Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Family for One Year

It has been an emotional year. Some days are beautiful and some days you look around and wonder what in the world have we done. We always hold on to the faith that this was God's plan. I must admit the bad days are beginning to slow down. We are still in the midst of doctor's appointments and medical procedures. But, we didn't think these would things would go quickly. It requires time to see what all needs to be fixed. We are finished with all of Jaryd's health issues. There is nothing wrong with him now that we had his tonsils taken out. Jacob will always have to deal with the Asperger's, but hopefully he will continue to learn to cope with that in time. We are finally learning how to deal better with his melt-downs. Kailyn still has some kind of problem, we think, with her food processing. Hopefully in the next coupld of weeks will have some answers for this. She is still not gaining any weight. In fact, she has lost about a 1/2 a pound again. So we are still just kind of in the midst of normal kid health issues. We just never had four of them in the house at one time before. Seems as though we are always going to doctor's apopintments.

The kids have adjusted to being Americans very well. Jacob saw a picture of the Ukraine the other day and said, "I think I have been there before." Now you know why we call him airhead some days. We are such a world away from being in that country. Some day I hope that we can go back there and visit and take things to help both of the orphanages that gave us our children. Some days I wonder if their mother still wonders where they are. Does she care? Is she still alive? Where are their fathers? Do they wonder about their children?

We thank God that he gave us these children to incorporate into our family. While singing in praise band on Sunday I looked into the audience to see my three oldest children and my son's wife(my other daughter) to just smile at God's Awesome love for Kevin and I. Jaryd, Jacob and Kailyn fit in so well with all of the kids.

Jaryd was talking this morning before school and couldn't remember how to say any words in Ukranian. He says that he can understand it, he just can't speak it.

Happy "Family Day"

Pretty amazing when you go from three kids to six in just two hours time. I wish pregnancy and labor could have gone that fast. I probably would have had twenty kids in that case. Oh wait, not, I don't think so. Where has my sanity gone. Six is enough. We will wait for grand kids now. Hopefully that will be a few more years.

Thanks to everyone who has helped this been such a fantastic year in our lives and our childrens lives. thanks for all the bloggers who have helped us through times we didn't think we could make it through.

Here are some pictures, before and after.

Add Image

Monday, August 24, 2009

Here is an article that the El Paso Times published today about Adoption. We were one of the families featured and this is the family picture that they took.
EL PASO -- Callers to Children's Connection in Lubbock are a little different from those of just a few years ago.
Inquiries about adopting children from foreign countries largely have become calls asking how to adopt children from Texas or elsewhere in the United States.
"Economics really does play a role in adoption," said Debora Phillips, adoption director for the state for Children's Connection. The nonprofit organization helps connect prospective parents with adoption agencies and helps them through the adoption process.
"We're seeing people that are still pursuing adoption plans, but maybe their interests are changing. Maybe they're not going to the most expensive option they might have gone to a year or two ago," she said.
She said others think adoption costs are now simply too high to allow them to expand their families.
"It's really expensive," Phillips said.
In Texas the method of the adoptive parents picking up a new baby from the hospital just after its birth can cost between $20,000 and $40,000.
Parents who want to adopt an orphan from another country can spend between $20,000 and $45,000, she said.
Domestic adoptions, including older children in the nation's foster care system, can cost from a few thousand dollars up to about $20,000.
Phillips said there's been an increase in the number of people interested in adopting children waiting in Texas or other states.
She said of all El Paso callers to her organization in 2008, about one third wanted domestic infant adoption, one third wanted international adoptions and another quarter were interested in waiting child adoptions. The remainder were interested in kinship adoption.
She said so far in 2009, interest in international adoption has decreased to about 14 percent among callers from El Paso. Interest in waiting child adoption increased from 25 percent to about 43 percent, and domestic infant adoption also increased to about 43 percent.
Firm statistics on the number of adoptions in El Paso or Texas were not available because courts immediately seal adoption records.
Those who want to adopt children from within Texas must first foster the children in their homes.
"If you go the foster-to-adopt method through Texas you might have a four- or five-year window to adopt and all you will pay for is the cost for the final hearing," Phillips said.
Adopting from other states will include paying for a home study. Some states pick up the costs for post placement visits, supervision during a trial period and final adoption costs.
She said a federal adoption tax credit also helps ease the financial burden for families. The military and some large companies offer a slight reimbursement for adoption costs.
The decreased costs for domestic adoptions are a big reason people are choosing that route. Changes in some international adoption rules have made it more difficult to adopt children from countries such as Mexico.
Phillips said she expected more people to again opt for international adoption as the economy improves and knowledge of the new international rules spreads.
Her agency has helped several El Paso families through the adoption process, including Tammy and Kevin Huckabee.
When Tammy Huckabee saw the photo of a small girl with blond hair and wide eyes among dozens of other Ukrainian orphans, she knew she had found her daughter.
The couple already had three children of their own, including a 3-year-old daughter at home.
"We realized our family still wasn't finished," she said.
Tammy Huckabee said she'd always felt there were supposed to be more children in her family. She and her husband tried to adopt more than a decade before, but the Mexico adoption of twin boys fell through.
After their daughter Alyssa was born several years later, they still felt their family had room to grow.
They contacted an adoption agency in 2006 and were recommended to look to the Ukraine to adopt because children there were more likely to share their physical features.
Nearly two years later, the Huckabees were in the Ukraine, looking through photos of available children.
The little girl with the big eyes was 2-year-old Yana. She and her two older brothers, Igor and Illya, were waiting for a family at Ukrainian orphanages. They are now 3, 5 and 9 years old.
The Huckabees couldn't resist.
Six weeks later, the children were in America with a new family and new names: Kailyn, Jacob and Jared Elijah.
They've learned English and love to romp around their Santa Teresa home with one another.
"It's like they were always with us," Tammy Huckabee said.
The couple said it's important that parents do their research before beginning the process.
Priscilla Aguilar checked everything out before she began the process that would bring her Ilker, a young Russian boy.
Ilker, 3, became her son last October.
"I just wanted to be a mom. I'm 32 and I'm not in a couple and I didn't think I had to wait to have a son," she said.
She opted to adopt from Russia because there were fewer restrictions placed on adoptions to single women.
She was placed on a waiting list for an infant in September 2007. Early the next year she changed her age limit to two years old and received a call two weeks later that a boy was waiting for her.
She was sent a photo of Ilker.
"The second I saw him I said he's mine," Aguilar said.
She underwent home studies and finished the required paperwork and visited Russia a total of three times before the adoption took place in October.
"They try to designate a child that goes with your personality, so I guess I described myself as pretty active," the lawyer said as Ilker buzzed around the room and clamored for her attention.
She said she saved to pay for the adoption costs, but the entire process was worth it.
"Being a mother is better than I ever thought," she said.
She recommended that prospective parents be patient through the process and reach out to others who have been there.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Where we were a year ago

One year ago today we were doing the Ground Hog thing visiting our new beautiful children every day. Our air conditioning went out on our side of the house on Thursday night and Kevin said to me as the wind was blowing through the windows, "Feels like we are back in Ukraine." It has been a year of ups and downs and many lessions learned. Months ago I thought the year mark would never come. I kept thinking if a year would get here all of the problems should be gone by them. Oh, how wrong could I be. But, the problems are beginning to just be the problems of normal children, not orphans. God has brought us through this year and will continue to follow us through the many years to come with our new children. Daily we learn life lessons that teach us more and more how to be a family. And, our children learn more and more how to be siblings and family members. I would like for the empathy level to be a little higher, but I supposed that will come too.

This has been a busy week at our house with Mom being sick all week with a summer cold. Everyone ran a little fever last weekend. So we had a very quiet at home weekend. Alyssa and I are the only ones who ended up with the runny nose. Kailyn seems to be trying to come down with it today. I hope we can fend it off. She is going to have her ears cleaned on Tuesday and they are going to put her under to do it. They won't do it if she is sick.

Jacob and Kailyn started school on Monday and all was well. I will post pictures from their day soon. Jacob asked me on Monday night, "Do I get to do that every day?". To which I replied yes son five days a week. Kailyn has her same teachers from last year. She has been a little quiet, but I think it is because she is with all new kids. She will come out of her shell as soon as she gets a little more comfortable.

Kailyn had her endoscopy on Tuesday. They didn't see anything, but they didn't expect to. They are looking at the pathology from the biopsy from the small intestine. They are now thinking that she is having an absorption problem. Sunday night I was watching Discovery Health Network and saw a show about Schwaubman Diamond Syndrome. I won't bore you with the specifics, but we are looking into this as a possiblity for Kailyn. The doctor said he will do some more checking. This biopsy is a good test for this Syndrome. Has anyone out there had to deal with this SDS before? The first picture is befor the procedure. The second picture is after they had to give her medication for nausea because they over medicated her for the procedure. She was out like a light again. The third picture is the wheel chair on the way out and the fourth one is her in the car seat. She played with that blue hat all day long when she got home.

We had Open House on Thursday night and Jaryd's teacher and I got a few minutes to talk. She says he could easily be ready to go to 4th grade next year. She is going to help me at school and I am going to work at home to get him through the 3rd grade this year. He is attending the 2nd grade and we are going to do 3rd from home simultaneously.

Alyssa has been studying insects for the last couple of weeks. She has a new insect every day that she comes home and talks about. She was made to go to school. She loves it.

Kevin found out this week that along with all his other problems he has pretty severe sleep aphnea. He tried to use the machine, but was unable to tolerate it. They are working on trying a dental appliance. Please keep him in your prayers.

Have a blessed week.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Jaryd School

We went outside this week to find our Neo Mastiff asleep in the pool. I guess he is enjoying it as much as the kids.

Jaryd started school this week and is very happy with his new teacher. He loves the classroom and is very excited to go to school every day. We are hoping that he will continue to excel the way he did last year. We have already decided to try to do 3rd grade at home with him this year while he is doing 2nd grade at school. We hope to move him to 4th grade next year. This way he will almost be caught up for his age. He would still be one year behind. Not sure we will work on another year. We will see.

Alyssa is still doing wonderfully and can't wait to go to school either. She came home and told us Monday that she had a job that day. Her job was to hold the door. She was so proud.

Kailyn went to the stomach doctor yesterday. They are going to do an endoscopy on Tuesday to check the absorption of her small intestines. While we were doing the pured food she lost weight. So the doctor believes there is an absorption problem. We will see. She need to start gaining some weight. Her teacher visited yesterday and she will start to school on Monday. She is also going to get to ride the bus home and she is very excited about riding the bus.

Jacob went to school on Monday and met his teachers. He seemed to like the room. It is so hard to tell with him. I don't remember if I mentioned before that the Nuerologist thinks he has Asperger's. It makes a lot of sense with him. He is socially challenged. The teacher that was here for Kailyn yesterday said that now a lot of his year last year makes a lot of sense. She was his teacher last year. She was glad to know that they had figured out what might be wrong. We have discussed this with his new teacher and she is very familiar with the condition. God put us in the right class.

Have a blessed week.