About Me

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My husband and I, the Dynamic Duo, have been married since 2003. We've weathered the storm of chronic disease (diagnosis 2006), infertility (diagnosis 2007), turning 30 (2006/2007 respectively) a first adoption (2009) of a tender hearted, compassionate Ukrainian BIG boy (born 2006), who has told us he'd like a baby sister, baby brother, big brother, and REALLY big sister. We recently completed our second Ukrainian adoption journey, which brought us a daughter (born 2005). We'll see what else God brings our way!

Friday, December 23, 2011

November...Mystery Solved

I know, I know.  I'm really behind with all the craziness that has been going on.  And it takes a lot longer to catch up now that I have two kids and a full schedule!  I don't really remember November happening.  One day it was Halloween and the next I was asking someone why they were getting their turkey already...on November 16th!!  And then it was December and the tree was up and decorated.  I missed every birthday and anniversary...we were that busy.  Oh, and the fact that we've been passing around a bronchial infection doesn't help!  There was one week I slept on the couch because every few minutes I'd cough.  Eli got it, then Dave and Amelia.

In the beginning of November I contacted Amelia's teacher and she suggested a before meeting sit down with the ELL teacher.  My concern was that she still had such a short attention span and is so easily distracted.  It wouldn't be concerning as much if it wasn't happening at home, too, where so little is new and I would have expected things to calm down a bit.  My concern was whether or not she has ADD.

I went in to the school with both kids (before school began).  The ELL teacher has an aid that's married to a Russian speaking man, so she arranged for them to join us (how cool is that?!).  I told the teacher that I was concerned she may have an attention issue, but I refuse to have her tested for anything until we've hit the one year mark.  The teacher agreed.  She said that she has a lot of experience with refugee children and all the behaviors she's seen so far are normal and that everything is still so new to Amelia.  She also agreed that I should monitor her for food allergies (which she definitely has and we're still figuring out) and perhaps that malnutrition could be a factor.  She put my mind at ease, while also stating that at the end of the year we would all have a better grasp of what behaviors are immaturity and what is really an issue.

So the fact that she's written on the bathroom wall (the ELL teacher made her clean it while explaining it's not OK, which was AWESOME!), cut up her teddy grahams with scissors (which got her behavior frog moved down a notch), puts crayons in her mouth, sings at the top of her lungs while in the bathroom at school, and can't sit through a 20 minute cartoon or a 5 minute book without getting bored...well, that's all our normal.  Oh, and we found gum on the inside of her shoe...as in where her feet go...more on that in a minute.

Things have gotten better, though.   We've been giving the kids Omega 3 fish oil supplements we bought from my chiropractor.  They're great!  They have no fish taste and don't upset any tummys.  I've also heard flax seed and something starting with B are also good for attention.  The teachers have noticed a significant difference.  We keep her away from milk and Red#40, which affects her like crazy.  I thought about doing gluten free, but after playing with her diet I really don't think she's allergic to gluten.

We had both parent teacher conferences and both kids are doing great.  Eli is counting over 100, starting to add and subtract, knows most of his letters (upper and lower), but is having a hard time with rhyming.  He can  spell something like CAT, but if you show him the word and say "C....AT.  What is that Eli?"  He can't put it together to read the word cat.  He's starting to get it.  The teacher was very impressed with how far along he was considering he hadn't been in Montessori before.  She mentioned that he can be a little rough with the girls, not in an aggressive or angry way, but in a playful way.  So we've been talking to him about how Superheroes protect the girls, girls don't like rough play, and we've been keeping him from tackling Amelia or roughhousing with her at all.  I think it's really helped, especially considering his "best buddies" are always girls!

Amelia's conference was more of a formality since we had just seen the teacher, but she's doing well.  The teachers LOVE her and thing she is just the cutest thing ever.  She said every day after recess Amelia's face squished on the glass door is the first thing she sees and it makes her laugh.  She also told us she thinks Amelia is a great girl that just needs time to grow, but she'll get there.  She didn't see any signs of a mental impairment in her at all, but it's really too soon to tell.  She needs some help with social skills, but that's because of her orphanage life.  She's doing great and in the perfect place.  Thank you God!

And another mystery is solved.  Some time in early November I noticed there was gum on the inside of her shoe.  I asked the teacher if she knew anything about it.  Do they give gum at school?  The teacher said she thought I was giving Amelia gum so she didn't think much of it.  I told her we don't give her gum.  We asked the Russian speaker to ask her.  He found out that she was taking gum from wherever she found it and sticking it in her mouth....EEEEEEWWWWW!!!  I just laughed and told the teacher I was going to let her handle that one because it was happening in class!  The Russian speaker explained to her that it wasn't safe for her to do that. Can you imagine!  LOL

Friday, December 16, 2011

Halloween and November?

Hockey is on the TV, the kids are asleep and my mother in law and sister in law are coming tomorrow.  I have an empty fridge and messy house, but I'm determined to update this blog!

Spaghetti faces are the best!

Not to be outdone, Amelia decided to get a black eye.  She was leaning back on a three wheeler...and leaned back a little too far.  The three wheeler whacked her on the face near her eye and gave her a black eye.  This was in between Eli's two black eyes.  Geez!  Slow down kids!!

The kids were REALLY excited about Halloween.  This is the first year we've taken Eli and WOW was he excited.  They ran around the block to every house and were worn out at the end...but they still had a little energy to kill.  So we danced to Christmas music!  Oh, yes.  I had Christmas music blaring while handing out candy.  Next year, my goal is to dress up as Mrs. Clause and hand out candy canes ;)

And, of course, every day after Halloween is a dress up day for a while...Spiderman is undercover to save the princess, who is wishing for snow.

Batman made an appearance.  Check out those abs!  LOL  He's been running around the house being super hero's lately.  Hands on hips and all.

Dave and I went on a date...the kids took advantage of the sitter by using our camera.  Interesting pictures!

The kids chose weird food to eat that night.  Like a jelly sandwich dipped in ketchup.  Or hot dogs with ketchup and jelly.  Whatever...at least they're eating!

And what fall would be complete without leaves.  Not as many as in previous years, but lots of jumpinable piles!

Eli with his skateboarding soldier and ninja frogs.

And what boys childhood would be complete without launching a rocket or two ;)  I'm not sure who had more fun.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

June 15, 2011

I've run across a post about our time in Ukraine that I wasn't comfy sharing while I was there.  Ever get that feeling you're being watched?  I wanted to play it safe with this adoption, so I withheld this post until we got home...and then forgot about it!  You'll see what a tough time we had while there.  This is the exact opposite experience we had with our first adoption.

June 15, 2011

Here are the events that have transpired since last I typed:

I rode a train, which was nerve wracking for me, since the last two trains made me sick.  But I did just fine!  I was so happy and relieved.  I even slept for some of the ride.  Then we hopped in to our taxi and took off.  First to the inspector, who was a little too busy to come with us.  Next to the orphanage.

I was impressed with all the activities the kids had there.  Several play areas, especially for an orphanage so small.  We walked in to the orphanage, asked to see our girl, and then waited.  And waited.  First we waited for the doctor to come in.  The psychologist was called and we met with her for a few minutes.  Not much was known about the girl's past which made me sad.  And then, eventually, the doctor came in.  She, the psychologist and the deputy director all sang the same tune.  Basically they told us she is unable to learn, she's an invalid, and she will never be able to live an independent life.  When her doctor told us all about everything that is wrong with her and how mentally impaired she is, we smiled and said “Thank you, we'd like to see her now.”  The doctor we hired to come with us told us he was getting as much information as he could and then taking it with a grain of salt.  And as Nastya's doctor left she said “I can't scare them.  Nothing seems to scare them!”

Then we were told we couldn't see her because the director, who was out sick that day, was on her way in and we needed to wait for her.  When she finally came in, she continued to tell us what a burden this girl would have on our family, our finances, and our future.  To be honest, I was about ready to scream at this point.  She kept going on and on!

FINALLY!  The meeting took place 3 hours after we first arrived!  She is so beautiful and stole Dave's heart right away.  The doctor we hired took a look and Nastya and tried to conduct an IQ test, which was harbored by the fact that she's shy and had the director, the psychologist, a caregiver, our translator, and us all staring at her, hovering over this sweet, shy girl.  Not to mention they would all say things like “Oh, she doesn't know that.”  or “She can't do that yet.”  Well, of course not!  Not if you're telling her she can't do it!!

After sitting and minding the doctor for almost 30mins, we got to play with her for a few minutes.  Then it was back to the doctor and more play.  All in all I think we got an hour with her before lunch.  We walked back to the car and the doctor told us that some of what they said is true.  Her logic was not very formed and she was at about a 3 year old level.  He said most likely it's some sort of mental issue, not just orphanage delay.  Our translator came in and said that the director was sick and since she was there, do we have an answer for her?  Would we like to adopt this girl?  I was unsure, but because of Dave's resolve, I went for it.  I mean, isn't this the kind of kid that perhaps would get looked over because of her disability that is really in need of a good home?  Let's do this thing!

So Luda went back to tell the director, who wanted to hear it straight from us.  So we went back in to the orphanage and told her yes, we want to adopt her.  Why?  She asked.  We feel like we could provide what she needs.  Why a girl and not a boy?  Because Dave wants a girl.  (I thought that was a strange question.)  We explained to her that in the states, this is not as much of an issue.  There are programs and educational help.  It's really not a big deal.  Eventually she relented and we came to an agreement on an orphanage donation and that was that. 

We left and ran around for another few hours.  We sat down to eat at about 2:30pm only having had snacks up to that point.  We were all starved!  But, oh man, was that food flipping good!!  It was a traditional Ukrainian restaurant and the food was so good I didn't know if I ever wanted to leave.  Mmmmm....

Back in the car and Luda says “So, what do you want to name your girl?  I need to know now.”  Um, what?  Thankfully, we'd been talking about it for a while so we had a few names picked out.  Her name is now Amelia Nastya Moser.  Nastya is short for Anastasia.  She has black hair and blues eyes with a sweet face.  She seems like she has a gentle personality, but she could just have us fooled.

At about 7ish we were dropped off at our apartment.  That's right, folks.  12 hours running around in a car!

Today we went grocery shopping at a supermarket...a walmart type place.  With fresh veggies and fruits, you bag them and go to a counter to have them weighed and then they place a sticker price on it.  There are so many things they don't have here!  Like any type of spaghetti sauce or tomato paste (my Italian brother in law would have a mini heart attack). 

We found an internet cafe and sat down for an hour to eat and reconnect.  Then we went to visit Nastya.  She was so excited to see us!  We gave all the kids a piece of candy after asking permission and then sat down with Nastya.  Just like with Eli, it's hard to imagine her home with me.  But I can tell you that I'm already having to hold myself back from buying cute clothes and bows!  Her hair was in this really cute double french braid.  It was so cute!

I'm starting to get the impression that this is an orphanage for special needs kids, those that may have a mental issue here or there.  I think the thing that surprises me the most is my desire to be “normal” and have that “normal” kid.  I guess when it comes down to it, I'm just as superficial as anyone else.  I thought I would have such a heart for a child that has a mental disability, and I think I will, but right now it seems overwhelming.  I think about all the activities she won't be able to do because of her mental status, all the things I wish I could be a part of.  Like sports, AWANA, maybe even BSF. 

After our visit today, I have to say that Nastya has a lot of energy.  She did something similar to Eli when he first went outside...she ran around to everything wanting to play for just a few minutes at a time!  I think she'll settle down a little as we visit more.  I think we're going to visit once a day since we have to take a taxi to see her.  We'll see how much it costs in the end.

We're home now, wishing we could talk to people via any means we can, but the internet will not be fixed until tomorrow.  Sigh.  Oh, well.  At least we have a reason to wake up tomorrow!