Friday, December 5, 2008

Tim's Birthday! and more Life with Luke

Today is Tim's birthday! Yay!!! He has decided to work from home, so that will be nice. Nathaniel and Luke and I went shopping and bought him lots of presents. All very practical, but I hope he will enjoy opening the packages anyway. I wish I could tell of the things we have done to prepare for this birthday for him, but...he may read my blog, and then the surprise would be ruined. Suffice it to say, we hope to make this a special day for my darling husband.

We have recovered from Luke's Thanksgiving cold and mine that followed on its heals. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving shared with friends. It was a blessing to be invited to join other families for the special day, as I would not have managed to accomplish a big meal, nor the celebratory feelings if we had ended up staying home. I assume due to the cold Luke woke up with, but possibly the anticipation of the big day also, Luke had his most challenging day with us so far. He had two fits before noon, and a close call during our Thanksgiving visit. Amazingly, we have not had any temper fits since that day!

We seem to have finally fully recovered the ground we lost after the last FM call. It took a full 10 days. During and following the call, Luke was in his baby talk, "I need nurturing" mode. It had seemed as first that the only negative results from the call were minor, but as the week progressed, I saw how Luke had pushed me away and was reaching out his siblings and Dad only. He also told me several times that I was not his mom that his FM was, and that he would never love me and he had only lied when he had said he did. It is a relief to be past all that.

I feel much more confident about my decisions in regards to refusing to be coerced into more communication with the foster parents, as we now have a therapist to advocate on Luke's behalf. She is a warm, happy lady who will come to our house once a week and stand up to social services for me about what is best for Luke. She agrees completely about cutting off the FP. Yay!
I am so pleased to see Luke decide continuously to make wiser choices and not make the choice to tantrum. I see him stop and think about which path he will take and he continues to take the path of wisdom and compliance. I don't carry high hopes that he will never choose to tantrum again, but we are certainly not seeing any for now, and I anticipate less from now on.

On Saturday, we had a lovely visit with a family who has adopted five children (also have four birth, and pregnant now, and 10 years younger than us). They were so encouraging and uplifting. Being with that family for much of Saturday was really very therapeutic. Even our teens enjoyed and felt uplifted by the visit. Unfortunately, I talked my voice right out. I haven't had it since. I would trade my voice for a week for the joy they brought into our home any day.

We told our matchmaker/social worker that we do not want to be taken off the list of those still looking for children. We know that we will have to renew our home study soon, but it is much easier to renew than to start over. We are definitely still wanting at least two more, hopeful under four years old. Luke is very interested in having more adopted kids and is enthralled with babies. He also is amazingly gentle with babies and protective of them. I am so glad that this little boy is not what the "adoption people" all warned us he would be. God is an amazing God. He put that list of yucky stuff in Luke's description to scare everyone else off, then he directed us straight to him. God be praised!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Building Castles and Relationships

These past couple of days, the boys have been very involved with construction projects. The castles they have built together have been great fun. I put all of Luke's toys away since I found he didn't play with them anyway and he needed to know that having access to his things is a privilege that must be earned. This worked wonders in unexpected ways. I have found that he is now actually enjoying playing with toys. He asked specifically for a toy and then plays with it, sometimes even alone. Up until now, he has seemed to have no interest in toys, let alone playing by himself. Since making it a privilege to play with them, he seems more content. Maybe this will stay, maybe it wont, but for now, it is working.
Luke had a phone conversation yesterday with the FM (foster mom). He instantly went to baby mode and remained baby-like the entire evening, even to the point of wanting to sleep in our bed last night. We went with what his needs seemed to be and he seemed to recover faster this time. It is still too soon to know right now whether we will continue to see the effects today and into tomorrow. In the past, just the suggestion of a call caused disruption for 2-3 days following. We feel that since we are continuing to be pressured by the social workers, we had better start jumping through their hoops to keep them content. Hence, the suggestion for a phone call. Pray we will be able to keep a visit from happening. We don't think it is in Luke's or our best interest to have him see them again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Luke was very excited to be baptized last Sunday.
We were unsure whether to have Luke baptized now or later, when he becomes lawfully our son. When Luke came to the time he wanted a new name, we decided that this would be a good time to go ahead and have him baptized, after all he is our son in every way except lawfully. We had him baptized with his new name, Luke Bradford Ewing. We may later, on his new birth certificate add Jonathan as another middle name, but at this time, Luke has been adamant about leaving it off.
After Lukes baptism on Sunday, we had our congregational lunch with our church, then a time of celebration for Luke becoming our son. We recieved some nice gifts and donations. We sang some songs and Luke enjoyed watching a small skit put on by some of the young people. All in all, it was a very nice time.
Nathaniel spent time on the trampoline teaching Luke about static electricity. He came in and tried to do it on the carpet, but without any success. Nathaniel's hair was standing straight up during the lesson.
Today, we explored pine cones to see if we could see where the seed is. We never did find them, but enjoyed dissecting it to look. We have also spent time together working on a phonics program to find out how well he can read. So far, he does very well.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tears Instead of a Fit

I felt like we had major victory today! We had friends over today to work on a quilt for Luke. He was having fun with the two boys visiting and his brothers, but at lunch started to act a bit less than nice to me. So, I figured a rest time would be best. We have been having him take a nap each afternoon. It helps him stay nice throughout the day. He was very disappointed about the rest time today, but instead of the fit that I might have had to endure in the past, I kept reminding him to make wise choices, and...he did!!! I was so happy. He was very unhappy. He cried, he was so unhappy. But, that was a milestone, because before now, he almost never cried and usually had a huge fit when he was made to do something he did not want to do. I was sad about his sadness, but so very happy for his decision to be in control and be sad when sad was appropriate.
Yay! It's been a rough week with a social worker visit and negative interactions with the FM(foster-mom). It felt like I had a little miracle of sunshine in my rainy day. Thanks for your prayers. They are working!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Jonathan or Luke

Well, I know this is a little confusing, but I am going to attempt to make some sense of it. During snuggle/bonding time a couple of nights ago, I told Luke (formerly Jonathan) that if we had had Luke "from the beginning, when I found out I was pregnant, Daddy would have been so excited. Right away, we would have started to think of names to name our new little boy." Right away, Luke jumped in and exclaimed, "What would you have named me?" I answered back with one of the names that Tim and I had considered when we had thought we might rename our adopted little boy. Luke immediately responded, "No..., it's too long. I want a short name." I asked him about a few names that start with 'J', thinking he might like it to sound a little similar. He responded, "No. I don't want any 'J-O' names." I went to thinking and named the gospels to him, all except John, since he had already nixed that anyway. When I said the name Luke, he asked, "How do you spell Luke?" So, I spelled it for him and told him I thought it was a nice name and that Dad liked the name as well. He said, "Okay, Luke." He then asked," Will people laugh at me if I change my name?" I assured him nobody would. That was pretty much the end of the topic until I said, "Good-night, Jonathan." He looked at me sideways and said, "Remember...?" So I said, "Good-night Luke." And he said good-night.

The next day, I carefully tested the situation to see if it was one of those topics that we can talk about at night, but are taboo during the daylight hours. I was right. He did not want to talk about it. So, I didn't mention it again all day. Then, unexpectedly, when a young lady introduced him as Jonathan Ewing to her little brother at a church party last night, he looked up at me and said, "Mom, I'm not Jonathan, I'm Luke." He then asked me to fix the name written on his cup to say "Luke". After that, all evening, he was telling people his name is Luke. He corrected me any time I made the mistake of calling him "Jonathan".

This morning, I waited for him to show us what he would be called. It is still Luke. So, I would say at this point, even though we have not decided what we will do with a middle name at this point, our new son has a new name.

Incidental, Luke is a little dancing machine. He loves to dance and is not shy about dancing with any of the girls. It was fun to see the girls all wanting to dance with him. He should have the dances down in no time with all of his practice.
Luke, waiting with David this morning, to go get his first pair of pistols.

After a nice nap, enjoying his new guns.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Reasons to Sing Praise

Yesterday was a long, tired, somewhat bored day. It's not that we had nothing to do. I think the rain and not being able to play outside just created that feeling inside of us. We found many things to do: Play Doh, learning games, drumming, watching an educational DVD, reading, school work, hot/cold game and other short-lived activities. The day seemed to crawl by for all of us, but perhaps it was good to have a slowed-down restful pace.

Today, feeling fresh and renewed, we started off with a bang. Right after morning devotions and breakfast, we went into a 15 minute cleaning race. We set the timer and everyone worked as fast and efficiently as they could to get the house looking tidy again. I figured that if each of us, including Jonathan, put in 15 minutes of continuous work, that is over an hour of cleaning when added all together.

Jonathan took the responsibility of vacuuming the living room. He says this was the very first time he ever vacuumed. He did a great job! What a big helper! Nobody even had to go over his job when he was through. Of course, we didn't expect perfection, we didn't have him move furniture and Nathaniel gave him brief instructions, but he did the job on his own.

Jonathan continues to appreciate snuggle time at night, and continues to want to play the "if I were your baby from the beginning" game. This has been making huge strides for us in the bonding process. He has becomes very willing to obey and eager to please, particularly for me. I think after this weekend, when things get back to some semblance of normal with Tim's work, Tim will also start this bonding process with Jonathan. It can be a little irritating at times to have a 6 year old acting like a baby, but I know it will be short lived, and it doesn't go on continuously, all day. He just has moments when he wants to be treated like a baby, other times he insists he is a big boy. One other nice thing about the baby play, believe it or not, the potty times seem to be getting better during this baby spell, rather than worse. Yay!

The older boys are doing a great job of entertaining, encouraging and playing with their new little brother. They have dawnings of reality occasionally, when they see that there are times when they would prefer to not have the big brother responsibilities and have more time alone.

Jonathan stated quite frankly, when the subject came up, that "NO!" his sister will not be allowed to marry, "ever!" He says we need to put a few "holes in her clothes so she wont be so pretty" to make sure it will never happen. ROTFLOL. I think our little boy has become completely enthralled with each them.

We feel so completely blessed by how well our time is going with our little Jonathan and what laughter and joy he brings to our home.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Butchered Birds and Other Happenings

Yesterday, we butchered 20 chickens. Jonathan was right out there watching and playing nearby. He was quite curious about the insides, especially the gizzard so we had a little biology class for him.
Jonathan has been wanting to be treated as a baby now, starting at snuggle time Sunday night, most of the day yesterday and then snuggle time again last night. I suspect today will not be much different. He continues to ask what I would have done in certain situations if I had had him from the start. To me, this seems like a great healing and bonding time. We are making great progress with our relationship right now.
We had only one small tantrum yesterday. I was very impressed this time with the self control he used. He was angry and said so, but did not use naughty words this time, and did not try to hurt anyone. He also apologized for some of his actions without prompting, as soon as he calmed down. He then went right back into his play, and was a happy, snuggly boy again. The positive times certainly outweigh the negative by a long shot now. We never hesitate to take him anywhere. He behaves, most of the time, as any other child. At first, I would be nervous when we needed to go out, since I had been warned that he could be so difficult to get into the car and would run out of buildings unexpectantly. We were even told that he would run out into traffic and put himself in danger on purpose. We are not seeing any of these behaviors. We did at first have some difficulties with the car, but possibly because we were being so careful and nervous that we set him up for them. He has never put himself into danger on purpose with us though. We are now trying to let him just be a little boy and ignoring all the info (possibly all false) that we have been told, and letting him show us who he is and what to expect of him. Mostly, he shows very good behavior. I would say that he does not misbehave any more than any other child. He only needs to learn what we expect of him.
Potty time does continue to present challanges however. He does not ever want to go to the bathroom, but is embarrassed to wet or mess his pants. He hates us reminding him or asking him to use the toilet. It takes a lot of determination and creativity and talking to essentially manipulate him into using the bathroom.
Another interesting situation, considering all of the clothes sent with this boy is he has nothing to wear. Apparently his foster parents did not want to spend any money on clothing since they knew they would be giving him up. All of his clothes are size 4/5 and we have a size 6/7 boy. A friend at church gave us 2 pair of jeans and a nice sweat shirt. I made a new pair of pj's for him, he has maybe four t-shirts, but otherwise he is wearing clothing that is much too small. If anyone has any fairly decent size 6/7 clothes that their child has outgrown, we definately have a need. Church clothes would be helpful as well.
Thank you all for you continued prayers and support.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Worried About Nothing

We had an amazing weekend. The wedding of our friends was beautiful! The reception was every bit as much fun as we had anticipated. We celebrated our 22nd anniversary by attending this wedding. The wedding was at 2pm, as was ours. Tim and I did not get a chance to dance together as we had hoped, but we had a wonderful time together nonetheless. Even Jonathan got in on the Virginia Reel. He can't wait for his next chance to dance. Jonathan had a lot of nervous energy during the reception and wanted to get a little carried away at times, but no more so than the other children there. Occasionally, we took him away from the activity just to help him level out for a few minutes. We celebrated to the very end, when they were beginning clean-up and Jonathan was all tuckered out.
Church on Sunday morning also went very well. I was pleasantly amazed to find that he wanted to cling to me this time, rather than Tim. Tim has been gone so much for work, that when he is around, Jonathan has seemed to ignore me as much as possible. This was not the case yesterday, however, maybe because he had spent the entire day of the wedding with Tim. Sunday service, Jonathan sat very quietly. I rewarded him as the service progressed with chocolates that I had left in my purse from the wedding. That worked very well. Even during the longer parts though, for instance during a very long scripture reading, he hung in there with only one very quiet whispered comment on how long it was taking.
After church, our family went to a soccer match to watch the son of a friend play. We then joined them at their home for BBQ burgers and a movie. Jonathan enjoyed playing with two young friends on and off during this get-together. He was very obedient and polite the whole day. Everybody enjoyed him and he seemed to enjoy everyone too.
Last night, when we returned home we had the best snuggle time ever. Jonathan wanted me to tell him more of how it would have been if he could have been my baby from the very beginning. He wanted me to sing him lullabies and pat him on the back like burping a baby. I love these moments because he asks lots of meaningful questions and shares bits of his fears and concerns. Last night, he wanted to know if I will ever give up my kids for adoption. We talked about this quite a while. The conversation included helping him know his birth mom tried to take care of him, but was unable.
Today, we will have another very full day. Our broiler chicks are long past needing to be butchered. We have 20 of the them. Pray my hands hold out for all the skinning we do. We do not pluck them, we have found it easier and cleaner to skin/gut them in one action. My arthritic hands however don't much like to cooperate in either event.
We are hoping Mindy has puppies sometime this week as well. She has not been going through a false pregnancy this time. She appears to have pregnancy symptoms as her due date approaches, but is not very big. Hopefully at least two pups will be delivered. The money from the pups will be a blessing.
Pray for Tim today. He has a very tough day at work to get through and the burden that follows as the week continues.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Life This Past Week

Well, I won the battle of the zipper. It was not a perfect job, but for my first ever zipper and it being on satin, I think it turned out pretty good. Now we shall see if I can throw a shrug together for it in just a day and a half while being completely occupied with our little Jonathan. I'm sure Whitney can help with this one, either the child or the sewing.
We had a wonderful few days in our friends' time-share condo these past few days. I was pleased to see Jonathan do so well there. We had a lot to do. We went swimming,
putt putt and playing at the park. Inside the condo, we played remote control car, Pick-up-Sticks and had lots of bubble bath time in the big tub.
We only had one stressful time when it was time to be done swimming the first time we went.
Jonathan doesn't move from one activity to another in smooth transitions. Sometimes he needs to have a few minutes to adjust to the fact that we are making a change, and sometimes I forget or don't realize it is necessary and try to rush him. He is not really trying to play longer most times, he just seems to want to be still for a while and adjust. I am trying to remember things like this so that he can have this time as a healing time, instead of a higher stress time due to my preferences.
We had our Georgia friends, whose condo we stayed at over for grilled steaks yesterday early afternoon. Maybe that is the better time for us to have meals. It seems that may have been the first full meal we have had since getting our precious son. We still have blessed meal times together, as I feel that is important for Jonathan, its just that sometimes its Campbell's soup or grill cheese sandwiched. I do need to fall into a good routine soon though. Whitney and David have all but stalled out with their studies while they have been helping me. Nathaniel is struggling along because he has put himself in a co-op learning situation with a parent-teacher and other home school students. He has a more stringent schedule to keep in order to not get behind. Tim has been working right up to Jonathan's bedtime in order to make up for time he had to take off during our pre-placement days. I have to admit, I did not anticipate the exhaustive work that this is taking. I would not change it, mind you. I just was not prepared.
For others who are adopting, I highly recommend: have some meals in your freezer, streamline your home, make a schedule for laundry, prepare for survival mode physically and financially. They say you will get monthly subsidies if you're adopting out of the foster system, which I know we will...eventually, but they don't give one of time, and even the money doesn't come as soon as you get the child. There are many little things that you find are needed in order to care for this new little person that are unpredictable until he is with you. Mattress pads that are waterproof, pull-ups, new pjs that don't itch, socks that fit, pants that fit, bath toys, car toys, oh, just little stuff I guess, but it does add up.
I am so glad we serve such an awsome God! He gives us each an abundance of grace, he provides for our every need, he continuosly stretches and teaches us. He creates miracles when they are needed. He has given us a wonderful church family to encourage us, and friends' visits to break up the day. God is so kind.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Better Each Day

Church and our after-church picnic went better than expected yesterday. Jonathan was more patient than we would have expected during the service. To a child his age, it is a challenge to sit quietly for so long. Tim did an amazing job of handling him during the service. I was not feeling well and was tired after a week of adjusting with Jonathan so it was a good thing to have Tim be in control for the service. He was so much more patient than I was feeling. Jonathan did amazingly well, not perfect, but very well. After service, Jonathan enjoyed interacting with and playing games with the other kids at the picnic we went to in Yorktown. We were pleasantly surprised to see him join in a game of duck-duck-goose with the other children, on his own initiative.
He also enjoyed our time at the condo. I wasn't sure how he would feel about it, but he seemed to enjoy being there as much as we did. He took a long bath with bubbles and played with his remote control car in the apartment. When our friends arrived he was very out-going to them. They have a new baby which he was very interested in. He asked me during snuggle time a couple of nights ago if I could have another baby. He seems very interested in how a little baby should/would be taken care of. He also found it interesting that our friends had adopted two teen-age boys from Russia that couldn't even speak English when they got them. The boys were not here for him to meet, but he liked hearing about them. He really enjoyed getting to sleep between Mom and Dad like a little baby all night. We awoke to a small puddle between us, but that just shows how well he slept. If we do the all night snuggle again, we will probably use a pull-up. All together it was worth it for the bonding time. Sheets are washable.
We are loving our little boy more and more each day and enjoying the progress he is making with us already.
We let Whitney and Nathaniel stay after us at the picnic to interact with their friends while we took off for the condo. They had a very enjoyable time just talking and hanging out with friends. They then drove home to care for our animals and hold down the fort. They will go this afternoon with me back to the condo in Williamsburg where Tim will join us after work. I'm not sure which ones at the moment, but at least two will return home again tonight to care for the critters. It is so nice to have them to rely on to help out. David may choose to return home, as he sometimes feels the need to have a little space from his little brother. Jonathan copies just about everything David does with only a few exceptions.
I am off to put a zipper in Whitney's dress. Pray for me. This is a very scary undertaking.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another Great Day with Our New Son

Today has gone very well. Jonathan is so excited that he now has chores that are his very own. He has the job of putting away our cloth napkins with individual napkin rings after each meal and he collects the eggs each day, feeding chickens their scraps as needed. He does his chores possessively and enthusiastically. He spent more time doing actual school work today, though I think I may have snuck it by him in such a way that he may not even be aware he did any. He is reluctant to let me know what he really knows, but we are slowly figuring him out. We did shaving cream spelling of three letter words, shapes, counting by twos, puzzles and writing number words.
I am continuously amazed at Jonathan's boldness and wisdom in regards to the puppy, chickens and the cats. He is very slow and respectful with the cats and bold and firm with the puppy. He now believes me that only the rooster (now in the freezer) is untrustworthy. The rest are nice. He is looking forward to eating the rooster though.
He is getting to the point where he will obey me most times with a respectful "yes ma'am", right away, in spite of the fact that the rest of us don't do a good job of this. He likes to remind the other kids to answer correctly. I kind of like that. Maybe my western-raised kids will finally get into the habit. (In the west, nobody says ma'am or sir. It is considered stand-offish and even offensive to some.)

This afternoon, Whitney and Jonathan finally had a chance to bond. Whitney has been sick with a cold and was not much for interaction of late, so this was a great day for the two of them to get to know each other. They jumped on the trampoline, played basketball, played fetch with puppy Shula, and threw a giant Frisbee in the yard. By the end of the day, "Whitters" had gained a new fan. Did you know that "Quitters never win, and Whitters never lose,"? I overheard Jonathan chanting that over and over in the shower before bed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Today is the first time we have had Jonathan for a third day without having to return him. Finally, a "second night" with us where all went smoothly. We had a happy and peaceful bedtime routine last night, even with Tim coming home late, to the routine half over. It went so well that Tim and I were back in the kitchen talking about our days by 7:25, and that included snuggle time with Jonathan. YAHOO!!!
I feel filled with hope and ready to greet this day with excitement and enthusiasm. Thank you all for all of your prayers. Keep them going up as we progress onward. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jonathan is With us for Good!!!

I feel like a new mom. Boy, am I tired. It is always surprising to me to find that emotional situations can wipe me out so much. We are keeping today low key and as quiet as possible. We are even limiting the time Jonathan spends out on the trampoline today. I don't know if it's the right thing to do, but it makes the day more peaceful anyway. I will let him go out after lunch for a half hour, but getting him back in can be a challenge.
Yesterday is a day that, as exciting as it was, is a day I do not wish to repeat. It was obviously very hard on Jonathan. We had a bit of a battle in the car after we left his foster parents' house. I ended up having to hold him in my lap with his arms crossed over his chest and hands held tightly just to keep things in control. After about 10 minutes he calmed down and I put him back into his seat where he promptly fell sound asleep. I think it was just too much trauma for his little self to handle. He awoke a few miles from home and was a sweet boy again.
We had a little celebration for Jonathan when we got home. The kids had decorated the house and wrapped up some gifts we had bought for him. Whitney made a cake. We had a nice little time together. But...bedtime was once again very tense. In the past, during the visit time, Jonathan only had tough bedtimes on the night before his return to his foster parents. This time, we dealt with it on the first permanent night with us. We eventually hit on something that calmed him, and we had peace as he fell asleep.
Today has been going quite well. Whitney and Tim are recovering from their cold. The boys are studying diligently, and Jonathan is entertaining himself with balloons and toys. The peace is broken occasionally by the loud "POP" of a balloon, but their number is diminishing...slowly. I hope my heart holds out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Today is Timothy's Birthday!!!

Today, my first baby boy turns 20! On this day so many years ago, we excitedly awaited his coming. Timothy was born in a tiny little house in Colorado. I gave birth to him at home on a mattress in the living room under the front window. There was not enough room in the bedroom for Tim and I and the two childbirth teachers we had assisting us to do it in our tiny bedroom. He was born right at noon after roughly 24 hours of labor. What a life changing event it was. I was suddenly made so aware of the love my parents had for me, as I cried tears of joy and love over this tiny infant God had so graciously blessed us with. It is an amazing love that never lessens and grows more in my heart each passing year.

I miss Timothy so muchl. Today especially. He is so far away, clear on the other side of the world to me. My solace is in knowing that he is not only my child, but God's as well. My Heavenly Father loves him even more than I do. I don't comprehend how this is even possible, but I know it is.
I hope all of you will join me in lifting up prayers today for my dear son Timothy on his birthday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We are again looking forward to Jonathan coming over. This time he will stay for another two nights to go back to his foster home one more time for one day, to return to us for good. Finally!!
Jonathan did express to us on Tuesday when we took him back to his foster home, "I just wish I could stay with you forever, now." I think that is one of the things his social workers were hoping to hear from him before "placement". I didn't really expect to hear it I guess. Don't misunderstand me, I know when Jonathan is with his foster parents, to him he is then home and he is happy. We are just so blessed that he is already feeling so comfortable with us that he is willing to entertain the thought of us being his forever family. Jonathan's transitions back and forth are actually going smoother then they had been. The last trip when we took him us to Richmond, I played cards with him in the back seat and he played Gameboy for a while. These entertainments seemed to help all of us alot.

After leaving Jonathan with Jeff and Terry, Tim and I went out on our first date in a very long time. We had a wonderful McDonald's meal together. I am sure the meal was delicious, though I may not remember clearly, as the company was so sweet. That may be the last date we get for another very long time, but it was a sweet, refreshing moment together. I am so blessed to have such a loving, Christ-serving husband.

On a different note, Jonathan will be here soon, brought by his foster mom. His social worker was here earlier just to meet about placement, etc. We barely managed to get the house somewhat tidied. We have finally gotten most of the camping gear put away at least.

Random thoughts:

Three of us are battling colds, Whitney, David and I. Yesterday afternoon, as we were all getting ready to peter out for the day, I found Shula (puppy) gnawing on one of our broiler chicks. I later found a second that was in worse condition. So...late in the afternoon, we were forced to butcher two chickens. That is something to gear up for to accomplish early in the day, not something I would ever plan to do late in the day. Whew! That wasn't fun. I felt like we had to do it right away though. They were in pain, and I didn't want to waste the meat. Most of the meaty parts were still good. I think we lost a drumstick, that's all. Hopefully with enough diligence we can still manage to train Shula to not chase chickens. She is a very smart dog.

Well, I must be off. Jonathan is due here in about 15 minutes. Will add more as time allows.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What a camp-out! Two of the funnest times of my life have been at CHRF (our church) camp-outs. I think the camping weekend was a great way to introduce Jonathan to our church and for him to have two full days with us as well.

Jonathan has now spent his first two nights with us also. We have had some of our first negative experiences together. Bedtime last night, for instance was a challenge. A car ride home from the park yesterday turned into an interesting exercise in containment for Nathaniel. Due to the massive amounts of time Jonathan spent in a car the first three years of his life, car trips can be quite the ordeal right now. We are currently looking for a booster or car seat that a six year old cannot extricate himself from. Any ideas? I am wondering how the two hour car ride to Richmond will go with him today. Windows, door locks, spitting, kicking, throwing anything that can be reached, squealing loudly,'s quite an experience. By God's grace will we prevail.

Most of the time, Jonathan is a very sweet, lovable little boy. He loves his new brothers and wants to do everything exactly as they do, right down to eating the same number of slices of bacon. He adores our cats, enjoys the dogs, though the puppy can be overwhelming, carries the turtle around regularly and keeps an eye on the frog to be sure it eats. He is not intimidated by the chickens or the goats. If given the freedom, he would probably live entirely on the trampoline and his bike.

I have seen a miracle in my sons, Nathaniel and David this week. They have both magically become men. Whitney has always been quick to step in to get things done when needed and I have always appreciated and at times, taken advantage of it. To see how the boys are jumping in to help get things accomplished is a great blessing. I saw huge piles of camping equipment left in the living room "until later" just disappear while I was occupied with Jonathan. The boys continually stop what they are doing to answer Jonathan's questions or help him out with any small matter. They step in to distract him when the need arises and seek to comfort him when he is discomforted. I watched in pride and amazement as Nathaniel dealt with the incident in the car yesterday. I saw tender, patient love, concern and prayer in the midst of a violent, uncontrolled outburst. I have never seen the level of maturity I am seeing now in my sons. It makes my heart so full, it brings me to tears.
Today, we take Jonathan back to his foster parents' house. We are all dreading that, for many reasons. Jonathan hates the drive, its four hours of driving (four for us and two for Jonathan), and we don't want to say "good-bye" to our little boy again. We are still on schedule to have him with us for good on Monday the 2oth. Please continue to pray for us during this transitional time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Four Hours in the Park

Yesterday, we played for four hours in the park. We then went to an outdoor mall for ice cream and more movement. I was so exhausted. I think Jonathan must have slept very well last night.

Tim should have been more tired than I however, as he was Jonathan's constant companion and play toy.

They played soccer, catch,swords, wrestling, and bubble chasing. Tim pushed Jonathan on the swings and a twirling toy that made me nauseous to even watch. Jonathan seemed to really like Tim. He was happy to have me there when he got a scrape or fell down and wanted assurance, but overall Tim was clearly the fun one. I was glad to be there, took lots of pictures and loved on Jonathan when the opportunity presented itself, but I was not quite up to par on this particular outing. A slight cold is still attempting to get the best of me.
Jonathan has had such a difficult time with school during this transition, that he finally bought himself a ticket out yesterday before we went to play with him. All those who have control, decided to end Jonathan's school days for now. They told the school yesterday, that he will not be back. Whew. That is a relief. He was going through trauma everday by having to leave his home to go there. His foster mom will work from home now until the transition is complete.

The official, changable schedule is the following:
Thursday 11:00am-4:00pm
Friday 10:30am-6:00pm
Sunday 3:30pm-Tuesday 7:00pm
Thursday 9:00am-Saturday 3:00pm
Monday October 2oth-Home with us to stay

This is the schedule if all goes as planned and visits don't need to be extended. The school issue seems to make this schedule a bit more pressing than it otherwise might be.

So, on a personal note. I am so excited and nervous about this little boy coming to our home. I feel like there is so much to do to prepare and make things just perfect. So much in fact, that I can't seem to get started on anything. For now, I will concentrate on preparations for camping and finishing Whitney's dress that I've been sewing. I will drink lots of fluids to stay well and take lots of deep, cleansing breaths to stay calm.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bowling With Our Blessings

What a glorious time we had yesterday with Jonathan. As stressful as his school day was on Friday, I had not hoped for so much. When Jonathan saw us he ran up to us. He stopped short of hugging us but he was happy to see us.

When we were finally able to pry Jonthan away from the video games and get his bowling shoes and ball, the fun began.

We bowled together, chased a bit, and watched Jonathan be very silly at times. Jonathan seems to pick up on things very fast. He followed the order of the game and always know who's turn was next.

Jonathan enjoyed interactions with each of us in different ways, though he seemed to seek out physical touch. He never sat in our laps really, but he lounged against us, collapsed on us, and generally seemed to be enjoying a lot of physical touch.

We brought a small birthday cake and a couple of small presents for him to open. It turned out that was a great way to break up the bowling.

We bowled one more game after eating cake. The brothers playing with Jonathan's new cars in between their turns. Jonathan was beginning to get a bit wound up and antsy toward the end of the second game.

When we finally finished the last game, we dug out his new playdoh toy. This seem to be a good wind down activity for when we had to work toward a "good-bye".

Four out of five siblings together. At times like these, we sure miss Timothy.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tomorrow is a Very Big Day

Tomorrow is the day Whitney, Nathaniel and David get to meet Jonathan. We are all going bowling. Whitney made a cake to celebrate Jonathan's birthday with. We bought him a couple of very small gifts.
As exciting as it is to spend time with Jonathan tomorrow, it is also scary. When we come with a birthday cake and our other three children, we may have some conversation about us adopting him. Up to this time, we have only spent time with him and nobody has discussed adoption with him. We are praying he has a fun time and is not afraid and enjoys his new siblings.
Pray for calm, peaceful hearts and spirits for all of us.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Jonathan has gotten into trouble at school again. We have gotten no details yet. The social worker and therapist are trying to work out a way for him to remain in his current school during this transition. The school feels "Jonathan would be better served in a different school setting." We agree. Unfortunately, we have to wait to get him home to homeschool him. In the mean time, the social worker and therapist are going to spend their mornings at school with him to help him with his feelings of frustration, fear and anger. This whole new school issue has worked toward getting his move-in day moved up by one week. They were working toward Nov. 2. We are now talking about Oct. 27. Tim and I are encouraging them toward a sooner move-in date yet.
Jonathan really is a sweet little boy. He is very confused right now and feels rejected and scared. I think he will be fine in a less chaotic environment, with a loving stable home. Thank you all for your continued prayers.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Jonathan Had Fun

We had a wonderful day yesterday with Jonathan. When we met him we clearly saw fear in his eyes, but that quickly went away as we reminded him that he had seen us at McDonald's, and gave him quarters to feed the animals. As we walked through Maymont Park in Richmond, looking at the animals, we talked with and interacted with Jonathan. He did not seem shy at all. A very short time into our visit he was walking along, talking to Tim .

Tim pointed out animals to him and both shared little bits of information they knew about them with each other and the rest of us.
As our walk progressed, Jonathan became tired and sat down to rest. I pulled out bubbles that I had brought along and he seemed to really enjoy them. After convincing him it would be better to chase them on flat ground instead of the side of a hill, we walked on.
A short way up our path, Jonathan slipped and skinned his knee. After a short rest for recovery, he let me hold his hand to help him hop along, saying, "I can't walk on it at all." Within about 10 hops uphill, I suggested he let Tim carry him on his shoulders. Jonathan let Tim pick him up and seemed to really enjoy being carried along, especially when Tim let him steer him by putting his hands up as handle bars and turning as Jonathan led.

When we reached the top of the hill, the two ladies that were with us left us with Jonathan while they went to get the car. Jonathan seemed a bit nervous, but I pulled out the bubbles and he enjoyed chasing them as we coaxed him up to the meeting place.
We left the park a short time later and got a drink, finishing our time for the day at a duck pond. Jonathan kept looking for flat rocks to skip in the water and played with a feather in the water with me. At one point Jonathan came up beside me leaned in and kind of gave me one of those head-shoulder hugs that completely warmed my heart.

Jonathan was smiling very big as we said good-bye and told him we would see him again very soon.
The meeting was a success.

Friday, September 26, 2008

We Met with Jonathan

Yesterday was a very full day. We met at McDonald's to view and be viewed by Jonathan. We arrived a half-hour past the beginning of our hour of time with him due to a mess up in communication. We were given the address to the wrong McDonald's. The plan was for us to be there first and Jonathan and his therapist would enter and come to say "Hello". We would then interact with Jonathan in a nonthreatening way. As it turned out, he was the only child in the play place when we arrived, and he knew right away what was up. He was quite nervous and for the most part did not interact with us. He was able to observe us from the safety of the tunnels however and see that we are safe. He did venture down near us a couple of times, but very cautiously and for short periods of only 2-3 minutes. On one of these occasions he opened the emergency exit and the alarm sounded. The therapist immediately stepped around the corner to find the janitor to turn off the alarm, leaving me standing beside him to verbally sooth him from his apprehension about the loud noise. I then had his attention and told him about the time Nathaniel pulled the alarm at a school during swimming lessons and fire trucks arrived filled with firemen . He was interested, smiling and said he wanted to do it again so that firemen would come. We explained why they wouldn't come and that the janitor wouldn't be happy to shut off the alarm again so he shouldn't do it again. Hopefully I didn't open a new can of worms with that one. It was nice to have a positive interaction with him though. Isn't God is a humorous and thoughtful God?
Before we felt like we had been there at all, it was time for Jonathan to leave. It was quite entertaining watching this poor young therapist try to get an unwilling, crafty, feisty, little boy to get his shoes on and into his car seat. We were watching from a distance and saw her put him into one side of her SUV to avoid having him get too wet in the heavy rain. She walked around to the other side to buckle him in. He quickly climbed over the seat into the back as she arrive at his side of the car. She went around to open the back and he climbed back over the seat into the back seat. She went back to the side door...and on and on this went. I don't know how she ever managed to coax him into the seat, but she was completely drenched by the time they left. We felt bad for her, but it was a bit of comic relief.
Later in the afternoon, we met with Jonathan's social workers and his foster parents. That was a time of reassuring them of our desire to do what is best for Jonathan as is theirs. It was also a time of assuring his foster mom that we are not working against her, but with her. She is really hurting right now. (I have a suspicion that he is being placed into a new home due to their marriage being in deep distress.) They graciously shared photos of Jonathan and information about favorite things and usual routines, names of his pets, etc.
Jonathan's birthday will be on Tuesday. We will get to see him Monday, but we will not be celebrating his birthday with him at this time. We may go for ice cream in small celebration of it next Sunday with his foster parents. This would be a very short visit since the foster mom is very emotional at this time and we don't want to pressure her too much to stay in control for too long. She has loved Jonathan wholeheartedly for the past 3 years, never intending to ever give him up. This is taking an emotional toll on her. Please keep her in your prayers.
We arrived home very late last night, and very tired and drained. I was not really aware how stressed I was about the meetings yesterday until this morning. I feel wrung out. Getting a call about seeing Jonathan again on Monday has helped a lot to lift me up again, but I still feel very tired today.
We are looking forward to a beautiful day of fellowship with some families from church here on Sunday and that always energizes me. I thank God continually for his grace in bringing us to this wonderful body of believers.

Until Late,

Monday, September 22, 2008

Beautiful Virginia Day

The weather today is perfect. I love that in Virginia the fall and spring are so long and beautiful. The moderate temperature is truly a delight. We are all basking in the joy left over from a fun Lord's Day picnic with our church. Tim's mom and dad returned safely from their trip to the Clan Ewing meeting in Northern Virginia. We have experienced two small blips in our day. Tim's dad discovered his lovely two hour walk while lost in the Great Dismal Swamp behind our house has left him covered in Chigger bites. He is soaking away in Epsom salts right now.
The other small blip is we have to wait to meet Jonathan until Thursday. He has come down with a stomach virus and will not be up for our visit tomorrow. :( That disappointment however has been softened with the news that we are indeed on schedule to meet him this week. We were disappointed Friday evening to receive an email indicting that the process may be delayed. This news had been received with much disappointment and stress. We are continually reminded that God is in charge and this is His plan and we are merely willing tools.
Our God is an Awesome God!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Our Adoption Story to Date

I have decide to update all of our friends and loved ones on our adoption process via my blog so that I could cover you all at once and remember important details. We were presented with the opportunity to be considered for Jonathan, a 5 year old Caucasian boy on August 22, 2008. We were told that the case workers may be looking for a home school family for him since he is not integrating well into kindergarten and daycare. He has been in the same foster home since he left his birth mother's cousin's care at the age of 3. He had been shuffled from his birth mom to cousin and then the cousin abandoned him at a hospital to end her care of him.
His foster parents had planned to adopt him when parental rights became officially terminated, which was in February of this year. As time progressed, however, they began to realize he was not thriving in his daycare environment and really needed the consistency of a stay-at-home mom.
On September 4 we went to Richmond to meet the case workers for Jonathan, along with 3 other couples who were being considered also. Whitney attended with us as she and I were on a return trip from WV at the time. We received a lot of scary information regarding this small child. It seemed as though everyone was desperately trying to find a label to fit his challenging behaviors.
We prayed long and hard, asking for prayers from our church, and consulting with another family who had adopted twins with similar adjustment difficulties, and with his social worker some more. After much deliberating, we decided it might not be in Jonathan's best interest for us to adopt him. Yet... God had decided otherwise and as we again reevaluated and considered, He brought us to realize that Jonathan is exactly the little one God has hand-picked for our family.
I was invited to go to see Jonathan and watch him interact in his kindergarten class on the 19th of September to see for myself his animated eyes and his behavior. He did not know who I was. I enjoyed playing with blocks with him, watching him play learning games on a computer, which he loved, and hang out at a drawing center, which he did not have any interest in. That day, realizing that Jonathan has many difficulties and challenges to overcome, I fell crazy in love with this precious little boy and together our family decided we are committed to loving Jonathan for a lifetime.
Jonathan's social worker met with his foster parents yesterday to let them know they found a family for him. We, or maybe just I, will meet with Jonathan and his social workers at a restaurant on Tuesday the 23rd, where we/I will be introduced to him as his new parents. His social workers are still trying to decide if it would be better for him to meet us together or one at a time.
Thursday, September 25, both Tim and I will get a chance to spend 2 hours with Jonathan. We will then go, perhaps to his foster home, to meet with his foster parents and see where he has been living for the past almost 3 years.
After these initial meetings, we will be meeting with Jonathan at least 3 times per week, working up to an overnighter and to eventually him moving in with us.
We are looking forward to celebrating Jonathan's 6th birthday with him on September 30, and hoping he will be permanently in our home by mid October.
Blessings to all,

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Life Today

Today, I woke up to a beautiful new day with my family. We were also very blessed to have with us Tim's parents, having just arrived yesterday evening. They were very game and joined us in an evening of contra dancing with other families from our church. I met them all for the evening after spending an hour earlier in the day at a kindergarten class looking in on a little 5 year old boy. This visit was the preliminary visit to see if we want to go through with the process of bringing this little one into our home. We are so excited that God has brought this sweet little boy, Jonathan into our lives to become our new youngest son. We know that Jonathan is the child that God has put on our hearts to pray for these past three years and we are looking for the many upcoming years of being a part of his life.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Vacation in Montana

I awoke in Montana this morning at exactly 4:00am. Everyone is sleeping in. That is, they are not up yet. I arrived yesterday early afternoon, but my luggage did not. It seemed to think it needed more time in Denver. It took almost more than I could handle to go to bed last night in borrowed pj's and without my stuff that I use for my bedtime ritual. Hopefully all will be well later this morning with the arrival of my suit case.
It was so good to see my family yesterday. I even got to see April since she was in town doing some shopping with a friend. I have not seen many of my nieces and nephew yet, though I look forward to seeing more of them on the 4th. Gale, my brother's wife will be having a BBQ at Mom and Dad's to celebrate. I am anxious to see everyone and have a visit.
Everything is so green here. It has rained an unusually high amount this year and for the first time in my memory, it is still green and lush in July. Mom and Dad have done so much to this place. It looks fresh and pretty. And, of course, it still has that refreshing peacefulness to it. I still love this place.
News: I got a call from our adoption matchmaker yesterday. We are being seriously considered for a group of 3 children from Ohio. This is our first time of being considered at this level. The children of course are beautiful. However, we know very little about them yet other than the write-up we read online. Those seem to be written in rosy colors. Well, we shall see.
The sun is finally rising. I think I will head of to see what lies ahead this day.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Afternoon at the Beach

Whitney has her friend, Becca, from Montana, here visiting us for a few weeks and we have been trying to think up fun things to do while she is here. So...after cleaning the house and finishing up studies today, we decided to put the dogs in the car and head to the beach. It was very hot in our neighborhood, but was surprisingly cool at the beach, and the coast was thick with fog. The kids played in the water, Frisbee and catch with the football for a time before the girls joined me on the side to read. I think the boys would have played late into the evening without stopping. They love the beach. I, however was getting chilled and wanted to get home to get dinner on. How wonderful it is to live so close to such a beautiful creation as the beach.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Very Full Day

We filled this day all the way to the brim. We started the day after devotions heading off to Nathaniel's last baseball game of the season. Tim went off to work since he had marathon board meetings to attend this week. Nathaniel's team finally came off with a win, after the other the other team gave them their best player, their pitcher. Afterward, we visited for a bit while munching a bite to eat with the homeschool moms that we had met and became friend with through the season.

We ran a few errands on the way home. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Tim had beat us home. It would have been so easy to waste away the hot afternoon, but we pulled up our boot straps and got outside. Tim and the boys loaded up our old washer and dryer to give to a young couple at church tomorrow who are in need of them. Nathaniel went to the neighbors to do a yard job for them for his new business, We Care Lawn Care. Whitney worked to prepare the meal for after church tomorrow and then came out to help. Tim, David and I, and later Whitney, tackled moving the goat fence again to provide more produce for the goats. It was very hot, around 90', and very humid. We were working in the brush and the bugs. It was not a fun job, but it feels so good to have the job done. We will hook up electricity to the part where we were short goat fence on Monday, but the labor is finished and the goats can clear out the irrigation ditch and save us some hay.

I so enjoy the Saturdays that we can work and sweat together as a family to accomplish a big goal and feel exhausted and satisfied at the end of the day. God truly did creat work, or it would not feel so good to accomplish it.

Off to a deep and restful sleep and the Lord's day tomorrow.

Good Night.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Beautiful Spring Day

Well, what a beautiful day to be outside. I have been in front of my new computer for a lot of the day, but was out for a bit too. I went for a lovely walk with my neighbor. We chatted about our mutual interest in foster children, adoption, our pets, and the proper perspective in regards to animals in our world, seeing that they are not "made in the image of God"as people are. We enjoy uplifting and encouraging each other in our challenges in life.

Whitney and I got out and entirely weeded our little garden in the back yard today. We planted only a few plants this year to make sure it did not get away from us, and it almost has already. We have planted peas (Whitney's babies), carrots, spinach, beets, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes. The peas are the most interesting at this point, as they seem to have a fear of heights and yet they are long gangley things. They have been trying to crawl along the ground. Whitney careful strung them up the fence in hopes they behave more pea-like. We are up against a strong battle with weeds however, as our fertilizer came from the back pasture, and contained many weed seeds.

We also tied out our horse and goats to help keep the grass and weeds and feed bill down. They seem to enjoy the fresh produce. It doesn't really take too much effort to tie them out, but still it seems to be one of those tasks we put off as long as possible. Pounding in stakes, leading out misbehaving goats, putting out and filling up water containers and then making sure they don't tangle themselves all adds up to a bit of inconvenience that we often prefer to skip.

Tim will be working late tonight with board meetings going on. The boys are finished with a light day of chores. I didn't pressure them to get much school accomplished since they are for the most part finished for the summer. I have decided we will not entirely quit schooling this summer though. I think it will be good to keep them occupied. Whitney is studying continuously and not prepared to take the summer off. She is ready for the next CLEP exam, so things are a little lighter for her at this time, with the final prep being the taking of practice exams.

I suppose I had better get on with my day.

Blessings upon you!