Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to Abnormal

Last Thursday Dante had his ASD repaired via open heart surgery.  Jamie and I traded off the time in the hospital with him, and we all were ready to get home yesterday.  Everyone at Children's Hospital Boston is so amazing, and Dante recovered very quickly.  I tried to use my time there well, knitting 2 dishcloths, 2 pot-holders, and 1 1/2 hats.  I am hoping to sell some knit hats as an adoption fundraiser, I have about six made so far. 

Dante was in an out of it for a while, just sitting on his hospital bed tugging at all the wires and IV's while watching Kai Lan on the iPad, but on Sunday he came out of his fog and started doing the interactive games and eating like crazy.  He was ready to go. We do have to go back to Boston in a few weeks for a sedated echo to make sure all is well.  They tried one on Sunday with just an oral sedative, but my little fighter needs to be out completely if they want to see anything.

Now we are home again, Leif has mostly forgiven me for leaving him so much and life is getting back to normal.  Which is anything but normal.  I am not really sure what normal is, unless I look at it from a typical American perspective.  2.5 kids, sports practice, the latest fashions, eating out once a week.  That is certainly not us.  I prefer my abnormal life.

For far too many people, normal is not a good thing.  Countries where it is normal to put a less than perfect newborn in an orphanage.   Orphanages where it is normal for those imperfect newborns become children so neglected they are emaciated and withdrawn.  Doctors in our own country whose normal standard procedure is to encourage scheduling an abortion while giving a prenatal diagnosis of down syndrome.   And an estimated 90% of those parents follow that advice because they don't know what else to do. 

Being hopeless has become normal. 

I think we as Christians should be rebelling against the world's version of normal.  Why should we expect our lives to be calm, controlled, and predictable? 

If you think about it, why do we put on the Full Armor of God, if we are not expecting a battle?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dad's Cereal is Leif's Cereal

It has been a busy week here, one of the last two weeks before school starts.  
I bought 5 packs of socks and dyed them so each of the youngest five can easily tell which pair to wear.  It drives me nuts that you cannot buy colored socks in large sets, they are always a mix.  When I buy all white it is hard to keep them matched because we need 4 different sizes for the 5 kids.

 Amelia helped me make tomato sauce.  We also made 12 quarts of salsa- 6 medium and 6 hot. We have spanish rice once week for dinner, and chips with cheese and salsa are a favorite lunch, so we go through a lot of salsa.  I will make at least one more batch before Dante's surgery next week.
 Tuesday Jamie and I took Sunny to court and "re-adopted" her.  She has been finalized for two years as far as Taiwan is concerned, but Massachusetts in one of the states that requires re-adoption in order to change the birth certificate.  We took just her to make it special, and went out to breakfast afterwards.  The judge gave her a stuffed panda and was super nice.
 Dad fixed himself a bowl of granola this morning, and Leif was kind enough to let Dad have a bite.

 Jamie finally decided it was a 2 spoon bowl, but then walked away for a moment to help someone else.
This is Leif's victory grin.  

I still have a lot to do before next Wednesday.  The girls need some school shopping done, and I have to sort through all their clothes first to see what we need.  I have mixed emotions about Amelia, Sunny, and Micah going to public school for the first time.  We have not even gotten a date for their IEP meetings yet, and I fight the urge to call and say never mind.  It is likely that I won't even be here their first day, if Dante is still in the hospital.  I know they will like school, but it has been a hard decision.  It is not easy to find curricula that is at their developmental level without being too childish, but ever since we officially made our decision I have come across so much stuff that would have been great for them.
Jamie has taken the lead with the teens schooling this year, in that he has laid out what they will be doing.  I cannot believe they are a sophomore, junior, and senior!  

Right now everything in my mind is divided to before and after Dante's surgery.  I have picked up a bunch of extra hours at Cracker Barrel this week, trying to get ahead for the week I will not be working while I stay with Dante.  There is so much to get done before Wednesday, since when Dante is discharged we will be jumping right into the school year in addition to his recovery time at home.

We are still waiting on a final piece of paperwork for Elsa's home study.  Please continue to pray for her and for our adoption process.  Satan is fighting adoption on so many levels around the world right now, and God's children need your prayers.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Adoption and Dante Updates

I have not done a post on our adoption in a while, so it is time for a reminder that we and our daughter-to-be are a family in need of your support!
Our home study was completed last week, but needed some revisions.  Jamie and I had not done the required training for a Hague country.  We had to go online and take 5 adoption courses to meet that requirement.  Even though most of it was review for us, it is a very impressive set of courses that would benefit any family adopting a child.
And here she is!!: 
Once we have our revised home study we will send it to Immigration in our government for approval.  We will be given fingerprint appointments also.  With that approval we will be able to officially have Elsa put on hold and travel to her country for the Preview Trip.  
So much of this process is "hurry up and wait" on our part.  I will be so thankful when we get this hurdle done. The wait for approval should be about two months.  Hopefully less.
In the last 2 weeks we have had to pay $200 for the home study review, plus $149 for the adoption courses.  When we file the immigration paperwork (next week?!) we will have to send along a cashiers check for $890 to pay for the filing of the forms.
Please continue to pray for Elsa, and for our finances.
Don't forget, Christmas is coming and one way you can support us is through the purchase of adoption awareness t-shirts!  There is a link on the sidebar.
And Dante.  Here is a photo of him being told his surgery is in 2 weeks.  Actually, that is an older photo, but he is scheduled for open heart surgery on Thursday August 25th.  We have been told that the hole in his heart is in such a way that the catheter approach will not work.  I have every confidence in the surgeon and team who will be working on him, it is his time in the hospital that has me worried.  Dante is not going to appreciate the IV and various wires that will likely be attached to him for the duration of his hospital recovery.  Jamie and I are going to alternate staying in the hospital with him, although if Dante's recovery goes longer than 5 days it will run into school starting.
Please pray for a calm, quick recovery for our boy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Every Summer we spend a week at the cottage Jamie's parents have at Rumney Bible Conference.  Here are just a few of the photos we took:

 Micah in the pool is a riot- he thrashes around until he realizes he can easily touch.  It's all fun after that.
 Sunny enjoys splashing Micah and Amelia.  She does not like being splashed by them, though!

 Amelia climbed to the top of the slide, inched her way down, then slid off the end.  We were so proud!!
 Dante LOVES swimming.  It was wonderful to see him laughing with Daddy.
 Nikita threatening Dad.  I have chosen not to post the photo of him giving her a dunking a few seconds after this shot.
 Leif likes how we used the stroller as a double decker.
 Amelia with pony tails!
 6 of our 8 kids with Dad.  This was our fist family vacation without Alexander, and he was missed.  We are so proud of him being a junior counselor all Summer!
Time to head home after reflecting on another great vacation at Rumney Bible Conference.