Sunday, August 30, 2009

Let's make a difference!!

Well God is at it again..He is one busy Guy! Three years ago we became internet friends with family much like our own from Michigan. They had a son named Andrew, very close in age to our Andrew and a daughter,Emma, around Audrey's age also adopted from China. The Anderson's were also waiting to bring home a special needs child from Paul's orphanage as we were waiting to bring Paul home ourselves. Shortly after we adopted Paul, they adopted YuMei a sweet 9 yr. old girl born with a cleft lip and palate. YuMei has adjusted wonderfully, so much so that the Anderson's set out to adopt again. Over the last year they have been working on adopting a 12 yr old boy from China, Lin Lin. Here is the catch...their adoption agency just told them about another SN girl who needs a family ASAP. This girl will turn 14 in October. After the age of 14 kids are no longer allowed to be adopted. China, will allow the Anderson's to adopt her along with Lin.....but not for free. We could haggle back and forth why they can't adopt her at no extra expenses....but that is NOT the point. The point is that this girl has reached her last chance of finding a family to call her own. The Anderson's need approximately $7500 in the next month to do this (in additon to $20,000 or so for Lin's adoption).

Here is where the Homan's come in. I know about that tug at one's heart when God is calling you to do something that seems impossible or even crazy to most people. We all know that God works in mysterious ways. The Anderson's will be frantically fundraising over the next month. Paul and I are making a road trip to MI on Friday to help with their garage sale. I would love to fill our van with garage sale items, baked goods, surplus food garden vegtables. My goal is to have enough room for me and Paul and our sleeping bags and the rest filled with items to help the Anderson's out. If you have any items you would like to donated please bring them to our house by Thurs. Here is a simple list I hope to bring:

Garage Sale item: clean, packed at efficiently as possible, even price marked if you have time
Fresh Baked Goods
Veggies from your garden (fresh please)
*good old cash donations accepted too~if everyone on my email list and facebook friends donated $5.00, I could give the Anderson's $500, wouldn't that be awesome*

Paul and I plan to leave by 5:00am Friday. If you can't help in anyway please pray for the Anderson's and for a safe journey for me and Paul.

To read more about Tina and her family:

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Fastest Week Ever!!!

You know how they say "Time flies when you're having fun"....well, it flies twice as fast when you're on vacation!! We just got back from our first beach vacation with the kids. Andrew saw the ocean when he was 9 months old, but none of the other kids had. Earlier in the year I set out to raise enough money from 2 garage sales to pay for a beach vacation. My sister got us started with a unexpected check (thanks Renee) then we all worked hard at our 2 sales to rent a beach house. A few months back we decided on the Outerbanks. We looked on the internet for a house in our price range that would sleep 7 and allow pets (we couldn't leave Boots at home). After a 14 hour drive we arrived in Nags Head and could believe how nice our rental house was. It was within walking distance of the sound (beach area in between two bodies of land) and a short drive to the ocean. We were lucky enough to coordinate this trip with Rita's BFF Anna's trip to the US for her last surgery. It had been almost a year since Rita and Anna saw each other last summer when we met in Wheeling, WV. Just like last year, Roynda and Tutu (Anna's grandma) spoiled all 5 of our kids with all kinds of goodies!!!! We even got to met Anna's grandpa, Roy. Ted and Roy had plenty to talk about since Roy was a mechanic too. We spent the day at the beach and pool at their hotel. They treated us to lunch at Sonic and then Ted grilled out at our house for supper. It was a quick visit, but we were so glad to see them again. It is too funny how Rita and Anna just 'fall' right into their old friendship. Thankfully, Good-Bye to Anna, was not as traumatic to Rita as last year. Rita is learning that Good-Bye means "until next time" not "I may never see you again!!"
The rest of the week was spent just having fun!! We of course went to the beach everyday. The only arguing the kids did was what beach we would go to first. The little kids liked the sound side because they could walk out really far and the water would still only be 2 feet deep and fairly calm. Andrew and Natalie preferred the ocean so they could body surf on the boogie boards. I couldn't believe how uncrowded the beaches seemed. I didn't much care as long as I had the umbrella and a book. I read 2 books in one week...verses my normal of reading 1 book in 2 months!!
Ted and Andrew got a lot of fishing in. They spent their time between two different fishing piers and even went on a head boat (chartered boat with lots of people on it, so it's not as expensive as a private charter). One day they totally surprised me by leaving the house at 6:00 am to go fishing.....I didn't even think about getting out of bed until well after 8:00!!

The thing I was most surprised by the Outerbanks was how much we could do with spending very little or NO money!! We climbed Jockey Ridge (big sand dune) and toured a Bodie light house for free. We spent one morning at the Wright Brothers' Memorial and it only cost $8 for our whole family!! We ate all of our meals at home, except for the trip to Sonic with Anna's family. The boys' fishing stuff was most expensive but even with their head boat and pier fees they spent just over $100. Ted was thrilled about how little money we spent while on vacation!! My most expensive purchase was a new camera died on the 2nd day. I got a $40 camera from RiteAid. I think the pictures turned out decent considering....

What did Boots think of the trip? Well, he didn't like the ocean and got too stressed out trying to protect his family from all of those "evil" people on the beach, so Boots spent most of his time at the house. There was a fenced in yard so he enjoyed running free in the back. The funniest Boots moment was when we were coming home. It was the middle of the night and we had been rerouted on some back West Virginia highway because of an accident on the turnpike. Ted was driving straight up some hill, while making sharp turns every few seconds. Boots had his front paws on the dash board looking out the window, then he would look at the GPS, then he would look at Ted, then back out the window. He kept looking at these 3 things in a circle as if to say "Ted are you sure you know what you're doing?"

Our BIGGEST surprise was when we came home. My mom was feeding the cat and watering the flowers while we were gone. We were shocked when we walked in and she had cleaned the WHOLE house!!!!! Thanks MOM!!! My house had never been this clean. She was so sweet, she said that I had been doing so much for other people this summer that I deserved to have something nice done for me. Awwwwww, Mom. I almost cried, but I was too tired from the long drive home. What a relief to come home to a clean house, I can't think of a better gift!!!! You can bet that the Homan's will be saving hard for vacation next year. All week long we all kept saying "when we come back next year.........."
**********to see more pictures, come visit me on Facebook*************************8

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One year ago today.......Rita became a Homan

May 8th marked the 2 year anniversary of committing to adopt Rita, now today May 12th, 2009 we are celebrating one whole year with Rita as a Homan girl.We've had our ups and downs over the last year. I won't lie and say that adopting an older child is a 'piece of cake'......but I can gladly say that the good has far out weighed the bad.In a nutshell, the two greatest things that I can tell you about Rita is her loving spirit and how extremely smart she is. Rita is friends with EVERYBODY!!!!!! She is bubbly and happy 99% of the time. I am still in awe of how well she has mastered the English language and learning at school. You would have to really, really listen closely to detect in her spoken language that she is ESL (English as a 2nd language). Sadly she hasn't retained any Armenian. Some people would criticize us for not being able to help preserve her language but we did our best to help her flourish in the language that she would need in her new life. Rita is such an intelligent girl that if she chooses to learn her native language again she will do so with ease. Rita has thrived in school. She has amazed the staff at her elementary on how well she has done this year. I love this pictures of Rita and Ted. They had just met for the first time (remember me and my aunt had traveled to Armenia a month earlier). Rita was happy her but quickly became very stressed out once she realized she was leaving the orphanage that day. Rita remembers clearly "being shoved in the back" of our facilitator's was an ugly seen that no one could ever forget. When we talk about that moment Rita always protects Ted and my feelings by saying that she only acted that way because she was scared. I always tell her that I would have been really, really scared if that had happened to me when I was only 7!!!!! One of my favorite photos from Yerevan...."the Cascade"....I can't wait to take Rita back to her beautiful homeland someday. We always want Rita to be proud of her Armenian heritage.Just another night at home hanging out with the family.

So I told you the 2 greatest things about Rita. I'll share the 2 most difficult things, things that we know will continue to get better over time. First...we still really STRUGGLE with her immaturity. When Rita is crawling around on the floor acting like a cat, I try to remember that she was institutionalized for 7 very formative years. When she's throwing a temper tantrum about a $1.00 toy being broke, I try to remember that she didn't have anything to call her own until she was 7. When she's outside "hollering at the sky", I try to remember she wasn't able to express herself normally for 7 years. The second thing is the way she talks ALL of the TIME!!! I don't mean some of the time...I mean ALLLLLLLLLL of the TIME!!!!! Thankfully she obeys the rules of not talking at school when she's not supposed to but that doesn't seem to count at home. Rita can be absolutely exhausting with her non stop chatter. If I had a dollar for everytime I simply said "Rita stop talking" I could finance another adoption (haha!!) We are slowly accepting the fact that Rita is going to just be one of those people who talk too much.

Rita has a super busy summer ahead of her. Next Sunday, she and Paul have their first "Challanger" baseball game. This is a county baseball league for kids with varying disabilities. She is so excited that she gets to play baseball!!! She also will start taking tap dance lessons. She had been in awe watching a movie with a girl that tap danced. We are lucky that we only live a block away from a fitness center that offers tap. Rita also gets to go to summer school. Her IAT team at school felt that since she has done so well this year and that we all really want to push her next year that she would benefit from summer school. It will be just one morning a week for most of the summer. We are very lucky because her summer school teacher will also be doing private tutoring of Rita for 1-2 hours a week. Of course we'll be spending alot of time at the pool so I'll plan to have her take swimming lessons. Then the highlight of her summer will be a visit from Anna. Anna was her very best friend in the orphanage. Anna will be in DC during July to have another surgery. We are staying in Nags Head, NC the last week of July, so hopefully Anna and her family will visit us there. NC will be closer drive than coming all of the way to Ohio. Rita and Anna talked on the phone a few days ago......she was just as happy as could be. It was interesting because Anna's mom said that she had been asking about Rita alot recently and I told her that Rita had been speaking of Anna too. These two girls are kindred spirits no doubt.

As far as Rita's "little arm" goes, it really is still a non-issue. We did get a reminder postcard from the orthopedic specialist to come for her yearly visit. I'm assuming they'll do xrays to see how she continues to grow. His main concern last year was keeping an eye on her scoliosis. She'll also visit her pediatric ophthalmologist this summer. I think her eyes still look great, no noticeable drifting or anything. We do wish we could tie her classes to her head because they are always lost or bent or broke or something!!!!

I'm going to end this post with a special prayer request. Rita had been blessed with the greatest kindergarten teacher this year. Rita adores Mrs. Burke!!! Mrs. B has been diagnosed with a pretty serious form of cancer (yes...all cancer is serious...but it sounds like she has quite a fight ahead of her). Rita insist that we pray for Mrs. Burke every night.....I couldn't forget to pray for Mrs. B if I tried. So, if you could please send a few prayers up for this special lady who has meant so much to Rita during her first year of school.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Stealing pictures from my sister's facebook page

Since I have become so bad at uploading pictures from my own camera, I decided to steal some pics from my sister's facebook page. She was home at Easter. The kids always love having aunt Renee home. Rita is behind the camera, I'm in the middle with my sis to the left and her BFF, Melinda on the right. I'm sure you all know the other two beauties.
If I live to be 100, Paul will always be my baby. I'm sorry but I just can't get over his cuteness!!

Rita with her HUGE smile. She looked like a rock star Easter morning with her snazzy Hannah Montana dress from Great aunt Donna!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ohhhh...I want this baby

Look at this little guy. He is missing his right arm just like our Paul. Isn't he the cutest!!??!! I'm going to start playing the lottery tomorrow.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Inspiring Story...Can you help??

So, we had a garage sale over the weekend. The funds were supposed to go to our summer vacation......but I may have to help out this very unusaul situation:

Monday, April 13, 2009

The party of a lifetime!!!!!!!

The day that Rita had been waiting for , for almost a year finally came and went way too quickly. We had 8 cakes, brought in by friends and family, celebrating not only her 8th birthday....but the other 7 birthdays that she missed!!!!We debated the night before on how we would handle the 8 cakes and singing. Both Rita and I wanted everybody to sing happy birthday 8 times. Thankfully we took the advice of everyone else and just lit all of the cakes at once and sang one time......that was crazy enough!!
Rita was all in her glory while everyone was singing. She couldn't have possibly smiled any bigger. We didn't get an official head count but our best guess was that 105-110 people were at her party. Including kids from both her kindergarten and first grade class.There were kids lined up for a mile waiting their turn to pull the string on the pinata. When the candy finally fell it was a mad house!!!!!The cotton candy machine was the big hit of the party. Ted would never make a good bartender. You know how bartenders are supposed to cut off their extremely drunk customers. Well all of the kids looked the same to Ted so he didn't realize that some of the kids went through the cotton candy line 7...yes....7 times!!!!!! When the party was over and I had the classmates lined up waiting for their parents some of the little boys' eyes were glazed over.....totally drunk on sugar!!!We had requested no gifts but of course that didn't include grandmas and grandpas. After most of the party cleared out Rita got to open her presents. We had asked our guest to bring lose change to donate to a special cause instead of bringing any gifts. The kids were all so cute bringing their baggies of change and putting in a bucket with pictures of Rita's friends from the orphanage. By the end of the day the bucket was FULL.....there were even 10's and 20's in that's what I call lose change!!!!! We originally wanted to do something special for Rita's orphanage but I just didn't know how well that would work out. Instead we have decided to donate the money to a family who is adopting a little girl from Rita's family unit. This little girl had been listed on Receese's Rainbow which is the website that we found Rita on almost 2 years ago. We know all too well how expensive adoption is and how hard fundraising for an adoption is, so we wanted to be a blessing to another adoptive family. Oh...I almost forgot...we raised $240!! Thank you so much to those that brought their lose change in for Rita's party. Here is the link for the page that list the families who are waiting to bring home their special kiddos. If you scroll down about half the way down you will see "the Sobie family" and little miss Jenna. Rita doesn't specifically remember Jenna but by her pictures we can most definitely tell she is Rita's old room, so if I had to guess I would imagine that she 'moved' into that family unit shortly after Rita came home.

Well, like the title said it was the party of a lifetime or I should say a once in a lifetime party. Rita knows that next year she'll have a regular birthday with just the grandparents. Natalie declared that she wanted a party like Rita's too. My very simple answer was..."after you spend 7 years in an orphanage we will gladly throw a party like this for you." Rita enjoyed every second of the party, but was brought back to reality the next morning. She threw a terrible fit about her balloon from school being sadly, the queen was dethroned and life is back to normal at the Homan house.