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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas excitement and sickies

Well Christmas has come and gone with much excitement from Gabe and Sam. I also feel that Gabe was disappointed to some degree because he creates delusions of grandeur and becomes to focused on gifts. We have had many conversations about this- but he still seems sooooo materialistic/gift driven and its starting to feel like i am nagging him or somehow upsetting him by explaining how this really hurts my heart that he is just so focused on what he 'gets'. Not to mention we are moving into a new house by February, in which he gets his own "living room"- which we just got a new couch for- but he doesn't see that as a gift. He wants a Nook or Ipad and Skyrim videos games- sigh....i give him a new bed and bedroom set (star wars) and he gets lots of gift cards and actual $. Not to mentioned he then complained heavily about the food i cooked and nearly refused to eat it. What the heck?!?! To top it off, his niceness to Sam is very weak- Gabe has little patience and treats him poorly at times. Of course Sam then retaliates because there is a tiny-tyrant hidden in this Ethiopian's body. Anyhow, we were all together, Sam had a wonderful time- Gabe had a pretty fun time on his new Razr scooter, and then got to go to his dads where he told me with lots of giddiness- there will be "more presents" UGH. I am thinking next Xmas will need to be lots different, but it will be K's first Christmas with us, so i am sure we will want to do alot for her....but maybe not. Any ideas on how to scale it all back and/or to enable our 9 year old to have more empathy and compassion? I really hope we somehow have the $ to pay for Gabe to come with us to pick up K. I think it will really be a life-changing experience.
Sam was caught up in the joy of new toys- he changed clothes like 3 times from being spider man, to chef to Buzz Lightyear. All of this fun masked his 102 temperature....which led to a crash out at 330- three hours of sleep...then back to sleep at 10pm all the way to 9am! But this morning his fever was gone! so happy. He did get medicine at like 2am- he never lost his appetite or desire to being a crazy-man :)

knee pads over pjs
Sickies creeping in while watching the Lion King....which is what he named his tiger- Lion King

Lion King tiger- meet Buzz Light Year

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Place Called Simplicity's Dead Beat Dad Series

Happy winter break! This blog post is a bit different in that I have chosen to profile our family for the A PLACE CALLED SIMPLICITY'S initiative to help families bringing home their children and are close to travel. Linny's blog, which I have followed for years, has been a source of inspiration to me. Although I think she and I are so different in many ways, our love for the orphan, especially those with special needs, is what links me to this family's blog. I have followed her family's trials and tribulations with some of the most fragile children I have seen. In the past few months Linny has blogged about God not being a "deadbeat dad" and how provisions are made for all his children to care for their special "treasures" that are so in need of homes and medical care. Her days of prayer and fasting have connected me to others who visit her blog, some who helped pray me and Sam home after our trying time in Ethiopia. Her family's work in Africa has been amazing to follow and soon her daughter Emily will be moving to Uganda to help so many children and adults in need. 
Anyhow, these questions are answered for APCS in the hopes of being a chosen family to be profiled on her blog as we save up for our travels costs to Ethiopia!

1.   Tell us a bit about the child you are adopting - including this treasure's age and name {Please post a picture if allowed.} K is beautiful with mesmerizing eyes and a small crooked smile that makes her look shy and happy all at once. She is from a very hard place, a child headed household from the Western most region of Ethiopia that borders the Sudan. Her oldest sister cared for her and her 12 year old sister for the last 3 years; her oldest sister is just 16 herself. K will be 6 years old (on paper) next month. The peditrician believes she is closer to 7.  Currently she is in a much safer transition home in Addis and loves to have her hair braided. We believe she now knows she has a new family that will be coming to see her soon.
 Due to the restrictions from our agency and the country we are adopting from, we are recommended not to use her actual name and are not allowed to show her picture. Her first initial is K and her middle name will be Amhara. She is between 6 and 7
{Please post pictures if able.}

2. Is the child you are adopting considered "Special Needs"? Yes- She is HIV positive and has likely been exposed to trauma, coming from a child headed household on the edge of the Sudanese civil war

3.  What country or geographic area are you adopting from?  Western Ethiopia 
4. Have you adopted before? Yes, a special needs little boy from a waiting child program. He came home in September of 2011 and is also from Ethiopia- he is 4 years old.

5.. How close to travel are you? We will likely have court in February or early March. We are awaiting a court date- after a slight dossier crisis was averted, all papers are in order!

6. Do you attend church regularly? If so, what type of church is it? Yes, we attend the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, SC nearly every week

7. Do you tithe with each pay {at least the scriptural standard of 10%}? I am not working, but still contribute 10% of my graduate assistantship money (I am in graduate school), plus I am a Sunday school teacher for 3-5th graders. My husband tithes 10% as well as volunteers monthly with the high school youth group. 

8. This week, did you participate in any way with the day of Praise, Prayer by giving praise on the link and then posting your request? I did participate in the day of prayer, praise and fasting this past Tuesday

9.  Have you read the entire Deadbeat Dad series? Yes I have read all parts of the series and also chose to contribute to one of the families that are bringing home a sibling group

10. How did you hear about this Link up we are having? I have followed the blog A Place Called Simplicity for two years or more. 

11. Is there anything, briefly, that you would like to share with our orphan-lovin', God-honorin', Jesus worshippin' bloggy friends reading this?

My husband and I have fallen in love with the beautiful culture and people of Ethiopia. We feel so blessed and fortunate to have added a wonderful little boy to our family. Despite his orthopaedic issues, and often inability to walk- he has the brightest smile and sweetest disposition. We feel drawn to advocate for orphans and have also contemplated moving to Ethiopia for a year to work with educational/literacy development and Engineers Without Borders. We are so excited to have the opportunity to add to our family from Ethiopia. We both have a special connection to Waiting Children with special needs. I am in awe of the work Linny has done both as a mom and in developing support for missions and orphan programs. She has been an inspiration to me. 

Finally, understanding that each gift received through this "Response Time" has been entrusted generously for our use from our loving Father, we promise, in the unlikely event that we would be unable to or decide not to adopt the children we are advocating for, we promise to return all of the money gifted to us as a result of this link to International Voice of the Orphan so they can, at their discretion, give to other families adopting.

{Please place your initials on the line.}
Yes, I will submit_TAP_ No, I am unable to submit to this ________

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


so excited for winter break- and to spend time with my boys. We have some big news coming up- lots going on.Its not related to the adoption, but new opportunities here for our family. New school options for Sam and Gabe, a generous offer of a wonderful deal on a new house from a great guy- more details are on the way.
One significant thing i did this week, upon finding out that our dossier is on its way to Ethiopia, was to buy K some actual clothes. I shopped for Sam alot earlier, but have been somewhat reserved with preparing for K. I am not accustomed to having girls- so I have no clue as to what clothes and toys to really get. I am picking out new furniture too.

In fun holiday news- last week we took the boys to see the Lights Before Christmas at the zoo, which we have done every year for 4 years. They had fun and i snapped two pictures for our cards (which are late hahah)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Miracles happen!

For nearly the last 24 hours we have been concerned about our lost dossier and frantic with worry. I am so overjoyed to share that after an intensive search last night and re-searching this morning in the daylight, a wonderful FED EX employee named Travis has located our package. It was left at a house which is abandoned, that is numbered 5032 as opposed to 5023 - just a simple transposing the last numbers sent us on a frantic nightmare. The house is abandoned and the package was left between the screen door and main door. We are sososo fortunate- this time of year fed-ex packages dont last long left on front porches. Miracles happen- prayers answered!! Travis called me at 11:04 today with the good news and FED EX's customer advocate center rep named Tara (which is also my first name) called me several times to check and start a claim if needed. Crisis averted, i am celebrating with a Blue Moon....because its only once in a blue moon that i ever want to be put on this type of an emotional roller coaster!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


PLEASE PRAY- Dossier crisis- our whole dossier was lost by the FED EX truck last Thursday. It was said to have been delivered but i never got it- I was on the lookout on Thursday and Friday and home for good parts of each day. I called my courier Friday who was very unhelpful and wouldn't even give me my tracking number- I was livid- he told me to call back Monday if it still wasnt here?!?! . He never requested a signature and somehow this package of ALL THE ORIGINALS OF EVERYTHING for our adoption is missing., The FED EX folks have knocked on many doors all around our neighborhood, after dark. After calling 6 times and demanding they come try and find it, they finally came out near 7pm! (i called them first at 240). Fed-ex temp driver has failed us, the courier our agency insisted we used failed us and i have no clue what to do

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gabes birthday festivities!

Happy 9 years to my one and only tummy baby- This time nine years ago i was in the hospital hooked up to a morphine drip and blood transfusion after a complicated emergency c-section, after prepping for my birth with a doula and mid-wife.- Gabe came out unscathed; me- not so much. Not to mention he was 2 weeks late and huge and i have extremely small hips- I remember them showing him to me over the sheet- i was pretty out of it, about to be put under general (the complications came after he was delivered) I remember thinking "oh thank god he is so cute!!"

Anyhoo- here are some festive pictures

Saturday, December 1, 2012

World Aids Day- take the time to make sure you know

..... understand the truth surrounding the lives of children with HIV

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

ABCs of Ethiopia

Look what an awesome book I found? A fellow-adoptive family posted about this awesome book on an email list I belong to.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gifts that Give Back

Here are some of the wonderful programs and items that have real holiday 'meaning'


Wonderful site with so much to offer: Global Goods Partners
This site has gifts as low as $15, for him and for her, for baby and pets and for the house. All items are fair trade from Cambodia, Bolivia,Colombia, India, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Peru, Thailand

Many items on the new "World of Good" Ebay- green site

There are so many sellers who focus on a variety if different green and sustainable ideas and concepts.


These are just some of the many organizations that are focused on giving back this holiday season, and any season for that matter:)
I am excited about some forth coming Sole-rebel shoes for me and my kids and will also be buying several items via the Global Goods Partners site!
Happy shopping and happy world changing :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving and new beginnings

Usually new beginnings happen with the new year- but for us we have some new beginnings happening in November. John began a new job this month, as several people from his old company are now finding themselves in need of a job. Which ever executive genius decided December was a good time to shut down, in the midst of insurance ending and the holiday season, should be give a real "special holiday bonus" in my book. I am sure other families are dealing with this difficulty in more drastic ways. We are just happy john found a place back at a company he liked (he worked with a few of these people 6 years ago when he lived in Rock Hill) and that he is able to work with people he likes/respects. Our dossier and all paperwork for adoption of our little K was finalized in November, another new beginning. We had a great meeting with a medical/social work team at our PID clinic, they are a wonderful team and are super happy about all the positive medical reports for K. We also have two new beginnings we didnt expect. One is a super sweet new doggy named Ruby. If Megan had not wished to adopt her, i never would have met her. And although this puppy adoption did not work out for Megan, Ruby has fit right in here. She loves her doggy and human family and is just blossoming with our dogs and kids. The second new beginning is somewhat under wraps and if it pans out well- i will discuss it at a later time.
We are prepping for Christmas and Sam will be getting a great big kitchen set with food and a buggy I found on Craigslist. I am most likely getting Gabe some second hand fencing gear. My goal is to not buy anything brand new for Xmas. If i do buy "new " items then it will be from an organization that gives back to some sort of social issue. No Walmart, no Target....none of that. I may condone some crafty first-hand made items from Etsy. I may have to seek out some tools at Homedepot for John, but that is not set in stone as of yet either. We are looking at repurposed fencing (actual structural fencing) material and other used household items. The dogs need "new" dog-lounge furniture. They have their own 2nd and 3rd hand furniture so they do not sit on ours :)

My job focuses on sustainability and our heavily material-focused society is not self-sustaining in any way. I am trying to prep my self for a mighty new years resolution of a "buy nothing new except food/soap/hygiene items/gas" for the whole year. I would most certainly take a hiatus from this resolution when in Ethiopia, so that i may buy new cultural items for K and Sam....but other than that i would ideally like it to be a very minimally consumer-focused year. Which means i may have to buy any essential new items in December to head off any new 2013 purchases hehehe...lets see how it goes.

On different sustainability note- Gabe and I went to a youth convention for the Unitarian Universalist church at the Mountain Retreat Center last week. We loved it. It was a little taste of summer camps but with a suitable presence of chaperones. The amazing thing is that I, along with my other youth adivisors, did not have to lead any activities! There were awesome PALs for that. I loved it. Gabe has already asked me several times to attend summer camp there next year- which i think will be a big possibility. He is ready, we are ready, the Mountain is ready :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Because it seems another blogger with two beautiful little boys from Ethiopia, and other awesome kids, was in my mind regarding her reflections on the Month of Thankfulness and how we often start this and then it goes awry- I am right there with you. I have so much to be thankful for!
I am up late (late for me is past 10:15), with a weird case of heartburn that has stemmed from this afternoons lunch with my husband. He is playing with his new Samsung Galaxy phone that he got today- right before our lunch celebrating his new job, and his move from the technological dark ages (he has a flip phone, ya'll) to the realm of the modern "smart phone" which will most likely bring weeks of frustration before he learns how to use it properly. He has already found nerdy engineering apps to install- which may have been the cause of my heart burn.
So yes, John begins a new job in the next few weeks- which we are super thankful for. Sam is doing well with school, as is Gabe. I am holding my own, but not over exerting myself, as per usual. I am partially done with one final paper, and have yet to start on the other. Lets see what i can do with the next two weeks.
We have been in the waiting game for dossier news, that it has been approved and is on its way to Ethiopia. Our placement agreement, more immigration forms, dossier and the last big a$$ check has all been sent and received- exciting. I have received some travel documents from our agency and need to contemplate how we will do our visas. We are still hoping for a late January court date. Maybe by Valentines day? Anyhow, we need to make a photo book for K and to complete one for Sam - about his first year home. Shutterfly and i have had an estranged relationship and i must rekindle it! Ok sleep time.....tomorrow is a big day- Gabe and I will be going to the Mountain retreat center with the UUCC ! Yay Youth Con!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

At peace

our democracy is broken and is not a true every person/every vote system...the electoral college really is antiquated and needs revisions or to be done away with. All that said, i am still so thankful to see our voting at work, our sputtering democracy still puttering along. I believe in our president. I believe that I, as an educator and a mom to a special needs child- matter more to my president than i would have mattered to the 'other guy'. I am at peace with the outcome and yet i know there are still challenges that need to be addressed. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Busy crazy and still waiting

well our dossier still sits here all prepared to be sent off and we *still* are waiting for two documents from our i am not the happiest regarding the adoption front- but i have tons of things to side track my "antsy waiting- impatient" mode. One of my dear friends is getting married this Saturday- i will be a brides maid :) So i am leaving at 4:00 to travel a bit and get to the rehearsal dinner. Before that i have some volunteering i would like to do, a few things to take care of for work/school and a late lunch event for work....also i should probably pack and make sure i dont forget my dress. Gabe has a fencing clinic this weekend that i hope and pray goes ok since John and I will be away at the wedding and Gabe will be going with his friend. I am not sure he has done 5 hours of intensive anything let along an athletic activity.
On the home front- Halloween came and went like a blur. We went all out with our yard and the kids did several events as per usual- zoo, art museum, trick or treating with the senior center and then the traditional stuff. Other home front issues- John is still interviewing with several companies locally and hopefully will be given an offer of some sort in the next week or two. I may begin tutoring again soon- the main adoption expense is travel and the kids passports....not cheap.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Addressing issues

As mentioned before I am actually not freaking out as much about the wait for this adoption. I guess having the clarity that the process works and she will be home has set my mind at ease. I have had a busy few days with work and school, and the boys. Sam is doing pretty good at his pre-school, still very impulsive and fails to listen the first time. We have a meeting with the district regarding having him evaluated. However i am very disappointed that nothing has come of the ombudsman - we have requested to file formal complains and inquiries into what took place with Sam being barricaded, denied his snack and bathroom for two hours. This needs to be formally addressed and i feel we have been ignored. I guess at this stage we are looking into an attorney regarding this and the privacy violation that took place earlier this semester.
We are still waiting on a state certified letter and two other forms from our agency to send our dossier out to D.C. I never thought we would be done with our part two weeks before they were. I thought they were waiting on us, we wait. I hope to have the dossier off and away and the placement agreement, with immigration forms all off and away by the end of this week. I really hope we don't have to wait yet another week. So after this week the main thing we must do is raise $$ for travel. This is no small feat, with two trips and wanting to bring the boys on at least one of the trips (possibly for court, but likely to take K Amhara home).
Oh yeah, we have chosen the middle name Amhara. The Amhara people live in the Benishangul region of Ethiopia, and according to her paper work, she is Amhara. So we have chosen that to be her middle name :)
John will be getting a head start on her room this week- mainly getting rid of all the left over yard sale stuff and my teaching materials, and storage of boy clothes we have yet to use for Sam and Gabe. Then it will be time for furniture! A new repurposed wood furniture store has opened, along with a sweet new Whole Foods. Their prices are very good and the furniture is so unique and pretty. So i really want to get an armoire and dresser from there.
Ok today we are going to Charlotte to eat Ethiopian food...gotta get going!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A new type of Halloween freakout

John and I have spent the morning filling out more immigration paperwork for K and completing her placement agreement. I have had this odd sense of peace with the adoption paper work this time. I was a nervous wreck with Sam's paper work- mainly because it just seemed to never be clear what was happening, where he was living (there were issues with our former agency and some care centers). I had knots in my stomach and chest. Somehow i haven't had the freak out with K- even when john told me he has to change jobs since his plant is closing in a few months. So hes in the midst of a job search...i am not working outside of my graduate assistantship/TA position, which is semester based.  I have just had to have faith that we could do it, financially. Now as we close in - sending our dossier to DC, and then await a court date (maybe that will be my Christmas present??) i still have peace in my heart. our final $12,200 is nearly the exact amount that we are waiting for from the IRS (maybe my Halloween 'treat' will be out tax return!?) We are cutting it close, but i am trying to keep calm. My heart was full yesterday-we got new pictures of K yesterday- close up, to her face....her eyes are sparkling, ....all the past ones she was uneasy and held a name plate in front of her- with her complete name. I hated those pictures...but these showed a different demeanor; a spunky confidence with a crooked smile. Shes been moved to the transition home already, she is being prepared for the roll-coaster, for the big leap- a new family. I am not sure she knows anything about us specifically, but i am excited that in the next few weeks we can send her a pictures (i hope) and all her paper work will be in process, i hope, for our court date. The money will come, johns new job will come, a more secure position for me may even be on the horizon. Tricks, treats and thanksgiving are upon us

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Fair and other milestones

Last year Sam was in casts and could not partake in the festive frenzy that is our state fair. Not only that, the day i snuck gabe out of the house to take him to the fair, it rained. So this was a major do-over and it was AWESOME. The boys had a joyous time....Sam has no fear with rides and has embraced the "hands in the air" pose with all rides...even ones that dont require it (ferris wheel, bumper cars?) Gabe has grown tall enogh to ride nearly everything and he took some big risks this year with "fireball" and the super swings....i joined him on both...then he went THREE MORE TIMES, sans mom. I was there for food, food and more food....and i can attest to  my victory as i ate my powdered sugar, cheery and hot fudge funnel cake for breakfast.
oh yeah, and we also completed our dossier this week for K....and she was moved to the transition home....and possibly told of her being
no big thang, right?


Sunday, October 14, 2012

moments of joy

....such as this one

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I should be doing something else

Wednesdays are my busiest, fullest days- i have work, and my TA course and a graduate course- i am gone until nearly 9pm. I hate it. But its just one day a week and i try to make tons fo time for Gabe and Same on Tuesday/Thursdays when i am less busy. This Wednesday is no different:
Stuff to do:

Mediation Form to create
visit a local vet to visit a sweet dog in need of a home (not for me)
Staff resolution meetings to be had
write the second half of cultural autobiography
article review
grade projects from "green explorations"
grade blogs from "green explorations"
update grade book
notarize remaining dossier forms

whew i gotta get going

*update on boys:
Sam i loving being back at his former preschool
Gabe is really liking fencing :)

Monday, October 8, 2012


when a child is kept barricaded in a hall way for two hours, denied to go potty, eat his snack or go back in class by the teacher who is supposed to be the one to guide him and connect with him - ADVOCATE

If i have learned one thing it is the "good schools" are only as good as how they treat thier most challenged children.

Yeah, we are working through some things.

When a teacher insists on playing a game of wills with a 4 year old from a hard place, the teacher gets frustrated.....and calls for back up (us). You see, my four year old often always wins in a battle of wills. It was his strong will that got him through three years in an institution, walking on his hands, with limited food, limited love, limited medical care. So when a "teacher" finds the need to battle out an apology from him, from an infraction that took place TWO HOURS previous- he wins....he can wait her out- for at least three years or more.

Dr. Purvis- please come do some professional education for teachers. They dont attend the seminars because maybe they think they know all of this already.....they get mad at parents for telling them that they dont, in fact, know all of this already


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Attention seeking, attachment and adoption

The more i have contemplated Sam's school situation the more i find that some of his behaviors, while often Sensory Dysfunction related come from seeking a sense of control and attention. I have been ambivalent to attribute these behaviors to attachment issues or just issues of early and prolonged institutionalization where he has had little to no control over situations, coupled with extensive time spent in long-leg  casts, where he had little control over his body, movement and situations. Now that he has been freed of the casts and has people who are overly attentive to him (teachers, aids, other students) I believe he acts out to seek a sense of attention and control of a situation. Of course i am unsure how to address this in an attachment style parenting (which is kinda not happening because he goes to school, and i find that  attachment parenting doesn't really stick if the child is in school so much of the day)- so we have to approach this differently at school. Of course i will try my best to employ my Purvis-esque skills at home. I am still at a loss about the best way to deal with certain behaviors at school. I am glad I am not alone in dealing with this type of issue I love RAGE AGAINST THE MINIVAN and a recent post there is about this very thing. I still don't have the answers- even for my own situation (let alone for these types of issues for other moms, sorry :(  ) Some days i think i need to home school (oh my sanity), some days i think the school should treat him like anyone else- he needs to go with the flow, other days I want to add a 12094749872 things to his IEP about addressing all of these challenges, other days i want to switch schools and start over. I fear that no matter what decision i make i will always think i should have chosen to do something else. Serenity now!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Progress but still waiting

We got our UCIS immigration stuff all taken care off- the l-600A arrived Friday :)
We are still waiting on Johns new passport, of which we have to copy a page and it must shows its valid for at least 6 months. His just expired and he sent in the renewal forms, along with the passport- but its been 5 weeks and we are still waiting. Also in mid August we did our FBI fingerprinting and sent in the cards to be formally background checked. Yet we are still waiting on that too....ugh

Work is busy- we have Sustainability Week coming up and my students are starting a bike-map action project this week. Dogs have been quite chipper now that the weather is turning cooler and they arent dealing with 98 degree heat- they are running and chasing and being very active in the yard. Its fun to see

We have a new Whole Foods opening up in a few weeks, some good friends of mine are "Team Leaders" there- I am super excited for them and having a Whole Foods nearby.
Its October 1st- and traditionally October has been a pretty busy month for us- this year its no exception- Upcoming trips to Asheville, Halloween decorations to get out, costumes to make/buy, boo-at-the-zoo to visit - it will be a lot of fun, i hope.

Next month I am taking Gabe up to the Mountain Retreat Center for the Unitarian Universalist Youth Convention. It will be our first time going and we are both really excited! I am so fortunate with my great schedule to be able to do alot with the kids, and be available for school issues 

Friday, September 28, 2012


HI all- i have been kind of slack with the blog this week. Nothing exciting to report on the adoption or kid front. We do need to get all our notarizations done, all the forms and letters are just sitting here. But we are also waiting for the FBI and Immigration clearances. Work is going well- we had our first field study through the Rocky Branch Creek Watershed and examined the different problematic cites and polluted areas. I think it went really well. I especially love the set up of our class, in bringing many different speakers, participating in campus action and field studies. I have been pet sitting a good deal for extra $. I am going to Asheville next weekend for a bachelorette weekend! woo hoo I am very excited about this. So the extra money is needed for vodka  spa-days :) My friend Manda is getting married and I am super excited about it. I have my bridesmaid dress still at the alterations shop- the dress is loose int he waist but too tight in the boob area- ugh! I need to up load some photos soon.....soon

Saturday, September 22, 2012

New ventures in OT, speech and a trip to Charleston

I have been loving my job/assitsantship and even though i feel like i cant get it all done in 20 hours a week, i feel i am learning and contributing a good deal and the people are super great. This week I was able to attend a "green is good for business" conference and meet some cool people, catch up with people i haven't seen in a while. Sam is adjusting more to school and making good choices. We have completed the screening for speech and have began the Sensory OT evaluations- which we will go to once a week for a while until Sam has his sensory diet/interventions written out and we can adjust his IEP accordingly. We are trucking along but still need to have a meeting with the PE teacher to address some issues there, especially since he needs PE. I am trying to be optimistic. After the issues that arose last week there are still statements and forms i have to submit because of the FERPA breach. A dear friend of mine who works with certain key education committees with the state department of education, and is also a professor for early childhood ed nearly had a fit last night when i finally told her what happened. I delayed telling her because i know she would seriously be irate about this issue and advocate for us to the "top"-  I just firmly believe that this should be a teachable moment for other parents who have children with special needs, and to educate parents about the rights of their children. I also suggest that an email audit be done, which is a likely occurrence. Although I doubt i would be informed about any findings of the audit. As long as the district and admin know and can follow up with the correct actions, I will be happy with that.
Anyhow, we got our biometrics completed- and we got a health report on K- and things look good for her. We are excited but guarded, preparing for a variety of situations. So happy to have the DVDs from the ETC conference :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Where we're at- ETC and Ira Glass

So the irony of this past weekend has been profound- my little educational "crisis" revolving around how kids "from hard places" behave and learn differently. I am addressing this personally with Sam, academically as i research, a whole day of the conference was focused on sensory issues and learning and low and behold Ira Glass's "This American Life" radio show on NPR was also focused on this. Think the universe is trying to tell me something? This is important stuff- parents, teachers, educational psychologists, OT folks, counselors, addressing attachment and sensory issues in a trust based way can change lives. I have been a teacher for so long and so little of this stuff is taught to teachers. As a parent and researcher i feel i should try and take this information to teachers....learning psychological/emotional regulation skills and understanding why there is a difference is frustrating but so needed. I have so much swimming in my head....not sure if i just should focus on Sam and doing more training myself or really start reaching out to teachers in the are OR reaching out to our teacher-training faculty here at USC. I just feel overwhelmed in a much needs to happen.

Anyhow- the conference was great- i was able to meet some great moms and build upon the skills we already have. I came home with DVDs and books of course....and i was entrenched in a flurry of texting to John about what to do/stop doing with Sam....i just feel i need to process it all and then set up new approaches for Sam and Gabe, not to mention trying to get a grasp of what may come out way with our new little girl......whew!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Being the Difficult Mom

This is a post that is being donein haste- i should be on the road on the way to Nashville (Karyn Purvis!!)- but right now my heart feels like it was handed to me on a plate. Apparently- in the last few weeks as I have advocated for my son, inquired about certain issues that were very unclear and as I have felt hurt in being greeted with a "your son needs to be evaluated and have a 504" on the first day of school- I have now become a mom to be talked about and ridiculed at my sons school, by teachers, behind my back. I have no doubt he needs, will most likley get a 504- that is not an issue. What has been an issue is that communication has been lacking and Sam's expectatons have been unclearly relayed to us. Not only that as I have correspnded with his teacher via email, my concerns about Sam- his sensory.behavior issues- apparently these emails have been relayed around to at least one other teacher ( a 4th grade teacher who has nothing to do with our son or his learning). Said teacher emailed me back mistakenly- going off on a tirade of how I did not respect teachers and have no clue about primary education yadda yuadd (maybe i will post it)> I guess she thought she was emailing Sams teacher back, not the "Crazy" mom. This woman then asked Sams teacher for a link to my blog (Welcome, Ms. K- hope you are well). Apparently my blog was mentioned in thier correspondence. Regardless- at this point our confidentiality has been breeched, i feel that my sons (both of them) may not be treated objectivley, and i certainly feel disrespected as a parent and educational professional. I am super hurt because these emails really seemed to be an attack on me, my character, my professional background and me as parent. I am beyond livid, i seriously feel sick. I have emailed both teachers back in a respectful way- letting them know that i have now been clued into this unprofessional, ILLEGAL, conversation about me and my son. Of course my husband and I have also reported this breech and lack of professionalism higher up as well. I worked for the district for 8 years- I know what teachers are and are not allowed to say to one another, I have had to sign confedentiality statements, IEPs, 504 and the like left and right. I fear what will come of this and realize that when and if i have to move my boys from this school, that it is really only them that end up suffering- at the hands of very unprofessional teachers who have mistepped in a major way.

All parents of older adopted children- advocate for your kids and thier needs- but be aware that you may become the mom who gets ridiculed or talked about behind yourback. I would not change any action that i have taken- and do not regret advocating for Sam. 'Also p[arents- please feel free to email me privately if you care to understand more of our situation and your rights

As for Sam's teacher and her "friend"- Welcome to my blog- I will be posting information from the conference I am attending, of which several sessions are about advocating for a child from trauma with sensory issues, in school. I hope i can relay some helpful information to you.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Flurry of Activity

We have been so super busy this week. It felt like a 7 day week as opposed to a 4 day work week. I am really enjoying my new position and love the class i am the assistant for. I am excited about our upcoming projects and trips. This week i had two parent conferences- one for each boy, plus i have been scurrying around getting ready for our big big yard sale- WHICH IS TOMORROW! Woo hoo. I also had to have pictures printed for our dossier, get johns work letter, and now request our doctors forms (the 2nd version of them). We are still waiting the FBI background check- which is a new item on our to-do list compared to our last adoption. Fingerprints will be done the 19th
Anyhow, we have been soso fortunate to have like a dozen people/families donate for our yard sale. We have SO MUCH STUFF! Plus my mom was here last weekend, that kept us super busy too. Tomorrow, after the yard sale, we have our USC gamecocks to watch, hopefully I can swing by adoption day with Anna (our foster doggy) and then tomorrow night is the Ethiopian New Year Celebration!!! Sunday I have to assist with Sunday school, then have an Indian Guides Meeting (we quit boy scouts) then have a pot-luck meeting for "Green Council" in the evening rest this weekend~ none

I may have a break next Tuesday to sleep in....for real, its crazy arund these parts.
Next week, on Thursday, i leave for EMPOWERED TO CONNECT! Karen Purvis~! I am so excited about staying at a hotel all by myself, my bed, my tv, my choice for dinner, my silence (wait, i am supposed to actually learn some things as well) So yes, lots of activity around here....we need it to calm down some- maybe the week of the 17th our house will feel back to normal


Friday, August 31, 2012

Department of Homeland Security- Here we come!

We got our immigration fingerprinting,or biometrics if ya wanna be technical,  appointments- 9/18/12 at 8a.m.!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

so soon

School orientation, pre-school transition, graduate school, graduate assistantships, taekwondo, bike riding, engagement parties, melt downs, adoption #2 prep, mom visiting prep OH MY!!!!

so previously i mentioned having some other job prospects and being put in a weird/difficult position with the veterinary clinic that i just started working for like 3 weeks. I was contacted a little over a week ago about a position that was newly created to be a graduate assistant for a political science/environmental studies course and a GA for a green leadership initiative with an organization, based out of the University of South Carolina, called Sustainable Carolina. It would be for 20 hours a week, and include my graduate tuition. I was more than eager to learn more. After two interviews, I was fortunate to be offered the position. I am super thrilled to be working with a great group of like-minded people, be able to get back into sustainable activism and be able to be a TA for a pretty awesome class at USC. The interdisciplinary organization has a wonderful mission and value system
I will be joining the curriculum project team and be the experiential learning manager for the green leadership project team. I had the first part of orientation today, will have some office hours to help plan components of the course and such in the next few days. I am working a few more days with the veterinarian, but will sadly have to leave my position there :( In three weeks i have learned so much!

GABE- gabe has bee excited about returning to school- he is the oldest in his class, and being at the top of a Montessori class is a big deal, being that three grades are all together. However, Gabe is facing some challenges at home with me and Sam. He seems overwhelmed with emotion from one moment to the next- hes super excited about playing with Sam and riding his bike or jumping, the next moment he is crying and screaming about some wrong done to him by Sam and how gabe doesn't "even want to play with him in the first place, he needs to just leave me alone!!!" - stomp up stairs...slam door....Or he will flip out over a long term project type assignment, which he has had experienc doing, - yet he totally shuts down and cries about it. His father and that side of the family has had some pretty challenging issues with bipolar disorder and I really really fear that these extreme mood swings gabe is having may indicate something. His moods tend to be very intense and then switch on a dime. I guess it will need to be something i monitor and possibly seek outside help in the next coming months. He has also opted to not continue taekwondo, after months and months of loving it. I dont think that is related to any psych issues- its mainly due to his new found love of his brand new bike. Understandable....but these classes were pretty i am frustrated about it. I feel conflicted between letting him choose his physical activities and teaching him about follow-through

SAM- Sam has been attending a local pre-school, that is very play-play-play oriented. I fear the transition to his Montessori 4k program. John took him to the 2 hour orientation, in which Sam was left in the class with the teacher and other kids, while the parents completed paperwork. Apparently john returned to find Sam with out his braces or shoes, trying to throw them across the room and take his clothes off. I have no clue what will happen- the teacher seems a bit sketchy in some respects (despite her being a national board certified teacher and having a masters)- she hinted that Sam would need a 504 plan (an education plan that is developed for students with special needs or learning delays) the very same day as the orientation, sighting that Sams inability to balance well enough to carry a lunch tray is a reason....WTF?! The more i think about this, the more livid i get. Which has, of course, lead me to authoring a letter in which i felt the need to throw my nerd-graduate-school-doctoral-candidate-in-education-curriculum weight around at a tactful way. He is a spirited, highly impulsive child, with sensory issues- so there is a strong possibility that we will seek a 504 plan for him. However, for her to jump to that label after meeting him less than 2 hours before and deeming him in need of services because he can't carry a lunch tray from the cafeteria all the way to her room is really not grounds for such a thing. We just received a really cool weighted blanket from LEAH ANN! so cute

ENGAGEMENT/BACHELORETTE - i have two friends getting married in the next few months...a girl-friend get-away in Asheville, NC is being planned- i am way excited :) we will behave.

ADOPTION 2- well we have a good bit of our dossier done, but some pretty big things to still complete. I got the confirmation email today that our 1600A was i hope we get biometric dates soon to start the visa process. We also have to do a background check with the FBI- which will require finger prints. Those will get done on Friday. We have birth certificates all in, except mine which is in the mail (got the shipping information today). We have official/ certified marriage license on the way and i will be picking up an additional certified copy of my divorce degree - i am not sure they will accept copies, so i may as well go get the certified one. Bank letter will be procured tomorrow or Friday. That leaves our home-study and POA to be apostilled and a new form for our doctor to fill out. I hope to have it all done by the end of September....well maybe. No further updates on K- we were hoping for a more in-depth medical eval, since the last one seemed more psycho-social. We have a fundraiser yard-sale/ bake-sale planned on September 8th ~! I have been collecting items and trying to get things organized for that. I ordered a nice Africa shaped cookie cutter to make nice cookies for the bake-sale. (it would help if i were a better baker)- we will also have snow-cones!

GRAD-SCHOOL- Classes begin for me on Monday- both the class i am the TA for and the class i am taking...Mondays and Wednesdays will be LONG!

MOM: My mom and step dad are visiting the first weekend of September....laser tag is on the agenda, as per a request by Gabe!

Thats a run down of how things are going here....lots of balls in the air, and i am trying my best to juggle, juggle, juggle....hoping not to drop anything

Sunday, August 12, 2012

dolls, barbies and lipstick

Sam has some new interests. He is the leader of all things dolls and babies at his new preschool, and dont try and steal the toy stroller. Apparently he puts as many babies as her can in it and then proceeds to thrash about the classroom, running around wildly, clipping kids in the ankles. He is also quite fond of barbie and her plastic-y yellow butter hair. Additionally, as i was doing my make-up in the car, before letting him out at his preschool, i put on a somewhat vibrant color of lipstick, which delighted Sam. He said "oh- Momma pretty, I want some" yeah MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR ALL, because if my little boy ends up wanting to marry a guy, then that will be one sweetly decorated house, and i expect grand kids :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

fuzzy in the head

yes..."fuzzy in the head" and i am not talking about Sams hair!! heheh This last week has been a roller coaster. I intended on going to Florida this week with the boys to see my family. However, I was asked to interview for a Veterinary Technician position last Tuesday and then Wednesday i was asked to start at the vet clinic by Friday. As many may know I have left the school where I taught for the last 5 years.. I am in graduate school for my doctorate and the very high-needs, highly "at-risk" school that i was teaching at was just too much for me to juggle with having Sam and his therapies, plus graduate school and prepping a new adoption. This new job is about 27 hours a week, with a wonderful schedule that will allow me to work on school and adoption deadlines:) As Murphy's Law would have it, since beginning this new job I have been called by two different organizations to interview with them for positions. One is a school and the other an educational organization.....go figure. I would possibly consider teaching again at the middle school level, which is what has called me for an interview. However, this middle school is at-risk and will be a challenge- so I ma just unsure about teaching there at all. I must make sure not to over extend my self....working part time would be ideal. I LOVE love love....i wanted to be a vet, and gave that up due to issues with my brain and math (hehehe)...but have always worked with animals in volunteer/pt capacities. So i really enjoy being a vet tech, its something i did years and years ago....but the pay is really crappy...the hours are great, the work is cool...the location of the vet is superb (closest to the boys elementary school and USC!!) Will i interview for the other positions? Most likely- one is really quite a prestigious place. The problem is that i hate constant changes of if i were offered a great job with a cool education foundation, that has a pretty great reputation and pretty awesome pay- it would be pretty sweet- but i would feel so irritated about having to quit the vet tech job, that i really like. Options create a frustrating position....i know i should not complain AT ALL...i just hate to possibly be in that position. Our financial situation scares i know i must work. As much as John would rather me at SAHM, i have to work....i get antsy if i am not busy and i get even antsier (that is a word, right?) when i am not earning $$ for my family. That sounds superficial, but we are in the midst of another special needs adoption....It would be very difficult for us to do this on one income, especially in the paper-chase phase, combined with all the fun adoption fees!!
Speaking of adoption and fees- our I6001 is off to DALLAS, TEXAS!!
Working on reordering certified copies of marriage and birth certificates. John has is...i am awaiting mine. ....we are on a good start for our dossier. We have the ultimate goal of having our complete dossier in Ethiopia, ready to request a court date when the courts reopen in October :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Her Story is Hard to Take

We got an update on our little girl- there was a more extensive interview with her birth relative conducted. It was hard to read. It was so informative and helpful in that it allows us to understand more about her.  She may not even have any concept of what a family is. The one person in her life that was (somewhat)stable has had to give her up. We were emailed several pictures. She looks worried and confused in some- meek and somewhat happy in others. There was also a form that included many questions about her current living situation, her personality, likes/dislikes and some development items. We have not received a formal medical evaluation since April/May- but we are happy with this big update :)We are worried for her, and for us - i have just revisited some adoption education modules. I am very much looking forward to the Empowered to Connect Conference next month- i have a distinct feeling we will need it. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Home-study In Hand and befuddled

Woohoo new, updated home study in hand. I am happy to be able to apply for our finger prints and get our dossier kick-started next week. Anyhow, I am not befuddled due to our home study. I have some big decisions to make about my graduate program and research. I need clarity about so much- grants, dissertation topics, research design. A large part of me has a desire to research medium of instruction and curriculum development by schools that are established by NGO's, specifically in Ethiopia. Sometimes i feel like that could be very doable, and then other times it seems colossal. So I need to make some inquiries and such about grants. I have this antsy feeling- that always comes with the start of a new semester (meaning my graduate school)- This year i have no excuses, I am taking off work to devote time to my graduate program and to the i have to firm this up soon. However I was so lucky to have an extended 4 hour coffee break with a great lady who helps to bring clarity and help me make sense of graduate school, and life in general- and that helped clear my head and also gave me some great starting points for research funding :)
We are hoping for some kind of update on K, which we havent received- and that also has me on edge as well. John and I are lucky to have a night out tonight- with very little planned :). The boys will be at the Taekwondo studio for Parents Night Out! woo hoo...i am hoping and praying they don't have to call me about Sam. He has been biting :( - mainly Gabe, when they are wrestling.....but still.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

homestudy complete!

Yay- our home-study was completed, edited and approved yesterday. From here i will need to get it apostillized (spelling?) by the Secretary of our State and then we can apply for our fingerprinting appointment. We are working on our dossier now....its slowly coming together. We have the majority of the essential paperwork left from the first time. I am hoping we wont have to wait until the end of September for our fingerprinting appointment.

We have been busy this week with OT for Sam, tae kwon do for Gabe, going swimming and to Monkey Joes, trampoline jumping, plus our two foster dogs were adopted :). Sam was having major sleeping issues two weeks back, but we have now removed his afternoon nap, coupled with lots of big muscle movements/exercise for Sam. We are noticing more and more issues of SPD- he is seeking out big sensory seeking activities, constant bouncing, or twirling, flipping his head back and forth while looking at the lights, squeezing hands and legs (his own and our) super tight then letting go- repeating, he runs EVERYWHERE, endless chattering, hard wrestling with Gabe, biting while wrestling, jumping off furniture, constant playing with his hair or my hair. I fear some of these behaviors will really interfere with his schooling this fall....yikes.
This coming week i am hoping to schedule an evaluation at USC

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Home Study Draft, Odd crying during a job interview, and the South Beach Diet

So this week we got draft one of our new Home Study- I can start looking for grants :) I am excited because the little girl we are matched with has a $10,000 subsidy we qualify for (yes!) But our new agency is one of the more expensive it seems, when i compared a few- so we still have a good bit of fundraising/saving to do.
Because I felt the need to leave the school I was teaching at (my core teaching philosophy did not match their improvement plan, and thus many teachers have left) i am seeking employment specific towards helping at-risk youth. Well I completed a quite lengthy job application and work history with an organization that provides education to students who are hospitalized- in medical and psychiatric facilities. I was called and asked to do a phone interview, that was about an hour long. This interview took place yesterday- in which i ended up crying!? I am not an overly emotional person, I am sarcastic and quick-witted and form relationships based on humor and inside jokes. So when i was asked several questions about the highs and lows of my high school, college, grad school and then two teaching positions all went well...UNTIL i was asked about the high of my first year of teaching. Mind you, I took over when a teacher walked out of a 6th grade class and never came back....this was a rough group. I learned something in my Masters- to teach the roughest group like you assumed they were gifted/honors . So i did. I saw that our Magnet program at the school was doing a big project called Project Citizen in which students brainstorm an issue that is local and affects them and then devises a law or policy change that needs to take place, researches the issue, research the possible changes/remedies, completes a survey of local stake-holders, interviews or questions policy makers and then presents it before a mock city council/school district board meeting. This was a mjaor undertaking for a low-performing 6th grade Social Studies class that thought little of their academic intelligence and even less of me as a new teacher. But we did it...they chose an issue (bus stop safety, specifically dogs roaming, chasing kids at several bus stops and the school board not doing anything about it- they would tell the families to call animal control and animal control passed the buck BACK to the school board)- they surveyed other students who had issues at the bus stops, they questioned our transportation director, they put together a "what to do pamphlet" and ultimately made a great presentation to the judges (mock school board)
They won a big award for their presentation (3rd, but also "best researched")....i just remember when each group presented and realized that they were the only "dumb kids" doing this project they freaked and got really scared.....but they pulled through. It brought tears to my eyes just retelling this story and still does...they were a deflated group- and some still did not perform well in class but this one project showed them what they were capable of. I totally didn't realize i would loose it and break down crying...but my interviewer appreciated my emotion and even said that its often the emotional investment that keeps teachers in the classroom. I would have to I got a 2nd interview !!! I really think this would be a great job- challenging, but working with the student population i am most interested in.
On to another fun topic around my house...weight loss. My husband and I have both lost about 8 pounds each with out trying, i thought we (mainly ME) would ramp it up a bit and actually but some effort into this. We both want to loose about 15 pounds....i am partaking in the South Beach diet....i actually eat most things on the south beach diet plan, but then often over do it on cereals in the morning or pasta in the evenings....and it adds up. So i am going to try and stick with phase 1 for about a week, then level back out to phase two,....i don't exercise as much as i should, despite the gym membership....and free child this week i will try and get to the gym at least three times....even if its to get on the stationary bike and take advantage of the free cable and child care!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fireworks and some truth about HIV

This story of a woman speaking of adoption is similar to one i had with a former colleague about Sam's health status.....i also have recently educated myself on how far HIV treatment, prevention and orphan care has come. I am impressed and thankful to find out that children with HIV who are in ARVs can manage the disease easier than type I Diabetes is managed. Therefore when John and i thought about adopting again, knowing we would choose a waiting child, who is older we told our new agency that HIV is something we could consider, among other special needs.
In other news of "the fourth"- tonight we are taking Sam to see his first fireworks....lets hope he doesnt freak out. The local neighbors have been launching a few that have kinda of peaked Sam's interest....and i showed him some online. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Swiper Noo!!! Momma he just TAKES IT!!!

This is what is often heard being screamed by Sam from our living room as he is outraged, time and again by Swiper on Dora the Explorer. I really must record it, its hilarious and i probably should try and find someof the episodes where Swiper acts especially "bad"-....The irony is that Sam is Swiper....he takes stuff from Gabe and runs around with it, taunting Gabe that "look- I got it!!" and continues to run and imitating "art" ? hmmmm 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Two Years since our match date- and matched again

I mentioned before that it is nearly two years to the day between  our matches for Sam and K. Here are my thoughts on finally being matched with my wonderful little boy Sam,,.....i remember exactly where I was when i go the call (of course we were expecting the call because Jessica from Holt said she would be calling to tell us either way) Anyhow I was eating at Meskereem - a Charlotte Ethiopian restaurant and got the call then. Read more about it at MATCH Day for Sam

waterpark joy and other good things

We had a great great time at the small water park in Orangeburg. We are going back with Ross and Gabe next Saturday :)
The home-study visit went well- just did alot of updating of previous information. It was good to see our sweet SW again. I also signed up for the Empowered to Connect conference in TN (near Nashville) to be held in mid September. I am excited about that,
And for the big news- Our final interview/conference call with our new agency Wide Horizons for Children was last Wednesday night. We are unofficially matched with our little girl K- Wide Horizons have just started a pre-match program for their "Horizon Kids"- waiting child program. We are now awaiting the new forms that are being created especially for the new pre-match program - However, at this time they are not recruiting new families for her, or sending her file out. I am relieved and excited. The irony of this is that about two years to the date is when we were matched with Sam in a very similar way (via HOLT)- a series of interviews and questionnaires.
Here is to hoping and praying that it wont take over a year for her to get to her new family- like it did with Sam . I have a feeling that things will go faster this time....i am not as anxious about all the un-knowns. There are not as many un-knowns with her. Sam was abandoned, with little history, so many interviews and documents had to be gathered for court and embassy.
In even better news- our program director said she requested an interview to be done with the older WC, including K, in order to ascertain how much they know or expect about what is going on, about the process and what may happen soon. In my heart/mind i want someone to help her document - via talking/recording- anything she remembers about her life and family before she was taken into care....i feel that the longer she waits to be able to do that she may forget. I wish there were some way i could help that process start right away.....but i am just not sure how to do it. 
Going into this adoption, my feelings are in a different place. I am excited about K joining our family, but being that she knows her history and language- i want to help preserve as much as that as I can- even if the interview is in Amharic then thats ok.....just as long as its documented. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer fun, homestudy prep for #2

whew so i have said it before, and shall now say it again, my summer as a stay-at-home mom is anything but "at home". This week i had a job interview (with the state department, no less- it went pretty well) the same day there was car drama that cost me like $300. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Monkey Joes (Sam and I). Sam then had OT. We jumped on the trampoline as well....his legs were worn out! This morning Sam accompanied me to UUCC for a Hogwarts camp meeting and then we met some friends at Edventure Children's Museum....Sam has been taking near 2 hour naps each day- I must be wearing his little butt out!@ Last wee we had lots of fun with Hogwarts camp. Gabe took quiddich (spelling??) very seriously. It was a hectic, fun, busy, chaotic week- and we are doing it all again next week.
Tomorrow is our last homestudy visit :) Our SW Hollie will be here about 12. Tonight our agency program director wants to have a conference call with John and I. Our formal application was sent last week. We do a separate "intent to adopt" application when we get preliminarily matched with our little girl K.
Also I have been reviewing Amaric/Ethiopian names for K's middle name....that has been fun. Our agency that is doing the homestudy said that they planned for the formal write up to be done within a week or so of our last visit. Although we are still waiting on Johns medical sheet- ugh (long story)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Thanks Megan- mail order injera!

I found this one one of the email lists i am happy its close. I am planning onr ordering injera and shiro!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

more than my birthday or fathers day weekend...

My birthday was yesterday- and i am elated with my new Kindle Fire and big loungey hammock. I am also linked to African children via my birthday being June 16th in quite a bitter sweet way.
Pretty ironic eh? More about our festivities for my b-day and fathers day....i am exhausted (as per usual) and may have to turn in early

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Exhaustion - phase 1

so theres three weeks of Hogwarts Camp that i am the assistant "headmistress"/director for. We are in day two of week one....and my legs are killing me. I have spent the better part of five weeks either laid up with Sam on the couch or maybe int he pool helping him swim and recover. I do work at a large dog kennel/groomers/vet on the weekends (i am that much iof an animal person, getting paid next to nothing)- i get run ragged on the weekends a bit- but certainly 60+ dogs are actually LESS demanding than 21 students (20 campers and one "house elf" named Sam- guess who that is). The camp has been fun to plan, and the execution is going pretty well- with some kinks being ironed out on the fly. Gabe is really enjoying it and Sam is holding his own. Sam is actually doing much better walking- and is well on the road to recovery. He starts his OT tomorrow and gets his new braces! He shall soon be a force to be reckoned with.
Gabe is also getting very good at tae kwon do and has a belt test next week! Wish him luck. We are fostering two doggies, and are trying to get things planned for a little night out for my birthday this i just feel like i am running a mile a minute. Additionally we both just got our physicals for our medical reports- needed for our adoption home-study.....and our home-study visit is next Thursday!!! We sent the long first part of our formal application in last week as well and have been doing lots more research on out of birth-order adoption.  Maybe after next Thursday i will feel a bit like i am getting out of this tornado of activity. Its a good kind of exhaustion...

Friday, June 8, 2012

registering for our new girl

so if any family member or friend would like to purchase anything for our new little girl- when we get closer to welcoming her home- please please visit this fantastic website- that i just remembered existed.

I am ordering the counting and colors bean bags and several books

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tadpole Sam

Ignore my squeeling! I was so excited for him....he cant walk right now but swimming is his thang!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

little steps little legs

so there is a great amount of frustration on the part of Sam and ourselves that hes not able to walk very well. Its a combination of weakness and pain- poor little man. Hes been annoyed because all other times the casts have been taken off hes been able to walk better....and now this. We go for his AFO brace fitting on Friday and I hope they can rush the production. We have Hogwarts camp next week, and it will be difficult for him to be my "little house elf"- Screetcher- if he cant walk :( so we may get the wheel chair back while the braces are in production

K adoption front (her name begins with a K and we will be keeping that name)- We sent int he first packet of documents for our home study- background clearance forms, financial statements, the boys' physicals/immunizations. Now we are waiting for our references and for our physicals to be done. Mine will be complete tomorrow :)-then we wait for Johns and our last HS visit .....with July 4th getting close, i hope to at least get the HS done by the end of July
The good news is that the agency director told us we can now be matched with her. The formal referral paperwork will be sent after the HS is written, but being "matched" means that other families will not be able to request her referral/match. That's a relief.....we aren't the type to just get a HS and prep a dossier to blindly wait to be matched. I dunno, but i just need to know who we are striving for....who we are putting together all these documents, visiting the Dept of Homeland Security folks for fingerprints for, having her face to look at makes it more real.
We still have to complete the rest of our formal application for our new agency, which we were told we could wait on- since there's a large payment towards the adoption required....ugh. Yay for my part time jobs !
Asst camp director, weekend kennel tech work and i still get to have the boys with me all the time- but money will be super tight until the refund comes..which has been delayed for several reasons...TAX ID number then needing to get his birth certificate and documents back from sending in to change name and birth date....
I feel trapped by paper work most days- but its for a good cause of course

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Post-casting update

Sam was super happy about getting the casts and splits off. His little legs were quite atrophied and since he has not been fitted for his braces, he is not able to walk at all unassisted as I had hoped he could. So it looks like a long haul- but once his AFO (ankle-foot-orthotic) braces are made then we will be in a much better place. Here are some pictures of the de-casting
We are trying to help him walk, cruise and stand on his own. He is in some significant pain on the left foot around the sutures and such. I hope the tendons are healing well. Please send Sam some healing thoughts :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Busting out of this piece!!

Well this "piece" is the last cast and splint-wrap that are still holding on to Sam's legs. He has bee in casts for 5 weeks....i am fearful of the condition of his muscles and if he can walk much at all today. We visit the doctor at 1:30. To recap- he had surgery in late April to extend tendons in his left, to reassign several tendons in his left and right foot. We chose to do all the surgical work at once as opposed to in stages, which is sometimes done with younger kids....its been an ordeal but one that will help him walk properly.
These are pictures of his legs from his court date:
He has been in and out of casting for years- NO MORE!