Visiting Lalibela

Visiting Lalibela

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What a weekend!

We just got back from a whirlwind trip to St. Paul to see my sister, brother-in-law and nephews. What a great weekend! This was the first time our newest kids had met my sister's family. After the long car ride (11 hours), I was a bit nervous, but we just had the best time. Saturday, we hit the Mall of America for about 8 hours of fun. Janika and Elli turned out to the wildest Sweeneys on the big rides- everyone else tried several rides too. We hit the aquarium and 18 holes of miniature golf before stumbling back to Brenda's house. Thank you, Brenda and Greg for making our kids truly feel like part of the family. We love you and appreciate you!

Sunday was another special treat- we got to celebrate Easter Sunday with some good friends, the Korsons. We met the Korsons through Gavin's adoption. Their kids were at the Transition Home when we picked up Gavin and Elli fell in love with their oldest daughter. We were able to connect on our yahoo group once we got home and have kept in loose touch ever since. When we were in the Cities last year, we were able to meet up with them for dinner at which time we found out that their daughter was good friends with our newest children, having spent time in the same orphanage. I am so amazed that we were able to worship together, with all of our children together, in the same church, after spending so many months together in an orphanage half way across the world. We received so many hints from them, before bringing our older children home and are so appreciative of all of their advice, from communication, to school resources. Our God is so good.
I will try to post pictures tomorrow-after a trip to Dickinson for a track meet...never a dull moment and for that I am thankful.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Look who's six!!

I can't believe it~~ yesterday, my baby girl turned six. I am so thankful that 6 years ago, my LB came into the world. I'm so thankful that God orchestrated for us to become foster parents and bring her home 3 weeks after she was born..this child is a blessing. She has taught us about love and joy and trusting God. She brings a smile to everyone's face, hugs to those who don't really like hugs and healing to hearts that are hurt. She brings JOY to this Mommy and Daddy who love to watch her grow and develop. She loves well and is WELL LOVED.

Friday, April 8, 2011

April One!

I know this post is a bit late, but we are still having fun with April Fools Day at our house. Our newest 4 had never had a day where pranks were allowed all day. Janika started out the day with two bowls of cereal and milk that she had frozen in the freezer the night before. She was successful in getting Leah, then Hallie, then Micah and Gabe with the two bowls. It was hilarious!! We explained April Fools Day again and it was non-stop laughter all day. Layne and Gabe even tried to tie Mike's feet together when he fell asleep on the couch.

All day long, we heard laughter, then "APRIL ONE!!" So, part of our laughter was explaining that we say "April Fools" instead of "April One." As night finally came to our first day of April, Micah asked if we could have April One everyday...Now, instead of hearing "April One" we hear laughter and "April Three!!" or "April Five" I guess it's helping everyone learn what day it is! I wonder what we'll do when May rolls around.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Dance

Life with a child with attachment issues is like a country two-step, two steps forward, one step back. Fortunately, we are ALL learning on a daily basis what love looks like and our dance seems to be moving forward more quickly than backward. I hope soon to be doing a line dance, where we all are moving with the same movements.

Again, as I talk about these issues, I want to be very careful not to identify the child, because I believe these issues won't always be here and I certainly don't want the child defined by this season of life. So, as impersonal as it sounds, I will be referring to the child as "it". The reason for blogging about our experiences is to help and encourage other families and help equip some that may need equipping.

Here are a few more pearls that seem to be working.

1. Leotard- When I used to work with kids with sensory issues, I would often have their parents get a tight spandex shirt or a leotard for the child to wear. The leotard has to be a little tight and small...This helps the child feel more comfortable in their skin. It's kind of like getting a hug all day long. We all know when our child has the leotard on and when the child doesn't. It's that effective. Now, we make sure we always have one clean and handy, in case one gets dirty or wet.

2. Reading facial expressions Again, I can look back on my experience with kids who have difficulty reading facial expressions to know that my child really doesn't read my face most of the time. The song, If You're Happy and you Know it" has played a good role in overcoming this. We are able to talk all the time about what a face should look like around family.

3. Not jumping to conclusions My child was able to tell me yesterday that I wasn't the target of the anger- there was an internal anger based on it's own actions. The child was mad at itself for not acting the way we all wanted.

4. Finally, this is not attachment related but is a pearl for language development. We are seeing HUGE improvements in reading and spoken language with the use of singing nursery rhymes. My kids have to follow along with their fingers the first time through and then are able to act out the songs the second time through. They are doing great! They are reading all kinds of new words because they're hearing them in the songs.

I know, without a doubt that God put this child in our home for a reason. I know without a doubt that my past experiences working with kids with sensory issues was for this exact time and place. I know without a doubt that God is faithful. It was evident in the love note I received from my child this morning...God is good. all the time.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tell us about your town

My bigger kids are doing an overview of World History this year. Next year, we will be doing an in depth U.S. History course. In preparation, we are talking a lot about US geography but we need some help. If there still are blog readers out there, can you leave us comments on the following:
1. Where you live
2. the size of town you live in
3. your local weather (seasonal averages) including days of sunshine
4. Is your state/city homeschool friendly (can homeschoolers participate in public school or private school activities?)
5. Would you recommend your city/town as a place to raise kids? If so, what activities do your kids take part in?

I think that about sums it up. We would love lots and lots of comments. It really is a fun way to study geography (all the new kids know where all the 50 states are but learning about them in a more personal way would help us all)