Thursday, August 30, 2012

Let me tell you about "little miss spunk"- Lila

I have loved this little girl since the first moment I saw her. There was something about her that I was instantly attracted to.....besides her cuteness. I could just see this strong personality...full of life and spunk. Boy did I get that right....and even though at times it can be hard to parent a child with so much individualism and spunk I love it. No one is going to push this one around. She is her own self and just imagine as she gets older what she will be like. She is a strong leader, bright and eager to learn and is wise already way beyond her years. She loves wearing wraps or headresses much like they do in Ghana. I love her in them too. If you ever get the chance to meet Lila I am sure she is one you will look out world for what is in her future.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Isaiah was the last of our August b-days

Don't you just love this smile ?

Coloring Spiderman rings and playing with noise makers ( as if we don't have enough noise around here :)

Getting "coke" as a present is a favorite gift we give. There not to hard to please :)

Isaiah wanted pizza for his b-day dinner.

We did snake and smoke fireworks later...

Daddy piled the kids in the truck for a ride to the flag and back....

I never get tired of these precious smiles....and you can see the most requested dessert is this- Dirt Dessert. Happy Birthday Isaiah.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What a delight celebrating Lila today

We celebrated Lila's 4th b-day today ...I love to celebrate each one of these precious children's day of their birth. Today was Lila's day !!!

Everyone here gets into the celebration.

The look of anticipation and pure joy on her face warms my heart.

It was a "butterfly" party so we made butterflies by painting coffee filters with watercolor and then taking a pipe cleaner and folding it to the middle , twisting the pipe cleaner and making it look like an antenna.

Then of course there is always the dessert. Lila asked for cupcakes. She ate 2 of them :) Just cuz its her day.

Playing memory with daddy

Opening her gifts...

Even darling Kloe watched as Lila opened her gifts....Happy Birthday Lila- You fit your middle name well- Joy.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Look what Andrew can do now :)

He just learned how to throw a ball. He amazes us all with new skills. Sometimes it is the littlest things my children accomplish that bring me joy. Watching our little guy enjoy playing and throwing a ball is very special.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The sweetest sound to my ears- " Momma"

To me there is no other sweeter sound than hear my child call me momma. I know my heart is filled with joy when I hear them call me...I also know that there are children who have mommas who don't feel the same way. For whatever reasons they are struggling. My heart aches when I hear them say, " I am so happy that school is here- a return to peace and quiet. " Or just last wknd. I was somewhere and I heard a grandad say, " I am so glad that school starts on Monday. My grandkids will be in school and I can return to quiet." How sad to think that the children in their lives are thought of in such a way as this. I hope these kids never hear them express their feelings about summer to them....but I just don't feel that way. I love being around them and miss even my older children who are grown. When they call or come home it still warms my heart.

Yeah it is crazy and loud and often chaotic here but the sounds of my children laughing, talking and calling my name still remind me that I am truly blessed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New favorite "toy"- a handiwipe

Gave the kids handiwipes and they loved it. Apparantly wipes are really cool here and to do chores well that is awesome ( when your 2, 3 or Gracie :) Everything in our home got extra clean with the help of these little ones.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Because you asked.....

A friend and fellow adoptive daddy asked me a great question that I wish to share about on my blog instead of just replying in a comment.

Great update!

May I ask you a question regarding him and Gracie? What do you do in homeschool for them, especaially Andrew, as that must be a lot more challenging? How do you devise a curriculum, or what method do you use for education?


I am glad you asked this question and I will share that our choice for both of them to be homeschooled and how we do it depended on many issues. For Andrew we had to first get him healthy. He was only 17 lbs when he came home at 5 yrs and 2 months. He was bottle fed only, He was also on 2 meds. that the orphanage gave him to sedate him- one of which we had to wean him off over a 3 month period. We had lots of evaluations and he did well. After being home for 6 months he began to vomit many times a day. So again we had to figure it all out and then treat his medical condition...which took over a yr and we still are dealing with it...but he no longer since May has been vomiting thankfully. One of his evalutations was with a child psychiatrist and after 10 months we have for now the correct meds. and dose to help calm him and at nite to help him stay asleep. So we now have him healthy and most of the time peaceful and happy.

Our home school for him has really been no curriculum or method that is formal. We just evaluate what he needs and come up with a plan amongst ourselves. Like at first we needed to get calories in him and nutrition that would help. So we decided what to feed him based on the food groups and a multi. vitamin plus a high calorie drink mixed in the food we made 3 x a day and fed to him thru bottles. He needed to move his body and discover his enviromnent. So I bought at a consignment sale many baby toys, and big baby toys like- swings, exersaucer, walkers, bumbo seat encourage him to move his body like he would have if he had been allowed to as a baby....He advanced thru them quickly and we got him upright and even walking in months. He had been in a fetal position at his time of referral and so this was a huge step for him. Then we moved to other life skills like eating his meals from a bowl with a spoon, drinking from a cup instead of getting all your liquids from your now we work with him " playing" with a toy- rolling on a ball, jumping on the trampoline( I have one inside as well for him). We also work on appropriate behavior but we have had not much success :) So his school has been just basic life skills- not much to figure out and be able to do with him. I have always taken a very active roll in all of our kids therapies. I do speech and physical therapy ( after being taught ) when we need them. I would love some day to be able to share that I am now using a curiculum because that would mean he has gotten that far but I am not sure he ever will be to start any academic program with him. We have looked in to what the public school system has here for a child like him but honestly it is not much. He was tested, and evaluated for a class last yr. but after Paul and I went to meet the teacher, principal and see the room we decided against placing him in that program. I wrote about it here 

Gracie was fairly healthy when she came home. She is non verbal and we have had her evaluated and their is nothing wrong medically with her that is causing her not to talk. We also had her evaluated for a placement in school last year but chose not to then. So we did baby sign with her as well as a sign language class that several of the older girls went to with her, and she was taught from pre-school materials not any one in particular. She did very well and she was also evaluated by our child pschiatrist and she is on meds. for ADHD and it is helping her to concentrate and do tasks and skills so much better. We have contacted our special ed. dept. in our county and are trying to decide if we will try a placement in the public school for her. We have not decided and we are meeting this week with a new school.

For all of our kids and often for our family we have chosen the unconvential ways to school, to accomplish therapy in another way that works better for us and for the child to be home in a safe and loving environment and to live our lives in a different way than most do. It has worked amazingly well for us and all the kids are thriving, learning and healthy.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Paper dolls and puzzles - you go Gracie

I bought the girls 2 sets of paper dolls and they have been played with lots.

Even Gracie enjoyed playing with them. She also happens to love Tinkerbell and so that was her favorite doll. For her playing pretend is a huge step in her developement. She is also playing along side of her sisters which is another big step for her.

Gracie stayed home from church with me today and she surprised all of us with her ability to put puzzles together. You can just see it in her face how proud she was to complete them all by herself.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Even with all of his struggles - He has been a gift to all of us

Teaching all of us about compassion and unconditional love. Jesse and Judah helping take care of Andrew who have only been home 2 plus months love on Andrew by helping to cream him up for bedtime.

They seem to really care about him and are concerned when he is upset. He is loud, and often very disruptive but they don't seem to mind. They roll with the flow. When they think he needs something they come running to one us to tell us :)

I love his sneaky smile...Andrew kept trying to turn himself around and by having Abe hold his hand he couldn't.

Here is our guy getting his hair cut this week by Leah. The neat part about this pic is that she is doing it without someone helping her. He is calm and compliant. Often it took at least 2 of us to get his hair cut...also look at his chubby belly and chest. He is doing well ( except for tonite he is very irritable) and we took him to the pool steps and just let him sit with his legs in the pool. Water seems to calm him. We could not figure out what was frustrating him...then he was ready to sit and eat his dinner. He got a bath and his meds. early and Cate is taking him on a bike ride to keep him awake until 8.
Sometimes it is hard to have such a significant special needs child but it is the times in these photos that encourage us . Andrew has been home now for 2 yrs and 7 and a half months. He has changed so much and we are grateful for this. We still can't easily travel with him when we all go out because he can be very disruptive. We rotate one of the adults in our family to stay home when we go to church. He still will do some auto aggressive behaviors but they are way less than before. He can be cuddly when he wants to be and he sleeps thru the nite about 2/3 of the month. We keep a journal of his life so we can accurately share what he eats, how he sleeps and his behaviors with his doctors. Overall we have seen a significant improvement in his behaviors and sleep. He also does not vomit at all . We had a time in April he had started to spit up some ( not as much as before) so we went over his diet in the journal and could trace our additon of hamburger meat we would give for one meal a day...maybe the extra fat in it caused a blockage of the pyloric valve which was constricted by the parasite H Pyloria that he had for yrs...anyway we noticed he was burping and I suggested that we up his acid reflux meds. and we did and that took care of it . We also removed the hamburger from his diet. He only eats chicken now as his meat and occasionally a hotdog or turkey. He gets a multiple vitatmin plus iron daily and his blood wk is great for the B vitamins he does not get by not eating red meat. He is scheduled 9/11 for a follow up endoscope at Johns Hopkins.
We have been asked many times, " How do we take care of such a special needs child?"- to be honest it is alot to take care of this precious little guy who is sometimes embarassing and often challenging but it is a priviledge to love on him and share life with a child who no one wanted, and most likely would have been dead by now if we had not brought him home. He came home Christmas eve. 2009 with Gracie from Bulgaria...I have always thought it was special that he came home on a very significant day for Christians. He was also born on my birthday :) I love how the Lord gives us special reminders that He knows our heart and what we do and our struggles as well as our joys. The past few months have been filled with many joys watching Andrew gain more peace and contentment in his soul. He has a simple life filled with many who love him.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Just because and our nite tonite

We made campfire stew and the kids thought it was neat to cook like a cowboy :)

Waiting for dinner to cook in the campfire

The weather was gorgeous and since Paul has been off we decided spur of the moment to camp out.

They jumped all day on these trampolines and swam...but tonite we had even more fun !

And of course what is a campfire unless you have smores....

We also got out some of our sparklers....

This is Daddy doing the " keeping the wild animals away " dance :) :) :)