Wednesday, May 11, 2011

wait no more

There are always excuses, but maybe God has laid it on your heart. Your mind might tell you you can't, or you don't have enough money, or you're too busy, or maybe even that you are single. But there is no single "perfect" family. We are all families who are following God's will.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

let's cross our fingers

I've been tackling more paperwork lately. I guess in reality I'm just at the beginning of the end for Samara, so we still have major hoops to do, but feel like I have a plan. For Aidan, I decided to tackle the final 2 steps. One, get a passport. And two, update his social security status now that he has citizenship status. So today we had a passport appointment. No big deal. That is...... until the guy told us he had to send in ORIGINAL documents. He needed the original citizenship paper, and the original adoption decree.
At first my response was........'NO WAY buddy.--Not doing it' I haven't done hours of paperwork and gotten no where with unfriendly government processes, only to have something lost and never returned and no one will EVER help me get back what I need. And if I think it would be a nightmare to get a US document replaced, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to get a Haitian document replaced. So nope---not doing it.
He was pretty cool, he sensed my hesitation. He even called the 1-800 number that processes passports, and sure enough, they won't process it with copies. So I hesitantly handed them over. (Half teasing him 'I knew where he worked'..........)
So instead of feeling like paperwork was off my plate and being processed, I feel like I left something and will anxiously wait til I get the originals back in my hands safely. Hopefully the 4 week processing time will be speedy!!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

on the farm

Spring break came and went around here. It was great to have the kids home during the day. Our break started off kind of slow as one kid was laying around sick, but we were able to get in a day trip and enjoy a weekend of sunshine :)
We went to Fair Oaks Farm. I guess the best way to describe it is that it's a big "commercialized" farm. There are some 80,000 cows there, but there is a whole tour center to attract visitors. You get to tour the farm, see the processes, they have a birthing room, a kid's play activity center, outdoor activities, a movie theater and of course a cafe with lots of dairy choices from grill cheese, chocolate milk, cheese, and ice-cream....yummy!!

The buses were spotted like cows that took you around to view the cow area's and feeding places.

This was the milking area. (above) They call this the "dairy-go-round", which the cows need to get on to get milked. of course the name alone was cool for the kids....
And they got to practice milking themselves.....

We were able to see 2 cows being born that day! It was pretty cool. The above picture was the cow being born and the mommy licking her clean and then we went back to the birthing barn later in the day and saw another cow being born, but we also got to see the cow from earlier----she was in the "cow nursery". So the picture below is about 2 hours after birth :)
It was so cute to watch the cows trying to take their first steps! Usually within about 30 minutes of being born they would try to stand up. It was just so cute and the kids got lots of laughs out of that.

They also had this 3D or 4D movie theatre. It was a super cute movie. Of course being 3D was cool for the kids, but then they also had these air hoses built into the back of the chairs and misters. So in the movie when it showed the cow being milked, then they pretended to squeeze the milk at you, and simultaneously the misters sprayed a the kids were all geeked about how cool the movie was. Or like when the tractor rumbled, your seat actually stuff!

We finished spring break with a day of WARM weather and sunshine. It was so good to have, I think each of us were just soaking it in. Here is Aidan and Bella lounging together!!! So cute!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

good time

Paul has had a few trips out of town this spring. One being to Orlando, Fl. He was staying at a great resort with a nice pool, walking distance from Universal, so he asked if I might be able to join him. All of me wanted to say NO, just because we had just gone away on a vacation this winter and had our kids taken care of---and yet it was just too good to pass up the opportunity. But I decided to take advantage of the time with one of the kids. I took Alyssa with us to Florida and it was a wonderful time of connecting with her.
We had fantastic weather, and just a great time. We basically had 2 full days of being together plus the half days of the travel in and out. Paul was actually really busy, we spent one evening with him, otherwise we were on our own----so the girls played!!!!!

First thing on the agenda was to get our toe nails done........they were in rough shape. Then we relaxed and played in the pool, we walked a river walk to Universal. It was about a 5 minute walk, or you could take a river boat ride too. There were stores to check out and lots of action going on. Once we knew Paul's agenda more and he was busy for the entire day and evening, we decided we'd go to Sea World and that was cool....neat shows, we fed dolphins, good time!
You know, I always thought it would be nice to do an over nighter with each of the kids when they got to be around the age of 10. This was a little "more" than planned, but was needed for us. The older Alyssa gets, I realize complexities to her. That's a whole other post idea......nature vs. nurture......but just understanding her personality. She is highly social, very outgoing, creative, a genius, wants to lead, appears very confident..... She is one of the loves of my life. And yet she is so full of sensitivities, and insecurities, has some phobia's. She can have a difficult time expressing her deep emotions.....just full of complexities. She's had her own adjustment with the additions to our family. I can't even say it has gone bad. Actually for the most has gone well. But what can I say, other than...........there are many parts to this adjustment for a kid to take in and some of her frustrations in normal life and growing up, were all being taken out on family and especially Samara. She wasn't necessarily irritated with Samara, but it was easy to take out life on someone who is an innocent family member.
It was actually a great time to share with Alyssa that sometimes life can be hard. Sometimes life is following what God planned for you. And sometimes life may not be exactly how we thought, but God is in control. And Alyssa gets that. I think that's an important thing to talk about in family. It's important to know that parents need to rely on God too. I don't want my kids growing up thinking that life is always rosey and we have it all together. Because reality is, we need to depend on God daily too.
Anyways, I feel like it was a good time for both of us. She seems to have turned a corner. Before she had acceptance but was holding back something, and it seems like each day that wall gets lower and it's about total acceptance. For myself........I actually missed all the kids. When I went away in January I will admit, I wasn't ready to come back to all the kids and didn't miss them. But this time, I actually missed them. When I came back I saw that Aidan has missed me too. He seemed to regress a bit in his speech and his teacher said he really missed me. So there was a sense that he needed me. And just as I talked about Alyssa with her acceptance.........we are both human and it can be the same for me.
So it was a time of connecting since the adoption, and also a time to talk about life. boy.....I don't think I'm ready for any next stages......but whether I'm ready or not.....they will come. We talked about importance of taking care of ourselves, hygiene, how bodies change, and all that good stuff. Knowing how to listen to our bodies and be in control (needing more sleep instead of being crabby) and importance of habits and devotions. Not too much, but just enough to plant seeds. It's good to get it all out in the open about life too. Emotionally, we're not ready for everything so more talks will continue to come..........yet I think it's important to have it be on going communication and openness...........and not just a one time event. It struck me about a month ago while I was at work. I was working with a 13 year old who was very mature, could answer questions about her body, was developed in all ways..................and inside my jaw was dropping to think that in 3 years a body can accomplish from point A to point B. I don't think I"m ready for that.........and I know both Paul isn't!!
Anyways, it's fun to think about what we'll do with each of the kids in the upcoming years. looking forward to other fun adventures as the kids get older and need one on one time too.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

better late than never.....

Happy Birthday Aidan!! He turned the big 4. He was pretty funny with his birthday. After making birthday treats for school, and having cake and birthday meal here, and birthday with cousins........he was totally into it. He would open his present up and say.....'no peaking at my present'...... He has such a humorous side to him.
His birthday is valentines day, and amazingly, it's just as hard as having the Christmas birthdays in the family. I made more a valentines dinner and had red and white stuff, and got all the kids some valentines candy and had that on their it was "hard" to focus on birthday, when it's so fun celebrating valentines with all the kids. Such is the hard life.......

As I am intentionally looking at pictures of Aidan over the last year, I realize HOW MUCH he has changed. Last year he was in complete shock, we barely celebrated his birthday. He had no comprehension of it when he first came home, and we just weren't handling groups, crowds of people or big excitement. I remember being "sad" for him last year just at the fact that he had no clue what was going on and that it was even his birthday. No comprehension of what it even meant. And now a year later..........he was so fun to watch. He knows EXACTLY what is going on. He wants every part of it and is like any other kid celebrating their birthday. full of excitement!
Seriously, I can't believe how this boy has changed. Often I don't realize it, because there are plenty of frustrations still........but that is for another post........but let me tell you how amazing he is.
A year ago:
said about 2 words total
stayed on our laps
sucked his thumb all the time
ONLY played on his own, in his own world

speech is still delayed..............but for the first time, and recently in the car for a second time---I felt like I wanted him to BE QUIET! (the first time he decides to sing and be loud was while I happen to stop and buy some new bras. So there I am in the store and just letting him belt it out because he had never done that before. I think everyone knew I was buying essentials!)

we were at a play area............and there he was, running around chasing with another boy who he had just met and started playing with. I about wanted to cry.

he interacts and plays regularly with other kids that are over

doesn't want to be all alone in a room

So, this was around Christmas. He was playing and singing around. I sneakily took the camera out, and was recording him. Just watch the progression as he realizes I'm taking a picture of him. At first he was just singing. Then he turns on his funny mode! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

USA citizen

On Tuesday we had Aidan's citizenship appointment. All went well and he is officially a USA citizen!! I dare say........he is about 'complete' with paperwork. I don't know if I can even fathom this thought, but I think it's true!! I don't have to double reference him at medical offices, or anything else like that..........his name is all the same and we have proof of his existence and part of our family and....... oh such a good feeling!! Although..........just to completely finalize everything........we are getting a passport for him. But that is such minor paperwork, I will "whip" that out next week......LOL!!!!

So I do have to tell you. It is such a wonderful feeling. But it was such an anti-climactic ending. The pictures are wonderful and will be a fabulous memory. And it's all just such a good event.

But this is how the day REALLY happened..........we chose this day to have the appointment because all the kids had off of school. We debated about having all the kids along, but thought it would be so good to have the memories of family supporting him and pictures of everyone there for the big day. So it was a day off a school, and yet we were up before 7 to get ready. We were on the road by 8:30. It took us just over 3 hours to get to the area. We wanted to drive there, to make sure we knew were it was and would be on time. But then we stopped at McDonalds and got some pop to go with our picnic lunch. ( we had McDonalds the previous 2 days in a row, and 3 days just wasn't going to happen. ) So we ate our picnic and then let the kids run out on some sidewalk to get some energy out. From there we went to the gov't building and had to go through security. Found out no camera's were allowed, so had to leave that behind. At this point, our appointment was in the next 10 minutes, but they had just emplemented a new reciept system. So we had to pay prior to our appointment.............but no one knew how to generate a reciept. And we weren't allowed to procede to the appointment without a reciept. so for the next 1 1/2 hours we sat in the lobby..........waiting.
Are you catching that......waiting.......with 4 kids.
So then we did get in our appointment. The officer was nice, and it went fine. Paul and I had to answer some questions and go over the paperwork, and the kids sat against the wall and continued listening to the iphones and watching movies.
From the appointment, we waited more to get our certificate. So by this time we'd been in the building about 3 hours. And just like that the officer gave us our certificate and we were on our way..
That was it. No fireworks!! No congratulations. no whooping or hollering...........or letting out a scream of excitement. That was it. So ......uneventful. but done!

Somehow Paul has a way of smoozing people and we snatched a picture with the words in the background. I don't think the security guard was too happy with the receptionists...........but we at least have some GREAT pictures to remember what a great milestone this was. So then we went out to eat......On the Border. Chips and Salsa has to be Aidan's favorite food, so it was great! And I can't complain about the margarita's......a great way to celebrate :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

paperwork shmaperwork

I really just wanted to update on our paperwork status. Yes......even after a year, we are still messing with paperwork. There is nothing easy about having name changes, date of birth changes, wrong addresses with the government, hunting down info, adoptions that were or weren't finalized.........and trying to keep it all straight. For the most part of the year, it's this lumming area of papers in my house, that I know are important, and yet have no organization to them. i'm so afraid to purge anything, because at times I just take the whole file where I go, but I know there is probably 3 or 4 copies of everything. So hence.......when I do need throws me in a tizzy because I need to locate something..... or just throws me in a tizzy when I'm trying to fill out a new government form and have no idea what the world they want...............
aaaaahhhhhhh! But at last, we are seeing SOME light. Some. We are checking off major things and getting that much closer to locking the safe.....and never opening it again... ha!ha! ha! ..
for Aidan we officially have a birth certificate, a social security number, and we have a citizenship day scheduled for next week!!!!!
and for Samara..........we officially have a birth certificate and we just processed her social security number. So things are rolling!!!!! Her citizenship will be a ways out yet, just because of the different stage of adoption we were at............but I feel like some big stuff was accomplished!

So 3 cheers to where we are at! And hopefully next week we have some great pictures to post of Aidan--and the family, of course!

Monday, January 31, 2011

down right cold

It's been down right cold. Too cold to play outside much. In December the kids couldn't wait to go outside after school and they would be out there for an hour most days.........but now, it hasn't been much fun lately with just "ice snow" out there.
So we've been up to.........swimming!!

I have to say it's been really good doing this. One or two of the kids mentioned wanting to try swimming out this past fall, so we did. We didn't get any passionate "YES--I want to be in swimming", but we didn't get any "NO'S" either. So we actually didn't sign up at first and were going to pass on it. But the week after the deadline, I got a lot of..........."can I play the computer?......or Can I watch TV?........or "can we see if friends can play?".......And I was thinking we made the WRONG decision about not doing swimming. So I called and they could still that is what we've been up to!! and since everyone is really at the same ability level, and they were all in the same age was kind of a ---all or nothing activity. If one goes, they all go. And they are ALL doing amazing!!!!!
I think it's been great for Alyssa and helping her manage time and get her energy out. It's wonderful for Austin that he's been sleeping well. and Samara has been amazing. She does great at swimming, so it's fun to see her doing something fun instead of trying to help her with homework all the time. It's just helped with some of the winter blues!!! AND, I feel like it's helped keep us all I don't think you can go wrong with swimming! and I love it that it's a team thing, and yet so individualized. Honestly there is so much competition with the kids, but in swimming--it's just about doing YOUR best! So 2 thumbs up to swimming this year. (as much as I loved it.........I'm looking forward to being done this week too :))

The biggest fan...........of the concession both!!