Thursday, August 27, 2015

Changes and Adjustments

We now have 2 eleven year olds in this house. 
Sweet boy is making sure that his brother is lighting ALL his candles!
Lousy lighting... great smile!!  I love this boy so very much!

Birthday parties can be very exhausting affairs... just ask Ben!

Are we feeling a big nervous and crazy for our first day of school???

John was just not sure he was going to like school!

He's just not going to give me a smile on this first day... 
Okay... maybe a tiny one!!
Can we go home now??? Please?????

This one couldn't wait for the day to begin!
Just go away mom and let me get at this stuff!!
WAAAAA... What in the world am I doing here???

 Stink face for school!!
That was two weeks ago.
Changing schools for Aaron brings its bits of sorrows.  He misses his friends from his old class and misses the 'way things were.'  He likes routine and likes things to be in a predictable order.  New schools bring many changes and he is having to adjust.  Two weeks in and he is slowly finding joy in the new norm. 
School for John has been an even greater adjustment.  He went to school before but for only a few hours each day.  Now it is all day.  He comes home tired both emotionally and physically. Though he is gaining in English by the hour, hearing English all day without understanding but a portion of it is hard on his spirit.  He loves language and loves talking.  Apart from Aaron he hasn't found anyone he can really 'talk' to beyond just simple conversations. John was fluent in two languages and even knows bits and pieces of a third.  I can't imagine how hard it is for him to leave those languages behind and start all over again.  He's adjusting as Aaron but the difference is so vast that right now he isn't finding a lot of joy in the process.  These things take time. 
My greatest pleasure is that I get to go in and teach my boys each week.  I loved homeschooling the older boys and wish I was in a place in our lives where we could do it again but we understand this is not the season for homeschooling. Our little guys need to be in school.  They need the language immersion.  They need to be around their peers and learning from them.  For me, teaching them history each week is the next best thing.  I get to teach a subject I love and my little boys get to learn from me.  It's a total win. 
And despite all the changes and adjustments.... both boys are finding that school CAN be fun!!


Monday, August 24, 2015

Meet Charlie

We met him back in April and he just plain stole my heart.  He was sitting at a table eating when I walked into the room.  I was looking for a little boy listed on Reece's Rainbow with Down Syndrome but knew he wasn't that child. He was so handsome and sitting so quietly that I walked over to his table and leaned in to say hello him.  He got up from his chair, smiled and gave me a hug. 
 I looked at our facilitator and asked her if he was available.  She found out that day that YES, he was available for adoption.  We were allowed to take pictures and by the end of the week he was listed.
If you are looking for a sweet boy who will just melt right into your family with the greatest of ease he is an amazing choice.  A family is in his orphanage right now adopting and they took a brand new picture of him last week and it absolutely made my day! 
Look at this handsome boy!
Oh someone see Charlie!! Please!!
He is gentle and calm and can follow directions.  He takes care of the little boys in his group.  When we took pictures on John's last day, he happily pulled one of the littler boys up and into his lap.
Look at that sweet treasure smiling at the camera!!
Did I say he was calm?  He can dress himself and feed himself and he is in school every day learning all kinds of things. He's in a great place right now but soon... way too soon... he is going to be transferred.  Where he is going is a far cry from where he is now. 
Please hurry Mama!!  Hurry!!

He's a loving boy. 

Sweet and tender. 

 He's precious and special and the fact that he has gone so unnoticed for so long just makes my heart ache.

 Please let's not pass him over.

See Charlie.
His smiles and hugs are going to bring such joy to one very blessed family!
Since I know that the vast majority of people reading this post cannot adopt him (only one blessed family gets that amazing privilege) I am challenging you to help me get his grant account increased. Right now it has $696.00 in his account.  Do you have 5, 10, 20, 100 to throw in his bucket??  So so often the greatest barrier to adoption is  



Sunday, August 16, 2015

Time Keeps on Slippin'

"Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin into the future..."
That's how I feel right now.
It's just a little bit crazy and we all are feeling it...
These days are too fast and I can't seem to catch my breath.  Our little homeschooling business has been going a bit crazy these last few weeks.  It is taking all four of the big people in the family to fill orders right now... Plus, in the last week we fit in a visit to Virginia Tech for Elijah to check out the school/campus, a trip to the Virginia Safari, Aaron's birthday, school starting, my first day teaching.... So much happening..
Can I just catch up by sharing a few pictures of our trip to VT and the zoo???
Just a few???
My favorites?


More of my favorites??

Me thinks he is Virginia Tech bound...

It's a BEATIFUL campus but handicapped accessible it is NOT! 

Goodness how did they get so handsome?

The bird whisperers...

Just a few of my favorites... Just a few...

Maybe next week I can catch up on Aaron's birthday and the first day of school...
"Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin....

Monday, August 10, 2015

School... Bah Humbug!

I am not one of those moms who loves when school starts. Yes, I work from home and yes, I have to get up early early in the morning in order to get the bulk of my work done before certain feet hit the floor in the morning. Yes, it is much easier to not have constant interruptions. Yes.
But despite all the pros to having my two youngest out of the house for 7 hours each day...  I DON'T WANT SCHOOL TO START. I already miss them and they don't start school until Wednesday. 
For those of you who are scratching your heads because I write HOMESCHOOL curriculum and DID homeschool Ben and Elijah....  Both little boys will be going to a small Christian school this fall.  Aaron has been attending a Christian school for three years now and it has been the best fit for him.  His greatest struggle since being home is language.  He was severely delayed in language (20 words  in his own language) and that delay continues to hound him.  Immersing him in a language-rich environment has been the best decision.  Though John does not have any kind of language delay  he definitely could use the English language immersion.
So my two little boys start school on Wednesday.
And I start school on Wednesday too.
Yep. We switched the boys to a new school and at this new school, two afternoons a week I will get to go in and teach our history curriculum (BiblioPlan) to the students there.  Which means I get to teach my little guys.
How cool is that?? I am so excited to be doing BiblioPlan in a school setting.  We designed it for homeschools, co-ops AND schools but I've never field-tested it in a school.  Now I can!
I also teach at our local co-op but thankfully they don't start school until after Labor Day.
John is nervous for school to start. He did get schooling before but not full days.  It's going to be a bit of a culture shock for him.  Aaron isn't focused on school right now.  His birthday is tomorrow and that is ALL he can talk about. 
After tomorrow I will again have two 11 year olds under our roof.


Dang I am going to miss them when they are in school!

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Heaviest of Hearts

I write this post with a heavy heavy heart.
This last week I discovered that over the course of the last few years we have had Lost Boys in our midst that we didn't even know we had.

BROOKS                                                      PAUL
FLYNN                                     JULIAN
30520134459   30611223740
Do you see those 5 boys??

They have been listed on Reece's Rainbow for at least two years.  They daily live and breathe the same air my son lived and breathed.  I didn't know. 
I passed them over.

I had no idea they were Lost Boys.  I didn't know to look for them when I was there in December 2013.  I didn't know.  I haven't been their voice. I haven't shouted to the heavens for them.  I ignored them on Reece's Rainbow because I thought they were somewhere else and it is sometimes just too hard to go beyond the realm of what I know.

5 boys who were lost to us even though they were listed.
And not only these 5 but two more Lost Boys just became available.  One of them out of the laying down room.
  JACKSON                            XANDER 
7 boys. 
Plus Porter.  Beautiful Porter who has a new picture.
And Pearson who had a family but sadly they weren't able to bring him home.
Nine boys.
What can we do?
How can we be a voice to these nine?
They are the Least of the Least.  They are in a closed facility where few enter. They spend their days doing nothing.  They are living in a world empty of language and music and laughter.

My heart is heavy because I recognize the impossibility of finding 9 families for these 9 boys.  I recognize that the adoption of each one involves a huge risk.  I can't guarantee anything about any of them.  All I know is that the life they are living right now is not really living. All I know is that deep in their deepest beings they are longing for more.

This week Grady/Bey has been walking the streets of the capital.  Free.  His Mama found out from one of his caretakers that each time a family would come he would ask when he too would have a family. 

His family came. They came despite his diagnosis. They came despite the cost. They came despite his age.  They came despite their family circumstances.  In spite of everything they listened to that still small voice and they obeyed. And Grady/Bey is transforming before their eyes.  Is he delayed? Absolutely.  Is he worth it?  A million times over.  Just ask Melanie who is walking the streets beside him and marveling at all that God has done.
9 Lost Boys need 9 families who are willing to listen.
Does it seem impossible?  Yes.  And that is why tears trickle.  
But I serve a God who knows each one of those boys by name.  He called us for Aaron. He called the Hartmans for Judd and Bey.  He called the Marrs for Jonathan and Benjamin.  He called the Drakes for Boden.  He called the Taylors for Samuel.
I cling to that as I consider each  boy.  I cling and pray that as God calls, families will listen. 
A few weeks ago at the Reece's Rainbow reunion Rob and I were hanging out by the steps watching our two little boys playing in the water.  Two older boys walked over to the steps to get into the water.  I knew these boys as we had been praying hard for their release.  They were just recently freed from inside the walls of an institute similar to the 9 Lost Boys on this page. 
This was their first time at a pool.  Rob and I and a whole host of other RR people sat and watched the first boy go boldly down the steps and into the water.  He was the smaller of the two but braver.  He splashed and played and beckoned for his brother to come in too. His brother stood at the top.  Scared.  He tentatively stepped down to the first step and stood there watching his brother splashing and playing.  Finally, after a few minutes he carefully, oh so carefully stepped down into the pool itself.  When he let go of the rail and stood steady and sure in the pool he began to shout with glee and clapped for himself.  All of us around him began to cheer and clap with him.  It was the most poignant and precious moment of that entire week.
I write this post with great longing and a deep desire that each of the boys on this page will know life outside the walls.  I write it hoping and praying that next year, in pools across our country, 9 boys will get to experience the joy, the thrill, the simple pleasure of splashing in a pool of water.
All 9 boys are listed on Reece's Rainbow.  Some of them have substantial grants. Some have little to nothing.  All of them need families. 
Please take the time to look at each boy.  Pray over them.  Sow into their grant accounts.  Don't pass over these boys.  They deserve to be seen. 
Share about them.  Consider.  Just consider.  Please some of you consider. 
I know I'm asking for the impossible but I serve a God of the impossible and I rest in that hope.
BROOKS                                       PAUL
 FLYNN                                      JULIAN
 DAVIAN                                     PORTER
   JACKSON                                 XANDER