Monday, June 28, 2010

A Day with Sage

Will catch up on our trip from last week, but that will take awhile. So I wanted to share my date with Sage I had this week. I try to make it a point to spend time with my children one on one, but it is harder with the little girls. Especially to get away with just Sage because Mavery gets so upset. So I had the perfect chance this week. My older 3 had a church field trip for the whole day and Mavery had school. I did not tell Sage till Mavery was gone and then told her we were going to have a special day together and do whatever she wanted. Her face just lit up and she ran around telling the rest of the house.

Our first stop was to the Coffee House in town. We just love that place. So warm and friendly. Sage had a frozen hot chocolate. I forgot to take my camera in, so forgive the car photos.

Next pick was the library. Sage loves to look at books.

Then on to the playground for a short stop.

Her favorite was going to the 'big girl nail place to get her feet washed and painted!"

She could not wait! This was her first time for a real mani & pedi and boy did she enjoy herself!
She thought it was hilarious when they scrubbed her feet and just giggled away yelling that tickles!

I am not sure who was concentrating more, him or her?

Getting flowers painted on.

Pretty in Pink (i talked her out of lime green)

Can you tell she is happy??
From there Grammy treated us to lunch at Applebees, yum!

After that we headed to the mall. It was especially exciting because I did not make her ride in a stroller but let her walk like a big girl. (a stroller is typically a necessity when I am out w/ all of them) We stopped at Claire's, a 4 year old dream come true. Jewelry and makeup and all things girly. She looked at the ear piercing chair a few times but she decided not till she is bigger.
Escalators are also something we typically avoid due to strollers so that was a big request, can we ride the escalators? We rode every single one in the mall... more than once.
We went up...

And we went down!

We went to the bookstore FOREVER to read .

We stopped at the kiosk in the mall where they always want to straighten your hair. She wanted to know what they did. So they curled her hair. Do you see it? One curl. She wanted alot of curls but the girl was not offering that.

So we had a cookie for consolation. Sage is following after Makenna and loves anything with peace signs.

We had a perfect day and I laughed so hard with her. Sage just embraces life and EVERYTHING makes her happy. She looks at anything she does as one big adventure and you can't help but giggle right along with her. It might simply be stopping at the grocery store and picking up a loaf of bread, or skipping through the mall and searching for a pack of gum, she enjoys it and so then I do too. This week we celebrated referral day and I think this day was a perfect celebration of that gift we saw on that day 4 years ago.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Because of a few good men

Because of these two

And these two

and most importantly this

I get to live this life
Happy Fathers Day to the men who have made my life what it is. So thankful.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

6/20/05 the date that forever changed us

I guess this will be our spotlight Sunday for Sage!

There are many dates in our lives that are important. Mark says that I remember to many dates and how can one person keep track of all those things? I have no idea, I just do. Which is amazing if you knew how bad I stink at math. ;-)

One date is a really big deal to me. June 20th, 2005. It is the day we were officially logged in with China for our first adoption. It meant that we had finished up all of our paperwork, mailed it in, and they had filed us away waiting to be matched to our child.

For months, days, HOURS I counted down. I cried. I prayed. I BEGGED God to get a move on and show us the face of our baby. Every time a batch of referrals would come out, it was based on your LID. (log in date) So, 6/20/05 was a date that was never ever far from our minds. Every month on the 20th we checked another month off. We knew it meant we were just that much closer.

So while February 2005 was when we actually officially started our paperwork for adoption. And June 2006 was when we received our referral. August 2006 was when we met our daughter. It really was all about June 20th, 2005. THAT was the day that China counted. THAT was the day that caused me to get matched with her. If we had been matched earlier or later, it would not have been our Sage.

Sage ChenYi Mae. Our first glimpse of adoption. No doubt in our minds that God chose that date, and matched this child as ours. She makes me laugh every single day. Her personality is amazing. Yes, she is sneaky and can drive you crazy, but then she laughs this big laugh or says something that makes you laugh so hard you forgot what it was she did that made you crazy!
I am still in awe that she is mine. That God allowed us to step out into this world called adoption. That of all the babies in China, I got to be Sage's mommy!

She has changed in this past year. As we went through attachment therapy with Mavery, we learned a few things about Sage. We always thought she was secure and attached to us. And while I think for the most part she was, there were little things that have improved. She has become much more loving. She was always kind of indifferent to hugs and kisses. But now we get them much more freely. "Mom, I love you" is heard more out of the blue, which just melts me.

She is still a free spirit, which is what makes her Sage. Everyone loves her, yet she seems not to notice the attention she draws. She is typically in her own little world and can amuse herself, but is happy to include you in her play. Especially if you allow her to be the boss! She is the quiet sneaky sort. You better keep your guard up, but typically no matter what she does, we just end up laughing. She is also SO smart. She loves to learn and her concentration is pretty amazing. She is competitive, which is a new challege for us in our children.
She loves all her siblings, but she and Sawyer have a special bond. She calls him "my buddy" and she can get him to do just about anything she wants. Same goes with her daddy. One evening he was gone and called home. She said" I can't wait till you get home so you can tickle me!"

June 20, 2005. Because of that date, we are forever blessed with our Sage. Thank you Father for the amazing gift of adoption!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Spa Day

Makenna planned a spa day this week for the little girls. Cousin Jaylyn came over one day so she did an extra special day for her and Malaine. They spent about 3 hours in the spa! First they had a bubble bath in the jet tub. Swimsuits included of course. They got massages and facials.
Then hot wax treatment on the hands
and the feet!
Then of course manicures and pedicures.
Ending with hair and makeup.
I actually gasped when I saw them walk out like this. I had a vision of life in about 10 years with the 2 of them. Oh they are beautiful girls! I am so thankful that they have each other and share such a special friendship. And thankful for big sister Makenna who makes life so much fun for everyone!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Counting Down to Mall of America!

A few weeks ago we had a scavenger hunt to find tiles. The tiles spelled out a "fun place" we were getting ready to take the kids. They were all very excited to find out we get to tag along on Marks business trip. MUCH more excited than Mark is to let us tag along on what could be a nice, quiet relaxing week for him I think! ;-) But hey, who can pass up a FREE trip?? We have not been up with him since before Sage so we are ready to return. He will be working all day and some evenings, praying that the kids all cooperate for me. We are staying right by the mall. Since we were there last, they have changed the theme park from Camp Snoopy to Nickelodeon Universe, so that should be exciting. Especially if the little girls get to meet Diego! The girls can't wait to eat dinner at American Girl, which is also new since we last visited!
I am looking for mall coupons, so if you happen to have any, please let me know!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Solution that makes Sense?

Tonight we had an evaluation done at Sensory Solutions. A place that specializes in, obviously, the senses. You may remember we did go to therapy for this about a year ago, and did not find much of a solution there. That was before attachment therapy, and so we are going to give this another go, at a new location.

It is a hard thing to sit through an evaluation as they explain to you WHY the senses might not work and the point is just driven in again. Your baby got ripped off. Because she was not held and loved as a newborn, her senses were not able to connect, resulting in, well, exactly what we are going through. Not always is this the case. Many children do have sensory issues, who were loved and nurtured. However, in Maverys situation, it is obviously most likely a result of living in an orphanage.

And so in those moments my heard breaks for her. IF things had been different for her, she would not have these struggles. IF she had just been loved on, or had not been left at the hospital for surgery, or If, if, if! But I can't let myself linger there for long. What good does it do? We can't change any of that. And we know God had a plan. A plan that she would be here. With us. A family that will investigate and get her the help she needs.

She is what they call a sensory seeker. Which is what they thought before. Some children are sensitive to noises, smells, sounds, feelings. Which is ME. She is the opposite. It needs to be louder, harder, rougher to actually stimulate her senses. Probably why my guard is always up I guess. I am sensitive to noise. Funny isn't it that the Lord would design me this way, yet give me so many children, many of who tend to be loud? Oh He will mold us and grow us won't He??

First thing they did, was put her into the swing, this time it was a cocoon type swing. She LOVES that. I am thinking this is going to have to be an investment for us. Though I am trying to figure out how you work that. 1 swing, 6 children. Hmmm. They tried to get her to do activities with them, coloring blocks, she would not do anything. Just basically ran around the room occasionally plopping herself in the therapists lap. The therapist she had just met.

They suggested weekly therapy and so we will do that. I asked if this is something that ever ends? They said therapy yes. Sensory, maybe. Sometimes they said the connectors DO re connect. (they had a much fancier way of saying it, but you get the point right?) But it might be something she always has to work at. BUT as she gets older much of it she will be able to regulate herself, she will know what she needs to calm down. Therapy is for 2 things. One, to hopefully help the connectors connect. Two, to teach Mavery, and us, how to regulate.

So, part of me goes in hopeful. MAYBE just maybe, this will help. Part of me goes in thinking, here we go again. More therapy, more experimenting, will it ever end? Yet I know this is the wrong attitude. I WANT this to help, ALL of us need this to help.

As I was praying about Mavery I was going through pictures and came across these from China. This was the first moment I held her.

That day was SOO hard for her. She was so mad, so scared. And I was filled with such JOY. Not because of she was screaming her head off of course. Because THIS was the child God had told us was our daughter. FINALLY, in the flesh, in my arms! We had no idea the road that was ahead of us with her. We just knew we were right where He wanted us to be on the exact day He wanted us to be there.

And today I know we are also exactly where He wants us to be. Leaning on Him, believing in His plan for ALL of us, and on our knees before Him.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spotlight Sunday -Makenna

This weekend I was able to take Makenna away, just the 2 of us. We did not go far, just to my inlaws house who are out of town. But we decided we could stay there and spend $$ on fun things instead of traveling out of town to the lake or to a hotel! (this daughter of mine is so practical I tell ya!)

We had a wonderful time. In the midst of having 6 children in the house, I love being able to spend one on one time with them. I have been planning this weekend for a few months. We did a book study together called Passport to Purity. I will not say alot about it on this blog, but I will say it is WONDERFUL and I would highly recommend it to ALL parents of pre teens, or young teens boys and girls.

We also did fun things such as manicures, & pedicures. We ate at the Blue Owl, did some shopping, watched movies, and just laughed and had fun.

The highlights of the weekend were some special gifts. I gave her Molly the American Girl. Mark gave her a purity ring, which we need sized for her ring finger. And the best was when he handed her a package that began to ring, which was the shocker for her. She has been BEGGING for a cell phone for a year. We had told her she had to wait till she was driving, but after much prayer we decided we would get her one. We are now officially the best parents ever. Or for this week anyways. ;-)

Makenna has really been a lifesaver to me in this last year. I am not sure I would have survived with out her. She is a HUGE help. She loves to mother, which is good and bad at times, but overall really good. She loves to be in the kitchen and so it is FUN for her to make meals for the younger kids. She is also so creative and loves to plan things for the kids to do. Be it playing school, putting on a fashion show, or a circus in the backyard.

So this weekend was all about her and I had fun spoiling her! It is hard to see her growing up, she is almost as tall as me and her foot is about even with mine. But I am loving seeing the beautiful young woman that God is molding her into.
**Just a reminder that I have started a private blog, email me if you want to be invited! ;-)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Plenty of room to GROW!!

My view from the front of our new ride. We do have an extra cousin with us, but still have 6 open seats! I love it!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Spotlight Sunday-Ms Mavery

Someone so kindly reminded me that I needed to start back in on my spotlight Sundays, so here we go! ;-)

It has been awhile since I have said much about Mavery, thought I would share about her. She has now been home over 18 months, hard to believe we are closing in on 2 years. Some days I think we have come so far, I KNOW we have come far. Yet other days, I have think we will never reach normal. Then I must remind myself that maybe this IS normal, and I need to learn to accept a new kind of normal.

You may remember that we took Mavery in to see our international doctor after being home about 6 months. It was suggested that she could possibly have ADHD, or sensory processing disorder. We started her in therapy for sensory, but we did not see any improvement at all. We started seeing a family therapist who specialized in adoption and who diagnosed her with attachment disorder. And from that things did MUCH improve. Many of the issues we were dealing with, such as the screaming in the car every.single.time. we got in, lessened, to the point where we did not dread going for just a short drive. Many things have improved, we can look back to even just 6 months ago, and we KNOW things are better.

Yet we still struggle. We have found that routine works miracles for Mavery. She has gone to school this past year, and that has been a blessing. She loves, LOVES school. As we neared the start of summer vacation I wondered how it would go for her. And after 3 days home I knew. I quickly called and enrolled her in part time. We are able to just have her there when other kids are out on vacation. So not all the time, but at least a few weeks of the summer. I worried how she and Sage would do, because they were not both going, but I think it was good for them. The school agreed it was very good for Mavery to have that time with out Sage.

When not in school though, days can be challenging. Even if we try to keep a routine for her. We are thinking we need to re explore the sensory stuff. Look for another place to try out and see if it helps her, and us. You know, it is nothing major, as I read about some children. It is just little things. For example, if she wants a drink, she does not ask, she just suddenly will throw herself on the ground screaming that she is thirsty. Still can't sit still, and is kind of like a bull in a china shop! But a REALLY cute bull I should add!! ;-) She is GREAT if you can keep her busy EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of EVERY SINGLE DAY. Honestly. But I am talking if she is bored with an activity you have planned after 29 seconds, you better be prepared for another project. Lots of people have lots of advice, but one thing I have learned, no one REALLY gets it. No one lives here in our house with us. And while the ideas are all great, until you are living it, you can't even understand it.

However, I do want to say that Mavery REALLY is the sweetest little girl! She has a VERY caring heart. If she has something, she always wants to share with everyone. She is very concerned about those around her. More than any of my other children. She LOVES to color, and that is the one thing that we do MUCH of the day. I keep colors and books on every surface so we can grab one anytime we want. She is very friendly. She has yet to meet a stranger. Which can be a bit scary at times as many times we are out and I look over she is on a strange mans lap!

She is also very huggy. Loves to give hugs and kisses. She LOVES to play with hair, and her teacher is certain she is going to grow up and be a beautician! She has a few of those barbie heads I pull out often and her barbies get regular brushings and braids! She has amazing hair herself, it is SO thick and she is very proud of how long it is FINALLY getting! Her very favorite activity and MINE too for her is that she loves water. If we are having a rough day, I run a bath for her! I wish we could afford a pool as I know that would be great therapy for ALL of us!! ;-)

I have heard before that sometimes it takes as long as they lived in an institution for them to settle in out of it. And maybe that is the case. She was almost in China for 3 years, and has just been home 1 1/2 years. We remind ourselves daily, there has been improvement! We also remind ourselves of those days we waited and wondered, as we pored over her picture and we prayed on our faces before God, is THIS our daughter? And He said yes. She is to be yours and YOU were made to be her mommy. So on the days (or hours) when I think I am NOT equipped for this job, I just think back on that time. Out of ALL the mommies in the world, He chose ME! So while I might doubt MY abilities and feel like a failure most days, I try to remember He is a bit smarter than I am!! He knew the road we would travel when He pointed her picture out to me. He knew she needed us, and that I needed her. And so even if things NEVER change from how they are right now, I know that He will change ME and that we will all be ok.