that most orphans in Bulgaria receive and the abuse that those children experienced directly conflicts everything that the Bulgarian government is trying to do for the children in their care. Once they were made aware of what was happening to the children, they took immediate action and that director is GONE.
Today, we are thanking the Lord for those who saw the abuse and were brave enough to report it to the appropriate authorities(because many before had turned a blind eye) and that those in the Bulgarian government with the power to do so put their actions behind their words and laws. I have said many times that Bulgaria's adoption program, their policies in regards to orphan care and their pro-active government stance on adoption and orphan care is the one that all of Eastern Europe should model. There is no such thing as a "great" situation when
a child is an orphan, but orphans CAN be taken proper care of while families are sought for them when those in charge DO THE RIGHT THING. Today, we rejoice that the children in this orphanage will finally start receiving the care that they deserve!!!! (as a side note, there are FOURTEEN children w/SN from that place that now have committed families!)"
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Thank You Shelley! I couldn't have said it better!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

surgeries

This was last March. I can't believe that this boy in the picture is my boy! He looks so different! (Julius)
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His brother Pauly is having surgery here in our city, next month.
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Julius has to travel to a city 60 miles away for his surgery because he needs a pediatric specialist. Tom and Julius will go there alone. The rest of us will be here. It will be hard. We've done it before with another child- but the separation is always hard.
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When you adopt you always wonder what the unkowns will be. These surgeries were not a surprise to us, but they were unknown. Julius' need for pediatric specialty care was a surprise. We had hoped both boys could get their medical care locally. I know I shouldn't worry. But he's so little and to have him so far away. It will be hard.
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Tom is a fantastic dad.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Love-love-love my BG boys!!

This is Pauly with his sister Grace.
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Tonight I was on the computer looking for a little riding toy for the boys. I noticed a little person to my left was cautiously eyeing me!
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Julius had escaped his siblings un-noticed. He was wondering if he was busted when I saw him!! LOL!
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We call Julius "the thin man". Remember this old character? He was kind of like the invisible man, only his "power" was thinness. Julius is built naturally thin and the more he walks-the faster he runs! If you aren't careful he slips away!!
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I hugged him and loved on him and held him on my lap for about 4 minutes before two big sisters and one big brother started whispering to themselves "Where is he??!!"
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They soon found him and took him back. It was a precious moment for me because Julius and Pauly used to run away from us. Randomly destroying things! Now they run to us!
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Last week the Social Worker came to write the 6 month postplacement report for BG due 1/4/2012. I was sick, the boys were sick. The boys had to see her, I got to lay in bed. ;o) Tom visited with her. He said the boys were so stressed when they saw her. They think that each time new people come to visit, that it is not good. We had hoped the memories of Tom's first visit would be happy for them. But now we see that they equate visits from new people (as Tom was then) with being moved or taken away. :o( I hope and pray that someday soon they will be able to meet and greet people with curiosity and joy.
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They just grow more precious each day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Coming soon!

In February there will be an auction here for our boys!!
If you would like to donate anything please e-mail me at tarcher30@charter.net
We will need a picture to go with it.
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I am very excited! As I mentioned before three boys need three VISAs and three plane tickets, as well as adding to the hotel bill three times! Plus our Gabriel will need to travel with Tom to help- that is two more plane tickets! OY! As you can see it adds up fast! :o)
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(((HUGS))) everybody!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

YES!!!


YEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!
Did you hear us ALL screaming!! Our fingerprint letters from Immigration came!! ALL six of us are going on 12/22 to have our prints done for Immigration. After that they will issue our Approval!!
YEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another donation!


Thank You! Thank You!!
God Bless you for being so kind and helping our 3 luv bugs.
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Our boys are so blessed by all who care and help them. Noah 8 yrs old has waited too long for someone to care. And Moses and Jacob both are going to be 7 in a few months- have waited too long. Way too long.
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We had our check cashed at USCIS on 11/17 and each day wait for the mail man to bring us the Finger print letters! It feels like days!! ;o)
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We had help with donations bringing Julius and Paul home too. We hug our boys knowing that others cared to help them come home, and they still care about them even now.
Thank You!!
(((HUG)))

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

So many changes!!


After the initial shock of realizing the boys will- avoid eye contact at all cost, hate going outside, avoid adult women who remind them of orphanage staff, are afraid of taking baths, have no interest in anything except running and crawling in the oposite direction of us, grinding their teeth, spit, bite, and groan 24/7. (this is only a small summary) We have begun to see exciting new behaviors!
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Each week we saw them accepting their new lives with us a little more, and grieving for everything they knew, a little less. And then we saw them start to do the things that were amazing!
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Pauly has a toy that says "turn the wheels to change a word" and he does!! Pauly responds to voices of people he likes with excitement and anticipation. He cries when he's sad. He likes a few toys. He doesn't pick a toy, we just have to give him one. He walks holding one hand. He did LOVE his vibrating teether, but he wore it out in 2 months and they are expensive! He is responding to his environment a little more each week.
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Julius walks every where!! He walks from one bedroom to another to get a toy! Instead of knocking things over and breaking them, he pushes them away from himself! LOL!! He actually plays with things he likes! We let him pick his toys and he has real preferences for what he likes. He uses play tea cups to "pretend" he's drinking. (The boys almost freaked out when they saw play food, they had no idea about what that was about!!) He likes to sit with me when I crochet and he hands me yarn! He's a very quick learner and very smart. It is going to be fun to teaching him! One day he was sitting with me and I put him down to go play with his sibs, instead he turned around and came back to me! He climbs into chairs by himself. Amazing!
We often think that Julius must have recieved more attention, because he likes to "work" people with his antics. Pauly we think recieved much less attention, he gave up and withdrew. Now we have to give him reasons to "come out". It's hard. We could sing long praises about Julius' abilities, but Pauly's lack of abilities do not make us love him any less.
Both boys have fit into our family better than we ever could have imagined and each day with them is filled with love. The other day Tom told me I knew how to pick the best children. That was so sweet of him, but it isn't me!! :o) It's God!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Medical Bill Frustration

We buy our own health insurance because I am self employed. The cost is now over $1,200.00 per month for a $5,000.00 deductible policy.
The boys have now seen the Urologist and the pediatric Urologist several times- not covered, the pediatric cardiologist- not covered, the ENT several times- not covered, Urgent Care twice- not covered, the pediatrician-not covered. Labs over $1,000.00- not covered.
WOW!
We cannot make an appt. for anyone to see a Dr at our clinic until we pay down the huge bill which also includes things for the rest of the family- like adoption physicals and Urgent Care visits- also not covered by Insurance.
So we begin to wonder, why do we have Insurance?? UGH!
We have upcoming surgeries for both boys. More Drs, added to Hospital charges.
The biggest frustration is the "new" payment plan. Just this summer when we were all paid up; but didn't know we still owed $10.09, the clinic threatened sending it to collections???!! Seriously????- we didn't even get a bill from them. Computer error----of course. :o(
Now they want everything paid in full, which we had always done within a few months for them for over the last 34 years until now. Now there's too many bills and we have to decide who gets what. They don't like that. We are not their "patients" anymore. We are now a computer print out. :o(
I think the president's changes are making things worse already. Just my humble opinion.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Soon!!

Our check was cashed by Immigration a week ago!! Some families are saying 8 weeks for the fingerprint letters to come. Last year they came 3 weeks after they cashed our check!
Our Dossier is COMPLETE except for the I8OOA approval!!
All we need is our I8OOA approval!
YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then we get first travel dates!! (Well after our Dossier is translated and submitted LOL!!)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!!

My lap top died at 5 a.m. Thanksgiving day.

Everything I have in the world of electronics is on it! EVERYTHING!!

I can't even log into my e-mail.

I am using our teenagers (all teens share one lap top)homeschool lap top right now, to let everyone know that until we can get a $$$ geek to remove my information from my dead lap top and load it into my new computer....................................I can't even read my e-mail.

I'm not dead! I'm lost!! LOL!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanking God! Julius' heart!



Yesterday morning Julius saw the heart Dr. (we LOVE our pediatric heart Dr., we used to have to drive 75 or more miles to see a children's heart specialist)


It was fantastic news! No heart condition. His heart is fine. We were told from his Country that he was being "observed" for a heart condition that he could/should grow out of.


Nope! No heart condition!

Julius' heart is healthy!!

YEAH!! Praise God!


We have other medical mysteries with him, but so far he is a very bright healthy little guy!


Next is the ENT.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Boys who were deprived many years don't ask for anything



I wanted to share that we had made a big mistake and purchased many things for our little boys. Things that they do not like or know what to do with.

We bought Curious George, Toy Story and Handy Manny jammies and clothes. Just like their big brothers have/had. They could care less who popular characters are. They don't like TV or DVDs or even music! SHOCK! Clothes on or off mean nothing.

Tom saw that Julius loved a soft book when he visited them the first time. That was it, Julius held a book in his hands for 5 days. And Pauly liked nothing from what he could tell. So we did buy a few soft books. We also bought a stuffed bear for each, hoping they would attach to a soft toy. They never looked at the bears. Pauly chose our soft "Mr Worm" toy that is 11 years old and been thru 4 other kids. He is now chewing it up. So Mr Worm won't last another child. :o) I bought Julius a blue puppy that sings the abc song after he was home a month. Julius loves to manipulate electronics. But his favorite toy is carrying a small magnetic drawing board with its "pencil" dangling. He does not write on it, use it or play with it. He also loves his Lufthansa airplane toy to carry. Pauly hates manipulating electronic toys- he tries to shake them to death to get them to turn on. So he turns his back on everything except the vibrating teether and Mr. Worm.

Honestly, the things we already had- a few plastic trucks, blocks, a fun doorway from playschool that opens and shuts and plays music, some old baby toys. These things were already almost too much for little boys who have had nothing. We would have saved money by waiting until they came home.


All they needed was us.

The electronic story books we bought hold no interest. The soft cute blankies are chewed up and spit on. Their clothes mean nothing.

Some days I wonder if they'll ever "get it"? This is home. This is theirs. These things are fun. These characters are cute. We can dance to music! We can laugh at a "show".

But until then we just hold them. Work hard to keep their attention. We'd like them to learn from watching us but their attention span is 0. Right now Julius is trying to "get away" from everyone. He has cried alot the last 2 days out of frustration. Escaping is all he knows so we keep him with us. Pauly looks past us when we talk to him. We make alphabet sounds for them and teach them to talk quietly. They yell loud gurgling long sentences without consonants. They yell like they are talking to someone else? But we are the only ones here! They understand us more. We understand nothing they say.

My little survivors. I feel like Ann the teacher for Helen Keller. I want to reach in and pull them out. But until that happens they are still fighting all of this newness. The honeymoon is over. They want to go back now. Their stages of grief are predictable and long. We've done this with children before. It never gets easier. Often we cry with them, for the losses that they have had and for the losses they don't even know.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

THANK YOU!! and a Pauly update ;o)

THANK YOU- THANK YOU-THANK YOU!!!
Our luv bugs received a generous donation on Friday!
Thank You and God Bless you from Noah-Moses-Jacob and family!!
(((HUGS)))

Pauly saw the ENT Friday morning. He is having his tonsils and adenoids out. We have 6 months from insurance approval to get the Urologist and the ENT to meet to do the head and bottom things!

Oh-boy! As if the Immigration approval, biometric prints 75 miles away on different days for 6 of us and Tom's first travel dates weren't enough to think about! LOL!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankfulness- the economy and boys in far away places :o)

I put up our fundraiser blog almost week ago. We have been beyond blessed to have three precious families donate items to our three boys. These are gifts from their hearts. The economy is bad, money is tight, work is hard to find. I am editing the post to leave the fountain up indefinitely. Maybe someone somewhere will be interested this spring. :o)
Please keep Sonya, Jamie and Heather (and their families) in your prayers. We cannot Thank them enough!!

I know hardship. We feel the economy here too. Our house value just dropped from $135,000.00 to $99,000.00. And yet the taxes went up again. If we were adopting from a Country that wanted "asset" values. We wouldn't have any right now! The real estate that we invested in (lake property, and 19 acres, both land with only garages) has much less value than before. Nothing is selling. Tom has only worked 11 years of our 35 year marriage. I support us. I lay awake in prayer too many nights asking God to care for our needs. But I'm far from complaining. We are beyond blessed by Him. He has NEVER let me down!

All of us living in America are beyond RICH here. We have the freedom to worship and express our faith. We have the right to free speech. (Which is not free, but paid for by our BRAVE Soldiers) We have "stuff" coming out of our ears compare to my 3 little boys in a far away place. We have food shelves and Churches that feed the hungry. I saw a woman on the MS*N*BC home page who said she feeds her children but skips meals because she does not have enough money. SERIOUSLY??? If this woman went to anyone's house- even mine- I know any one of us would feed her. I don't believe for a minute that any of us would not give this woman food. And be more than happy to do it! We are beyond blessed here in America! Praise God!

My 3 boys have potato water to eat/drink. They have such poor nutrition that they have health issues we don't see here. They have urine soaked clothes and sheets/ or no sheets. They wear urine soaked clothes. They are neglected. They are living on borrowed time. I pray that my little Moses can make it thru another winter. He is so tiny and frail. You may agree or disagree, but Tom and I feel that boys are the weaker sex. More prone to illness and death, not as strong as the girls. We asked God "Send us the children who need us."

Then there are girls, everyone wants girls. Beautiful precious girls. The girls are chosen quickly. We just don't get it. Why do the boys wait? We think our boys are as cute as a button. We love girls, we have girls, but when you see the hundreds of boys who wait. And die. And age out of the system. It breaks our hearts.

We take so much for granted, me included. I'm not pointing fingers here. We think we need more than we have. We complain about "rights" that people in other Countries can't even dream of having. Every day I wake up, I find joy that I don't even deserve. That's what drives us on to share what we have. After all we really don't "have" anything. It ALL belongs to God not us. Hanging on to it doesn't make us richer or better off. It makes our hearts cold. We are not giving what is ours, we are giving what is Gods! If He has given us this much and we give it away- certainly won't He give us more? Shouldn't we count on Him to care of our needs?

O.K. where am I going with this? If I was a fluent gifted writer I might have a point that made more sense here. And ending that was worthy of sharing on multiple blogs!! LOL!! If I could write blog posts more eloquently; I would say something wonderfully profound here. Nope that's not me. What I can do- All I can do, is POINT to HIM!! I have no words. Just humble observations and a thankful heart.

(((HUGS))) to all! As we prepare for Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

More good news!! Julius

Thank You for all of the prayers!
Julius does have DS. But he does not have the big toe space on his feet and he does not have the crease on either palm. So the geneticist may check which type. Julius is very smart and loves electronics. I would not be surprised if his DS was Mosaic.

Julius is getting circumcised and an exploratory surgery will be done to look for his testicles. He does have testosterone and he is male!! So the Urologist jumped to conclusions by "looking" at his bottom.
If they have to remove his testicles, he will need testosterone later. Not too excited about that. We pray they can "bring them down".

Praise God!! The Dr really scared us. Next time we'll trust our gut. We usually do, but because of the palms and toes, we thought maybe this Dr knew something we didn't.

I wish I had a cute picture to post of him here. Maybe tomorrow sister Grace will take one on her cell phone!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pauly's heart is GREAT!!



This is Pauly's million dollar smile! But why do the boys NEVER look at the camera at the same time??!! LOL!!




Pauly saw the heart Dr today. His heart repair looks good. It is repaired differently than Drs in the US would do it. Here they do two patches, in EE they did one patch. It looks good. He doesn't need to go back for 4 years!! Wooo-Hooo!


Next Pauly sees the ENT before his circumcision- in case we need to do several things at once! Poor baby!


Pauly (right) and Julius (left) eat exactly the same amount of food. Pauly tends to still be constipated even with everyones wonderful

suggestions. Julius does not gain weight. He stays lean. But he is taller!


Can I even begin to explain to you in words how much we LOVE these two little men! They are our boys in every sense of the word. They bring us sunshine every day. This fall I don't even notice the cloudy days, because the boys brighten every day for us!


(((HUGS))) to all :o)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Our new Fundraiser blog!!

We have something very exciting to share with you!!



Our new Fundraiser blog!



If you click on the picture of the precious babies to the right. You will go there.



Julius and Pauly are both very excited for their three new brothers (from their home country) to come join them in their family in America!


Please consider entering one of our two raffles for the items donated to our three boys.(A river rock painted for you by talented artist Jamie! and a beautiful fountain!) The families who donated these items did so because they want to help our next 3 boys. We are humbled by their kindness. We are very thankful to them!




for our Fundraiser blog anywhere you can think of!!




((((HUGS)))) to all! We feel your prayers!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Samson our Superman!








When I was posting the group photos from up north, Samson was in every one of them and he LOVED pointing that out to me!


Yesterday his sister Hope came over and took these photos of him.(thank you Hope) So of course he wanted to see them!


So here he is! Samson saves the day! Our Superman!


We love you big guy!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our 3 love bugs have Guardian Angels :o)

Our 3 boys have Guardian Angels! A beautiful family, with a precious mom named Jamie. You can see her blog here-
http://momabearsadoptionblog.blogspot.com/

Her family has adopted from the US and B*ulgar*ia. Tobias and Talia are beeeeeautiful children from B*G. I have loved every minute of watching their journey. Their children came home right behind us, the week after we brought home Julius & Pauly.

Jamie told me that she wanted to help us fund raise! I was humbled. She is so kind. Yesterday her family donated to our fund. They really want to help our 3 boys. I don't know how we can ever thank you for your generosity, Jamie and family. It means so much to us. You are Guardian Angels for our boys.
THANK YOU! We love you!

Three boys means- 3 airline tickets for the boys and 2 for Tom and Gabriel. That could be as high as $5,500.00 or higher if they come home in the summer like Julius & Pauly.
Three boys means- 3 passports, $1,212.00.
Three boys means more USCIS fees- $1,440.00 for the I800, for 2 extra boys.
Three boys means more luggage, diapers, higher hotel rate.
Sometimes I'm too tired to even think about it! :o)

People like Jamie and her family give us hope, love and support. It's not about the money. It's about the people who love the children, even our 3 boys, enough to help them and help us to get them.

THANK YOU!! Jamie & family! We LOVE you!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Frozen in time



Frozen in time. Recently a mom sent me a photo of the 15 yr old that she is adopting. She is from the same orphanage as my little love bug Moses, pictured here. She is so tiny. She is probably the same size as Moses.


Moses is 6 1/2 yrs old. He is the size of an 18 month old. The children in his orphanage stop growing. They are all very very small for their age. They stop growing. They just manage to survive. Look at Moses' determined brown eyes. He is a survivor. The most recent photos of him that I have, I can't post here, they show him sick and sad. He could die. He needs a family. And yet they told another mom there is "no change in condition", when they asked about him. Is that good or bad?


My heart breaks. There is another boy there much older than Moses. But he is very small. He cannot walk. His legs are pulled up to his chest. He is a happy happy boy. We thought he was our Noah. But he was not. He haunts my mind, as I think of him so content, laughing. He asks for nothing.


So far away. So many children. So helpless. My life goes on and theirs is frozen in time.

Please pray for these children. There are about 15 families going to adopt. But there are 250 children.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

And so it ends in a blur ;o)



Last photo, from Tom's one photo shoot in October up north. LOL! Five weeks, I lose my disposable camera, forget my real camera. Tom doesn't take any other photos. We all get sick. It goes by too fast!

That's kinda what happens when you're old. :o) Time flies!


When I was young pictures were everything to me! One year Walm*art lost Matthew's 3rd birthday party photos!! I was devastated. (That was 17 years ago)


Now I spend more time smelling their hair. Listening to their voices. And holding their hands. I've memorized these things all through the years and they mean so much more to me. A picture just captures a look, not a person. I can lay in bed at night and picture my 35 yr old swimming in the lake at age 14. Her 11 yr old sister (now 32) bringing Grandma's swimming toys down to the lake with a floatie around her neck! It's just like I'm there. :o) I even see my mom young again! O.K. maybe I'm strange! LOL!

Friday, November 4, 2011

MA tries to distract Pauly!






Isn't it funny how things can change and you don't even notice? I guess we had so much going on I really wasn't even paying attention.


In September while we were on vacation, day after day Pauly was angry. Pauly had been angry ever since we brought him home. But in a house you can leave his area and not hear it 24/7. In an RV, he is right there, day after day for 5 weeks, fuming. I was sad. I was frustrated. It even got on my nerves. I loved him as best I could, but it was HARD!! I'd ask everyone several times a day- "Is he going to be angry forever?"...............................


But guess what! Pauly is no longer angry!! WOOOOO-HOOOOO!! Pauly is NO LONGER angry!!! YES!! Praise God!! My little ball of LOVE is a HAPPY boy now!! Of course he still gets angry. But not all day long, for hours. I didn't even notice!


Just today I said to Gabriel how cool it was that Pauly did not grind his teeth anymore! Julius still does once in a while but Pauly stopped! Gabe said "Pauly's not angry anymore either!" WOW!! It hit me! My baby is free from expressing non-stop anger. His needs are being met!! My prayers were answered!! Praise God!


Julius has had his blood work, but we found out it will take a long time to come back because it is genetics. The Urologist thought 2 weeks, but the nurse drawing blood said that would be pushing it. I hope the tests aren't too expensive!! We had a geneticist for our Molly that I loved. He was so helpful. He wanted to see us when I was 46 and pg, but I didn't care about genetics until our baby was born. Especially if we had not lived! But our baby was born better than fine! So now I am excited to see this same pediatric geneticist for Julius. Julius is also getting an endocrinologist.


(((HUGS)))

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Socialization

Julius and Paul do not like new people, new places, or traveling!

Tonight my good friend Bobbie stopped by. All of the kids were excited to tell Bobbie "Hello" and of course they dragged their new brothers over to see her too! Julius would not look at her. He did look at me! :o) But he mostly tried to communicate with the kids, he pretended no one was at our house!

Pauly saw Bobbie and was very curious. He walked towards her, until she started coming towards him!! :o) Then he tried to turn around and claw his way up me! LOL!

It's great to see that the boys know us. But sad to see that they are so afraid. You can't help but wonder- do they think we'd give them to Bobbie? After all someone gave them to us.

It seems they've bonded, and I'm thrilled. They do like us in their own way.

Last August when they had only been home only a few days our social worker stopped by. Pauly explored her. Julius was fine with her visit. Now they become distressed by new people. They tune them out, or try to get away.

I can't imagine how hard the adjustment of moving here has been for them. No matter how fun and loving we make it, it has to be incredibly hard for them. My poor precious babies. I just adore them! They fit into our family so easily, regardless of the behaviors. Each day they bless our lives more! When you drop all expectations for them, you can love them easily. Right now, we just wait for them to heal.

Who wouldn't love these little pumpkin boys!! :o)

We can't wait for the next 3 love bugs to come home!!

I LOVE these guys



***** ***** ***** *


Only 2 group photos left to post! And Mr. Tom still hasn't loaded the new ones! Too bad he doesn't read my blogs! LOL!!


Everybody here is just way to cute for words!

I am blessed beyond measure!



I have been getting updates on Noah and Jacob, but not Moses, from an amazing woman adopting from the same orphanage. She asked the Director if she could see my boys or take pictures. The D said "no." :o( But she saw Jacob because he sleeps in her son's room, and she has passed by Noah and his Baba (volunteer grandma) in the hall.


Jacob (6 yrs) loves to suck his foot when he sleeps, and makes loud smacking lip noises! :o)

Noah (8 yrs) IS walking with his Baba's help!! And he drinks from a cup!! Yeah!!! He also makes great spit bubbles!


The precious Baba for Noah was assigned 2 days a week to visit him. He had sores all over his body. She came everyday!! She brought ointment for his sores and fruit puree to feed him and he is better!!!! These Babas save the lives of the children!!

I think when the Babas see that we are the same age as them, they will be surprised!! LOL!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

please pray for Julius



***** ***** *****

Not sure why Tom stood back farther to take this picture. LOL!


Today the boys saw the Urologist. Pauly looked good, he did not need the operation for an undescended testicle. We are going to have him circumcised, due to adhesions. I normally do not like my boys circumcised, but I've learned with Samson that for lower functioning boys with DS, this could make bathing easier.


Julius has something else wrong going on and needs blood work to confirm this. There is something hormonal wrong. We "thought" it was undescended testicles, it is much more serious. Before the Dr can tell us what is wrong with Julius, we need to do blood work. Then we will need to see a pediatric specialist in hormonal issues, if the blood work comes out with what the Urologist thinks it is. The Urologist won't say what he thinks it is yet. :o( But we have an idea. I don't know if Julius ever had the blood work for DS, maybe he does not have DS? Or he has Mosaic? DS with this hormonal issue we can't name yet.

Please keep him in your prayers.


(((HUGS))) to all :o)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SP and MA priceless :o)



***** ***** ****


SP is laughing at Tom here and MA is trying to help Pauly look at dad. Pauly is more relaxed, finally! Julius (back row with Gabe) is still thinking of escaping.


Tom says "They (Julius & Pauly) refuse to look at the camera!!!"




You can see my Samson (front left) is a mouth breather. We had his tonsils and adnoids removed to help with this. But it didn't. :o(

He also tilts his head to see. His vision field is off. His nystagmus did correct itself! But his vision field is still off.


Tomorrow J&P see the urologist for pre-surgery consult.

Monday, October 31, 2011

SP & MA forever a huge part of our life :o)



***** ***** ***


Here SP is laughing (front-Nebraska sweatshirt). SP is always the "joker". And MA (left of SP) is encouraging Pauly to "look at dad!" She is always the "helper".


SP is a very serious person. But she loves to have fun. The problem is mental illness interferes, and some days fun is replaced by crying and complaining. We don't take it personally- which is hard, I admit. It can be long days. When she is having fun- she is the life of the party! You can see it in her beautiful smile!


MA is fun and light hearted for the most part. But with alzheimers, life is harder for her and she isn't herself. We don't take that personally either. We try to protect her from worrying about her confusion. Sometimes this back fires on us because then she tells us "we" are wrong! LOL!! She was so much fun to work with before the alzheimers. She was very active in the community. Shopping with her own grocery list, writing her own checks. Living in her own apartment with our help for 6 years! Working two part time jobs. Taking the bus independently. She won a Good Citizenship Award in the 90s for being such an asset to our community! Everyone knows her!! She's slowed down tremendously.


We thank God for bringing these two women in to our lives for so many years now. MA- 24 yrs, SP- 22 yrs. They have taught our family so much. They have enriched our lives. We have had many clients come and go in 24 yrs, but these two are still here. And we are blessed beyond measure by their presence. We love them dearly! We thank God for them!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oh! my!



***** ***** **


Clearly Tom has lost control of the "crowd" and MA and SP are not happy about it. You can see the strained look on Faith Blessing's face (yes, that's her full name :o)

Faith is helping with Pauly in front. She's trying to turn his head to "look at dad"! LOL! She expects dad to be in control!


I love the pictures where everyone is not posed! This is REALLY what it is like when they are all together. They don't do anything in sync! LOL!! In the back Gabriel is encouraging Isaiah to be silly. "Hey! Gabe, you're supposed to be helping here!!" Lysa is taunting dad in the back by waving!


They are all just too much fun!!

Well, except when Tom (has pneumonia) and I (have pneumonia) and Gabe (has mono) are sick at the same time and it's 85 degrees out in October!!


Of course Gabe still seems to find fun no matter how sick he is- oh to be young!!


(((HUGS)))

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Everybody!!

***** ***** *


Now MA and SP have joined the kids in this picture!! MA loves how small the boys are- she calls them "babies". She knows she has DS and she knows they have DS. :o) As her alzheimers progresses, she relates more to being with the kids instead of the adults.
SP does not look happy here, but she is. She has mental illness and is developmentally delayed.

We are so terrible about taking pictures. And it takes Tom forever to get them on the computer for me. I asked him to load a photo of our Molly in July and he still hasn't done it. He has new photos of the boys and I have to keep after him to make time to put them in. I wish I knew how, but I have been so busy with work, Tom does not work- so I expect him to do this for me!! :o)

In this picture Pauly (front) is still doing his autistic gestures, he's stressed being outside. Julius (back) is watching Dad!

Our precious family, minus Mom & Dad.
Six of our adult children not pictured, 3 children in Heaven.
Thank You God!!
(((HUGS))) to all! :o)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thank You!! Thank You!! Thank You!!







Someone has donated to our FSP page!! Thank You!! God Bless you!! (((HUG)))



***** *****

This is how the gang prefers to be photographed-LOL!!





LtoR back row-

Lysa (9) Isaiah (7) Kitty (8) Gabriel (16) and Julius (4)

front row- Samson (16) Faith (10) MA and Pauly (4)



MA and SP love the new boys! Pauly and Julius do not see a reason for us to do this! LOL!!



Julius reminds me so much of our Susie, who passed away. She could eat and eat and eat! She even ate a whole pizza for dinner often! She never weighed more than 110 pounds no matter what she ate! And she ate alot. Susie inherited this from her naturally thin parents. They experts say "people with DS have a slow metabolism". But I think they inherit much more from their family of birth than we can imagine! :o)



Twenty eight years ago they taught us that people with DS looked more like each other than their birth family- SHOCK!! I have never met a person with DS who did not resemble their birth family!


(((HUGS)))

Thursday, October 27, 2011

so close- so far away

**** ****





Same line up as yesterday. :o)
Julius & Pauly look down when they are uncomfortable. Pauly will stare at his hands and feet and make gestures with them and flap them, to comfort himself.

We were so close to getting our I800A sent in today. But then we found out that the referring agency that wants to review our Homestudy, put it in a "stack" of Homestudies to be Hague reviewed! Aaaack!! Our Homestudy Agency here, the one that wrote it, is Hague approved. Do I need a Hague approved agency to approve a Homestudy written by a Hague approved agency?? OY!
So we wait......tick.....tick....tick.......
I really really HATE waiting!! LOL!!
The 2nd thing holding us back is our 4th reference. :o( The reference said they wrote it- they said they mailed it. No one has received it. :o( UGH!!

I am not sweating over the time we've lost. I learn time and time again that God's timing is perfect. I'm just wishing things could go more smoothly. I really like smooth! LOL! I get so tired and overwhelmed easily!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011




Aaaaaw! Gabriel is smiling in this one! :o) He was so sick with mono.

*******
LtoR

Samson (16) Faith (10) Isaiah (7) holding Pauly (4) Kitty(8) Lysa (9) Gabriel (16) holding Julius (4)

Julius is still stressing over being outside, he can't stop looking at the ground because he hates being put on the ground or in the wagon!

Pauly is very relaxed in this picture. (He had thrown his socks off before in frustration!!) He is looking at Dad and the camera. Moments where Pauly is in tune to us and paying attention to us are few, touching him helps, but if the kids hold/touch him he does not tune into them like he will with Gabriel, Tom or I.

I wish everybody could come over to our house and see how the boys are changing!! At night they are having long periods of being quiet in the night. The still sit up and rock, and Pauly softly grumbles and breathes heavily when he can't sleep. But from watching the other children sleep next to them, they are learning that darkness means quiet! Sometimes when I turn lights off for bed time Pauly whines/cries. I don't think he slept in the dark. My lights are on with the TV next to where he sleeps so it is not completely dark until I shut them off. There are always soft battery operated night lights on in the hallway.

Only Julius grinds his teeth now, about 6 or so times a day. It is a miracle that Pauly stopped grinding his! They did this constantly, non-stop. But we would carefully squeeze their cheeks and say "neh" (no). Pauly no longer stuffs his hands down his throat!! He used to do this while drooling, lots and lots of drooling. He still drools- mostly when he's bored. We are reminding him to swallow. (Samson was much more drooly.)

Potty training is going to have to wait with the boys until next year, or even the next! LOL!

We started potty training Samson at 4, he had been with us a year. When he was 7 , I told Susie's mom (Susie was our client with DS who passed away after 16 yrs with us) that the books said that kids with DS should be potty trained by 7-10 years old!! Susie's mom Verna (I love her mom) looked at me and said "Well then you have 3 more years!" ROTFLOL!!!! That was not what I wanted to hear!! I wanted to hear that he would be potty trained soon!! LOL! That she had potty training advice for me! But Samson was s....t....u....bb....o....r....n!!! And yes, it took 3 more years. His last accident was while we were up north in October!! Oh-my!!! I had mentioned in a previous post how I have decided that potty training is the least of my worries with my kids with DS. MA and Susie were completely potty trained. We never had a worry. But once Alzheimers hit Susie at 39 yrs old, she was no longer potty trained. Same with MA, for the last 6 yrs she has slowly gone from potty trained to total wetting, and partial BMs in her depends. I know TMI, but it is reality.

My goals for my kids with DS is that they love God, believe in Jesus and learn to be flexible. That they are well socialized, that they respect their staff at their work place and are cooperative with therapies and medical treatments. Does that sound too simple? Not for kids with DS. They are just as opinionated, stubborn, and set in their ways as we are. The only difference is that they are very "genuine" (honest) in their responses. If they don't like you- they don't like you! If I don't like you, I am going to be respectful of you and not let on that I don't like you. I am going to tolerate you until my interaction with you ends. My kids with DS and MA depend on us and others for everything. The harder they are for people to get along with, the lesser their quality of life is. We want them to have their own interests as we do, but we also want them to realize that they need to do what others ask of them first.

An example with Samson is, that when I ask him to do something or tell someone something- he does it. If Gabriel or Dad ask him the same thing, he walks away and pretends to do it. He never tells me!! He learned this partially from watching his sibs say "I'm going to tell mom!" and then they walk away and pretend to. So now we are working hard on having lots of people, not just me, request him to do things or tell someone something, and then making sure he follows through on it! He is also expected to be polite and have a good attitude about it.

Many people unfamiliar with DS think that all people with DS are "happy". Our Susie was one of the feistiest and ornery people with DS that we had ever worked with! We have seen that depression/low Serotonin is a pretty common cause of depressive behavior or acting out with our clients with DS also.

Right now at this stage of life, MA is totally focused on what she wants to do only. This is pretty common as people with DS slow down and get older. Often others think this is a "behavior". MA now likes to do new things like hoarding and is unable to pick up after herself with the massive amounts of things she collects. If she goes into the living room to watch TV, she brings a huge stack of magazines, a bag of things, and a fist full of pens. She never did this when she was younger. She becomes easily frustrated when she can't carry everything, or if she has to leave something in her room. She also becomes agitated if she has to stop doing what she wants to do and transition to eating or bathing. We don't take this personally, but there is lots of fist swinging at us, door slamming, screaming and tantrums. This is totally not her character. But the alzheimers has changed her completely. Oh- how we wish we could turn back time. Recently a Dr told me 62 was the average length of life now for a person with DS. MA is almost 55. The time just goes too fast. No need to waste it on skills that are only used during school years.

Anyhow, just my humble opinion. :o) God is the expert and I pray with all my heart and all my soul that I am listening and hearing His lead, not mine!

(((HUGS))) :o)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


******


Dad tried a new pose here. LtoR is Samson(16) Faith(10 going on 20) Pauly (4) held by Isaiah (7) Katherine (8) Elizabeth (9) Gabriel (16) and Julius (4)


Pauly is avoiding eye contact with Dad- he's stressed. Julius is thinking Gabe better not put him down! LOL!


Because we run a group home, our time away from the house is limited. So everyday after SP leaves for work around 1:30 p.m. and MA comes home around 2:30 p.m., I run to the store. For the last 3 days we have been looking for sleepers and one piece rompers in size 3T for the boys. This is a little big, but 2T is too small. I had looked online first but could not find any good buys. The selection online was incredibly poor too.


Thirty years ago I used to make sleepers, now I barely have time to make fleece pj pants, which take less than a half hour! :o) The boys need one piece outfits because they dig in their diapers! In Bu*lg*aria they wore girls overalls!


I went to Target on Sat. and found 3 sleepers, I went to Walmart on Sunday and found "1" sleeper! ugh! And last night I went to Kohls- but even their sale prices were high! and then I stopped at JCPenneys. At JC I found quite a few things on sale!! When I went to pay I was told if I used my JCP card I could get 20% more off! (the card is in Tom's name, so I had to apply for one!!) I told the young sales woman (early 20s) that that would be great to save more $$ because the clothes were for 2 little boys we adopted from B*ulga*ria! She was so excited to hear that! She told me she always wanted to adopt- after she gets married first and maybe after she has birth children, but she LOVED the thought of adopting some day! It was so sweet, she was so excited. I had hoped and prayed that I encouraged her more by talking about our experiences! :o) I remember how excited I was when I first wanted to foster or adopt and my family thought it was the dumbest idea I had ever come up with. I would have loved some encouragement from anyone!!


Way back then (29 yrs ago) the County and a very well seasoned award winning Foster mom; both worked hard to talk us out of adopting our Andy. They wanted him in a group home- not a family. I'm so glad we didn't listen!! It was HARD. Andy was the hardest child we ever raised. But it was worth it. The funny thing was 10 years later we too won the same award that that same foster mom had won, she won Foster mom of the year for the State of MN. We won Adult Foster family of the year for the state of MN. Please I am in no way bragging here, just thinking about how Vi tried to talk us out of adopting Andy and we try to talk others INTO adoption! :o) We are the only 2 in the state from our County to win this. I don't like awards much, because after "they" build you up............you have no where to go but down. LOL! Ouch! ;o) It's safer on the ground!


Later when I came home, there in the mail was a coupon for Carters and Oshkoshbgosh online! So I was able to get 25% more off of the sale prices and buy a few more sleepers!! We are all snuggly now!!


Thank You Lord!! :o)


(((HUGS))) to all!

Monday, October 24, 2011

same day-different pose- LOL!



Oh boy!! Pauly is still flapping- he wants to go inside!!

Gabe (((HUG)))

Samson was sick, believe it or not- he got over it fast!!

Lysa and Kitty the silly sisters still hanging on to Julius who is incredibly strong and wirey, good for escaping.

Lady bugs are after Isaiah's head! LOL!

It was in the 80s this day and we were sweating-with fevers. Oh- my poor Gabe! (((HUG)))

By the way, I hate to brag, but Gabriel is very handsome even when he's not feeling well. Wasn't it just yesterday we were in a Chicago hospital with him near death because he couldn't breathe? He had severe chronic asthma. We wondered if he'd live until we got home! I have loved every day of having him in my life as my son.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

All my children

Pauly (middle) is doing a full blown autistic flapping- with stiff legs- spitting episode.

Poor Gabe, so sick. :o(

Julius (front) still looking to escape! Hang on Lysa!!

Isaiah looking pretty darn handsome for not feeling well.



Julius & Pauly have been home 2 months. TWO months! Time has flown.

If you look at their pictures on the side bar here, from March. You see two very different looking boys. The picture of Pauly is from when the orphanage staff were shocked to see that Tom made him laugh. They said he was very serious. (I'd say un-responsive and autistic)

Yes we cut their hair. They had baby boy bowl cuts, now they have little men cuts! Much easier for bathing. They are incredibly AFRAID of bathing. It hurts your heart to see them go into a blank stare of shock and fear from going into the water to bathe. Julius is fascinated with water, but not with getting into it. Pauly who normally is oblivious to what is happening to him, watches the water in terror as I dry him. Julius won't even look back at the water once removed from it. Once clean they smell amazing and cuddle so sweetly.

The biggest difference to us is how seamlessly we have transitioned them into our family. And how in their own limited way they have responded back to us. Yes they still have orphanage "behaviors", but they are familiar to us now, not surprises anymore. Dare I say we are used to the behaviors! LOL!

Julius still looks at me like I am the "mean orphanage lady". When Dad is around he is all smiles and giggles. Julius is very bright and realizes that I am the disciplinarian. Dad allows things mom doesn't! LOL! I don't take it personally. The women in his life have never been a mom, he has no clue what a mom is. I model mom behavior with the other kids in front of him. He has not been around men that we saw, Dad is a fun novelty right now. He doesn't trust me. If I put him in time out- he remembers!! He's a thinker! I can't wait to see what he will learn to do, because he thinks about everything he sees us do! He's very curious! Julius is a beautiful little boy. He does not photograph nearly as cute as he is. He doesn't pose, he thinks! Silly boy! His DS features are not very prominent. He has the most beautiful brown eyes and hair. His skin is the beautiful tan color of many Bu*lgarians. He must have been favored for being so cute. He will at times try to "work it" with us. He can work it with the kids and gets away with alot! He tries to make faces at us, as if to say "I'm not naughty! I'm cute!". He has a kind of "orphanage smarts". He has a very fast metabolism from his thyroid, so he's slim compared to Pauly.

Pauly LOVES me! LOL!! He actually crawls towards me instead of away from me! Pauly is very forgiving. He loves me to snuggle his neck and tickle him. He is very sensitive to touch. The only problem is if you can't continually touch him, he reverts to his autistic stiff behaviors right away. But if you need his attention you can draw him out by hugging and snuggling him. He looks at me deeply, with wide eyes as if to say "Who are you! I love you! I have been waiting my whole life for you!" He is lower functioning and has an innocence that Julius does not have. Pauly is very touchy feely, he likes to feel his emotions, he doesn't think much about what is going on. :o) Observing things overwhelms him. Pauly has the most beautiful blue eyes!! And the fairest blonde hair that is dishwater blonde when short. Pauly has all of the wonderful DS features that we love X 10!!! Every cute adorable feature that comes from having DS, Pauly has. He has the cutest softest rolly polly little body for snuggling. He has the sweetest face with DS features that make you want to kiss those cheeks and hold that sweet face in your hands. He is the picture of DS cuteness multiplied!! We love that about him. We think he should be a model!! Every so often we catch a beautiful picture of him!

We can no longer remember what life was like here before OUR boys! We don't want to remember what it was like before our boys! We have been blessed beyond belief! We can not wait until Noah, Moses and Jacob are home to add to the fun! We can not wait to see who the "real" Noah, Moses and Jacob are! Not the boys from the orphanage- but OUR boys! The Archer boys!

Thank You God!!

(((HUGS))) to you and thank you for stopping by to read about our blessings! We pray it inspires you to bring home your little boy too!

Saturday, October 22, 2011



LOL!! The gang ;O)


back LtoR

Samson here is giving orders! (yes he's 16, he has a heart condition that is not repairable, thus his short stature) Gabriel (16) sick with mono, is holding Pauly's (4) arms down so Pauly won't slap his own face, Pauly is not happy about this. Faith (10) thinks this is an opportunity to model! Oh-my! Poor Faith was having a not so good hair day. But we love her so much she never noticed!


Front row LtoR Isaiah (7) bored and sick, Kitty (8) bored, Lysa (9) trying to restrain Julius (4) who is whining to go back into the trailer.


It is humorous that Isaiah is my only birth baby of the bunch. Ever since he was born he has been our only birthchild at home. Our other birth kids were 28,25,and 22 when he was born. Up north when we weren't feeling well Isaiah was getting on my nerves as only little boys know how to do! So I told him that I was going to have another baby in my tummy now-another boy, and I would name John. And John would listen to mom and behave! LOL!! Now mind you, only a couple of years ago Isaiah wanted me to have another baby in my tummy. Since we both almost died when I carried and gave birth to Isaiah at 47, I thought adopting sounded like a better plan! :o) But on this day now that he was bugging me and just not himself feeling so sick, I thought I'd tease him.


Isaiah was not happy about my idea at all. He informed me that I am now too old to have a baby in my tummy, and that he is my last baby in my tummy, and he will always be my one and only SURPRISE!! baby! He was just too cute telling me this! I thank God for him in my life everyday- even when he gets on my nerves!


Now that we have Julius & Pauly home Isaiah does not feel the need for mom to have a baby anymore! LOL!!


Friday, October 21, 2011

the ups and downs of anticipation



This is what the kids do when they are getting sick of Dad making them pose for tooooooooooooooooo many pictures! LOL!


Pauly (in the middle) is actually intrigued by it. He's looking to Dad as if to say "Pick me up?" Julius in front is afraid of the ground and worried the kids might set him down there. They do not like being outside! The kids are wearing their finest camping clothes! LOL! We leave old clothes up there, just for wearing in the dirt-trees-woods! These clothes have been worn by all of our kids! Our 35 yr old wore some of these things! Julius & Pauly are in their Hanna Anderssen one piece jammies since they hate the outdoors!


Last night I got an email that JS does not want to move to our area. So she has chosen to stay in the Mpls area. We were sad, BUT!!! Now we are FULL speed ahead with our Dossier! Our I800A is going into the mail to our agency TODAY! They will get it on Monday. We are waiting on one reference letter for our homestudy to be completed.............ugh. And then things could be sent to Immigration next week!! YAHOOO!!


I told the agency that wants to place a new client with us that we really need to get 3 little boys home FIRST!! I can't worry about the money. We need to JUST DO IT!!


WE ARE COMING BOYS!!! :o)

Praising God!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Another set back~



The only photos we took on the computer compatible camera, were group photos the last day, because we were so sick. I used a disposable camera- but I lost it. :o(


Back row LtoR is Samson (16) Gabriel (sick with mono-16) Faith posing as a model!(10)

In the middle, on the table, is Pauly (4) doing a very "stiff" avoidance sit and stare.

Front row LtoR is Isaiah (sick age 7) Kitty (8) Julius (also sick,4) and Lysa (9)


All of the leaves were off of the trees. But that day Oct. 5, it was 84 degrees out. We felt worse than ever in the heat!


We have been offered a 51 yr old woman to move into our group home named JS. We have accepted her but now need to see if the County will approve the move.....UGH! If she can move in, we need to update our homestudy and I800A. We were so close to sending it all in to Immigration. It makes me sad. But we do need the work to help pay our HUGE adoption debts from Julius & Pauly. We can't refuse a new client when we are so deep in debt, and surgeries coming up with big co-pays!


(((HUGS))) to all!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Down Syndrome

I had contacted Dr. Brian Chicoine many years ago when our Susie was dying. A professor at the U of MN recommended him. He is a national leader in the knowledge of and healthcare for children and adults with DS. He is in IL. Here are 2 books I would not live without.


Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome
A Guide to Emotional and Behavioral Strengths and Challenges
Dennis McGuire, Ph.D. & Brian Chicoine, M.D

go here to see more!

http://www.woodbinehouse.com/main.asp_Q_product_id_E_1-890627-65-8_A_.asp

* * * * * * * * * *
The Guide to Good Health for Teens & Adults with Down Syndrome
Brian Chicoine, M.D. & Dennis McGuire, Ph.D.

go here to see more!

http://www.woodbinehouse.com/main.asp_Q_product_id_E_978-1-890627-89-8_A_.asp
* * * * * * * * *

These 2 books are worth their weight in GOLD!!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. We did not have them as Susie was dying. In the back of the book (Mental Wellness) there is a great list of suggested drugs and their usefulness. We noticed by comparison, that throughout Susie's end of life care, we were very closely on target to the recommended medications!

I've worked with kids & adults with DS since 1983. You can never know everything! I have learned alot from Dr. Chicoine!

(((HUGS)))
Eliz, Samson, Julius, Paul & MA

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Samson the teenager

I love how independent Samson is. He turned 16 in August and he is just a joy. I love that he is my son! I hope someday we can find his precious birthmother and we always pray that she is living a better life. Samson won't know who she is, but I think she'd be so happy to see how he is doing. She was only 15 when he was born.

Samson helps out alot. So no one is ever surprised by what he can do. One day his sister Grace stopped by and he had her convinced that uses the microwave! LOL! He wasn't being truthful! He can't do that alone, he still mixes up his numbers! :o)

When he's angry about being corrected or disciplined, he can pout for hours- even days!! But if either sister- Hope or Grace stop by, he comes quickly to give me an apology and then runs to them yelling their name and giving them a HUGE hug!! He loves his sisters! If his brother Matthew stops by, he stays in his bed pouting!! LOL!!

He loves all sports. He knows our teams! Up north he plays football, throws the baseball and plays a mean tetherball. However he plays all sports with his own rules! Our 7 yr old Isaiah finds it fascinating that Samson will make the rules so he wins! Isaiah tells me this as if I hadn't noticed!! Mostly Samson likes to play sports alone and we are supposed to watch him! He loves his sports so much that if Dad throws him a diaper to toss in the trash, Samson yells "FOOTBALL!" LOL!!

Tonight Samson wanted Dad to "see" that he was playing tetherball. He kept looking for Dad to come into his view. So I called Tom and told him he should play a game of tetherball with Samson. At first Samson just wanted to show Dad how he can hold the rope (illegal) and swing the ball. Then he wants to show Tom that he can hit the ball in Tom's direction too and still win! LOL! When in fact he helped Tom win! Eventually Samson follows the rules of the game with Dad, but he's not as tall, so Tom teases him saying "I win!" Samson then decides that he wins everytime he catches the ball and holds it from Tom. (also illegal) And he doesn't argue with you about winning! He just tells you he won!

Samson is a wonderful role model for Julius and Pauly. He calls them "babies"! He says "Hi! Babbies" or "Hi! Boys!" to them! He likes having Julius and Isaiah in his bedroom. He's not alone anymore! He loves being a big brother!