Sunday, February 27, 2011

Good Enough

Here's our final picture... not great but good enough. :) I have two others that are great, one done in studio and one from Christmas, so this will suffice. It's not easy getting one of us all! :)
Friday, February 25, 2011


So, I have all my dossier paperwork ready to send in, we'll only be waiting on my USCIS I800a approval letter. Along with the paperwork I have to send in 3 different family photos, in nicer looking apparel. I have one or two, but we just really don't take many with me in them, for somewhat obvious reasons. It's just not done often to set up the timer, etc. :) Last night I tried taking one that I hoped would be the last one we needed so I could ship out all the paperwork today. I got what I THOUGHT was a GREAT one... finally... and later when I went to edit/crop the picture... I THEN see Braeden's face...

Oh. My. ;0)

Guess we'll try again tonight!
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Numbers 53-54

Here are two more necklaces being sold to raise funds for our adoption. (you can click them to enlarge) If you'd like to see all available, please click on the Necklaces link under the header at the top of the page.

*** If you'd like one, please email me FIRST before donating!!! I will sell to the first one who asks and mark the ones SOLD as soon as I retrieve the email. Let me know which number necklace you are interested in... I will respond to your email letting you know if the necklace is sold or if you can go ahead with your donation and order! :)

*** anglsamngulb (at) hotmail (dot) com - with no spaces

Number 53: Dark brown wood beads and black ribbon...

Number 54: Multicolored blues and greens glass beads, tiny black spacers, and gray ribbon...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

And Now We Wait

...seems to be a theme around here lately! The past 9 months has been hurry up and do, then wait, hurry up and do, then wait, wait on someone else, hurry up and do, now wait. And yet we wait again. :)

Fingerprinting went off without a hitch today. In and out and I couldn't believe how quick it was over with. I hear it's been taking 2-4 weeks to receive your USCIS approval once your prints are done... so the clock has begun!
Sunday, February 20, 2011


As I continue to think and plan (such the OCD in me!), it hit me that we COULD potentially have a picture and name of our newest treasure in hand by the end of MARCH! It just amazes me that this first "leg" of our adoption process is coming to a close as the next one is hopefully beginning.

Once I am fingerprinted, on TUESDAY!, it will be 2-4 weeks until I should have USCIS approval to adopt internationally. With that in hand, we could be matched with a little one at ANY time. Once matched, there will be anywhere from 5-9 months of waiting until all paperwork and legal processes have been taken care of before I can travel and bring our little one HOME. (Still some fundraising to do as well!) Oh I long for that day of seeing a face and knowing a name to go along with our prayers and thoughts, hopes and dreams. It's odd in a way to feel so much love already for a being, somewhere in the world, in need of a home, and not know those details. But I know that God knows, He is preparing us, and He is keeping her in the palm of His hand until the time we are together.

With all that being said, and knowing it could be any time now that we are matched, I've created a separate, private blog, to document some of the things needing to remain private as we move through those days. Not only will there be the 5-9 months prior to travel, but once we're home she will still not be completely, legally, ours until she has lived with us the requisite 6 months before finalization. I don't want this blog to have to go private for that length of time, so I created a separate one to hold those memories.

If I know you, please feel free to email me if you'd like an invitation to this new blog. I will only be able to give invites to those I know well, I apologize for that, and I will hope that those invited will respect the need to keep what is posted private and not copy or share anything there.

For an invite, email me at: anglsamngulb (at) hotmail (dot) com
Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A New Page (S)

As you may have seen at the top of the blog under the header, there's a new page I've added.

*Update: Now a few pages! More to come!

After getting some GREAT questions on HIV and HIV+ children (keep them coming!!!), I've realized that ONE page wasn't going to cut it.

So... I've decided to split up topics into separate pages, the first being medicine, which you can find above.

If you have any questions you think of while reading or any other questions, PLEASE feel free to ask and I'll work on answering them within that or another page.

Feedback, or should I say constructive criticism, welcome. :)

Your Help Needed

I'm considering adding a page to the blog. I would like to make a page for families who have newly adopted or are considering adopting a child with HIV. I would like to talk about things that I've learned over the past 9 years such as how to get a child to practice swallowing pills so that they can go from liquid meds to pill form. Or how if you have a med that needs refrigeration, most amusement parks such as Dis*ney, have a first aid station where they will refrigerate your meds for you during the day. Or maybe answers to questions for those considering adopting a child with HIV.

So, here's where you come in. If you were thinking of adopting a child with HIV, what would you want to know? Or what questions do you have even as an "outsider"? What would you like to see on a page like this? Any help and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Fundraising

Fundraising is the LEAST favorite part of mine in this whole adoption process! Paperwork stinks, but it's time and running around and filling things out. Fundraising is just hard. It's a leap of faith that the funding is going to come. And come in time for that next step. But I HATE asking people for help, I'm too independent. I am trying to work on that! LOL :)

Anyway, I have a new organization, Joe Shipping, that offered to help with our fundraising for something you may already be doing. Shipping items through Fed*Ex. They sell Fed*Ex shipping labels. The real deal, no fake stuff here. They have worked for the past couple years at getting a discount so that they could do this to help adoptive families raise money, after they themselves saw how difficult raising funds was during their own adoption process.

To find out more, simply click the link on the left sidebar or below. If you know of any small businesses or etsy sellers who use Fed*Ex and could pass this along, I'd SO appreciate it! Thanks!!!

Joe Shipping Link 001


I haven't blogged about Braeden and our struggles with his ADHD and meds lately. THIS is where we started back at the end of August. We were on the road of helping him focus academically. And since then, well it's been a rough road. It's been a struggle, really.

Very quickly after that post, Braeden began raging. Often. Every couple of days. Lasting 1-3 HOURS. Yelling MEAN things. Things that have not come out of his mouth previously. Ever. Not that he hasn't had his angry days. Or gotten very mad at friends and family. But this was different. It was that, times a MILLION. I was using restraint techniques I had learned through my job as a special education teacher. On. My. Son. When I would talk to him later about why he was so mad, he would honestly say he didn't know. And I believed him. Because he usually had a "reason" he could have blamed it on... Mom told him no for something. A show he wanted to watch wasn't on. A friend said something that wasn't nice. There was usually SOMETHING, but he said he didn't know.

After a couple weeks of this, I pulled him off the meds myself. His doctor works at a center primarily accessed by lower income/Medicaid patients. NOTHING wrong with the clientele, but I've learned that "this type" of center means you wait forever. They often overbook I believe knowing that many won't show. Whatever the reason, you wait a LONG time, and you can never get a hold of anyone on the phone without waiting for an eternity. So, I waited a couple weeks to tell the doctor at our next appt.

He wasn't happy I don't think. Oh well. :)

He then placed Braeden on yet another med for the ADHD and added in a med primarily prescribed for either seizures or Bipolar, to help combat aggression. Inside I wanted to yell... WE DIDN'T HAVE THESE RAGES BEFORE MEDS! But I didn't. I decided to let him try and see what happened. This was two weeks before Christmas break.

I didn't notice a difference AT ALL with his ADHD on the new meds. Not at home anyway. But his teacher said he was calmer, and that was my reason for medicating, so I went with it. The day we came back to school after break Braeden had his next appt. I reported that to me, at home, I didn't see a difference in his ADHD. He wasn't raging, though we did have a couple of good tantrums, and anger. It seemed at times he was angry to be angry, there wasn't even a "trigger." But I also reported what the teacher had told me, that he seemed calmer in the classroom. The doctor added a dose of his ADHD med in the middle of the day.

Things began to go downhill at school. He was active, very active (just what I had been saying at home) and he even had a day where he refused to do his work. So when we returned a month later, I was able to report what was happening.

Well... the doctor put Braeden BACK on his original ADHD med, BUT kept the med for aggression. I made a face. He smirked and asked why. I said I was VERY nervous, but would try it. And we made an appt to meet in two weeks to go over things.

Well, our next appt is here tomorrow. And the last two weeks have been GREAT! Is he the "perfect, Stepford Child" boy? No. But he IS calmer. He IS controlling himself and his anger. He is PROGRESSING!

At the Mons*ter Jam, the truck that Braeden was rooting for got out RIGHT AWAY. As silly as this sounds, that would normally send him over the edge and I'd spend the next hour or more restraining and controlling and trying to get Braeden regulated again. BUT, though he got mad. Though he acted like he was going to leave. (Not kidding.) It lasted all of three minutes. If that. He didn't rage. He got himself together. And he continued the night smiling and having fun. And when that same truck lost in the Freestyle Competition later, he was upset, but not MAD. He got over it. Like a (dare I say it) "normal" kid.

So we're on the road... the road of regulating. The road of recooperating what we've gone through the past 6 months. And yesterday morning when I sat Braeden on the kitchen counter and told him that I wanted to tell him that "when at the Mon*ster Jam, I was glad when..." And he finished my sentence saying, "I got myself together." I know HE gets it. I know HE'S proud of controlling his anger.

And I'm so proud of HIM.

Last Minute Idea

Last night I saw on a blog I follow, a Valentine idea I remembered seeing on her blog last year and LOVED. Last year I was too late to make them, and of course had forgotten about them for this year. So... when I saw them yesterday I thought, "I can do that quickly!"

I put the kids in nicer clothes (it was a PJ day at home, they have pajamas on the bottom!!!) and took pictures of them holding a fist...

I cropped the pictures and then added a side border saying "Happy Valentine's Day"...

I "sent" the pictures to Wal*Mart online and had them developed to pick up today.

After church we stopped to pick them up and I also bought an inexpensive Ex*acto knife and a bag of Dum*Dums.

I cut a small line at the top and bottom of each of their fists, added a Dum*Dum, and Voila'!

LOVE them!!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Snapshots

(Taken last night... and pardon the grainy/blurry pics, left the camera in the car!) :(

It was Monster Jam time (CHEAP tix and Grandma and Grandpa got them each a little something). :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I finally have my fingerprint appointment!!!

How odd is it though to travel outside my state of Illinois to an office in Indiana.

Oh well!!!

I will officially be fingerprinted on February 22 and really could care LESS WHERE it takes place! Just excited to get yet another hurdle out of the way in our process.

And last night...
I had my, what I'm guessing will only be, the first of many, dreams of my new little one.
As I've shared, we already have a name chosen for our new little girl, but will also be adding a portion of her given name as a middle name most likely. So until we're at a referral point I won't be sharing her name.
Anyway, SHE, was in my arms.
We were in a building somewhere here, it wasn't some run down thing on it's last legs.
BUT, something was happening and it was collapsing.
It was as if others didn't know this was going on.
And all I was doing was trying to get out with her in my arms, in my protection.
We ran through corridors, through doors, etc, just to make it outside...
But alas I woke up too soon to see the ending.

She is on my heart and mind.
My prayers of protection go with her.

Just EIGHT More Days...

To order your Recycled Love shirt and help out our adoption fund!!!

This Valentine's Day, how about a unique gift for those loved ones in your life.
And instead of RED or PINK, let's GO GREEN!
Let's Recycle a little LOVE this year and spread it around!

The Andrews', who have themselves adopted but are not currently in process,
have come up with a wonderful new t-shirt idea for both kids and adults.
(Which is pretty hard in the adoption shirt world!) :)

Front of Shirts:

Back of shirts:
"Life's most urgent question is this:
What are you doing for others?"

I LOVE these shirts!
I love the front design, but even more I think, I LOVE the quote on the back!

Here's what the Andrews' say about their shirts...
"for Valentine's Day, we are "Recycling Love" for adoptive families...
Forget red and pink hearts for Valentine's Day,
go GREEN and show your support for families adopting."

What a great way to give back, pay it forward,
and show those around you what someone can do for orphans.

Not only are they selling these shirts,
but they are offering profits of these shirts to families in the process of adopting themselves! $10 of EACH shirt sold will go directly to the adoption fund of the designated family.
And to help us in our process, just mark "Lisa" in the Pay*pal memo line of your purchase!

PLUS the family to raise the most from NOW until just after Valentine's Day,
February 18, will also be given an ADDITIONAL $500 toward their adoption!
I can't tell you how very much that would mean for us right now!
We have ONE MONTH!
Get the word out and help us raise this money!
And get a GREAT shirt in the process, what a win-win!

Click the link on the left sidebar of the blog...
The t-shirt links are on the right of Africa Bound Andrews. :)
Remember to mark "Lisa" in the Pay*pal memo line!
Monday, February 07, 2011

More Singing...

Braeden turns seven today... SEVEN... can it be true!? :)

Braeden came to live with me at 3 days old, right from the hospital.

He was so tiny, only 5 1/2 pounds, and wore mostly preemie clothes.

But he grew and had such a personality!

He was so smart from the get go, and so serious at times as well.

With a flair for the dramatic.

And stylish to boot! LOL

He's always loved guitars and music.

As well as animals: he sports a pretty mean roar!

He's the textbook "run by a motor" ADHD kiddo. Always on the go!

And with a heart as big as any I've known.

He has a hard time staying still long enough for a picture,
and is thinking always, "If I sit here for a second, she'll let me get up faster."

But we love our Braeden to death!
So handsome!
And becoming such a wonderful child of God!

Happy SEVENTH Birthday buddy!
Sunday, February 06, 2011


It hit me today the progress Olivia has made in the past few years.

Often kids with attachment issues use special days - for others - such as birthdays, etc as a means to control. They wreck the day on purpose so that the other person, child, whoever, isn't receiving the bulk of the attention.

This USED to describe my Olivia.

A few years ago we had a year of birthday He*ll, to put it mildly. Every. Single. Birthday. that was NOT hers, was sabotaged. She acted up, was mean, you name it, but it got the attention off the birthday person and onto herself, be it negative or not. It was a way for her to control the situation.

There are many explanations and reasonings surrounding these behaviors in children from trauma. And believe me I've read up on most of them.

But today it really hit me that we haven't seen these birthday behaviors from her for a while now, and I somehow missed that.

Olivia has been excited for the boys as we prepared for their days. She took time to pick out a nice outfit yesterday to wear when T and the kids came over to have cake and ice cream. She exuberantly yelled Happy Birthday to each on the morning of their big day. She praised Braeden's birthday meal choice today as we munched on wings and apples. :)

And I know yesterday was very hard for her. It's hard for her to see Braeden connect with his bio brother and sister, when she has an older brother that we rarely get to talk to let alone see. A brother she lived with until she was almost 4. A brother who was her one constant those four years, her protector of sorts, her family. And she misses him desperately. And she was hurt just a few days ago when she spoke with him on the phone and he told her he'd call back that evening... and we still haven't heard back from him. It's a long story, one better shared another time, with details left out to protect her privacy anyway, but suffice it to say, it was hard for her yesterday. And yet... and yet she played joyfully with J and L (Braeden's bio siblings), and yet she had a smile on her face that I believe reached her heart, and yet she was our lead singer of Happy Birthday when the candles were lit, and yet she DIDN'T have any meltdowns or tantrums or fights.

She's come a long way. Yes, we definitely have had progress, and it's GREAT to see and take notice of!


With Liam and Braeden's birthdays so close together, we often do cake and ice cream for both at the same time. This year it was our family and my friend T and her two kids. Her two also just happen to be Braeden's bio brother and sister! :) Makes for a special day as we only see each other a few times a year.

The boys picked a Tron cake this year. Marble cake inside with buttercream frosting. :) It came with one "light cycle" so we purchased a second so each would have their own.

We had so much fun spending time with T and her family! Brothers... can you believe how much they look alike!? :) Braeden SO looks like his brother J, and I have a whole blog post rolling around in my head about genetics vs. environment... for another day. :)

The tremendous trio...

Liam wasn't feeling well by this point, but managed to sit for a minute to get a picture. (Poor buddy's been running a fever and has a sore throat!)

Today Liam and I both aren't feeling well. I haven't had a fever (I don't think) but Liam keeps saying, "I'm sick mom." "My mouth (throat) hurts." Poor guy. So I had Braeden go upstairs and pick out his own clothes today...

He chose THAT even though it looks like THIS out our back window...

LOL - At least we're staying in today! :)

Tomorrow is Braeden's birthday... wow! Time flies! And because we have school and then dance for Olivia, we're not home until 6:30pm... SO, we decided to have Braeden's birthday meal and gifts TODAY! :)

For his meal, Braeden chose chicken wings (he likes Buffalo, but Olivia and I like BBQ, Liam's on the fence still, so we got both), cinnamon apples (mom-made specialty), cherry Pepsi, and cheesecake for dessert. :)

From us Braeden was given his own Didj, a GREAT find prior to Christmas! Olivia has had one for a while (it's basically an older kid version of the Leapster, all educational type games) and Braeden has wanted one forever!

He also got two Didj games from us (again, major deals!) and two from Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma and Grandpa also gave him a Discov*ery Kids jungle greenhouse with soil, little shovel, and seeds. He LOVES it!

It's been a fun, fun, day!
Thursday, February 03, 2011

CSN stores

I just love CSN Stores and all the MANY things you can find there!!! If you've never checked out this site I suggest you do! Crazy how many things they have! :)

Since we've been snowed in, it was the PERFECT time to break out our newest "get ready for our Hong Kong addition" item. From CSN! It came in the mail recently and I was just waiting for the right time to bring it out.

We got the Geo*Safari Talking Globe Jr. and it is AWESOME! (Watch prices, because they drop often and we didn't pay the price it's currently listed at!)

Olivia tried it later and was LOVING it too! It's great because it can be fun for any level of learning. There are options to just explore or play a game and you can set it for USA States, Countries, Continents, Oceans, and more. So fun!!!

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Blog Archive

What you should know about HIV

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). - HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. - People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. Additional information on transmission of HIV can be found on the Center for Disease Control website:

Other Awesome Blogs

Orphan Crisis

• 147 million orphans in the world
• 50 million orphans in Africa 
• Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS
• 16,000,000 have been orphaned by AIDS
• Every week, AIDS claims as many lives as American fatalities in the Vietnam War
• 854 million people do not have enough to eat
• Malnutrition is associated with the deaths of 5 million children under the age of five
• Every 2 seconds an orphan dies from malnutrition

Hence the title of my blog

Little Did I Know

Little did I know that the road would be so rocky
Little did I know that the trip would take so long
Little did I know that my heart could hurt so much
Little did I know that God is never wrong

Little did I know that love could be so powerful
Little did I know that a dream so far could go
Little did I know that God would place the right ones
Little did I know that my heart, so large, could grow

Little did I know that a dream has it’s own timing
Little did I know that this day would finally come
Little did I know that four souls would be sent to guide me
Little did I know that they would choose to call me mom

But God knew all along and He had a plan to follow
God knew all along that my dream would soon come true
God knew all along that we five should be together
God knew all along that I’d share it all with you