Monday, June 25, 2012

~*Happy Birthday*~

 In the summer of 2007 a beautiful little girl was born to bless the world with her adorable little smile and strong spirit.  

Happy Birthday to our beautiful little girl, Analina!  We are hoping to be holding you in our arms in one month or so!
When parenting a child with an unknown background oftentimes there is a guessing involved when establishing "facts", such as age and date of birth.  Why the guessing?

 Many infants are not found as newborns but as infants appearing one month or more in age and even older.  Clearly, the birth parents were not in a hurry to end their relationship to their child, however, circumstances often make it very difficult to continue to parent their child.  

Finances, lack of family and community support, expectations that a child with a special need will be a burden or even a curse are only a few of the reasons that birth parents leave their child behind.

While we mourn the loss that took place, in order, to make our family whole, we, also, must rejoice in the blessing that is the birth of this little girl! 

~*Happy Birthday*~ Analina!  



Sunday, June 24, 2012

~*Endurance Unto The End*~

Throughout this entire journey I have thought long and hard as to the lessons that the Lord God would have us learn.  We began this journey toward Dalton back in December of 2010 and we are praying to complete this journey in July of 2012.  

For most of this long journey I have wondered if patience was the top lesson to be learned, however, as we get farther along I begin to doubt that its patience...what other lesson is there to be learned on such a long drawn out journey?

A wise friend of ours pointed out that she had a similar trial during one of her many adoptions.  The Lord revealed to her that it wasn't about patience or simply relying on God for strength.  It was about endurance.  How well we are enduring the trials set before us.  

I can easily admit I have not passed this test with flying colors.  I have not endured graciously.  

Several scripture verses come to mind.

Romans 5:3-4
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

James 1:12-18
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.   

James 1:2-4 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

We found out that we are scheduled to have Article 5 picked up tomorrow (our time)!  Which means we are officially awaiting Travel Approval!  I cannot tell you how truly happy I am to see this part of the journey come to an end.  This has been a very long 18 months and while I did not endure it as graciously as I had hoped I will be very grateful to begin the next journey of parenting these two!   

Saturday, June 23, 2012

~*No Pain*~

One of the aspects of parenting a child with a challenging past is getting past...well, the past!  Trauma changes the way they think, the way they perceive situations, the way they instinctively react.  It can warp their ability to express their basic needs and concerns.  

When we first met our J.J. he was the oldest 6 yr old I'd ever met.  It is very common for children in the system (Foster Care or Institutionalized) to become "parentified" by the system.  This means they, oftentimes, take on the adult caregiver roll with younger siblings or children.  Yes, even at 6 yrs old he had been "parenting" his 4 yr old brother with such fervor that he was unable to color, do puzzles, or play imaginary anything!  
Marine* in the making?

Cuddling with the ornery little one!
 Another misaligned aspect to this realm of trauma deals with pain or illness.  He had been conditioned to not show pain or he would receive worse pain.  He had been trained to show no signs of discomfort or illness; to simply suck it up and deal with it.  
Recently our young man injured himself to the point of serious pain and tears and limping around.  My child would walk around hobbling, yet, would not admit to any pain.  He had truly been trained to either not register the pain, ignore it completely, or simply endure.  
Sometimes I forget about the trauma of the past and how it affects his present state of mind and I get frustrated by the behaviors I see.  Once I realized *my* mistake I was able to address his previous training regarding pain...

And the walls came tumbling down!  
These children put up walls to protect themselves.  They know if they show pain or illness they will be victimized all the more.  He's been here for 3 yrs and still learning to trust and let walls down.

It breaks my heart that his heart has been broken down so much.  We're still putting the pieces back together again!  But unlike that Humpty fellow we know that J.J.'s heart will heal and be whole again!  
Take that, trauma!    

Monday, June 11, 2012

~*Menu Monday*~

I am always asked to post my menus, as I think we mama's tend to get tired of the same routine that we seem to so easily fall into.  I was able to get all the food we needed for 2 weeks for $130.  

Skillet Lasagna (plus 1 for freezer)
Homemade pizza
Oven Baked French Toast (plus 1 for freezer)
Sub Sandwiches
Tacos (plus meat for freezer)
Sausage/Rice (plus 1 for freezer)
Sloppy Joes
Baked Potatoes
Stuffed Peppers
BBQ Chicken on the grill

I am doubling and  freezing 4 meals in these next two weeks to stock the freezer...If you recall we are not taking our 4 children with us to China so Nana needs to feed this bunch while we're gone.

In Part One of the China Prep Series, I share what we are stocking the freezer with.  Why do so much cooking?  With our littlest one having multiple food allergies we cannot rely on convenience foods and must make everything homemade for her.  It will be a great deal of help to Nana to have 3 weeks worth of meals already prepped and ready to thaw!

We have had the wonderful blessing of having our wonderful piano teacher offer to freezer cook to help us out.  At first it seems overwhelming to prepare food for someone with food allergies but if you ask enough questions or even ask for the specific recipe all the trepidation leaves! 

If you know of someone adopting it would a huge blessing to them to have meals brought over; either for their children staying home or to help them out in the first few weeks they are home. Its similar to when someone has new baby...what a wonderful blessing it is to them to not have to cook!   
Many blessings and happy eating!

Friday, June 8, 2012

~*China Prep Series-Part 2: Packing Lists*~

I have scoured the internet for several comprehensive packing lists and I have compiled the lists to make our own.

As a list junkie I love things I can cross off!
Is there anything wish you'd brought with you?
  • Packing List:
  • Dad:
  • ·        2  pairs of pants
  • ·         5 short sleeve shirts
  • ·         1 long sleeve shirt
  • ·         3 pairs of shorts
  • ·         1 pair swim trunks
  • ·         6 pairs undies (quick drying)
  • ·         socks
  • ·         sandals
  •  Mom:
  • skirts/dresses
  • tunics
  • tanks for layering
  • Cardigan
  • swimsuit
  • undergarments/socks
  • sandals/good walking shoes
  • Dalton
  • ·         2 pairs of pants
  • ·         5 pairs of shorts
  • ·         1 long sleeves
  • ·         6 short sleeves
  • ·         swimsuit
  • ·         socks
  • ·         pjs
  •           light jacket
  • ·         1 blanket
  • Analina
  • ·         4 pair shorts
  • ·         4 pair leggings
  • ·         4 dresses
  • ·         4 short sleeve shirts
  • ·         1 long sleeve shirts
  •            1 cardigan
  • ·         swimsuit
  • ·         socks
  • ·         1 blanket
  • Toys:
  • ·         Backpacks
  • ·         2  small stuffed toys or dolls
  • ·         2 inflatable beach ball
  • ·         small bag of balloons
  • ·         2 stackable crayons
  • ·         2 small coloring books
  • ·         hot wheels cars
  • ·         tea set
  • ·         2 sticker activity books each
  • ·         4 books (2 for each)
  • ·         2 pair sunglasses
  •           2 phones
  • For adults on plane flights
  • ·         puzzle books
  • ·         books (or I just loaded books)
  • ·         eye mask/ear plugs
  • ·         glasses cases
  • ·         socks (if your feet are prone to being cold)
  • ·         water bottle
  • ·         snacks
  • Miscellaneous
  • ·         Passport/money belt holder
  • ·         Sunglasses
  • ·         Cameras and equipment
  • ·         Wipes
  • ·         Clorox wipes
  • ·         4 swim diaper
  • ·         2 packs diapers
  • ·         4-6 packs of tissues (take everywhere, many bathrooms don’t have tp)
  • ·         Multiple sizes ziplock bags
  • ·         1 or 2 reusable shopping bags (for the grocery stores so you don’t pay for bags)
  • ·         white out pen, pen, pencil, tape,
  • Medical Needs:
    • ·         Tylenol/Ibuprofen w/syringe
    • ·         Allergy/Cold/Flu meds
    • ·         Benadryl liquid
    • ·         Miralax/Little Tummies/ Pedialyte
    • ·         Suppositories/Enemas (Pedialax)
    • ·         diaper trash bags
    • ·         hand sanitizer
    • ·         bandaides/neosporin/ Q-tips
    • ·         thermometer
    • ·         diaper rash cream
    • ·         hydrocortisone cream
    • ·         scabies cream (Eurax or Elamite)
    • ·         Mytrax/Nystatin
    • ·         Amoxicillin/Z-pack
    • ·         Sodium Sulamyd ophthalmic drops
    • ·         Bactrim
    • ·         Lotrimin
    • ·         Pepto or Immodium
    • ·         Cough drops/throat lozenge

     ~*Happy Travels*~