Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For Pete's Sake, Finish the Week...

Oh my word, some of you are mad at me (in love).   I'm sorry I haven't written in a while - it has been a little nuts around here with my mom being diagnosed with breast cancer, a trip to Tulsa for my sister's adoption fundraiser dinner, my grandma having a mild heart attack and Brian having to go to the hospital for a kidney stone - oh, and did I mention we just adopted THREE kids.  ha ha ha    But, other than all of that, we're doing great!

So, not gonna go back to a play-by-play but I'll just finish up that first week by telling you that there were some REALLY hard moments and lots of really great ones.   I was very overwhelmed for the first three days, but then began to function somewhat normally by the fourth day.  I don't want to throw any particular child under the bus, but one of them was definitely being much more difficult than the others.  (:   BUT, that's to be expected when a child's entire world has been turned upside down.

As the weeks have gone on (they've been home five weeks now) things have become "normal".  We definitely have moments of siblings fighting - but who doesn't?   We still have one child who brings more "excitement" to the table than the others.  We have a biological child who needs to work on having grace with the adopted one who is struggling the most.  We have typical stuff going on around here.  Brian and I have said so many times that there are many non-adoptive families we know who have a LOT more drama going on in their homes on any given day.  We are really doing great and are SO blessed to have these children to love.

Our friends, Lana Reed, Mary Anne Locke and Kenda Benward blessed us with a sweet "Welcome Home Shower" on Monday, the 28th.  It was wonderful to have friends come out and meet the kids for the first time.  We were so grateful for the many gift cards we received and the kids absolutely LOVED the cake and kept begging for more.   On the way home they were talking in Amharic and I'm positive they were saying, "I had FOUR pieces of cake, how many did you have?"  LOL    And so funny cause the next day, Kenda took the left over cake to Bennet's school and she got ANOTHER piece.  Ha!!

We have been slammed with so many doctor and dentist appointments.  Our insurance company has not approved us yet so this has been a bit of a hit financially.  We are going to a wonderful doctor's office called, Mercy Clinic, and they work on a sliding scale so that has been a blessing.  We had to bite the bullet and go to the Health Department for the dental work cause we just couldn't wait.  Even after we get approved, our insurance company makes you wait 90 days for a cleaning.  UGH.  So, even though the Health Department also works on a sliding scale, it has been quite pricey since both girls have had to go twice and Kaleb has had to go FOUR times.

Bennet has a suspicious lump behind her ear.  The clinic sent her to a specialist and he prescribed a strong antibiotic to see if that would affect it, but it didn't.  While we were in Oklahoma for my sister's fundraiser, we had blood work done (because her father-in-law is a doctor and did it for us as a gift - so thankful), and those results came back fine.   So, we go back to the ENT doctor here next week and find out what the next step is.  They may biopsy it - ouch!   Please keep Bennet in your prayers as we try to get to the bottom of this.

Like I said, we spent last week in Oklahoma for spring break.  The kids were AMAZING during the 9 1/2 hour drive.  So proud of them.   My grandma ended up having a mild heart attack the day we got there so the kids met her for the first time in the hospital.  Bennet said, "Oh my goodness, she is SO cute".   Grandma Dot is 90, and in Ethiopia, you don't see old people very often.  The average life span is 45 years, I believe.

My sister's family is adopting a darling little boy named, Crew Dawit, and the fundraiser they had for him raised over $7000 for their adoption expenses.  Woo hoo!!   I sang a song I wrote called, "This is Religion" - it's a song that "Sierra" recorded on our very first album.  Brian and I wrote it over 20 years ago.  I warned him back then that I wanted to adopt some day!!  LOL    It was an awesome night and our sweet kids were so well-behaved and just loved being there with their relatives and new friends.  They didn't want to leave on Saturday to come home.

They also got to meet my dad for the first time - Grandpa Foy.  We had lunch with him at The Cracker Barrell and they loved spending time with him there and then getting to see him again at the fundraiser.  Everyone in my family is so loving and kind and supportive towards our adoption and we are BLESSED by it.  Oh, I will say that we noticed we were being "looked at" a LOT more in Oklahoma than we are here.  I've never felt like we were being watched here in Tennessee, but we definitely felt it there.  Very interesting.

So, I think that catches us up and I'll try to do better about writing and letting you know how we're doing for those of you who are praying for us and want to know how your prayers are being answered.  Please, please, please keep praying for us.  We need it.  Everything is great, but it's still an adjustment and there are good moments and difficult moments.  These kids are amazing and every day we are confirmed that they belong with us.  You just have to laugh when Kali and Kaleb do "a show" and start singing their guts our for anybody and everybody who comes over.  LOL    There is no doubt whatsoever that God knew exactly what He was doing by putting the seven of us together.  

There are MANY more of these precious children out should take a look.  (;  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And Here We Are (almost done!)...

On Wednesday morning we headed over to Hunter's Bend Elementary School to check it out.  I've only home schooled Cooper and Gatlin so this was our first experience at a "real" school.  Everyone was extremely nice and seemed genuinely excited to meet the kids.  I was given all the necessary paperwork and was told that they could start as early as the next day.   Wow.

I had been thinking long and hard about school.  When Cooper first started Kindergarten, I was still traveling with "Sierra" and I wanted him to be able to go with me as much as possible, so we home schooled.  We absolutely loved it and continued it from that day to now.  It ended up being a huge blessing when the kids began acting and we began traveling to California so often for their auditions and work.  I have always been so happy with our home school choice.  On a Spiritual level, it has been very important to me as well.  I want my kids to learn from a Christian worldview.  So, when I was debating school for the new kids I will admit to some guilt over that aspect of it.  But, in the end, I had to let go of that guilt and do what I thought was best for everyone.  They needed that time with other kids and those of us who would remain at home needed a little breather.

I then began to debate whether to start them on Thursday or wait until Monday.  I had had a great night's sleep (thanks to the Tylenol PM that Lana gave me) and so when I woke up Wednesday morning I was feeling a MILLION times better.  The knots in my stomach were basically gone and as of that day, I felt like I was going to be ok.  Thank you, God!!   So, I was thinking that I'd just wait and start them in school on Monday.  But then I started thinking that it might be nice for them to get a feel for it for two days before they went for an entire week - and my gut feeling was that that was the best decision.  Turned out to be a real God-thing.

A sweet gal from church named, Rhonda Rose, brought us a wonderful dinner that night and once again, we all went to sleep fat and happy.  (:

Thursday morning we got up early (for us) and started getting kids ready for school.  I'm so thankful that Brian is here helping -  we've got a nice little routine going.  We were at the school by 8:20.  Dianne, the school secretary, walked us to their classes and made sure we knew where they were supposed to be.  They were very excited to meet their teachers and all three kids went straight into their rooms without any trouble at all.  Yipee.

When I got home, Gatlin and I had a really important conversation.  We talked about life before the kids and life as it would be from now on.  There were deep issues discussed and we both cried a bit (ok, maybe a lot).   It was a talk that needed to happen and it resolved very well.   But it was heavy and we were both emotionally tired.   Right when we wiped away the last tear, my phone rang.  It was my mom.

Gatlin and I were sitting side by side, I was about to answer an email and she had just started her school work.  I said hello to my mom and she immediately said that she had some not so great news to share with me.  She then told me that she'd gotten the results of her biopsy back and that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.   Unfortunately, Gatlin was sitting so close to me that she heard her Nana say those words and she just started bawling.  She was crying out, "No, she's the only grandma I see, I don't want her to be sick, I love her, please don't let her die".   It.Was.Awful.   I lost it.  I HATE that my mom is having to walk through this.  She is already a cancer survivor - she had Hodgkin's Disease when I was 16-years-old.  I don't want her to go through all this again.  My head was spinning as I realized that if we hadn't just adopted three kids that I could have jumped in the car and driven to Oklahoma to be with her right that minute.  I wanted to be able to go spend time with her, and the realization that I wouldn't be able to was painful.  We said we would talk later that day and we hung up.  I put my head in my hands and sobbed.

It was pouring rain outside.  God's tears?   I know it hurts Him that His children hurt.  I always say to my kids, "Did we trust God before this (particular event occurred)?"   "Do we still trust Him now?"   And yes,  we do trust Him.   We are praying for my mom's complete healing.  I'm praying that when she goes in for her MRI tomorrow that the whole darn lump will just be gone.  But, if that's not how God chooses to heal her, than we will continue to trust Him.   Please pray for her as she walks this journey.  She is an amazing Mom, Nana and friend.

It turned out to be a perfect day to have started the kids in school (the God-thing).  I picked them up at 3:30 and they were all very happy.  Everyone had had a great day and they all loved school.  Yipee again!!   That night our friends, the Trouts, AND our sweet friend, Dana Carter, both brought food over to us for dinner.  We were feeling quite blessed and quite spoiled.  And again, we went to bed fat and happy.

To be continued (I'll try to squeeze the rest of the week into the next/last post)...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

And Here We Are (con't)...

We were at the doctor by 9:30 Monday morning.  I took Bennet and Kali together and then Kaleb was scheduled for 1:30.  The girl's appointment took THREE hours.  Oh my word.  They were very good, but by 11:30 they were so ready to leave (as was I).   They had to have shots and Kali cried and cried, even before the needle touched her arm (Gatlin always did the same thing!).   That girl can SCREAM.  Wow!  Bennet almost started crying for Kali - she was much more bothered by Kali having to get shots than she was getting her shots.  When it was her turn, she sat in my lap, burrowed into my chest and never let out a cry or scream.  She was very brave and I was so proud of her.   When we left, we made our first trek to McDonald's.  I got cheeseburger Happy Meals (a little healthy eating) and we headed home to eat and drop them off and get Kaleb.

My sweet friend, Gina Payne, offered to let Bennet and Kali go to her house to play with her son, Mamo, who they know from the orphanage.  They were so excited to do that and I appreciated Gina so much for making that offer.   Remember, this was still the time that my stomach was in complete knots.  At one point during the girl's doctor appointment I started crying.  Just overwhelmed way too easily by all the paperwork and keeping the girls somewhat settled down in that little room for three hours.  I knew it wasn't a good idea to leave Bennet and Kali at home with Gatlin and Cooper because Brian was working on a deadline and couldn't be interrupted.   So, Gina was a life-saver and the kids loved playing at her house.

Kaleb and I got to the doctor at 1:30 and we left there at 4:00.  It was a LONG day, but the kids really were good.  Kaleb was as brave as Bennet and never cried or screamed during the shots.  He did the biggest belly laugh when the doctor had to look at his privates - it was hysterical.   After his appointment we headed over to Gina's house to pick up Bennet and Kali.  The bummer about this was that as soon as Kaleb saw Mamo, he wanted to stay and play, but we couldn't cause we had people bringing dinner to our house and we had to get home.  He was pretty frustrated and unlocked his seatbelt and refused to put it back on.  I pulled the car over, put it back on and told him he would go to time out when we got home if he did that again.  He was very familiar with time out at this point, and chose to obey.  Good boy.  He was learning fast.  Yay!!

Our awesome friends, Deb and Rob Solberg (and Sami and Maggie) came over and brought us the biggest pan of pasta ever.  They got to talk to the kids for just a bit, but the kids were starving and were ready to jump into that pasta pit.  LOL    It's so funny cause for the first few days, when we put anything new in front of them, they would just say, "No!"  We would tell them that they had to take two bites.  They would take one bite and then it was, "MMmmmm".   And they'd eat it all and want more.  These kids can EAT!!   So, they devoured that yummy pasta and asked for it for lunch the next day.

On Tuesday, sweet Stephanie Younger, asked if she could take the kids swimming after her kids got out of school.   That was a huge blessing cause I needed a break, and truthfully, so did Gatlin.  I told you in the last post that they knew they weren't supposed to get out of their beds before 7:00.  Two out of three kids were doing great with this, but the third was really struggling with obeying that rule.  I continued to get woken up very early in the morning with, "Oh, hey mom....I'm so sorry, Mom (shake me, kiss me, grab my face)."  The child knew they were doing wrong, but continued to make that choice.  I had only slept about four hours Monday night (just really having trouble sleeping and eating cause of the stomach issue), so this early wake up testing was pretty frustrating.  Gatlin was still very jet lagged and was having trouble having grace towards this behavior.  I was proud of Gatlin because she did get up and make the whole gang breakfast.  Very sweet.

We played outside and then ate lunch and then had rest time.  When they woke up, it was time to get ready to go to the Younger's house, so I loaded them into the car and we headed out.  The Youngers live down in Spring Hill - wish they were closer cause Bennet loves hanging out with their daughter, Kristyn.   Marshal went way above and beyond when he brought them home and didn't even allow us to meet them half way.  Sometimes your friends bless you beyond measure - this was one of those times!!

We were also blessed on that day by the Trout family who brought us a delicious dinner!!  The kids love rice and were very happy to see it included in the entrees.  They had already had McDonald's with the Younger family, but that didn't stop them.  They dug into their second dinner when they got home.  (:   Everybody went to bed stuffed and happy!

My wonderful friend, Lana, brought over Tylenol PM and made me promise to take it before bed.

The next day we decided to check out the school.  

To be continued.