Monday, December 21, 2009

Baby Boy

Nothing cheers up a dreary waiting room in a speech, physical and occupational therapy practice like a joyous child with a million dollar smile who totally flirts with all the ladies, playing peek a boo, smiling, and running off laughing in glee as soon as they come near him! This was the best waiting room experience I have ever had – Baby boy left everyone smiling and gave everyone some Christmas cheer! This is major progress for baby boy because for the first few months home, he was very reserved and had a lot of anxiety around strangers. Baby boy got his second speech therapy evaluation which just reaffirms the conclusions of his first one in August – he has delays in his expressive and receptive language and needs speech therapy. Now if we can only find a slot for him – the practice his health insurance contracts with to provide the services has a 1 – 2 year waiting list and they cannot know for sure how long he will need to wait since it all depends on the length of time their current patients require therapy. But, I am grateful for a possible workaround – if we can get a letter stating that there is a long waiting list, the regional center can provide services until a slot opens up. Now, if we can only get that ever elusive letter!

Baby boy also had his appointment with the developmental pediatrician and it was worth the wait to be able to get in. We got 3 ½ hours totally devoted to my son - testing by a child psychologist, time with a pediatric nurse and then an hour with the developmental pediatrician. I can’t tell you just how wonderful of a practice this is – everyone is so focused on your child and they make you feel like they have all day just for your child. They view your child as a person and really work hard to know your child. They are all playful and the pediatrician did not mind at all that my son wanted to sit on her lap so that he could play with her necklace. She actually let him sit on her lap for a long time and cuddled and rocked him to sleep while she talked to us! The best part is that they will advocate for your child! They were aghast at how difficult it has been to get my son speech therapy and told me they would contact all the responsible parties. They also wanted to know what baby boy's lawyer that the good people of our state are paying had done to ensure that baby boy is getting all the services he needs. The doctor even called me the following day with a possible workaround – referring my son to a day program where they provide early intervention services which would include speech therapy. We will have to think this one through though – it is a mental health program and the children they serve seem to have significant mental health issues. My husband is worried about our son getting labeled and we would really love to keep our son at home during the day instead of in a program. The bonding with him has been great and we do not want to jeopardize this – plus we would be separating the twins and he may get anxious about this. We feel very hopeful about something working out soon with speech therapy. This visit was very good and it laid some of my fears to rest – auditory processing and/or neural development issues and/or autism. The doctor felt the speech delays were simply a result of less than ideal environments both in utero and the first 8 months of baby boy’s life. A huge sigh of relief and a lot of gratefulness for extraordinary medical professionals who go the extra mile. Also can't fail to thank the extra ordinary public health nurse who coordinates baby boy’s medical care. She has a caseload of 400 kids, but yet she treats each one like they are her only patient. She shows real empathy, does a lot of outside the box thinking looking for resources outside the “government plan” and really advocates for “her” kids. She totally makes up for all the apathetic government employees and works hard to redeem our reputation! Baby boy also has had three emergency room visits related to his asthma. The care there has been extraordinary, the nurses and doctors are not only warm and caring to the patient, but also offer mom and dad warm blankets and drinks during the wait and keep us informed about what is going on! The last time we got quite the royal treatment – 9 medical personnel within 3 minutes of our arrival were working on baby boy and several had their phones out calling for more personnel – we were clueless and just thought it was a slow night! Turns out his O2 saturation was 70% per a faulty triage nurse’s pulse oxitometer. Once he was hooked up to a different machine and the all clear was given, our local sheriff’s department showed what real heroes are made of - they protected our delicate sensiblities by sternly warning a patient against using foul language as a child and lady were within hearing distance! Chivalry is still alive and well! So thankful to live in a country with great medical care where we have the luxury to complain about the time it takes to see countless medical experts whereas many mothers around the world don’t have access to even basic immunizations for their children.

All in all baby boy is doing great and he just can not resist the temptation to play with the ornaments on the Christmas tree. We have gates everywhere, but he seems to find just that perfect moment when we let our guard down. It has been awhile since we have had little hands not able to resist the temptation of taking down the ornaments and it is really just such a blessed feeling. I love me this baby boy and oh how baby boy loves his momma. He screams with pure joy as soon as I come through the door and he sure knows how to brighten up my day. Even when he gets into trouble, he still smiles at mommy through the tears and will hug me to make everything okay.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Falling Through The Cracks..........

When we made the decision to adopt, I made a promise to my children to be their biggest advocate. And by golly, do I try. I research, I ask questions, I seek out professionals and follow their recommendations to a t. But, it seems like the professionals never got my memo about advocating for my children! It has taken me three months to get a letter stating that my son’s health insurance does not cover speech therapy so that the Regional Center that provides speech, occupational and physical therapy services for children 0-3 yrs can start providing services. My son’s state funded health insurance plan advised speech therapy was not a covered benefit, but it was not their policy to provide such a letter – but the Regional Center could not provide the services without said letter. I called the big guns to break the impasse – my son’s social worker, who sought the assistance of her supervisor, the children’s case manager at the Regional Center and the county’s public health nurse. I even offered to draft the letter and have them just copy it to their letterhead, but on no – that was too outside the box thinking for a government employee (I have license to make fun of govt employees seeing I am one of them). When I implored the top dog – the manager of the “customer service” unit of the health plan to help with said letter and I told her about the 10 different calls in two months to get it, she huffily said my son was just one of 65,000 members the plan served and it was not like he had had a stroke and needed speech therapy! Obvious why the customer service skills of her underlings is less than stellar! Wonder what she would say if she headed the customer service unit of my private health insurance which covers more than a million members in my state alone! For all our efforts, I finally got a letter stating that yes indeed – the insurance plan did cover speech therapy, but my son would have to re-evaluated by their speech therapist! Back to HOME. Three months after the battle begun, baby boy has another evaluation this week, but wait – we were warned to temper any high hopes that speech therapy would commence soon – the agency they contract with for speech therapy advised that they have a long waiting list and sometimes it can take two to three years for a slot to open up!!!! A far cry from the Regional Center where the Speech therapist only had one other client and we pretty much had our choice of time slots. Okay, one step at a time......

Speech therapy aside, baby boy also needs to see a developmental pediatrician. This is obvious from observations by this advocating mama and scary confirmations by his early intervention specialist. I about checked myself into a psychiatric ward after calling his pediatrician’s office weekly for a month trying to speak to the pediatrician to see if our concerns were warranted and if they were, for advise on our next course of action. The pediatrician’s “gatekeeper” would always insist that I had never called with this concern and that it was the first time she was hearing about it! I thought I was losing my mind – it is one thing to hear voices, but to actually be having conversations and vividly remember them, but the other person insists that you have never had such conversations??? Scary. Anyway, I started journaling the date, time and who I spoke with and reading my notes back to her during my once a week follow-up call before the “gatekeeper’s” memory was jogged. Phew! After two months, I never got to see or speak to the pediatrician –the gatekeeper said he is a very busy doctor (which I believe since he had to be woken up from a deep sleep last week when we went in as my son was having an asthma attack). But, the pediatrician had a good solution – I could write a letter with my observations and the observations of the early intervention specialist and he would read the letter in between patients! And I thought pen-pals was so yesterday. Anyway, I asked if he could review the notes that his “gatekeeper” had written down and give me his feedback and would you not know it – we immediately got a referral to the children’s hospital for baby boy to see a developmental pediatrician! But have no fear mama, baby boy will settle the scores for you. Last week when we had a medical emergency, my super sweet, gentle, cuddly baby boy who can never hurt a fly turned into Hercules and pummeled his pediatrician when he was trying to examine him! I know baby boy is attached to his mama, but putting the pediatrician in a headlock, knocking him in the eye and trying to jump off the exam table so that he can go into mama’s arms? He must have sensed mama’s displeasure at how hard it has been to get him the help he needs. Now if only the developmental pediatrician’s office can figure out which clinic we need to see her at – she practices at two different clinics at the same children’s hospital - one is a high risk follow-up clinic due to baby boy’s pre-maturity or a developmental clinic (neural, auditory, and processing concerns). They called me last week and told me they would call me back this week once they figure it out! Maybe we can toss a coin? I mean, it is at the same hospital and the same doctor? We are even willing to meet in the middle-on the hallways between both clinics – please just help baby boy!

Even with all the hours I have spent trying to advocate for him, we are still not getting the services he needs. How easy is would it be for foster care parents to give up when trying to deal with an unwieldly system that puts bureaucracy over the needs of the children?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Six Months Later - My Girls!

Baby girl 1 is better known as around here as Miss Sunshine. Nothing fazes her – she gets an ouchie and smiles in between the tears! She is all tom-boy while at the same time very girly! She is a fearless girl and wants to climb up on couches, beds or any high surfaces and it is not unheard of for her to try to jump down. This girl will take on the world! She has never met someone who is not a friend! She smiles and giggles, tells us long, long stories (if only we understood baby babble) and loves to read! She is just as happy playing with Big brother’s trains and tumbling with him as she is playing with her dolls or playing dress up. She does not have much time to sit and cuddle – there is just too much to explore out there! She does let mommy enjoy some special mommy/daughter time when she very patiently lets me fix her hair. We worried if she was really attached because she just loved anyone who smiled at her – she could as happily have walked away with the milkman - if we had one :) - but I think that is just her personality. She has now started crying if mommy and daddy leave her with someone else and that makes this mommy happy! She is a social butterfly and I think she will be a politician! She is skipping saying single words and is speaking in two word sentences and her favorite right now is “what’s that?” as she points to everything. She is very curious and nothing passes her by! She loves her baby sister, loves making her laugh and is oh so gentle with her. She loves helping with her bottle. She likes to make everyone laugh and always has a goofy expression to make you laugh and a permanent smile. She loves her food and can eat anything with her eight teeth! But, she will let you know if something does not meet her expectations – she will hold food in her mouth for ages and will not spit it out or swallow it if she does not like it! She is potty training and if only mommy and daddy were more consistent, she would already be a pro. She is so proud of herself! She is a smart little cookie and copies everything someone does! She can operate the remote, radio and just about everything else we would let her! She is such a wonderful child and such a joy to parent.

Baby Girl 2 – Oh my baby girl. At seven months, she has been home three months and is just the world’s best and happiest baby. She personifies an easy baby – her needs are very predictable and sleep time is a breeze – all she asks is to be put in her bed during her nap and bedtime and for one to then leave the room. She coos to herself and falls asleep within minutes. She sleeps through the night, eats like a champ and will get early wrinkles from smiling so much! She loves showing off her adorable dimples! She is very curious and could spend hours sitting on her bouncy chair watching her siblings play or looking outside. She had wanted to eat food for so long and the expression on her face when she had her first bite? Priceless! She quickly figured baby food is not all its cracked up to be! She still smacks her lips when she sees us eat – I think she knows it has to be better than her baby food! She loves watching her siblings play and is totally fascinated by her big brother – I think she likes goof balls – she follows him with her gaze and laughs and laughs whenever he makes eye contact! She is babbling like crazy, imitating some sounds and trying oh so hard to crawl. She does get from place to place by squirming and it is quite funny! She loves playing with people’s faces and looking at herself in the mirror! If she is not sleepy, she likes cuddling with mommy and lets me tickle her and inhale her sweet baby smell! She like the twins, has adorable rolls of baby fat and is a chunky hunk of love at 20 lbs. She totally personifies joy and in retrospect, we should have picked this name!

Six Months Later - My Boys!

Big brother continues to just love on his new siblings – he must be really attached because he no longer treats them like delicate porcelain! Now he tumbles and rolls with them like he does with his five year old friends and I have to remind him they are only 19 months old. Baby girl does not care – she tumbles with the best of them, picks herself up, laughs and goes back for more! Baby boy is more fragile and runs off and keeps his distance from the tornado! Big brother loves kindergarten, is a good helper at school, a kind friend and a teacher’s dream student (per his teacher who gives him “Super Bee” to take home with him on many occasions). He also introduces me to the wonderful world of super competitive parents. On back to school night, after only 1 ½ weeks of school, parents complaining that their children had not yet had Super Bee (a stuffed toy lent to kids caught being kind, careful and helpful) come visit. Twenty students in the class and 10 days into the school year, parents were already vying for first digs at the stuffed toy? He loves soccer and is a natural though he is quite clueless that he is actually pretty good! He scores goals every game, but like all his other friends on his team, he is more interested in the mud puddles and trying to catch crab in a creek with 2 inches of water! Too funny watching six boys fashioning fishing rods with sticks and string and convincing themselves that today is the day they will catch crab (all while they are supposed to be practicing for a soccer game the following day). As much as I love to watch him play, I get just as much amusement watching the dads (and some moms) on coaching from the sidelines during their matches (and all using their outside voices). Boys being boys are only interested in catching grasshoppers or figuring out which mom brought snacks for the team and what the snack is! They just want to have fun and couldn't care much about which team won - unlike their parents! Big brother currently loves all things science and is particularly fascinated by Astronomy. I am having to read up on things I learnt so long ago! He also loves nature and is gentle with all creatures, loves learning names of different birds and loves the church's garden. We are currently reading some books from Institute of Creation Research and he is in heaven! He begs for a pet rat and a dog or cat is a very poor substitute. Mommy is terrified of rats - so he will have to settle for gold fish. He also continues to be a good helper at home and constantly tries to give me a heart attack! He keeps us on our toes – he will not let his 7 month old baby sister cry and has carried her downstairs on several occasions when she woke up and mommy was not fast enough in picking her up! He has also gotten a step stool and fixed her a bottle as well as made waffles for the twins because daddy was not fast enough in getting their lunch! He is impish, cheeky, playful, loving, helpful and kind! All boy mixed in with a very gentle heart – he will be a good husband.

At 19 months old - Baby boy is still my cuddle bug! He has a million dollar smile that melts everyone’s heart and lets me cuddle him all the time! He is very attached and has a hard time when he does not have us in his line of vision during the day or when we leave him for a short time with family. He is playful, joyful, loving and gives the best wet slobbery kisses. He has finally found his voice and does not let his twin sister walk all over him by taking his toys. He loves playing peek-a-boo, cars, and is gentle, compassionate (hates seeing anyone’s tears), laughs easily and we can tickle him all day just to hear his incredible laugh! He has such a sweet disposition and even when cutting eight new teeth to add to his eight, he still smiles. He loves his big brother and likes sharing a room with him. Too cute hearing them "talk" in the dark. He knows a lot of sign language, though he does not initiate it – he just does the sign when you say the word! This past week, he added three more words to his previous one word vocabulary. Progress! And he has not yet even started speech therapy. I was thinking that it was cute that baby girl was mothering him by stepping in the gap to help him with things that we were aksing him to do – like picking up a ball or a cup. I felt like my world stopped when I realized that there might be some processing issues. He understands the different words in a sentence, but cannot put them together for a full command. He only responds to one word commands. Nothing worse than wishing you are wrong, but getting confirmation from the early intervention specialist that I am not overacting or losing my mind. So, we soldier on as we advocate for him and fight to get him to see a developmental pediatrician. There is a 6 month waiting list at the Children’s hospital – though everyone is trying to pass the buck re: whose responsibility it is to pay for the care – the Regional Center, the insurance or his pediatrician’s medical group! My head spins trying to untangle it all! Boy, do I love this child!

Boy are boys fun to parent! I wish more people would be open to adopting boys.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My kids have it in for me!

A couple of months ago, we had an assessment with a pediatric physical therapist to see if our little guy qualified for physical therapy. He had just started walking and his gait was odd and his torticollis (twisted neck in which the head is tipped to one side, while the chin is turned to the other side) which comes and goes had been evident for a week and was more pronounced. Nothing sadder than seeing a little one wobbling as he tries to walk and his neck permanently bent at an almost 90 degree angle. But would you not know it- he decided to show off for the pediatric physical therapist and straightened his neck and became more stable walking the very morning she was coming! Talk about feeling like a mother crying wolf! Thank goodness the early interventionist he sees had noted the same issues! His motor delays were at 30% and they needed a 33% delay before he could qualify for services. And true to form, as soon as the therapist left, his neck immediately went back to 90 degree angle! My children have it in for me – they will be very ill and lethargic at home forcing me to make frantic calls so that they can be seen by their pediatricians asap. And on several occasions, once we get there, they perk up and play with the doctor like they have just had a shot of pure cane juice in their veins! I am left wondering if the smile on the doctor's face as we leave means they are trying to figure out if I have Munchausen by Proxy!

So needless to say, I was a bit nervous when we had an assessment for speech therapy for the twins about a month ago. On the one hand, I am like every mother wanting to show off all that her children can do, but on the other hand, assessment time is not the time for my kids to show off to the specialists all the skills they will not show me when I am with them at home! It would be perfect if they would do a repeat performance once the specialists leave so that I am not left knowing that they need some intervention services, but I have no way to prove it! This time, Baby girl duplicated her brother’s earlier award winning performance during his physical therapy assessment and for her speech therapy assesement, said one word too many showing only a 30% delay in speech! So, no speech therapy services for her (that pesky 33% number)! But baby boy more than made up for his last performance and for his sister showing off and redeemed mommy’s reputation (can’t go around having people thinking I am crying wolf). He winked at me, merrily babbled during the speech therapy assessment and said not a single word! He did show off a little sign language, but that was about it. Way to go, my boy! Yippee, we qualify for speech therapy services for him! Now, if only we can figure out how to navigate our County’s public health insurance maze! Once I gather my thoughts, I will expound on the inner workings of a government run health insurance plan!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A dog or a Child?

Dilemma, dilemma, dilemma! You want to enjoy the hospitality offered by our penal institutions for a longer time and you are wondering what to do to ensure a longer stay. Before you is the choice to harm a child or a dog. To ensure a longer stay, choose the dog! Because that my friends is the value American society places on her children. Get convicted of extreme cruelty and torture of a child and you get a year’s sentence. But wait, you already spent 247 days in jail pending your hearing since you could not post bail and with a lot of apologies, you are released because you get credit for time served. Because a year according to the wonderful mathematicians working for our criminal justice system is really only 180 days (they count a day and night as two days)! The “hardworking” prosecutor takes works "real hard” to ensure justice is served by giving you a plea bargain even though the evidence against you is compelling and any jury could have convicted you on more counts ensuring you serve more jail time. I mean, who wants to clog our courts' calendar with pesky matters like child abuse and torture? But wait, maybe the prosecutor knows something you and I don’t – perhaps the jury would have been anxious to get over with the trial to attend to more serious matters than to seek justice for a child without a face or a voice. And boo hoo, you don’t even get a notable mention in the local papers or get your fifteen minutes of fame from your local T.V stations even though the story could have been sensational based on the degree of abuse and torture. And outrage from anyone hearing your story? Are you kidding? In between talking about the heart warming news story of the cat that was rescued by a fire fighter from a tree, the deep ponderings of who will win America’s Got Talent and outrage over Kanye West’s conduct on an awards show, your story is only but a small distraction to what is really important. If on the other hand you get involved in a dog fighting ring, you get more than your fifteen minutes of fame as your story gets covered ad nauseam and generates unprecedented hatred and public outrage. You get severely admonished by the judge as you are sentenced to two years in jail and serve 18 months of your time. You get to spend the rest of your life under the public microscope apologizing and trying to make amends and become PETA’s rallying call. Still trying to contact Pamela Anderson to organize a match to protest cruelty against children and the injustice of the criminal system as the child’s case in point happened in her neighborhood.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stay at home baby daddy.

Last Friday, we survived my husband's first full day of his foray into the land of stay at home dads (albeit only for a couple of months). Only one phonecall to inquire where towels were - at least it was not asking where the kids were! Survival tips for all the ladies brave enough to let your husband be the stay at home dad to four children 5 years and under:

~upon your return home at the end of the day, to keep your BP in check -do not look down for any reason. Instead enjoy the super excited children who think it is Christmas - I mean every kid just loves letting their imaginations go wild as they make obstacle courses for Mommy with anything that is movable in the house! Ignore the guilty look on hubby's face as he tries to make a path for you to get into the house! Instead laugh inwardly at his feeble efforts to prioritize as he tries to figure out which obstacles create more of a safety hazard!

~ Do not for any reason fail to leave clothes out for the dear children -though it creates great comedic relief at the end of the day seeing children dressed by a color challenged father, the children might find it so yesterday being the subject of tear-inducing, side-holding laughter from mommy and the other moms as he goes to pick up their kindergarten-going brother.

~Oh so enjoy the look of utter confusion on husband's face when you ask him what is for dinner after a ten hour stint with said children. I mean, you were home all day, can't a girl get a three course meal? :) And take advantage of your husband's greater appreciation for you and accept that offer to get you a present for no apparent reason!

~Give up the need to know what and how often a child was fed - you will most likely be met with a mumbled "I don't remember" as his wheels start turning trying to remember if said child was fed! Phew for children who will not let a meal time go by without letting you know about it!

~ Do not let your one-child friend whose wife wants more children know that daddy is the new stay at home parent. The priceless look on his face upon it dawning on him that he might one day be left alone with more than one child! Worked better than any contraceptive as he resolved they are only having the one child! They have a sweet one-year old and he nearly gets a heart attack worrying that she might hurt herself when he has to watch her for a little while if her mommy needs to go somewhere.

All in all, it was a good day for daddy and the kids. They adore him and he is tireless when it comes to playing and goofing around with the kids. Part of my panhandling proceeds might get invested in some knee pads - playing horsie for hours with three kids might wear out the old knees!

Friday, August 21, 2009

My "real" son.......

Isn’t reality a funny thing? I spent the last couple of weeks semi-paralyzed with fear and worry until the sudden realization that that had not changed a thing (except leading me to my new career as the panhandling mom :). Not sure how that would look in court as we try to convince the powers that be that we are capable of raising our children and their interests are best served by being with us). Being so powerless to do anything about “our news”, I irrationally felt that I was busy doing something about “the news” when I was consumed with fear and worry. Now that I am not spending my time in tears or bent over a toilet bowl - maybe I should continue with this one - it was doing wonders to my weight loss aspirations :) - I can get back to the business of enjoying the present!

Like excitedly preparing my “real” son for his first day of kindergarten. Seriously, when asking about my children, someone asked me how my real son was doing!!!!!!! That was before she asked me if I intend to have more children of my own?????? Okay, please tell me every mother with four children ages five and under gets this question? I was able to jokingly say I could not answer her question about my “real” son since I did not have any fake ones so I was not sure who she was referring to. That did not deter her from asking the second question, but again I was able to jokingly ask her if she would have asked me the same question about my procreation plans if I had four bio children. At least I got a nervous laugh from her with my response! I did not even get excited enough to start doing my mad dance after the ridiculous questions. Because in the grand scheme of things when you are willing to give up everything and then some to protect your “fake” children, and afraid that you might lose them, what are a few stupid ignorant questions about the worth and value of adopted children.

My baby is not a baby anymore! He will not take his perfectly good “Thomas The Train” backpack to kindergarten. Instead he wants his daddy’s way too big backpack! I being the practical mom that I am, was going to remind him how much he loves his “Thomas The Train” backpack because daddy's backpack just would not work. But I thank God for a husband with forward thinking and who wants to save us the expense of future therapy - dh remembers being five and not wanting to stand out by being the baby of the five year old gang! So today we go shopping for an appropriate backpack for an oh so grown up five year old who also starts soccer today! All that before I pack up my troopers to enjoy our second camping trip this Summer. I want to preserve the memories from this stage – last month when we all went camping, everyone kept raving how joyful and well behaved my children were. They really enjoyed camping and just went with the flow with millions of laughs and giggles and not one whimper about having to be sleep in a tent. Who, you ask goes camp tenting with a five year old, two one year olds and a five month old. Me! Because I will need these sweet, sweet memories next year to tide me over when we hit the terrible twos (x2) with a younger child just a year later to keep me on my toes!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Off to a Faraway Island......

Or not! I have been dreaming nightly that I have taken the children to a far off uninhabited Island and we rough it until they are 18 years old. After which we return home and I am promptly handcuffed and led away! Not pretty, but I think worth the cost to protect my children.

Everything is out of my control and I need to get done with the uncontrollable crying that seizes me at odd moments - i.e. in the middle of a trip to the store, at work, talking to a stranger or while reading a book. I have read a lot of case law in the last week regarding the appeals process and I have not been reassured.

Bio mom and dad are enjoying our State's hospitality in some of our fine penal institutions after almost killing one child and leaving permanent evidence of physical abuse and neglect on our children. The taxpayers are sparing no expense to ensure they get good representation and they are being represented by attorneys from some of our finest law schools. Our county is sparing every expense to ensure the victims in this case (our children) are represented by a "fine" attorney who is in private practice (but who is paid by the county with taxpayer dollars) and who has had his license suspended in the past for professional misconduct. The attorney representing the county also was served with the appeal motion, but for two months, it never occured to him that the children's social worker and the children's parents had a right to know that an appeal had been filed. Our social worker also failed to verify if an appeal had been filed (public information) before reassuring us that all was good and dandy and we should sign paperwork to proceed with the finalization in October. In order to ensure that the best interests of the children are protected and to keep us in the loop - a family law attorney paid for by us out of pocket at $300 per hour! So when you see a mother on a street corner with four children in tow holding out a tin cup, please be merciful - we will be panhandling for attorney fees! Per the family law attorney, we cannot have representation during the appeals process. However, we will get our status changed to de facto parents next month so that we are entitled to get court reports.

To say we feel totally helpless is an understatement. But, that is also the place where God will show His faithfulness, because in this matter, we are totally dependent upon him. How do you advocate when you do not have a voice and the people who supposedly speak for the children have been less than stellar! All in His capable hands!

Monday, August 3, 2009


Head reeling, heart pounding, feeling faint, and sick to my stomach! Describes just a little of how I feel tonight. As of this morning, we were all gearing up for the twins' October adoption finalization. As of this afternoon, we got totally broadsided when I called my social worker on an unrelated matter. Oh so matter of factly she told me that she had some news - bio mom filed an appeal and it could take a year to get a hearing! The appeal was filed two months ago, but somehow they forgot to mention this to us! I was trying to hold myself together during the phone call and all I could think about was that I needed to get off to phone fast so that I could run to the bathroom and throw up.

This was the adoption that was 99% risk free (and 99% simply because the social worker could not say 100%, but she repeatedly reassured us that it was the most risk free adoption she had dealt with). Tonight I hold my babies tighter and love on them like crazy while trying not to cry. The social worker assured me that bio mom can only appeal the process, but not the decision to terminate parental rights. Somehow, I am not reassured - how could anyone have missed that important piece of info i.e. that there was an appeal filed and that we needed to know. Hopefully tomorrow, my mind will have cleared a bit, I will not be so overcome with fear, and I will be feeling less sick. Tonight though, I am broken, silently screaming and clinging to my Lord.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Its All How You Look at It!

To me, Baby girl (2) looks average at 17 ½ pounds (though she is at the 95th percentile for weight and height). However, I visited my neighbor who has a one week baby born at 5 pounds and when I came back home, my baby looked like a giant!

I look at my four kids and I am so thankful to God for entrusting them in our care and can’t get over how blessed we truly are. We go to a barbecue and a family member who has not met our newest three (though the twins have been home for five months and we only live 1 ½ hours away) is amazed at how large our family has become and empathizes with us at the burden of having so “many” children and is sorry for us for the exponentially increased grocery bills! I had not actually thought if our food bill had increased – I guess that is food for thought for another day:)! But, it is hard to compare an increased food bill with the joys and blessings children bring. Oh that our society would begin to look at children as the blessings from God that they really are, and not an inconvenience that interfere with our food budgets, vacations or having time for ourselves. I could choose to focus on the few friends and family who have not acknowledged our new children - no card, no call inquiring how they are doing, no visits. Or I could choose to continue being on my knees thanking God for the countless others who have embraced our children and who are as excited about the wonderful blessings God has placed in our lives.

My fearless 17 month old daughter sits on a bench, falls on her face on the grass, thinks it is hilarious, picks herself up, brushes off her clothes and runs off giggling! I look on amused thinking what a brave and fearless girl I have and how far I have come four children later that I no longer get into a panic everytime a child falls. Hard to maintain panic when the same thing happens countless times a day! Two family members at the same barbecue later loudly "whisper" to each other insinuating how irresponsible I am for letting a young child sit alone on a bench (next to an adult).

After another night of baby girl keeping me awake, but still thankful to God that after only about four hours of sleep, I still wake up joyful and rejuvenated, a co-worker asks me who the real parents of my adopted children are! Whereas a few months ago I would have been offended and at a loss for words, I can now joyfully explain that the real dad is at home with the children and the real mom is standing right next to the co-worker speaking to her! All done with a real smile and the perplexed smile on my co-workers face is priceless!

I am consumed with the plight of the fatherless and continually wonder how God can use me now that my eyes have been opened. At least weekly, people tell me how special I am for adopting 3 children in one year. I can never get an appropriate response – we are a very ordinary family answering God’s call to care for the fatherless and we feel totally inadequate. However, we are humbled that the Lord God of the universe is growing and expanding us spiritually and has always supplied all our needs. My perspective has changed, I am now clear about whether 30 pairs of shoes are a need or a want!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


We still can't get the children on our health insurance plan until the adoptions are finalized and they are currently covered on our State's health care plan. We can sign them up with a pediatrician in a private practice who agrees to bill the State Health Insurance plan. However, both times we took the twins to a private practice that takes the state plan, I was paranoid because the nurses and pediatrician did not wash their hands before or after examining the children. And the pediatrician loves putting his fingers in the children's mouthes when he is playing with them! So, I was not taking the infant to him! Instead, I took Baby Girl (2) to a pediatrician at a public health clinic and boy! All, I could think of was this is what our health care will look like in a few years! Now, don't for a minute think I don't have empathy for the millions of unisured Americans. I have a pretty decent understanding of the shortcomings of our current health care system having mastered in healthcare administration. I am the first one who will argue for the need for reform to stem the unsustainable cost increases, the waste, inequities in acces to care, inefficiencies, etc. However, if reform looks like the kind of care I received - I don't know. I went to the pediatric clinic and went to the reception and patiently waited my turn. A clerk realized I must not have known the ropes since I was supposed to take a piece of paper and stamp my arrival time. He kindly asked me if I needed something! Okay, lady carrying a child into a pediatrician building and waiting at the reception desk, and do I need something? No hellos here, just a very brusque clerk signing you in. All this from a person wearing a badge stating they had won an award for customer service excellence! Hate to imagine what the "non-reciepients" of such awards do! When he realized I was not on public assistance (since I had to show legal paperwork authorising me to get medical attention for my child), suddenly his demeanor changed and he explained all the intricacies of the clinic! I find this totally shameful since everyone should be treated with dignity and respect whether or not you are receiving public assistance! Anyways, I was sent on my way to the pediatrician's office which happened to be upstairs and you had to carry an infant in a carseat up an uncovered stairwell in 100 degree weather (not sure why they don't use the numerous empty offices on the same floor as the reception). Once upstairs, you again have to figure where to put the mountains of paperwork you are given downstairs before waiting in a closed off waiting room (almost feel as though you have made a visit to a jail). The nurse then unlocks the doors and calls you in, and that is the last time she acknowledges your child is a person. No smile, just business. I did not earn alot of marks for using disinfectant wipes to clean the exam table and tape measure which were coated with dirt. The nurse rolled her eyes and said she did not know why I was cleaning it since she always cleaned it after every patient. However, the amount of filth on the wipes after the cleaning clearly told both of us, they had not seen any cleaning in years! Nice for the next patient because the nurse huffily wiped off everything after examing my daughter :)! The pediatrician was really nice and took his time to answer questions. That was the main redeeming factor of the visit. Of course I had to ask about such things as weight and height apparently since they do not share such info with parents! The wisdom of the powers that be at the public health clinic then make you go back to the waitingroom to wait for the nurse who will give your child their shots. Off again to the waitingroom, before being shephered into another room by a different nurse who would not even crack a smile to my supper smiley girl. Instead she jabbed her twice, turned around and started surfing the web! Everyone seemed apathetic (except the pediatrician) and really why should they care? They work for the public health dept and it would take an act of congress to get them fired for poor customer service. Is this where we are headed? The whole time I was thinking that this is what we can anticipate in a few years if Obama's healthcare "reform" passes.

To say I am scared of what our health care will be is understatement. In between raising a supper active 5 year old, 17 month old twins who recently begun walking and are currently exploring everything and oh yeah, raising an infant, I will make time to read the 1,000 page bill that most of our lawmakers will not read and which the supporters argue must be passed now! Hopefully, I will find things in there that will allay my fears. But in the meanwhile, I will remember to be grateful for my current private health insurance coverage and remember to thank my providers for the excellent care they provide my oldest, husband and myself - they really practice patient centered care.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Oh, This Grateful Heart!

Grateful for a five year old son with a giving heart who has embraced all the changes that we have thrown his way. He has totally bonded with his siblings and has had no problems sharing his mommy, daddy, toys and his trains! He has also been very good humored about having mommy or daddy delay meeting his “needs” since he has three younger siblings who are more vocal about getting their needs met right now! None of our concerns and those of others have materialized re: how he would cope with all the changes. It is amazing how many times we are asked how the oldest is doing with the addition of three new siblings in the last 4 months! Everyone always assumes that he will have jealousy issues and many have anecdotal tales of how their “friends” children reacted when they got new siblings. But, God has been good and he could not be more bonded – he loves, loves, loves his siblings. He did not even want to go with his cousin to visit his granddad that he loves when he realized his siblings would not be going. He even cried pitifully, saying he would really miss his brother! The look on his face when we told him his brother could join him was priceless! He took the role of big brother very seriously telling his granddad and cousin what his brother liked and did not like and what he could or could not eat!

Thankful for a few wonderful days in Disneyland to celebrate big brother’s fifth birthday! Oh how magical it is to experience Disney through the eyes of a child! We had a great time and loved every moment of it! We were also blessed with family that blessed us with discounted tickets. As much as big brother had prayed to go to Disneyland and had faithfully picked up every penny he saw so that he could help mommy buy a ticket to Disneyland, he was dismayed that his siblings would not be going to the park and almost decided he did not want to go. He campaigned really hard for them to join us meeting our protestations that they would miss their nap times and be cranky with the wisdom of a five year old, telling us they could sleep in their strollers. As much fun as he was having, the siblings were not far from his mind – he always saw things in the Disney stores that he said would make his siblings very happy! When we explained the inflated prices, he joyfully said we could use his money that he had been saving for ages to buy a train ticket! The boy loves trains, so that is a sacrifice! Oh what we could learn about sacrificial giving from a five year old. Really thankful for a sister who joyfully took care of three children at short notice. And had fun taking care of two 1-year olds and an infant who was not sleeping through the night. Thankful that my sister had a weight loss breakthrough – she has been dieting and exercising without visible results. Three days with the children and she lost almost 3 pounds!

Thankful that five years later, I am having sleepless nights thanks to an infant who decides she needs to remind me of her presence every single hour of the night – and all without me complaining! The bags under my eyes might tell a different story, but God has given me strength that I still feel renewed, even with my interrupted sleep. Thankful for the realization that children are indeed a blessing from God. Sometimes we are so caught up with how society views children – that they are a lot of work that we forget what precious blessings they are. As crazy as it is, it seems to be less “work” having four children as when I only had one. They play so well together freeing me to do some actual work, as opposed to when I was my son’s permanent playmate. Of course the fact that the children are so joyful and easy babies makes things easier. I have been wondering if our view of parenthood as “hard-work” is indeed based on our mindset. My parents had very many small children and never once did I hear them complain about how difficult raising children was. I am sure, I will be re-reading this when I have four teenagers and laughing at how naïve I was! But for now, I will enjoy my naïveté and my babies! 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

What do you say to a guy who last father's day was daddy to one and this year is daddy to four? What do you say to a guy who totally gets adoption and actually encourages me that yes indeed, we are up to the challenge of adopting yet another precious child? What do you say to a guy who holds my hands and calmly says everthing will work out okay when financially it makes no sense how we will manage? The very same guy who will not let on to me how nervous he is so that I don't second guess what he knows is our calling, but instead will make himself vulnerable and seek others with whom he can share his nervousness and request for prayers? What do you tell a guy who works long hours in a high stress job he does not like so that he can provide for his family? What do you say to a guy who is goofy and fun and whose children think the world of him? A guy who will sneak in some fun stuff (and junk) creating special memories for his children? What to say to a guy who is striving to raise up his children in the ways of the Lord and will take a five year old to the park to discuss Christ and salvation when the five year old expresses that he wants Jesus in his heart. And same guy will be able to tell the salvation story in a way a five year old gets it! I don't know what to tell such a guy on father's day except I hit the jackpot when the Lord choose me as his wife.

It seems appropriate that on Father's day that I stand in awe of my heavenly Father. Two weeks ago, we welcomed the fourth child into her forever family. Baby girl came with a small plastic container of clothes and a voracious appetite. We are going through formula and diapers like crazy and I was a bit nervous because I had not been working, so things were very tight financially. However, our God is an amazing God and His timing never ceases to amaze me. With little forewarning about baby girl's arrival, my sister called the family and her friends and organized a welcome home party for baby girl. With only about a week's notice, yesterday more than 30 people showed up in my house and all I had to do was be there! Everyone brought tons of delicious food and we had a wonderful time of fellowship. We talked, sang, and heard a wonderful message from my sister's friend on parenting. Even after sending people off with doggie bags, our fridge is full of supper yummy leftovers. Even more overwhelming is the sacrifice everyone made. Almost everyone decided not to buy gifts and instead, gave us cash. I went to bed last night crying with joy and simply overwhelmed at how timely the gifts were and how generous everyone was. My husband was in awe and is still speechless today and that is saying something! Today, he celebrates Father's Day with a lighter burden knowing that friends and family all came together and very unexpectedly blessed us with almost $2,000! And I had not even shared with a soul how tight things were – so please don’t tell me this is just a coincidence and not God’s providence! We also got lots of diapers and clothes! And not just any clothes, but clothes from stores that mommy loves, but just can't justify/afford to shop at right now - Gymboree and The Children's Place. Oh, that I would always remember how faithful my savior is and never hesitate to be his hands and feet to bless others as we have been blessed. The Lord is good indeed!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

His Perfect Timing!

Fact: Sunday, May 17, 2009, we knew we had to move out by Saturday, May 23, 2009 to prepare our condo for our tenants who were moving in from out of town May 30, 2009. We needed to take advantage of all the willing hands available on the weekend to help us pack. But, some problem: we did not have a place to move into yet! Unlike my normal self, totally okay with the unpredictability of our situation making my husband kinda nervous at how calm and relaxed I was.

Fact: Monday, May 18, 2009, in the afternoon, saw a place we liked. Tired of looking at places and not wanting to get our hopes up too high!

Fact: Tuesday, May 19, 2009, got a call from the listing agent at the management company inquiring if we were interested in the place. Also got a call from the owner of the management company requesting that we deal directly with him once we identified a place we liked. This was something since the management company manages more than 600 properties, so in the grand scheme of things, he could very easily have brushed us off. I had gently expressed my displeasure at being strung along for three weeks on a place which the management company knew the owner was not willing to install the AC unit (which was a deal breaker for us). Additionally, the listing agent had been less than enthusiastic in describing the new place when I had called to inquire if there were any other listings that fit our criteria and we had almost skipped looking at the place. We said we liked the place, and by afternoon, they had checked out our suitability as renters and found us worthy and the lease ready to be signed that afternoon! Hubby was not available and that day, so we scheduled to meet the next day. Niece arrived from the Midwest and it became even more paramount that we get a place to stay!

Fact: Wednesday, May 20, 2009, my supper organized friend came over bringing tons of boxes and helped box things along with my supper organized and helpful niece. Signed lease, got keys, went by the place and fell in love with the place all over again!

Fact: Thursday, May 21, 2009, moved in all our kitchen things, organized the kitchen, locked myself out and met my neighbor who let into her house to wait for my husband. Hubby called friends and family requesting help in moving.

Fact: Friday, May 22, 2009, day of total gratitude at just how things had fallen into place.

Fact: Saturday, May 23, 2009, had lots of help and total moving lasted about 3 hours. Easiest move any of us had ever had! Totally stress free and actually quite fun! Maybe leaving everything in God’s hands is the cure for stress?

Fact: Sunday, May 24, 2009, found out just how many people were praying that we would get a place ASAP!

Fact: could not have found a better place! We love it, it is spacious and the neighbors are amazing. Children play outside unsupervised and the neighborhood kids have even come by to get my oldest to go play with them, the neighbors are very friendly and have come by to introduce themselves (and in California no less where people prize their privacy over real human relationships) and I even met a home schooling mom who invited me over to her place. I love that God sees the whole picture which my finite mind cannot see! He had the perfect place for us and we can only shout Hallelujah!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Should I Be Panicking?

As of today, we have renters who move in at the end of the month and we are of the mindset that we will have moved out in a week's time so that we can prepare our place for the new renters. Also as of today, we do not know where we will be moving to! We have been strung (sp?) along by the management company regarding the place we loved for 2 1/2 weeks. The agreement was that the owner would install the AC unit already onsite and lack of AC would be a deal breaker for us. Today it was 98 degrees, so any thoughts that we can make do sans AC went out the window as we enjoyed staying indoors in an air conditioned house. The AC broke down in church and after 1 1/2 of torture, we know, no AC, no moving into said beloved house. The management company has been stalling us, leading us to believe that the owner had given the okay to install the AC unit and that the only hold up was sending someone out to do the work. Come to find out, they were also still advertising the place online and putting for lease signs after we put in the application! I think, the idea was to stall us and see if someone else would lease the place without the AC. If not, we were the back up plan! Not fun finding this out about a week before we are to move in!

We are now in a rush to find another place - including putting in an application with a different management company for another house which was our second choice and having to go through an interview with the owners! That was an awkward meeting! No-one know exactly what to say - I mean on paper we are perfect renters - even I would rent out a place to us :) and I am not sure what more the owners wanted to know since they did not ask many questions. The kids though had fun playing with the owners new puppy which they brought along for the interview. All we learnt was that they are attached to the house because the lady was pregnant with their son when they moved to the house and that her dad put in the kitchen cabinets. Don't know if we passed the interview - we were rather out of sorts - hubby was called into work at midnight and got home this morning just in time to get ready for church. So while he was sleepy, I was out of sorts because I literally wilt when it is hot outside! Yes, even after having lived in Nairobi, Kenya for years. Its always funny since people assume that I should be used to hot temperatures after having lived in Africa and California should be a breeze. The irony is that it is hotter where I live than it ever is in Nairobi. Nairobi has 2 hot months in the year where the temperatures reach 78 degrees! As surprising as this is for Americans, the laws of geography apply to Africa - the higher the elevation, the cooler it gets!

So, here we are - my niece is on college summer break and is coming to visit us from the Midwest on Tuesday. I knew she was coming, but was not sure when, and I just found out today when she is coming, which reminds me that I need to go shop for a mattress tomorrow. I have not packed anything, changed my address with the post office or made any calls re transferring the utilities since I don't know where we will be living! I am a bit obsessive compulsive about planning major things like a move, but I am so relaxed and just praying that things fall into place. Of course, I am doing all that I know how to make that happen, but this must be victory that I am not worried in the least. Last week it just occurred to me that worrying about the situation would not change a thing! I think it helps that I am still overwhelmed at our wonderful blessings from the Lord. Who cares if our things will be in storage and we will have to figure where to house our family of 5 plus our guest for who knows how long! I am so busy chasing almost walking toddlers who are now getting into everything - that and getting attacked daily to be given thousands of hugs and slobbery kisses by said toddlers! Its a bit hard to burden friends or family to house such a large family - though several have generously offered. My husband who is a total worrier is actually quite excited at the uncertainty of everyting - he is suggesting a cross country trip. Not sure how that helps in getting us closer to finding a place - but whatever helps him not to worry. I am happy to help him day dream.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Blessings upon Blessings.

I used to be surprised reading adoption blogs at the "silence" once the children came home. However, two months since the kids coming home, here I am doing that very thing! The kids are so easy, but I am not sure what happens to my day! I know I have not done all the things I had planned to do - like going through my wardrope and getting rid of all the size 2 and 4 clothes that I will never fit into again! Thankfully, I will soon be walking around with an infant and I can pretend she is responsible for my belly fat!

The kids are doing great - they recognize and look for us in a room full of people. However, we are still working on my son's attachment - he is a cuddle bug and loves to be held and cuddled, but he is just as happy being picked up and cuddled by a stranger! He finally learned to cry to get his needs met - that was huge because before he never even whimpered when he was hungry, wet or awake and needed to be picked up. His twin sister would take his toys and he would just look at her like whatever! He is finding his voice and making his needs known and I am happy - I never thought I would will a child to cry! He is also a sensory eater which makes meal times interesting since I have to make him a separate meal, my daughter a separate meal and then a meal for ourselves. The early interventionist will be giving us some materials to read to try and work on the sensory eating issues. They are doing great at the weekly early intervention visits and we will be getting a report that details where they are and also the goals the interventionist will be setting for them. The interventionist feels they are meeting most of their age adjusted milestones though speech continues to be an issue. She did give us some good ideas on things to do to help with speech. They are actually a couple months ahead on some issues - they are able to point to their eyes, mouth, nose, head and tummy when you ask them to point out these body parts.

We continue to be blessed and God continues to be faithful! The social worker came by today to bring a huge bag of clothes and shoes for my daughter. I don't think there has ever been a better dressed little girl than my daughter - and no thanks to her mommy and daddy! Friends from church are also planning another shower and honestly, I cannot think of anything we need - except diapers! We have been showered with so many gifts and it seems like every week, someone sends gifts of new clothes for the children. In two months, my daughter and son have not worn the majority of their clothes twice - they have that large of a wardrope! Their clothes are mainly from Gymboree, Old Navy, The Children's Place and Gap - places I am usually too cheap to shop at for children's clothes since they grow out of them so fast.

We finally found a renter and they will be moving in at the end of this month. We also found a place we love - we are just waiting to see if the owner is willing to hook up the AC unit. They bought a new AC unit, but never hooked it up. Right now, it does not seem to be a big issue with temps in the 60s and 70s, but after a couple days in the summer where the temps are in the 90s, then moving into a house we love but which does not have AC will not seem to be such a bright idea! The backyard is beautiful and huge. The rent also includes a gardener for which my husband is well pleased! I am having visions of even starting a garden - my husband rolls his eyes and laughs - I kill houseplants within a couple weeks so it would take a little more blind faith than he has to believe I will actually grow some crops to harvest. But just you wait - I will prove him wrong and make my father proud - my dad does not have a family farm for no reason! This city girl will get her hands dirty and grow some organic vegetables. With help from my four year old, I cannot go wrong - he has faithfully watered a plant he got me last mother's day and it is still going strong. We had found another place we liked, but once we got there, the owner would not show us the place because she said she was not looking to rent to people with children??? A four bedroom house and she expected renters without children? Anyway in California, it is illegal not to rent a place to people due to familial status (hoping that is what it was and not something more) and we are filing a complaint with Fair Housing. We do not intend to move there - we just to remind the owner about rental laws in California - she ought to have known better since she is a realtor. Not too sad about not getting this place - I am sure the huge patio advertised would not have fulfilled my needs to start a garden - last time I tried growing anything on my small unadvertised patio, I bought expensive plants and a couple of months later, all I had to show for it were large and very empty flower pots. At least the pots are cute - the sorta explain why the very lush weeds left in the wake of my failed attempts to grow potted plants. But now, with a real garden, oh the possibilities.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pray for Me.....Pray for others

Pray for MeWe participate in "Pray for Me... Pray for Others" on the Riggs Family Blog. Check out their blog to add your prayer request. Join a community of friends who care about you, and hope you will care about them.

We are still looking for a rental place and a renter for our condo. It is a bit discouraging at times as our lives seem to be in limbo. We can't really give a timeline to any prospective renters without having a place to move to! We thought in this economy and the housing situation being what it is in California that we would have found a reasonably priced place. We cannot really proceed with the infant's adoption until we move - we can get a space exemption and the social worker is ready to work on this, but realistically, we have no room for the baby and want to minimize the stress of welcoming an infant, then packing and moving. Our prayer would be to move and have the infant's room ready on her gotcha day. I can't seem to be able to give anyone any definate answers - our agency or potential renters! Praying for guidance and that the Lord would be glorified in how the situation is resolved. We are still committed to the referral and wish we could kick things in higher gear.

This week my heart has been heavy thinking of baby Stellan ( and the incredible toll a long term hospital stay with a very ill baby must be on a family. My heart has also been heavy for baby Matty Matt's family ( and the pain of losing a baby. This is an incredible family whose blog will inspire your faith and make you look deeper at the meaning of love, sacrifice and understanding and acceptancing God's sovereignity.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


The children had their first visit with the early interventionist yesterday and the interventionist seemed surprised at their progress. I was able to read the case notes from teh January Evaluation report and I can see why she was surprised! The kids have made a lot of progress. We spent the two hours mostly playing with the kids and talking about any concerns we have. The first visit was mainly to observe the children since this is not the same person who evaluated the children. They are working on all the children's global domains and speech is the most obvious concern that I had noticed. This was also noted on the January evaluation report and the pediatrician also mentioned this during their visit last week. The children understand a lot, babble like crazy, but don't really say any words yet. Their adjusted age is 12 months so we are not totally worried. We are speaking and reading to the children a lot. Speech Therapy only commences at 18 months, so hopefully by then, they will have caught up. My causing waves produced results - the early interventionist's supervisor joined her for the evaluation yesterday and at the end, she gave me her card and told me to call her directly if I ever have any concerns.

We are also working with their case manager and have requested a copy of their evaluation report since it seems that physical therapy was recommended for both children. No copy was ever sent to the children's social worker or foster mom, so no body knew about the recommendation for both children. A different agency was supposed to provide the Physical Therapy services, so we have to call yet another agency to coordinate care. After the calls to the supervisor and agency director, the children's case manager has been suberb at getting back to me and has in fact initiated calls to both myself and the social worker. I am now confident we are all on the same page, and I think she knows I will advocate for these children and will not allow them to fall through the cracks again.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Long Overdue Update!

Time to break the silence! Our laptop decided to take a break and we had not been planning to buy a new computer for a while. But, we finally broke down - you only get an hour time slot a day at the Library to use the computer and with three children in tow - not too much fun!

The babies have been home for five weeks now. Their gotcha day was amazing and we are so blessed. It was really tough picking up the children from their foster home - their foster mom cried through out the pick - up and it that was tough. Once we got home, we had 30 people come to welcome the babies home and they could not have been shown more love. The kids have such sweet dispositions and are such easy babies. They have an easy smile and laugh and have really good sleep habits. They sleep twelve hours at night and take two naps of about 2 1/2 hours each daily. I love fixing my daughter's hair and she has such a diva wardrope courtesy of all my friends and family. My son also made out like a bandit and so far, he has not gone through all his new clothes. We also got tons of diapers and wipes which is such a blessing - boy do they go through many diapers in a day! Some friends got us a crib, mattress and beddings. We already had another crib and mattress so we are set in that area. My husband also went to the cleaners and met a couple who were trying to donate some baby furniture and they gave him a crib, mattress, dresser and play pen. All are almost new and in excellent condition. Our God is an awesome God. We are so totally stepping out in faith on this journey, and He has been so faithful. We are still pursuing the referral of the infant girl and we will have a crib for her to sleep in. I will write more on that journey later.

It takes me a couple hours to get everyone ready for church - my husband has to leave earlier for Sunday School and I am so proud of myself because I get there on time!

Their big brother continues to amaze me. God really prepared his heart for his new role as a big brother and he just loves on his siblings and always wants us to pick him up early from pre-school so that he can play with them. The first week they were home, we took our oldest who loves, loves, loves Thomas the Train to a live Thomas the Train Circus show (Broadway type show) and at the intermission, he told us he wanted to go home to play with his siblings! Now that is love! We have been very intentional in making sure we set aside time for him and his special time in Monday nights. We put the twins to bed an hour earlier and he gets to go to bed later. So far we have just talked, goofed around, played bingo (yes the kid loves playing Thomas the Train bingo), hide and seek - the goofball hides in the exact two spots all the time but my husband and I still manage to look surprised when we find him :)! He has been so loving and protective - he chastizes us if we say no to his siblings - he tells us that it is okay, they are just babies and they do not know better! He has been so good about sharing all his toys, reading to the kids and being mommy's helper. Strange, but it is the best sound ever - when the kids should all be sleeping, I hear them having a party! I have snuck in a few times to find the twins standing up in their cribs, jumping up and down and laughing their hearts out while my oldest is entertaining them, making silly faces! You should see their faces when they see me as they all try to lay down and pretend to be asleep and I try to have my serious face on whhile trying desperately not to laugh. It seems like they have been together forever.

The twins are now standing on their own and will be walking soon! We did have to go to the ER once to get a breathing treatment - my youngest son was wheezing pretty bad. We think both may be asthmatic - both have had to go to the ER for wheezing before. They are still eating pureed food though they are 14 months old. They got a late start eating and gag on solid foods. We start seeing an early intervention specialist next week and hopefully this will get addressed. Earlier on, the kids' social worker had said that the children had some developmental delays which would resolve on their own and that only my youngest son needed Occupational Therapy because of his torticollis. I remember wondering about needing OT for this but did not give it much thought. I called their case manager who had assessed the children in January and after a week of not returning my calls, I finally got a hold of her. She said that Physical Therapy was ordered and wanted to find out how the early intervention visits with Baby boy were going?????? This was news as the foster mom and social workers did not know about the recommendation for early intervention services. I spoke to their case worker again and she advised that she had looked into their case file and that PT was not recommended - they felt the torticollis would resolve on its own - though it still has not - but that both children needed early intervention services to address the developmental delays. Now their current pediatrician had noted developmental delays in October, the assessement was done in January, but their case worker had neglected to mention the recommendations and send a referral to the agency that would be sending the early intervention specialist out! I have called numerous times in the last month and their case manager would not return my calls. I finally had to speak to the agency director and within minutes, I got a call back and the referral sent to the agency that would be providing the services. Their case manager totally dropped the ball on this one and the annoying thing is that she did not even apologize for not returning my calls, taking almost four months to send a referral to the other agency, but instead, she was pretty annoyed that I took the matter up with the agency director and she even went as far as lying that she had returned all my calls and that it had only taken a day from the first contact to when she sent the referral. But all is well that ends well! We are getting services starting next week. She still needs to send me a worksheet with excercises for Baby Boy that we should have been doing 2X a day for the torticollis. This is the same case manager who will be doing their re-evaluation in July, so fun, fun, fun. She promised 4 weeks ago to mail me the worksheet and also a copy of the evaluation report, but so far, nada! I really hated having to call her director, normally I hate causing waves, but these precious children have suffered much, already fallen through the cracks once and God has entrusted them in my care. I promised to fight and advocate for them, and that requires me not to listen to the butterflies in my tummy when I have to cause waves in fighting for them, but to be firm, stand tall and be their voice.

We are blessed beyond belief - God has provided all our needs and beyond and it has been a wonderful time of bonding and meshing into a family. My husband took 6 weeks off and it is amazing how fast the time has gone. We are praying and believing that I can be a stay at home mom. Right now, the game plan is for me to be home for three months, go back to work and then my husband takes on the next three months. After that, we pray that everything will fall into place in terms of me being a stay at home mom or if that is not financially feasible, getting a live in nanny. The children have been through so much change in their short lives, we are hoping to minimize any more changes as much as we can. All in His hands. God is Good!

Friday, March 6, 2009

My babies love Food!

My husband and I picked up the kids for an afternoon visit today. We went to Costco and they wanted all the samples on offer. They were in heaven eating solid food, since they are still eating baby food. From their reaction when they would see yet another sample, you would think they had been starved. But their size tells another story! I wish I can share a picture of their thighs! All rolls of fat! I had no idea that the price of diapers has gone up 25% in 2 1/2 years which was the last time I was buying diapers in bulk!

It is so neat having twins - so many people would stop us to ask if they were twins and would then just hang around and chat. One lady told us how lucky we were to have a boy and a girl at a go and that we were now done! Little did she know that we have an older sibling and have just accepted a referral for an infant! I had not really thought about it, but by American standards, we will actually be considered a large family! A year ago, I was mommy to one with thoughts of adopting one other child. A year later, I am mommy to four! Amazing the journey the Lord leads you on when you are willing to be obedient and follow His leading. This is totally a journey of faith and is not normally how we would do things. Normally, we want to know how all the chips will fall. But on this, we have decided to live out our faith and know that God will provide all our needs.

Tomorrow is gotcha day! The social worker had wanted us to have the children for an overnight visit on Saturday before getting them permanently on Monday. After some discussion, it was decided that it did not make much difference returning the children on Sunday evening, only to get them again on Monday. I spent most of the morning cleaning up and after the visit, spent hours just trying to get ready. I still feel unprepared - since I have been working and visiting the kids almost every other day after work, I have not really had much time to nest and get ready. Yesterday was my last day at work and since the kids take such long naps during the day, I hope to get more organized, downsize more and then start looking for a renter for our place and looking for a new place to rent. I want to be in our new place by the time the infant comes home (in a few months - or less considering how fast it has taken from referral to getting the twins). My heart is so full and I feel totally blessed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

L'il Troopers!

Today, I had a baby shower at work. We had the priviledge and honor of introducing our new kids to my co-workers who have all been so supportive and encouraging! As soon as I told my co-workers about the children, within a couple of days, they had organized a baby shower and today, we were totally blessed with all the gifts we got. We got car seats, tons of clothes, bottles, cups, bibs, gift certificates, and lots of other stuff. The organizers even remembered to include my son and he got to open his own gifts. He had a blast and was so caring about his siblings and making sure they had their snacks and bottles. The babies were such troopers-they missed their morning nap, but were so friendly and not cranky at all. I was so moved by everyone's generosity. I am so blessed to work in a place where people get adoption. I only knew of one other adoptive parent at my job, but found out that one of the attorneys at my job is also an adoptive mom. It is amazing the sense of community and kinship you feel with other adoptive parents, because they "get" it. My husband got to spend the whole afternoon with all three kids and he was even getting adventurous and wanting to go to the store with all three kids until he remembered the crazy logistics of trying to hold two super heavy kids (no double stroller yet) push a cart and make sure a four year old is in his line of vision. He quickly let go of that plan!

Everyone has been so encouraging and I have only gotten a few bizarre comments. One person who was very "concerned" for me told me how much work three kids are (she only has one grown son) and asked me if I still had time to change my mind???? I was a bit at a loss - it is not exactly like you wake up one morning and decide that adoption seems to be a good thing to do. This coming from some one from India which has the largest number of aids orphans in the world and where infanticide of girls is rampant. Living in a country where there are so many resources and where having female children is not considered a drain on a family's resources, I would have hoped that she would have gotten more empathy for the fatherless. I guess this view of children as just more work or a financial burden is what causes the apathy that allows 143 million children in the world to be forgotten. Another bizarre comment I got was why I did not just have another biological child or children. When I explained my reasons, the person said she would also look into adoption since her sixteen year old would be leaving home soon and she would be lonely. I did not like how long and involving the home study process was, but I am thankful that people with such reasoning get weeded out from the adoption process. My sister's well meaning co-worker who I have never met also wondered if I had done my research because she knew of a person who adopted a child and had a lot of issues. I was not sure what research she meant - i.e. the 24 hours of classes or the endless hours I have spent researching adoption issues. How much research goes into our bio children before they come home? If our bio children have issues, is it because we did not do enough research or what is the recommendation of these well meaning people? Not to have bio children???? Another Christian lady could not understand why we were adopting and said we should be very careful since this was not just about us, but our bio son and the twins who were not blood relatives????? This is supposed to be a mature Christian lady, but I explained how we are adopted into God's family, the scriptures calling for us to care for the fatherless and also that we as adults are the ones who teach children differences. All my son sees now is that these are his siblings. It was clear that I did not make headway with this lady and I was sad. She has 2 children from 2 different dads, yet the children love each other very much and if there was a person who I would have thought would have gotten it, it was this friend who has been a Christian for decades and who goes for every Christian seminar and fellowship. Where is our compassion? Where is the life application of what we are hopefully learning?

Friday, February 27, 2009


We picked up the children this afternoon and the foster mom had packed for them the way I used to pack when I was a new mom – I was always paranoid that I would need something and would have left it home! So I used to pack like we were going away for a week! This was how their bags were packed andfor a split second, my husband and I were confused if this was the day we were taking permanent custody of the children! Oh no, where would they sleep tonight – my husband had not put together the cribs, and there were a million other things I needed to do to get ready! But no, the packing was just for a day visit. The children were happily waving good-bye to the foster mom, but once we drove away, they realized she was not coming along. They teared up a little which is a good sign that they are attached to her, but were soon curious about all that they were seeing. They are so alert and so curious! We picked up our oldest son from preschool and he was so excited to come tothe car and find his sister and his brother waiting for him. The twins were excited to see him and when we got home, we found my sister and my nephe wwaiting for us at the door. It was a nice welcome and my sister got to meet her new niece and nephew. My son played with his siblings for a while, but then my nephew took him to play with him so that we could spend more time with the twins. My nephew is so wonderful – he is fourteen years old, but he is not your regular sullen teen. He is intuitive and does not get embarrassed at having to play with four year olds! He is the same nephew who came for my son’s preschool Christmas program. Though he would act like he was not supposed to be there and roll his eyes when my son wanted to go talk to Santa just one more time, he would still put him on his shoulders and stand in line behind all the other preschoolers, until my son got his chance to talk to Santa again! He got to hold the twins and he has been so accepting – his reaction when we told him we were adopting was – simply saying great, and asking what their names were and when they were coming! I wish more adults would have the same heart! It was tough to take them back in the evening, but we were able to put them to sleep.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Visit Time!

Tonight, my oldest son and I went to visit his siblings and once again, we had a very good visit. The kids actually recognize us and willingly come to us. We played for about half an hour and then had to leave because it was getting to their bedtime. They were actually putting out their hands to me when I was at the door and it was hard saying good-bye! Oh how I love my children! Tomorrow, I get to have them all afternoon! They are coming toour house for a visit! My husband actually went to buy some clothes for the babies. This is huge because he hates going to shop for clothes. He wanted to reassure me that he loves the babies and was not sure if I was really joking when I teased him that he cancelled a visit so that he could go look at cars! Oh dear - I have absolutely no doubt about his love for his children. I guess I will need to be reassuring him more, or come to think of it, maybe not so that he can continue going clothes shopping!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bona Fide Soccer mom!

We were supposed to have a visit today and the foster mom had called earlier to let us know that she was keeping the kids up so that they would be awake when we got there. However, she called my husband and said it might not be a good time to visit as the children were pretty cranky from having missed their afternoon nap. The foster mom said when our daughter woke up on Tuesday morning, she was looking around for the person who had put her down to sleep! That made my heart very happy. However, I was sad, sad, sad at not being able to visit today – I had been so looking forward to seeing my babies again! My husband did not want to the evening to go to waste and wanted to do something related to the adoption. So, offwe went car shopping. Now my husband was very excited about going car shopping – I had a second of doubt when I wondered if he had cancelled the visit! He was horrified at the thought! We did find a used car that weliked and one that is not a van! I was not quite ready for a van yet. However, if God makes His will clear about another adoption, we will haveroom for 4 car seats. We did end up buying the car and now have the added responsibility of selling one of our cars! The price they offered to trade in our old one, was not quite we had in mind. It is amazing just how longit takes to buy a car! I mean, we went to Carmax, which has haggle free pricing – the sticker price is what you pay – so you don’t have to spend three to four hours trying to negotiate the price. We only took one car out for a test drive, and the car salesmen do not pressure you at all – they just open up the cars you want to look at and are available to answer any questions you may have. However the process still ended up taking 3 ½hours!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pajamas for you!

Today we went to visit the children after I got off work. We had a good visit with them and we even got to hold them and rock them. Most times,they will only let you hold them for a few seconds before they are offcrawling away, wanting you to chase after them! My husband was able to rock his son to sleep and the foster mom was very surprised because he does notlet himself be rocked to sleep. We were able to put the children down tosleep and it is so obvious the love and care the foster mom puts into her foster children. Their room is really nice and kid friendly. They each have stuffed animals and a special blankie. I am so thankful that God placed them in this home. I am trying to think of the right words to express this in the letter I plan to write to the foster mom when we take full custody of the children. Though we don’t get to visit till Wednesday since the foster mom is not available on Tuesday, I have so much peace knowing that they are in a place where they are loved and extremely well taken care of. My sister bought the kids some clothes and because I think they will outgrow them soon, we brought them over so that they can get to wear them before they are too small. The are the onesie like full length outfits (I forgot their name) and my son were supper excited when he saw them – now his brother and sister have pajamas!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Son - your brother and your sister!

Today our son got to meet his new siblings. He was really excited aboutgoing to meet them, but before we were even half way there, he started insisting that we needed to go to the store and get his sister and his brother pajamas! Not sure why he was worried that they did not have pajamas! We did not have time to stop and get them pajamas, but we were able to convince him that he was fine just taking them the toys we hadbought with the money from his piggy bank. It was a real joy watching thekids interact – my son immediately went and hugged his brother and sister,opened their toys for them and then washed his hands and started feeding them their snacks (yogurt melts). He was getting a kick out of telling themthat they needed to take turns as he would put a yogurt melt in one child’smouth and then the other. He was excited to see them stand holding on tofurniture and he was crawling on the floor and trying to get them to followhim. It was a really wonderful visit and he gladly shared Mommy's lap by letting me hold both babies on my lap. The babies seemed to realize that he was a child and were happy to play hide and seek with him and follow him for more snacks. My heart is full. If only we would always have the love and innocence of children.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Daddy and his babies

Though my husband and I had wanted to adopt before we ever met, during the adoption journey, I have mainly done all the research, set up appointments and in general have had adoption on the brain nonstop. My husband has been available for every class, every meeting and given a listening ear when I have needed to rant and rave! However, the idea seemed to be pretty abstract to him. Now that the babies are real and we have met them, it is as though he is a different guy! Today, he actually went to visit with the children by himself because I had to work. He did not want to wait till we could all go visit them on Saturday. He was so anxious to go that he even forgot some snacks I had packed for the babies that the foster mom had advised us that they like! He got to feed them their bottles, play with them and change their diapers (this from the guy who wore goggles and two pairs of gloves when doing the first diaper change at the hospital when our son was born)! He was very excited to let me know the children’s ticklish spots and more about their personalities. It seems our roles have now changed– while he is now talking all things adoption, I am almost paralyzed at all the things we need to do to get ready for the kids. Minor stuff like getting a new car, renting out our condo, renting a new place, having a new home inspection of our new place and our home study amended, getting cribs,a double stroller, etc! I thank God at how we complement each other! I am so thankful for my husband that he “gets” adoption and that I never needed to have to convince him!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's a wonderful day!

My stomach has been in knots all week! I mean, how do you prepare for the day you meet your children? With birth, things are a bit out of your control. I mean, you are either drugged out or in great pain, so you are not particularly picky about the professionals following your birth plan to the letter. Things just seem to fall into place. But, this is different! Today is the day we meet the twins! I have packed and repacked their gift bags, second guessed myself and made several trips to the stores to get just the perfect gift. I wanted something meaningful for our first meeting, something to break the ice, but also, something that was not overwhelming. I never knew I could get this indecisive! The indecision must have been contagious, because just when I thought I had finally gotten the right gifts, my husband started going through the gifts bags and second guessing every gift! I finally convinced him that mama had things under control and to trust me on this one! Our meeting was in the afternoon and as luck would have it, I left the gift bags at home when I went to work in the morning. I spent the whole morning having visions of my husband going though the bags and removing some toys!

We went to the foster home, and in tow were two social workers, my husband and I. Not only was it nerve wracking getting to meet my kids for the first time, we were going to be under the scrutiny of two social workers and a foster mom who is really attached to the kids and wants to make sure they are going to a good family! We need not have worried! I am so thankful that the social workers were they. They really stayed out of the way and just chit chatted with the foster mom while we got on the floor and started talking to the children. It took about fifteen minutes before they got curious enough about us. At first they would hold on to the foster mom's legs before they started peeking at the people making goofy faces at them. They finally felt sorry for the two strange adults who were trying their hardest not to cry and they got curious about the bags we had brought. The wrapping paper was a hit! My baby girl was the first to start tearing open the gifts and giving us a smile. My baby boy is more reserved and first observes to make sure that everything is okay. He did finally warm up to us and he was fascinated with my buttons and teeth! He must have been thinking, mommy, what big teeth you have! Daddy played with his baby girl more while I had purposed to focus more on my son, because the social worker had described my baby girl as the more robust of the twins. Per the social worker, she is the one who has always rebounded from their hospitilizations faster and is more curious. My son loves to cuddle! Yeah, because this mommy loves to cuddle her babies! The social workers had the presence of mind to ask all the important things my husband and I could not think of. Important things like sleeping schedules (6:45 p.m. to 6:45 a.m and a three hour nap in the morning), feeding schedules, what foods they eat and like (yogurt melts), their nightime schedule (bath, book, bottle) and their clothing sizes (18-24 months for my baby girl and 24 months for my baby boy). I could not have asked for a better home for my children to be waiting for their forever family. The foster mom is warm and loving and has an immaculate home. She has one child, a 20 year old who is away in college, but you see the love she has for children. Her home is so kid friendly and the children have so many toys and books. The babies were all dressed up and my daughter's hair was nice and all fixed up in cute barrettes. They are working so hard to walk! They were both evaluated by our Regional Center which intervenes to provide services to children under three that have handicaps. The specialists at the regional center feel that all their delays are environmental and they don't qualify for services. Thank you Jesus! They only will provide Occupational Therapy for my son because he has torsilitis (his neck muscles did not develope well and sometimes, his head is tilted to one side). This was not evident at this meeting and the foster mom told us she only sees it sometimes. The social workers were amazed at the progess the kids have made since coming into care and knowing just a little of their case history, I know God has answered the prayers we were praying for our child/ren while we were waiting. God has brought healing. Knowing some of their case history, I can only thank God for my babies' tenacity.

We visited for about an hour and a half and when it was time to leave, the babies actually crawled us to the door! I left wondering if the foster mom approved of us. She does not have any say in the matter, but I really wanted to reassure her that the children she has taken care of and loved for the last few months are going to a home where they will be absolutely loved. We spent a few minutes outside with the social workers decompressing from the emotion of the meeting. I am so thankful for how the process is going now!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From a family of three to a family of five (maybe six?)

Today, we officially accepted the twins' referral. On Friday, we met both social workers and they shared information on the children. I was furiously writting because I did not want to miss a thing and also to keep my emotions in check, because some of the information we were getting was very painful and difficult to hear. I was oblivious to the fact that one social worker was doing all the talking and the other one was watching our reactions. My husband came to the rescue! He seemed to be in overdrive communicating our enthusiasm in accepting the referral. I did wonder for a second why he seemed so chatty, but I did not allow myself to dwell on that, because I had to furiously write! Only later did he share that he felt our social worker who was doing the observing wanted to know our reactions. Since I was totally blank, he felt he needed to compensate! We were asked to think about our decision over the weekend, but we were so ready to say yes, yes, yes during our Friday meeting. We told our son this weekend about his new brother and sister and he could not have been more excited. He immediately wanted me to get the money from his piggy bank so that he could buy toys for his brother and sister. I reminded him that he was saving money to buy a train ticket, but he did not bat an eye. Oh, how I love my son's giving heart! He did immediately ask if they do not have a mommy and a daddy and I told him his mommy and daddy were going to be their mommy and daddy. He wanted us to go get them right away and when we explained that they would be coming home soon, he very concerned that they were with a stranger. He just learned about stranger danger in school and it is interesting how he internalized the lesson! We have spent a lot of time trying to reassure him that they are with a friend who is taking care of them before we get ready to bring them home. He has been saying his shoes (which are new) are too tight and he wanted to save them for his brother. All weekend he was talking about his brother and sister. He wanted to take their picture to school for his sharing day. My heart is bursting with love for my son and I thank God so much for how He is preparing my son for his new role as a big brother. I had so much fun buying some clothes for my daughter and my son did get to spend his pennies and nickels :) to buy some toys for his brother and sister. We also went car shopping this weekend - we could not figure our how to fit three carseats in a Corolla! Exciting times! I never thought I would be a van driving mom, but I sense God is not yet done with us on this adoption journey!

I got to work this morning and a second later, my husband started calling to see if I had spoken to the social worker to let her know we accepted the referral. He must have called me six times in half an hour and he was elated when I finally called the social worker to say yes, we are humbled and honored to be the parents of baby girl and baby boy. I am still shaking and I have not stopped staring at their pictures! I told some of my coworkers and everyone has been so supportive and excited! To say my mind has been preoccupied has been an understatement! And to top it off, we get to visit the babies this Thursday! The game plan is to visit them along with both social workers. Then we set up visits in their foster home. After they are comfortable with us and accept care from us, we can take them to the park near their foster home, before bringing them home for a visit. Then we will do an overnight visit and touch base with the social worker to make sure the move is not so traumatic for babies. This will be their third home in their short lives and though I want them home like yesterday, I understand that this is the best way to minimize the trauma of changing homes again.