Saturday, June 30, 2012

June Wrapup

Maggie all dressed up to go to a baby shower with me.  She was lovely!

Fancy hairdo.

The kids created a puppet show.  It was adorable.

Taking a bow!

Maggie and Silas playing Indian family.

Some people can do push ups and clap their hands.  Hannah does push ups and claps her hands BEHIND HER BACK!  The picture doesn't capture it.  Mad skills.  


My Sunshine.

Eden made this shirt herself!  She and Maggie and Isaac all made their own tie dye shirts!

Eden's new braces!!

Beautiful hydrangeas from my friend Shelli.

Playing cards.

Another one of Hannah's "snowflake" creations.  This was made for a family who has adopted children from three countries.  It is a personalized family tree creation including motifs from Vietnam, Belize, China, and Ireland.  All done from one 12 x 12 piece of paper, with an exacto knife. You, too, can own one of these personalized creations for your family!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Is it Summer Yet?

Doing schoolwork as a ninja is frowned upon in most educational establishments.  
Hooray for homeschooling!

One of the many reasons I don't get enough work done each day.  Are you comfy Pizza?

Kiki modeling some of her birthday clothes.

Since all four of the little ones are riding their bikes without training wheels now, I decided to show Isaac this picture of Canaan, when he was about six years old.  I wish I had a picture of Isaac's face when he saw it.  He was impressed!  Then he wanted to know how he did it.  And I think he is inspired.  But, seeing how long it took him just to get riding, I think it will be a while before he'll be doing any tricks.  


Not to be outdone:

Maggie figured it out pretty quickly!  She reminds me of one of those acrobats that ride horses.

HFS Friends!!

This week we had a little mini reunion of HFS (Harrah's) families.  It started because one of our long time online friends had recently moved up to Charlotte.  I had never met her in person, but I have "known" her for a long time!  In fact, she plays an integral part in the story of bringing Eden into our family, so I owe her big time!  Anyway, when we started to arrange to get together, it grew, and then our friend, Shelli, graciously offered to host the get together.  So four families met together, with 14 adopted kiddos, and a few homegrown ones thrown in for good measure.  It was a blast of fun! 

Tonya, Shelli, Ohilda, and me.

Once upon a time, about six years ago now, Ohilda was adopting a sweet little boy who was growing up in the same orphanage as our Eden.  Ohilda went to pick up her Kai a few months before we would be going to get Eden, and she was the first person we knew to meet her in person!

So this is one of the pictures that Ohilda took of Eden.

She called me from China to tell me about her.  She was tiny.  She was just lying in her crib, and the nannies called her a "bad baby" because she cried all the time.  Nobody picked her up.  She was two years old, but not sitting up, or standing, or eating solids, or talking...  but Ohilda said she gave eye contact, and she thought there was a spark there.  (ha!  little did she know the size of that spark!  more like a supernova!)
And she also told us something that made all the difference in the world; something that would change all of our lives forever:  they did not want us to have Eden.
They were going to withdraw her file completely.
Not only would we not be able to adopt her, but nobody would.
She would grow up in an orphanage and never have a family because...

the orphanage director had decided she was a bad baby.  She cried all the time.  She must be "retarded" he said.  (Like that would make a difference in a child having a right to a family even if it were true!)

So because of Ohilda, whom God placed in just the right place at just the right time, we were able to investigate and with our agency's help, protest, and fight to bring our Sunshine home.

The morning before we went to meet Ohilda, I showed Eden some of the video Ohilda had taken of her in China.  I explained a little bit about the story, and she had little tears in her eyes.  She smiled and said, "You saved my life!"  I just looked at her and said, "Oh no, my Lemonade.  You saved my life!"

Eden with Kai today.  Now wouldn't that be a wild "How did you meet your husband story" someday?  I don't think anyone could top that one!

And now for the fun!  What a great pool!!

Excited much, Eden?

I was really struck by the way all of these kids, some of whom had never met each other, and some who had only met a few times, all got on as fast friends from the moment they all walked in the door.  Not one was shy or reserved.  Anyone looking in would have thought they were all cousins who got together all the time with each other.  I absolutely loved it.


Swimming, then Canaan grilled for lunch, then more swimming!

How about the little bit of pudge my boy is finally getting?  If you only knew how far he has come!  But he needs five more pounds before next surgery.  Come on Little Debby!  Do your work!

Sisters jumping off the slide holding hands.

Another shot of the cousins together.

Kiki being, well, Kiki. :-)

There's no way this baby is going to sink!

Having fun Isaac?

More Kiki, being Kiki!

A tiring day.  Fun was had by all!!
Thanks to friends for getting together and sharing your kids, and thank you Shelli for letting us use your house.. again..  and thank you Ohilda for more than I can ever say,
and thank you God for all of it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Ki-ki!!!!

Our pretty little Keziah Joy is four years old today!

 Hannah made a Hello Kitty cupcake cake and she loved it! 

She was really cute.  She has come such a long way since her third birthday.  She has seen enough birthdays now, and she totally caught on that it was her birthday.  We took her with us early in the week as the kids all picked out presents for her.  That way she could point out things she was excited about and we took them home and wrapped them up.  When she opened them up, she recognized things and was doubly delighted!  It was great.  And all week we have been telling her that her birthday is coming on Sunday and trying to get her to answer "How old are you?" with "four".  But so far, it's not catching on.

Trying to get her to hold up four fingers.


Kik-ki really really likes cupcakes.

The kids got her things that they have and she keeps snitching from them.  Now Ki-ki has her own Rapunzel Barbie doll, and can stop taking Maggie and Eden's!  She was thrilled.

This little girl is very well loved!

In one of the fantastic outfits Grandma and Grandpa sent Ki-ki,  They always send her the nicest things!  

Kiki is really doing so well.  She gets a developmental evaluation every six months, so she has had three now since she has been home.  At her first evaluation, she was just three years old, and she was assessed to be at an 18 month old level.  Her evaluation this past week has her progressed to a two year old level cognitively. So, she is definitely progressing, albeit not at a steady rate.  Basically she has progressed six months worth in one year's time.  If she keeps the same trajectory, you can see what her prognosis would be.  However, with only three evaluations, and her rough start in life, the doctor told us it is just to early to tell.  She will need to have a few more visits before we can speculate any more than that.  We are now looking into what services and therapies are available to help her out, and to help us address her needs better as well.  The good news is that she is definitely progressing.  And her behavior has progressed the most.  She has learned all about being a part of a family, and she is a happy, affectionate little girl now.  We pray God will bless her and strengthen her in the coming year!