Monday, August 19, 2013

God's Hand

Just to preface, I wish I was a better writer. These situations today were pretty profound but I just don't know how to do them justice. I wish you could have been there to see it.

Today was a day to watch the hand of God at work. We took the children to Temple Square in Downtown Salt Lake City. It was important to us to have Scott have a spiritual experience and hopefully find someone that spoke Mandarin that could communicate with him about God. Most children from China don't know that a God even exists so we weren't sure how to help Scott understand.

The very first thing we did was go see the Christus statue. There is a recording of many of the things Christ said like, "Come unto me, In my house are many mansions" and so forth. There is a strong feeling of peace and love in the room with the Christus. Some missionaries played the Mandarin version and then the English for the rest of the kids. I wasn't sure how much of it Scott was understanding but in the middle of the English version Doug told me Scott asked to have our picture taken in front of Christ. It was Scott's idea. We all stood in front and Doug took some pictures. A nice guy offered to have Doug stand in the picture and he snapped the camera.

In the Visitor Center there is a presentation on families and the importance of them. We were able to watch that and you could feel the Spirit very strong. While changing rooms Scott would stay right on Doug and hold tight. A couple of times he sat by me too. In one room I sat down next to him and put my hand on his knee. He took my hand and interlocked fingers with me. I have noticed that is a very personal thing for Scott and I was honored that he would trust me so much.

We decided to ask for Mandarin missionaries because we couldn't find any. They front desk texted some and we started looking around again. We were under the impression that the missionaries would find us because we were right in the same room. No one came so we assumed that they were all busy at the moment. We moved on to another building. About 15 minutes after we left the first building some missionaries asked if we had paged for them. Amazingly they had found us. They told us that they had waited but couldn't find us so they said a prayer and felt they needed to come to the same place we were. They were so impressed how they were led to us.

The sister missionary that spoke Mandarin got down on Scotts level and began talking with him. She had him writing, which he doesn't do for us, and she wrote on a paper for him. After some time she explained what she had been talking about and let us know they had a tour they needed to get to. I had asked the other missionary if they had time to take us to the viewing area of the Salt Lake Temple. They had a few more minutes so we hurried over there. We wanted Scott to know that we had the opportunity to be a family forever and that even after we die we will be a family. We wanted him to know that that ordinance is performed in the temple.

I was with the children and the other sister missionary so I didn't get to see Scott's reaction when she explained that we wanted Scott to be in our family forever. I wasn't sure what he would do knowing he would be in our family forever. There was a possibility that he could have reacted very negatively. When all was done the Mandarin sister told us that he was excited to be part of our family and liked what he had heard.

For the rest of the evening Scott was very attached and interacted well. After the children were sent to get PJ's Scott brought me a picture of Christ and handed it to me. I wasn't sure what to do. Did he want it or did he just not care? Creed said that he had given the picture to Scott after church. Scott came back to me and gestured that he wanted to hang it up and for me to come with him. I went and got some tape  and he took me to his room. He pointed to his wall just above his bed close to his pillow and had me hang the picture there. He had a very big grin and was so pleased.

I am so grateful for how receptive Scott is. He is doing so well! It has been very important to us to teach Scott about his Savior and for him to learn to read. The scriptures are where he will understand who his Savior is and feel His presence. If Scott can learn nothing else we pray he will gain a testimony of how much his Father in Heaven and brother Jesus Christ love him and the ability to feast on their words.

We will be going back in 2 weeks because all the kids want to see the parts we missed and go to the Church History Museum. We are excited to go.

In front of the Christus. Scott had to stand right by me
and pulled everyone in as close as he could for the picture.

Notice the guy in the background of the picture.
In this area there are wax figures of prophets of old.
Scott saw this guy in the back and tried to get his attention.
After failing he started waving his hand in his face.
Everyone laughed at that. When Scott realized what was going on
He laughed pretty hard.

Scott is always hanging on Pierce.
Pierce deserves the brother of the year award for his patience!
Scott told the missionary that he liked it here in our family and
that he has fun. That's good to hear.

Niya, Hannah and Emma.

I don't know who had the camera but Malia was being a ham.

The view from the window of the visitor center.
The Salt Lake Temple.

Crossing the street to go back to the bus.

After a very late dinner of hot dogs and watermelon we played Quirkle.
Scott beat us!
I helped him a little because I couldn't explain the rules.
I would point to a piece I would recommend he use
and he would decide where to place it on the board.
In some ways he is so smart.
About those hot dogs. We went through 25 hot dogs a full very large watermelon and a loaf and a half of zucchini bread for dinner and I still had kids asking for more food.
For the mom who could not cook in small quantities and always had
 leftovers I will need new recipes.The days of leftovers are gone.
I am now up to 3 lasagnas at a time and the next time we have hot dogs I'll cook 3 packages.
That equals 36 hot dogs. Maybe we will have a couple left over with that.
I'm going to have to get better convection ovens or a third oven.
I already am in desperate need of a larger refrigerator.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Little Things

You want to take a guess why this picture is so AWESOME?
No?  Ok, I'll tell you then.
Those red flip flops are Scott's. Sitting right out in the family room with two other pair of shoes that don't belong there. Why in the world would I think that is awesome?
Well, this is the first time that Scott has left anything out of his possession or out of it's proper place.
He walked off to bed tonight and left his shoes out!!!
This means that he is feeling safer and more at home.
Beyond awesome!!
Since I already broke my rule of no two posts a day I might as well post more pictures of a boy that is transforming before our very eyes..
Tyler, Scott's oldest brother, so cool to say Scott has a brother, is in the production
The Scarlet Pimpernel.
We took all the older kids that wanted to go and met Ressa and Jason there.
Scott chose to sit by Jason, he loves older males.
Scott LOVED the play. He laughed and was attentive the whole time.

Scott learning to make bread.
We make it almost daily
 and when I don't make it every day I scramble to think of something for lunch.
I just can't bring myself to pay so much money for terrible bread at the store.

Scott sitting on Mom's legs and having fun.
Hyrum doesn't think it's so fun. Just look at his face.
I think that one got a
"Stop it Gui" out of Hyrum. :)

Scott on the tramp with the other kids.

Hannah and Olivia helping Scott keep his balance.

Scott was in the garage and came in with a pretty bad skinned knee.
I was in the other room and no one came to get me.
Who knows, maybe I was in the bathroom. :)
The girls cleaned the knee up a bit and put band aids on it.
It took all of 5 minutes for Scott to take them off.
A couple of days later we were playing tag in the back yard
and Scott tripped. This is what we found. Blood running down his leg in 3 places.
It was much worse than the picture shows and unless you think this kid is tough
the smile came for the camera only. :)
The next day Doug stopped at the grocery store to resupply our first aid materials.
Marshall has used them all up.

Scott loving life!

Scott loves to do art. We have a friend that brought over some art supplies.
Scott spent a few hours coloring this picture.
He was so proud when he brought it up to me.
I immediately gave his art the coveted space.
He went right back down to his room and colored another picture.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blessing From Above

As moms we all have moments that remind us of why we do what we do. Why we give up our lives for our children and for the most part love it. Today I had one of those moments. Actually a few of those moments today.

I wanted to make bread for lunch and bring a loaf to some friends. I was in the middle of the process when Olivia showed signs of emotional distress. I kind of felt if coming but today I saw it clearly. (I don't say any of this to reveal Olivia's story but I have decided more openness is in order.) I was sitting at the computer while I waited for the next step in the bread making process. I called Olivia over. She didn't move. That is not like Olivia, she obeys quickly most of the time. I could see in her eyes that she couldn't do it. She couldn't emotionally bridge that gap between us. I tried to coax her over as thoughts of going to her crossed my mind. Immediately I knew I needed to stay put and have her come to me. She HAD to trust me. I said "Olivia, you are strong. You can do it". She got up and sat on my lap.

We talked for a few minutes and I reminded Olivia that she was a daughter of God. she was made in His image which meant that she had the seeds of God in her. She could and will overcome the hurdles in her life. As I said this and more I noticed Scott sitting in the corner of the couch slumped down in a position of either boredom or sadness. Sometimes I can't read him. It didn't take long to realize Scott was not doing so well either. To my right I could hear Hyrum crying over something very trivial. He too is going through some adjustment still since Gideon pushed him out of his place as "king of the family". Along with the three children having a hard time I had others that wanted to ask me questions.

I  gently took Olivia by the arm so we could sit on my bed and talk. I noticed my half done bread and decided to get it one step closer and have Olivia wait. Casey walked in at that moment so I asked him to help Scott get involved in Dance Party on the Kinect, hoping that would cheer him up. Scott was reluctant but went. I was sure once he saw what was happening he would be fine. Next, one of the other children took on the responsibility to help Hyrum work out his issues. I looked around and at that moment the Spirit filled me with peace and compassion for my children. I was filled with a love for my struggling children and their sweet faces and challenges flashed in my mind one at a time. I was filled with a love for the children that nurtured and cared for one another. Then the bread and the family that I wanted to serve came to mind . I looked at that bread and had to smile. I knew that my batch of bread would be ruined for the second day in row and my friend would just have to wait another day. (They don't even know they are getting it so no big deal.) It was the perfect moment. I wished that I had a video camera going to remind myself of the sweetness of being a mother and the gifts God gives to strength and keep us going.

The beauty in all of that was the peace and compassion given in a moment, that could be and many times is, chaos in my soul. I was being stretched in many different directions but Heavenly Father took over and asked only one thing of me at the very moment I needed it. I am reminded that each and every one of us acts as angels on this earth in the lives of others. Do my children know that they were on the Lord's errand today? Most likely not but they were none the less. Do my children in the moments of struggle know that they have blessed my life immensely? Surely not, but through their challenges I have learned so much about the love of our Father in Heaven for each of us. He has taught me patience, faith, compassion and greater love.

This moment I will count as one of my treasured teaching moments and blessings from our Father in Heaven.

I won't go into detail but I had another son that demonstrated great compassion and charity for a family that he doesn't really even know. Not once but twice expressed his willingness to give up a privilege in his life so that this other family could have things just a little easier. What a blessing this day has been.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mom You're A......

Today Gideon was hiding from me in the corner of the couch and wall. I decided to play along and hide from him so I laid on the couch so he couldn't see me. The next thing I knew children were piling on. Gideon joined in on the fun and climbed on my back. This interaction then took place.

Bria, "Mom you're a Butt"

Pierce, "Mom Bria just called you a Butt." said as he is laughing his head off.

Time for some narration here. We DON'T use the word Butt in our home. I was raised that it was a bad word and though I know it really isn't that bad I just can't bring myself to say it nor do I allow my children to say it either. Now on to the rest of the story.

Mom, "You just called me what?"

Pierce, "A Butt" still laughing.

It dawns on me that Bria is pretending.

Mom."Oh, you mean a boat?" like in Finding Nemo.

Pierce, "No, a Butt"

Mom, "Wait, a Bus."

Bria climbs down and comes over to my head and I say. "So I'm a Butt?"

Bria, "No....... A different kind of Butt."

So there you have it. I have been officially called a Butt by my children! She didn't really mean a Butt but a BUS. Bria can't say the sound "S". :)

Sorry mom and dad. I'll clean up her language later. I just can't get that "S" or "R" sound out of Bria's mouth quite yet.

Singing Wheels on the Butt

Bria and Hyrum on the bus.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Home Safe and Sound

Well, Doug, Creed, Pierce, and Scott made it home safe and sound. Doug kept telling me he was going to post and catch up but he has been so busy trying to catch up with the other parts of life posting has not happened. So here I am. I will fill in the part since they came home and encourage Doug to do the rest.

The boys were scheduled to come home at 12:10am Wednesday night. I got a call at 6:00pm from Doug telling me that their flight was delayed an hour. The ticketing agent offered for them to go standby on the next flight that left at 6:30pm if there was room. Doug had checked on that option and was told it would cost $170 to change flights but because their flight was delayed they could try to get on for free. At the gate the agent let them know that there were about 20 people in line for the available seats but they didn't know how many they would get on board. Just a few minutes later Doug and the boys names were called to board the plane. Someone must have liked them because they were at the bottom of the list and were one of 5 standbys allowed to board. I picked them up at 8:40pm.

I was standing in a place that I could see behind the security. Doug saw me first and waved. Scott  noticed me and smiled from ear to ear. I was nervous not knowing how he would react to me. Over Skype I had crossed an emotional line for Scott and he rejected me, so I didn't know where I stood or how to act. When Scott saw me he ran to me and gave me hug. It was so good to have him be open to that degree. Sadly, that was one of two hugs for mom in the last 4 days but it will come.

Scott is doing very well. He loves men!  He latches on to them easily and needs a lot of physical connection. He hugs, holds hands, wrestles and touches as much as he can. It's not just those he has been with either. It's all men when they come to the house. At church Scott was very appropriate. He sat quietly when needed and smiled and said Hi when people in introduced themselves. We weren't sure what class to have Scott go to because of the language issue. We went to Primary where the children between 3-11 attend because Hyrum was reading a scripture. Scott relaxed and made it clear he loved the opening song. We decided to have Doug stay in primary for singing time with Scott while I took Gideon to nursery. Doug had to go to his class for the third hour so Scott sat with Marshall for the older kids singing time. The Primary president came out to tell me that Scott was doing so good. He tried to sing the songs and moved withe the music. I think we will have Scott go to singing and sharing time for a few weeks so he learns that church is a good place to be. I know he liked it there, he smiled more than I have seen him smile while we were at church. He is a pleasant person and likes to smile. We don't get as many smiles right now as we will when he is feeling more at home but it is clear that he is a happy person by nature. Scott knows a few words of English and his favorite is "No".  He also exhibits some behaviors of a teen though I don't know if it's orphanage behavior or teen things. He is not real interested in learning English at this point so I decided to wait for a week or two to let him settle in a little.

As his mother I am doing a lot of observing. I want to know as much as I can so I can create a game plan. Scott is doing so well with the transition. He really does desire to have a family and be part of it. He still doesn't understand all that it means but I know he will find great joy in HIS family as he trusts and allows us to nurture and love him completely. I think that his trust will come quickly. Scott's heart has been prepared by God for this moment and the Lord is giving Scott strength and blessings to help him succeed. We are all blessed in this adoption as all the children are opening their hearts and reaching out to make Scott feel welcome and loved. The gifts we receive are many as we do what the Lord asks us to do. Being in a large family with having special needs and adding members of the family at older ages the children become compassionate and accepting.

The other night Scott sat on the couch as far from the family as possible but still present. I could see he was struggling. I went and sat by him and immediately the tears fell. He was so brave and tried so hard to control himself. The tears still came so Doug go out the pictures Scott had from the orphanage. I sat with Scott not knowing if we wanted me there or not while he watched pictures of those people he called family. All the children wanted to see too and didn't realize what was happening. We asked them all to give us space and wait another day to see the pictures. About an hour later Clayson, our 9 year old, was sobbing. I asked what was wrong and he expressed he was sad for Scott. What a tender little heart he has.

A great friend of ours brought over a cake to welcome Scott home. We were going to make it a birthday party too but I felt like we needed to make it a little lower key. I'm glad that I chose to eliminate the gifts. Scott was overwhelmed and didn't even eat the cake that night.

Scott took three tries to blow out the cake. It took us a bit to help him understand what he was supposed to do. He kept telling us no but finally did it. The next day Scott was feeling better and he had some cake.
He loved it!

A very handsome young man.

Hannah had a craving for brownies from a box. She invited Scott to help her make them.
They did great together and had a lot of fun. The brownies turned out great. If you ever want a great mint brownie use the dark chocolate mix and add a drop or two of peppermint oil.

Casey, in the pink, is on a crusade to earn enough money to buy a penny board. He asked if he could scrub the grout. I came in and saw Clayson and Scott helping. Scott was very meticulous! I hope he didn't think that is what is expected of him in his new family.
Scott is a great help and tries to get the kids to keep their stuff more clean. Hopefully that will continue.

The boys started scrubbing with old toothbrushes. Next thing you know Gideon has his toothbrush in the 409 scrubbing the tile. Scott was grossed out by it. :)
At least Scott knows what to do with a tooth brush.