Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The perfect gift

Last year for Christmas one adoptive mom started a new tradition by putting money in an envelope and putting it in their stockings. The money was for each person to pick a child off the angel tree from Reeces Rainbow and send the money to go into that child's account. So, on Christmas morning when they found their envelope, they would go to the computer and pick out their child, put that child's name on it and then put it in the mailbox.

I love this idea so much, that we will also be doing it this year.

It seems others liked it as well, and they have started a new thing called Angel Tree dollars.

Please go check out Julia's blog post about this and consider doing this with your family as well. The more money in each child's account, the easier it will be for that child to be adopted. So many people want to adopt or have thought about it, but don't go through with it because of the cost. If we can raise the money for them, then so many more children will have homes and can celebrate their first Christmas next year!

Go check it out for yourself. These aren't just faces, they are children. Children who are waiting for a Mommy and a Daddy, waiting for someone to care, someone to love. Some are suffering as they wait.

Don't turn your head the other way

They need someone to care. These are just a few of the many children that are still waiting.

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act" Proverbs 24:12

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kaylee's eyes

When we took Kaylee to the Eye Doctor, we realized how bad her eyes really were. We knew that she couldn't see well, we just weren't sure how bad they were.

She has several things wrong with her eyes, and from what I have read about them, they are all connected. She has nystagmus, albinism, and severe astigmatism. The nystagmus causes her eyes to vibrate back and forth. She tips her head back to look at something, at first I thought it was muscle control. The Eye Doctor said it has to do with the nystagmus and it is a good thing, because she has found her null point. My understanding is that this is where her eyes stay still so she can see. The albinism, we believe is just in her eyes, though we haven't tested to know for sure. Ocular albinism is when there isn't enough pigment in the eyes.

The Eye Doctor prescribed glasses to see if they will help.

So, we set out to find the most attractive and stylish glasses least destructible glasses. And here they are (see the baby on the floor in the background? It is a real baby :), I put him down for a minute to do something and he slept for an hour!)

I'm not sure if she really can see better out of them though. From what I've been reading, glasses may not help her condition. The Doctor wasn't entirely sure, either. So, we will try them for awhile.

In this picture, do you see how Kaylee is tilting her head back? She is looking at the cookie. (Justus looks like he might jump across the table to get to the cookie). This is how Kaylee usually tips her head back.

But, with the glasses, she tips her head even further. It looks as though she is trying to look under them, but I don't think so. The strangest thing, she also opens her mouth very wide while wearing them.

In this one, to get her to not tilt her head down, I snapped my fingers near the ground. See, she isn't looking at the camera.

Oh, there you are.

Ok, so I wanted to see if she still did it with the glasses off. No, she doesn't. This is probably one of the cutest pictures I have of her. Look at her poor face, she has been falling so much lately. That is another thing that is worrying me.

Friday, October 28, 2011

5 months

Kaylee has been part of our family for 5 months now. To say that these past 5 months have been hard, would be an understatement. It has been a rollercoaster, lots of ups and downs. We had many, many hard days in the beginning, then just hard moments, back to full on hard days. Then we finally got to the place of "yes, we can make it" rather than "please, God, help me make it, because I can't do this". Then all that came tumbling down when the baby was born. Thankfully, it did not take long to get back to where we were, but those first couple of weeks were sooo difficult. 

I think because of the many hard times, I have not wanted to write on my blog. I didn't want to just put up a bunch of cute pictures with empty words and I definitely did not want to put it all out there, how hard this really was. I wanted to have it all together.  I didn't want to look like a failure, I wanted to be like the many other adoptive parents and just completely fall in love with my child. I so wanted that love, but it wasn't there. Some days, I tried so hard. Other days, I failed miserably and did not even try, but cried instead.

I never once dreamed this would be me. I thought that I could love anyone. I didn't expect it to be so hard. When we went through our homestudy, our social worker asked so many questions about loving a child that was not biologically ours, my answers were all the right ones. Of course, I would love any child. It has always been easy for me to love the "least of these", my whole life, I "mothered" anything I could possibly get my hands on. So, why would this be any different. 

I'm sure we will still have difficult days, but last week, I had a major breakthrough. I don't know how or why, but it just happened. I was at home with just Kaylee and the baby. And I played and spent time with just her. Strange, it just happened like that, I can't even explain it. I love her. I am so glad she is here with us. 

Kaylee has changed tremendously in the last 5 months, she is not even the same child. I cannot even begin to tell you of all the ways she has grown. It actually brings me to tears to think of what she would have become had she stayed in the orphanage. She has  a hope and a future now. 

She can paint now

And even taste it if she wants to, AND love it!

She has a brother and a sister to teach her many things

She can sit in the middle of the yard with her brother, as he pretends to read to her

She can be brave enough to venture out into the yard to play in the sprinklers with brother and sister, and then decide she STILL does not like grass and have a mommy to run to.

She is now part of a family (she is giving him a hug)

She is sooo in love with her baby brother. She gets so excited when she sees him and yells loudly "ah-dah",  this is her universal word :). That is why he is crying, he was sleeping peacefully, then she yelled and woke him.

Kaylee is even starting to communicate more. Just now, she was sitting on my lap looking at the pictures and saw the outside ones and signed and said "outside" and more. 

Someone else is in love with her little brother. Malika wants to hold him all the time.

 Our little chunky boy. He is already 1 month old today.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seth David

Things have been so busy and crazy around here. I wish I was a good blogger. I read  other blogs and the people are so funny and have wonderful captions for each picture. Oh, and they keep it updated. Well, that's not me. I wish it were, but it isn't. 

We had our new little baby, his name is Seth David. He is 4 weeks old today. Everyone loves him and all the little ones are adjusting pretty well to having him here. 

Our first family picture with all of the kids. 

These are his newborn pictures

I do have a lot to say, but I will have to come back and update more later.

Kaylee is doing great. She amazes me everyday. She is walking everywhere and has even started to say more sounds.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

smart little cookie

The other night Kaylee fell asleep in the car and actually stayed asleep when we stopped. Usually she is such a light sleeper and wakes up very easily, but that night she didn't wake up, so I was able to watch her sleep. When I was staring at her, I just thought " how beautiful she was". It makes me wonder what her mom looked like and also makes me wonder what she would think if she saw her now. I just think she is so beautiful and smart. I wish her mom could see her and see that she is going to be something when she grows up.

I know I keep saying it, but Kaylee is just so smart. She has learned that when we go through a drive thru that means we get food and she just gets so excited and starts squealing. She has learned that if she refuses to eat vegetables, mommy might feel sorry for her and feed her something else. And if she keeps signing please, mommy will think it is so cute and give in to her and give her more to eat. 

Ok, seriously she is smart. Yesterday, she learned to sign "cheese" after I only showed her one time. Cheese and french fries are definitely her favorite foods. She doesn't really like fruits or vegetables, she still eats them though. I'm really not sure if she ever had fruit in the orphanage, she still makes a face when she eats them. She also loves bananas, but I'm not sure if it would be something she would request or if it is just because she eats so many of them. One day, I was thinking about it, and wondered why God only made one fruit that did not have to be cut up and was so easy for babies. 

I think she is loving this american life and is starting to show her independence and personality more. She knows what she wants and if she doesn't get it, she will definitely let you know. Sometimes, I think she knows she wants something, but either can't tell me what she wants or maybe she isn't sure what it is she wants, just knows it is not what I am doing. Last week, we were outside and she reaches up and grunts to be picked up, so I pick her up, then she wants down. Then she wants in her swing, then wants down. Then wants on the slide, then wants off. Finally, I just say "enough" and just let her figure it out on her own. 

She has figured out how to go up and down the stairs too. And has figured out that bedtime is not her favorite time. She used to be so easy to put to sleep and would not make a peep. Now, I let her climb up the stairs on her own, but she is so smart and when she figures out that it is bedtime, she slides all the way back down, with a huge smile on her face. 

For anyone wanting to know, she is doing so much better with eating. I do still sit next to her while she eats and have to keep a close eye on her, but it is still way better than it was. She does not usually shove her mouth full anymore and takes bites of things, even if they are bigger than I'd like. The last week, she has done pretty well on chewing, but goes back and forth. She is very good at her pincher grasp now, but still has to be reminded at times. 

I have a question for those with children with DS, do your children stick their tongues out when they eat? The OT said we really need to work on it, but she just isn't getting it. I know it is a common thing for DS, but really, is it all that necessary to do anything about it? It is kind of gross, but it isn't really bothering much. If I make her keep her tongue in her mouth, she does better about chewing, but I have to watch her like a hawk. It has only been about a week, should I just keep at it, or give it up for now? Oh, yeah, she sticks her tongue out when she is trying to swallow something.

This is how Justus woke up from his nap one day.

The kids wanted to play with the hose in the front yard, then Kaylee decided to just crawl in the muddy water, so I said "Oh well, have fun"

Kaylee has somehow figured out that she should smile when I get the camera out. 
 I love this smile.

 I know this picture is so blurry, but he is just too cute

 I put Kaylee in this pack and play so we could work on the bathroom floor and not have her into everything. She really does hate it, but with Malika and Justus joining her, she has a blast. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Malika's birthday

Last week, Malika turned 4! I just cannot believe she is already 4. She is so big now and so helpful, sometimes, if Justus or Kaylee cry, she will pick them up and bring them to me and say "It's ok, do you want your mommy", it is too funny to see, since they aren't much smaller than her.

We celebrated her birthday at home with family and then the day after went to the Haglers and celebrated again.

Malika has been waiting so long to have her birthday, she has been talking about it for months. And has had to wait through the other kids birthdays. The first thing she said on her birthday was "where are my presents?" Kids are great! I'm sure many times in the past, I had wanted to say that too, but it would just be impolite, so I refrained. But, kids say whatever comes to their minds. :)

I love this picture, she is so sweet. It makes me want to pick her up and give her a big kiss and tell her to stay little :). The saturday before her birthday, I took her to the mall and she picked this outfit out. She loved it so much, she wore it for 2 days straight and would have worn it for 4 days, had I not made her take it off to wash it in between.

I finally got a good picture of them together, I think I will hang this one on the wall.

Daddy working with Malika on a project. He took her to home depot to pick something out for them to make together and she chose this treasure box.

We went to the park in the morning on Malika's birthday. It was so hot, but we stayed until we were very sweaty.

At the Haglers. After we got there, I noticed that the kids were segregated :), our three Ukrainian babies were "playing" together...

... and I look over and the other 4 were playing together (Justus was here too, until I got the camera out)

 They were so sweet and even made Malika a cake. So, she had two birthdays.

 Malika and Trey. I think they are best friends, it is so cute to watch them together. They played all day long. When we were in Ukraine, we would compare our kids, it is just so amazing how many similarities there are. They are so different than most other kids, but yet, are so much alike. I never thought I'd meet another child like Malika. I think these next two pictures really show how much they are alike. Maybe only their families can tell :), but with Trey putting his arm on the table and not smiling... just waiting...

 ...and how I know Malika is happy about her gift, but she refuses to smile :)
  Here they are again. I just think they are so cute together. They were watching this video and kept whispering to each other, finally Malika whispers to Trey " Let's go play" and so they run off together. 

Lindsay was so sweet to put up their bounce house for the kids to play in. They had a blast.

I loved watching Kaylee, she is a different child than she was 3 months ago. Instead of staying by me the whole time, she actually gets out and plays. She is playing more like a 2 year old should play now. She absolutely loved the bounce house and even figured out how to go down the slide.

 Lindsay and me with our little girls. Lindsay is truly the best friend I have wanted for so long. It took us sharing a house half way across the world and 3 little orphans for us to find eachother :)