Monday, March 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Jason!!

Today Jason turned 33 young. As I have reflected on what a blessing he is, I thought I would tell you a few of the reasons why I love him and think he is the best father and husband in the world. So bear with me and my sappiness. I cannot help but thank God for who he brought into my life. He is more than I ever imagined and I give the Lord all the credit and praise!!

He enjoys life and likes having fun!! He can be serious when he needs to be and boyish when the circumstances fit. Below he is karate chopping bubbles with his girls. One way to spice up the sweet and innocent activity of bubble blowing!!

He likes transformers. His birthday card from the girls was a transformer card. He has a lot of his old transformers and takes them out and plays with them along with the girls. Imagine the girls in their princess dress-up dresses playing transformers with their daddy....priceless. After finishing writing his book, he treated himself to purchasing two marvel crossover transformers. We have helped him add to this collection.

While traveling back from SD at Christmas, he gave the girls a lesson on "How to fill a vehicle with gas". He had an attentive audience. :)

Nothing like flying in a sled in the snow. I cannot tell who is having more fun....Jason or the girls!!

The girls love riding on daddy's shoulders. We are at the homecoming football game at LC. Allie had the prime seat in the house!!

There is nothing like having fun with daddy. The girls adore him....and me too. There is a lot of laughter is our home. We always say the measure of healthiness in the family can be measured by laughter.
I couldn't help but put this picture in. Gracie had come over to Jason to give him a sweet kiss and smile. Melts your heart! She had plucked a flower from our restaurant table. The girls are infamous in picking flowers, even where they are not supposed to. :)

This is what Jason would look like with a mustache with handle bars......naugh. Green isn't becoming !!

I told Jason he looked soooo handsome helping me paint the boy's room. He was a willing helper. Thanks babe!

This is where he works when he stays home from the office. Surprisingly he gets more work done in his bed than at the office. He takes his job as a professor and preacher very seriously. I see his discipline and dedication and dependency to God and His word. (The cats think it's great to hang out with him too).
I love my husband. I love him because He loves the Lord with all his heart, soul and mind. He takes being a father and husband and professor and preaching very seriously and does his very best. Our marriage points my heart toward God. The Lord get's all the credit for anything good in our lives. I cannot wait for Jason to be the father of our two sons we are adopting. My heart is full and overflowing. I thank the Lord for giving me this blessing. Jason is my best friend and my soul mate and the love of my life.

Happy birthday Jason!!!! We all love you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Post Adoption Adjusting

The following is some helpful advise given by our agency when adjusting your new child to your home and family. I am passing this along to our friends and family also so you can understand more the process that will be taking place. If you ever have any questions, feel free to ask them. We are still trying to figure out what kind of expectations and boundaries to have when Jonathan and David come home. It's hard because we already have two girls and we can't bring their lives to a halt too. So, pray for us that the Lord will give us wisdom in helping balance all this when we bring them home. I am already thinking a lot about this. I don't know if it will be smart to go without deodorant in Louisiana in the summer!
A friend and colleague in adoption, Jackie Semar of International Child Foundation in Arizona, writes a weekly newsletter regarding adoption issues.
This past week I had an educational webinar travel and post adoption issues related to an Ethiopian adoption. (Well, I could never get the screen to show on the families' computers, but we did have a great discussion on travel to Ethiopia. and the post adoption adjustment for children.) The information below can be applied to almost any child adopted internationally. Jackie is a a great writer with a keen sense of humor, and I thought you may find this information useful.
Let's review five cushions you can provide:
1) Low level stimulation from the start -- this includes not having balloons and twenty family members and friends welcoming your child with zest and laughter and enthusiasm. Explain to family and friends that children from institutions are easily alarmed by too much unfamiliar activity around them, and, that the way to act around a new child in a home is to be soft spoken and gentle, as if you were visiting a fragile newborn in a hospital.
2) Lots of private family nesting time -- if you (or you and spouse) can arrange for several weeks off when your child comes home, do it. If it is at all an option, do it. This is critical time. The is the time to become parents to your child, for your child to learn what parents are. Mixing yourselves up with nannies and day care is counterproductive. Your child just landed in a strange land. Become the people he or she learns to trust. Don't share that opportunity, except with Grandma and Grandpa and siblings. The way children attach to parents is through their dependency and vulnerability. You've kind of recreated a birth scenario by taking your child out of a familiar place and into a strange one. It is extremely stressful for a child to go through this. It is your window of opportunity to be there as a caring and reliable and present and trustworthy and consistent adult, who will make the world right and safe. That is being a parent.
3) Make bridges -- take the time before the adoption to learn the foods, spices, scents, colors, and simple language of your child's birth country. Your child may not be eating curry or onion soup or whatever -- but he or she will smell it in the air and on the breath of the adults who provide care at the orphanage. Cook foods that are recipes from the country of origin. This might sound a little strange, but skip the deodorant for a few weeks. Let your child get to know your smell. (I'm not kidding -- people in foreign countries are not as body odor phobic as we are -- one way children identify parents is through smell.)
4) Recreate patterns -- while in the foreign country, learn about your child's routines. Duplicate them if possible. Waking time, meals, napping, changing times, potty times, food or formula used, music, bed time, care-giving styles. Simply learn what you can to do what you can to make the transition less abrupt. Find out whether the nannies rocked or sang to the children, what toys they used, if any. Generally, it is not easy to learn the particulars before you travel. It is something you can talk to the caregivers about; they are the ones who know your child's routine.
5) Be flexible -- your child may benefit from things beyond your expectations. One of the most discussed topics in post-adoption circles is co-sleeping. One of the more difficult things your child may have to adjust to is sleeping alone in a room. Orphanages often have two to a crib and ten cribs in a room. If you child cries at night, don't ignore him or her. Again, you are becoming the parent in the child's mind -- you are the one the child must rely on for help when distressed. If having your child sleep in the same room or bed with you is helpful, don't rule it out. For married couples, talk about this before your child comes home. Get that door open to the idea that you may be giving up some privacy for a few months. Gradually as your child builds up trust, you can encourage and reward sleeping along. One other thing that is common in many orphanages is massage. Baby massage is a skill set that adoptive parents can utilize, one that enhances trust through gentle touch. Children, as you know, are very physical creatures. Gentle touch is a powerful way to send the message that "I will care for you, I will not hurt you, I will be gentle with you, you can depend on me."

Okay, so let's say you've done all this -- trained the extended family and friends, stopped using deodorant and taken a baby massage class. You child is home, you gently employ all your knowledge and skills, and your child still avoids eye contact and screams a lot and has nightmares. You may be encountering the child's grief, or, you may need more help. Some children are more resilient than others; they have more go with the flow temperament and are open to new things. Other children are more fearful or anxious, are less flexible and have more difficulty adjusting to new circumstances and connecting to new people. If your child had a really good caregiver who she or he was very bonded to, which is a good!!! thing, then your child may have more difficulty making the initial transition to a relationship with you. But, on a positive note, the fact that your child had a deep bond with another adult will give the child more capacity to have a deep relationship with you, even though the first few months may be a little rough.

Laura Beauvais-Godwin, MPH
Carolina Hope Christian Adoption Agency
1527 Wade Hampton Boulevard
Greenville, SC 29609

Friday, March 6, 2009

An Ode to our Cats

As some of you know, a kitten was added to our family last summer, by accident. I found him in a parking lot starving and all skin and bones. Being softhearted for the perils of starving animals, I picked him up and brought him home to feed and find him a home. I didn't think it through very well and soon discovered that I couldn't get rid of a kitten, no matter how I tried. After a few days the girls had fallen in love with him and Gracie named him Riki Tiki from the jungle book. Thus an addition was added. Whitefield our older cat was now suddenly getting the exercise he always needed and they seemed to adjust somewhat well to each other. I think Whitefield was relieved to see some of the attention of the girls redirected to Riki. The girls have doted and loved on him. We have gotten many hours of entertainment watching our cats. I am putting my foot down though, NO MORE CATS!! Two is enough to keep up with.
The next part of our kitten story is somewhat embarrassing to me. We decided to take Riki to the vet a couple months ago and get him fixed. Well, we got a call back Riki was a SHE. Now, I pride myself in the fact that I grew up on a farm and have some working knowledge of animals. How could I miss this one. I was starting to have my doubts.....the vet confirmed them. So our sweet boy Riki is a sweet little girl. We didn't change HER name, but thought Riki would be just fine, besides there is a Ricki Lake in entertainment!!
Allie LOVES animals. Did I tell you Allie adores animals?? Even dogs, who love attention, well, after about 15 minutes go run and hide because Allie dotes a little too much sometimes. She has this gut laugh anytime she is around animals and they do something silly. So...enjoy the collection of pictures!!As you can see Whitefield(left) and Riki(right) look identical. It has been funny to see the look of confusion on our friends' faces when they thought they just saw one cat one second and had to do a double take, thinking it was the same cat!

Riki loves to snuggle with anything.....blankets, soft scarves, stuff animals, beds, or us.

Gracie and Allie love to cover or wrap up Riki with a blanket and sometimes a pillow, just like if she was their baby doll.

For some reason Whitefield loves to lay this way. He is a little crazy. He will do this in the morning right in the middle of the kitchen floor, where I need to walk or anywhere there is traffic.

Riki sunning herself.

The girls love to discover that Riki has chosen one of their beds to sleep in. They coming running to tell me when they see her all asleep in their blankets. This particular day, Allie was going to take a nap and saw Riki already sleeping in her bed. She begged to let Riki stay with her. I honestly didn't think it would last more than 5 minutes or less. Here is a few pictures I captured during her nap. Riki stayed there the whole time sleeping and purring.

So, here concludes the ode to our cats. This post was more for the enjoyment of kids and our girls. Thanks for participating along with this crazy post.
PS..... They are already begging for a dog!!

If You Give Mom A Muffin!

Many of you are aware of the wonderful kid's classic, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. Our girls have thoroughly enjoyed this along with the others in the series. Last week I came across this hilarious version tailored for the mom. ENJOY!

If You Give A Mom A Muffin

Original Author Unknown

If you give a mom a muffin,
She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
Her three-year-old will spill the coffee.
She'll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she'll find dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan for supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook ("101 Things To Do With a Pound of Hamburger").
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The check book is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two year old's diaper.
While she is changing the diaper, the phone will ring.
Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
She'll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
And chances are...
If she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.