Monday, September 29, 2008

Another Spontaneous Trip

Oh the excitement around here! We just learned that my Grandparents are at my Great Aunt's house which is about 4 hours drive from our house. Wednesday afternoon we plan to hit the road and go see them. Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie will be meeting them for the first time. My Aunt Glendal's house is a kids heaven on earth. LOTS of animals and even horses to ride. If you think of us on Wednesday and Thursday please pray for me as I will be taking this trip with all the kids and no other adult.

When we leave on Thursday Jude will not be coming home with us. He has a very special invitation to go stay with his Nana and Papa (my parents) for a week! He will be catching a ride to their house with my Grandparents. We had planned (yes, you read that right, we PLANNED) a trip to see all my family anyways so they could all meet the kids, so we will be picking him up at that time. What a great chance for him to be showered with attention from his grandparents!!! I think they will have a fantastic time together.

UPDATED: Stephanie will be joining Jude and hanging out with the family too!

Happy 13th Beautiful Daughter!!!

We now know that Stephanie is used to celebrating her birthday on the 19th but because we did not learn about this fact until the evening of the 19th we decided we would celebrate it on the 29th since that is the date on all her paper work. So yesterday we went... you guessed it!... to Disneyland and she got to call the rides all day.

This is what 13 looks like (taken this morning). We have a teen daughter, yikes! I keep telling her she is too pretty and for her birthday we will buy her a giant sack to put over her head. The reply I get to that is always "You crazy Mom." Since I hear that 20 times a day (and it's usually true) I shrug it off and continue my search for the sack.

Stephanie got a lot of her birthday presents early. Last week she got her ears pierced as an early gift. As soon as she got home she started asking for this so she was so happy. Then a few days ago a package arrived for her. She was so thrilled and her eyes got huge when she saw the package had HER name on it!

The package was filled with High School Musical items. So perfect for her! I don't know if she was more excited about getting mail or the actual presents. When asked if she wanted to wait and open it on her birthday or open it now she yelled out "NOW!". Yep, she's my daughter.

When Nana and Papa were here they presented her with some cash to go shopping for some new clothes. She was so excited! We have not had a chance to sneak away alone for shopping yet so she has something to look forward to.

Stephanie's birthday celebration at Disneyland was WONDERFUL. She wore a pin that Disneyland gives out to birthday guests that had her name on it. Everywhere we went people would call out to her "Happy Birthday Stephanie". She even had announcements on rides for everyone to yell happy birthday to her and heard it several times from characters in the parade. I think she really felt special!

Stephanie and Jude were feeling extra brave and decided to try the Hollywood tower of terror. This is a BIG deal for Stephanie who hates to ride on elevators. The whole ride takes place on an elevator that suddenly drops, then flies up again, on and on and on. She loved it! Jude kept flying out of his seat and was digging his fingers into my arms but insists he was not scared. All day the were on the fastest and scariest rides they could find.

The celebration continues on today. We dubbed today a "no school" day in her honor. After dinner we will be having cake, ice cream, and opening even more presents.

Introducing the Grandparents

I've been such a bad blogger these days. ;) I'll try and do a little catch up and post a weeks worth of posts today.

Last Tuesday our house was buzzing with excitement. Jim's parents were coming for a quick visit and Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie would meet them for the first time.

Stephanie is an amazing cook (Have I mentioned that yet?) and was so excited to make her favorite dish to serve to her Grandparents. She worked on it for almost 2 hours and has a few burn scars as a souvenir of this special day but she was so cheerful about wanting to cook for them.
Jude jumps in to help for a little while too. All other brothers and sister (and Mom) are on standby ready to help with the taste testing.
The kids were so excited about them coming that they sat outside and watched for them to pull into the drive way. Nana couldn't even get out of the car before being swarmed with kids and hugs.
Stephanie makes friends with their "baby" Sandy who is beautiful and one of the sweetest dogs ever (which is saying a lot since I'm not a dog fan). Of course this brought up the talk again: Stephanie still wants a dog, I still want a snake~ Nobody gets what they want. ;)
Thanks for coming to see us Nana and Papa. We all love you!

The kids have now official met both sets of Grandparents. In a couple of days they will be meeting their Great Grandparents too!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So Cheesy!

I've posted a lot of cheesy things on this blog... I admit it. However, this tops them all!

They loved sharing long strings of melted globby cheese. I thought it was funny but was having to check my gag reflex too. I'm all for cheese, but OH MAN!

Monday, September 22, 2008

First American Birthday Party

Saturday we were invited to a birthday party for two very adorable twin little girls. I was not sure if we would go because Jim was out of town so I would need to take the six pack (of kids, of course) by myself. The kids proved themselves capable of behaving well enough for me Friday and Saturday morning that I decided to go for it and take them. If it got to be too much I could always load them up and take them home. Plan B never had to happen. I was so proud of our children for their manners and sweetness at this party.

Our friends go ALL OUT whenever they have a party. They had a DJ with music cranking the whole time, a huge bouncy house with slide attached, a BBQ with outrageous amounts of food, a giant birthday cake, big tub of ice cream, a HUGE pile of gifts for the kids to open (because there were two birthday girls the pile seemed extra big), and stuffed goody bags. WHEW! The kids all had a really wonderful time. They spent nearly 4 non-stop hours in the bouncy house. I kept wondering what Stephanie and Jude must think of all of this. I sure hope their not expecting it for their birthdays. ;) They really had a wonderful time together and everyone went home (Mom included) happy.

The cute little dog that Stephanie is holding sparked another conversation about pets (Stephanie and I have had many). Kyle and Stephanie just beg for a dog but Luke and Lovenie are terrified of animals. I really want a snake and Stephanie tells me that if I get a snake she will leave to live with her Grandma. It boils down to.. No dog, No snake. :( Maybe one day!

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Was Born Twice

Today I had an interesting conversation with Stephanie. Her birthday is coming up on September 29th. We have plans of Jim taking the day off, Disneyland, birthday cake, presents... the works! Today she asked me how much longer until her birthday and I told her today is the 18th so she just has 11 more days until her birthday. Stephanie and Jude both got very excited and informed me that her birthday is not in 11 days it is September 19th...TOMORROW! All of her important paper work (birth certificate, passport, visa, legal resident cards.. the works) says the 29th so I never really thought twice about it. Jude also tells us that his birthday is not the same as what is on his birth certificate. It's so strange to not really know when it is or how old they really are. Jim is out of town right now at a funeral so I managed to talk them into going ahead with the celebration on the 29th as planned. They went along with it OK at first. Then Stephanie tried to tell me (with a huge grin) that she came from her Mother twice. Once on the 19th and once on the 29th so she thinks we should have a birthday for her on both days. Nice try girlfriend!!! I know we have some major cultural differences but I think being born once is pretty universal. Regardless of the actual date we are just so glad she was born!

UPDATED: I just realized TODAY is the 19th! Yep, I'm that tired. ;)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It All Started With A One Man Band

Eleven years ago today Jim and I had our first date. Of course I had no idea I was heading out with the guy that would end up being my partner for a lifetime. I can remember almost every detail of that date. He met me in the parking lot where I lived and we walked to a nearby place that had a one man band. Yes, a one man band! Never before and never again have I had the privilege of seeing such a thing. Can you imagine if someone could have come to us that night and told us what would become of this date? We would probably have laughed and laughed and laughed at them. This life we have is certainly not what we would have written for ourselves that night. Who could have ever imagined the great adventures that were ahead of us? Oh, I'm so glad God knew! I can't imagine spending the rest of my life and living out these great adventures with anyone else.

Thank you honey for embracing my insanity for Eleven years now. I'm so glad to have you! Thinking back on our first date I think it is very fitting that we did something so unusual. That is certainly a good way to describe our life together. Very unusual but with great harmony!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I shared in an earlier post that I would love to share some of the great advice I received while going through the toughest part of the adjustment period.

One dear friend told me "Parent them now the way you will parent them 1 year from now." It's so hard to find the balance between compassion for all they are going through and yet not putting up with disrespect or disobedience. For the first few weeks I kind of let everything go and then didn't understand when I tried to "lay down the law" why they were not respecting my authority. A friend (with experience) reminded me that if I don't set the boundaries in the very beginning and then stick to them it was going to be much more difficult to try and be an authority to them later on and they will not respect me when I try. Then you are suddenly facing an uphill battle to try and get to where you should have started anyways. I've seen this to be so true even in the first few short weeks. We still have our moments but once I made the decision to not be afraid to parent our children, things have been much better!

When sharing with this same friend that I felt like our family always had the "walking on eggshells" feeling she told me to decide not to feel that way. Feeling that way is a choice. In families everyone does not always get along every second of the day. So if everyone is not happy every second... so be it. Let it happen, but choose not to walk around afraid of the next thing that will make someone unhappy. Making this decision was huge for me. Simply deciding I was done with it released so much stress I was feeling and helped with the tension in the air for everyone else too.

Pray with your family! I know this is something we all know but it is worth repeating. I think I have learned this more then ever after our newest family members came home. There were times I was so angry with them and they were so angry with me that the last thing we wanted to do was sit together and pray. It is hard to do when you are feeling mad or hurt. However, I found it to be the single most valuable thing in our relationships. There were times I would need to have someone pray with me first before I could cool off enough to go pray with them, but once I got someone to first pray with me I was able to go to them. I would simply tell them (as good as I could in Creole) that I know they are not very happy with me at this moment but we need to pray and ask for God's help and forgiveness together. These moments ALWAYS ended in hugs and a softening of the hearts of everyone involved. Something I wouldn't have believed possible in the midst of the battle.

Pray with others! There are going to be times (I think especially for us Mom's) that it will just be too much to handle alone. I called my Mom during one of those moments and she told me that from now on when I felt like it was too overwhelming I was to immediately pick up the phone and call Jim, or her, or my Dad, or one of my closest friends and pray together. So wise and so helpful. This made a world of difference in the hardest times. When you know you've got God and loved ones committed to helping you through it life rolls along so much better.

Talk with someone/people who know what you are going through. I've been blessed with a really close friend that has done this a few times herself. One of the greatest gifts I received during this time was to be able to call her and hear that all the feelings and things happening in our home were totally normal. Her cheerfulness and experience has been priceless and she has been one of the greatest sources of encouragement to me.

It will get better! No, it will not ALWAYS be like this. It may feel like it when you are going through it but things really will get better with time. Just take one day at a time and ask for help when you need it. I often felt that every time I didn't handle a situation right that I had really blown it. ;) What feels HUGE in the moment will hardly be remembered a couple days later and is unlikely to have a lasting effect. The most important thing is to both tell them and show them that you are so glad they are with you and that you love them. It's OK if they are not always happy and it's also OK for them to know you are not always happy. It is important though to remind them and yourself that this is new for everyone and it will not always be like this. I've found that it also helps to be willing to tell them that you are not perfect either, and be willing to ask for their forgiveness when you lose your cool.

Is it worth it? So worth it. This is still new to us but already we are seeing the beauty that our new family members add to our lives. Jude is so sweet and affectionate now. He has started to say "I love you." and if I say I love you to him he will grin big and say "Me too." He will come up to me out of the blue and give me hugs and kisses and spends a lot of time just snuggling up close to me. There is no feeling like it! Stephanie makes us all laugh. She is very helpful and thoughtful. We have had some really great Mother-Daughter moments and have so much fun together. She is also a cheerful helper and likes to make us delicious meals and serve it to everyone. Lovenie is nothing short of a HOOT. The girl is funny. She is so chipper that she makes people smile and laugh everywhere we go. She dances often, laughs hard, and loves big! They have already brought a lot of joy to the family and we are just getting started. I do believe that our life will be so much richer because God chose to bless us with them in our lives.

Those are just a few of the things that come to mind at the moment. I know my posts these days are even more jumbled then usual. I just do not have the time or energy yet to process my thoughts better. Please forgive the grammar and spelling! ;) I do hope that being honest about our experience can be a blessing to others as they wade through the hardships and blessings of adoption.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Enough Love?

Kyle is still just young enough to let his mother kiss him in public and still smile. ;)

Things have just improved so much around here! There has been so much laughter and good times with a big dose of lots of affection (from everyone). I have learned that when Jude gets in a sour mood all I need to do is offer to "help" him find his smile. This help comes in the form of holding him close and covering his face in kisses. This has happened in public more then once which wins me an "Ahhhhh Mommmmmmm!" with his cute accent and a pretty smile. I love it! It has worked everytime so far and he "finds" his smile again and it lightens the mood all around. He acts like the thought of me doing it to him just horrifies him but then tilts his face to receive the "help". Hmmm.... either way it's working!

Friday was a horrible and wonderful day. I decided I was brave (code word for crazy, remember?) enough to take all six kids to Disneyland by myself. I woke up early and prepared everything. This is no small task. Then Jim reminded me that he had some of our passes in his wallet and he was at work. So we decided that we would head to his work first (about an hour away) and then go to Disneyland. None of us have ever seen where Jim works so he got permission to give us a tour and we dubbed it field trip day. On the way to Jim's work Stephanie had a really bad headache. After a while she even asked me to turn off the High School Musical CD. For this she must be seriously ill and maybe should have been rushed to ER!! She insisted she was not sick but just her head hurt badly. There were other mishaps in the trip that I'll spare you the details of but it was just one of those outings that makes you wish you never got out of bed. Anyways... After an unplanned detour I decided to stop and get the kids something to eat to see if it would help Stephanie's head (she was at this point crying). We went into McD's where she headed straight to the bathroom to hurl. Good times! We now had driven almost 1 hour to get to Jim's work and only had about 5 minutes to go. What to do? I asked her if she thought she would be okay to go ahead and see his work and then we would all skip Disneyland and head home. She agreed. We had a great time seeing where Jim worked and meeting his co-workers except for poor Stephanie who shed a few more tears over her headache. By the time we ended the tour and entered Jim's office she made made a deposit of her lunch (if you get my drift) in his trash can. Good times. Within minutes of that her headache was gone and she was begging to go to Disneyland and even wanted to ride roller coasters! This is when Jim announced that he was leaving work a little early and coming with us. That's the part where the day took a turn for the better!

We had another great family day at Disneyland. However, it seemed to be a day that everyone just needed affection from their Mom. Anyone that knows me knows that I'm about as affectionate as a person can get. However, I can only hold so many hands, sit next to so many people on a ride, or throw my arm around a certain number of people. We had a tad bit of competition going on and it was a little exhausting. At one point everyone (including Lovenie and Jim) decided to playfully "fight" over me. They were grabbing and pulling at me like taffy and all screaming "She's mine!". It was so ironic that they were actually doing to me on the outside what I felt like was being done to me all day on the inside! As Jim pointed out... It sure beats the alternative! So... Is there enough love for everyone? Oh yeah! However, I just don't have enough arms and hands.

Funny Bunny

Stephanie and Lovenie

Friday night at Disneyland the temperatures dropped enough that everyone needed to break out our sweatshirts. I put this pink one on Lovenie for the first time and she just squealed with delight. As soon as she saw the bunny face and bunny ears she began giggling and dancing to make the ears flop around. What a funny little thing our baby girl is. She is endless entertainment. I'm quite certain we managed to become the honored parents of the prettiest and sweetest girls in all the world!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

For The Grandparents~

Dear Grandparents of our children,

Some beautiful pictures of our children together are long overdue for me to send to you so today me and the kids went on a mission to right this wrong. We went to a few "photo shoot" locations and did our best to get all 6 smiling and sitting still at once. Believe me when I say this was no easy thing. ;) I hope the results will please you very much.

With Love,
Angela, Stephanie, Kyle, Jude, Johnny, Luke, and Lovenie

Week Six~Weak Six

It is 3:20 AM and I cannot sleep. As I lay in bed willing myself to enter into blissful rest I find that I am instead blogging in my head. After a long time of this I give up and decide maybe, just maybe, if I really do blog I can go back to sleep. So please bare with me if my thoughts pour out pretty jumbled.

I'm going to be very honest about what these first weeks of change have been like for us in the hopes of helping others that will be bringing their children home and also just to be very honest in my update to family and friends. The first week our children were home felt nearly unbearable. At the end of the first week I was on the phone with a friend and crying to her about my fears and feelings of "What have we done?!". This friend has brought home children from Haiti 3 times and is working on her 4th time. She has been a priceless support to me through this time. She sweetly reminded me to hang in there and remember that the first six weeks are the hardest. That first week felt like it was easily a month so I remember crying out "Five more weeks of this???!!!". So here we are nearly at the six week mark and I've gotta give it up to my friend... she was so right. Things are getting much better.

The first 3-4 weeks were so very difficult! It really is a time I would not want to have to go through again. Everyone is trying to find their place and new role in this new family and it has not been easy. Throw in language barriers, different cultures, different backgrounds, wild emotions and OH BOY! There were many times I questioned whether or not we had made a huge mistake. Then I would beat myself up for even having that thought when I'm supposed to be so loving and understanding in my role as the mother. The reality that I am human and not capable of being perfect has never been so clear to me as it was in those first few weeks. I made mistakes many many times.

Weeks 4-6 have been much better. Boundaries have been more established. Some wounds are just starting to heal. Bonds are beginning to take shape and there is just an overall peace in our home that was sadly lacking before. It is getting better and better every week. At times I think back to the first few weeks and am amazed that we have come this far so quickly. We still have a long ways to grow but I can see the change happening.

If you are bringing home an adopted child or children please put your support system of family and friends on alert that you may need their help more then ever for the first six weeks or for the weak six weeks. ;) Decide now that you will forgive yourself and ask for forgiveness when you cannot live up to being perfect for everyone.

Here is an update on how our six children are doing:

Stephanie~ She AMAZES me! We have our moments of not understanding each other or frustration but what a sweetheart she can be. She is also a talented cook. Jim and I are convinced she will one day open up a 5 star restaurant. She would spend nearly all day cooking if she could. It has been a great help to have her cheerfully serve us all her tasty dishes. She is such a care taker that we do have to remind her at times that we need her to let us parent her siblings but she takes these reminders really well.

Kyle~ I have been so proud of Kyle for his efforts to befriend his new brother and sisters. He has even been picking up quite a bit of Creole and trying to communicate with them that way. He has had some really fun and great times with his siblings but he is also the one I think may be having the hardest time with all of this change. I know that he has been on the receiving end of teasing and unkindness that is just not okay and we are trying to put an end to it. Meanwhile, I see what was once our very positive and chipper son seeming quite depressed most of the time. I worry about him and just pray for peace and friendship between him and his siblings. Praying God will give me the wisdom and strength to better help him through this time. I don't want our child bullied in our own home. Because I have a pretty serious zero tolerance of this kind of behavior it is not often done in front of me so it is difficult to catch and put an end to. I'm thinking we are headed towards a big pow wow about this issue. I have had a chance too to talk with Kyle about how his behavior of complaining and moping could be effecting his siblings too. It was received at first with a few tears but then he seemed to understand that he has responsibility in the situation too. I totally understand what he is going through and my heart goes out to him but rarely are these situations one sided.

Jude~ I'll admit the first few weeks our relationship with Jude was surprisingly our biggest challenge. You could see in his eyes that he was just hurting from all the change his life had thrown him. He had a hard time saying goodbye to his friends in Haiti and he seemed to have a hard time respecting Jim and I as any kind of authority in his life. This presented many problems and lots of tears and feelings of fear that if it didn't get better it was going to really hurt everyone in our family. I'm so pleased to say that my heart just swells with joy over him and his change of heart! These last couple of weeks he has been such a delight. 90% of the time he seems to accept our direction or requests instead of getting angry over everything we say. He's been so loving and affectionate and has tried so much harder to be thoughtful to everyone. Today we had a little battle of wills again. When I tried to lay down a punishment he did not do what I asked of him and then tried to not tell me the whole truth when I called him on it. As I talked to him about it he began to cry for the first time since being home. As I tried to get him to talk to me about what was going on inside of him I finally got the truth that he is afraid that when I am not happy with something he has done I will no longer love him. How my heart breaks for all the emotions and uncertainty he is having to go through. We were able to talk it out, pray together, and then just cuddle up together for a long time. These little battles are not fun when they are happening but I really do see the greater good that comes out of them!

Johnny~ Johnny is a crack up. I thought he might be one of the family members that would struggle with the change the most but he's just smiled and bounced through it like a chipper little tigger! He has a pretty sweet relationship with Stephanie and likes to snuggle up to her and she is so kind to him in return.

Luke~ Oh boy! Luke was a strong willed little guy with a big attitude before all of this change so it is hard to tell if he is just being his usual self or is having a hard time adjusting. He certainly seems a little bit unhappy with his bump from being the baby of the family. I know his stubbornness and attitude has at times been frustrating and exhausting to Stephanie and Jude. I do find myself, while disciplining Luke, having to remind them that he is only 5 and much younger then them. They seem to be more understanding with Lovenie being little and I need to sometimes remind them that he is only 1 year older then her (because she seems WAY younger).

Lovenie~ Lovenie has been such a surprise. In Haiti she was usually pretty mellow and just wanted to be held all the time. At home she is totally different. She can usually be found giggling, dancing, or just plain being goofy! She's just a happy little girl who has jumped into this new life setting with the greatest of ease during the day. At night my heart breaks for her. She sleeps through the night but moans, cries, and even sometimes yells in her sleep. I wonder what is going on in her mind at these times. She sleeps with me and Jim and we are woken up many times in the night by her sad sleep time. We both wake up and reach for her to comfort her until she is quiet again. When the sun rises she is all about the chipper again. She is a whirlwind of trouble too though. She needs to be watched at every second or you can be sure she is somewhere doing something she shouldn't do, making a huge mess, or making a sibling mad, but she does it all with a smile. She is very much like having a 1-2 year old curiosity with the physical abilities of getting into things of a 4 year old. This is not always a fun combination and can be very tiring but she sure is happy!

The Parents~ We are so very exhausted. It has really taken all the energy we have and then some to get through each day. We can see the great hope that one day things will settle into a new normal but we are not there yet. Add to that the lack of sleep from waking up again and again to comfort Lovenie at night and we could just use a REALLY long nap. ;)

The good news is that our family is changing and growing. It has not all been a struggle as there have been many great moments of laughter and fun but we do still have a long ways to go. This has been a long post but I hope to be able to share soon about a few more things. Just as a quick teaser~ I can't believe the things people ask us in front of our children or to our children. Oh man... are you kidding me? Also, where did everybody go? I think when you bring children home friends and family want to give you space to adjust which is sweet but it can also leave a feeling of being abandoned when you need the support more then ever. Phone calls, emails, as well as physical help like meals is so needed during these first six weeks especially but it seems most people are willing but have no idea how to go about helping. I don't want any ones feelings hurt by this honesty because we have been on the receiving end of MUCH kindness and support from a few family members and friends but for the most part it has been a pretty lonely time going through this. I know I have not "bothered" a dear friend when I knew her kids were home and they were adjusting. Now that I know more about what it is like I wish that I had done the opposite and called her and emailed her more to encourage her. And last thought for the wee hours of the morning~ we have learned SO much during this time. I would love to share some of the things others have shared with us that has really helped as well as what we have figured out along the way.

So, we are getting there slowly and quickly at the same time (weird, right?). I know this change in our family is and will continue to be a HUGE blessing. The really wonderful things in life are rarely achieved easily. We did not expect this time to be easy and it has not been but I do believe it will be by far one of the most rewarding things in our lives.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Birthday Central

Photo below: Johnny blows out a candle for his 8th birthday and Jude blows out the candle for Jacques 16th birthday

It's been pretty busy around here so I have not had much blog time (and if I get the time I need to fight the children for computer time). So please forgive me as I just jumbo post these days. Last Wednesday through yesterday were action/fun packed!

Sunday/yesterday~ Johnny James turned 8! Oh, I'm so proud of how sweet our little boy is. Somehow he looks bigger then he did Saturday night. Can you guess where we went for his birthday? Right, Disneyland. ;) On birthday Disneyland trips we let the birthday kid pick what we do together all day. Johnny had a request that we do a couple things together and then said that the older kids and Dad could split up and go ride the scarier and faster rides together because he wants them to have fun too. Afterwards we headed to one of our favorite places~ Rainforest Cafe for Johnny's birthday Volcanoes. It was Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie's first time there so it was fun to watch them seeing the animals, thunderstorms, and plants.

Saturday~ Saturday's have become my "day off". We quickly learned that for me to stay home 24/7 with six kids and all the adjustments we have going on, I'm going to need time alone to decompress. So now I get to do what I want with my Saturdays and then spend Saturday night with the family. This Saturday I wanted to do some shopping. I broke my "absolutely no children can come with me" rule and took Stephanie. We had such a neat Mother-Daughter day of shopping and had lunch alone. It went a long ways towards building our relationship and we both had a great time.

Friday~ Jacques turned 16! He was not here to celebrate with us but we decide to celebrate as if he was here. A friend delivered a birthday gift to him for us just a week before his birthday so we were glad he had that. We spent hours at the pool, in his honor, just laughing and playing together. Then we had pizza for dinner and a giant cake for Jacques and Johnny to share.

Wednesday~ Another trip to Dland. It was GREAT! The summer crowds are gone and we could get off one ride and get right onto another. LOVE IT!

Here are some moments from our last few days:

The sweet six pack (of kids of course) get ready to wish Jacques and Johnny a happy birthday.
Our kids are always THRILLED to get cash! Thank you so much (you know who you are)!
Johnny has asked every birthday for years for a remote control car that drives on the wall and ceiling but we could not find one~ until now. I was excited when I found one but we played it up this year again with reminding him how hard they are to find. He was convinced he wasn't going to get one. That explains the shocked look on his face. ;)
Another Rainforest Cafe birthday celebration!
Now that Johnny is 8 he is able to manage driving one of the Autotopia cars. This is great because he couldn't do it when he was 7 (you know... like... Last Wednesday!)
Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie were especially impressed with the huge fish tanks at Rainforest Cafe
Jude, Stephanie, Kyle, and Johnny with their new friend Pluto. Luke and Lovenie refuse to go near any dogs~ fake or real.

Kyle and Jude and Stephanie and Johnny were holding hands while walking towards a ride. It was a sweet moment so we tried to take a picture but missed it. That's okay... I know it happened. ;)
DAUGHTERS! I have daughters!!!
Practising for our new family band act. Wait, I've got video of them singing. I think we'll stick to finding them day jobs.

Lovenie just being sweet. She does that a lot. She is such a cheerful and silly girl and we are enjoying her so much (when she's not making huge messes, must be watched at all times).

Soon I'll try and update more about how the family is adjusting. For now I'll just share that the last couple of weeks have been SO much better! Thanks so much for all your prayers and please keep them coming.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Sweetest 16

Here it is~ September 5, 2008. For a very long time it has been a date that caused fear, but today it is a day to celebrate! Today is our very sweet Jacques' 16th birthday. It is the day that we need to be in certain stages of the adoption by in order to be able to bring our son home one day. I'm thrilled to share that ALL of the requirements that needed to be done by his 16th birthday have been done and it is looking very good that one day we will be bringing him home forever.

Happy Birthday our very precious son! We are praying that God will bless you a little extra in Haiti today and it will be a very special day for you. We will be celebrating in America too and thanking God for creating you, and even more so that he would allow us the honor of you being a member of our family. We wish we were there to hug you today!

As a gift to our dear son (and to us) could everyone reading this just take a moment and say a prayer for Jacques and the adoption process to bring him home? There are so many of Jacques' friends in Haiti that their 16th birthday is not a happy day for because it means the end of their chance to be adopted and go home to a family. Please also keep them in your prayers.

We will be celebrating as a family today and plan to spend time swimming, eating pizza, and gobbling down cake. Johnny's 8th birthday is in only 2 days so there will be a lot of cake in this house this weekend!