Friday, March 29, 2013

Beautiful Boys!

These special boys weigh heavy on my heart.
So adorable 
so needing the love of a family.

They wait and wait and no one chooses them.
They watch their friends leave 
 they have to stay in the orphanage.

Please look at these pictures and prayerfully consider adoption.
If that is not part of God's plan for you 
please consider advocating and praying for those left behind.

Here are beautiful twin boys from Children's Home Society and Family services located in St Paul MN.

You can read more about them on my side bar!
Adoption is not always easy.
You are stepping out in faith...
Faith that the Lord will help you every step of the way.
HE will not leave you and HE will give you the strength that you need.

Every child needs a home.
They need a parent or parents.
The need someone to love them and care for them.

Don't be afraid of a diagnosis,
No matter how scary it sounds.
Behind every diagnosis is a precious child of God's!
These two dear boys are not their diagnosis - muscular dystrophy, they are little boys that need a Mommy and a Daddy.
Remember, it's God's child and HE is asking you to care for them- for the orphans.
Put your trust in the Lord and HE will give you the strength!

My friend met this dear boy and fell in love with him.
She so desperately wants him to have a family because-
He needs a family to survive. . . to live. . .
He has scoliosis and needs medical help now.
He is a delightful little boy with a good sense of humor and a sweet disposition.

He is available through Children's Home Society and Family Services in St Paul.
His name is Ming

I liked this little guy the moment I saw his picture.
He sounds like a wonderful boy and his information is also on my sidebar.

I think he could fit into almost any family!
His special need seems quite easy to handle.

He is available through CHSFS, also!

WE met him and we loved him!
Because we have 4 girls around his age we feel that he would not be a fit for our family.
BUT. . .
could he be a fit for your family?
I think he will soon be 13 yrs old.
The clock is ticking... once he is 14 he can no longer be adopted.

He is Hunter and his file is with Lifeline.

He is athletic and a really nice boy!
His friend was just adopted a week ago.
He is truly his age(if not younger), we saw him and he has not matured yet.

Oh my... my heart hurts for the little boy in the green and grey sweater.
He is Madeline's BFF and he was so sad in this picture because she was leaving.
He made a card for her but didn't want to give it to her- probably thinking maybe she won't go if I don't give it to her...
He is 5 years old and he needs a family to love and care for him.
He is with Lifeline as Heath.

Please consider one of these incredible little boys and or any waiting child.
Your family will learn and grow in their love for the Lord through adoption 
one more child will be rescued!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

You WILL Lose!

Dear Winter,
I am sorry to say this BUT you don't stand a chance...
I know you are giving it your all and trying so hard to win.

BUT, spring will prevail and the snow WILL melt.

They are already taking off the winter jackets for their fleece jackets.

Snow pants, hats and mittens are no longer a requirement to play outside.

And as soon as it gets a little less sloppy outside the boots will be gone, too!

So why don't you just give up!
(oh , please give up)

You have worn out your welcome...

Pics are from last week. We have less snow now but it's still not completely gone...

Temp will be in the 40's at the end of the week- looking forward to the 50's!
The air is smelling like spring and the birds are singing!
Praise God for the change of seasons!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's different EACH time . . .

No matter how experienced we are-
 each time we adopt the adjustment is 

We ALWAYS pray our way through it and we are so thankful that GOD is close and hears our prayers!
It would not be possible without HIM.

What makes it so different is-  
the different personalities of the children.

I guess, 
we have learned 
to be flexible, be prepared to readjust our parenting 
and be creative!

(and a little spring weather would help!)

It just so happens that Mia, Melissa and Madeline...

are ALL leaders.

Sooooo, as we try to show them how it is done at our house...

THEY show us...
how THEY would LIKE it to be done... 
at our house...

; - )

It's interesting, to say the least!

I feel like a washed up cheerleader-
come on kids 
yay rah rah
go ahead and tell them NO
show them how we do it
just speak up
you can do it, kids
yes sirree, you can do it
lets show them how it is done in our house!

umm, ya...
it hasn't worked so well!

I am getting the clear message from the big guy upstairs that


is what I need.

They will speak English

in time!

They will figure out the house rules

in time...

They will learn our safety rules
(after two collisions on the bikes)

in time...

My little prayer police (Mia),

will learn to pray 
without consistently telling on everyone else who is not bowing their heads and closing their eyes

in time...

So my conclusion is
experience is great

(I will post on the POB-post orphanage behaviors, that we are working on soon- I may have just touched on the "hyper vigilance" though ; - )

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What are "post orphanage behaviors"?

My (Jean- not an expert but has some experience) definition is that orphanage behaviors are- the behaviors that the child has used to survive in an orphanage setting. 

They are not necessarily bad behaviors- in fact they have actually helped the child cope with life in orphanage conditions. However, the orphanage behaviors are not appropriate for family life and new behaviors need to be learned.

And the Mommy side of me defines it as - behaviors that a child exhibits before they have been taught new coping skills, manners(interactive appropriateness) and thoughtfulness toward others.

Some common post orphanage behaviors exhibited in the new family include-
Taken from BG center website - 

Poor self regulation 

Mixed maturity 


Learned helplessness

Controlling and avoiding behavior

Self-soothing and self-stimulating behavior 

Hyper-vigilance and "pro-active" aggressiveness

Feeling of entitlement

Extreme attention seeking

Indiscriminate friendliness with strangers 

All of our children have exhibited some or all of these behaviors. When I say orphanage behaviors I do not want to sound condescending in any way.
They have served each child well and allowed them to cope with the environment they lived in.

For a parent these behaviors are not desirable in a family setting. 
They are behaviors that feel very unhealthy once the child is with the family.
They do not build but instead can get in the way and tear down a healthy relationship.

Also when I talk about one child doing better than another or is easier than another I don't by any means want to belittle the one who has more struggles. 
They are learning and they may have come from a harder place.
Actually I am very proud of all of our children. They have worked so hard and have had to make major life changes and adjustments.

Seeing these changes in them;
Seeing them allowing us to love them and loving us back-

Sometime progress is slow and I can feel discouraged.
I pray about it all the time- 
to stay positive,
 to look back and see how far each child has come, already
to be patient
to enjoy the baby steps
and celebrate each little step in the right direction!

Each child is so different and we have to take a fresh approach with each child and often each circumstance.

In my next post I will tell you what POB (post orphanage behaviors) we are currently working on with our kiddos at home.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Are You A . . .

 A field trip?


A birthday party?

Um, no...

We're a family!

We get asked that almost every week!
It's a "family" joke now!

We took the kids to Sky Z*ne and they had a blast!
Trampolines everywhere!

Come on Spring!!
Where are you?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Awwwwww! It's So Precious...

when your child's first english words are...

"you're cheating"

"no, you're cheating"

"no, you're cheating"

"no, you're cheating"


It's my turn...

No, it's my turn...

No, it's my turn

No, it's my turn!

See... they are all settling in just fine!
They're no different than any other siblings!

Okay, this may not have been there first english words but they sure said them as clear as a bell!

Friday, March 15, 2013

So. . . How are they doing?

It's time for an update on our three newest additions!

She is as adorable in person as she is in her pictures!
Bonding has been easy- she left China and never looked back.
She comfortably hugs us, kisses us, sits on our laps.
She happily shows the latest picture she has colored, her new card trick, the high heals she is sporting and loves to get our approval.
She is loving the food we have been serving and gobbles up every meal... well... except, cold cereal is not her favorite. Although she has found some peace in Captain Crunch...
For how little she is, she will surprise us at night and ask for seconds!

She was alternating sleeping in our room until Mom and Dad decided they were not getting enough sleep. Now she is in her own bedroom bonding with her sisters. She seems to be the number one talker at bedtime and we have to ask her to be quite more than once each night.
She usually is the last to rise in the morning time!

She did a great job while having one tooth pulled and a crown put on. She still has two more dental appointments to go. We are very thankful they did not need to use general anesthesia.

Madeline is still a Princess! She is very agreeable most of the time but will let out a grumble here and there if it's not to her liking.
She is slow to say sorry in an altercation with a sibling and will not backdown until time has passed and she sees that I'm not backing down.
She had lunch a bit late one day... after an hour gave in and apologized to Luke.

She is writing her name along with the names of her sibs and counting to 11. She has a bit of a speech challenge and will be starting speech therapy in April.
She says a few words in English and seems to understand the point of what we are saying.
Madeline is happy and moving forward with her new life forward!

Melissa is delightful!
She is as smart as can be and catches on to things quickly!
She readily comes to us for hugs and loves to get kisses goodnight. She often crawls on our laps and hangs out with us. 

Melissa needs a boatload of dental work done too. One of her many appointments will be coming up soon. She has a front tooth with a cavity in it that is loose- we are looking forward to that falling out!

When we first came home she had a few times of tears. It was hard to tell why the tears were coming. Although with all the changes going on in her life a reason wasn't even necessary.
I found that if a removed her from the middle of the children and privately comforted her she quickly calmed down and was ready to go play.
I think it may have been a little attention getting.

Melissa, will out of nowhere will say a string of english words. This happens once or twice everyday. I feel like she is storing them up in her brain and at some point they will all come spilling out and she will miraculously speak English!
We still have a lot of Chinese going on but it is less than it was and that is encouraging!

Melissa is the one that will remind us to say grace at every meal!
And she sings the songs- Jesus Loves Me and The Star Spangled Banner!

She loves to play the card games that Katie and Mark taught her and ... she loves to win!
In fact if she looses... she might cry...
I think she was used to winning in China.
Melissa will often play cards with Emma.
It;s a win win for both of them!
Melissa likes to win and Emma just likes to play games! 
Everything I have given her during our school time she has finished with flying colors. 
I am planning to integrate Melissa and Mia into our first grade class.

Mia has made incredible progress!
I am always trying to be one step ahead of her because she is quick with everything. She gets her schoolwork done in lightening speed and is the first to help in the kitchen.
They have already moved her up in her gymnastics class. 
She want to be first at everything!
First in the car, first out of the car, first to eat, first to be done and first to ask for seconds.
We make a point of serving her food closer to the end so she does't get done before everyone else starts to eat.
She'll clean up the school room and then I can't find anything!
She is smart and she gets it. 
She is beginning to understand why we do things the way we do and will smile in response to our brief explanation.
She seems to love her new family and her new home.
In fact I haven't found one thing that she doesn't like.
If you followed us in China you will be shocked at that last sentence- 
I am!! 
I was a bit nervous about how the adjustment was going to work out after our time in China.
We are truly praising GOD at how it has gone!

Mia can be very loud and bossy at times.
I will turn the lights off, she turns them on, or vice versa.
I turn the music down and she turns it up.
BUT when I go back in and correct it- she smiles and accepts the correction- like I said she gets it but she is going to test the waters whenever she can!

It has taken me awhile to trust her but I can see that she really is a good kid and means well.
She is not mean spirited, even when she yells and is bossy.
It's all she knows and she thinks she is being helpful to me.
I would truly hurt her feelings if I was angry with her.
So I just gently remind her - Momma's got it under control and I thank her when she is helpful.

At times Mia seems so capable and then at times she seems young.
We still haven't decided on her age.
She will be going to the endocrinologist in a May (that's the soonest we could get in...ugh), so we will see what they say...

The three girls came home and noticed there was a shortage of robes in our home.
They were bummed...
So I got on line and T*rget had them, along with free shipping!!
Notice Abby instead of Madeline- Abby's was a bit small and Madeline wanted one right away- so Abby scored a new robe for her kindness towards her new sister!!

IT has been interesting watching the dynamics between Sarah and Mia.
Sarah is used to being top dog and has always been the competitive one BUT that has changed a bit with the addition of Mia.
It has actually been good for Sarah and I think it is good for Mia to have Sarah around!
They get along great and really have fun together but both girls can be bold and want to win everything! I am finding that Sarah sometimes takes a back seat, at least more than I thought she would. I thought she would really let Mia know the ropes but Mia is too much of an equal /peer to her so she sometimes chooses not to speak up.
And that's okay.

With all these kiddos that like to win we got a whole lotta cheatin going on when it comes to games!
Once we have had more time together we will start enforcing the rules and the virtue of honesty!
; - )

So for now- all is well and extremely entertaining!!

I love that we can see progress with each and every day!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pasta Night!

We belong to a little golf club in the area- this is where we go swimming during the summer!
Through out the winter they have special dinners and Wednesday is Pasta Night!

We have to use our monthly minimum so we go there once a month! 

The children LOVE it! They create their own concoction and that is their dinner!
We have them pick two veggies and one meat!
Next, is the pasta of their choice and the sauce they would like!

We had them line up according to age and take turns going through the line! Daddy is at one end and I am at the other!

Then we do a little sharing to see if we like someone else's "choices" better!
The children do so well and have so much fun!

The main dinning room was full so they gave us another room... with 2 TV's and lots of space!

As the children go through the line they say so many nice things about them!
They really are so well behaved and we are so thankful to be able to venture out with them!

As you can see... all our tummies were FULL!

We had plenty to eat and great conversation!

And then they brought out the chocolate chip/M&M cookies for dessert!

Feeling very very blessed and FULL!

Thankful it went well!
Looks like we can do this next month too!

Emma has so much fun with this extra large family of ours!
Melissa is especially kind to her and looks out for her!

Ava is such a blessing!

As they ALL are!
Thank you Jesus!