May 29, 2011

Updates and Grandma

I feel like I have so many things to blog about, that I'm not sure how to organize my thoughts.  The first is that our homestudy has officially been scheduled.  The visit will be next Monday.  So, if anyone wants to see the crazy version of me, come and visit next weekend just before the visit! LOL!!  I am really looking forward to it and looking forward to moving another giant step forward.   

We were also able to get our passports done this last week.  Hooray!!  I had no idea that it was going to be so expensive...over $300!!  I guess everyone can tell that I have never traveled outside of the U.S. except for Mexico and Canada.  And, obviously, even that has been awhile...since I believe that now you do need a passport. That is also why the idea of travelling so far is exciting and daunting all at the same time. 

Here are the mug shots!  I love my wind blown cocker spaniel hair!


Okay, (deep sigh), I will talk about what is really going on in our household right now.  Plain and simple...end of life issues are hard.  My grandmother is continuing to not do well.  The problem is...none of us are.  We all have some kind of stomach bug and it makes me wonder now if my grandma is just responding to the flu more than being "in decline" as so many professionals have said to us so many times.  The problem is, they have said this before when she was just sick with a virus and we were able to get her well again. 

The even bigger problem is that due to her age, advanced Alzheimer's, and her refusal to eat much...no one wants (or feels comfortable?) with providing much in the way of medical treatment to extend her life.  I could go on and on with how many internal wars and differing opinions I have within myself on that and it seems to continue to change....but it would probably not be very productive or helpful.  We are considering placing her in a nursing home to have hospice care.  I have also considered bringing her to the hospital but I know that we will get a lot of grief over the fact that most of the doctors feel that they should not be providing any life sustaining medical procedures.   

The oddest thing about it all is that she is mentally more clear and seems physically stronger than she has in a long time.  She has been virtually non-responsive and not able to communicate for the last several months.  Then, a couple of nights ago, I was holding Eleanor near her bed and she suddenly looked up and locked her eyes on her. 

Now, I have to go backwards in time for the story to hold it's true meaning...Eleanor was born only a couple of weeks before we brought grandma out here to live.  And my grandma absolutely adored her right from the start.  She would always draw in her breath and exclaim, "She's precious!" or "Sweet!" and she would stroke her hair or reach out to hold her.  It helped make the move from Arkansas a lot easier on Grandma since the Alzheimer's had already made her unable to know where she was or who she was with.  Eleanor was an adorable baby and that was all grandma cared about.  


Thus, Eleanor grew up feeling very adored by her.  And, Eleanor was amazingly patient with the sometimes uncomfortable position that grandma would hold her in or with the fact that grandma would want to hold her just five minutes after she had just squiggled to get down and crawl.  And, Eleanor would often seek grandma out and reach to hold her hand or "help" her walk.  Even once grandma was so sick that she was mostly bedridden....Eleanor would often say, "see maga"  which would mean that she wanted to go visit grandma in her room.

Okay, so back to present....I mentioned that grandma has been mostly non-responsive.  Unfortunately, that meant that she was eventually not even responding to Eleanor.  So, as I said....a couple of nights ago....out of the blue, my grandma looked up and locked eyes with Eleanor.  Eleanor exclaimed, "MAGA!"  and grandma actually smiled...not just a slight smile, but a huge smile with her eyes absolutely lit up!  She said with a gasp...as clear as day, "OH, goodness!"  and then she reached out her hand to touch Eleanor, and said "your face...." and then she spoke more words but we just couldn't understand.  She stayed enraptured with Eleanor and kept the smile on her face for her entire trip to the bathroom and back to bed.  And, then....it was gone and she was sound asleep.

I don't know how to end this post other than to say that I am so glad that I have this written down.  I plan to make a family book of our blog eventually so that the children will actually have a keepsake to remember.  I am so thankful for the time that we have had with my grandmother...even down to the last days and minutes.

May 25, 2011

Birth, death...arrivals, departures

     My grandmother is now beginning to refuse to eat.  I have bought every favorite food or drink that I can think of and even Ben and Jerry's ice cream will only get her to take a few tastes.  She is really balking at any liquids which is obviously the most important to her survival.  It forces me to accept that the end is near for her.  I really do think that it is time for her since I recognize that she is at the end stage of Alzheimers. I know that she will be happier where she is no longer ill and can be reunited with her daughter and my grandfather.  

     Having said that, I am sad and scared....for her, for my children, for my dad, and for myself.  I have not always had the greatest attitude towards death.  When I was in college, I signed up for and dropped the "Death and Dying " class about three times.  I never did end up taking it and I was a psych major!  I probably didn't think about it much for a long time after that.



     Then came the day that my beloved grandfather (on my mom's side) slipped on the steps and hit his head.  You may be able to tell by the picture above that my grandfather was my absolute hero and I thought...and still think...that he is the greatest person I have ever known.  He loved me unconditionally, he "roughed me up" which was what I called our rough and tumble play fighting, and when I was in his lap and laid my head on his chest I could smell doublemint gum mixed with aftershave and I felt loved and safe.  I wish I could sit with him right now.

     I remember holding his hand in the ICU and thinking that I had no idea what I would tell my children if he didn't make it.  It was the beginning of my road to seek religion and find out what I actually believed.  We spent the entire summer investigating and reading about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I felt led there by my many encounters throughout my life with amazing people and families that really "walked the walk" and lived by their beliefs.  I don't want to write about my conversion right now, although I love to talk about it.  I am grateful every day for the knowledge of Jesus Christ and eternal families.  I love that I know that we can see each other again. That knowledge really helps me accept death as a transition rather than an ending.
     This is my grandfather's old mower that still sits as a monument to him in our yard.  It doesn't work anymore but I will not get rid of it.  He loved lawn mowers and tinkering with them.  He always let me ride on this one with him and I would sit where he was missing a leg and I always felt like I could fit perfectly. I just kept looking at it today and thinking about life and loss and what is in store for us.

     I feel better equipped now to handle death but I still don't like it.  The transition is one thing...but the final moment is a different matter.  I still cannot face the funeral pictures from our daughter's death (another sweet angel that I love to talk about but will save for another time) And, so, I move forward day by day and hour by hour with my grandmother...
     

      I promised by the title of this post that I was going to talk about birth as well.  It is the twin's birthday this week!   I wholeheartedly wish we could spend it with them.  I saw the cutest outfits that were 40% off at the mall last week.  I just had to get them.  I actually do this with every child I have given birth to.  I buy a special outfit while I am pregnant and then I look at it off and on and I imagine what that little outfit will look like when it is filled with an actual miraculous little being.  I didn't get the opportunity to do that with Corinna and Maria because they came to me in a state of emergency with no prior awareness of their arrival.  I am glad that we do have the opportunity to do it this time.  It helps me to process the reality of the new little spirits that will be with us soon.  I took the picture outside on the play structure because I wanted to be able to picture them playing and happy inside those clothes.  I can't wait to take that picture!

May 21, 2011

Crazy Monster Chocolate Fight

     Robertson's birthday was last weekend and I now have a very cute seven year old boy.  I truly have never thought about a boy of that age as being cute but I do now! :-) 

     We have "birthday season" in our family in the months of May and June.  Every child has a birthday in those months except Emily and Maria.  That includes the twins...since their birthday is also in May!  Everyone in our family had a chuckle over that.  They will truly fit right in!   Needless to say, these two months get busy and very expensive if we're not careful.


In light of saving up for the adoption and because of needing to stay home with grandma we decided that we would do "home" birthdays on a very small budget.  Having said that, I was determined that it would be just as fun.  I absolutely love, and seek out, the unusual, fun, and potentially messy or slightly dangerous activities.  Actually the danger part I usually discover part way into the activity and then I have to rapidly stop the festivities and make some adjustments.  LOL!
 
I will share what we did for Robertson's party and then list a few other things we've tried...they were mostly successful but I will add warnings!




We started with the birthday boy making everybody look like monsters!









Then, the girls just had to add to it a bit!















video
             Robertson had to put his makeup on...with deep concentration



He's so scary!


                          The monsters are ready for some action!


                 Robertson's hand goes in the huge vat of chocolate first!



                                                     And, of course a taste!


                    And the rest went like this....





 



It took me forever to get this video loaded so I will discuss the other activities in another post.  I will say that one activity involved picking up raisins that were engulfed in flames and another involved plastic tarp, shaving cream, and "ice" skating.  This is why my sister and brothers in law worry when I say that I've come up with a new idea!
 I would *really* love to have some comments with your favorite and unusual activities....I literally collect them!


May 19, 2011

The good and the bad...

It has been an overwhelming week so far and I'm only half way through!  So, I'll start with the bad so that I can get on with the good.


The bad things I've learned:
1.International adoption paperwork seems to multiply like bunnies until that is all you can see around you

2.Your birth certificate is always just where you store it unless you are in a hurry and heading out to get your passport

3.In a pinch your marriage certificate will not work as citizenship verification for your passport

4.If you get frustrated while at the post office due to the fact that you have wasted a trip and can no longer get your passport...your husband will get distracted with helping you feel better and will leave his cell phone on the counter

5.Even bedridden 90 year old grandmothers are under suspicion and must complete FBI, DOJ, and child abuse checks for every state that they've lived in...even if they no longer can hold a pen in their fingers or understand how or why to sign a form(and yes, we did go all the way to the top of the food chain for an exception and we got nowhere)

6.Fundraising is hard

7.Affording an international adoption of twins is harder




The Good things I've learned:

1.Eventually the paperwork does get completed

2.It is not that hard to order a copy of your birth certificate by ordering online at http://www.vitalchek.com

3.Many people are kind and will tell the next person that calls your lost cell phone to let you know that your cell phone is still at the post office

4.There is a notary that is so kind that he would be willing to come to the house to help notarize grandma's forms

5.Furthermore, it is still possible to even be shocked by someone's kindness when the same notary refuses to charge any fees and informs you that he notarizes for the whole community for free!

6.Adoption should be difficult...it helps weed out those who aren't committed or safe and most people place more value on what they have worked hard to do

So, with a deep heavy sigh, I am finishing out this week.  I really have made progress and we are just about ready for the homestudy social worker to come out. (Well....I do plan to do my floors upstairs first)  I know, I know, I definitely never learn!

Stay tuned for some fun pictures of Robertson's birthday monster chocolate fudge fight that I will try to post later today...yet another very fun and disastrously messy activity and what happens when I spy a HUGE container of chocolate syrup and industrial size can of fudge!

May 15, 2011

Win a prize for the most peculiar item in your house! We have a kitty IV...top that!





Here is our first fundraising contest that was inspired by my daughter after she found the above item in our home. I'm going to need all of your help to make it fun so please help us out!! Whether you are a fellow nutty adoptive parent who has felt compelled to deep clean their houses for their homestudy or you are a household that has been inspired to do some spring cleaning....I want to celebrate you and offer a potential reward! Scour your house to find something strange, odd, bizarre, outlandish, eccentric, or curious and enter our contest!


I will start with our inspiration for this contest...have you guessed what the picture is? Yes, we have an IV kit for a cat that was being stored in our bathroom. I know, an odd place, but for those of you who are truly organized...where do you store an IV?? We ended up with this little treasure that we just couldn't get rid of when Arnold, our ballerina cat, was sick with some sort of feline cold. I had first attempted to nurse him back to health with steamy showers and warm broth...all the while truly hoping that we would avoid the vet bill. Within a day he was literally gasping for air and now needed to not only be rushed to the vet but now it was a Sunday. Yes... Sunday..... so now all of you that are pet owners know that I was paying for emergency weekend vet care which is easily double the cost.


Arnold received some antibiotics and some IV fluids and came back home. He didn't seem to improve much over the next couple of days but again I was doing extra supportive care with steam baths, encouraging fluids, and carefully keeping his nose clean with a warm cloth, to try to avoid taking him back to the vet. It was probably a Tuesday or Wednesday night when I once again pushed the panic button as he was gasping for air and told my husband that I really felt he should go back in.


Oh, I didn't mention that it was my poor husband that took our kitty in the first time. I'm not big on vet visits...I passed out as a child when our cat was getting her temperature taken. I don't know what it is...the smell...the panicked look on the animal's faces....the extreme amount of money exchanging hands? I just can't take it!


So, once again my husband took off to the emergency vet hospital because it was evening and well after hours. The vet took pity on my husband and the extreme amount of money that we were having to pay and offered that all Arnold really needed was the extra fluids and he would likely be just fine. He was just so congested that he wasn't drinking enough which then was making his congestion even worse and not allowing him to breathe. So, she showed my husband how to do an IV and gave him the kit. Well, Arnold improved rapidly after that with no need for the IV. But, I couldn't just throw that wonderful kit away. It is our "get out of going to the vet for free" card. So, back to the dilemma of where to store it! The kids think that we should sell it on ebay! LOL!


So, the instructions for all of you:

Please send a donation of $10, or whatever you are able to donate, through the paypal button on the top right hand side of the page. Then send your pic and description of your item to
rcwalker@succeed.net. I will post the pictures and descriptions on my blog anonymously or give you full credit, whichever you prefer. At the end, our family will all take a vote as to the strangest item and award that individual or family with a gift card of your choice with 10% of the proceeds. Please, this is a family blog, so no upsetting images of anything inappropriate.


Please tell everyone you know about our contest...it should be fun to see what odd folks we all are and will really help us out with the mounting expenses. The worst case scenario for us is that it will take more time to bring the twins home because we don't have the money yet for travel, legal expenses etc.( I will be posting a break down of all of the adoption costs soon for those of you who are wondering how it all works.) I have heard it said many times that a family should not choose not to adopt merely due to financial constraints....God always seems to find a way when our desires are righteous. I believe that to be true and hope that we will be able to get to the twins as quickly as possible. 

I'm so excited to see what you all will come up with! Good luck!!

May 11, 2011

Love for Anika




I received this picture and message from Positively Orphaned and thought it was a great idea.  This little girl still needs a family and a fellow blogger came up with the idea of sponsoring her through Reece's Rainbow so that when a family does come forward it will help them to more quickly bring her home without financial constraints.  I had already fallen in love with her too!  She is just adorable and seems kind of sad.  Anyway, the following will explain how they are handling the fundraising:

"I just love it when people advocate for a particular child and that little one ends up with an adoption grant and an adoptive family. Remember Vanya's giveaway that No Greater Joy Mom did? It resulted in a $16K grant and a family. Now Moments With Love is advocating for 'Anika'. This 2 year old girl has HIV and Hepatitis C. Take a moment to read this heartfelt post and see the follow up video. So far more than $9,000 has been pledged to Anika's adoption grant by the end of May. This is a little one I have been advocating for since December 2009 and I am 100% sure she will now get a committed a family due to the love shown by one woman. Her request is simple - host a get-together during the month of May and invite 9 friends who each pitch in $20 toward Anika's adoption fund. Each party results in a minimum $200 donation. It's easy! It's brilliant! So far 38 people are signed up to host parties in May. Check it out and please consider hosting a Love For Anika party."

Here is the link for Reece's Rainbow http://reecesrainbow.org/anika-23

May 10, 2011

A picture may be worth 1000 words....

     I am here to declare that a picture may be worth 1000 words.....but it doesn't tell the whole story!  Over the weekend, I took my youngest three to an art museum while their older sisters were in Japanese school.  It started out beautifully with three happy children!
 Then, after entering the museum, I took a picture of the children in front of a beautiful light projector type art.
  Unfortunately, the flash went off which not only ruined the shot but brought the museum docent up the stairs to give a 10 minute lecture about not using flash photography (in my defense, the only thing behind the children was a wall...not actual artwork)  This was followed by another 10 minutes of me trying to figure out how to turn off the flash on our new camera.  Where were my older girls when I needed them!?!  We were additionally told by the docent to go to the second floor because it would be great for the children.


     As soon as we stepped off of the elevator we were surrounded by beautiful but delicate and detailed African wooden sculptures with no protective barriers.  They were down on the floor like wonderful wooden toys just waiting to be played with.  Eleanor was delighted.  I was panicked!  "Don't touch, don't touch!...Look with your eyes!" I kept hearing myself say.  Yuck!  What awful words to say to a two year old who is so excited and eager to touch and learn. 


     We continued down a long hallway that had a glass balcony.  I am horribly afraid of heights and despite my brain registering that it was okay for the children to lean on and press their hands on the glass, I just couldn't take it.  Mean mom strikes again...no touching and now, no balcony. 


     We did find a few interesting pieces of artwork.  There were some paintings with such thick and rough paint that it was kind of 3-D (I'm sure there's a name for that style but just ask Lauren, I am artistically illiterate!)  Anyway, Eleanor announced that the thick painted paintings were "messy" and made a yucky face.  She then spotted a life sized human female sculpture.  It was largely painted white but had blue paint on the buttocks down to the back of the thigh.  Eleanor pointed and announced loudly, "POOP!  YUCK!  You wash!" 


     She was fascinated by the sculpture and didn't want to leave.  Can you tell that she is in the potty training phase?  The fact that we eventually had to leave the pooping sculpture, combined with the fact that she was growing weary of not being able to touch anything, caused Eleanor to begin to fall apart.  Unfortunately for all of the quiet and respectable museum patrons, Eleanor has a voice that carries for miles. 


     Another visit from the docent...I am quickly pondering that turning Eleanor off would prove to be much more difficult than turning off the camera flash.  Amidst protesting shrieks, I can hear bits and pieces of the docent saying, "...she must be the baby....she must be spoiled....my child would never have been allowed...."  Just then I spotted the drinking fountains and said with enthusiasm, "Look Eleanor!  Water fountains!"  Eleanor's howling stopped briefly  while she considered her options. This gave me enough time to quickly get us out of there.  While the children were getting a drink, I remembered something I had seen when we first arrived. 


     There was a large outdoor waterfall that was connected to a very empty courtyard.  It seemed like the perfect place for the children to run around and burn off some energy.  I was still hoping to see the rest of the museum in order to get my money's worth for the admission fee.  I discussed this insane way of thinking with my husband later that evening.  Why is it that myself and many other parents feel compelled to make themselves miserable with the idea of getting their money's worth?  Especially when you know that the odds are heavily stacked against you ever being able to see or appreciate anything...and even if you did, everyone is sure to be insane by the end of it all!


So, here is the attempt to salvage our museum adventure:
So far so good...
Can you guess what happened next?


Of course...now we have an injury to add to the woes. (By the way, Eleanor loves this pic of her boo boo!)


     So, I decided that we should go back inside the museum and get something to eat to help everyone feel better.  We went into the cafe where we were told that the two items that are made "in house" were the scones and hand pies.  They were a whopping $4 a piece, but I was desperate.  I decided to get one of each and we would share to keep costs down.  The cashier informed us that only one hand pie was left and that we were lucky.  However, before we could purchase them, the baker came out of the back and said that he had a whole new bunch of warm hand pies.  YUM!  Eleanor started to take off so I quickly made my purchase and headed for the tables.  I then realized that the cashier gave me the one and only cold hand pie!  Grrrr! 


     We settle in to enjoy our snack.  The children are happy once again and I'm thinking that we just might salvage our outing.  I look over at Eleanor just as she takes a big bite of the hand pie and declares, "I no like it!!" and throws the hand pie to the floor.  Robertson, Amelia, and I all watch in horror as our delicious and expensive hand pie went skidding across the floor, spilling it's gooey contents along the way. 

     And, so we left.  Which is what we should have done long before.  How long do you all think it took for Eleanor to fall asleep in the car?  About three minutes after this picture was taken by Amelia.  The best part of it all?  I left feeling very frustrated at how the day had turned out.  After writing the blog, I realized that these are funny memories that I will savor....I never was much for quiet and boring anyway!

May 8, 2011

There's Somebody Out There....

Yesterday was World AIDS Orphan Day and I was thinking about the twins a lot.  When I was working out, I was listening to a song by David Archuleta, entitled "There's Somebody Out There".  I was immediately struck by how applicable the song was to waiting children.  Here are the lyrics:

Sittin' all alone in your room
Thinkin' that the world's let you down
All you ever wanted to do is trust someone to always be around
You've had a lot of lessons to learn from
Some of them hit you so hard
And I keep believing someday you'll see, you don't have to be alone

CHORUS:
There's somebody out there, somebody somewhere
To show you the tenderness you need
Somebody to hold you when worries control you
I'd give anything if only you knew it was me
Ohh... mm..

I've been watchin' you go through all of these things for a while, oh
There's gotta be a way to bring you back
'Cause it's worth it when you smile, oh
It doesn't have to hurt you forever
It doesn't have to last too long, yeah
If you're wondering where to turn to
I hope that you know

There's somebody out there, somebody somewhere
To show you the tenderness you need
Somebody to hold you when worries control you
I'd give anything if only you knew it was me

I wanna be there when you're in need
I would never be long if you were waiting
When you gonna see, if you could only see

There's somebody out there, somebody somewhere
To show you the tenderness you need
Somebody to hold you when worries control you
I'd give anything if only you knew it was me

Hmm...

I'd give anything, oh
Anything at all
I think it's time that you knew it was me

I decided to put the waiting children's pictures to the music in honor of the children and in hopes to reach out and touch someone else that might be considering helping in any way that they can. 




video

May 5, 2011

My husband says I never listen to him. At least I think that's what he said...

     Before I make a fool of myself and tell you all what ridiculous things I decided had to be done before the home study...I will answer a few questions that have been raised.  I have been asked about the children's country of origin and we are currently unable to mention that in a public forum.  I can tell you that it is an Eastern European country that is rich with history and amazing people.  I am very excited to travel there! 

     We are also not allowed to post pictures of the children or mention their names.  It makes it difficult because they are soooo adorable and I would love to share but I understand the concerns and it is a very small sacrifice so we will strictly honor it.  I will say that the little girl looks a lot like our Emily with whisps of little blond curlies and the little boy is also a blondie with beautiful blue eyes and an impish grin.  He is described as being very outgoing and talkative and is said to be very bonded and protective of his twin sister.  She is described as being more shy and quiet but I can see from her bright smile that she has plenty of spunk!  I can't wait to finally meet them!

     Okay, so on to why my husband has the "I told you so" rights.  I decided that I wanted to refinish our wood floors before the home visit by the adoption social worker.  I had NO idea what it entailed.  Usually, I come up with hairbrained ideas and my wonderful husband is the one who picks up the pieces and finishes what I start.  Only, this time, he is in the police academy and just couldn't. 

     So, despite his raised eyebrows and words of warning.... I informed him what I planned to do "all by myself"!  (SIGH)  I had no idea what I was in for.  We started out with a huge rented sander

Here I am still cheerful but attempting to figure out how to install the sandpaper


Here is the sandpaper afterwards...ummm I think I did it wrong!


Time to lick my wounds and have some cereal....comfort food!





Mary....my unwilling partner in crime!

     Okay, so fast forward a bit.  We returned the first horrible sander to the equipment rental place.  The owner looked at Mary and I with amused curiosity and said, "Did you use this machine by yourself?"

     Next was the edger.  Yet another rental that was expensive especially when you don't get to it for a week and you are paying by the day.  It was heavy and broke my back while nearly pulling me off of my feet. The edger has a light that comes on as soon as you plug it in, and it has a switch that turns it on that is quite independent of this light (this fact will become very important in just a moment) 
    
     Finally, I was done!  No....wait....I looked around the floor and noticed menacing looking shiny spots of finish randomly dispersed across the floor.  I couldn't believe it...after days and days of sanding and expensive rentals, the floor looked horrible!  I poured out all of my complaints to Robert when he came home that day with tears welling up in my eyes.  The edger sander was at my feet.  Amidst the fogginess of my tears and the stillness of our conversation, I reached down to flip the switch and turn off the light....  Okay, if you've been paying attention so far, the switch does not control the light.  The switch merely turns the sander on!!! 
     Yep! You guessed it!  The sander went wild!  It raced around the floor at lightening speed seemingly happy to have found it's complete freedom.  In hysterics, I ran after it and finally grabbed it just as Robert was able to get it unplugged.  (sigh) Now there were shiny spots left and an unsightly gouge along the sander's trail.
     Robert took pity on me and rented yet another sander that was easier to handle.  He showed me how to use it and mentioned that it would be harder to damage the floors because it was much more gentle...it would just take more time.  Time....time.....something I always need more of! (sigh again)

     Okay, so fast forward again...and now I'm to the point of doing a light sanding to the floor after I had stained it and Robert had been able to find the time to seal it.  Lauren had arrived home from college by this point and I was thrilled to have another adult to help! 

    I was happily sanding away because at this point, I am thrilled with how the floor is looking!  Everything came to a halt when the plug fell out and so I began gathering the cord with the idea that I would plug it in somewhere closer.  Do you know where this is going? 

     Of course, the plug was actually still plugged in but just loose.  So, when I started to move the cord, it re-engaged into the outlet.  And, it began wildly spinning across the floor.  I ran as fast as I could go to grab it and began sliding across the floor due to all the loose dust. 

     The rest you have to picture in slow motion.  I grabbed the buffer and held it over my head as my body plummeted downwards and the side of my hip and elbow made loud and painful contact with the floor.  All Lauren heard was a loud thud and yelping of her name.  She came running in and saw me flattened on the floor with the buffer held high up in the air, spinning with wild abandon.  We both laughed and howled till we were nearly sick! 

     I know for a fact, that if Lauren had gotten that on video, we would not have had to fundraise for the adoption at all.  We would have won on America's funniest home videos and we would have been all set! 

     Well, all is well that ends well in this household...I truly do love my floor. 

     What's next?  Well, I think I have talked Lauren into painting a mural in the playroom....I think I am nesting! 

*I need all of you to help me!  As we prepare for our upcoming contest...I am wondering, what would be a great prize that you would love to win?


May 4, 2011

      Yes, the rumors and excited comments from my children are true...we are planning to adopt again! This post will mark the beginning of what I hope to be a new legacy of blogging about our family and I am thrilled and excited to embark on this new chapter of our family story. It was a long process that led us to this place and it all started with a simple ad on craigslist for a fundraising yard sale.

     There was an adorable young family that was planning to adopt a child with special needs. It caught my eye immediately, partly because of the curiousity of why they would want to adopt when they clearly had their own biological children.   Additionally, I knew that my sister had been thinking of adopting, and I thought that this might be the perfect way for her to add to her family. I researched and researched some more and came across this website
http://www.rainbowkids.com/index.aspx
and this one
http://reecesrainbow.org/category/waitingchildren/hiv-0-5

     Of course, in order to get information for my sister, I just had to subscribe to email newsletters and updates. LOL!  So for months, I received information about waiting children. Some had Down Syndrome, some had cleft lip/palate, some had repairable heart conditions, and some had HIV. Robert and I both agreed that someday we might be interested in adopting...but not right now. Having passed the information on to my sister, and feeling overwhelmed with email messages, I had just decided to get off of the lists. I then had a dream, "the" dream that changed everything....

     The dream was something that I will never forget. I was watching myself as though I were on tv and I became aware that I had twins, a boy and a girl. I then became aware that I was leaving them in an institution and at first I was calm, but as I watched myself continuing to walk away, I became more concerned. I started talking to the tv screen and saying in a louder and more fearful voice that I just wouldn't do that….I don't walk away from my children….I couldn't leave the twins in an institution! As I continued to walk away from the children, my tv persona was completely oblivious that I was screaming and continuing to increase in hysteria and panic. I began shouting "I don't do that! Don't turn your back! Don't turn your back on them!" Then I woke up in a sweat with my heart racing and still feeling very upset. I remembered that dream all day and told all of my family about it as it was very unusual for me to even remember a dream. At this point, I had decided that we were perhaps going to have biological twins.  I calmed down a bit in knowing that even if I had twins and they were born with a disability, that I certainly wouldn't institutionalize them.

     Shortly thereafter, I got an email about 3 year old waiting twins….a boy and a girl. The little girl had some medical problems. My children all sucked in air and said that it just had to be the twins from my dream. My reaction was to tell the children to stop being silly and to go on with my day but they all insisted that I should at least inquire. And, then the picture came. Two adorable children hugging each other....real children....that had a desperate need for a family and a place where they would stay and both be wanted and belong. At the same time, I *really* wasn't up for this. The mecial problems concerned me as did the daunting paperwork and expense of an international adoption. Then I began to learn more.  I learned that children that are not adopted prior to the age of five (especially those with health problems) potentially face transfers to further institutions that are often like a hospital setting or for the mentally ill. If that wasn't disturbing enough, I read another report that suggested if children age out of orphanages at the age of 16, 10-15% commit suicide and 60% of girls ended up involved in prostitution.

     So I fretted and thought about it some more and finally decided that I would like to adopt eventually but I was still worried that it just wasn't the right time. And, so I decided that we would not adopt them. All day I had a nagging bad feeling and then by the end of the day it hit me.  The dream!  I was walking away and turning my back on them just as the dream suggested. I contacted the agency imagining that another family had likely come forward to adopt them by this time. Unfortunately, there had been no interest yet in keeping them together. I decided to pray about it and I realized that in the dream there was a feeling that they were *my* children and after more prayer and discussion with my husband, my heart softened and I realized that we needed to follow Heavenly Father's plan and not our own. We were sent more pictures and I began to fall in love with them. I knew that there were no guarantees with a foreign adoption but felt very good and content in knowing that we would do everything we could to bring them home.

     So now, the work has begun and we are close to being finished with the home study paperwork.  We are also having the unfortunate but real task of fundraising as the adoption expenses are quickly mounting.  We plan to do some really fun contests and giveaways to both raise the funds that we need as well as raise awareness of the great need for special needs adoptions.  Please help us get the word out.  I plan to create a Facebook page and will update the blog when it is finished. 

      I already have a long list of idiotic things that I have done so that everyone can learn what not to do during the adoption process.  The first of which was my need to completely refinish my wood floors in anticipation of our first social worker home study visit.  I will try to post tomorrow about two incidents of runaway sanders and legs full of bruises! LOL!  Til tomorrow....