Showing posts from February, 2011

Preparing for Adolescence

This weekend, my oldest daughter and I are on a special overnight trip to celebrate the transition she is going through from "kid" to pre-teen. Dr. James Dobson first wrote the book Preparing for Adolescence back in 1978 (when I was four!) and it has since been revised, most recently in 2006.  We are reading and listening on CD, but he talks about stopping the "tape" and playing it on the "recorder". As usual, Dobson's message is timeless.  Yes, he talks about the "birds and bees", but that's only one small part (about 1/7) of his discussion.  This talk is geared toward pre-teens, to prepare them for the coming years of change not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.  He prepares kids to the major feelings of inferiority they will face, assuring them that they are not alone.  He also hits one controversial topic many Christian leaders won't discuss.  I'll just say "long showers".  And I love love

Feeling Kicks

Normally, it's our tax forms that make me cry each year around this time.  Today, however, our agency sent us instructions on how to properly complete our I-800 form from USCIS. We've already completed our I-797 and gotten an I-800A form, but this one is different.  Don't you just love how our government makes so much sense of things? The I-800 is a "Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as Immediate Relative".  Okay, just typing that gets me choked up again. I guess I can liken this to feeling the first strong kicks during pregnancy.  I know these boys are our sons, but each step is making it more real. With pregnancy, the milestones were the EPT test, hearing/seeing the heartbeat, starting to show, feeling flutters, then full-force kicks, Braxton hicks, then labor. With this paper pregnancy, the milestones have been seeing their photos for the first time, getting pre-approval from the agency, sending a letter of intent, getting pre-approval from China

Red Thread - The Story Behind the Video

An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break.  - Ancient Chinese Proverb This proverb is one you will see often in the stories of families adopting from China.  The entire adoption journey is often referred to as a "Red Thread Journey". As a believer in God, Elohim, Creator of everything, I know that He is the one that directs this "red thread". We  received  an email from a young woman telling me she might have some information about one of our sons.  Following the link she provided to her blog , I saw that she had spent the summer in ZhengZhou, China working in the Lily Orphan Care Rooms (LOCC) in the SWI, holding and loving on babies.  (How cool it THAT? My girls are already saying they want to do that when they are older.) I replied that Ken and I would love information and she sent the video, reminding me that it might not be him, but she thought it

Video of Tian

It's a long story I'll share later, but, through God's grace I have a video of Tian! Taken this summer, soon after he was placed in foster care. He and his foster mom went in to the SWI for a visit. Needless to say, I've watched it 50 times and plan to watch it again and again.  That's our son!

Making Our Needs Known

When the funds we need to complete the adoption come our way, it will be only because of the grace of God.  Not because we worked hard to sell our house.  Not because we were diligent selling tee shirts.  Not because of our choice to downsize.  Not because we've been so wise with our money all these years, even if we had been. God will provide because He is gracious and because He will finish the work He began when He put it in our hearts to adopt. From the beginning of our adoption journey, Ken and I have not felt a strong leading or motivation to do a fundraiser.  We did research our options and read of families who sell flip flops, tee shirts, host auctions and garage sales, or simply do a letter-writing campaign to help raise money to fund the adoption.  (We are working on applications for a grant, matching grant and no-interest loan.) Initially, I thought about all the stories we have read in school about  George Muller . If you read a little about him, you'll see that


Big day over here! HUGE! We just got our LID!  Today, our dossier was logged in to the CCAA! (The  Chinese government entity that handles adoption.)

Deaf and Hearing Marriage Part 4

Originally, this post series was 3-part, but I realized there is one more major issue.  I shared about the crucial value of common language and a little about kids, but failed to discuss the two together. Managing communication between hearing kids and Deaf parents takes thought and follow-through.  When I first married Ken, I imagined the kids would just naturally sign.  They did!  They all began signing before they could speak.  But as they got older, we saw that they would default to spoken English if we didn't keep encouraging them and reminding them to sign. When we slacked off in this area out of laziness, we paid for it!  Here are some tips and tricks we have learned that have helped us and helped our kids to automatically sign when they are around their dad or any other Deaf friends: Ken (or the Deaf spouse) - Keep voice off and just sign. This takes work and thought because it's natural to "code switch" and both talk and sign when communicating with an

Tian Update and Waiting Well

We got a short, but sweet update on Tian today, along with a photo.   The report was dated January 10, but we aren't completely sure when this photo was taken.  It seems fairly recent.  He's 19 months now. At the time of the report, he was 17 months and 20 lbs. We learned that he still drinks from a bottle and enjoys using it as a pacifier when it's empty.  The foster mom and nannies also stated that he doesn't like sharing his toys. He hits and pushes when other kids take his toys.  They also said he's a happy boy who is always in a good mood.  Well, obviously not if people mess with his stuff.  The Brownies will teach him to share! These updates are bittersweet.  I cherish every new photo we get and any new bit of information about the boys' personalities, likes, dislikes, or habits.  At the same time, they make my heart ache to hold the boys and see all these things for myself. Our agency sent us some tips from parents who have been there, done that.  Th

Deaf and Hearing Marriage Part 3

Another major issue I did not foresee and did not show up until we had kids is the "backtalk" problem.  My kids are at the age they talk back to me more often than I'd like to admit.  Growing up in my house, my dad would overhear us backtalk our mom and would pipe in and nip it quick.   He would not stand for it.  He'd jump in, defending his wife and reprimanding us for our mouthiness. In our home, the kids can backtalk me while standing feet away from Ken.  I have to tattle on them to him, which becomes annoying to us all.  Sometimes, I turn him around and make the kids sign to me what they just said behind his back.  "No, child, sign it with the same nasty expression on your face that you gave  me !"  We still haven't figured this one out 100%, but we are a work in progress. Thought and planning often must go into engaging in certain activities.  Seeing a local musical play, attending a marriage conference, going to a summer family camp, taking a co

Deaf and Hearing Marriage Part 2

One issue our pastor, who is a CODA (meaning he has Deaf parents) brought up was the "balance of power".  To me, this is  the major  thing to consider before marrying, Deaf or not, but especially if the world sees one of you as "disabled".  Often, Deaf and hearing marriages fail because the Deaf person becomes dependent on the hearing person and/or the hearing person pities the Deaf person.  I never pitied Deaf people to begin with, but Ken was truly the driving force in keeping our marriage balanced.  Ken  is  equal to a hearing person and presents himself as such.   Ken orders at restaurants.  Ken makes the calls needed to run our household (utilities, plumber, yard guy, etc.).  I don't interpret for Ken at movies.  I don't follow him to the doctor or on a job interview.  He doesn't use interpreters for that stuff anyway.  As I'm sitting on his office floor, editing this post, he's making a call to our adoption agency while I watch/listen in.

Deaf and Hearing Marriage Part 1

In our 14 years of marriage, Ken and I have stocked up quite a collection of comments and questions regarding our deaf/hearing marriage.  We've been asked if we fight and if so, is it silent?  One rude college student even asked me how we were able to"intimate relationships".  What?!  Obviously, that chick was an uneducated virgin and somehow assumed the inner workings of a man's ear affected that activity. And obviously, her momma didn't teach her manners. From the Deaf community, the most common questions are, "Are your kids hearing?" and "Do your kids sign?"  Their questions aren't nearly as entertaining as their hearing counterparts. When I was engaged to Ken, I thought through some of the issues we may face as a Deaf and hearing couple, but didn't really have a clue.  People asked us how we'd talk at night in the dark. (We leave a dim-able light on, then turn it off some time during the night.)  People asked how


Just got an email from our agency with this in the subject line: Congratulations--Dossier to China! Our Dossier should arrive in 3-5 business days, then we have more wait (up to 8 weeks) to receive our LID (log in date). Once we get LID, we have more waiting before we get travel approval, but I won't think about THAT right now. Right now, I'm going to focus on hitting this major milestone DTC!  Wanna do the happy dance with me?

Valentine's Day Tribute

Valentine's Day isn't just another romantic holiday for Ken and me; it's also an important anniversary. Valentine's Day 15 years ago, Ken took me out on a picnic by a pond in Choctaw, Oklahoma.  He had prepared a nice spread of fruits, cheese, and crackers.  I remember thinking he seemed a little nervous, but did NOT have him proposing on my radar.  We had only been dating for about 6 weeks. At the time, Ken and I both had one-way Motorola pagers .  Before going out, Ken had programmed his computer to send messages to my pager at certain times.  (Yep. He's always been a geek. It's one of the things I love about him.) To make a long story short, the third romantic message included a marriage proposal.  When I looked up from my pager, he was there with the ring box open.  Much to the surprise of our friends, I said yes!  (They were only surprised because of the short time we had been dating.) After an 11-month engagement, we were married on January 4, 1997.

Downsizing With a Growing Family

When Ken and I shared our plans to downsize from our 3000 square foot home, several friends and family were concerned. "Are you guys doing okay?" "Do you need help with anything?" "I'm sorry to hear you're having to move." We totally understood others' concerns because what we are doing is so odd in this culture, the only assumption was that we had fallen on hard times. The truth is times ARE hard, for many people all over the country.  But Ken has a great job with an excellent, growing company .  While our ultimate security rests in God's plan for us, we don't have any fears on the job front that would lead us to cut back. A few months ago, if you had asked us if we'd ever move, we could have answered with an emphatic "no way!"  My answer tended to be, "We'll live here until the kids are grown unless God has something crazy-different in store for us that we can't foresee." Ken came to me in No

Why We Choose to Sign

This short film says it all! Beautiful! Remember that you can turn on subtitles in the bottom right corner.

Paper Chase Ends

Whew! *big sigh* After six months of paper-chasing, the adoption documents are out of our hands.  You may remember that we sent all of our sealed documents , called our dossier, to CCAI (adoption agency) over a month ago, but there were several mistakes we had to resolve.  The biggest mistake was our medical forms being incorrect.  We had a few other delays thanks to Snowpocalypse 2011.  Chinese New Year is coming to a close, therefore documents will begin again flowing in China. CCAI will have our corrected documents tomorrow and should be able to send them to China next week! That's our prayer and we are trusting it will be so!  I'm still working on ways to add tabs to this site to I can move our prayer request and process pages, but until the, you'll find them by following the links. Today marked showing #17. We have another showing scheduled for Saturday, then an open house Sunday.  This open house is a "Paint the Town Red" event for other Keller Willi

Where Does My Help Come From?

This past week has been tough.  With all that hangs in the balance regarding our house, the apartment, adoption, and continuing to parent the 3 Brownies living at home and be a wife to my dear husband, I find myself constantly searching for some help! When I get overwhelmed, I go looking for some kind of "12 steps" that will fix my dilemma.  If I'm struggling with worry over the adoption timeline, I go scour ChinaAdoptTalk for rumors.  If I'm struggling over our school schedule, I search the Sonlight forums or send out an email to my fabulous HOME group moms.  If the kids are being disrespectful and not obeying, I head back to one of Kevin Lehman's books for some ideas. Last night, during the teaching portion of the women's bible study at The Village Church , Colleen Searcy was guiding a review of the call of Abram in Genesis.  Abram (not yet renamed Abraham) looked to the world for help, just as I do.  So far, his faux pas has been taking matters into

Bipolar With God

Lately, I've joked with others that I feel "bipolar" during my conversations with God.  No, I'm not manic depressive, but as the third definition on puts it:  characterized   by   opposite   extremes,   as   two   conflicting  political   philosophies. My conversations go like this: God, You said in Jeremiah 10:23 that I don't direct my own steps.  You don't owe me an explanation. But also in Psalm 37, You told me You wanted to give me the desires of my heart. I'm desiring for You to share with me Your plan! Is that fair? I'm trusting You--I really am!  But I'm also scared and worried.  At the same time, I'm not because of Your reminder in that same Psalm to rest in You and trust in You.   Lord, I'm asking for our house to sell this week. In our eyes, the sale of the house will fun the adoption, but I'm not limiting Your ways and plans.  So even if the house doesn't sell, my faith in You will remain.  And ba

The Deaf Factor

{ Chinese Deaf Dancers } Many of you have seen the girls. They are either deaf or both deaf and blind. To see a video, click here. photo: Reuters There is so much to do, think about, and study when preparing to adopt.  We’ve compiled our dossier, an effort that has taken over 6 months, completed our required parent training, read books on attachment in adoption, read and researched being a family of various colors.  (Still not sure what I want to call that. Biracial goes against my belief that we are one race of people. We ARE bicultural, but that refers to hearing and Deaf cultures!) But I digress.... Over the past month, it hit me that I should begin preparing for raising and homeschooling two boys that are deaf.  We don’t know the degree of their hearing at this point.  We are fairly confident that Xu is completely deaf.  He had a brainstem evoked potential done, which resulted in an “abnormal” reading.  We are further convinced because of the timing of his abandonment.