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)))

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Reeces Rainbow Angel Tree and precious Tanner


On the right side here you can see Tanner. He is 13 years old. He does not have a family. He was 9 years old when we chose our boys Pauly and Julius. He was 11 when our last 3 boys came home.

Now he is 13.

Please help his fund grow by donating to his name on the Angel Tree. Or please donate to his page- you can click on his picture.

He needs a family before he turns 16.

Please help Tanner find a home!
Thank You!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The precious girl who stole our hearts

Taking a picture of Mercy can be a challenge!
She is not always willing to let us capture her beauty! Trying to get a relaxed picture of her is hard! (that was her old bed to the left, she kicked slats out of it and hurt her sweet toes, she loves her new bed I wrote about on my other blog)

So she runs, turns away from us.........

Looks anywhere but at us! :o)

Up at the light,

 Closes her eyes head down,

 I keep clicking to try to get something cute! And goodness she is cute!

 Nope, eyes looking up again!

 If she could talk she'd say "Give it up mom!"

But I can't! She's just too darn cute! And oh how I LOVE her! 

Below, along with the great pictures Isaiah took of our Sweet LOVE; is the story I wrote for the Sotos Syndrome Association newsletter. I hope you like it.

In the summer of 2012 we were adopting for the 2nd time from Bulgaria. Tom insisted he needed to go back for a little girl. We had adopted all boys. I was reading the listing of available children regularly. My heart was drawn to the boys. The boys were chosen less often. There was a new listing, a toddler boy with Sotos Syndrome. I had not heard of Sotos so I clicked on their Wikipedia link and read about it.

By fall we had a crisis in our family . We were homestudy ready to adopt. But due to the crisis things weren't looking good. We told our Social Worker that first we needed to heal from the crisis. And hoped we'd decide what to do around March of 2013.

March came and we continued talking about what we would do. A week into March our Social Worker called. There was a 5 yr old girl with Sotos Syndrome desperately needing a family. The Social Worker wondered if I knew what Sotos was! I explained that because of one precious toddler in Bulgaria, I did know exactly what it was! (He was adopted as well by a precious family) The family that had brought Mercy home to adopt her was searching everywhere for a new family for her. They said she was too much for them. They had 9 other children with various disabilities and lots of help, the mother was a well educated Social Worker working in the field of adoption. And yet no one in the family wanted her to stay. The next week we had our first visit with her. She had no one. She was rejected and alone. She  needed us and we needed her.

The transition was not smooth and it upset our new precious daughter Mercy. She felt rejected again. She had bonded with 2 of the teens in the last home and mourned losing them. We could not explain it to her in ways that she could understand. As far as she was concerned we were temporary caretakers like the last 4 birth and adoptive families. She was angry and took it out on us and herself. Everyone who previously parented her had burnt out after only 1 year.

She was medicated in her last home. Even though the med did not "help" with her behaviors. Many of our concerns disappeared once we weaned her from the med. We are not against meds, this med did not work. It made her sleepy, drool, and walk hunched over.

The law does not allow you to adopt a child by just moving them into your home. There are legal steps. The previous family was not happy about the length of time it was taking these legal steps. We had her with us up to 28 days at a time. (for legal up to 30 day visits) And we had to then return her for 1 night back, to comply with the law. We picked her up the next morning. The law is called an interstate compact. She was living in another state and we were in the State above. Each state has to agree to let minor children in for adoption. It's silly but we've worked with that law many times adopting from other states.. This time it was the hardest. The previous family was upset with the slow progress of our State to allow her to live with us. They took their anger out on us. Even threatening to send her back to her original State where they had picked her up. They refused to help make the transition easier for her. 

Finally late July 2013 we received full custody. Her birth parents and the previous family went to court and released custody to us. She was finally ours! We still weren't supposed to have her living in our State with us yet.  But after our State heard that the other State's family refused her back even for 1 night, they agreed she could stay! We were thrilled to say the least!

Mercy continued to grieve heavily for every family that she had lived with. It broke our hearts. We were so happy to have her and she felt lost. After living with us a year she was still fighting us at every turn. And yet we'd have a week or two here and there where we saw glimpses of fun, love and acceptance from her. Sadly since she'd never lived with anyone longer than one year, she was always ready to move on!. That was very hard.

We have only 4 pictures of her at age 4 from her last family that are so unflattering we wouldn't show them to anyone!! We have no baby or toddler pictures of her. We only have her medical files. Sometimes I cry because I know she was a beautiful baby. When I see photos of adorable little girls with Sotos I smile because I know in my heart that my love bug Mercy was just as adorable and sweet. I wish I could have seen her! 

We have a large family, 17 children adopted, 4 by birth. Seven are grown, three in Heaven. Our kids are ages 7-39 yrs. Our oldest grandchild is 17. 

At our home Mercy now has 4 older sisters ages 11,12 and 13, and a brother 10 who are not disabled. (the 10 yr old is our youngest birth son, the 11 & 12 yr old girls are 2 of our grands we adopted) The other sibs at home that Mercy has are all boys :o) And all have Down Syndrome, they are ages 19, and 7-11 yrs old. Mercy shares a room with her 3 sisters. They have loved her through nights of yelling, tantrums, and concerning behaviors. They have accepted her completely and were thrilled to have her as their sister. They are a blessing to her.

Our youngest two children, Mercy and our son Pauly were both born the same day, and the same year!

17 months after she joined us we decided to go camping at our lake property up north for 8 weeks. We worried about how we would handle her behaviors in the woods where we "rough it". No running water, a 5th wheel, and a bunk house. Sound carries for miles. And she can scream louder than all of our kids!

She absolutely LOVED camping! It helped her to bond with us in incredible ways. You can't force a child to bond. And she has the best reasons in the world not to bond after all she's been through. We have no idea how or why we had the best 8 weeks of our lives with her there. We cherished every moment. We all came home as one big happy family! Of course once home Mercy wanted to go back! We all wanted to go back! Now she just has a "mood" or an occassional bad day just like the rest of us! :o)

How did we survive the stress and the initial never ending challenges? I joined the SSA and read everything I could. I also joined the SS yahoo support group where I met angels who held our hands, and listened. I asked tons of questions. I shared my pain and my emotions during the difficulties that felt never ending. By the time Mercy saw the geneticist I had tons of info to share and he was very impressed with all the SSA has to offer. I still regret that we missed the SSA annual conference when it was in our state. Mercy was sick, it was an hour drive. We'd only had her with us 4 months and did not have full custody yet.
But we will get to a Conference!!!   

I was able to show our Social Worker valuable information on what Mercy really needed to grow and thrive from everything SSA taught us.

Today everyone agrees that she is an entirely different child. I couldn't love her more. My heart bursts just looking at her when she smiles at me daily now!

Thank You everyone at SSA! You helped us become a family!  

Isn't she beautiful! We Thank God for her every day! :o)

Monday, November 3, 2014

What a difference another year brings!

Noah has grown so fond of living here after 2 years. It warms our hearts. He no longer cries for what he remembered, and he loves his routines, his school work, and his family. He is actually understanding things that I thought maybe were too hard for a boy who never had a family. He is proving that I am wrong! What a LOVE he is!

Noah never has a bad day. I am in awe of this every day! He responds to requests now, like "come here". He understands "no". At bed time he lays down if we tell him. Like any little boy he just has to see if he can get away with playing instead! His days flow so smoothly now. I can remember when getting him to understand, and meeting his needs wore me out. Not anymore! I'm energized by him!

Pauly, sweet and precious. He has become so independent in his routines. He can follow simple 1 part directions like, sit down, go down stairs. His autism makes progress slow. And he is hard of hearing. But he laughs throughout his day everyday with JOY! To let us know, his life is happy! And he LOVES us!

He just started vocalizing loudly! We love it! But he doesn't do it if we ask, so we wait. And then we clap and praise him when he does. It's coming! I know for sure now! It's coming!
Mosie and Pauly are the same size now. Mosie is just a little shorter.

Julius, such a big boy now! He and Pauly are both 7. But Julius is so tall! Julius wears size 5 clothes- almost into 6. And a size 7 sleeper, a little long, but the 6 is too tight in the body. He's as tall as Jacob and Noah (9 & 11 yrs) But not as heavy!.........yet!!
Julius understands everything. Follows lots of directions. Gets into less mischief. ;o) And he loves to help the other boys follow the "rules". Like shut the gate, or pick up toys. Julius dresses himself and cleans up. He loves to help! He and Pauly still nap in the afternoon with Moses.

This guy, is amazing. Walking, running 6 months now. We were working more with Noah and Jacob to walk, but this guy said HE was going to do it himself! LOL! 
He too likes to help his brothers and Mercy follow the "rules". Pushing them to us if we call one by name and they don't come.
BUT!!!! Mosie is a stinker, if we call his name and he doesn't want to come..............he doesn't!!! And there's no one to push him to us! LOL!!
He just graduated to size 5 sleeper, the 4s were too tight in the chest. He wears size 4 shirt and 3 pants. He's incredibly strong! If he doesn't want to do something he can hold onto your hand with a vice grip!

He likes his picture taken! He loves his daily routines. He loves baths. The only thing he hates is brushing teeth. He follows one part directions..........when he feels like it! :o)

 He is such an independent boy now. He easily follows our requests. He loves cars, and he watches TV with Noah and Jacob when he isn't busy checking up on us!

Just last year we carried him everywhere! This year it is sheer JOY to see his progress!

Last year Jacob still rejected us. He cried a lot, he only wanted to do what he wanted to do! He did not want to be around any of us. Of course he was only 1 year post op brain surgery. Now 2 years. He is an entirely different boy! He responds. He's curious. AND he wants to walk! I would get so tired last year after a day of teaching Jacob daily living skills as he rejected learning. This year he responds and cooperates willingly. It is so much fun! We are still waiting for him to come to us, to trust us, for what he needs on his own. I know it's coming! He doesn't follow directions well, only because he's a stubborn guy. But that's o.k. That's how he survived. He does listen, and he does know what I'm asking. 

 Soon Jacob! Soon you will be walking! It feels like a miracle after all he's been through. And with his ataxia from his brain cysts, we thought his balance was too poor. Nope!
(The shelf behind him is empty because Julius is fascinated with re-arranging the figurines that were on it! LOL!)

Silly boy, thinking about how he can open the gate! :o)

After our 8 week vacation camping, Noah, Moses and Jacob remembered our "home". They were glad to be home. They remembered their beds. They had really enjoyed camping too. It was so exciting to see that they are retaining so much information. They are understanding things that last year I had thought maybe weren't possible for them to understand. After all they had never had family, been outside on trips away. They also had more memories of Bulgaria than here. Again I was wrong. Their potential for figuring this family thing out is huge! I just need to be patient! :o)
We are more excited than ever for their futures! God has truly blessed them, AND us!! We Praise God and Thank Him. Our cup continues to over flow!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Please help Harper come home!

The wonderful, beautiful, precious family that is adopting Harper, was one of many who helped us with donations to help our last 3 boys come home.

So I am begging you please for Harper's sake! Please help fund them!
I do not have the gift of helping orphans like Julia does. She is amazing! I do know the Lord can use my voice to help them!

Here is Harper's tax deductable donation page~

and here is their beautiful blog that helps many, many orphans~

Thank You! And God Bless you!
No amount is too small!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beautiful fall days

 We have had some absolutely wonderful 60 degree days back home in the City! Now that the sewer/alley/water/street construction is OVER!!! (YEAH!!!!) we can eat dinner on the deck! :o)
Mercy likes to pace, so she's inspecting the area until her dinner is ready! She's a "eat and run" girl!! :o)

Still waiting!! She eats independently so she gets her own bowl and sits. But there's no table here! Not yet! This folds over into a table/bench!

 Moses is in the play house! (from the 90s) He wants to eat at the play table!
We also have a nice big plastic picnic table.

What a big boy! He waits so nice! In fact all of the boys are so sweet and patient with us as we hustle to bring out the food!

Jacob does not like his dinner interrupted. We are still feeding him. He doesn't have the hand coordination yet.
BUT!!! NEWS FLASH!! Jacob took TWO steps walking on his own today!

Pauly has a special bowl with a handle on the side. We encourage him to hold it as he eats. With his autism he sometimes forgets he's eating and gets distracted by "tapping" his teeth with his spoon.

Julius our show off, eats circles around everyone! LOL! He likes lots of foods and things like pumpkin muffins. The others are quite finicky and may only eat some foods only if they are mixed in with things like potatoes or soup. Not Julius, he is a food connoisseur!  He'd also love it if we took pictures of him only!! Silly boy!

Julius is bugging Noah here! Noah, always the love bug reacts in his typical fun Noah way! He is such a doll!

 Noah is done eating so he crawled over to the playhouse. He's not walking on his own yet. But he does walk along the walls, furniture, etc. He just won't let go.

As the sun began to set the temps dropped. The boys didn't mind as much as Mercy. We all went back inside. It's such a blessing and a gift from God to have a nice place to eat outside! The Squirrels cleaned up for us! ;o)

God is Good!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

19 years old

While we were up north at the lake Samson had a birthday!
His gifts were given at home early before we left.
He turned 19!
He is getting the wagon to fill it with sticks from the yard.
The fire pit is behind him.

Samson has chores now. He used to help everyone. Now he has his own jobs. Of course he still likes to help! He tilts his head to "see". His visual field is where he tilts his head. That makes things like picking up sticks harder for him.

This year we'll try glasses again. He hates glasses and adjust them constantly. Eventually refusing to wear them. I'm hoping his new prescription works. He's verbal with few words that can help the eye Dr. He likes to sign but forgets, and forgets how to do some. When he remembers he signs so sloppy I get after him. He thinks it's pretty funny!

Although he looks happy on vacation............he isn't really happy to be at the lake. He's glad we are done there. He prefers to be home.
But we will be 8 miles away on 19 acres next year, I hope he likes it.
So far he's refused to get out of the van to explore it.
Hopefully he'll like it next summer.
He has fought depression off and on and we've tried medication. We haven't found a med that helps. But fish oil and coconut oil do.

When we adopted Samson 16 years ago. We drove home from TX with him and then we left home for the lake! He hated going outside at the lake but eventually came out to sit and pout at the picnic table with his back to us. Now on occasion he sits at the picnic table facing us. And he likes being outside when it's warm.
But he tells MA and SP every day that we are going home! And they throw a fit and squabble with him and each other about it. MA says no we are not going home, SP says she doesn't care she's going home, and Samson says we are all going home. We tell him not to say that..........it only lasts maybe 1/2 a day! OY!

Samson had a serious heart condition that required surgery but was not repairable. We worried about how many years we'd have him. We "worried" a lot since our daughter Joy had died. His heart condition actually improved! Now it is back to its original level of concern, but new oral meds can be tried. We no longer "worry" now. God has shown us that enjoying him is much more fun than "worry".

Here is the biggest birthday gift he got! A whole new makeover for his bed and wall! He loves it!
He had a Vikings football theme before. He's very hard on his linens, and of course things just aren't made to last anymore. :o(  This comforter does not like the washing machine.....sigh.

The white spots on the wall are where he picked stickers. He doesn't usually pick stickers, but they were worn and curling and he "fixed" them! I need to touch up with paint! A few years back he had a MN Wild Hockey Team logo on his wall that he bumped into as he "made his bed" or got on and off. Each time he tried to fix it, eventually it fell off! He was actually relieved! LOL!! It was curling on the edges!
Samson is still in Homeschool until he turns 22.

We are so proud of his accomplishments! He is a gift from God!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The HUGE miracle in the little body :o)

When we got to northern MN, Mosie was terrified.
So we put him in this little grocery cart to help him feel safe.
He was not impressed.
He hated the trailer, the bunk house, he wanted to get back in the van and go home.
We LOVE him to much to let him limit himself this way.
My cup over flows with this boy every single day!
What a blessing he is to us all!

Nature did not impress him.
He likes physical guy stuff. Cars, wrestling, standing on furniture!
He couldn't see a reason to be here.

Kitty helps him appreciate little flowers.
He LOVES his older brothers and sisters.
Just don't call him the baby.
Size does not define the man  boy!

Once he became braver we tried the stroller.
He's o.k. with strollers, but prefers walking.
We always start the boys playing tetherball in the stroller.
We didn't have to even explain it to Mosie- he figured it out!
It's a ball- balls are guy things!!
He's LOVING this!

                                                                   Get it Mosie!!

                                           YES!! He did it!! Mosie-Mosie-Mosie!!! Woo-Hoo!!

                                                           He really likes tetherball!

                                                                       And he hits it!!

                                           You have to taste the ball to really get the game!

                                                           YES!! Every time he hits it!

                             Ooops! " hey! Isaiah is there a reason you think I'll wear this tacky hat?"

                                      Now to become one with the ball before throwing it back!

                                       WOW! Look at the strength in those arms!! Go Mosie!!

            He got so excited, his fears were forgotten and he wanted to run with the bears!!! 
                                 Now he wants to play like everyone else- standing!!

But darn it! This ground is not flat! And these shoes still feel too new. He's going to have to slow down!! :o)
Slowing down is not Mosie's style!

                                                       He'll have to think about this.

                                                               Still thinking. :o)
                                              Goodness he's so darn cute isn't he??

                                      O.K. he's ready! This is do-able! Where's the ball!! :o)

And there he goes!! Don't mind the extra long shoe laces we had on these shoes. He doesn't have a problem with them if they stay tied! Darn shoe laces.

                                       Hmm, it's slower playing this way on un-level ground.

                                                      C'mon ball Mosie's over here!! :o)

                                               There!! That's much better! Thanks Sis!!

                                                       Ready? Cuz I'm going to throw it!!

                                                     Good catch Sis!! Now back to me!!

                     But now he's thinking where can he run to? Isn't any of this ground even?

                                                      Silly boy doesn't give up that easy!

                                              Until he starts losing his.........................


                                But nope! I fooled you didn't I!! I don't fall anymore!! I'm BIG!!

                                                             I'm 9 now, I'm Mosie!! I can do it!

When Tom picked up tiny little 7 year old Moses to leave Pleven, the staff said "He's a bad boy, he doesn't eat." We realized quickly that Mosie had his own agenda. And we were very blessed to be the ones to help him realize all that he has dreamed of doing. It wasn't that he didn't want to eat or do as they asked. He doesn't like to be talked down to. He's smart! He likes choices. He had ideas. He hears the beat of a different drum.

He doesn't appreciate how cute he is! Guys are just guys, they don't look "cute" they do guy stuff! He likes to push me away if I try to love him up more than he thinks I should!LOL!! He figures things out so quickly and amazes us with what he just seems to just "know". He wants to "talk" now, but not just talk- he wants to have a roaring booming voice! He wants authority! He's humiliated when I pick him up off a foot stool after telling him 20x he's going to hit his head if he keeps standing on top of it! He thinks he's too big to be picked up, that we should not be physically able to lift a boy so HUGE on the inside! That we should have to ask him nicely and maybe then he'll stop these daring feats! LOL! or he'd LOVE it if we wrestled him off!

He gets stronger every day. He takes running leaps at Tom's back as Tom sits on the floor next to Noah. He pulls back on Tom's neck with both arms and can just about pull Tom backwards!
He only does this with Tom because getting Daddy's attention is a reward only an orphan boy could understand!

He's over joyed when Tom shows everyone how strong he is when he "walks" up the front of Tom!
God is Good!