Monday, April 28, 2008

I killed the butterfly... :-(

Last week the kids and I went to a butterfly farm on a fieldtrip. If you get Country Woman magazine, this farm was featured a little bit ago. It was a neat visit. We got to see lots of butterflies and really pretty moths. We had a little tour and saw where the butterflies emerge from their chrysalises. This farm ships live butterflies for release at weddings and funerals and ships huge numbers to schools around the country. I bought a chrysalis so we could watch a monarch emerge. Yesterday was the big day. The butterfly started to emerge. I brought the container to the table so we could watch it but then it stopped moving. So I put the container back on the shelf thinking maybe it needed quiet. After it still hadn't finished emerging, Karl read the pamphlet about butterfly care. Good thing we knew what we were supposed to do, right? We found out it says 'don't move the chrysalis while the butterfly is emerging'. Oops. I guess I have to get another chrysalis, I'm a butterfly killer. Time for another field trip!

The butterfly farm has a neat website where you can order a lot of butterfly related stuff. There is even a DVD on how to create a butterfly habitat. The website is

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Time marches on....

I can't believe it is Saturday already! Time is really going by fast. One example is when my doctors start looking as old as my oldest children! Uff da! I went to the chiropractor yesterday for a much needed adjustment and this young fella comes in saying he's the doctor. I mean, I'm not old but he looks young! It is confirmed now, though, I have a stiff neck. I've lost the curvature in my upper neck and need to get my exercising moved up on my priority list! Exercising is unfortunately one of the things that I let slip when things start getting crazy in my life.

Another example of time marching on is that it has been a year since we received our original referral. Our first referral was also two girls and a boy, except the boy was the youngest. Their mom took them back home from the orphanage in early June. I hope they are well. The day we lost the referral in June was the day we found out about Abraham, Diamond and Kindness. At the time, we were told our adoption shouldn't be delayed. However, a lot of things have happened since then and we are still waiting. We've been trying to get more specific information rather than the very tentative time frames that we usually get. When we hear anything, we'll post. The 'few more months' line is getting old fast.

The problem is that Liberia is revising their adoption policies. This is a result of the new American consulate that started her two year term late last summer. This new consulate tightened up all the procedures which was a good thing but this also slowed down the adoptions. These improvements on the US side highlighted the need for Liberia to improve their rules and procedures. This is great for adoptions so that everything is legal and by the book. Unfortuantely, we are stuck in the middle of all these changes along with some other families and consequently, our adoptions have been delayed.

Liberia is working on improving their adoption procedures right now. One thing that Liberia is considering is making all families travel twice, once to see their child(ren) before adoptions and the second time to pick them up. The other tentative requirement being discussed is to have DNA matching done on all the children. A friend found this information in an adoption magazine but there hasn't been any official word yet. More on this later...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

So much for good intentions

Well, my intention of posting more frequently quickly went by the wayside. We had a busy weekend and being on the 'puter got pushed to the bottom of the list. We finally got bunk beds for the boys, a blue set and a red set. They do have to learn to sleep in them, though. Craig complained that Karl makes them squeak and that he rolled in one side and out the other. Hmmmm, I think Craig is growing again and has become uncoordinated!

My new favorite surfing is to find frugal websites or blogs that help me save money. Del has told me that since I'm a SAHM now instead of working (I was a computer programmer) my job is to save or stretch our money. I'm usually pretty good at that but there is always room for improvement. So I found this blog by Crystal Paine that has lots of ideas for saving money with shopping deals and other things. I also found this blog by Frugal Dad which is great because it focuses more on home improvement stuff and investments. Since adoption isn't cheap, I'm working at making our goal of being debt free a reality.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Karl had a rough day yesterday. His brothers have become really good friends and he is feeling left out. Craig's growth spurt has put him in the 'teen' group rather than the younger age group so Karl is feeling lonely. We went to see the manatees yesterday since Megan had a half day and hadn't seen them. Megan and Erin were chums, Erik and Craig were chums and Karl was trying soooo hard to be part of the groups. The olders weren't excluding him but he felt left out. He held me back and told me he felt like he didn't have anyone to play with. **sigh** my babies are growing up! Even my grandbabies are growing up. Brianna and Emma wanted us to come to the park with them. Mattea is starting to walk and we're missing that too. Time goes too fast yet...

We are anxious to have Abraham and the girls home. We're praying that he and Karl will be good buddies. But this adoption thing keeps dragging on and on. Sometimes you wonder if it will ever result in bringing home those kids, if it is real or just a dream we'll wake up from some day. At least when I was pregnant, I knew that in a few months it would be over and we'd have a new little one in our family. Adoption is a wonderful, worrisome, faith-testing adventure that we are hoping will be over soon!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I'm trying to write more frequently so that I don't have huge posts when I do write. Rachel and Steve are my inspiration. :-) Anyway, with every move it is challenging to find new friends and this move has been no exception. The youngest four and I have been attending different homeschool groups and are slowing getting to know people through those. Karl was bummed though, when his friend Wyatt went back to WI for the summer. (Wyatt and family are homeschooling snowbirds.) Erik is getting very involved with Suwanee Valley Players theater group. He's learning all the ropes so one day he can direct a play, preferably one he's written. Craig is getting interested in helping out backstage, too. Monday night I took Megan and Erin with me to a church ladies' group meeting at Red Lobster. They had a great visit with two college age girls. One of them is a third cousin to a friend of Theresa's from OH. Small world, isn't it? Hopefully our night out will help the girls get to know more people here. We all love to spend time together at home, though, so our adjustment hasn't been too bad. The lonesome times do sneak up on us all, though.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Taxes and Doctors

It is Tax Day already! Where has all the time gone???? I've always done our taxes, some years I get them in early, some not. This year I started them in January only to have Del's company make a mistake on the W-2 form. After two tries, the corrected W-2 is correct and taxes are done. They go in the mail today. Another yearly milestone completed. Thankfully we get a refund which will help finance the rest of the adoption expenses.

Since we've moved I've been searching for a family doctor for us. It is so hard to use an insurance form to decide if the doctor listed is the right one for us. Finally, I just picked an office that sounded okay to me leaving it up to God. In order to travel to Liberia, you should take a prescription antibiotic along in case you get sick because there is an extreme shortage of everything in the medical field. Liberia desperately needs medical personnel, supplies, equipment, everything. We have an appointment at the end of the month with this local doctor. So it was very comforting to find out last night at the church ladies supper that the doctor we picked was being praised by another woman in the group who is a nurse herself. Besides the medical doc, I made appointments with a new dentist and a new eye doctor. Now I just need to find a chiropractor!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Renewing fingerprints & Grandma's car

I was talking with the yahoo group about the progress with the adoption and was reminded that we should renew our fingerprints. Fingerprints are good for 15 months and ours expire the end of May. Since time is getting close and it takes some time to get appointments to have it done, I guess we'll go ahead and renew our fingerprints before they expire (a BIG no-no). We're also waiting on our homestudy update to be completed. Our social worker is writing it up now.

Some of you may remember my earlier posts about my Grandma. She's a terrific woman of God and I'm very proud of her. Rachel and Steve compiled a bunch of family pictures onto a digital frame and gave it to her this weekend. We had one photo of my mom and her brothers as kids in a one-room schoolhouse. Grandma really loved this one since my mom died eight years ago. If anyone has an elderly relative or someone in a small home, digital frames are great ideas. We put pictures of flowers (my Grandma has a green arm), places she'd like to see, and of course, family on it. I'm working at taking older, non-digital pictures and scanning them into the 'puter to make them digital to be added to the frame.

We bought a 'new' car. Grandma drove until last fall when she went into the nursing home for rehab. When it became obvious she wouldn't be driving again, she decided to sell her car. We bought it for a teen car for Erin and Erik and as a backup for Megan's old car. Now we have to figure out how we're going to get it from WI to FL.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The kids have their passports already...

Adoption has been compared to being pregnant and I will agree with that. You wait for what seems like forever, and then, all of a sudden you are holding a baby. With being 'paper pregnant', as I've heard adoption described, you wait for a long time and then all of a sudden, things start moving. This week has been an instance of things starting to move. Normally the finalization has to take place and then we wait 4-6 weeks (or more) for the Liberian passports. Although the finalization was held up due to waiting for the newly discovered birthmom's relinquishment signature, the kids passports have already been received.

So we just might travel in May! All that's left is the judge signing the papers, some other minor paperwork and then the U.S. Embassy appointment. That's when we go to Liberia and meet with the US consulate. Even then, though, things aren't always straightforward. The Redman's need some prayers to clear up some DNA tests the US Embassy is ordering for their adopted son that they haven't been able to bring home yet.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

She signed!!

Just a quick update, the birthmom came into the orphanage and signed the relinquishment papers! Now the adoption case goes before the judge. Rachel at AOH thought the finalization would be done by the end of this month. Then we wait for the Liberian passports for the kids. And then we should be close to traveling. We can breathe a little easier now.

Still waiting ....

We now know that Abraham's mom was the one that died and that the girls are full-siblings. Their mom is the one that is still alive and on whom we're waiting for her relinquishment signature. Time is different in Liberia. Some families that have traveled this adoption road before have said that 'right now' is in about 45 minutes in Liberia. So I'm not surprised that 'any day' has been drawn out to several days. This combined with the state of flux that Liberian adoptions are in right now is the reason why we're still waiting. When we started the adoption process, Liberian adoptions were taking about 6 - 9 months from the time you received a referral to the time you brought home your kids. Now with all the changes being made to improve the system, we are caught in the middle of the transitions. So we are trying to be patient.

Karl is really getting anxious to have Abraham home to be able to have a buddy. We are slowly finding new friends here but there is always a sorting out that occurs. He did play at a homeschool snowbird friend from Wisconsin yesterday. They head back to WI this weekend, though, so Karl will miss them until next winter. I've been having him help me collect orphanage donations to keep him busy. Things like OTC meds, clothes, school supplies, toiletries, pediasure and liquid breakfasts for the caustic kids are all in demand over there. You can go here to see and read about two girls that have ingested caustic soda that are now in Houston for surgeries to repair the damage.

To keep us busy, we're selecting photos to be included in a family digital picture frame for my Grandma. She has a large family of about 80 grandkids, great-, great-great-, and step-grandkids. So we're hoping to get a bunch of photos to keep grandma company when we can't visit. I'm trying to figure out how to put captions on the photos to help jog grandma's memory.