Monday, September 30, 2013

Field Day triumphs and woes!

THere are some days I jsut want to hide in my bedroom and cry.

Today was Field Day - I HATE field day.  My kids can't do stuff, they can't, they can't, they can't.

BUT I NEVER EVER, EVER let on to them.

I dread the day in silence, plan on attending the event to try an put out fires before they begin and be prepared to have a special treat at home for them.

WHen we only had a Brahm it was easy - I spent my entire day following his group around, anticipating and making the playing field as fair and accessible as possible LOL.

With 4 littles it's jsut NOT possible.  I get a much needed work out running from group to group but still I have learned I have to depend on my teachers to anticipate and care enough to accomodate my kids on the fly.

And you know it was great for 3 of them.  Ok Tao didn't really have field day as he goes in the morning.  BUT Brahm's class loves him, as does his young, future loving teacher.  So he joined them LOL!

Brahm ran and for the most part stayed up with his group in ALL events!!  THIS was the first year he could do that!!  We cheered, and were beyond excited for him.  Previous years (as we are jsut about a month into school),  Field day became the demarcation line where we could see his status in class go from cool little guy to something is wrong with that kid.

It has been beyond heartbreaking to watch.  BUT I think we are past that with him, and my heart sings!!  We were blessed with a gloriously warm day which helped his joints.  WOnderful kids who would match up with him at stations.  Apparently he did get drug in the 3 legged race, but at 32 lbs - well it's not hard to do.

Fei - well she was Fei with her radiant smile!  My favorite were the hurdles.  Apparently, she ran up to them, looked at them and then crawled under them!! LOVE

So our littles did incredible.  I am so relieved and excited that they had fun, had fun with their friends and are still as awesome before this day!!


And then there is Cavanaugh - this may make people mad, but we only accomodate our kids some (ie I went to find the hand trike because I knew he couldn't do the bike race).  But most of the activities we ask them to try.  That's it, step up, do your best and be respectful of the people volunteering their time.  You don't have to be the best, you don't even have to finish but you must try.  (I am talking frisbee toss, ball throw etc.)

(THis is the 3rd year Cav has participated in one capacity or another so it was not new.  He has been slowly spiraling downhill as the predicted honeymoon is slowly waining.)

Cav decided he was not going to do any of it, and was defiant and nasty to his teacher and helpers.  So much so that they called me.  Luckily, I was on my way and we had a little come to Jesus meeting of how he is expected to act ~ period.  Both my husband and I are of the premises that teachers are not paid enough for the crap they endure.  I have to admit I am horrified that it is my son causing so many issues ugh

Cav loves to act more disabled than he is, and his teachers well, they have great hearts but totally enable the "poor disabled boy".  By the time I got to the school from my bible study at 11:30 he had eaten everyone's food from the wagon, gone to the bathroom twice, went to see the nurse and totally disrupted the entire classes time.  The hard thing with manipulative kids is that you can't pinpoint what is going on but you are totally and utterly exhausted and frazzled.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt I let him apologize to his teacher and rejoin his group.

THis lasted for a bit but then all hell broke lose.

Let's jsut say we left the school early with him screaming at the top of his lungs.

The sad part is that people only see Cav for his legs.  Not the child behind them.  If he had been born with legs I can guarantee he would never be allowed to act like he does.  It is such a disservice for his future.

My heart also breaks because those around us that saw me carrying my screaming leg flailing 5 year old out of the school will go back to their preconceived notion ~ that's why those orphanage kids shouldn't be adopted.  And THAT breaks my heart.

Monday, September 23, 2013

FLoating away

SOrry folks, we are actually fine.  We live at the top of a huge hill which is bad for hail, wind, and lightening but we stayed safe from the torrential rain that poured around us.

We were in Denver in the midst of the worst on the first day.  WHen the standing water is higher than the bumpers on the city buses you get scared.  Luckily, my sweet hubby was with me in the car.

THere are many hurting people and as the waters recede we are once again faced with hurting communities - those who need items, who need prayers, and our time.  We are currently figuring out that portion.

We are floating away in other ways though LOL!

When people say high school is busy - IT IS BUSY!

Our oldest is only a freshman but really hit the ground running with football practice everyday, games, FCA (along with leadership), working doing landscaping and all I can say is HE SO NEEDS his license.

Nevermind the other kids and all their activities!!

It's funny, although I joke about homeschooling, we really thought about it for a bit.  I mean between the paperwork, the lunches, the constant issues at school - there are parts that it jsut would be easier.

BUT . . . we also feel very strongly that part of our mission is to be front and center in our community.  Tao (our little fisher of men) makes adoption seem not so scary, I feel like we are leaving bread crumbs as we go, ok I pray they are pebbles and they survive but still.

THis is a decision that affects our entire family.  Our big kids get comments, and they are slowly learning to answer in godly ways that not only glorify Him but also plant those seeds.  We may never know the people we touch.

However a school who when the current principle walked into and asked who poured bleach into our almost exclusively white school, had to hire an ESL teacher this year.  I cheer when I see children of many colors AND more importantly differently abled.  CHildren who also come from larger families who understand the plight of the orphans as well as our calling to care for them.

THis decision and events surrounding it, makes us feel like we are on a raging river, not sure of where we are going but being pulled along by the currents.  We are solidly feeling like our life raft - the Bible - is keeping us a float.  Please would you keep us in your prayers for a bit as we navigate our way.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Adoption story - Equipped

I believe it is because we have adopted

BUT I also know that I and we all have grown amazingly over the past several years.

Even when I tell the adoption stories for the thousandth time - I now find myself buffering the words with - I wasn't as far on my faith journey as I am now.

And we do tell the story, both the good and the bad.  I feel the most important part of our journey (the one God has placed us on) is to share with others several key factors:

He doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called.

What does this mean.  One of my very first blog entries was about finding a blog (to this day I have never come across it again) and simply it stated this ~

I am not a good cook ~ CHECK
I am not organized ~ CHECK
My house is not clean ~ CHECK
I don't particularly like kids ~ really?  LIKE REALLY!  me neither CHECK!!

I realized in that moment that anyone can adopt!!  More importantly I realized WE could adopt.

All along I always thought I was not perfect enough, homey enough really NOT enough. (we have never been money people so that was never a deterrant for us)

Now as I tell the story of our kids I always include that part.

Then I get the husband part heehee - oh I would adopt but my husband would never agree to it.

Let me tell you - I prayed 2 long years for God to soften Chris's heart - that's it - that's all I prayed about adoption.  I am not sure at that time I actually believed He could but I knew at the very least I wanted to have that little notch in my belt saying that we couldn't adopt because God couldn't change my husbands heart bwaahaa!!

Ladies! let me tell you my husband is the best dad in the world!  He has come a long way in the last 14 years.  But when I saw him today with Tao (mind you they couldn't be more different in size) I marveled at his kindness and gentleness for our son.

I don't think I have shared before but my husband was adament that we were NOT going to adopt again EVER!!  THose were the early months with Cav and really he was destroying our home ~ figuratively and metaphorically.  BUT oh I felt that urge that Tao was ours - the closest I can think of is that it was like my clock was ticking down.  I had such a strong maternal instinct to bring that baby home NOW! - it was odd.

I found myself in heavy prayer, I wouldn't let the subject drop.  I printed up pictures of the baby and placed them everywhere -a t that time we didn't even know if he was alive - (his file was a year old and with his list of SN ~ 50% die the first year).

Can I tell you that we were lucky and I do know that.  This baby is the single best fight we ever had LOL!  He is good for our family, he has shown us how easy adoption can be, he is good for our community.  He loves fiercely and most especially his Dolly (heehee that's how they say Daddy LOL).

ALthough it's hard to remember but while we were in process trying to decide on Fei - we wondered how we could possibly love a child not born to us, one of different color and heritage.  How could we do any of this.

You know I truly believe this is the part of God equipping us.  We aren't particularly eloquent in our responses but we non-the-less have found our voice.  We have found that parenting them is truly no different than our other kids, with more thought put into the why part.  We jump like a momma bear when someone isn't nice.  We really don't see color except the beauty it adds especially to our Fei.

And our bio kids ~ yeah I can now say the adoption has been the single best thing we ever did to our kids LOL!  When our oldest was asked to share his testimony for FCA (he is a freshman) a large part was about our adoption.  I believe our kids see the world as a much smaller place.  When they read about other countries, they can envision poverty, and depression.  This is NOT a facebook post about how amazing our kids are.  However, the part that counts, way deep down that has been changed.  In addition, some people search their entire lives looking for adoration they receive from their siblings.

My husband and I were happy to be quiet and behind the scenes.  Now it never fails, people are curious and people ask questions.  If we feel that adoption and having these kids in our home is our mission so to speak, then it is also imperative we speak about it instead of hide.

Perhaps, jsut perhaps our kids are a means to His true mission which is to call others to adoption.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Celebrating our Fei!

I have to admit the past 2 birthdays for our daughter have been with so much heartache that I haven't really been able to celebrate.  The first one we were just days away from receiving her LOA and thinking she was being returned to the orphanage.  Then last year I had such a hard time celebrating because we know that this isn't really her birthday infact we are pretty sure it isn't even her birth month - probably more like Spring.

But this year we are celebrating!

We are celebrating this magnificent little creation that is the epitome of God's love and joy!

We are celebrating all of the people who have loved her along the way and the true treasures of finding little snip bits ~ from this pic from Half the Sky we found during our wait (on page 6)

To her pics from Madison's Camp Tiger 2

We are celebrating the dramatic changes in her life

from the scared little girl who "got on the bus and China momma was crying so hard"

TO a champion proud of herself and accomplishments

We are celebrating OUR daughter
 and all of the red threads along the way! 

Happy birthday sweet girl !

Her dream finally came true and she got her ears pierced!!

Love all the boys looking so thrilled for her!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tightrope walking through adoption

Before I forget I have to tell you all that Cav seems to be a new boy - in Colorado Kindergarten is 1/2 day but you have the option of paying for full day.  We were thrilled he received a full day placement.  

If you have followed our journey you know it has been hard, beyond hard.  One day I was watching Nick Wallenda walk across the tightrope.  He explained how he slid his special made leather shoes  - slid along, feeling his way along the tightrope toes down and heels up.  It was the slow sliding, feeling the rope for direction as he went that struck me.  It is exactly what we have been doing.  Afraid to step to big, to fast but instead that slow almost visceral slide you do when you get up in the middle of the night and know there are lego pieces on the ground.

We tried following the books, finding new resources, meeting new diagnoses head on, but truly for the last almost 2 years we have felt like we were sliding along, our faith as the balancing bar, trying to find our way.

WIthin the last few weeks we have all of a sudden felt like we are at the end of that tightrope and it is exhilarating.

Our decision to put Cav in full day kindergarten (1/2 day is free) in the spring as a last ditch effort just might be the smartest decision since we got home with him.

Our thinking was simple - my worst attribute and biggest issue between him and I (or with our family per say) is that we like to fly by the seat of our pants.

My bio's learned to nap in the car.
Friends who were restricted home from 1-3 everyday made me crazy.
I am not criticizing those who live by a schedule but I just can't seem to get it down.
On our off or summer days - breakfast is at 8 or 10, lunch 12 or even 2, we get dressed when clothes are laid out, and some days we don't get dressed at all.

For a kid who grew up in Cav's circumstances it jsut sets him off.
Let me tell you I have tried -
I have beaten myself up for reverting back to no schedule - and the last thing when you are in the trenches is one more thing to make you feel like a failure 

The other thing we realized is that he still has no idea what to do when he has down time.

We have an entire sunroom with jsut their toys.

In many ways Tao is much further along in his development than Cav.

When there is free time Cav gets into things, destroys things or hurts others.

We have tried to keep him in his own safe area but then more feelings of failure.  He missed out on so much, we want him to play with the others and truly his siblings are the best playmates he has ever had.

They do get tired of his antics, but since there are 3 of them - someone usually has forgotten his meanness and is ready to interact.

Anyhow, Hubby and I started talking about daycare from the time Cav got home.  I just couldn't do it.  Hindsight (and this is why I am writing this) I wonder if that is what we should have done.

BUT we prayed, and prayed and then begged to get him into a full day kindergarten program.

and you know what -

We are seeing a NEW boy!!

Ok the first 2 days were rough but versus Fei's loving year group, Cav's - well it fits him.  He is not the worst of the group and we feel so blessed.

Also we figured out that explaining to him that when the teacher has to talk to someone, she is actually signaling the class that the person is being a baby and not following the rules like a big kindergartener would.

To Cav NOTHING is worse than being a baby!!

I am realistic enough to figure we are in the honeymoon phase of school.  BUT I am also hearing from others with hard kids that school works for them.

Everything is scheduled and that schedule only changes mildly, from when he eats, to when they use the bathroom, and play with certain toys.

In addition, all of our special helpers are in place.  We have a resource teacher (folks, if you have a hard or SN kid this is the person you NEED to talk to!)  When and if Cav loses it they have a quiet room and he can rage all he wants without distracting the teacher, students or calling me.

We have an ESL teacher - we will see on this as he is actually considered Alingual - he heard mandarin around him but no one actually spoke to or required a response from him.

Also he has speech - I wish the district had done speech as he was learning English due to the alingual diagnosis but he didn't qualify.  So he has developed a side lisp - or he sounds like he is talking with a mouth full of slurpy LOL!

Maybe the most important part besides the schedule, is that we have time away from each other.  Instead of the feelings I have fought for the past almost 2 years, I have begun to see the image of the charming little boy who has concurred so much. (to be frank it is hard to see anything positive when you have found feces and marker on the carpet yet one more time.)

THis summer was so hard, and yet jsut like a colicky baby it all has seemed to disappear.  I haven't completely stepped off the tightrope yet, but I am feeling like we jsut might be to the end - can we truly see the end, I know not to speed up but to continue slow and steady.  Praying each step as I feel along.

Can you tell this has been as much of a growth time for me as for him.  It is hard to write these things, but I read over and over again of others in the trenches and my heart aches.  Adoption is hard, others jsut don't understand how terrible it can be, I mean hitting your knees with nothing left to give hard.

We were so in love with this pic of Cav
Some people get way "lucky" (is it luck or does God know how little we can handle at that moment - i.e. Tao's adoption)  but a lot get blindsided by the reality - they think they lack the ability to parent these kids.

They have spent months praying over a picture, working hard to get them home as soon as possible.

Everything is done as a rush, rush, rush and then you land back at home and all of a sudden you find yourself hovering over an abyss holding onto your faith and ever so slowly finding your way one delicate step at a time.