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

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

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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!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

God bless you!! Thank you!!/ routines

Today we received another wonderful donation for our boys Noah-Moses and Jacob!!! (on our Family Support Page)

Thank You!!! God bless you!!!

It is a huge thing we never ever take for granted! We know how heart felt the donations and prayers for our boys are! We are humbled!

Thank You!! So much!!! (((HUG)))
*******************************
This is our last week up north and today we realized something! Julius & Pauly do NOT like their routines changed at all!! I imagine the orphanage was run on a tight schedule.

Every morning when we wake the boys up, Pauly wakes up slowly, Julius wakes up quickly ready for the day. They look for Dad.
Tom takes one boy at a time out to the bunkhouse and changes his diaper and feeds him. Then he brings him back and gets the next boy. The boys love this, and it frees me up to feed everyone else. But sometimes Dad has to do something else. So I feed them instead. And they are not happy about it at all. They eat like they "don't know how" and they are upset! Very passive aggressive behavior! They want to know who will feed them and when. They like a strict routine! And they don't like it changed!

Most mornings the boys like to eat a little milk and yogurt, they aren't big morning eaters. They do not like cereal of any kind- or eggs-or pancakes. At lunch they like oatmeal with a variety of cooked things chopped into small swallowable bits. Veggies, soft fruits- mixed in. At dinner they like noodles or bread with meat and butter, drizzled with homemade soup broth. The broth makes the bread very soft. They hate rice and firm bread, cheese and brown sugar, crackers. They don't chew and they don't suck- they swallow! When we get home we are going to try those toddler cookies and "first" eater things. We want them to learn eat on their own. To tell us what they'd like to eat! ;o) Rather than just swallowing or spitting out what we feed them!

Our Samson did chew, he was 3 when he joined our family. but he chewed bites too big. And if he didn't want to eat something he let it conveniently "fall" from his mouth. But he liked all foods! We made a sign that said "Please don't feed the bear" because he opened his mouth for anything!! :o)

The boys are very particular about toys too. Julius loves his magnetic drawing board. He likes to "draw"! He also likes a toy that lights up with stars and plays music. He wears out battery after battery with that toy as it plays over and over! Pauly likes his soft toy- Mr. Caterpillar/Worm. We have him sleep with it, then he can chew on Mr Worm instead of drooling and chewing his hands. He also likes his soft pastel Mickey mouse and a soft giraffe. He will chew or drool on his colorful teething ring too. Both boys tend to "manipulate" their toys rather than play with them. We show them how to play each day and it kind of goes over their head! Before this they weren't interested in anything. I think they should hopefully imitate us soon.

The boys are with us all day, even while sleeping and napping. This way they don't get overstimulated by having to do things with us. They can just watch us. We've noticed each day they open up a little more, they try new things just by spending so much time with us. The only difficulty we have is when their routines are changed! Then they regress and ignore us! They become introverted again. Mornings usually refresh them and they "forget" they were upset. We have to make a more conscious effort to change their routine more often in small ways. We don't want them to become dependent on it. Routines-life, things change. They need to learn this too! :o)

Sometimes it's overwhelming how much they don't know, and overwhelming that they can't tell us or show us what they do know.

They sure are sweet though!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"So how are your boys adjusting?"

This was the question the Stearns County licensor asked me when I told her we were doing great, and that JC should be allowed to move into our group home.

The licensor was rude, blunt and secretly wishing that she could tell me, she already knew that JC would not be allowed to move in with us.

She's a new licensor, previously from the Juvenile Justice System. UGH. Maybe lots of adoptive parents "failed" their kids in her old line of work. I say that very sarcastically. Adoption and adoptive parents get blamed for lots of dumb things. The old licensor our County had has retired. I had a relationship with the old licensor. She knew me. The new one "thinks" she knows everything about everyone.

I explained to the new licensor that we had worked 15 long months preparing for our boys to come home. We knew what we were headed for. We were excited after the long wait, to say the least. We knew it wouldn't be easy, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. And yet to our great surprise- it was easy! And it was/is fun!

When people ask you this question enough times, doubts enter your mind. You begin to wonder, how are we doing? How should we be doing? Why has it been so easy? So much fun? Are we crazy? Or are we lying to ourselves?

When Tom walked through the door with the boys on August 20, I was worried. People said "Wow! You are going to be so buuuuuuusy!" I feared they may be right. Maybe I was going to be completely overwhelmed with 2 new boys? Then what was I going to do? My confidence faded.

The boys fit into our family like a warm snuggly blankie in winter. We never looked back. They were born to join our family. It was love.

Now we continue to have many doubters. Doubters who do not know it yet, but will find out soon. Like the Licensor and the rest of the County, that 3 more precious boys are coming. We committed to them last December, before we even met Julius & Paul in person. That was how sure we were that it was meant to be. They can stop JC from moving in- but they can't stop 3 more little love bugs from being adopted by our family.

We now know from experience (no more doubts here) that these 3 love bugs will also transition smoothly into our home. We have seen their new photos from August and they are even cuter than before- if that's possible. We know that as long as we keep all of our little boys fed and loved and safe. They adjust amazingly well. Whether the well educated Social workers at the County believe us or not. We know first hand. Why won't the licensor come to our house and see this for themselves? Because they don't really care. They just like to remind us that they are the professionals and we need their help and guidance....not.

We've already experienced success adopting 13 children, with none in the justice system, thank you.

Now why won't they believe us?