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Sunday, April 26, 2009

We stumbled upon Ukraine. It was cheaper, relatively quick and, at the time, seemed like our best chance of getting a healthy young child.

T his was so much fun!!!
I need to have you all take the floor more often. I am surprised though...I expected a lot more questions. I haven't ever blogged on here about our life before kids...or much about the adoption of the first three, I kind of expected more on those topics. ;>)
Oh well, it was fun anyway...here's the first installment of Q&A.

Barb in WI wrote...

Sorry to hear your state of mind these days...we can all relate to your issues perhaps in some way. I have a question about your old house. Has it sold yet? I can imagine that has to be a difficult situation. Are you able to rent it out in the meantime? I am very interested in the real estate market these days. I have had my house up for sale (still occupied) for about 19 months and am equally as frustrated! Good luck with whatever it may be.

Thanks so much Barb for your comment and good wishes. No, our house hasn't sold and yes, that is contributing to my funk. Its a big stressor for me to have our house sit empty for so long and have absolutely NO end in sight. The town we lived in was small and there are several houses for sale at just about the same size. We were hoping to avoid renting it out because since we're so far away its hard to manage, but we may have no choice. There are some other issues that are playing into all of this that I can't write about right now, but hope to this next week.
I'm sorry you're having such a hard time selling your place. This housing market stinks, doesn't it? I keep hoping people will start to realize now is the time to buy since there are so many houses on the market, prices are coming down and interest rates are so low...but I guess a lot of people are in the same place Shad and I are. Hope you find a buyer soon! :)

Jessy said...

Questions? Questions? Hmm...well, what are your plans for the summer? Feel like a vacation to Texas? I know this gal with a BIIIIIG house where you can stay.

Ooooohhh! I'd love to, but our summer plans aren't going to allow it. We're hoping to do some mini-trips this summer. Two and three day excursions. We'll see if it happens. Shad is doing one of those little trips today. He's taking the big three kids to a Rockies' baseball game in Denver for Aleks' birthday (May 7). I've got my eyes on Yellowstone this year, since neither Shad or I have been there...not to mention the kids. I'm putting it tentatively on the mid-May calendar.
Other trip ideas include Mt. Rushmore - which isn't too far away, Cave of the Winds, Colorado Springs and possible Salt Lake City. I'm excited!!! :)
Maybe I could get a raincheck on that offer?! :) Possibly during the fall, spring or winter when it isn't so HOT!!! :)

Pam asked...

As far as questions what happened with the alpaca, does she live with you all now so to speak or is she still a Kansas resident?

Areana, the alpaca, is still a Kansas resident...living happily on a farm with her little alpaca buddies. Shad went back to Kansas a few weeks ago to check on her and to help out with a shearing on the farm. (Using his veterinary skills helps us save on boarding fees). Turns out she may be preggers, which means our alpaca 'ranch herd' may be double this summer. I can't wait to see a baby alpaca! How cute would that be?! :)

Courtney asked...

Are you guys still using sign with Maddie (and at school)? I know you're focused on her oral learning, but I wondered if you were keeping the sign so she has communication even when her BAHA is off. :) I have a feeling we're going to be doing a LOT of sign for quite a while with our youngest.

Yes, we're still using sign with Maddie, although its mostly for clarification at this point. Maddie is HIGHLY verbal, (I can't imagine just how much more she would be talking if she had normal hearing! :) Since she talks so much and most of the time we can get the gist of what she's saying, we mostly talk to her...and just use signs to clarify. I know we don't use sign as much as we should...Shad and I haven't learned NEARLY enough sign and as her speech has improved we have admittedly gotten lazy about it.
The school does work with her on signing quite a bit. Its mostly nouns at this point, but they're starting to add verbs and adjectives which is awesome...but again, her primary form of communication is verbal.
Just a side note...you wondered if we were continued the sign so she would have a way to communicate when her hearing aid wasn't on. We have made a conscious decision to make sure her hearing aid is on ALL the time since learning 70 percent of her language is acquired through casual learning, overhearing conversations and the like, its imperative to keep her hearing aid on ALL the time.
Consider this...the experts say if a child keeps her hearing aid on just while at preschool, it will take her NINE YEARS to learn everything a normal hearing child learns in that one year. Crazy huh?! Makes sense though. The same goes with day-to-day life. If a child isn't aided all the time it takes years upon years for them to learn everything a normal hearing child gets in a calendar year. Which explains why Maddie's language was SO delayed while living in the orphanage. Now since my Madster is one smart cookie, she's catching up quickly...and I'm telling you, the day WILL come when I finally hear from her teachers that she is at the same level as her peers and I. WILL. CRY. LIKE. A. BABY!
I CAN'T wait! :)

Rachel asked...

How is your ladies group going - are you still doing that? And I really must know how you manage four kids and all their activities!!!

I am still going to the ladies Bible study and loving it! Its an awesome group of women and I learn so much. I missed the last two weeks and its getting ready to close for the summer (if you can call the weather we're having summer) but I've heard a summer Bible study group is forming...I'm hoping I can join them.
Hmmm...keeping up with four kids and all their activities... You know what's weird? It doesn't feel like I'm doing anything more to keep up with four than I did with one. Granted, Maddie still really isn't involved in a whole lot except for AWANA...and other than at one point this winter when both boys were doing basketball I haven't had to do that much running, so maybe I'm a bit delusional.
The worst point came last summer when the three older kids were all involved in baseball. There was one night when we had three kids playing in three different places. Thankfully, the younger two's games were timed just enough apart that I was able to see a bit of both...but still! Whew!
The key, I think, is we limit the kids to one extra activity at a time (not including church). We try really hard not to over schedule. We haven't added Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts or 4-H in the mix...thankfully, the kids just haven't been that interested. Its mostly sports that they're into...and AWANA.
I know the older the kids get the worse it will get.
I've also got a pretty supportive husband. Shad is a VERY active dad...he does his best to be at EVERY activity, which is awesome. So on those nights when we have more than one activity we divide and conquer. Shad goes one way and I go another. Thankfully that doesn't happen very often. I'd rather have him sitting in the folding chair next to met the baseball diamond on a sultry, summer evening while I'm watching Alek pitch, swatting mosquitoes and trying to get red popsicle juice out of Maddie's shirt! :)

Kim asked...

Anyway, a blogging topic for you I am sure you have mentioned it before but I have never seen the answer, so here is my question: why did you choose Ukraine rather than adopting from Russia again?

When Shad and I first started talking about adopting for the fourth time in the fall of 2006 (jeez, has it been THAT long?!) Russia was still in the middle of an adoption moratorium. Nothing was moving, no one was getting referrals, agencies were hesitant to take new clients...and no one knew when it would get any better.
Both of our former agencies were out of business and we weren't able to file our third and final post-placement report for Anya and Nick. We just felt like our chances of completing an adoption in Russia any time soon almost null.
Add to THAT the fact that Shad insisted that IF we were going to do this adoption it would HAVE to be done BEFORE he turned 40...and well, the clock was ticking.
So we decided to look at other options.
We considered China for all of two seconds. At the time we didn't think we were up to special needs, and since the waiting time for China is measured in YEARS we immediately crossed that off the list.
We considered Tibet (yes, Tibet) but you could only have two children at home...we looked at Kazakhstan but couldn't find an agency that we could afford.
And then we stumbled upon Ukraine. It was cheaper, relatively quick and, at the time, seemed like our best chance of getting a healthy young child.
God had other plans, and we're thrilled that He did. I can't imagine our life without Maddie...and wouldn't change her for anything.

Soooo...Any other questions?

12 salty messages:

MoonDog April 26, 2009 at 6:05 PM  

yes! questions! i didnt realize you had adopted from Russia. We adopted from Russia and now we want to adopt little Annie from Ukraine on RR. share with me the differences you found between the two. how were the kids size wise comparitively? Our son from Russia was 15 pounds when he came home...he was 2! my 8 week daughter at the time weighed almost that! how are the cultures different? any words of advice? I started a blog called roadtoanastasia, you can get there from my regular blog. Not much there yet. but hope to update it about our journey. and hope to get that baby home asap!

Dorothy April 26, 2009 at 7:20 PM  

This is a great idea..and you can tell by the questions I'm not alone in those feelings.

Dorothy from grammology

jessy April 26, 2009 at 9:33 PM  

Yes, Texas is a long way, and it is very hot. I've always wanted to visit Yosemite, too. We are enjoying the 89 degree weather but these "cool" days will pass quickly. BUT, the up-shot is some AWESOME water parks. Of course you may have a rain check. Of course, you may visit anytime.

Courtney April 27, 2009 at 8:52 AM  

I'm not as familiar with BAHAs, but I assumed she couldn't wear it anywhere it would get wet (swimming, bath, playing in the sprinkler, etc.) which is why I asked about communication when it was off. I just assumed that she was wearing all of the rest of the time, not just at school. It actually hadn't occurred to me that she might only be wearing it at school. :)
I do remember that when our littles would come to school (when I was interpreting in TX), they would put on the school hearing aids (to be connected to the FM system) and I know some parents had a hard time getting their kids to keep their home hearing aids on at home. I was guessing that Maddie liked hearing so much that she probably wanted to wear it all of the time. :)

Tami April 27, 2009 at 9:29 AM  

Thanks for the clarification. You're right, we don't have any problem at all getting her to wear the hearing aids, which is a blessing.
Honestly, the thought about communicating with her when she's not wearing the hearing aids because she's in water hadn't really occurred to me until I started thinking about swimming lessons for this summer. Its going to be a challenge...and one that I think sign language will come in really handy for. I have been and continue to feel extremely guilty about the lax approach Shad and I have taken in teaching her sign. My sister-in-law, Valerie, who along with my brother adopted a little girl with the same condition and are ready to bring another child home this summer with the same condition, has told me she doesn't believe its as necessary for Maddie as it is for her two kids because Maddie is so verbal. While I agree she's highly verbal and I also am confident she knows how to read lips, its still a skill that would come in very handy for her in the long run. I just wish I knew how to go about getting her the help she needs to learn the language.
When everything settles down around here I guess I'll have to start researching it again.

SLColman April 27, 2009 at 11:51 AM  

Check with the University about sign language - I know that they used to have an instructor there (might still have) that is hearing impaired and I bet they might be able to hook you all up with some classes or tutorials that could help you as a family with learning :)

Also, I remember doing AWANA as a child at church. I am curious as to which church there has it! :)

Have a great day!!

Kim April 28, 2009 at 9:44 AM  

I think all your summer trip ideas sound great. I guess you can call being closer to so much a positive about the move. I feel like we aren't close to much of anything here in KS.

Funny how we sometimes fall into just the right place to find the perfect child for our families. I had never heard of Kazakhstan, was looking into a child I THOUGHT was in Russia and ended up being in Kaz. Of course if you know anything about our story you know that was not meant to be, but it did lead us to our son.

Troy and Rachel April 28, 2009 at 11:50 AM  

Thanks for answering those questions and sharing so much information. Q&A is fun!!

DhoyM April 28, 2009 at 4:53 PM  

Hi Tami, This is out of topic but I just want to give you an award. I hope you'll like it. Here is the link: http://dhoyblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/thanks-to-liza_28.html Thanks. :)

Tim April 29, 2009 at 12:25 AM  

Hey Tami!

I hope you will join me on Thursday for my new Vlogemotion carnival. Its gonna be the next new thing in the blogging world I promise. Go to my blog and check it out for yourself.

Love and Prayers,


Ashley April 30, 2009 at 6:12 AM  

I enjoyed reading the Q & A post. Thanks for answering questions for people. I know that takes time. :)

I apologize with my lack of keeping up with so many blogs. Yours was one I used to check daily. It has been hard lately, but I am going to try and do better. I am starting to panic because we will be leaving for Ukraine soon, but I also want to try and keep up with some of my friends even though I am busy. It's no excuse...so sorry! Love ya, girl!

Lillian April 30, 2009 at 11:00 AM  

Honestly, I don't know how you do it and where you get you're energy in taking care of all your kids! I have only one but I get so drained! You're awesome and God bless you and you're family even more!

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