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.