Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chenzhou cuties

Yesterday Audrey had her 6 month ENT appointment. Like I was telling my aunt...some people go to the dentist every 6 months to have the crud scrapped off of their teeth...well Audrey goes to the ENT to have the crud scrapped out of her ears. I am always amazed by the wax that comes out of that girls ears....yuck. On our way to the doctor we stopped in to see Paul's girlfriend. Jayde was adopted from the same orphanage as Paul was, Chenzhou. Even though they we never at Chenzhou at the same time they still seem to have a special little bond. Jayde had told me "Me and Paul were born in China".....I said what about Audrey, she looked at Audrey, like....hunh...who cares??? I told her that I tell everyone that "Audrey was born at the top of China (northern) and Paul was born at the bottom of China (southern)"...she said "Well, I was born at the bottom of China with Paul." Jayde and Paul were nice enough to let Audrey in on one of the photos.
For those who didn't see the photo of Paul and Jayde when they were on the front of the Standard here's the link again.....boy, they've both changed alot in the last year and a half.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Now what?????

Rita went to her first parade and LOVED it!!! At the beginning she was shy about getting the candy but by the end of the parade she was shouting at the people walking in the parade "Throw me candy!!"
The girls totally enjoyed VBS (Paul was too young and Andrew was too cool for VBS this year).
"Girls, you're supposed to be singing, not primping."
Short stuff knew all of her moves (Audrey is still so tiny, she is a year older than the kids that she is standing next to).
Paul was less than thrilled with the VBS closing program. Every night when the girls were getting ready for VBS he would say "My bible school too, my bible school too." Sorry sweetie, you'll have to wait until next year.

Before you read about our latest have to check out these three blogs. At this point in my life I can't imagine adopting I will continue to live vicariously through some amazing families. It is so obvious that these families have chosen to put God's will first in their life and they are the ones being blessed: (family in the Ukraine now adopting their 11th child) , my cyber friend, Carla, who is waiting to head back to Vietnam for #9 and my other cyber friend who is waiting for #8 ( this family adopted Paul's best friend from Chenzhou almost 2 years ago..miss Jocelyn).

We just found out this week that Rita was denied open enrollment at Ft. Recovery. We are absolutely devastated and did NOT anticipate this at all. Now Ted and I have so many decisions to make. Please pray for us as we decided if we should reapply and try to convince the superintendent that she is not as big as financial risk as what he thinks (this was his reason for choosing to deny her enrollment). Should we start house hunting in FR? We've been thinking about this for a year but we love our home so much....just wish we didn't live out in the middle of nowhere. Do we send Rita to Celina for a year, let her catch up there and then reapply to FR? The superintendent is fully aware that next year we'll have the other 4 kids at FR but Rita is denied. Audrey and Paul are only enrolled in the preschool which doesn't mean that they are enrolled in the school system yet......are we going to have to worry about Paul being denied enrollment in the future because of his special needs?? Everyone is between a rock and a hard place....we are NOT being discriminated against because we DON'T live in the district so we have no rights until the child is enrolled. Once the child is enrolled they receive the same care that a FR resident would.....but the superintendent has the right to DENY the initial enrollment. Ted and I have decided to step back for a few days, catch our breath and see where God leads us. As Pastor Kelly said when I shared the situation during Wed. night prayer meeting he said "Ted and Alison did not travel all of the way around the world to bring Rita home only to have her separated from her brothers and sisters at school." For my friends that live out of state and don't know what I am talking about....we live fairly far out in the country. We live in one school district but actually are much closer to another school district. We sent Andrew and Natalie to Celina our home SD until Andrew finished 2nd grade. They had a long bus ride, we had to have someone at the house when the did get off of the bus, plus Andrew's behavior needs weren't being met the way we had hoped. So last year we chose to open enroll to FR's closer, our babysitter of 10 years lives in the same district so the kids have a short bus ride to and from her house, my mom lives right in FR and she helped us out with alot of school Ted and I are both FR graduates. When we enrolled we knew full and well that enrollment was based by student and not by family so we knew that there was the slight chance that our younger kids could be denied.....but we didn't really expect this to happen. So just pray for us and I'll keep everyone up to date on what we decide this summer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The weather in Ohio always keeps us guessing, so here is Audrey prepared for anything. Today was beautiful...lower 70's, no humidity a far cry from earlier last week when it was 95...YUCK
Yes, we have thought about selling Audrey on eBay and this box would be perfect for shipping her. Actually, this is the box that my new steamboy came in..LOVE IT!!!!!!! The Floormate has already been sentenced to life in the basement.
Rita is talking to her best friend from the orphanage....ANNA!!!!!!!! She squealed and screamed for the first 15 minutes (as did Anna). Rita and Anna have an amazing bond. Anna left the orphanage to go home with her mama and papa just 3 months before we brought Rita home. Rita talks about her every single day. When you ask Rita who her sisters are she always replies "Rita three sisters, Natalie and Audrey and Anna!!!!" did Ted and I get so lucky???? Adoption is a leap of faith and the blessings are amazing to those who choose this path.
I had not went strawberry picking since I was a kid. At the fruit farm they weigh your picking buckets and then subtract that weight after your done picking your berries. They probably should have weighed Paul and Rita before and after too. I think the Jutte's lost a little bit of money from us that day???
These pictures are from the first time we went picking. Then we went picking again two days later to get berries for my mom (she keeps us well stocked in strawberry jam). Of course the first time around everyone was all smiles...but the second trip was WORK!!! So there was lots of grumbling but we still got the job done.
This week is off to a good start. The girls are going to VBS at our neighboring church. Tonight was the second night. Natalie and Rita's teacher came up to me when I was picking them up saying that tonight went much better than last night. Not that Rita was bad she was just a bit over whelming (as she tends to be in any new situation). She loves the singing, which I knew she would. When I got there she had to sing me the theme song right away. "Jews Jesus, Jews Jesus"..I was a bit confused because this is a Lutheran church until her teacher said.."Rita remember ~choose Jesus~"...ahhhh, that makes more sense. I am enjoying spending more time with just Paul and Andrew, the boys have definitely been taking a back seat to all of the drama that goes on with the girls. Paul is about 75% potty trained.....HALLELUJAH!!! I totally forget life without diapers.....but I'm sure I'll manage to get use to it again ;o)
Rita is communicating in 3-4 word sentences already. It was kind of cute, yesterday Natalie got out on the opposite side of the van from Rita at the store. Rita said "who is Natalie?" instead of where is Natalie? Throughout the day she say words that aren't English and I don't think are Armenian. I'll ask "hyedan??" (Armenian), she'll say "NO English"... then once if figure out what she is trying to say, I understand that she was actually very close to the real English word she just got a sound mixed up. She has been watching a 30 minute LeapFrog DVD on ABC's almost everyday. It has helped her out so much with recognizing and being able to 'retrieve' letters and their sounds. Just before bed tonight she was saying window over and over. Then her little light bulb came on and she said "W----every letter makes a sound the W says "wugh"...then she always looks at me for approval..."Mom, good job Rita??" and of course my response it "yes, Rita's English is very, very good" and then she just beams. So even though she might drive me batty at times all of these "lightbulb moments" totally make up for it. We did have a slightly embarrassing moment at Wal-Mart today. For those of you that live in our area and go to Celina's Wal-Mart, I'm sure you know Mike in electronics. He has worked at Wal-Mart for years and is a little person. I'm not sure how old he is but I would guess he's mid 20's, very nice and KNOWS everything about cell phones. So, I was making some changes with our plan and I just had Rita in my cart (my life saver, Dave, had 3 kids in his cart and was entertaining them, while Andrew was playing video games). Anyways, Mike, was typing away in the computer and Rita announces in perfect English "Mama, that is a baby??" You can imagine I felt a bit awkward. I looked at Rita and said "no, he is a little man" then I apologized. He was so sweet and said "that's okay" Of course Rita couldn't let it go at that..... "Mama baby computer?, Mama baby, very little fingers?" I explained to Mike that we just adopted her and she had only been speaking English for 4 weeks. He was so gracious. Kids.............. Nothing new to report on Rita's future needs with her chest/arm/back. Children's Orthopedic office finally called to schedule a consult. She asked about Rita's concerns and as soon as I said anything about her chest, the lady said "we don't work on the chest at all"....I asked "who does?"...she said "I don't know?" I replied "well, this is where our family doctor referred us, so I guess we better come to see the doctor and let him or her tell us what we need." Of course we didn't get an appointment until July who knows who or where we'll end up at. Thankfully, Rita hasn't had any major bouts of pain. She still gets winded easily and will say "Mom, heart lav chem" (my heart isn't well). Nothing that ever makes her cry though and she moves on fairly quickly.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I miss Armenia

Rita laying a flower at the Genocide Muesum
A memorial to over 1 million Armenians that were murdered by a corupt Turkish goverment over 90 years ago.
Armenian American teenagers visiting the memorial. There were about 50 kids saying the same prayer and Rita jump right in and recited the prayer along with them. It was a very moving moment.
Rita's last bubble bath in Yerevan. She LOVED taking bubble baths!!!!!!!
Well, we've been home for 2 and a half weeks already. As I look through our pictures I have great memories of Armenia. I can't wait to take Rita back to her beautiful homeland someday. Of course I miss the peace and quiet that we had in Armenia too. You know us mom's are never happy....when we're with our kids they drive us crazy and when we're away from them we miss them like crazy!!!! Speaking of crazy...that is the best word to describe our household right now. Rita is an absolute sweetheart but I never fully anticipated how delayed her maturity would be. I had read in all of the adoption books that you should expect any child that has been institutionalized to delayed in all areas. That you could expect their maturity level to be about half of their actual chronological age. Even though Rita is doing amazingly well considering all of the major changes she has went through her behavior is very similar to Paul's. Cries at the drop of a hat, doesn't listen, pouts, has no fear of danger (like running across the road). I had been so upset over the last few months that our adoption had been delayed because I felt like the sooner we got Rita home the better. Now, I understand that God's timing is always best. I couldn't imagine Rita going to school right now. Getting her home at the beginning of the summer so she could adjust to our family, the new language and the grief of loosing her past life, is most definitely the best thing for her right now. I don't want anyone to think that I am complaining at all!!! Yes...adopting an older child has been more challenging BUT it has also been more rewarding. Audrey came home at 14 months and Paul at 20 months. They were babies who, after a few days of adjusting fell in to loving us just like we had always been together. They couldn't verbalize "I love mom or I love dad" until many, many months of being home. Here Rita is already 7 years old and has lived almost half of her childhood in an orphanage but she is still this amazing creature who has so much love to give. She melts my heart every single time that she says "I love you mom." She totally understands when she is aggravating me or showing bad behavior and 5 minutes later she comes to me and say "Mom, Rita sorry, Rita no listen, I love you mom" and she always gives a huge hug and a kiss. Even today my dad and grandma came to visit. Unfortunately as they were ready to leave anyways, Rita through a huge tantrum. It had nothing to do with their visit or them leaving, she was just mad because I told her "No" (the girl hates the word NO). Dad and Grandma tried to say good-bye to Rita but she was inconsolable. Not 5 minutes after they left, Rita wanted to call "Grandpa and Great-Grandma" to say that "Rita sorry, Rita mad, Rita cry, Rita big, big sorry" even though her tantrums drive us insane at times I think she'll get over them soon because she realizes so quickly that she is making a big deal out of nothing.

Rita's English is totally unbelievable. People who meet her can't believe that she has only been speaking English for 3 weeks. She is so funny because she goes around saying tons of phrases that she has either heard from one of us or off of one of her ABC or 123 videos. One of my favorites is "Ice cream, Ice cream we all scream for Ice cream." She speaks almost no Armenian which is sad but unfortunately her reality. Even today she was doing the parts of the face in Armenian and English. For eyes she said "Hyedan, eyes....English, eyes" I said "no Hyedan eyes" then she did her tapping of her temple routine that she does when she is thinking, just to remember the Armenian word for eyes.

We took Rita to both the family doctor and the eye doctor this week. She did great at both appointments. She was so worried about getting shots at both places but she was quite the trooper. The family doctor is sending us to Children's in Dayton to see an orthopedic specialist. We think she possibly has Poland's Syndrome, which is where the chest muscle doesn't develop and depending on the severity of it the deformity goes into the arm of the same side. The MD says that she is most definitely missing muscles in her chest and back. If she has Poland's syndrome there are different surgeries that are required as the child grows depending on the severity. Then the optometrist gave us good news and bad news. The good news is that her vision is almost perfect but the bad news is that she has "bilateral something, something" I didn't catch his diagnoses but basically her eyes are not working together. They are great individually but she doesn't have normal "binocular vision" as he said. So he is also sending us to Children's in Dayton for eye surgery. I haven't been to Children's since Luke died there. I was hoping never to go back but........

The rest of the family is staying busy as usual. Andrew is about half of the way through his baseball season. Natalie is staying busy being mom's lifesaver, Audrey continues to watch Mulan 12 times a day and is excited about going to preschool. My baby boy Paul is refusing to potty train. Little does he know that we going to hit the potty training hard this week. After 10 years of changing diapers I am so ready to be done!!!!!!!!!!