Friday, February 22, 2013

Some Responses!

I probably can't get to all of them today but I'll do what I can and post more answers next time!

Katie Lee asked
My question is... When will you be coming to Germany again? :)

I love you honey! You are so cute!! I want to come NOW! I miss you so much.
You are coming home in the late spring(May) and summer(July). I will most likely be coming to Germany in the fall(Sept or Oct). Unless we can't stand being apart any more and Daddy sends me earlier!! Go ahead and tell him how much you miss me and how homesick you are- April would work for me! He cannot bear to have you sad!
And now everyone who reads this blog is witness to our plotting!
Mums the word!
(Katie is our oldest daughter living in Germany)

Sally asked
Who is your BBFF? wink wink! You can answer that via text and not publicly. I will understand!!

And sorry Katie, but she is due in California next! :-)

You and Katie are my BFF's!! I do have a few other friends believe it or not but since I don't get out much...
Well, you all get it!
Poor Sally has done quite a few reference letters for us!!
And yes- I will get out to CA- especially since you told me it was 70 degrees when you left... wow! So long MN!

Nancy asked-
I want to know when we will see you and meet the newest treasures, and play with the not-so-new treasures? I hope I don't have to wait until summer playgroup time! I feel like I just got to know which one is Abby and which is Ava, and now your are giving me three more names and faces to remember! I still get Ellie and Emma mixed up. Oh my!

My real question is, how are the dogs doing? :)

 You are funny too! I hardly get to leave the house! I wanted to go to the CNY lunch but then envisioned 11 children running around and 3 of them not speaking English! 
What a nightmare that would be! 
HOLD IT! That's my reality!!
I cannot wait to see you, your kiddos and the gang again!
Maybe we should do a March party at the MG Maze!

And as for the dogs... they are doing great and adjusting to their name change!
Our dogs were named Mia and Missy ;-)
Yep but then we decided to name two of our new girls Mia and Melissa so the dogs had to go through a name change!
They are now Mimi and Sissy!
The have not been seriously traumatized and will recover just fine!

Rebecca said
Ha! I love the joy over the binder! So hilarious! I'm so glad to see that you're doing really well. I've thought about you quite a bit lately:)

Thank you for your thoughts and YES, I am giddy about my color coded three ring binder!

Okay... now I will try to be more serious and actually answer questions!

Easy ones first!

Chloe asked
What is the age spacing between your children? It seems like you have several children very close in age!

Our kiddos from China are very close in age!
Sarah- 13 yrs in 2 weeks (March 2000)
Emma- 12 yrs old (July 2000)
Ellie- 10 yrs old(July 2002)
Mia- making her about 9.5 yrs old (October 2003?)
Ava- 7.5 yrs old (June 2005)
Melissa- 7 yrs old (November 2005)
Abby- 7 yrs old (January 2006)
Anna- 6.75 yr old (April 2006)
Sam- 6.5 yrs old (August 2006)
Madeline- supposedly 6 but I think she is 5 (October 2006 or 2007)
Luke- 4 yr old (November 2008)

It has gone very well- and we are very thankful for that!

We would not artificial twin with a birth child but it has gone well with our newly adopted children.
We have a lot of fun together!
There is always someone to play with!

Eileen asked
I just wonder how you get any housework done with the home schooling? I only home schooled one child for one school year, and he needed lots of supervision or his mind would wander, and that year the house suffered greatly! Do you have someone come in to help with the cleaning?

I do have help with the housework! We have 2 wonderful ladies come every Wednesday to clean the house. They used to work for my Mom and now they come to my house! They are from Russia and they are WONDERFUL! Almost like family!

Every Tuesday night it's a group effort to pick up the house for the cleaning ladies.
We do try to keep it picked up throughout the week but sometimes things do gather on the countertops and various places.
Toys are supposed to be in the toy room downstairs and some in their rooms. Arts and crafts are in the upstairs school room. HOWEVER, things are always migrating around the house and we are always putting something away (and it's often in the wrong spot).

All the children help with meal set up, the dishes after a meal, unloading the dishwasher and the laundry- folding and putting it away.

They always help pick up the house too!
I am a big believer that "many hands make light work"!
They make their beds and put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket(usually).

We all work together! I could never do it all myself. If I tried to I would go crazy it would send the wrong message. We work together, we love each other and care for each other. Our home is all of our responsibility to care for and respect. 

Our China Girls asked- 

Love question and answer sessions! I know that you have several kids/room but how many bedrooms does your house have? You mentioned that you were going to describe some of the special needs your children have so others may consider a child with those needs. Will you be doing that soon? And last but not least. We have adopted six girls from China and would love to add more, however financially we are maxed out. How do you afford to adopt so many and how do you feed them all? With eight in our house I find that I have to make 2 or 3 casseroles just to feed our family!

 We have 4 bedrooms upstairs-
Master is supposed to be for Hubby and myself but lately we have been invaded by cute little Chinese girls!

Older girls bedroom- Sarah, Emma, Ellie and Mia
It has two sets of bunk beds, three dressers and a 4th dresser in the closet.

 FYI- I only take pics of our children's rooms right after the cleaning ladies have been to our house!

The little girls room have 2 sets of bunks and a single bed, along with 2 dressers.

 There is one dresser in their closet. I do their clothes by size not by person because there are too many that are the same size or various versions of a similar size.

Ava, Melissa, Anna, Abby and Madeline are in this room!

Sam and Luke are in the boys room! One set of bunks and the clothes are in the closet.

We have one bedroom in the basement. It has a double bed and a set of extra long bunks in it. It is for when the boys come home... and Katie and Andrew since Sam and Luke took her room!

Financially speaking adopting is expensive- but oh so worth it!
Hubby's job and a small inheritance from my parents has allowed us to adopt our children. 

Meals are kinda crazy as we are continuing to search for what works and what doesn't work for 11 children and 2 adults. Lots of plates full of food, lots of dishes- dishwasher running 3 times a day! We live close to a grocery store so often plan dinner last minute and do what we think will work for that evening. Hubby stops on his way home about 3 times a week. I have meals in the freezer that I make and we order pizza once a week. The kids and I eat spaghetti when hubby is gone- we love it (he doesn't)!

Our children have a variety of special needs-
 Hep B, severe cognitive disability, Severe speech disabilities, moderate cognitive delays, Cleft Lip/ Palate, HIV, Congenital Siderblastic anemia(regular blood transfusions), Dextrocardia and TOF, Anal Atresia(Imperforate Anus).

I do plan to do more advocating for these needs and others in the future. 
If you are considering adopting a child with ANY of these needs and you have questions PLEASE email me!

Stacy asked-
We are in the beginning of our first adoption and I am struggling with deeming someone's special needs more than I can handle. How do you know when it's a good fit? We are looking to adopt a girl between 4 and 7.

We pray and pray about it. We ask God to reveal our child to us. I used to get kind of nervous about it- thinking what if God makes a mistake but after so many adoptions I realize that God does not make mistakes. We do! Maybe there is a special need that you might think is too big for your family but IF GOD says you can do it- YOU CAN!

It is really hard filling out that form. It is not my favorite thing to do. We are conservative when filling it out but often we go with a special need that we did not say yes too on the list.

I go a lot by the picture and feelings I have when I see the picture. Sometimes the children look "familiar" and you know it could be a fit.
I am a nurse so I am familiar with many special needs. I also research them online.
Many times we have blindly gone into an adoption- knowing that we can't do it BUT God can do this!
We adopted Abby thinking she had cancer- we prayed and prayed and 10 months later she was re diagnosed- no cancer ;-)
We had no idea what Sam's real situation was- it was better than we could have hoped for.
Emma was supposed to not supposed to have a special need and only be a below average student- she is severely cognitively disabled- still a huge blessing to us.

Some people like to be matched through an agency. We like to see the picture and pray over it.

Trust God, pray and go where he leads (or go with your gut)!

Lisa asked-
i'm probably going to think of 20 more questions,lol, but I'll start with did you manage the paper chase of the home study and dossier preparation while maintaining your life? We are adopting again and I feel like I have to everything twice because doctor forms aren't done correctly, fingerprints are smudged, how do you do it...without going crazy, that is, ha ha.

The paper chase can take a lot of time away from your family and your life.
Hubby and I would work together to get it done. On Saturday mornings we would have coffee and a meeting while the kids ate BKF and played. We would review what needs to be done and what our goals were for that week.
Sometime we would send gentle reminders to each other.
We promised to always be nice to each other through the process because it can be frustrating and we both had more than we could humanly do each day. We would set realistic goals for getting something done. Sometimes we made it but often we didn't. 
Our process still went pretty fast even though we didn't always reach our goal.
We aslo prayed for God's perfect timing for all the details and our travel.
When things went wrong we gave it to HIM!
Surprisingly- HE wants it!
It helped us not to get frustrated.

Okay- I'm taking a short break and will do another post answering the rest of the questions!

Thank you!


Sally-Girl! said...

Katie could come too! I'll share my time!! We could meet at the same restaurant in Napa that we did a few years ago and make it tradition!

How about April???

And by the way, I LOVE writing reference letters for you! You have returned the favor friend, the only problem is you try to convince us to add two at time! :-)

Wouldn't want to do this great life without you!

Vicky said...

I love the Q&A!

Rebekah said...

I have enjoyed reading this! Thanks for taking the time to share.

Jennie said...

Thanks for posting the A's to the Q's. Would you happen to have a few pictures of the dogs? Pictures of the kiddos with the dogs will be even better. :)

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

I love their bedrooms!! Oh and the Q& A too :). Love hearing about others!!! And of course other families that always make me feel more normal! :)

cara said...

I would sure love to hear more about raising a childwith anal atresia & what is involved as far a medication & medical for a child with hiv. We have 3 adopted children. 2 brothers from ukraine- 1 has very mild spina bifeda. Our daughter from china had pulmonary stenosis. I have been draw & redraw to several children with the 2 conditions mentioned above & would love to hear about your experiences! God bless, cara norby.

Joy Altman said...

Hi there!
I'm curious as to how you will change Mia's age. I've heard it is VERY difficult to do!

Lili Jane said...

How did you get a Dx on Emma. My daughter adopted from China is also dev. delayed. I'm currently fighting with the Children's Hospital for months just to get into the Dev Clinic for a formal Dx. She's also 12, like Emma, but after 10 years here she's obviously not going to catch up. I'm really getting frustrated because I need to start planning for her future.

Renee said...

Thank you for sharing! You have an amazing family!

Jillian said...

Thank you for this fun blog full of valuable info. Your family inspired mine to pursue international adoption this year. Our referral from Ethiopia arrived on Fri and the child is listed as being HIV +. I'm actually an MD and still feel a little overwhelmed by this diagnosis. Without giving any identifying info on the child, could you speak a little about what it's like to parent a child with this disease. It would be enormously helpful for our decision-making process.

Kelly Marriott said...

Where do you buy the kids' clothes? They always look adorable!

Sherri said...

Thanks so much for sharing. So makes me want to adopt again.