Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Lesson I Learned From My Kids

I am constantly being taught lessons about kindness and love from my kids. Today's teachers were the above brothers. Jude (11) and Johnny (8). We had been out running errands for hours and the kids had been little angels. I decided to treat them each to their very own scoop of ice cream. They roared with excitement! Ice Cream treats are serious business with our kids. Half of us got our ice cream in a cup and the other half got theirs on a cone. Johnny had not even had a chance to enjoy his cold delight when it rolled off the cone and on the floor. His little face just fell. Jude (who had his in a cup) immediatly asked Johnny for his cone. I could see the wheels turning in Johnny's head as he processed that by giving Jude his cone he would have nothing. He handed his cone over to his brother. Jude began to scoop at least half of his ice cream onto Johnny's cone and handed it back to him. Johnny's look of shock was priceless. Sheer awe and joy!! It brought tears to my eyes to see my boys acting so beautifully towards each other.

What if we all behaved this way? What if we gave even thinking we would get nothing in return? What if we shared generously and unexpectedly with others who have nothing? Wouldn't we all live happier lives?

Friday, August 14, 2009

A VERY Exciting Announcement

News just in~ An adoption decree HAS been issued making Jacques our legal son!!! We've waited over 2.5 years to see this happen. It's surreal to know that it's really happening. Nothing can ever change him being our son for the rest of eternity!!! Such JOY!!!!

We are still on a major deadline for his immigration paper work. We are receiving the papers we need from dear friends that have picked them up in Haiti and are hand delivering them to us tomorrow. Now we just need to keep praying that his passport and visa will be approved so our dear son can come home!

Thanks for your prayers and for sharing in all the ups and downs that has brought us to this great moment of celebration!!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Welcomed Break From Stress

Sometimes the sadness and muck of life can becoming overwhelming but I am so very thankful that God knows when we need a lift and He sends one our way. Not only does he send it but He sends it PERFECTLY! The lift He sent us this time was my very dear Mom. She drove to our home to stay with us for a few days and told me "Think of me as your live in Nanny while I'm here". How could I not LOVE that! Within hours of her arrival I found myself running errands without children. I love my kids but sometimes need a break. I ran those errands with a giant grin on my face and spring in my step. It was then that it hit me that I used to nearly always be this cheerful and seem to have lost a lot of it with the demands and stress of life (especially since the adoptions). It was so great to feel "myself" again for a while. Not only was she wonderful to me but she is SO FUN with her grandkids! She spoils and spoils them. It's out of control really, but I try to look the other way because... really, shouldn't grandparents be all about the out of control spoiling? I LOVE how much she enjoys them and they enjoy her. She just brought so much FUN to us all and we really needed it! The above photo is of the kids with their gift from Nana. The worlds longest gummy snake candy!

THEN, she told Jim and I to head out and enjoy a date night together. I was SO excited as we had not been out on a date in 7 months! We got to ride in our new car together for the first time and headed to San Francisco to Ghiradelli Square. We had a late night snack in a nice restaurant overlooking the ocean. Then we headed to the Ghiradelli shop and restaurant while we had a ridiculous amount of yummy chocolate and ice cream!

Afterwards we decided to take a stroll on the beach. It was very late on a Monday night and there was almost no one around. We had to cut through a little park to get to the beach. Once there we realized we were being followed by someone sipping out of a brown paper bag and acting shady. He kept watching us and slowly moving more and more towards us. I pointed out an area where we could somewhat see and hear other people hanging out so suggested that maybe it would be a good idea to move that way. Once closer we found it was a large group of people totally drunk and acting crazy. Okay, maybe not my best idea! Meanwhile the guy that was originally following us was moving in closer to us. So we decided to quickly cut back through the park. As we hurried along the trail we caught some movement ahead of us. It was a SKUNK hanging out on the trail. We laughed outloud when we realized that we were now having to make a decision between passing the skunk or going back to the drunks. Hmmmm.... Everyone has to make that decision on a date, right? Totally normal. So we picked the drunks and made our way past them without incident.

The following morning was my "date" time alone with my Mom. My Mom is one of my favorite people on this planet. She's just a BLAST to hang out with. We left early in the morning and rode the Bart (train) to Union Square in San Francisco. It was my Mom's first ride on a commuter train. I kept trying to mess with her and telling her to get on or off at the wrong places. She endured me with great humor. While everyone else sat quietly she and I talked and laughed totally having a BLAST!

Once in SF we found a yummy bakery where we had our breakfast together in this Galleria. The rest of the day was spent "shopping" at Saks 5th Ave, Tiffany's, Barney's, and more. It was so fun to see the many designer things. The clothes, shoes, jewelry... it was all more works of art then just merchandise. The price tags were the kinds that make your eyes bulge out of your head so that was fun to check out too. At Saks we spent time checking out designer shoes like Prada, Jimmy Choo, and Manolo Blahniks. I couldn't resist seeing what it would be like to walk around in a pair of Manolo's so put some on and OUCH. If I were to spend thousands of dollars on one pair of shoes I would expect to feel like I'm walking on clouds, not being tortured!
The next couple days continued on with my Mom jumping in and helping with the home and kids. When she wasn't doing that she was entertaining us. We were so sad to see her go but enjoyed so much what a gift she was to us while here.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Us Mothers Should Be Able to Understand, yes?

Johnny gave himself an assignment to write a report on mosquitos. I thought you might enjoy some of the fascinating details that are presented in a "Oh So Johnny" style~

Do all mosquitoes bite? No. In fact, only the females bite. The females suck your blood for her babies. I know you don't like it but it's all part of being a good mother. When it sucks a lot of blood it starts to look like a red balloon. This happens when it sucks blood of half it's weight. There are a more then 3,000 kinds of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are among the deadliest of all creatures. It's real size is like the size of a flea. It's this tall l and this wide --- . A female mosquito's wings can beat an amazing 500 times a second. That's half the speed of time!!! By Johnny. (according to Johnny~ time is 1 second. 1 second is 1000 milliseconds. So, 500 times a second is half the speed of time. Lost? Don't worry~ so are we... because it doesn't make sense, but it sure is funny!)

Bet you didn't know that eh? Now the next time you get a bite you will know it's just a fellow mother trying to care for her young. Be kind~ skip the repellent. Then again... it is one of the deadliest of all creatures.......

Mystery Solved~ A diagnosis for Lovenie

Many of you know the story that lead us to our children in Haiti. It all started when Lovenie had a "stroke" that left her in very bad shape. What has been unknown was if it was a stroke for sure or something else, or what caused that to happen in a baby. We have wondered these things for over four years now. Now that Lovenie has been home with us for a while we have had a chance to take her to many different doctors and specialists. Many tests were done and we now know that Lovenie did not have a stroke or any other neurological problem. To have done as much damage to her as it did there would be signs that show up on the MRI. They also ruled out illnesses that may have brought on her disabilities. They ruled out everything they could think of before sharing their diagnosis. They are very confident that they know what happened to disable our little girl.

Lovenie is a victim of shaken baby syndrome. Her disabilities and injuries are exact to the damage caused by shaking an infant. After all these years of believing that what happened to her couldn't have been helped, it was a real blow to learn that someone DID this to our precious little girl. A few seconds more would likely have killed her. They evaluated her to be about 60% brain damaged and while you never know... they suspect that she has peaked and that she will continue on in her life at this level. Furthermore, Lovenie has some problems with her eyes that will require surgery. We were told the only way for her to have the kind of damage she has is to have received a hard blow (or blows) to that side of her head. We are unsure if this happened during the shaking episode, and her head was hit while shaking her (which is common to happen) or if it was done at another time. However, we suspect that this part was likely done to her at an early age by her birth mom. Stephanie and Jude have told us many stories of their Mom beating them repeatedly in the head when she is angry, using rocks or hard metal objects. So it is not a real stretch to suspect the same was done to Lovenie. What's really concerning is their two little brothers still in the home with this abusive mother. PLEASE pray with us for their safety! Abuse is a sad and ugly thing. :-(

So we've been adjusting since that appointment to the idea of what really happened to disable our daughter. Strangely it seems so much more a tragedy that this was done to her rather then a natural health issue. She's such a delightful and precious little girl that we can hardly bare the knowledge of how hurt she has been. She is doing amazingly well at home with us. She is so loved on and just thriving. We'll do all we can to see to it that the rest of her life is safe and happy from here on out!

I would also like to ask for prayers for Jim and I as we need to make some really tough decisions based on other concerning information that has come to our attention. We are unsure about how to proceed but want to make sure we do it with wisdom and truth and do it in the right way. Also prayers for our family as something really bad happened to one of our children again a couple days ago that has us really upset. For privacy reasons I will not post what happened but please pray for the healing of our family as we continue to go through more heartaches. Adoption is a worthwhile and wonderful thing but it does not come without it's risks and trials. Thanks for your friendships, your prayers, and your support!