Friday, February 27, 2015

Big Families- Either Love Them Or

Dislike them...

It's easy to tell which way others are feeling.
It written all over their faces.

The irritation of a grocery store clerk that cannot get through the isle because a crowd of little people (my children) are standing right in the way.

I did just happen to mention to the very irritated store clerk-

"Just say 'excuse me' and they will move."

Or the huge smile we are greeted with from somebody we have never met (shopper in the same grocery store) and with in 30 seconds she is hugging us!

It's something that we are learning to live with because 
people have opinions and it is their right to have them and
we cannot stop them from expressing them.

We so prefer the people that like us!
They are just a lot nicer!

Because we are such a big family we usually know how they feel... quite quickly.

9 times out of 10 we are greeted with a smile, kindness and QUESTIONS!
As long as the questions are asked kindly and tactfully we don't mind them.
We want to educate others and encourage others to adopt.
We want to open their hearts and their minds.

(While Katie and Emily were here we had to get a little creative when it came to sleeping arrangements!
This worked and the boys loved it!)

when an 12 yr old boy comes walking out of the game room at the park loudly saying-
"Whoa, there's a whole bunch of asians in there..."

I feel a need to kindly say...
"Be careful...
be careful what you say...
Think about it...
They are all mine.
So watch what you say..."
(and yes, I said it like any Momma Bear would!)

And then, as we are leaving
and hopping into Sylvia-

Another 12 yr old follows us and yells across the parking lot-

"Are they all adopted?
Are they all adopted?
Are they yours?"

If only I was quick witted and clever...

I ignored him until he said it louder and then I turned and said
"that's inappropriate".
(The children didn't even notice him but the words were cutting to me.)

Hubby was just walking by and handled it.
The boy quietly answered back to hubby...
"You have a beautiful family."
(Not sure that he meant it but we will leave it at that.)

Why do some people not like big families?

Maybe they are just having a bad day.
We are an inconvenience to them-
we slow things down, take too long and take up too much space.
Some people just don't like children.
They are afraid or concerned of how we "may" act and we ruin their moment.

We have had mainly positive reactions from most people.
We are so thankful for that!

As our family has grown so has our reality and attitudes.

I have watched us enter the dental office and completely take over the waiting room.
 I have seen us standing peacefully together doing nothing other than being together...

we are a crowd
no one can get by us...

You will often see us walking single file just so we don't disrupt others (and for safety).
I love to play telephone with the kids when we are walking in single file- we all end up laughing!
I say to the kids
"get behind me and make yourself skinny - pass it on"
"Watch your step - pass it on"
"Look left and right - pass it on"

One by one it goes down the line until it sounds nothing like what I said!

Because we are an extra large family I feel like we have a responsibility to do the best we can-
 to make sure we don't ruin others experience.
Whether it's a Dr's office, a restaurant, grocery store, church and the list goes on.

Don't get me wrong-
If I need to be a Momma Bear, 
I will be.

Don't mess with my cubs!
(or my grandcub)

Emily loved swimming in the pool!
It was a little chilly but she didn't mind!

I think it's okay to expect the children to behave when we are out and about.
I think it's okay to have the children be considerate of others.

I try to balance activities, errands, playtime, school time, etc.
If we have a day running errands most likely we will home the next day!
I love being home with our children!

There are times when
kids will be kids
and they may be loud, active, rambunctious, annoying, etc
And that's okay too!

In fact there may be a time when two of their favorite floaties pop...
or the beach ball ends up in the canal...
It's okay!
Floaties pop easy...
 and if a beach ball is kicked by an older sister...
 you just never know where it's going to go...

So, if something like that should happen...
not saying it did...
We simply replaced it.
I mean we simply would replace it!


And we wouldn't change it for the world!

Hubby is such a great cook on the grill!

In fact we see no problem with us becoming even bigger!

With a family like ours we also see responsibility.
The Lord has blessed us with many children.

(Sarah didn't want to get her hair wet- she is definitely a teen!)

We need to show Christ's love in all that we do.
Yes, we are human and sometimes fail.
Yes, others have this same responsibility!

Sarah got an itty bitty innertube!

BUT, we find ourselves watched by others more often now that we have grown in size.

Because we are a large family and noticed, is easier for others to draw a negative conclusion.
If they see us correcting a child they can very easily make the wrong assumption.

(While Sam got a HUGE one!
Sam thinks it's fair!)

Sometimes others can be judgmental when they have no clue of the actual situation...

If we have a little one or a parent who is not having a good day... we stay home...

When I am alone(no hubby) and shopping with the children(which happens OFTEN) we get what we need and we leave.

Large families do not "browse" at the store...

When large families are done eating at a restaurant...
they leave!
No, hanging out and chatting!
You leave while things are good!

When we walk into a restaurant
99% of the time
they have a look of fear...

 your kidding me... 17 people?
(We had Katie and Emily with us)

They offered us the 5:00 time slot or no deal!

Once we were seated and 
the pop machine didn't work for kitty cocktails and 
half their menu was not available because the vendor didn't show up
but our kiddos still did
And the parents
new that God was present so handled everything with joy and with HIS GRACE!
They were NOT afraid of us!
They actually really liked us!

Once we were done with dinner we did the...
all is well, it's time to leave
So Mia stood up and knocked over a glass and broke it ;-)
Wow, we were so close...

The answers are all in HIM!
Prayer, Grace, Forgiveness, Kindness, Patience

and simply go home if it's not working for you and your kiddos!

Home is such a good place to be!

(I happen to have an over abundance of pictures...
so sorry
 you may get tired of seeing us in Florida.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wondering... If They Are Biological Siblings?

As we were in process to adopt Ben I got an email from a family that had adopted his foster sister.
That was over 18 months ago...
One year ago we traveled to Florida and tried to get together with this family but Ben and Joey were new to our family (home 2-3 months) and it just didn't work out.
(We needed more time to bond as a family, 4 kids threw up on our way to Florida and we just needed more time to figure out our daily life.)

So instead of seeing each other, they talked on the phone.
Ben had tears in his eyes as they talked and Cassie cried after the conversation.
They spoke Chinglish- part English and part Chinese!
It was a phone call they thought they would never have...
It was a blessing!

Ben (and Joey) have been home for almost 15 months now.
So we planned to get together- a huge thank you to Cassie's family for being so flexible!

We met at Clearwater Marine Aquarium-
Home of Winter and Hope from the movie
Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2!

Here is a pic of Winter!

Before we met I went to Cassie's Mom's FB page so we would know who they were as were about to  meet them!
I thought that Cassie resembled Ben but that was all...

When they walked up to us and I looked at her...
it took my breath away.
I saw a girl version of our Ben...

It was uncanny how much they looked a like...
People say our bio kids look a like but it was nothing compared to these two.
Maybe Billy and Johnny look more alike but still not like these two!

Everyone had a wonderful time!
All the children loved Cassie (and thought she looked like Ben) and her sister Camille!

Yep... I really did take a side view pic and told them not to smile!
Same eyes, eyebrows, nose, chin, jawline, cross bite, little mustache and face/head shape!

We are going to have the children's DNA tested to see if they actually are biological siblings.

We think they are... but either way...
Cassie and Ben are family!
They spent 6 years together in the same foster family in China!

From what we have heard Cassie went to the foster family at 10 months old and Ben went to the foster family three years later when he was a baby. 
His file is on my other computer, so as soon as I get home I will be checking out what it says!

Very thankful to God to have had this experience and so thankful to meet this wonderful family!

Today we are going to research "23 and Me". 
A company that does DNA testing!

I'm a little nervous...
I don't know why?
There's no reason to be a little nervous.
But I just am...

And excited!
For them!
For the families!
For the possible unsolved mysteries!

HE knows the whole story!

Monday, February 23, 2015

They're Here and They Went Back Home!

The girls are here!
Emma and Ellie have safely arrived!

They arrived a couple days ago!
Everything went well at home and school and they enjoyed their time with our sitter!

It feels so good to have them with us!
And they are so happy to be back here!

They even got to see Katie and Emily for 2 days!
Katie took them to the beach for a photo session!

We are feeling a bit nomadic!
two different houses and now we have decided to stay another week-
 so that means will be moving to house number 3 in another week ;-)!

This is the first house we were in- Madeline and Anna were so proud that they made their bed and kept their room clean!
(Obviously, I am way behind on my pics and posts!)

Our Anna is on growth hormone- she is getting so tall! 
She was in the 1/2 percentile before starting growth hormone.
Now she is in the 3rd percentile!

This home was an amazing blessing!

The family that owns it has 11 kids!
So they "get us"!
We are not an odd family at all, to them!
Only God could have orchestrated all of this!
We plan to come back here next year!

Joey made his bed!
(I really have to bite my tongue... and focus on the cuteness!)

And Melissa and Abby made their bed and cleaned their room!
Something tells me Melissa did most of it!
It could have something to do with the fact that Abby is nowhere in sight!

And Luke made his bed ;-)

We have loved every minute of having this precious little girl with us!

After two weeks together they had to head home...

Back to Colorado and into a snowstorm...

They left very early in the morning.
When Ava got up -
 she quickly looked for Emily...
in hopes that Katie had forgotten her...

No such luck...
Katie remembered to take Emily with her.

It is such a blessing to be a Grandparent!

And it has been an amazing blessing for our younger child that are home, too!

Sarah, Mia, Ava and Melissa have adapted well to being an Aunt and a mother's helper!

We love it when our little Emily blows raspberries!

We go to the park almost every day!
We walk around the lake, feed the ducks and the turtles!
Play games and play on the playground equipment!

Emily loves the park, too!

She crawled through the tunnel to get to her Mom on the other side!

The girls attended a gymnastics class at the rec center
while the boys went fishing with Dad!

They were supposed to catch our dinner 
it didn't happen...

so we had hamburgers!

Even though Ben and Sam didn't catch a thing they still had a great time!

We miss you two...

The weather has been a bit chilly but is warming up now!

It was really nice to have the outdoor space for the children to play!

Abby and Anna love helping with Emily, too!

But then someone needs to watch them watching the baby ;-)

Emily, I think you have rabbit ears!

Katie, Mia and Sarah love playing pool!
While foosball is my chosen sport!
Three of the kiddos and myself get a rousing game going!

This is serious competition!
They all want to win!
it goes to show,
the apple does not fall far from the tree...
I show no mercy when playing foosball.
(bad Momma)

Anna and Ben having fun playing ping pong!

Thank you for joining us Emily and Katie!
Now bundle up- it cold and snowy in Colorado!