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

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The princess

To celebrate their new sister on the day we received permanent legal custody, the girls made her a crown! It says "We Love You" in duct tape and other found items! :o)
I had bought the wings and head band for a special occasion such as this. But Mercy doesn't really enjoy dressing up............yet. You see she's not used to it and she's not used to being doted on! But soon she will relish this!

Just as she was not used to having her own toys. Now she is very possessive about them. And she knows they are hers and where they are! This helps when she's naughty, I will set her toy to the side and she responds by adjusting her behavior and then I hand her back her toy. She is a quick learner! Stubborn but a quick learner!

 She is just the most beautiful little girl. I love her curiosity. I love that after all the rejection she's been through, she has such a sweet spirit!
This weekend she had her 2nd tumble down the stairs. Big sister Faith caught her. When Tom and I ran to her, she first tried to crouch down to the floor so we couldn't pick her up.

Tom got her up on his lap and I consoled her. She was ever so slightly moaning telling us she was frightened and upset. She has no words. That's why she used to scream. She no longer needs to scream- she is LOVED!
This was the first time she accepted us comforting her. Over the months she has flirted with us about accepting affection, but this time she actually let her guard down and allowed us. I cried tears of joy.
Oh how I LOVE this little princess! God brought to us a very very special little girl. I could not have chosen better myself. Thank You God for our Bella Mercy.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Queen Bee at home (M.A.)

I can't even tell you in words how much I love my "best-best buddy-buddy M.A." She started telling me that I was her "best buddy ever" years ago and now we've evolved into "best-best buddy buddy". I think she uses the double words to express the amount of LOVE we have for each other.

In this top picture she's posing very cooperatively- she likes her picture taken!

I asked Tom to take photos yesterday and he forgot. He forgot yesterday- he forgot today! OY! So he decided to do it now! Here she is having a little before bed snack in her jammies.
And as usual he just snapped away. Help he can't take just one! LOL!
In this picture she's thinking maybe Tom should let her eat?

And here she is wondering- how many pictures is Tom taking?

 But having a wonderful sense of humor helps!!

 Unless you've decided that you've had enough pictures taken! LOL!

And then she giggles to herself because Tom is teasing her that she "ruined" that last picture! LOL!!

She has recovered so well from this last pneumonia it is a miracle. She is more active, more verbal, happier. Like a younger M.A.!!
She still can't walk, she has had a cast on her left ankle. She has had a sore on that foot for weeks, the wound center finally suggested she see the ankle/foot Dr. The ankle/foot Dr told us her ankles have degenerated and "collapsed" into her foot. That is what is pushing and making a sore on her left foot. The cast is lifting the bones to allow the wound to heal.

She will always need a wheel chair now, but she can transfer from her wheel chair to many things. That is so good. We had rented a Hoyer lift (to lift her entire body) and she never needed it!

We say prayers of Thankfulness to God all day long for her recovery and amazing strength!
And we Thank God for ALL of you who LOVE her and pray for her!
God Bless you!! ((((HUGS))))

Friday, July 26, 2013

PRAISING GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The case for Guardianship was DISMISSED because MA already has a Guardian - our daughter Grace.

They said that her sisters could have contested the Guardianship in 2009 when Grace became Guardian. They had been there and but they watched and said it was o.k.

So today the 2 sisters asked Grace about becoming co-guardians and she said that she didn't know- but we are hoping not to.

MA left here for court in good spirits. Ready to talk to the Judge. She hugged me when I told her I was praying. She LOVES prayers!But when she got there she just cried. Her sisters have made her cry 3 times now and she loves them.

I had to watch SP and the kids.

I prayed Psalms over a half an hour to God asking Him to help her, to protect her.

This is her home.

And then Grace called!!
ANSWERED PRAYER!!
PRAISE GOD!! PRAISE GOD!! PRAISE GOD!!!

Thank  You SO MUCH for your prayers!!!
We love you ALL so much!! I will get happy pictures of MA up tonight to show how happy she is!!!!
It wasn't about winning- it was about MA not having to leave her HOME!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Friday......................

On my other blog I wrote about a Laura Story song I love.

And yet the song lyrics haunt me.

Because Friday at 9:30 is MA's court hearing.

I have prayed so hard. I pray God's Will. But what if we are separated? What if we can no longer live with together after 26 years.

If it is God's Will to allow cruel people to have their way.

I don't know how to live with out her.

I just don't know how..................

I just don't know how...................................

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Julius 2 years home!

Each boy is so individual.
Sometimes when I say "my son" I'm surprised that people ask- "which one?" I think they should know who, just by what I'm saying about them! LOL!

Each boy is so unique.
Even with the same  diagnosis of Down Syndrome- it does not affect each boy in the same way. For a couple boys it's the thing that least describes their challenges.
Like Pauly, Autism robs him of so much. Down Syndrome is nothing compared to how the Autism affects him.

Pauly has been home 2 years also. But I'll share about our "Ju-Ju-bean" first.
After all he's older than Pauly by 3 whole months! He's 6 years old now. Where has the time gone?

Julius can no longer remember not being with me.
Secretly I love that. I am a momma figure to him.
Not in the same way as my kids who were never orphans, but in a way that he's building a very special relationship with me now.
Because I am his constant. Dad and I are both his constant. Brothers and sisters are great- but everybody needs to know- who's in charge here! :o) Mom and Dad.

Oh yes, 2 years later and he still spits.
Why? Because he can! And he loves attention, so if they don't pay attention to you when you are being good/quiet- spitting makes them run to you! LOL!!
Even Noah (age 10) does not want to be reprimanded for "No spit!" But Julius...........well Julius craves attention more than most!

Julius and Bella Mercy are the highest functioning of the 6 youngest children. Both copy negative behaviors..........for attention. Both "talk" louder.....and louder.....and LOUDER over Tom and I when we try to talk to each other. Both want us to stop talking and look at them. It's pretty funny when you realize what they are doing! And they compete against each other to do it.
We have had other siblings have the same kind of personality clashes with each other over behaviors like this! It's always surprising.
But as unique as we think we are, human nature is pretty predictable! :o)

                               "Nope Dad, that wasn't me!" LOL!!

Some days I think to myself- how am I so blessed to have this special little person in my life? He brings us so much JOY!
He is so much my boy.
Yes the first 6 months with him were harder than I'd imagined. But when the switch turned on in his precious little mind, and he knew he was home...........it was too easy! It was too much fun! It was like he'd been here with us forever!

And now I can ask him to do anything.
And you know what- he LOVES me that much, he LOVES that hard, he will do it for me if he can.

Look at this precious face, these beautiful brown eyes. He's so beautiful he makes me cry tears of JOY! Fearfully and wonderfully made!

A long time ago I learned that if you brag on your children that are adopted- people get quiet! LOL!!
If you brag on your birth kids, people will share their own birth kid's incredible capabilities! LOL!
But if they haven't adopted, they can't compete! LOL!!

Oh precious Lord Thank You!
Thank You for these last 2 years, to LOVE this boy.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cuteness alert!! Moses!

                                         "Dad help me- I'm trapped!"

This guy is big and strong now! And super fast! If you see him crawling quickly through the hall way and it looks like he's alone.............he's not! We are running as fast as we can behind him. He does not like to be "fenced" in! LOL! He wants his freedom! Once in a while he escapes to the bathroom and them calmly crawls out like "O.K. that was fun!" We just stand back and watch in awe!

He commando crawls and does a super fast 4 point crawl! He was afraid to stand out side his bed- but now he is standing lots of places!

Moses has doubled his weight in 10 months! He's 30 pounds!

When Julius & Pauly came home to us, they were 3 & 4 years old. They tried to run everywhere-  away from us! They were very hard to console. They were not happy. They were scared. When the older kids played the kitchen set with them, with"play" food, they thought it was crazy! They weren't interested in anything. They were too young, and too far behind developmentally. They didn't even "mouth" things till we showed them!

When Noah 9, Moses7 and Jacob7 came. They were older, they sat, they watched, they didn't want to escape anywhere- what was escape anyway?! They had been dependent for 9 and 7 years. They didn't leave our side! They were behind developmentally, but they had years of experience- they had learned! And they knew they liked us..........(well maybe not Jacob, but he was 9 months post exploratory brain surgery, he had a good excuse.)

I have to agree~ older special needs orphans do fit into the family easier.

                       "C'mon Dad! This is serious- I'm not laughing."

Now the older three have learned that they can wander. They love to explore! They are interested in everything!
They no longer sit! They try things! This gets our speedy boy Mosie into trouble- as he crawls 90 mph towards the top of the stairs and stops on a dime! LOL!
We are now a gated community! LOL!

All 3 older boys have a healthy respect for stairs. J & P did not, and learned the hard way.

Noah will still feel frustration or become over stimulated from so much freedom. He no longer lives in his orphanage crib, he has a bottom bunk bed, but he only sleeps there. (Although some nights he's like any 10 yr old- he's not tired yet!! LOL!!) So now when he wants to be alone he crawls into the empty bottom bunk in Samson's room, where they play. He surprised us all when we saw him do this- but we understood. We gently pull him out. He'll allow us to hold him like a baby at these times. We don't want him to be alone. We want to teach him to come to us when he's overwhelmed.

Jacob's independence surprised us! One night at bed time Jacob decided to throw himself out of his bottom bunk over the bed railing! We were shocked! The floor is carpeted with a rug on top- he wasn't hurt- we wondered if it was an accident........... until he did it 3 more (separate) times!! He wants to explore! Not go to bed! We had to very firmly tell him no, to get him to stop. And he did stop. Now once in a while he "hangs" over the bed rail- we watch for this before he falls asleep. We catch him quickly and tell him "no" and he will stop! Thank goodness he doesn't nap, so he's the first one to fall asleep!

                                     "Fine I'll taste the darn thing!"
                      "And make a pitiful face so you'll feel sad for me!"
       "But I can't do that for very long- because I'm just too darn CUTE!"
                                        ~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~
Tomorrow our favorite Adoption Social Worker is coming! We will complete Julius and Pauly's 2 year post placement report for Bulgaria (~ the Country of our heart!)
TWO?........YEARS?.......... Oh my heart is FULL to BURSTING!
How do I contain ALL the JOY that God has OVER FLOWED my cup with?? My boys my LOVES!
We are truly truly SO BLESSED!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A post for Noah's best friend and Baba

Dear D and Noah's Baba in Bulgaria,

I am late posting these pictures of our precious Noah Faithful Archer on his 10th birthday, June1.

D you sent him this cute hat and tshirt. Can you believe how big he is!! No he's still not big like a 10 year old- but he is so filled out and strong and sturdy now!
He went from a 3T sleeper to a size 6 sleeper now!! He is the biggest of the boys, but Julius (6 yrs) is catching up, in height only!

Thank You! D for loving our boy when we couldn't be there, and for continuing to love him! (((HUGS)))

Thank You Baba for loving our boy until we could get there!

I know he misses you both!

I had a bad day today. People were mean and hurt my feelings. I couldn't figure out what I'd done to be treated poorly. I wanted to make things right, and I couldn't. So I sat with my LOVE Noah.

He looked up at me like I was his best friend in the whole world.
He looked at me with happiness and joy!
He doesn't know what a momma is, but he knows he loves me.
And then I couldn't be sad.
I hugged him tight and he always hugs back.
He is a gift from God!

He loves, forgives and laughs so easily, so freely.
Once in a while his feelings get hurt and he cries longer than usual, with a sadness that break your heart. That's only once in a while.
Most of the time he laughs, makes noises, mimics others, and the sounds he hears.
Once he has an audience, he finds great joy in making funny faces and entertaining us.
He is our happy little clown!

And as always he's so darn cute I could just eat him up! LOL!

Every time he "thinks" his face changes and he makes new faces at everyone just to see what we'll do! Of course we laugh!! Loudly!! Which he loves!

Here's another funny face! It's kind of his "What'chyou talkin 'bout Willis" look! (a TV show from the 80s)
And his "use your tongue but don't spit" funny face! LOL!

 And then his look around and "think" of his next funny face!

 If all else fails wrinkle up your cheeks!

 Are you looking Dad? Are you getting all of this??

This may look like a frown- but it's not! It's another funny face! LOL!!

He's got great balance, but he won't let go to walk! Soon!

(((HUGS)))

YES!!

Answered prayers!!
(This is Bella Mercy getting ready to go back to IA in April 2013. Always a sad day for all of us!)
Today we found out that Bella Mercy does NOT have to go back to IA!

MN ICPC (Interstate Compact) says she can STAY here!!

PRAISE GOD!!!

Thank you for your prayers!!! ((((HUGS)))))

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

JOY!! JOY!! JOY!! The door God opened!!

                                  March 2013 Bella Mercy first visit

There was a mom and dad who desperately wanted to go back to BG to find their daughter. The dad especially had such a strong LOVE for the children from this Country after 4 trips there and back, seeing them, touching them.

On the dad's first trip a little girl caught his eye and smiled at him. She was beautiful!! She stole his heart. For another 18 months it was all he could think about. He wanted her.

The mom wasn't so sure. Five boys are a HUGE blessing! But dad convinced her. So they asked- they begged- they prayed- they pleaded. The dad even asked the Attorney in that Country, the one who completed the boy's adoptions. The answer was still no. They quickly found out that people they thought were friends were only internet connections- vapor in the wind. But God had used these connections regardless!!

Now with their five precious boys home. A feat only completed for them by God. Maybe now someone would help them adopt a little girl in BG?? What had they done wrong?

So they started their homestudy immediately in September, a week after the last 3 boys arrived. Their agency was completely supportive. Surely God would help them find a way to BG to find their daughter!

But then their agency here, told them that FL had a baby girl with DS due in November. The agency would choose us to adopt her, if we wanted her! We were in shock! Was it real? Was it true? They were over the moon happy! We thanked God for His Infinite Wisdom! We sent them every penny we had.

November finally came with its own hardships. satan never sleeps.

We waited for the call. The agency never told us that the baby was born and she did not have DS. The agency "sold" her to another family as a non-disabled child. Even though her birthmother had done drugs and alcohol and had a history of MI. I'm sorry- but if you can get more $$ for a baby this way- that is selling.

Crushed, devastated, grieving, cannot even begin to describe our loss.
We told our agency we had been so filled with so much JOY with our 5 boys and now we were struggling. We would need to take a break. We had to grieve our loss. We could not proceed without our JOY! 

                      First hair cut from mom April 2013/ Much better!

There were so many struggles from November to February. Heart ache, rebellious adult children, a teen turning 18 on meds that were causing horrible side effects. MA's first pneumonia. Trial after trial.

Our adoption worker here was quitting, she was pregnant with her 3rd child. We were so sad to lose her. She was/is amazing! Her gift to us was completing our Home Study before she left in February. We weren't even expecting that!! We were looking to finish in March.

Our new adoption Social Worker came out. She is equally amazing! We loved her from day 1!! God has truly truly blessed us! With her insight we felt confident to move forward!! God is SO GOOD!!

                         "I don't do mornings in my castle!" May 2013

Mid March our new Social Worker called us about an adoption disruption in Iowa. A little girl 5 years old. Sotos Syndrome. I don't even know how to write much more about that call without crying tears of JOY! and then I can't "see" the keyboard! LOL!!

Was this her? Did God just open a door? Reading her history there were so many little things that made us sure she was ours. Her birthday is the same exact day as Pauly's. They are the exact same age! LOL!! That day is also the same birthday as our daughter JOY we adopted in 1988. Joy was our 2nd adoption. She had DS and was born without nasal passages. She died after surgery at 5 months. We were crushed- each adoption since we prayed for another daughter with DS. It was not to be.

But Bella Mercy and each child after Joy was!

Immediately I joined the Sostos Syndrome Association, the Sotos Yahoo group, miraculously the Sotos Conference was scheduled HERE!! This July!! I learned everything about Sotos I could get my hands on.

She had behaviors. The disrupting family was also a large family, close in age to us and very very experienced. So if they and several other families who visited her, could not tolerate these behaviors- could we??
Each behavior listed made me laugh- "Oh my! That's my Jakie!" "oh! yes Julius does that!" "Seriously?? all 5 boys are on her level! LOL!!"

I begged for visits to start the very next week! And we continued weekly visits until we could start 30 day visits.

But I wondered- how would you act if you were 5 yrs old, non verbal and significantly delayed and several members of your birth family had rejected you? How should you act? And the family she lived with 9 months had been searching for a home for you for 8 months? She went on visits with other families and was rejected. She grew to love many of these people. I could not imagine her pain.

Thinking of her pain is heartbreaking. From that she learned to use her behaviors to distance herself from everyone. She thought she had the power to cause us to reject her too. But she didn't know us! LOL! We even LOVE people who hate us!! LOL!!

                Julius age 5 ~ Bella Mercy age 5~ Pauly age 5 /May 2013

Oh my precious baby- you had learned a lie. God LOVES you so much He gave His only Son to die on a cross for our/your sins. You were fearfully and wonderfully made! You are SO LOVED!!
      You ARE a daughter of The King!! You are our daughter. July 2013

                                             Boogies and all!!
                       You are HOME Bella Mercy Redeemed Archer!!
                                               You are HOME!!

Will you PRAISE God with us as we celebrate TODAY! gaining FULL CUSTODY! of our precious gift from God!!

PLEASE! pray that our state will allow her to stay here now. They might have her cross the Iowa border and sit in a hotel with Daddy until our state says she can move/live here!! That darn ICPC stuff! :o)

             PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!

                 REJOICE!!!!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

URGENT! Please pray~

MA's family is contesting guardianship. Court will be July 26th at 9:30 a.m. They want to take MA away from us.
MA does not want to leave. How can they be so cruel to MA, we are all she's known for 26 years.
Our daughter Grace is her guardian now- they did not contest that in 2009.
She's not going to live much longer. Especially if she leaves.
(this was MA her last day at the hospital after Tom told her we'd take her home)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Another way to HELP an orphan!!

If you go here~
http://handiworkforelijah.weebly.com/

You can buy THIS!!
But first let me explain- ALL 11 children here have a terrible cold- boogie alert!!

 Mr Noah wearing his very own personally hand made hat!! Notice the owl's nose looks very similar to Noah's!!
Each of these hats were made to each child's specific head size!
Noah~ small!

Now you know!! You want THIS hat!! Cute ALERT!! Mosie's hat is the same size as Noah's, but the shapes of their heads differ. Noah's is wider! :o) Mosie says- "Seriously- I have to model this??!!"
 
And then- a hat for Jakie! He likes it!! He really likes it!!! LOL!!
A medium.
This boy................is not an owl............nope he's 100% monkey boy!! A hat perfect for him!! Julius has a small.
 
And Pauly doesn't think he should have to "look". Remember he hates pictures. So we'll let him be! :o) His hat is a medium.

And last but not least, this head is very big distinguished, a feature of Sostos Syndrome. And a feature some of us like Tom and I inherited! The Handiwork girls even made her an adult sized hat for her lovely head!
Who is this you ask?
ooops.............my bad.
(((HUGS)))

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The "new" Syndrome that affects our lives

 A while back I wrote this post~ http://theroaddownhome.blogspot.com/2013/04/syndromes.html

Our family has had a visitor who has a "new" to us, Syndrome. Visitor's Syndrome is called Sotos Syndrome.
http://www.sotossyndrome.org/
Since March 15th I have become somewhat of an "expert" on SS!!

In celebration I went to CafĂ© Press and I designed these Tshirts for Visitor and I to wear to the SS Conference!

The Sotos Syndrome Conference will be in Mpls/MN this July. It is held somewhere in the USA each year. What were the chances it would be in our state just when we need it??!!

I designed one pink Tshirt for our Visitor to wear. (above) And one pink Tshirt below for me to wear to the Conference!

We are not 100% sure we can go to the 3 day conference yet, because MA has been so sick. Way back in April we paid and signed up but had no idea about MA's health. :o(

BUT!! If everyone prays for and with us...........I know it could be possible!

We have new friends from the Internet to meet at the Conference! One family even lives in Southern MN with a daughter also adopted with Sotos Syndrome! We really really want to meet them in person!

A door was closed to BG. But God opened a door we had no idea about right here in our wonderful Country~ USA!!