Saturday, February 9, 2013

iPad glitches

Maybe it's the iPad not working well with the Google environment. Maybe it's the CRAPPY Internet.
But once I dash off a post and it saves (automatically) no matter how I try and edit it, it always reverts to the first copy.
This makes me look quite illiterate...which hurts my pride.
So I beg the  pardon of anyone who reads this stuff. I really do know how to spell most words.
Carry on.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Back to Belize

After all this time...over three and a half years...we are finally on the  Belizean trip to bring the Fab Five home and it feels almost surreal.  We arrived here on Wednesday night and after many previous nights of little sleep preparing for this journey, and a long day of travel ( that included a rather inglorious mad dash through  the Atlanta airport to make our flight connection , but hey we made it!) David and I crashed early.  We were not able to stay at the fabulous bungalow we had rented before and more's the pity. This place is...ok. If you have only stayed at "real" hotels...and I mean  even at the Motel 6 level,  you would prolly be dismayed at the lack of amenities and comfort.  But we have stayed in far inferior places in our world travels so we are not thrown off in the least. The worst part is the bed is no more than a foam mattress on cot springs, which is  torture on David's back,  so we may have to switch to at least a different room.  For right now though  we are still running on enough adrenaline and nervous excitement to keep us going.  

Yesterday, we met with the social worker who had their caseworker for 7 years. This is a wonderful, caring woman who really loves these kids and who in her own words, "often prays for them." I guess you can  be a Government worker here in Belize and still get away with saying that. We talked for awhile, then she handed over all the legal documents we needed to proceed with the next officials steps; passports, medical records and other personal items for the kids. 
After onur meeting, we all hugged each other and promised to stay in touch. 

now in our last phone call with them on Sunday the older kids had asked if they could finish out the school week so they would have plenty of time to say goodbye to their friends.  We thought it would be bezt to let them finish up that part and not interuppt their last days of school with our presence, so this meant we wouldn't see them until Friday afternoon. So with this little bit of free time on our hands,   we spent the remainder of the day on Thursday traveling around Belize City.  After walking around for a bit, we ate lunch at a small street side cafe. Ever since my last trip to Vietnam to get Sophie, I lost my fear of eating in these small non-touriplaces as the food is usually MUCH better and very reasonably prices. Certainly that was the case in Vietnam, and we were not disappointed in this choice here in Belize. Our lunch was very good and the portions were more than we could finish. We plan to return here again after we get the kids. we drove around the city some more and then returned to our room fora quick dinner of granola bars and beef jerky, then crashed again early in anticipation of the 10 year roller coaster ride that would begin in earnest on Friday.

So now it is Friday morning and all we need to officially do today is to pick up all the necessary court documents from our lawyer. We were not meeting with her...we were told the paperwork would be there waiting for us to pick it up.
Well Fter waiting in the lobby for about 30 minutes, we were ushered into a conference room upstairs and told our lawyer would be right in. She said she wanted to meet us before handing over the paperwork..ok cool. So we talk pleasantries a mo net before she hands me an envelope with a SINGLE peice of paper....the ordinal copy of the court order. S I ask about all the other legal paperwork we need for the Consualte appointment...x5 and she looks confused. She looks through our file and lo and behold she finds an email that our agency sent their office 2weeks ago explains what we needed from their office.
Well, we will have to come back in a half an hour and she will have it ready for us. She then hands us another envelope...a bill for her additional fees and says goodbye. We looked at that bill and almost choked! Well I almost did; David remains no-plussed on the surface under these circumstances. 
We left her office at 10:00, KNOWING full well that in Belize, 30minutes really means 2 hours. We drove around looking for the public park that was listed to se if it was good to bring the kids to, then drove around some more taking pictures...then went back to our little cafe we found yesterday for lunch.  since it had been about 2 hours we drove back over here to the lawyers office and David went in to grab the papers.
I have been sitting in the car for over 30minutes now, typing this all up and waiting for him to return. My iPad is about to die because I forgot to charge the battery so I won't be able to do much more, and who knows when I will get an Internet signal to send this, but it will ready to go when  I do.
We get the kids this we are very e tied about that...let the rollercoaster ride....begin!

Day Three from December...hyperdrive time jump to today!

As I mentioned in the last post, today was the  3rd Annual Christmas Concert that the First Lady of Belize sponsored for the orphaned and handicapped children of Belize. We were told that volunteering to perform at this show were some of the very best entertainers of Belize. The First Lady sent tour buses to all the children's homes in Belize to pick us up and drop us off at the beautiful theater in downtown Belize City. We arrived with 15 minutes to spare and the excitement in the place was palpable. Every child there, big and little  were squirming in anticipation of what they knew would be a fun show.
Well all I can say after watching this event is; if this is the very best in entertainment that Belize  has to offer ... well, what's the most tactful way to put this... Belize is a very small country. Their  total population  about the size of our small city here in New York state. While the presentation was very amateurish, the kids all had a great time and that is what matters most.

There is more about this weekend that was both funny and endearing , but I am a BAD blogger and this post was sitting in my draft all  this time. Guess I had better jump to what is going on since my visit!

Since then, we passed court on January 18th, and the Order was filed here on January 25...which made all things official.  The first available US Embassy Consulate  appointment for the kids' visas was on February 12, so we flew to Belize  yesterday to finish up all the American requirements for the adoption.  So I will end this post and start a new series for this adventure.
That is if the Internet here allows me to post very much. It is  S.   L.   O. W. at best and  VERY unreliable at worst, so I will try to keep updating. Pictures may have to be added later as those uploads seem to be more than it can handle.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday, Day 2

Friday turned out to be a very low-key day. I had a fabulous time getting to know several of the volunteers that were at Liberty this week. They all  are really selfless, dedicated people from different countries and walks of life who have come to Liberty to try and make a difference in these kids' lives. More on my new friends in the next post.

Our kids woke up and they were still beaming with delight to have me there. Zarrina continued to appear more happy and affectionate with me than last January, and she has maintained a pretty steady camaraderie with me. This has been  a wonderful encouragement to me .

Tyler especially seems to really love my presence, which from our phone calls I am not surprised about, but he is very affectionate, holding my hand and insisting that I go with him everywhere about the compound. Miss Delfena took him to get new shoes today and she said she could not remember him ever being so happy and that he was singing out loud the whole way to and from Belize City.  Both of us take this to be a very good sign! (But don't even get me started on the "music" they love to sing to such as; "She ain't got the junk in her trunk"...)

While Shadrock continues to be busy, busy, busy he loves to come up behind me and surprise me with quite the exuberant hugs!  Whenever they have to stop and sit...meal times and movie times, both Tyler and Shaddie fight to sit on my lap. So I now have to say lunch time is Tyler's turn and dinner is Shadrock's. Tonight, Rupert really wanted me to sit with the bigger kids and Shaddie was quite upset about having his turn on my lap missed! The compromise was he got to sit on my lap during the entire movie that night.    
Shaddie's pillows, top sheets or blankets
At bedtime the younger two both asked if I would put them to bed and tuck them both in. I won't go into the lack of proper bedding is still an orphanage and they sleep in one room with 4 other boys and someone(s) are still wetting the bed  so it smells STRONGLY of urine in there. But they were just eating up having me there and  making sure they brushed their teeth ( It looks like Shaddie and Tyler  haven't brushed their teeth in a very long time as they now have obvious stains and pits right on the front of their teeth) and used the bathroom and then tucking them into their beds and kissing them goodnight. So that was all very good for connecting. And because they are both SO immature for their ages, Shaddie actually asked me to carry him to bed in my arms, baby style! They are starving for a Mom and they love that I am affectionate, yet firm with them. And this is while I am still on their turf and they know they don't have to really obey me yet, but they do. And poor Shaddie is so SKINNY!  I can put my thumb and first finger around his wrist and still have room to twist my fingers around. I can't do that even with Tyler, who is 2 years younger. The boy is ten years old and still wearing size 5/6.  Ben is wearing size 5's. And he is covered in scars. He took his shirt off today and it almost am me cry he has so many scars on his torso. Plus I also think he has parasites or something because he has that African ├╝ber-skinny chest and arms and legs, but a distended, hard belly. I can't wait to get him home and to see our Doc.
Tyler's bed

Rupert's bed is to the right
And Rupert has been very sweet and loving as well. He is the kindest, most generous child here  at Liberty, hands down. He never complains, is always sharing and looking out for the younger kids, and is just plain a good kid. But the nicest part for me is that he now likes to seek me out and give me kisses on my cheek. He also asked me to "say good night" to him in his room and of course this just meant him showing me where he sleeps and all his school stuff. He also showed me the newspaper article  from his sailing race where he took first place. He gave it to me to bring home so I could put it his room for him. He loved the watch we bought him for Christmas and the "5000 Amazing Facts" book and he is going around telling everyone..."Did you know that .....? " quoting the book. He is really so helpful and generous. For part of their Christmas presents, we gave the boys each a jar of peanut butter and graham cracker and Rupert's was gone by tonight because he shared his with everyone. The girls got Nutella and crackers and they ran off and hid them in their room, although Brittney did thank me profusely and several times over for her gifts, so that was a very nice response from my Sugar-Sugar.

Now unlike the younger boys who are still very immature, Brittney seems to have grown exponentially more mature and settled this past year. Miss. Delfena confirmed to me that Britney is doing much better in all areas. Her grades at school are the best of the bunch.  She told me that she had Brittney alone one day and asked about her true feelings...did she just want to be adopted to get out of Belize or did she really want a Mom and  Dad and a new family? She said Brittney answered clearly and unequivocally that she wanted a family. Honestly, I think this is true for all of them. All day Brittney has held my hand or sat on my lap or asked me to do Mom stuff...everything from  helping to tie the bow in the back of her shirt, to undoing her hair that was all in braids and twists with rubber bands that were twisted more than 20 times.
Brittney after I took all her braids out
That was REALLY time consuming and difficult and I am sure I pulled her hair uncomfortably more than a few times trying to get those stupid rubber bands out of her hair. But she not only never complained, she started to fall asleep! Then she asked me to wash her hair and conditioning it with the stuff I brought and gave to the girls. She also wanted me to try to "plait" it, but since they were all getting their baths and hair washed because  this weekend is a big concert/fundraiser,  and everyone was to look their best, I thought it would be wiser to let the more experienced caregivers do that! But, I watched them do both Britney and Zarrina's hair and all I can say is...WOW!
Now in anticipation of their homecoming, I have been doing a lot of reading and watching videos on how to care for the girls' hair, but OMGosh I cannot even begin to imagine doing that kind of intricate weaving and braiding myself! And spending hours and hours doing their hair it was INTIMIDATING to say the least!
 Miss D. suggested ... no she TOLD ME that it was time for Zarrina to get her hair relaxed as it would be good for her self-esteem now that she is at "that age" and we don't want other kids mocking her if her hair isn't "done right" and obviously, *I do not have the ability to do it right. She said that if it is relaxed then Z can just " brush her hair and go..." Oh, and btw..I need to take her to a salon every 4 weeks so she can have it professionally done. While I readily admit I am a novice at this hair care stuff, I am first and foremost not too keen on putting all these chemicals on my daughter's hair every 4 weeks! Nor do we have the resources to be traveling to the salon every 4 weeks for an expensive straightening treatment. And while it may be a possibility in Belize that mocking may occur, certainly in our culture, mocking Z because her hair isn't up to Belizean weaving standards is NOT gonna happen. So we will just have to see about this whole "necessary" hair straightening thing.
Brittney after her hair was done
Zarrina and L after their hair was finished
And with the newness factor gone from our January visit, I have been able to deal with all of them in a much more real way and they all seem to be very accepting of my role as Mom, and authority figure. Of course this has not ended the refusal to answer if they don't feel like it and Good God Almighty, do these kids have ATROCIOUS table manners...well not so much the older two, but Miss B and the boys...yikes!  But most importantly they all seem quite happy that I was there for them and they are all looking forward a great deal to the day when we can return to take the home for good.
What more could you ask for?
Tomorrow, the First Lady of Belize, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow is hosting her annual Christmas Concert at the main theater in Belize City for all the orphaned and handicapped children of Belize and all the kids are greatly looking forward to it. More on that in tomorrow's post.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Surprise...Day One in Belize

Thursday ~ arrival day
After a fairly uneventful morning of traveling…well, the handle of my carry-on did break taking it out of the car, forcing me to carry it instead of pulling it, which was a bit more strenuous than I was hoping for, especially in the huge Atlanta airport! (However did we manage all those years before wheels on luggage were invented?) And once I got to Belize, trying to finagle the two huge checked bags filled with clothes and treats for all the kids at Liberty, the broken carry-on, my lap-top case and my backpack…well let’s just say I’m sure I did the Three Stooges proud what with one of the other suitcase always tipping over while I was trying to pick up the last one that fell. Finally I made it through customs and spotted my ride and without any more mishaps we were off to Liberty.

Unlike the other trips down here where we stayed at a local bungalow, I would be staying right at the children’s home so I could maximize my time with the kids. We had told the kids that since they could not be home for Christmas, we were sending them a Christmas surprise that they should receive on Thursday. As soon as we pulled in, Zarrina came up to the car to see if she could be helpful, and when she saw me in the back seat, she got this strange, almost blank look on her face, like she knew she knew the face, but couldn't believe it. So I said…SURPRISE! And she broke into her famous ear-to-ear grin and said, MOM! Is that really you? And she gave me  lots of hugs and kisses and took me by the hand and led me to where I would be staying.
 Now last January when we were there to meet the kids, Zarrina was understandably much more shy and reserved with me. She is by nature shy and very introspective. However since we have been talking together of the course of this year, we have gotten to know each other much better and in her genuine excitement and happiness that I was there  she let her guard down to give AND receive much sweet  affection. It was really wonderful! None of the siblings were there at that time as they were either out on a shopping trip or finishing up exams at school, so we were able to sit and talk together for about an hour before we were interrupted. Z was animated and glowing during this whole one-on-one time together and I was blessed to see a part of her she normally keeps hidden.

Just then Tyler came in and walked right by me. I came up behind him and hugged and kissed him on the back of his neck and said…Guess who this is? In his adorable raspy voice and lilting Kriol accent he said, “I dunno; who eezzit?” and he turned to look at me. Again, like Zarrina he had the look like…I recognize you, but it can’t be.
He said, “You look like mah Mom… you-ah my Mom?”
“Yes, my son, it is me …SURPRISE!!”
And the boy just buried his head into me and held onto me so tightly…like if he let go or looked up he feared I would disappear, and that made my heart just sink for him, because I knew what would be coming next.
Excitedly he asked. “Mom, Mom, Mom, (he was so excited he only said it three times instead of his usual five times…)You comb fo me to take-ah me home?”
Sigh…. No my son, not yet. I am just here for a few days to surprise you for Christmas. Pretty soon though you will go home.
“Aftah Chreestmas we go home?”
Yes…just a few weeks after Christmas, Daddy and I will come back to get you and your brothers and sisters to go home for good.
“Ok  den. You bring me Chreestmas presents?”
Yes, I brought you all a small gift.
“When can I have eet? Can I have eet right now-ah?”
This boy makes me laugh out loud! I told him he had to wait a while longer and he was happy to wait. I asked him where the others were and he told me Shaddie was just around the corner, playing marbles. I snuck up behind Shaddie and repeated the same thing I had done with Tyler, only Shaddie was quick to recognize my voice. He still looked at me with disbelief, but also quickly held on for tight hugs and happily beamed as I planted several kisses on his beautiful face. We discussed how long I was to be here and then he went back to his game of marbles.

Now an interesting thing happened while I was with the boys…I noticed Zarrina had gone back to her usual reserved, almost aloof behavior and even though I went back to sit down and talk with her, she no longer wanted to be engaged. I decided to keep talking and acting like nothing had changed on her part and while she never came back to the joyful camaraderie that had marked our first hour together, I could tell she was enjoying me being affectionate with her. Back in January when she retreated like this and refused to even answer me, I thought she didn't like me and was “dissing” me. Boy, I had totally misread her back then. This girl just wants to be pursued and sought after. She wants to know that you care enough to work hard to earn her affection and once that light bulb went off in my head (DUH!)  it totally changed the dynamic of our relationship. Now that I finally “got it” I don’t mind at all carrying on one-way conversations with her as I know she is listening and enjoying my attempts. And when she refuses to even acknowledge that I am rubbing her shoulders or back, stroking her arms are kissing her head that’s way ok too, because I know now for sure that she secretly really loves the attention and the motherly touches that I am giving her. This was a huge break-through for both of us. And as the days progressed she took my hand a few times while we were walking, acting of course like it was no big deal. And often she would come and stand right near me, waiting for me to hug and kiss her and then rub her back. Our sweet girl couldn’t help herself and she will now let a small smile escape her lips.

Ok, so back to day one and Rupert’s arrival…
I was looking out the window and saw Rupert arriving back at Liberty after school. He stopped to talk with one of the caregivers and then all of a sudden he starts running towards the dining hall with a huge grin on his face, so I knew she must have said something. He came in the room and ran straight towards me and gave me a big hug and planted a big kiss right on my lips. Now this was very surprising…almost more shocking than Zarinna’s affection to me as Rupert did not volunteer any physical affection towards me last January. He was very sweet and polite and thoughtful, and he didn't seem to mind if I loved up on him a bit, but it definitely was not reciprocal. It wasn't until the very last moment just before we were leaving that he ever gave me a hug and a quick kiss on the cheek the whole week we were there! But here he was now, so happy to see me that he was both hugging and kissing me in front of his friends! This trip was turning out to be pretty cool so far…all that was left was the capricious Miss. B.

She was out shopping for the upcoming big fundraiser with the Director, Miss Delfena and the minute the van pulled into the lot and slowed to a stop, out she jumped and ran like a track star to the dining hall. Miss Smarty-pants had put 2-and-2 together after overhearing one of Miss Delfena's conversations in the van and our telling her there was a surprise coming on Thursday that the surprise was me. I’m warning you all now…not much will ever escape our would-be-dictator and she has the brains, determination and vivaciousness to make things happen her way. This child has a huge personality and lives right out loud, every single day. She can be quite overwhelming to the meek of heart…good thing she is coming into a family that already has experience with guiding and training determined, vivacious would-be-dictators and actually likes how stubborn they are…right Sarah?
Anyway all 100+ pounds of her jumped into my arms and almost knocked us both to the floor, except that I had calculated her non-slowing pace and braced myself before she hit like a tsunami. She smothered my face with kisses and then promptly told me before I could say how long I was there for that as long as I was here I will have to just stay until after the court date to save on airfare. That be mah Sugar-Sugar, Miss B. and she warms my heart with her zest for life.

The rest of the day was spent catching up looking at a year's worth of photos on the Ipad and having all five sit as close to me as possible, if not on my lap.  By 8pm I was so beat I excused myself to go back to  the Volunteers Dorm with a smile on my face and a grateful heart that it had all gone as well as it had.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Guardianship Court Date and another trip to Belize

 Well so much for it only taking a few days to get another Court took over 3 weeks, but we finally heard a few days ago that we have our official date. The children will be assigned to our legal guardianship on January 18, 2013. We do not need to be present for this court hearing as our lawyer will handle this for us. Then we wait for the paperwork to be filed at the Registrars office. (This could take 2 days...could take 2 weeks or more.)
 After the papers are filed, our lawyer can then obtain the legal copies we need to request a Consulate appointment. As it stands now, the Consulate is saying they need a two-week advance notice before they can issue an appointment, but we will request one ASAP anyway. So it means we could be traveling to bring the kids home (best case scenario) by the end of January to about mid-late February. This of course means the kids will not be here for Christmas, and while everyone was happy that we at least have a court date, they were all still pretty disappointed in the timing and rightly so. Based on the information we had been given, we have been telling them for almost a year now that they should be home...soon.

As the year dragged on, their initial excitement has faded and you can hear the weariness and frustration in their voices during our weekly phone calls. Often, one or more would refuse to talk on the phone to us at all they were so discouraged. This last bit of bad news was enough to sadden even the most optimistic of the bunch. So David and I thought the best way to ease their hurting hearts would be for one of us to travel down and surprise them for a few days. Since he went down in June, and I really wanted to go, we decided it was my turn. We then held a family meeting and explained to the kids that their brothers and sisters in Belize were sad and hurting and they could really use a visit from Mom for a Christmas gift to brighten their spirits and help re-establish the fragile bonds we forged last January.
This meant that Christmas back here would be extra meager...even though we do not believe in doing much of a materialistic Christmas this year’s would mean only a few stocking-stuffers for everyone. The one big annual family gift would be the airfare to Belize. Well it warms my heart and fills me with a joy like no other that EVERYONE...all the way down to 6 y/o Ben and Isabelle instantly agreed that would be the very best way to do Christmas this year. I am so proud that our kids are willing to sacrifice for the good of others.

 So I leave on Thursday the 13th and will return on Monday night, December 17th. Pray that this short time I have with the Belizeans will encourage them and leave them feeling loved, chosen and precious to our family. And please pray that for ONCE during this incredibly long process, that the final process will go quickly and that our oldest , Z, would actually be home for her 14th birthday on February 3rd! The internet is VERY sporadic in Belize so I will update as I can and hopefully will do a more thorough job once I return home.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Court Date 

 We were originally told we were waiting for the very LAST thing we needed before we could bring our kids home...the Supreme Court date that would grant us guardianship of the Fab Five. Well as it turns out, that is NOT the very last thing we needed. We now need TWO court dates...the first now being a hearing granting a legal custodian to the children, and the second one will be( after said legal custodian reviews our case) legal guardianship to us. Well we just heard our Custodian case will be heard on November 13... It should be a one day no brainier. That SAME day, we were told, the custodian will ask for a court date for the guardianship date. We we told that court date should take no more than two weeks... Please, if there is anyone out there after 3-1/2 years of trying to bring these kids home that still read this journal and believes in prayer, please,please, please pray with us that these kids can come home before Christmas. We have been talking with them every single week since last December, and they are MORE than ready to come home. We are MORE than ready for them to come home.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Testing, testing...Is this thing still on?

Or how I  could list second-guessing myself as a possible occupation...

Well, since I am writing this entry more than six  months after the last one it would seem that either I must be really, really busy or I am a really, really bad blogger...or a combination of both!

Our old home~ a beautiful Victorian built in 1840, on a large city lot
It's true that the last six months have seen some pretty crazy times. What with house-hunting, then packing up our large household, moving our large household (Lord, I hope we NEVER have to move again...ever!) and then weeks of setting up our new home. Then throw in a houseful of kids with alternating winter sicknesses of which I succumbed to not just one, but TWO down-and-out for two weeks cases of strep throat, all the while trying to keep up with home-schooling the youngest four and gosh, I really do have plenty of excuses for not keeping this journal updated.
A side view of our new home; a Colonial built in 1822 on 6 acres

But in truth, those really are not the main reasons I haven't been writing. It seems I have "lost my voice." I have started and deleted several posts countless times now since January…written them in my head during the day and then when I tried to write anything down the right words seem to escape me. Granted, it is a definite challenge to sit and put a coherent thought to paper when I have the constant interruptions that are inherent when you have many little children. But even in the quiet times when all my Littles are in their beds and the biorhythms that have my hard-working “early to bed/ super-early to rise” husband sleeping, this night owl has time to reflect and compose in peace, but my mind always just goes... blank.

All day long I have these thoughts of things I would like to share...some good thoughts sometimes too! And I have lots and lots of pictures of the family as they are growing and becoming the fascinating people they really are. We have been incredibly blessed with some truly amazing and interesting people in this family. Yet when I get a moment to actually sit and share, I stare at the blank screen, unable to put a single word or photo on there.

Now part of this stems from the fact that I go back and forth as to if and why I should even be doing this. Some days I think that by sharing the pictures and stories of our family's journey it might be encouraging to others who may be considering adoption as a way to grow their family, or just keep growing their family. No matter how or when or what shape or color they arrive into your family, children are ALWAYS a blessing from the Lord, and "Blessed is the man who has a quiverfull of them." I suppose that alone would be a good reason to keep this updated. If I thought that even a single orphan was adopted into a loving, Christian home because of our family's example, I would gladly continue.

Then there was the thought that maybe by sharing my personal story and my history of living the first half of my life totally screwing up my life with bad choices and of how Because of His Grace I am no longer that person it might also encourage another sister who is struggling with her past. If God can redeem and still use this broken vessel...He can use anyone! I would love to be able to encourage others but I wonder if this is really the best way to do that?

Other days I stop myself from writing wondering  why I should be taking the  time and effort of putting our private lives out there when maybe either:
 A. Hello? No one cares about what goes on in your family or anything you have to say lady! No one reads this stuff, so you're not helping anyone!!
Obviously, I know there are far more interesting family stories out there and they are being written by extremely talented writers (And I know this because I already subscribe to their blogs!) so really, why should I even take the time if no one cares and no one reads this stuff?? Good question I think!
And or/or:
 B. The Wrong people may be interested. Yes, I sometimes do get (I think legitimately) paranoid about our privacy in this electronic, billions of people on the WorldWideWeb planet. Besides the possibility of attracting the attention of nasty trolls and cyber creepy weirdoes, we are also a family that has been pretty vocal about how unhappy we are with how far Big Brother feels that can legally be sticking their nose into our private affairs and telling us what we can or cannot do. But don't get me started on THAT now...)

So what to do? What to do? Well first off, if you are interested in reading some really good stuff, check out some of my favorite Christian writers, like: Katie,  Ann,  Sara  and Susanna. Each of these women have a unique and different encouragement they share in their writing. Additionally, Ann and Sara often guest write for other venues and from there, you will find a host of other spectacular women writers that will bless your socks off. Read their stuff and you will quickly realize why I feel foolish to even blog on the same planet as they do! Also, there's my friend and kindred-spirit Alynn, who does an exceptional job documenting life with a large, adoptive family and from there, really the list of fabulous family blogs out there are endless.

Still, I know that some of my friends that visit are really curious in how our adoption from Belize is going. Writing about adopting internationally a large, older child sibling group is not your typical blog content and it certainly does have its unique challenges and perspectives to share. I suppose how we navigate these challenges may be of some interest to those who may want to see how it all turns out. We certainly are curious about that too! And since I haven’t updated how that is all going since January, I will give you long-story-short answer here:

When we left Belize in January, we were told by the officials that The Fab Five would be home by June. At the time we were devastated it was going to take six more months to get these kids home. HAH! As of today, June is nearly over and at this point we are hoping The Fab Five  will be home by the year's end.  I  really cannot say too much right now, but can tell you this; the enemy of our souls has been doing everything he can to stop it. He nearly succeeded a time or two, but we are not giving up.  I have to remain silent about most of this for now, but I assure there is  MUCH I could say about this process, and possibly I will in due time. For now, if there is anyone who still reads this stuff and believes in the power of prayer, pray that the officials who are holding this process up will either get going or be replaced by someone who will get it going!

Now the only other reason to keep this journal going is so that our extended family member and friends who live in far away places can see and stay in touch with how we are doing here. But I can only do this if I can be keepin' it real with ya ~ We happen to think our large, blended, and colorful family is exceptionally beautiful and we are blessed beyond our wildest dreams. But at times our lives have also been quite hard, messy and some heartbreak is inevitable when you choose to raise a large family. No way around it. I would not be painting an honest picture life in a large, adoptive family if I only share the picture perfect days. And that’s just not me. I realize the risk that this may not exactly be an encouragement to others who are thinking about adoption or having a larger family, but I feel I would be doing them a great disservice if I don’t also share my fears, failures and struggles as well as the many joys and blessings.

For example...

I spend a majority of my days just trying to finish up home schooling without my brain exploding all over the ceiling because I am STILL trying to teach Bella that the word "had" is the same word "had" she just read in the sentence above it AND the 12 pages with the word "had" on it before then...or  improper fractions for the 500th time this week to a child who stares at me with that blank, deer-in-the -headlights look. Or explaining that in the English language we have this  noun/verb connection wherein "one cat sleepS, but two catS sleep... day in, day to a relativity new English language speaker who when corrected, cops an attitude usually reserved for hormonal teen girls. Or the impossibility of trying to teach my 5 y/o genius son who can read and do advanced math that he really should not hold his pencil like Neanderthal Man...
Yep...keeping my brain from implosion or explosion is a daily chore.

Or how my laundry room is by far the most visited room in the house...and gracious sakes how I must not forget to get the clean clothes out of the dryer before my husband's shirts get all wrinkly, because God knows if I have to iron them... he will never see them again. My ironing and mending pile is referred to around here as “The Bermuda Triangle.” I have several of David’s shirts hanging on the back of chairs right now trying to become a bit more de-wrinkled, just so I can get this much written.

Hopefully you weren't hoping to come and find any Pinteresting activity here either. No pictures or recipes of how I bake my own freshly ground, 100% whole wheat breads or find me making creative dinners with adventures in other cuisines that might actually intrigue my home-schooled kids into possibly learning geography. No, I am happy nowadays just to scrape enough of my brain off the ceiling in time to  get the semi-folded pile of laundry off the kitchen table before Bella’s granola bar crumbs adhere to it all and  attempt to get a meal on the table that has a semblance of nutrition and taste AND that won't have Ben complaining because it's not spaghetti and meatballs. Ok, forget that...if it's not spaghetti and meatballs he WILL complain! Dinners are pretty simple around here.

You will not find any creative gardening ideas here either as most of my various half-dead plants are dying for a simple drink of water and forget any  glorious photos of  beautiful gardens as all I have here are the choked-out, seedlings in pots that I planted in this spring in anticipation of doing a huge garden. Go ahead, laugh. My husband actually spent several hours after work roto-tilling a 40' x 40' plot, but  yeah...sorry  about that all you little seedlings still stuck in your pots; I really meant well.

Ok I am slightly exaggerating here as after all the work that David did turning over  such a large plot I finally did manage to plant some of the plants he brought home from Lowes. We have some tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and cucumbers and even some strawberry plants that I mail-ordered and that wound up arriving looking like a bunch of dead roots (but lo and behold, most of them actually survived). But now weeds are rearing their ugly heads and the grass that doesn't like to grow in the lawn is all of a sudden prolific in the garden. What's up with that? Sorry, no photo op there. And wow... I really don't like weeding and I have the blisters on my soft, lily-white hands to prove it! Hopefully the more established vegetable plants will be able to duke it out with the weeds and bring forth some measure of a harvest without too much more effort on my part.

You will never find any home decor tips here either.  There are just too many dust bunnies in most of the corners and a few sticky counter-tops as I try to turn a blind eye in order to encourage my twin 5 y/o they really are big enough to pour their own milk and I am pretty sure all of my windows have little fingerprints on them. And all the pictures that used to hang on the walls at our former home are still in a heap on the dining room floor, along with the girls' beautiful tea sets from Vietnam and Korea that don't seem to have a good place to go.  Oh, and the real, wooden shutters that  I found that just need to be scraped and refinished, then painted into some really neat headboards or shelves? (yeah, thanks for the great ideas, Pinterest) They are gathering dust in the barn along with heaps of packing boxes that are still waiting to be put away. You know, I think I really prefer the simple life who really needs to know where I packed the iced tea container with the bottom spigot anyway. Let's use an empty plastic juice jug instead of putting it in the recycle ~

You can easily see after that bit of blogging that I prolly won’t be getting a call to be replacing Martha Stewart any time soon. So if you are looking for someone who has it much more all-together in every aspect, well you will not find it here. I realize even this post is too long and disjointed, but that's what you get when I take 6 months off!
But should you still desire to stop back and see what's going on at our crazy household, I'd truly love to have your company. Please feel free to let me know you're here and for heaven's sake...why?

Because I know what I hope you can take away from a visit here is that in spite of the many times in a day that I fail and fall short, Because of His Grace we really are still doing amazingly well. I kinda shake my head in wonder at that, but I know that it is because Jesus really has got my back...and when I let Him, (‘cause lesson #1…you actually have to give up your ideas of how it should be done and let Him have His way…go figure ~  He was really serious about that!) …He makes up for my lack in profound ways. HE is the glue that keeps us all together. And I know that He's got your back as well.  Maybe that's enough all we really need know to be able to celebrate this crazy life together. Well that, and maybe some Pinot Grigio …

I am determined to get some pictures of what's been going on around here lately, so please check back if you are especially interested in seeing how the family is progressing.  Maybe I can even find some interesting photos that are in focus...

Oh..PS: If you were waiting to hear back from me from a recent (or not so recent) email, I truly, sincerely apologize. It seems my "lost voice" has even effected my responding to personal emails as well. But have no fear as I am perfecting shushing and shooing away my children with my favorite go-to exasperated voice, asking them "WOULD YOU ALL PLEASE BE QUIET AND LEAVE ME ALONE FOR FIVE MINUTES SO I CAN WRITE THIS NICE FAMILY BACK AND EXPOUND ON THE JOYS OF ADOPTING AND HAVING A LARGE FAMILY!!
SHEESH! Now, where was I?..."
That personal email response should be coming to you any day now...

HAH!! PSS: Seems when I get the chance to write a certain side-effect is that my brain forgets how to tell time. I was only able to get this written because my Youngers were at VBS for three hours this morning. Only I just looked up and realized I was already 10 minutes late to pick them up. YIKES...visions of my four little ones with forlorn expressions on their sweet faces waiting to be picked up had me driving like Mario Andretti to get there before everyone else left. (Thankfully,  I am very glad I wasn't the only Mom to arrive late...phew!)