Monday, March 31, 2008

Last week

Last week started out with me getting sick with a cold. One by one different kids came down with it. Today I have James, Sarah, and Joel who aren't feeling well.

We had several air-soft wars here since some of the youth that go to our church had the week off. Our yard is perfect for it. We have big oak trees that they can run and hide in.

Friday Steve and I went with Jesse to San Diego Christian College www.sdcc.edu for Scholarship Day. We toured the campus and met several of the administrative staff. It was nice to have a semi-alone day with him. He had to go off for interviews and essays so we only got him part of the time.

Saturday James went to a Cancer Ball with his friend Katie-Rose. He didn't feel well so we had to pick him up early. He wore a tux and rode there in a limo. When I have more time I'll post the pictures from that.

Saturday Sarah and I went to a women's breakfast at church. That was yummy. They served blueberry french toast. I'd never had that before! Sarah made a card when it was craft time.

I stayed home from church yesterday with my sick children. We have SAT testing with our ISP today, not sure who is actually going to make it since they're not feeling well. It's about time I go wake them up and find out.

My friend, Dawn, Plaid Hearts, offered to make modest swimsuits for my four youngest daughters. I found two different prints on ebay that I liked. Thanks Dawn!!!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cookie Monster

Today I made cookies. I had some in the oven and some on the pan ready to go into the oven. When I went into the laundry room to check things; Anna was on the loose! Adah was in her high chair sitting quietly, but when I looked at Anna she had "the look." It told me that something was up. I looked around and I found out what it was.........she (Anna) had taken four pieces of cookie dough from the inside edge of the pan and given them to Adah. That was why Adah was sitting so quietly! She was up to her elbows in cookie dough! Little munchkins..............

Referral Pics

These were the pictures we had seen of Addis & Mulu when we asked about them.

Addis


Mulu

More pictures of the girls

These were taken on Feb. 12, when our daughters moved from the Adera orphanage to Christian World Adoption Ethiopia's Care Center/Foster Home.
One of our prayers was that Mulu's front teeth would fall out and they did! We didn't want her to need dental care as soon as she got home. We figured dealing with all of us would be traumatic in and of itself. :) Thank you, Lord!!
Abi Mulu lookin' just as pretty as can be!
Abi Mulu and Addis playing together
Addis looking very serious
She mustered a smile here!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Successful Court Date! The Girls Are Ours!

Introducing................

Abi Mulu (5) & Addis Rose (7)




Receiving the gifts we sent them.
Opening their packages.
Beautiful smile! Love you Addis!
Isn't she adorable?! Love you Mulu!!



Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter!

Easter started out wonderfully! We were able to go to church and worship together as a family. Steve and I were supposed to work in the Early childhood class and the SS teacher graciously said she would work so we could stay together with our family for the service. Yeah!!

We hurried home so that we could get our house ready for our family that was coming over for the afternoon. We had about forty-five adults and four babies/toddlers. The food was fantastic, the egg hunt was great, and the family was fab. Anna and Adah provided all the entertainment we needed.

We had three hams and everyone brought a dish of some kind. Yummy!

The younger cousins played Red Rover, Red Rover after the egg hunt. Even though we all live in San Diego County we just don't see each other often enough. We're all spread out and many miles between us.


Below are some pictures. Enjoy!

Anna at church
Adah at church

The youngest seven after church-Jesse had to work and J&J weren't there yet.
Part of our motley crew-notice the unbuttoned shirt on Joel? (Ya-that would be my son. rollling my eyes-can it ever be easy?)

Jake and his sparkling smile
A&A watching their older cousins/sibs

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Yardwork

Saturday we took the day to work outside and do yardwork. Steve started our ride-on mower and mowed a little and then let me take her for a ride. John hooked the trailer to the back of the mower and he sat in it while we rode around the yard cutting the grass. It took all day to mow the back, side, and side-front, but it's something we have to do a few times each year after the rains.

We keep our grass short-short so we and the crows can spot rattlesnakes.

Steve weedeated our creekbed. I'm too old to do it now. It's too hard on my arms to hold that weed whipper so I get to do the easy job of riding the mower.

Afterwards he took us out for an Italian dinner where we were blessed to have our friends Jerry & Dianna join us. The unexpected blessings are the best!

Friday, March 21, 2008

This week

This has been one of the busier weeks for me. I thought since we had the week off of school we would have some free time. I thought wrong. I can hardly sit down! We've hit the pharmacy three times, two different Targets (we ended up finding some reasonably priced patio furniture that is on sale), Social Security Office to try and get Anna and Adah SS numbers, Costco, and visited with a friend for a few hours. Writing it down it doesn't seem that we've gone that many places, but I must be missing a lot. Got that foggy brain going on.

Sarah and Joe were down in Mexico so two of my helpers were gone. They had a great time down there. Their job this time was to pour 700 sq ft of concrete.

Jesse has done such a great job that his boss asked him what he thought about becoming a supervisor. He's only been there for three-four months and he just turned eighteen! Good job, Jesse! He doesn't know if he wants to take it though. He's thinking it through. His main responsiblity for the next four years is his schooling, his job will have to come second in line.

Receiving more of our mail-orders for our new daughters. I've been buying them dresses from LL Bean and Gymboree. We're pretty much dresses only, but around the house sometimes we wear pants. I'm finding that most places don't have the bicycle shorts that used to be available when Sarah was little. I always put bicycle shorts on her under dresses so she could play and not show anything. Bicycle shorts work better than other shorts because they're longer and they don't expose anything when you look up the leg. Does that make sense? Anyways modesty is my motto. My friend, Helen, used to tell me, "Don't put anything on them when they're little that you don't want them to wear when their big." So we've never done bikinis, two piece bathing suits, one piece bathing suits without board shorts on over, short-shorts or even mid-thigh shorts (except soccer shorts for soccer), short dresses (have to hit at least the bottom of the knee), no spaghetti straps, no back bearing or cleavage bearing dresses. Basically we stay covered and modest.

Hope you enjoy your Good Friday. I'm going to dr. for my blood pressure. I got called to the drs office, much like when the teacher calls someone to the front of the class. I need to go to Target and buy Easter egg stuff for our Easter egg hunt. Go on our Friday afternoon date lunch. Then hopefully the rest of the day I can lounge. (That is if little Adah & Anna stay out of mischief.) (Nah......what am I thinking?!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Encouraging news about our daughters

Another adoptive family met our new Ethiopian daughters while in Ethiopia. This is the note they wrote to us. It teared us up and gave us great hope that they want to be in our family. We are so thankful to their father for blessing us with his daughters.

Dear Parents of ***** & ****,
I just came from the care center where I met your children. Oh you are blessed indeed. May I suggest you get a box of tissues, for you will see you will need it.

I was allowed to take pictures of your children. In fact, they were expecting me. I took a lot of pictures and they allowed me to video them as well opening the gifts you prepared. They gazed into each picture. You will see this on the video. They took every single thing out and then their friends gathered around to study your pictures. Each items was then carefully placed back in the bag like they were the most important things in their lives. They hugged the full bags. It was precious. While that was happening I asked the director if there is anything she would like you to know.

She does want you to know this: I gather you had a court date today. I was not told the outcome, but this I was told. An I got every word on video.

The children’s father went to the court hearing then came to the care center to say goodbye to **** & *****. Everyone was in tears. I am misty just writing this to you. Their father is old and he works hard as a laborer and makes very little money. One of your daughters fell asleep in his arms while they were at the center. Your children were and are loved deeply.

***** decided to write you a note from the paper and pen you gave her. She disappeared for a while she worked on it. We did not know where she went so we gathered into the car and said ciao. And then I saw her. Tears were running down her face. She was afraid we were going to leave without her note to you. The director translated the note to you on the video so you will know what it says. It is entirely in Amharic. I have the note. It is absolutely precious. I will mail it to you when we return to the States.

Your quiver will be bursting at the seams. You are blessed, indeed. I am so happy for you!

Court Postponed

Our court date is postponed until March 28. The Ministry of Women's Affairs needs more documentation. Not sure what they need, but hopefully it's figured out by next Friday. :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Kite flying

Yesterday we went kite flying at the bay with other families from our church. We thought we might not get to go because it was supposed to rain. We were blessed with beautiful weather!

The best picture of all. Can you tell who has seven brothers?
Tay-Tay and Sarah
Anna Banana
Steve flying kites with the girls.Me
Sarah lovin' up on Adah.
Sisters!
Best friends!
Anna puckering up
Adah picking flowers
James flying a kite

Joel and his little sissy Adah





Saturday, March 15, 2008

Funniest thing I've seen in a long time!


Don't we ALL wish we could do this at some time in our child's life? I saw this on someone else's blog.

Saturday

Woke up today to find that Anna had thrown up on her pillow. She has caught the cough that the other children have and I think she gagged and threw up from that. She's quite the snuggle bug today. We love snuggle bugs in this house.

We didn't go on our plane ride. We drove about fifty miles, had an early dinner, and then talked to the pilot. He said we could go, but wouldn't see much so we are rescheduling for a HOT and clear summer day.

We went to Sears to look for bathing suits for the girls. I don't let my girls wear one-pieces without long board shorts and it has been impossible to find any in the stores. All the shorts are teeny, tiny. I want my girls covered up so some pervert doesn't get his thrill looking at their little tushies at the pool or the the beach. I saw some in the Land's End catalog and since Sears carries Lands End I thought that might save me on shipping, but they don't have the bathing suits that I was looking for.

James went to get fitted for a tux today. He is going to a cancer ball with his friend, Katie, in two weeks. Joe needed some items for his trip to Mexico this coming week so he went with his dad and James.

Rearranged a few bookcases yesterday. Trying to shuffle things around so all is taken care of before our new daughters arrive.

Gotta go and shop for swim attire!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Time to take care of myself

It's time to take care of myself. My primary care doctor's office called yesterday and they want me to come in next Friday. My blood pressure was 180/10? last week when I went to the gynecologist. It went down a little, but I am on high blood pressure medicine and did take it that morning so it shouldn't have been that high.

Then as I was eating dinner my gynecologist called because I had left a message the day before. My orders are to rest. I'm on the fence as to if I need a D&C because I'm anemic. She doesn't feel I have any cushion if I bleed heavily even for just two hours. I'm to head to the emergency room. My bleeding has slowed way down, so I think I'm okay. I'm to see her six-eight weeks if everything returns to normal.

She also described me as "stoic." I asked her what that was and she replied, "You're tough, you can handle this" type of person. I replied that I think I've just been this way for so long it is "normal" for me, the heavy bleeding that is. So I looked up what stoic meant. Stoic: calm and patient during times of trouble or distress. Okay, I agree with that. I've just never heard that term used to describe me before in that capacity. People always tell me how patient I am with children, but I don't think I'm any more patient than the next person.

I went up to bed after dinner because I just didn't feel right and slept for an hour and a half. My orders from Steve are to take it easy today. If the weather holds out we're supposed to go on a "Sunset" plane ride over the beach. I bought this for Steve for his Christmas present back in 2006 and we've just never taken advantage of it. It's supposed to rain tomorrow so I don't know if the company will want to go out or not, and I know we won't see a sunset because it's already gray outside.

I'm going to rest, drink hot tea, read some books, and cuddle with the kids who are coughing and have runny noses.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Danielle's Place

I have a wonderful resource that I use and thought I would share it with you. It's http://www.daniellesplace.com You will find crafts, stories, games, and themed lessons. I have used it with our 4 & 5 Sunday School Class, Grades 1-3 Science, Cubbies, etc....

Our lesson has been on Easter the last few weeks in Cubbies. I'm not always satisfied with the activities they give us in the Awana Cubby lessons so I go to either the books that I have from church or I go to Danielle's Place. I can usually find something that will work.

If you homeschool, need Easter or holiday ideas, work with children at church then you'll love this site! I did pay the $20 or so fee to have access to everything and it is well worth it. There are free items and you won't be disappointed. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Answer to blog comment on how we're able to adopt

This is the comment:

Hello,
Some months back I found your blog when I googled The Mother's Companion and told you I remembered reading about you in Helen's newsletter. Anyway, I thought of your family this week as we've been praying about the homeschooling issues there in CA. I thought I'd look you up again. So excited to hear you're adopting again. My husband's extended family includes four adopted sisters, one adopted brother, five adopted cousins and four adopted nieces, so we're big fans of adoption. However, all these relatives who have adopted only have a few biological children of their own. We're expecting number 6. Our kids are already kind of crowded in their rooms, and we have been remodeling our dear little cottage here in the country for almost three years and we're still a long way off. (Did I mention we have one bathroom!?) My question is---unless you're millionaires and have a huge house---how on earth do you pull it off? My in-laws' adoptions of two girls from India almost caused them to lose their house, which they had built a few years prior. They ended up selling it, and my MIL had to go to work full time. These are not options for our family. I have too many precious little ones to even think of leaving the home, not to mention homeschooling the older ones. I hope you can take a bit of time (which I'm sure you don't have much of) and share what
God has enabled you to do.
God bless you,
Kristyn Hall

My answer:

Hi Kristyn!

Thank you for your prayers on the homeschooling issue. We're continuing our education as usual and anticipate the decision will be depublished meaning it will only apply to that family not homeschoolers all over the state of California. As it is San Diego are laying off about 1600 positions in the school district because of the budget crisis in California. Layoffs are happening all over California for the next school year. How can California possibly educate all the homeschoolers that would infiltrate their schools? It's said there are 4,000 home educators in just San Diego County.

That is one big adoptive family! Good for your family giving homes to children!
Congratulations on your new pregnancy. Hope it is an easy pregnancy for you.

As far as the finances to adopt. Yes, it costs a lot to adopt internationally. My husband has always saved part of his earnings from the time he started working at fourteen. He has made wise investments and this has paid off. We are in our late forties now and so have some savings.

A few years ago we were going to do foster care and we desired baby/toddlers because our youngest was about four-five years of age. We live on four acres and have a seasonal creek that the foster system wanted us to fence off with a 6 foot fence. The creek runs the entire length of our property and that was the one thing we weren't willing to do. We gave up the idea of helping others in this capacity and being blessed in return because I thought all adoptions had to go through the state, they don't. I did find I had thyroid cancer through the medical screening I received though. That was taken care of and now I'm fine.

Then we saw the movie on the Invisible Children from Uganda. This was happening to children. Africa's children. Uganda's children. But still children. Children that needed their familes, but in some cases were forced to kill their families. I looked into adoption from Uganda, but found that it wasn't really a viable option. I have since learned it's kind of on a case-by-case basis.

Then we were learning how blessed the Campbell's and their extended family were from adopting children from Liberia. I read articles in the Above Rubies magazines that came in the mail and I was so happy for them that families were growing and growing by bringing children in that desperately needed help.

At this time in our lives our youngest was five or so and we wanted to take a year and travel the USA in a motorhome. We could have done it financially, but was that the best use of our money? It would have built family time. We would have had great memories. But $80,000 for a vehicle that could break down as soon as it's pulled out of the lot. We waited. We never bought that motorhome. Instead we bought a toy hauler that was much, much cheaper, but would hold all of us. We've since used it as our family vacations in our local mountains and when we had to evacuate the wildfires this past October. We lived in it for a little less than a week. It fit all ten of us!

One day at church my friend, Rachel, and I were talking international adoption and the Campbells. I didn't know that you didn't have to go through the state to adopt. I asked Steve how he would feel about adopting a little black baby. He was good with it and so we started praying about it, reading about Liberia, and deciding that we weren't going to buy a motorhome, but would instead invest that money in children.

We decided to go ahead and contacted an agency here in San Diego, Adoption Options, and they came out and did our homestudy. We were put down for four children with the intention of adopting three. When we accepted the referrals of two unrelated girls we could not take a third child. If one of them would have had a sibling then we could have had three, but not as it played out. We adopted from Christian World Adoption and that is who we are using again.

When we did our paperwork for Anna and Adah we were told to prepare two sets of documents. We only used one. I talked to our social worker from Adoption Options and she said we could start the proceedings for new children immediately. We did! Since the paperwork was still in the same calendar year we didn't have to repeat medical evaluations, or much of the paperwork. We had to do minor tweaking.

We decided on two children. Steve felt that as long as we weren't adding on to the house, we weren't buying a bigger camper, we're squeezing bodies in bedrooms as much possible then we could adopt again. The fees for older children were also lower than for those under two.

So now we're going to have three boys in one room, two boys in another room, four girls in one room, and one girl in her own room, and then my husband and myself in our room. We took part of our garage and made a bedroom. We have three bathrooms, actually two and a half, but three toilets. We bought our house back in 1995 when property was cheap, cheap, cheap. We would not be able to buy our house now with the way prices have sky rocketed here in San Diego.

I do not work outside the house. I do volunteer at church as the Awana Cubbie Director and the Early Childhood Director. We would not have gone into debt to adopt. God has blessed us with wisdom in how to use our money wisely. We have always tithed and always attended church. We gave the size of our family over to the Lord back in 1988-89. We had six children since then. We haven't been blessed with a biological baby since 2000. I've had six miscarriages since 1979.

I do have friends on our adoption board that do raise money for their adoptions. We were blessed in that we did not have to do that. Kingdom Kids Ministries helps those who want to adopt and do not have the financial ability to do so. There is also an adoption tax credit of $10,000 per child.

If you would have asked me two years ago if I would have two new little ones with two on the way I would have looked at you like a deer in the headlights and thought you were bonkers. Life is joyful with our two new daughters, but it is definitely tougher since I'm older and there is two of them. I am willing to be used by God in this way though. I can minister to others from my home and be ministered to!

If finances are tough and you're called to adopt you could fundraise or adopt domestically. God will show you a way.

Hopefully I've answered your questions. Please ask if you have more!

Blessings,
Vikki

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What's happening in this neck of the woods?

Since last week I've been busy as usual! Wednesday night was Awana so Sarah and I had fun with the 3 & 4 year olds. When I finally feel like we're meshing as a team our club will end in May and we'll have to start a whole new group in September. John won Clubber of the Month for the 3-6 grade boys.

Thursday found me at Kaiser for female issues. I'm still anemic, but the good news is that my count has come up from 7.4 this summer to 9.7 now. Now I'm on iron 3 x a day until my count comes up to 12. I escaped a D&C for the immediate by deciding to take Provera for the long run. I'm taking it 3 x a day for two weeks and then hopefully I'll go to an osteopath who can help me. I don't want to be in Ethiopia next month and have these issues. Can't risk it. Hopefully
this will help.

While I was at Kaiser I was minding my own business. Really. I was. Steve says I talk and smile at people and that's why I get drawn into conversations. This time I had my nose in a book, Do They Hear You When You Cry? about female circumcision mutilation, and two ladies were speaking to me. They even had to tell me they were talking to me. They liked my skirt. I thanked them, but when I looked up the nurse wanted to know why she knew me. I said, "I don't know. Maybe since I have eight biological children you've seen me in here over the years." Then it started. "You have eight children, plus you've adopted two?" Minutes later they both come out and take a seat and interview me. "How does your family eat?" she asks. I reply, "Around the table." The other nurse loved it. She asked questions that seemed kind of basic, like why is she asking this? I guess not every family sits down to meals together or really do much together at all. Finally they had to go and resume work. But me? I was good. I didn't start the conversation. They did.

Friday found us without power for seven or so hours. It was a planned outage. We did our school work early and finished just about when the electricity went out. We headed down to church to assess the situation in the preschool room at church. I'm the new Early Childhood Director and am fixing little things here and there in a room that has been neglected because no one has been in charge. By taking the position I'm helping my husband because he is the Children's Ministry Director.

Saturday Joe had his All Star Tournament and lost both games that day. We went to Spaghetti Factory that night with his team. I miss Spaghetti Factory and it's Mizithra Cheese. It's for toothsome cheese lovers ya know. The four boys spent the night at their cousin's house who happens to be in their thirty's. Their second cousins are actually the ones close to their age.

Sunday Joe had an 8am game, and this was about thirty or so miles away, so I head out early. I left the girls with Steve and he had them in the church nursery while he taught. I picked them up and we were all able to go into the worship service together. Joe lost that game too, so they're done!!!

Monday I moved two bedrooms around. I took a set of bunks down and put them up in Jesse's room. We couldn't get the bunks through the door so we took the doors off, then we sawed, yes, sawed the little balls off the ends of the bunks. They still wouldn't fit through, so we were just going to saw the legs off the darn things when Steve decided he better step in. He got it all put back together downstairs for us.

Today we did school, made taco meat, Adah had her last therapy appt, Joel had a dental appt. and Anna goes to the opthamologist for her lazy eyelid. We're hoping he can help us or refer us to someone who can help with her molluscum that is on her face. (You may or may not have noticed the bumps, it's a skin virus that wasn't there when we picked her up.)

So Tacos for dinner, laundry is still going, I have a headache: I'm told it's because I'm anemic, life goes on as usual.

Oh and one more thing! Our court date is in one week!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Friday, March 7, 2008

Monday at the La Jolla Shores Tidepools

We went on a field trip with our home school group to the tidepools at La Jolla.


Mommy & Joel
This is why we live in Southern California! The weather is beautiful!!
Joe enjoying his solitude
James starting his adventure
Joel finding treasures








Monday & Tuesday in pictures

Look at our new dresses! Anna do you see mine?
Yes, I see your dress, Adah!
Mom, You're so funny!
sister love
Kiss!

Adah & Joe
Love you brother!
Love in its purest form
Girlfriends!
Me & my brother
Joel & Uncle Steve
John & Uncle Steve
Jake
Uncle Steve
Steve & Steve (They're the luckiest Steves I know! They both have me in common. :0) )