Monday, April 19, 2010

Birthday Party

Another Birthday party success! 9 Years old, I can't believe it. For some reason my parties don't stay to the normal 1-2 hours. Oh no, they just keep going and going.....I hate to stop the kids when they are having fun though.

This year "Pretty Pony Parties" came to entertain. Yep, I'm not a good entertainer at all. Normally these people bring ponies, but since the kids were a little older, they brought a horse. Then she called to tell me they were going to bring 2 horses. And they still stayed the hour and a half. She even brought them a little gift and card.

Afterwards we had lots of cake and ice cream.

Sydnee's turn...... After her friend Shannon rode, she wanted to be in charge. So they let her lead Sydnee around for a bit.

When Simon first went to get on the horse, he realized he had to climb "way up there" and decided that horses are "stupid" and he didn't need a dumb ole party anyway. That is his way of dealing with something he is either scared of or just doesn't want to do. But Olivia didn't hesitate to get up there.

But I turned my back and 5 min later he was up on that horse. I was thrilled. Heights aren't Simon's strong point. He will just avoid things if he thinks he may fail. But I praised him up and down. So he rode several rides and then even let Ethan ride with him. Ethan got a lot of rides because he was so small and just went along with who ever would take him.
Sydnee decided it was her turn. Shannon was chomping at the bit waiting until they would let her lead someone around by herself.
And she is getting her chance.
Aubrey and Haleigh were having a ball. I knew Aubrey loved horses, but had no idea Haleigh would enjoy it like she did.
And Simon up for one more ride.

Nothing like a nice group photo.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A story that many of us international adopting parents live

Here is a story regarding a tragic situation with a 7 yr old Russian boy. The sad thing is that the parent didn't go for help anywhere. There are resources out there, but you definitely have to hunt and find. But for parents of biological children have a hard time understanding why we go to the lengths we do to help our adopted children. I have actually had someone tell me "if you would just take your kids out of therapy and let them just be kids they would be better off. They don't stand a chance with a parent like you". This came from someone with a biological child/ren who didn't have a horrible time raising their child/ren. I really felt it unfair for them to say this comment when they had no idea what we were going through with our children. Especially since they had only seen my kids a couple of times. So here is the story below. The drastic measure isn't that common, but sadly the story is. As a parent to one or more of these hildren, it is exhausting and makes you constantly question yourself as to if what you are doing is the right thing. But then you have to snap into reality; is your child better here or back in their home country. These kids don't stand a chance over there.

(April 12) -- When Torry Hansen sent her 7-year-old adoptive son back to his Russian homeland alone on a one-way flight last week, part of her note to authorities said the boy had "severe psychopathic issues" and she no longer wished to parent him. Hansen's mother, Nancy, later told The Associated Press her adoptive grandson threatened to burn down their house and kill their family members. Adoption experts and psychologists now say Hansen had several options in coping with Artyom "Justin" Savelyev's alleged behavioral problems, including consulting her adoption agency, family pediatrician, social worker or even Tennessee's child protective services."If you're in crisis, you need to reach out," Sue Gainor, national chairperson of Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption, told AOL News. "Nobody should be alone in crisis, because it results in rash decisions."

Rossia 1 Television Channel / AP
Artyom "Justin" Savelyev, the 7-year-old boy sent back to Russia by his adoptive American mother last week, gets into a minivan outside the police department office in Moscow on Thursday.As Russia weighs a freeze on adoptions in the U.S., the Hansen case is shining new light on "disrupted" adoptions, which occur when a family decides to relinquish custody of an adopted son or daughter. Though experts said statistical data are spotty in recording the number of disrupted international adoptions in the U.S., Nashville adoption attorney Bob Tuke, a longtime member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, said broken adoptions like that of Hansen and Savelyev are generally uncommon."It's so rare to hear about anything as extreme as the Hansen case, but sometimes disrupted adoptions do happen," Tuke told AOL News. "In the very few times I've seen it in my experience, it's been because the parent simply could not parent the child. There was an inability to deal with the child physically or emotionally."Children adopted from Russia can come with severe emotional and psychological problems stemming from their time in the country's orphanage system, where children may suffer neglect and abuse. Fetal alcohol syndrome is also a prevalent problem among Russian orphans. These circumstances could lead to attachment and behavioral disorders among Russian adoptees that may make it difficult for them to bond with the American parents who adopt them."Some of these children have never been loved, since birth. They haven't been held, and they aren't allowed experiences that help them develop their senses. ... They don't even know what a parent is," Chuck Johnson, vice president and chief operating officer at the National Council for Adoption, told AOL News. "We bring them to the U.S. and put them in a brightly colored room with lots of noisy toys, and we think that's supposed to make them happy when, really, it can hurt their integration process."Hansen described her adopted son as "mentally unstable" and "violent." Such behavioral problems are consistent with special-needs children transitioning out of international orphanage institutions. Development delays, attachment disorders and problems with self-control and aggression are among the difficulties international adoptees confront, according to Joseph LaBarbera, a clinical psychologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who works with international adoptees.Parents are often unprepared for the challenges of raising a son or daughter recovering from severe trauma. Hansen's mother said her daughter was lied to about Savelyev's well-being because the Russian orphanage wanted to get rid of him."A subset of these kids are very difficult to deal with. ... The usual interventions like counseling or medication or brief hospitalization are sometimes not sufficient," LaBarbera told AOL News. "Certain kids are born in this world that are damaged by their early treatment, and years later those problems come home to roost."Nancy Hansen also told the AP that her daughter did not seek professional psychological help for Savelyev before sending him back to Russia. Adoption advocates like Johnson say that was a grave mistake."We know that they had options. They did not have to resort to these drastic measures," Johnson told AOL News. "Here she is, a nurse. ... She could have talked to a pediatrician, received a referral for a child psychologist, reached out to her placing adoption agency. There are programs for families who want to disrupt their adoptions."All of the experts interviewed by AOL News pointed to educational resources at their Web sites for parents of international adoptees. They also pointed to state protective services as last-ditch efforts."What you don't do is put your 7-year-old adoptive son back on a plane to Russia," Tuke said. "It often takes work and help. ... We think love conquers all, but sometimes love needs a little help."Despite the outcry over Hansen's actions, LaBarbera cautions against rash judgment against her."The woman was vilified, demonized for what was obviously not an ideal solution to the problem, but the problems are often very difficult to deal with," he said. "Some of the parents, their lives have been dramatically changed as a result of these very impaired children who were damaged in orphanages. They deal with some pretty difficult to control kids, and I feel sorry for them."Gainor stressed that the majority of international adoptions are success stories."Individual crises occur and they're tragic, but the larger outcome is that thousands of children have been adopted into loving, happy homes," she said. "Most parents work really, really hard to help their children that they love. We don't want one crisis to paint a very broad picture of adoption."The Russian government hopes Savelyev will be welcomed into a loving home back in his native country. Three families have come forward voicing their desire to adopt him.That wish was echoed by Johnson. "My hope is that the child can find a home that will meet his needs," he said.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I can't believe2 months have gone by already. There has been a lot going on. To begin the year I went to go see a house that was offered to me for a retreat house. Actually it was brought up around the first of December, but I just wasn't thinking it would work. After the holidays were over I gave it more thought and figured that it couldn't hurt to at least go look at it. Oh my goodness. When I walked in, I knew it was meant to be. After looking at all 3 floors, I was sold. In February I closed on the house and will take possession around April 1. I am so excited. This is the answer to a dream come true. I have prayed daily for guidance on this massive project. So far everything has fallen into place one piece at a time. I am in awe of everything that has worked out. There is a little construction that needs to be done in the walk out basement to open it up, but other than that it is just paint. You can see details by going to I still can't believe it's going to happen. We're taking names of volunteers who are interested in coming April 16-18, air mattresses and all to paint and clean. And of course I will take help any other time too.

The kids have been doing pretty well for the most part. We have had trouble with Sydnee acting out in class which we met with the principal this morning. Simon has done well up until they started practicing for the spring program. This is a very intense practice. The program is tomorrow, so it will be over soon. He just doesn't do well in large crowds. Especially if he walks into the crowd instead of the crowd coming slowly to him. But he is doing way better than he was doing several years ago. He is also learning to recognize when things don't feel right to him. Back in the days he would just blow up. But now he is figuring out what it is, what's causing it and how to deal with it without automatically blowing up. That is a huge thing for him. He is starting to feel pretty proud of that accomplishment.

We are still looking for a home for a now 8 mo old kitten. He is beautiful and loving. But he needs a home. We have had him for 6 months now and it was always a plan to get him healthy and find him a home. And we also have a 4 mo old cockatiel who needs a family. We will probably be getting more eggs this spring and the cage isn't large enough for 3 cockatiels and a nesting box. And then with the hatchlings.

Mike has been working on his train room in the garage. He's gotten pretty far with it.

We have had 2 deaths in the family. These were cousins in their early 20's. I just feel for their mother and grandmothers. I can't imagine losing one of my children. So please lift them up in prayer for peace and comfort.

I have a quilt event this weekend where I will have a booth to show quilts and of course the retreat center. I am looking forward to it. I have given out just under 500 business cards already and I haven't even gotten out there formally. We will have our open house July 2-3. I hope you join us.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year

New Years Eve started well. Everyone was being very lazy. Later in the day we had another episode with Simon. After calling his doctor, I was told to bring him up to Cinci Hospital. So I gathered our things and headed on up. It was very late when we got there. And after they decided to admit him into the other hospital it was 2:15am when I got to my hotel. I was exhausted. I headed home on Friday aroud 1pm.
When I went to Mom's to get Sydnee, they were planning a surprise for me. I had no idea what they were doing. But she told me that Deanna and Pat were meeting us at the pizza place. Well, we got to the restaurant and they showed me a quilt Sydnee had worked on all day. There was an online quilt challenge. They would send instructions every hour for you to go onto the next step. Well, Sydnee did a wonderful job. I was amazed at how perfect her seams were. She was so excited to show me. Mom said she never wanted to take a break. She just wanted to keep on sewing. Yeah Sydnee.

Another bit of good news is that I found two new possibilities for a retreat house. I will find more information this upcoming week. I am hoping that this will be a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This starts as a love story. We have had Tovarysch for over a year. In July we got the male cockatiel. After a couple of months we realized they really liked each other. The funny thing is that we bought Tovarysch as a "male". Well, not so....he's a she. Well, sure enough in November they proved to us that they really are a couple. Here is the series of photos which leads up to "Little Guy". What an adventure it has been. We have enjoyed it thoroughly.
The happy couple.

One day I found an egg in one of the food bowls. It was ice cold so I disposed of it. Mike quickly made a laying box. Within 48 hours we had another egg. 48 hours, another and then another. We had a total of 4 eggs (not including the first one that we disposed of). While I was gone to retreat Nov 13-15, Mike called to let me know that an egg hatched. He was so excited.

Two days old

Momma sitting on the other eggs right next to Little Guy

He's so ugly he's cute.

I can't believe how fast he/she has grown.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

AIE Auction

Mom and I went to the AIE Foundation auction. This was for the school to raise money for the scholarships that parents may need if they fall on hard times. We did great! It was a lot of fun just watching people bidding back and forth. I have no idea how much they raised. They also set a goal to collect $25,000 by Dec 31. If that goal is reached, Mr Savage will let the kids shave his head. Too funny.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The kids have both done well over the last month or so. They have a new psychiatrist in Cinci. So now their appointments will be in the same place at the same time. That really makes a difference. Less travel time for sure. They have a new counselor here in Louisville that will communicate with the doctors up there. But that will help with the travel as well. That was Cinci's goal. They wanted to try to make things easier on us during the school year. Speaking of school, they have both done well this year. Even the principal has stopped me in carpool multiple times to let me know he is very proud of Simon this year. That was great to hear.

Sydnee got her casts on but was able to get them removed within 3 weeks. It was supposed to be a 4-8 week process. She was getting new casts every week. She thoroughly enjoyed Tuesday nights when she could have the casts removed for 24 hours and soak in a nice hot bath. Now she is only wearing night casts. She did very well and can actually now stand on one foot for 16+ seconds. Before it was less than 5 seconds. So this is a great change.

We still have our little black kitten. Well he isn't tiny anymore. This little guy needs a loving home. If Mike has told me that once, I have heard it 1,000 times. He is very handsome. Solid black with big green eyes. He loves to play, but will cuddle up with you as well. Gets along with other cats and does great with kids. We just have too many little critters running around. So I would love to find him a wonderful home.

Our cockatiels have decided to become parents. We now have 5 eggs in a nest. I have read that if the birds are under 1 year old, there is a chance their eggs won't be viable. So we'll have to wait and see. But in the meantime, they are taking turns on the nest. If they hatch, they should start around Nov 13. So if you are intersted in a cockatiel, let me know. I have already had 4 people ask if they can have one.

I had been looking at a house to buy to use as a retreat center. But someone bought it before me. So we are looking at building. Now I am looking for a piece of property. We'll be holding our fundraiser in January. More on that later. I would love to be up and running by October 2010.