Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rockets

Doug got a rocket from his brother for his birthday a couple months back. We have LOVED it!  I highly recommend this as a Christmas gift if you don't know what to get someone. It's called an Air Burst and not expensive. It uses air pressure to launch the rocket. There are bladders in a tube that  is connected up to a bike pump. You pump the air and pressure builds up behind the bladder. At maximum pressure for that particular bladder it bursts and the rocket takes off. The rocket has a foam tip so when it comes down it bounces on the ground. There are no parachutes to get tangled up or cause it to fly in the wind. It can even go up to 1000 feet.

Our first try at the rocket was at dusk. It started to get to dark too see so we taped a glow stick to it. It worked great so the next time we bought finger lights and taped them to it. That was our favorite. You could see the rocket all the way up and down.

Here are some pictures of the fun.

                                                  


Creed does this funny thing with his shorts. He rolls the waist band up a couple of times so they are short. I hate it! It actually think that's why he does it. Maybe this will embarrass him enough to stop. :)





Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Where The Adoption Is Right Now

The last time we adopted from China I swore I would never do it again unless it was the perfect circumstances. In October we had a post placement visit with our social worker that is required by China. At that time I told her we wouldn't be going back to China because we didn't want to start over with a new social worker. For those of you that have not had to get a homestudy, just know that it is very invasive. The questions asked, information needed and paperwork to be done is outrageous. We are required to allow someone that went to school for 4 years and may have no other experience in life than just that pry into every aspect of our lives so they can decide if we are fit parents and then pay them exorbitant fees for it. Whoever came up with this system in crazy. Anyway, back to the point. China had changed the rules after we were in process of the last adoption. The social workers now have to have a specific license that is very costly. Our social worker does not have that license. Next, I did not want to redo a dossier for China. It is time consuming and costly. I figured all said and done the last dossier cost well over $1,000 to compile and countless hours of work. Last but not least, I knew we could not endure a year of opposition that WILL come while in the process of adopting. Satan can't let these children have homes so he messes with our lives as much as he can so we will quite. Trust me, we almost quite twice last time.

This could be a long story but for times sake I will give highlights. We found an agency that could do our homestudy and get it done in about a month. I figured we would see it mid December. After a lack of communication we laid it on the line and then asked if our current social worker could sign an agreement to do our homestudy under their license. A few days later they confirmed, yes they could do that. We now are just doing an update to what has already been done so we don't have to wait for all the state background clearances and fill out a 1" thick stack of paperwork. We also no longer have to do all the hours of education they wanted us to redo. I got into gear quickly and started ordering birth certificates and making appointments to get the dossier paperwork done. In a record 2 weeks we had all the paperwork in hand and notarized ready to go. That same day I was told by our placing agency, Agape Adoptions, that we were given permission to re use the dossier from our previous adoption. This was a miracle for several reasons. If you want to know just contact me and I can fill you in. With the ability to re use the dossier we now had a reduction in fees from the agency and one of the governments. This will help quite a bit. The agency we chose to use has also been a miracle. We have loved them and at this point will recommend them to everyone. They have done things for our benefit and our sons benefit that is not the most lucrative for them. They are also very humble and professional people. I can't say enough good about them. I think the biggest miracles are still in progress. Every agency has a facilitator in China to do the paperwork on that side. Agape's facilitator happens to be the medical coordinator for the organization that is supporting our son. He knew who the child was and talked with the CCCWA about expediting the process to get him home for immediate medical care. He is sure they will be doing this for us. It is amazing that we have direct access to how our child is doing. Having this connection is nothing short of a miracle. One last miracle to share. We needed a letter from a cardiologist stating that this child needed medical care immediately. This letter is to go to the USCIS as proof of the need to expedite the adoption. We talked with several doctors about the file but didn't really have luck in getting someone to write the letter. One doctor went as far to tell me to leave this child there and get a child that can be fixed and will have a long life. I'll need to expound on that in another post. We have a friend that was a specialist on some equipment used in surgery for a group of Cardiologists. He was able to connect us up with a good friend of his that was very supportive of the adoption and willing to write a letter. We didn't see the letter so after a few days we just decided that if this was supposed to happen it would come in the right time. The day we heard all the good news about the dossier re use, finishing the dossier (getting the doctor letter was a big pain), a reduction of fees and a large reduction in another fee we got the letter we needed in our email. It all fell into place at one time.

There have been so many other evidences of God's hand in this process. Many little ones and numerous large miracles. We have been supported emotionally through the firestorm we have been placed in. Satan started the sifting process even before we knew we would be adopting again. My very valuable time is being increased and I am getting more done than expected. Christmas is almost done and a week ago we hadn't even thought about it. I have no doubt that we will put together a very nice reception without much trouble. Now we just pray to be patient in our Father's timing but if it is His will we would like to go get our boy some time in February. This is a dangerous time of year for these children. He needs to come home.

We are now waiting on the final homestudy so we can submit our I800-A application to the USCIS for approval. We have a direct contact there that is waiting for the package. Hopefully that means they will push it through. As soon as our I800-A goes in I will let everyone know. I am excited to see what comes next.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Introducing the Newest Walker-Another Leap In The Journey Of Life

Not so long ago in a very distant place a baby was born. A sweet little boy that looked perfect. His mother and father were so happy for this precious child. As they cuddled him in their arms and talked about their joy and his future they noticed that his little puckered lips began to turn a blue. This worried them but after a while the color came back and they didn't think much of it. Over the next couple of weeks they learned to feed, bath and love their little boy. They fell more and more in love with him every passing day. This mother and father would notice though, that their sons lips turned blue more and more often and they began to get very concerned. With fear they took him to see the doctor. After a few tests it was determined that this perfect child had a sever heart problem.

With very heavy hearts this mother and father took their little baby home. What were they to do? They had no money to get the help that he would need. It was far too costly and they lived on a meager income as it was. How were they to hide this from their friends, neighbors and more importantly family. If anyone found out they would shun them and ostersize their child for being bad luck. You see, where they lived, if a couple had a child that was not perfect it meant they had done something terribly wrong. No one would accept them anymore. Their mother would pressure them to abandon their new born son so the family could save face. 

The child's difficulties became more and more noticeable. People started to ask questions and the mother and father could do nothing to help their son. They knew the only option they had and could hardly face it. Their son needed medical help that they could not afford and the only way this baby may get it was to turn him over to an orphanage. If anyone were to find out who they were and what they had done they could go to prison for abandoning their son. They had to be very careful.

One dark night the couple took their two month old son on a train. Wrapped in a blanket he slept soundly in his mothers arms. The train ride came to an end and the trio got off. The mother and father walked around the city for a time until they found a spot where they were sure he would be found. The mother kissed his tiny forehead and with tears in her eyes laid the baby down on the sidewalk. They walked away and tried to blend in with the morning crowd. The mother and father watched for a short time until someone picked up their baby and started walking. The mother and father had to turn away as their hearts broke into a million pieces. 

This sweet little boy quickly became a favorite at the orphanage. Though it was a very poor orphanage that had little food and not much heat in the cold winter, he managed to continue to survive. The orphanage had no way to get the medical care this child needed. There was not enough money to feed the children let alone pay for a doctor and hospital. However, this child was not doing well. He didn't grow, wouldn't eat, was lethargic, and turned blue very often. The whole staff was worried about him. Finally, one day the orphanage director called a group that helped children like this and asked if there was anything they could do. The kind people said they would take this baby and care for him and try to get the medical attention he needed. No one knew how severe the situation was with his heart but after one test it was apparent that this baby was lucky to be alive.

Doctors all over the world were contacted. Pediatric Cardiologists gave their advice, which was not comforting to anyone. The group supporting this baby put out a call to anyone that could help find a  hospital in the US that would sponsor this child so he could get a Medical Visa and get the help that he needed.

This is where our story begins......

The call from the group Love Without Boundaries was made in the Spring of 2012. I saw the plea and decided that I could call our local Children's Hospital to see what they could do. They are known for the service they preform. So much so that I found they have a whole department to field all the requests. Through the discussions with them I got a list of info they would need to evaluate the case. I requested the info and waited. A few days came and went and I was informed that this little boy was determined by 5 other doctors to be either inoperable or too risky to operate on. He was not doing well and something needed to be done immediately. I didn't know at the time but the orphanage began the process to have his paperwork done to make him available for adoption. 

At one point I asked a friend what was going on with this child. I hoped that somehow they were able to find  help for him. She is part of the organization of LWB but she didn't know what had happened. A few months later I got an email from my friend asking if I was interested in this boy. I emailed back "Most definitely.  What's going on with him?" I assumed that they had decided to pursue the Medical Visa once again. I called my friend and she let me know that his file was ready for adoption and no one had really looked at it in two months. He needed a family NOW.

From that moment on I was a blubbering mess. I cried or was on the verge of tears at all moments. Doug came home from work for lunch, which is not common. I followed him around and talked about work for a short time. I knew I had to get the guts up to tell him about the phone call I had that morning. I didn't know if this boy was to come to our family nor did I really want to think that. I had made a promise never to ask if we could adopt again and I was not going to break my promise. Doug and I discussed the situation and I expected that would be the end of it. I had made a comment that it would be crazy for someone to pay all that money to go get a child that was just going to die. Doug came out from our bedroom where he had gone for just a couple of minutes and said something like "You would have to know that the money was not yours but God's to adopt this child". That is when I knew this conversation was not just a passing thing. As we said goodbye, Doug hugged me and I couldn't hold on any longer. I sobbed in his arms. I didn't know why and still didn't want to figure it out, I made a promise.

For the rest of that day and through the next I could not get a hold of my emotions. Doug and I were fasting for other things that day and at one point Doug said "It looks like I have something else to fast about". I still didn't want to ask God nor my husband. If this was to be our son Doug had to know first not me. The next day was more of the same. We went to our temple that evening for a previously scheduled visit. I felt it was a good time for me to focus on asking for strength and to clear my head. I was not going to think about this little boy!  Funny, I really didn't until the Holy Ghost spoke to me about him several times. As Doug and I talked that night we both knew with our whole beings that this child was to come to our family. The emotions immediately settled down and I felt peace.

It has been 4 weeks now since that day. We debated on when to tell people and WHAT to tell people. We chose to wait until we had the preliminary approval from China to adopt this boy. We have seen miracles time and time again and had great opposition. I will need to expound on those things in another post on another day. 

The newest Walker (after Jason) will turn 2 in February. The same day as Emma. You would think with as many children as we have we could spread the birthdays out a little better. I guess in the end it will be easier to have a concentration of birthdays and a couple weeks of a break. We don't have a name for him yet so he is referred to as the boy in China. :) Naming him is Doug's privileged this time, so we will wait. His heart is pretty bad. From the little information that we have it looks like he may have half a heart. We really won't know until he gets here and has a very thorough test done. We have a review from a doctor here in the US that sees severe heart cases in his clinic of teens and adults that have never had surgery and will never. They function with the heart the way it is and it could only make things worse if  they intervene in any way. The doctor calls this the perfect storm. Our hope is that  our son will be one of those children. From the pictures we have and the growth chart he is doing very well. He doesn't have consistent blue lips and is starting to walk. He is almost as big as Hyrum was at 4 when we brought him home. All those involved with this child feel strongly that his adoption needs to happen as soon as possible! There must be more than what the papers tell us. 

This is a journey of faith. We fight some fear, worry, sorrow and many other feelings. We may bring this child home to have him die. Or we may be in the hospital far more than we or the children would desire. How do we come up with the money on top of  Christmas and a wedding?  Will our other children be ready for us to leave for almost 2 weeks to go pick him up? I don't know how all this will come together so It all comes down to, we love the Lord and will do all that He asks of us. We know we can do all things with His help and have to exercise that faith daily. Jesus Christ gave his life for me. There is no way to repay Him but we can dedicate our lives to Him.




Part of this story was recreated from knowledge of some situations in his country but some facts are not known.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Then and Now

The changes we have seen in just one year are incredible. Hyrum is now starting to act in a few ways like children his age. We got him and he was developmentally in the young two's. Still far behind in some ways but miraculous growth has taken place. In some ways he is 4 in others he is 3 but he left the two's behind. Bria is now a happy little girl with a bit of spice to her. She now writes her letters and knows the names and sounds to most of them. She has learned this by watching Leap Frog movies. Hyrum too is learning letters. They both are doing great.
Hyrum the week we got back from China.

Hyrum, in October with cousin Jessica.

Bria not wanting to let anyone love her just days after getting home. Malia was trying so hard

One year later on Bria's birthday.

She is feeling happy more and more often. This was pure joy. Thanks Jared.

Remodeling

Though we have a rather large house, there are some areas that were not planned out well for a large family. It kind of surprises me because the family who originally built this house had 8 children. One of the areas that has been lacking is our dinning room. When we first moved in we did some remodeling on the kitchen. We took out the island and made it shorter so we could fit our table. The table we have is pretty narrow as it is so we have no idea what kind of table the previous family had. We knew then that this arrangement would not last forever. We only had 12 kids then with plans of only adding 2 more, HA. We have talked about knocking out a wall between the dinning room and  a room the previous owners used as their school room. We just couldn't decide how to use it so it went through a transformation 3 times in 8 years.

Last Saturday we knocked out the wall. At first I wasn't sure what I thought of it. The house looks even bigger than it did before. We now have a great expanse to fill and no money to fill it with. :) Our plans for this area are to build a larger table top to go over the table we have. That will save us about $3,500. We are going to try putting the TV in that area and adding more seating to the family room. We don't watch a lot of TV and when the kids do they sit so close together that the smaller space will be all they need. Hopefully this will take care of two problems at once. Seating for eating and seating for visiting and being together as a family.

We are still a work in progress. Daily thinking of new ways to organize and where to put things that are now displaced. I don't think I have all the room I need but somehow I will make it work. Hopefully we will get the wood floor installed and some cabinet built before all the kids are grown and gone. (At this rate there will always be kids :))

The best picture I could find of the dinning room. That's it in the background.

All the kids wanted their turn. Trust me using the Sawzall is a much cleaner option.

In process. I don't know how it happens but the kitchen was really clean that morning. It wasn't even lunch time yet.

The boxes on the table are part of the reorganizing. Those boxes are now in  my hallway until I reorganize the  garage.
 It just doesn't end.

This is it.
We will be taking the cabinets out and adding the entertainment center there.  For now we will put a couch and chair from the basement to see what we think and get a feel for what we may want when it's time to furnish this area. It's going to look goofy with the table on the wood and carpet but at least we have more room. Painting will come soon.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Example


"The most powerful teaching of children is by the example of their parents."
—Dallin H. Oaks

This quote is from a talk at the last general conference for our church.
 I recommend everyone read it.
http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/protect-the-children?lang=eng

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Engagement!


We are so pleased to announce that Ressa is now engaged to one of the Lord's most valiant. Jason has asked Ressa to marry him and she said YES!

We are beyond thrilled and could not ask for a better man for her. We are honored to have both of them as part of our family.

Jason and Ressa will be married January 25th in the Brigham City Temple and the reception will be held January 26th. Just 2 weeks later they will be traveling to China to teach English for almost 5 months.

We love these two and couldn't be happier. I don't think they could be happier either. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday

I love quotes! I love to think deeply and  learn new things.Last week I thought it would be neat to post a thought once a week on the blog. I have a great one just waiting and since the first idea I have now seen many great quotes and thoughts that I would love to share Now I have a way to justify the time to look up quotes. I will use random thoughts, quotes and scripture as it touches me or that I just like. If anyone wants to join me in this I would love to know and link up.  Now for the first Thoughtful Thursday.


"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think is a much greater hunger.  A much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."
                                                            Mother Theresa