Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Banner Day

Finally got word today from my adoption agency. And it's a GO on the other country their agency works with which I would qualify for! They spoke in person to the director of the program in the country and she is comfortable working with me... little old me... a single mom to three already. I'm THRILLED! I don't have specifics yet about what I will now need to complete to meet their requirements, which are certain to be different from Hong Kong (isn't that always the way?), and don't yet know what this program costs in comparison to the one I had already been in, but it sounds like most of my funds I've already paid should transfer to this program which is great. I've put away my tax refund, and have saved some more than that, and our frugality should add more as the months roll on. Please know that when I post about a "vacation" or something of the sort, I am really good at finding deals, making our money stretch, and keeping our daily costs down, so that we can do a few "extras." And even those extras are closely monitored for the best value. :) I don't want money to stand in our way in this adoption at all, and I certainly don't expect handouts while "treating" us to extravagant expenditures. :)

I know many of you may be wondering, just what IS this "other" country. So much of what is on the internet can compromise an adoption, and until I know specifics on this country and what can/should be posted and what shouldn't, I won't be saying much about specifics unfortunately.

Some have asked, "Why not adopt domestically?" That's a short question with a very long answer. There is no right or wrong answer to this particular question and I hesitate to even answer because I know some are very passionate one way or the other with the regards to the answer. I promise I will think some more on this topic and try to form a post soon that answers OUR reason for international adoption. I hope you will read it with open hearts and minds.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

One Year Ago Today

...I was in Indiana getting my Federal fingerprints done... and thinking that it was a matter of weeks, MAYBE months, until I saw a picture of our newest addition. And as I shopped that day after getting my fingerprints, I remember ooooing and aaaaahing over the little girl clothes and just KNOWING that by that time, this time, next year I'd be able to buy those little girl items. And yet, here we are, nowhere near any closer than we were then, and possibly even farther away in many respects.

Still in limbo of sorts on the adoption front. Waiting to hear from my adoption agency regarding the possible other country I could adopt from out of their agency, the only other option there is at this point with them, and the only other option to continue to use the funds I have already paid them. If that country is not a go, and I should know in the next week or two, then I will update my study for a domestic possibility at some point, and wait and see what God brings down the road.

How very much can change in a year.
Monday, February 20, 2012

It Happened

I knew it was only a matter of time.
I just wish she would have talked with me first.
I still don't think she understands the enormity of what she casually rolled off to me today.
And I worry. For her.

Let's see if I can back up and explain...

Olivia and I had a "girls day" today. We usually do every three months; days when she needs to travel to Chicago for her routine HIV check-ins. Being in the clinic doesn't often take long, and we are typically out the door by 10am at the latest, giving us plenty of time to do some "fun" things together! (And now that she's older, that means SHOPPING!) Today we went to lunch and an outlet mall.

And at lunch she said it. Just nonchalantly, no big deal,
"Mom, on Friday I told XXXX that I have HIV."

Hopefully my jaw didn't drop too much. I've been waiting for this day. But I also really thought she understood what it COULD mean for her, and my biggest worry is that I don't think she does/did. I completely support her decision. I will always have her back. BUT, we did have a long talk about being prepared now, for whatever may come.
And very likely NOTHING will come of it.

I just really really hope and pray that that's true.

We've had SUCH wonderful support on this from all of our friends and family over the past four years since her adoption. Unless it was hidden from us, we've never had a negative reaction at all. And I also think that that lulls us into a feeling of safety. Unfortunately I've heard too many stories from too many other families who have lost family, church, friends, etc... all because their child has three little letters associated with them.

I've talked to Olivia the past four years about the fact that there is nothing "wrong" with her. That HIV is something to take seriously, but not something to fear. But that unfortunately many adults do still fear "it". I explained that HIV used to be something very different from what is it today, thanks to medicine and research. But over the last year or two we've gotten away from those discussions. I guess I assumed she "knew". And yet in talking to her today after she shared that information, I don't think she remembered a lot of what we discussed.

Yes, XXXX is a very good friend, this year (she's never known her before this school year). Yes, XXXX promised not to tell anyone. BUT, I told her you can't expect her to not tell her parents. No one should ever tell her something and then expect her to not tell me. And IF XXXX does mention it to her parents, it's THEM who we don't know and don't know how they will react. IF they react negatively, they could very well be on the phone with other parents, etc. We don't know. And, IF next week, or next month, or next year, if XXXX isn't a "friend" any longer, she very well COULD tell someone. Once it's "out there" it's there, you can't get it back. I explained all this and more. Not meanly, not negatively, but so that she understood. So she could prepare for anything. It's very likely XXXX will completely forget what Olivia even told her. But it's possible she won't.

I reminded Olivia about a "friend" she had earlier in the year. Earlier when she thought XXXX and another girl weren't as good of friends because this other girl had "skin like hers". And how Olivia ended up realizing just how bad of a "friend" this girl really was, and how she was then friends with XXXX instead. What if she had told this other girl? What now? You just can't predict the future.

So my heart is worried tonight. I KNOW I shouldn't be. But I am. We live in a small area. I am all for advocating and teaching others how so many have the wrong view of HIV and what it means. But I'm an adult. I can/could handle backlash from that advocating. Olivia's a 10 year old girl. A girl who is close to moving up to the middle school. Forming identity. And I know our school district. When Olivia was in kindergarten and our school nurse informed the district that there was now an HIV+ student in our district and that Universal Precautions NEEDED to be followed (not those exact words, put much better than am I now!) the teachers at the middle school were the ones to really "flip out". Maybe it's better now. Maybe they've learned it's not the worry they were making it out to be. But I don't know that that is true. And again, while I can handle that, how do children (because I think it would affect the boys too) handle it when some kids are told by their parents they can't play with/sit by/ etc my kids?

I worry.

I pray.

Maybe all for nothing.

But maybe not.

So we prepare our hearts and minds and words.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bring on the Craft...

I've been hooked.

I knew it was only a matter of time.

But I put it off and put it off, and finally, well... I tried Pinterest...

...and the rest as they say... is history.

So because I've found all these great ideas lately.
And because it's a holiday.
And because we are having a sweet treat day at work.
And because it's a holiday to show people how much we love and care for them.
And because those little ones living in my home need a dose of that over-the-top spotlight once in a while.
I took this past weekend to craft the heck out of the house! :)

First up... using this little masterpiece I found on clearance recently...
(It makes some honkin' big cake pops, only 7 at a time)

And four batches later we have 28 red velvet cake pops...

Next, thanks to Pinterest, some very cool and fun lollipops, using clearance candy canes, popsicle sticks, and white chocolate chips...

Then an etsy via Pinterest find... cardstock candy bar boxes! Made these for each of the kids' teachers and for the two parapros who work in my room with me...

Next up, homemade Kool Aid play dough (again thanks Pinterest). Made this for each of the students in Liam's morning class as well as the students in my class.

More treats for school... cherry chip cupcakes...

...with strawberry frosting...

...and vanilla flavored cream cheese "mints" cut into hearts to put on top of the cupcakes...

For Braeden and Liam... Pinterest inspired homemade glow in the dark SLIME...

And a necklace for Olivia.

The table is all ready for the kids breakfast. Thanks to a 60 cent strand of heart lights from the thrift store, a book for each from the 75% off table at B&N, a $1 box of chocolates, and their homemade gifts... we are READY!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Great Night

We had a great night for Braeden's birthday.
The birthday boy chose BBQ wings, sweet potatoes, Hawaiian rolls, sparkling cider, and turtle brownies for his dinner.

Liam, who just got over a week of antibiotics for an ear infection, was complaining again today about his other ear, and was needing some comfy PJs when he got home.
After a little medicine he felt much better, and we were able to get a doctor appt for today.

Everyone LOVED the chosen dinner!

Braeden got a mini Christmas tree as one of his gifts (love after holiday sales!).
Now all three kids have their own for next year!

He was SO excited!

Grammy sent a few great gifts, including a DS game that was asked for! :)

And a special set for his Skylanders game.

Mom found a few great clearance deals (again)
and Braeden LOVED this Tron racing set!

So did Olivia! :)

He took time playing each new toy!

And Liam had some birthday kisses for the birthday boy to finish us up!

A great night!
Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Another Celebration

This time of year is birthday time around here!

But now it's Braeden's turn.

Hard to believe sometimes how quickly they really do grow up.

I swear it was just yesterday I was looking at this crazy hair
(because as a foster parent I couldn't get his hair cut without parental say so).

Braeden has always been uniquely himself.

Loving life and caring deeply for those closest to him.

Even with the rough year he had last year,
Braeden is my buddy through and through.

I can't believe you're EIGHT!

Keep being just as special as you are!

Saturday, February 04, 2012


Thundercats... HO!

(Sorry... not sure what came over me! :)
Maybe it's because I've heard that nonstop the past couple of weeks!)

Braeden has become very interested in Thundercats after his discovery of them recently. I had no clue they were even on (and maybe they aren't?) - we don't have cable and rely on netflix and hulu - but they have the toys in the stores now so who knows?

Anyway, the kids don't have big parties for their birthdays. They're given parties at ages 5, 10, and 16 but that's about it. Otherwise we do some family activity usually and have cake and ice cream; often with my good friend T who also happens to be the mom of Braeden's bio brother J and sister L.

This year was no exception and since Braeden wanted a Thundercats cake,
and since stores don't carry that as an option,
I MADE their cake this year! :)
A first!

It was an ice cream cake with vanilla cake on the bottom,
a layer of birthday cake ice cream in the middle,
and frosting on the top.
And it turned out YUMMY!

Liam couldn't quite figure out how best to eat it.

They were blessed to receive a couple special gifts each and were very excited.

Liam KINDA looks up to J - in a BIG way! :)
Love how his eyes just LIGHT up around him!

My friend T and her son J.

Our "traditional" group picture.
My how they're getting so OLD!
From left to right: Braeden, J, Liam, L, Olivia

Here's an old group shot, before Liam, and with my friend J's little girl as well.
From left to right: L, A, J, Braeden, Olivia.

Thanks for the great day T and family!!!
Friday, February 03, 2012

Old School

Braeden had an assignment this past week: to create a Valentine's Day box for school.

I have to say I think I outwardly and audibly groaned when I read his assignment. The ironic part? I was giving my class that exact same assignment the very next day! LOL :)

But I did my parent best. I researched ideas on Pinterest and other sites and came up with a few I thought he would like. I read about someone who said that they had made a rocket with a tube mailer and although I didn't want to find a tube mailer, I knew we had an oatmeal container so that idea was added to the list of possibilities. And it won.

So I gathered supplies.

I thought out the "best" way to do what I envisioned.

And I asked Braeden for ideas and choices along the way.

And it somehow became my project.

Oh, don't get me wrong, Braeden "helped." But I must admit I kind of obsessed over it and almost freaked out when after five days of work he started to unpeel a star sticker and place it on the tube before I asked. SAD! :( So he helped with the stickers, and gluing, and color suggestions.

And I LOVE it!!! :)

Olivia and I were bummed SHE didn't have to make a Valentine box! (She never has before either, so strange!) :)

So I proudly present to you... Braeden's creation...

(The top is hinged to pull back and drop in Valentines on the big day!)

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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

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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