Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hyrum's A Star - and other stuff

Hyrum was one of the lucky children in China to be supported by a fantastic group called Love Without Boundaries.  This organization does everything from medical intervention for orphans to supporting with food, clothes and supplying foster care.  Along with that support also comes advocating for the children that are available for adoption.  It is through their blog that I learned about Hyrum.  When we got back from China I requested any information or pictures they had of him as he grew.  Just a couple of weeks ago I was asked to write an update on Hyrum. I was happy to do whatever they asked of me.  I don't have a lot of time or brain power to write well but I figures someone would edit for me.  Thank heavens that a great lady Barbara is more talented than me because she cleaned up what I had sent her and published it on the LWB blog.

It occurred to me yesterday that my little boy was going to be a star.  How cool is that?!  Here is the link to the LWB post if you are interested.  That is my little boy! :)

When Barbara sent me the proof she said that the picture of Hyrum on the counter surrounded by the family could keep her motivated.  I almost didn't send that picture.  I really don't like pictures of me, mostly because I don't like how I look and I don't feel like that is the me inside.  I haven't done very well lately of getting my makeup on either.  I really am back in baby mode.  I was hoping Barbara wouldn't use that picture but she did.  It is amazing to me how the Lord works.  I don't like a picture but send it anyway so they would have more to choose from. That picture not only gets used but makes a difference in someone Else's life.  The Lord is good.

A little update on Hyrum and Bria.  Bria is talking more and more.  She has opened up  a lot more and is giving hugs but refuses to let me give her a kiss if I ask. I get around that by just doing it.:))  Bria has been sleeping on a twin bed next to our bed while Hyrum has manipulated his way to our bed and sometimes in the middle of us. I lay with them while they fall asleep.  Hyrum cuddles in and I put my arm out to touch Bria.  Most of the time she moves as far away as possible.  In the last few days she has taken my hand and hugged it or cuddled up to Hyrum, who is next to me or other little things that show she is opening up.  Last night she scooted onto my bed and took my hand for a while.  That was huge for her!  She has also been running up to me and giving me big hugs.  We see much more happiness.  Not to often does she close down into herself or seem sad.  She is playing and wanting to be treated like a baby.

Hyrum is also doing very well.  He is such a happy little boy.  He is still learning that you can't hurt someone when you can't take the toy out of their hand or hit when you don't get your way. The funny thing with him is he is so sneaky about when he is mad or mean.  It's kind of funny some times.  Hyrum is going to be the drama king of the family.  We have used the word dramatic numerous times regarding Hyrum lately.  Look out drama department of Bingham High.  We have a new leading man in training.  Did I ever say he also loves to sing and dance.

I am going to add some pictures of the Christmas tree decorating.

Hyrum wearing an elf hat. He had to peek out from under it.

Bria with her new look.

Any guess who's taking pictures?

Santa in training.

Bria's peace sign. Too cute.

Malia got to put the star on the tree.

I know it's a fad to take pictures crooked
but Casey never got that memo.
How did he know?

We Have a Court Date!!!!!!!!!!

We finally got a court date for Olivia's finalization!  It has felt like such a long wait.  We were hoping to have it done the end of October but that is not how people work.  The more people in a process the slower it goes.  But we finally conquered.  We meet the judge Friday December 9th at 9:00am.  We are going to take Olivia out and buy her a new outfit then the day of finalization we will go out to eat.  We gave her the choice of what she wanted to do to celebrate and she chose to go to Chuck-A-Rama.  She is so excited. 

We get notes all the time about how much she loves us and how much she loves the family.  I am so grateful for this.  One day she will believe how wonderful she is and feel like she deserves happiness. The nightmares are coming very frequently now.  It is clear where her fears lie as she tells us her dreams. I hope that these will come to a stop fairly soon after all the legal work is done.  She deserves to feel safe and secure.

We decorated the Christmas Tree this week.  The year we got married we bought a Precious Moments ornament for our first Christmas.  This started a family tradition.  Each time a child was born or joined our family we bought them an ornament for the year the child was born. Of course, there are also ornaments that belong to individual children that they have collected over the years.  Olivia noticed this and began to get sad.  I knew this would happen so a few weeks ago I bought an ornament for Olivia and Hyrum (Bria's was too expensive, still looking).  I was planning on decorating the tree with Doug there and presenting the ornament to Olivia as her parents.  Things didn't work out the way I planned and Doug wasn't there for the tree trimming.  I had to tell Olivia that she had something when Dad got home. We saved a spot on the tree right in front for her.  As soon as Doug got home she had to remind me that we had something for her.  We gave her the ornament and she hung it in her special spot on the tree.

Olivia is doing so well.  She is a strong beautiful girl with a majesty within her. There will be a day that I will be standing with my beautiful daughter dressed in her white wedding dress. I will look at her golden skin and vibrant smile and my heart will be filled with gratitude that I have the opportunity to be her mother and guide her through the troubled waters of life. I will see how far she has come and realize even more deeply how strong and valiant she is.  We are truly blessed to have her.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Latest Going Ons

It seems that most of the time I sit down to write a blog post these days I don't know where to start.  Life, or children, have got me going so many mental and emotional directions that I can't stop to organize my thoughts.  So I guess I will just ramble a little about the goings on in our home the last few weeks.

We had our first post placement for Hyrum and Bria and the final post placement for our Olivia.  We sent all the paperwork in to China and got that off my plate.  I don't know who thought that there would be anything substantial to write in a post placement after being home for 30 days.  I can tell though that whoever it was had no idea what it is like to bring a new child into the family that doesn't know the culture, proper behaviors, language or have normal attachments.  If they did they would have asked for the first visit and paperwork to be done no earlier than 6 months.  I really thought that we were done with paperwork when we picked up our children.  All the post placement visits we have had, and we've had a lot, the social worker did all the work.  All I had to do was make sure the kids were dressed and the living room cleaned up.  Not with China.  I had to run around and print pictures, put them on card stock with captions, copy multiple papers and get more information to the social worker.  What a pain it was.  Now we only have to do this in 4 more months then again at 12 months home and 2, 3, and 5 years home.  I already promised not to beat my children what else do they want from me.

We are pushing the attorney to get a court date for Olivia's finalization as soon as possible. We are told the normal wait is 2 weeks but because of Thanksgiving it could be 3.  That puts us into the middle of December.  Olivia is getting more and more anxious about having this done.  She is afraid it won't happen and has nightmares most nights that she will always be an orphan.  But then she is afraid to have the finalization for other reasons.  What a tangle of emotions she has right now.  I can see this get harder on her every day.  She needs all the prayers you have to offer right now.  She is such a sweet girl.  She struggles with feelings no one should have to fight especially because of where they came from.  I have faith that one day she will be made whole, healed from the wounds inflicted on her but it will be a difficult journey.  I feel to some degree that I may be sharing things that are too private but I want people to understand the difficulties that arise for these poor children.  They need a lot of love and support. I know many of you are concerned for her and some have made a great effort to support her. Thank you Tammy for sending her the pillow pet. She loved it and keeps it on her bed to sleep with at night.  It is a sign to her that she is loved. Mom, thanks for the letter.  It is still held in a special place for her and she can't wait to see you again. It only takes something little to remind her she is special.  Hopefully one day that belief will be the dominate thought for her.

We have had two snow storms in the last 2 weeks.  All the kids had to go out as soon as they could to play.  Olivia was disappointed that we don't get more snow because where she lived before they had 6-8 feet in the yard.  She didn't have all the awesome brothers and sisters to share it with though. Bria enjoyed the snow but doesn't seem too impressed.  It is so cute to see her pull her jacket up over her head when we go out in the cold.  I realized that I need to use the coat with a hood from now on.  Hyrum LOVES the snow. We were headed into Costco and it was snowing a little. He didn't want to go in the store but didn't put up much of a fuss.  When we came out big flakes were floating down.  He ran right out into the street to enjoy the snow.  It's a good thing it was 20  minutes past closing so there weren't very many cars.  He danced around looking up into the sky in awe.  One flake landed right on the top of his nose and he jumped and screamed.  He immediately started laughing.  I wish I had a video camera.  He was just too cute.

We also spent a couple of day canning applesauce. Sereen came over and helped me do 160 quarts. There is no way I could have done it without her help. Having great older kids is more of a blessing than I could have ever imagined. All the kids got into the action. They washed, pulled off stickers, quartered, smashed and poured to their hearts content. I don't know where they got it but my kids like to can. We had a very sticky mess when we were done and by 2:00am I was exhausted and left it to be cleaned the next morning. Now can you believe that not one child wanted to help me clean that mess? Nope not one. That's OK, I didn't want to do it either.

Hannah's birthday cake! 

Of course, Sereen made it.  She just needed an excuse. 
She's waited for a couple of birthdays until someone wanted it.
Hannah was very happy to oblige.

 Our Hannah turned 11 this year. She is changing fast.

The boys love to set up the Hot Wheel tracks. 

Marshall taking a break from Hot Wheels to read to Hyrum.

Sereen gave Casey the photography bug while we were in China.
This was a shot in motion. He has some other cool pictures.

The first very wet snow of the year.
Love Emma's pose. I have no idea where she gets it.
I also don't know how she doesn't get cold when all she wears is a light sweater.
I made her at least put that on.

Bria, Casey, Hyrum and Hannah. 
 I bet that was Hyrum and Bria's first time to even see snow.

Pierce at the beginning of his huge snow ball.

Aren't they adorable.
Niya and Clayson worked hard together to make this big of a snow ball.

Malia pulling Bria in the sled.
They offered Hyrum to go on the sled but he hesitated just a split second to long.
Bria sat right down and settled in for the ride.
She loved it.

What a handsome boy Creed is.
 I just wish we had some good pictures of him.
He professes that he doesn't like to have his picture taken.

Niya has a smile that is contagious.

Casey diving into his snow ball.
He loves this picture.

Hyrum and Hannah

Olivia enjoying her time in the snow with her siblings.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's Been a While

OK, I realized it has been a while but I didn't realize how long it's been since we posted.

Life around here has gotten extremely busy. We have had 7 doctor appointments in under two weeks with two more next week.  That will make 9 appointments or procedures in 15 days.  We already have one surgery scheduled for the beginning of January to separate Bria's little fingers and clean up one hand and foot.  Our next appointment we will get the results of both children's MRI's.  Hopefully we will get a full feel of what is going on and know where to start.  We found out that Hyrum has another special need.  Because of this the MRI was a great blessing in knowing where he stands physically.

We owe so much to Shriner's Hospital. They got Bria in to see the doctor within a week and while there for Bria's club foot I mentioned the new info we found out about Hyrum.  I asked a couple of questions knowing they would have better info than I could get off the Internet and could point me in the right direction for care.  As the doctor and I started talking the great man that has been there for us since last November said,

"We can take care of that."

Within minutes they had a registration packet for Hyrum and got him in for xrays.  We walked out of the initial appointment for Bria not just having a consultation but all the initial workup with xrays and 3 more appointments scheduled with specialists.  On top of that Hyrum also had his exam and xrays with 2 more appointments and both had MRI's scheduled for the next week.  We had to wait while the secretary called Primary Children's Hospital to schedule the MRI's so they could ask questions.  Near the end of the call the secretary got uncomfortable and had to answer "bill it to Shriner's".  She had to repeat this twice.  Now for the second time the tears came, knowing if it were not for the goodness of all those that donate these children may have been left in China or our family would be financially stuck for years to come.

We came home that night and told the children about our experience.  The whole family is now very anxious to give back to Shriner's.  We are brain storming for things we can donate. While there Bria came home with a fleece blanket and two beanie babies.  Hyrum got a car and beanie baby. We thought that we could make blankets and on black Friday buy a bunch of cars to donate.  Olivia is very excited to have a donation party.  She wants to have projects for people to do and then donate them.  She even wants to do this for her birthday.  She is a very unselfish girl.

All of the children are doing so well.  The adjustment for the family has been very smooth.  No one is showing signs of trouble, not even a little insecurity. Hyrum is getting better and better. He loves his family so much!!  He is now starting to work with his emotions and is settling down quite a bit.  He still makes messes but is not getting into so many things just to throw them around. He can now sleep with us in bed and even moves himself right next to me in the middle of the night.  He won't go to sleep without me holding him, which is good in this situation.  Hyrum is now discriminating between those he knows and those he does not.  He is getting shy and reserved around others.  For those that know attachment you know that is fantastic.  He looks in our eyes easily and offers kisses all the time.  At church Sunday there was a new baby, Hyrum had to look at the baby.  He took his little hand and very gently stroked the babies cheeks for a long time.  It is clear that he has helped with the babies at the orphanage.  When he gets angry we don't get the pinching and hitting like a week ago.  And when he does something wrong he fairly easily will give hugs and kisses and try to make things better.  Bria is also moving along well in her adjustment.  She is very attached to me and wants me all the time.  Like a baby she wants me to walk around the house seeing everything.  Because she is not the size of a baby that is not possible, besides I have other things to do.  She is now showing real emotion and will call everyone by name.  She is trying to learn English and has used some phrases properly.  The other day I was looking for my bag so we could go to the doctor.  I had her in my arms and was getting a little worried as I kept saying "where's by bag".  Bria pointed and said "there it is".  She is a smart little girl.  She is still reserved and scared at times but doing much better.  Her progression is much faster than I expected and you can see that she is feeling safer here.  We are loving the little personality that we are starting to see.

I had to go somewhere last Wednesday night.  Doug stayed home so the kids could still feel safe.  I had a window of 10 minutes that he could call and tell me to come back home.  No call so I thought things were going well.  I got home 2 hours later and Hyrum

All our posts seem to be on Hyrum and Bria lately.  It's not because we love them best they are just the center of every ones lives right now. We are going to have our post placement for Olivia, Hyrum and Bria tomorrow.  We are all excited about that. Olivia really needs this to be done!! Please pray for a speedy finalization.  She is doing well but I do see signs of emotional discomfort because of not having things done yet. The visit will go very well I am sure.  We have a great social worker and all the kids are doing amazingly well.

                                           The cool guy. Casey's favorite picture.

                                         A friend gave this blanket to Bria.
                              Right after the friend left Bria laid the blanket out
                                                           and laid down.

                      Playing hide and seek with Pierce one night at about 9:45pm.
                                 They now have to hide in the pantry when they play.

                              Hyrum discovered the cups and how to get water by himself.
                           I figured it better show him a safe way to play that didn't include
                                            pouring the water all over the house.

                                                            One of Bria's first kisses.

Now I have to post a few more times over the next couple of days to catch up on the rest of the family. More fun pictures to come.