Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Trees

So the day after Thanksgiving is one of my very most favorite days of the entire year.  No, I don't go shopping and get some great deals on Christmas presents.  Ken and I started a tradition a very long time ago.  One of my friends asked us to join them at a farm in Buckeystown, MD, Mayne's Tree Farm, to get our Christmas trees.  It wasn't Black Friday that year but since then it has become a Black Friday tradition for us.  There's only been two years since Connor was born that we didn't go there and he's almost 12.  The year he was born and the year that we were renting while our house was being built.  Both times I was extremely disappointed with our tree hunting experience.  After the second time, I vowed we would never willingly choose a different experience. 

We love it.  We hop in the Explorer/Suburban/Sprinter (our cars have grown as our family has grown) and ride up the road to the farm.  It's a family run farm and they keep their business going buy selling Christmas trees.  We ride a tractor out to the field.  We make sure to tell them we want white pine, because white pine is huggable.  We jump off the tractor with a saw.  We used to use their hack saws but we have since learned to bring my DeWalt reciprocating saw with a battery.  We search and search.  We mark trees with gloves and hats and scarves to make sure we can find them again.  We look from every angle and we look at all sides.  Well, using the term 'we' isn't exactly correct.  You see, I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to Christmas trees and I'm the one doing all this.  Ken follows me around.  The boys have always done their best to point out the tree that they think is 'the one' but I'm the one who makes the decision.

Once the decision is made (after traipsing around the field for about an hour), Ken usually asks three or four times if I'm sure (because sometimes I'm not) and then he cuts it down.  We drag it back to the trail and the tractor picks it up.  The put it on the machine that shakes out most of the dead needles and then they stick it through the machine that wraps it.  We load it up, buy a dozen jars of preserves to last the year, and go have lunch.  We drive home, put the tree up and the kids and I watch my all time favorite Christmas movie "The Muppet Christms Carol" while I put the lights on the tree and Ken hangs the Christmas lights on the house.  For the past two years we have been very pleased to have my aunt and uncle meet us there and visit with us on this day... and this year they got to meet the newest Yeatmans.

It was a good day.  Diana and John loved the whole thing.  John especially loved the tractor ride.  Yuli did ok but started to fall apart before the day was over.  All in all it was a good day.  I tried really hard to not take long to choose the tree.  We ended up with a much smaller tree than usual but it's pretty.  I hope they continue to plant more white pine.  It seems like the selection wasn't as good this year.  We had a good lunch and I got half the lights on the tree.  Unfortunately, Ken is having a really hard time with his cold/illness/plague whatever it is and didn't get the lights up outside.  In fact, Friday was his last day up and it may have done him in.  Starting with Saturday, Ken spent four days in bed.  He only got up once to sit with Yuli in her room while she raged for an hour so I could have a break.  He then got up on Monday to go to the doctor, but for four days, I was single-mommin' it.  That was rough.  Ken ended up cancelling his business trip and by the end of the week he was feeling ok to work from home.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

For the past several years, I had gotten into the ritual of spending the entire month of November posting on Facebook what I was thankful for.  This year, I didn't.  I wasn't entirely in the loop when October gave way to November and I just found it difficult to get started.  However, I have a whole lot to be thankful for this year.  Not really only this year, but it seems that I'm realizing it more this year than other years.  So here's a short list of what I'm thankful for.

10.  I'm thankful for our material blessings.  I know it sounds shallow but without this house, we wouldn't have been able to bring three more kids home.  Without my van, we wouldn't have been able to travel in one car together as a family.  And then there's food.  I love food and I'm thankful that we are able to buy what we need when we need it... and for the most part what we want, too.

9.  I'm incredibly thankful for our church family, work friends, and homeschooling friends who are helping to carry us along in this rough transitional time.  They have prayed for us, given us money, encouraged us, brought us food, and have really lightened our load.  We have truly been able to concentrate on our new family because of them and there is no doubt that the prayers have gotten us through the tough days.

8.  I'm thankful for my baby boy John and that he's allowing my to have one more mamma's boy.  I'm thankful for one more go round with baby talk and sippy cups.  I love his cute little smile and the dimple right in the middle of his cheek.  I love it when he calls me Mami and clutches onto my leg when he doesn't want Daddy to take him to bed.  I love when he wraps his arms around my neck like I've always been his mommy.

7.  I'm thankful for my quiet, shy, baby girl, Yuli.  When she cuddles with you, she just sinks right into your arms and your heart.  When she is happy, she is really, really happy and she'll share it with anyone.  She loves hugs and cuddling.  She's cute as a button and has the best smile ever.  She's brave even in the face of doing something she doesn't want to do (ie. come to the US). 

6.  I'm thankful for my loud rambunctious girl, Diana.  She has a huge personality and lives life to the fullest.  She really loves her new family and is not at all shy about saying so.  Well, she's just not at all shy.  She is so very patient with me and my Spanish.  She is willing to help out when a job needs to get done and she is so very full of life.  She's a fast learner and loves playing with her big brothers.

5.  I'm thankful for my bright, loud, energizer night owl, Cody.  He is so smart it scares me sometimes.  He is very good with his little brother and is an excellent translator when it comes to Spanish.  I love to hear him singing (which he does all the time) and he is a fantastic cuddler.  He remembers everything he's ever read, seen on tv, or heard someone tell him.

4.  I'm thankful for my quiet soul son, Rylan.  He is an amazing gymnast and overall athlete.  He can be counted on when something needs to get done.  He is an amazing cook but he chops wood, too.  He is my mini-me and is the first one to know when someone is upset.  He gives the best hugs and when I wrestle with him, it has to be only him because he is about to overtake the strength I have left in this old body.

3.  I'm thankful for my dear, sweet, grown up little man, Connor.  He sometimes behaves more like a mature adult than I do.  He keeps me together when I can't find my keys or sunglasses or almost forget my water.  He herds the little ones when we're going out the door and keeps them busy when I need to get something done.  He has a very generous heart and always thinks of others first.

2.  I'm thankful for the godly man that is walking this life beside me.  I am so very blessed to have him.  He is nothing short of amazing and I have no idea what I would do without him.  Sometimes I think that God crafted him especially for me... because I'm not sure the average man could handle my mess.

1.  I'm most thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus made.  He gave up everything that was pure and holy and perfect to come down to this filthy, awful place filled with pain and suffering to die an excruciating death... for what?  For. Me.  Wow.  Every day should be a day of  thanksgiving for that.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

One Week Home (and one day more)

Here it is.  We've been home for one week.  All in all, things have been going ok.  Ken went back to work on Tuesday.  He had been planning on taking one more week off to help us get settled in.  I told him that I would actually prefer he go in for short days to get me used to it before he goes back to full days.  He's such a good man.  I don't know if he actually wanted to go to work or not but he did.  I'm sure it's much quieter there.  He would stay home in the morning long enough for me to get showered and get the kids together and be ready for the day (it takes longer than you might think).  Then he would go in and most days be home by 6:30 or so.  It worked out well.

So here's what's up with the kids:

Connor is as awesome and mature as ever.  He sees what needs to be done and does it.  He helps out with the little ones as much as he can.  I don't think he'd admit it if you asked him but he seems to really like having a two year old to take care of.  He's really great with them and obviously got his patience from his father, definitely didn't get that from me.  He started back to guitar on Monday and it's good for him to be playing Christmas music.

Rylan went back to gymnastics on Tuesday, also good for him.  He needs a break to be with friends and enjoy time away from the craziness.  He started having breathing problems that night so we broke out the nebulizer.  It's been quite a while since he's needed it.  At first we thought it was that he had lost his tolerance for chalk dust.  Then we thought he'd picked up the cough that Ken, John, and I had all been through.  After three days of needing the nebulizer and it not helping much, Ken took him to the doctor Friday.  He's got bronchitis.  Yay.  Why him?  He's got a meet in two weeks.  I know one thing for sure, he won't let it slow him down and he won't miss competition season.  I just pray that he can get over it and have a good season.

Cody is... well... Cody is... Cody.  Is there any other way to describe him?  He waffles between being mature and helpful to behaving like a three year old.  I don't guess that's any different than it was before.  He has been fabulous in the roll of seat belt police officer.  Yuli hates her car seat.  I have had to forcefully insert her into it more times than not.  Luckily, her petite little fingers aren't strong enough to actually open the latch but she's trying.  Cody is excellent at waffling between orders of 'No toca' (don't touch) and entertainment by teaching her to count in English.  She skips numbers when she counts in Spanish so we've given up on correcting that and are going straight for the English.  He likes to teach and help them.  Anyway he is very good at being silly and engaging the little ones to buy us some more time. 

Diana is adjusting well.  She like us.  She likes being here.  She still doesn't like being told what to do and I think at times she views things as being unfair.  I hate that she sees it that way and at times I am without the words in Spanish to explain it to her.  However, for the most part, she's a whole lot of fun.  She has an energy that just doesn't quit and it seems that all the kids enjoy playing with her at different times. She seems to be coping well to the transitions.  She did try to test Ken earlier this week to see if he would be consistent.  She actually seemed surprised when he was.  All in all, she is adjusting much easier than we expected.

Yuli is not.  She is still having a difficult time.  I dont' know what to do for the poor baby.  She goes from one extreme to the next.  She's either fighting mad and screaming, deliriously happy and giggling/squealing like a crazy person, or catatonic.  She is never anything in between and switches from one to the other like she has a light switch.  I'm praying that with time she will realize that we are it and she will be ok with that.  I hope that you all will continue to keep her in your prayers as she is really, really hurting.  Also, the mood swings are really, really exhausting for Ken and I.  We (Yuli included) have a moment of peace yesterday.  She found the storybook reader and thoroughly enjoyed listening to it read "The Lion King" to her.  It was in English.  I won't be at all surprised if she is the first one to fully embrace English.

John is also adjusting well.  He likes me now.  He likes me a lot.  It was easier when he liked Ken and Yuli liked me.  Now, frequently, I have one kid in each arm.  Luckily, they are only five lbs different so I'm not unbalanced (at least when it comes to my muscle strength, I can't say much for my mental state here).  He has settled into life here and is a typical two year old into everything.  He is mostly happy and is good to have around but we are currently in a power struggle.  He likes to throw food and dump drinks on the floor.  Now he has a sippy cup.  He doesn't like it.  I do.  When he throws it, I don't have to clean up milk.  I think he's smart so he will learn fast that if he wants a drink, he needs to get it from the sippy cup because he ain't getting it from anywhere else.

As a matter of interest, if you have been reading their names in your head, you probably have been pronouncing them incorrectly and when you are introduced, you will be surprised.  Well, ok.  John is John. Yuli is pronounced Julie.  We will probably have her name changed legally to Juli to save her the headache of explaining it as she gets older.  I actually really like her name pronouced as it's spelled.  I've heard her pronounce it that way several times.  I frequently ask her which she likes better.  When I ask, she tells me, 'Juli'... The other day after I asked her, she looked at me and asked, "Which do you like better-Mami or Mami?"   Diana is pronounced like Deaunna or go with the guys' name Dion and add an 'uh' at the end.We aren't quite sure how to explain that to Diana.  I've tried many times but my Spanish is lacking.  She's old enough to have the choice as to whether or not to change the spelling so that people will pronounce it correctly or keep the spelling and have to correct people that say it like, well Diana.  Anyway, that's all for today.  Tomorrow I have to figure out Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Good, Bad, and Very, Very Ugly

I was so thankful this morning that John slept in until 8:00.  I changed his pants, brought him downstairs to get him started on breakfast, and enjoyed the quiet morning that I'm not used to.  All they other kids were still sleeping.  The peace didn't last long.  Yuli was in a bad way when she woke up and was sitting on the bed by 9:00.  It only got worse from there.  She would not listen to a word I said and was looking for a fight at every turn.  By the time lunch rolled around, I was... done.  There's no other way to describe it.  I was just done.  She pushed my buttons one more time and it was up the stairs we went.  Thankfully, I had already fixed John's lunch and he was sitting in the high chair eating.  Also thankfully, I had already sliced the bread for the sandwiches for the other kids.  I left John in Connor's very capable hands (he's awesome) and the big kids fixed their own sandwiches while I dealt with her.

I hate this.  I hate every moment that I fight with her.  I remember another adoptive friend telling me to remember that we are not fighting with our children, we are fighting satan for our children.  It's very hard to remember that when it's their little defiant faces curled into a scowl right in front of you.  I admit... by this point, I was angry.  Very.  Angry.  I couldn't even stand to be in the room with her.  In the back of my mind, I know I can't leave her although that's very much what I wanted to do.  When she finally conceded to sit on her bed without restraint, I walk out into the hallway (where she can still see me) because I need that space.  I can deal with it if I can be in a separate 'room' than her.  I drop to my knees and pray because it's the only thing I can do right now.  This sucks.  It sucks that my baby girl is so messed up that she can bring out the worst in me.  It sucks that I allow it to happen.  It sucks that I love her so much but at times I can't even be in the same room.  I find myself praying the same thing over and over.  "God, you gave me this job, give me what I need to get it done."  By the time her 10 minutes were up (she starts with much less time but when she fights with me, time gets added), I had not an ounce of anger left, thank you God.  It was all sorrow.  I hate what's happened to her.  She's four years old.  She shouldn't have to deal with this.  She shouldn't feel this way.

I went and sat on her bed, every bit as sad as she was in that moment.  I told her that I love her.  She says, "No."  I told her that I love her.  I told her that I am her mommy.  I am your mommy forever.  Papi is your Papi forever.  We love you.   This is your family.  You have four brothers and one sister.  They all love you.  This is your house.  This is your room.  This is your bed.  I'm sad that you don't like it.  I'm sad that you don't like us.  I know that this isn't what you wanted but that doesn't change what it is.  This is your family.  This is your house.  I am your mommy.  For.Ever.  I don't like fighting with you. I like to cuddle and hug and play with you.  It's difficult to do those things when you're fighting with me.  It's ok to not like us but that if you will listen to me that things will go much better for you. 

Things were just as bad a few more times.  While John was sleeping she and Diana went outside to play.  When she came back in, she was ok.  This evening when we went to church, she allowed me to put her into her car seat and didn't fight me.  This is a HUGE step.  After I buckled up I thanked her for not fighting me.  I asked if she likes it better when we don't fight and she said yes.  When we got to church and I went to unbuckle her (she cannot do it herself, thank you again, God), she told me, "I didn't touch [the seatbelt], I didn't shout, I didn't fight."  I said, "Yes, I know.  Thank you.  This is much better."  The same thing happened when we left church.  When we got home, she was asleep.  I don't know, but I'm hopeful that maybe, just maybe, we may have turned a corner.

I did have two very good things with Diana today.  When I got on FB to post about bike helmets there was a KidSave post up.  Diana is always asking about the pictures on my computer and this was no different.  I told her about the KidSave program and hosting and kids from Colombia looking for their families.  She seemed really interested.  We talked about it for a while and then I told her that when she and Yuli are older, I'd like to have some of them come and stay with us and we can help them look for their new families.  She choked.  She looked horrified and asked, "Me?"  Oh no!  "No! No!  You are mine.  You are mine forever.  Other kids!  Other kids that need mami's and papi's."  She understood but in that instant I saw a very clear image of just how much she likes us and how much I messed up not making it clear that it was other kids that are looking for families.

Since Yuli was asleep when we got home I was able to climb into bed with Diana... it's the top bunk, I hope it holds.  We laid and the dark and talked for several minutes.  I told her how much I love her.  I told her that I'm very happy she's my daughter.  She said, "Yuli."  I said that I love Yuli and I'm happy Yuli is my daughter but that I'm very happy that she is my daughter.  She said, "No."  I said yes and she let it drop.  I have read about it, I know it happens.  But it still breaks my heart that it will take so long and take a million 'I love you's before she actually believes it.  I'm going to try and get that million in as fast as I can.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

There's No Place Like Home

Well, if you couldn't tell by the silence on the blog.  We are home now.  When we were in Colombia in a hotel room, once we got the kids to bed, there was nothing we could do for fear of waking them.  Here, there's a lot to be done and I can only get it done while the kids are in bed.  Since I need to sleep as well, the blog has suffered.  I have been informed that my friends are going through withdrawal.  So here's your post.

Things are hard, but good.  I forgot what it was like to have a two year old.  He loves closing everything and pushing buttons.  He's sharp as a tack and has already learned how to turn off the lock out feature on the ice/water dispensers on the fridge.  Diana loves it here and is so very happy.  She loves her room, she loves having the top bunk, she loves the hand me down bike (thank you Marsha), and she loves, loves, loves playing with her brothers.  It makes me really happy to see how very happy she is.  She has had some moments where she acts like your typical 7 year old who didn't get her way but definitely not like those first few weeks.  Speaking of the first few weeks... back then I thought Yuli was going to be the fastest to adjust.  I was wrong.  In hindsight, I realize she wasn't cuddling with me, she was retreating inside herself, going almost catatonic... she just happened to be on my lap.  She's started that again but instead of me, she's on my mom's lap.  Now that I can see it on someone else, I wonder how I could have missed it before. 

She needs prayers.  She is not healing well.  I realize that this is just another transition for her.  I realize I need to give her more time.  I'm worried about her.  Please pray for her.  Please pray for me.  She's really testing us.  Ken went back to work today and so it's mostly testing me.  I start every day with a prayer.  I pray for all the kids' healing.  I pray for the strength and wisdom to be what they need.  Only by the grace of God (cause it ain't me), I am able to stay calm while she's doing what she's doing.. almost all day.  Almost.  At the end of the day when it's time to put the girls to bed, the absolute last thing I want to do is lay down with her.  I know, it sounds awful.  I feel awful when I say it.  I'm trying to be real here.  By the time it's time for her to go to sleep, I've already been done with her for about an hour and all I want to do is leave.  But I can't.  She's afraid of closed doors.  She's afraid of the dark.  She's afraid of cats.  She's afraid of being alone.  So, I lay down with her in her bed.  She needs to know that no matter what she does, how she behaves, how bad the day was--Mom is here, Mom loves her, Mom will never leave you alone when you need her.  She needs to know that.  It's hard.  At a time when I'm crawling out of my skin to get a break from her, I lay down.  My brain leaves my body and I just pray.  I pray for her healing, I pray for the strength and the wisdom to do another day, to give her what she needs, to help her realize that I won't give up on her-ever.  How much this all reminds me of my adopted relationship.  My Father in heaven, who adopted me, isn't always happy with the choices I make.  Sometimes I'm the one that needs to sit on my bed and think about what I've done.  He is always with me.  He loves me, no matter what I've done.  He has never left me when I needed Him.  He has never given up on me.  I understand now how frustrated and sad he must be over me sometimes.

We ventured into the WalMart today while Rylan was at gymnastics.  We needed several things in we just had to go.  You could say it was over stimulation, but it wasn't.  It was just her doing what she does and not liking the consequences.  She ended up throwing a full blown fit.  I was calm.  I was collected, I was firm.  I kept repeating, "When you are ready to listen to me, tell me and I'll let go."  She answers with a well placed kick or a ear piercing shriek.  When we were waiting to pay, an older gentleman from the next register over was watching.  He kind of smiled a little and leaned over to his wife and said, "She's really not happy."  He noticed that I was speaking Spanish to her and English to the other two and we started talking (loudly to be heard over the screaming).  I explained that we had just gotten home from adopting them and she was having a really difficult time with it.  He smiled and said he was very impressed with how I was handling it.  He said that most moms would be beating their kids senseless by now.  I smiled back and said, "There have been many times that I have been really grateful that the agency made us sign a paper saying we wouldn't spank the kids."  Then I got serious and said, "It's only by the grace of God that I have patience."  It's true.  My knee jerk reaction has always been to fight fire with fire.  I was always ready for a fight and met people head on.  Calm isn't me.  I truly believe that this is a peace that comes only from God.  He has given me what I need for this job he gave me.  It's not easy.  But I know that it's a job that needs doing and He will be with me along the way.  No matter how much I love her and how much my heart aches for her, He loves her more and He aches for her more.  Ken and I can do this, because we are not alone.

On a side note- I was really proud of Connor, Cody and Diana for stepping up in the WalMart.  They helped with the cart, with John, loaded everything onto the belt and then back into the cart.  I'm really proud of them.  It was really great.

Friday, November 15, 2013

We're Down To Hours

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

We were successful today in all our adventures.  We are leaving tomorrow to go home.  As such, the kids (the new ones) are subconsciously reacting to the impending transition.  Diana is so very excited to be going to the US but I think deep down she is very stressed.  Her behavior today was so much like that first week.  Yuli has finally agreed to get on the plane but she still doesn't want to go to the US or to her new house.  She as well had a difficult time making good choices today.  I think Helena (our interpreter here in Bogotá) was quite astonished by her behavior today.  Me, not so much.  She's having a difficult time.  Helena asked me if she was going to need counseling.  I said that I didn't know but that I wanted to give her time to adjust at home before we make that decision.  I think she'll be ok but we'll do whatever is necessary to help her cope with what she's been through.  John is so comfortable with us now, he'll be fine.

As for Connor, Rylan, and Cody... they are so very happy to be going home.  I think that bringing them here was hands down the absolute right choice.  They have handled all the ups and downs like champions.  I am so very proud of them.  I was tickled to see Connor grinning from ear to ear tonight nonstop.  He's ready.  So am I.  Papa John's for dinner... I can't wait for some real pizza!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

One More Dawn, One More Day

One Day More!!!!!

Are you singing in your head?  I'm sorry, I couldn't resist.

We have three things that need to happen tomorrow.  We need to get the paperwork from the Doctor's office saying that everything is ok and has been taken care of.  All three passed the TB test with flying colors.  It just about killed me to have to give them the chicken pox vaccine.  I didn't want any of my kids to have that one but I didn't really have a choice.  I'd like to come back to the US.  Yuli also needed a second vaccine.  That did not go well.  It took me and two nurses to hold her still while she got them.  It really kind of stinks.  She thinks I've betrayed her.

After we get the report from the doctor, we need to get the conformity paper from ICBF.  I'm not sure what that is but I know we need it.  We have to be at the US Consulate at 1:30 to attempt to get the visas.  From the sounds of it, the Consulate works very hard to get them done very quickly but sometimes the computer network (Colombian) that they have to be on to get it done doesn't work.  So, there it is.  It all comes down to whether or not the network is up and running tomorrow afternoon.  If it is, we come home Saturday.  If not, we have to wait till Monday to get the visas and fly home on Tuesday. 

However, we ventured out to MultiParque today.  Now the kids are hollering to wait until next week to go home because they want to go back it was so awesome.  It's kind of like a citified version of Cox farms.  They have some really awesome stuff there.  The park section has all this equipment that you work yourself, none of it goes on electricity.  It was a whole lot of fun even though we didn't have much time there.  They also have bumper boats and three different go kart courses, paintball, trampolines, mini-golf, and some amusement park rides.  I highly recommend it if you find yourself in Bogotá and need something to do with the kids.  The park is the only part that's open during the week (and the lunch counter) but the rest is open on the weekends. 

Anyway, tomorrow we'll discover what our God in Heaven has in store! One more dawn, one more day, one day more!  I'm really sorry... it's stuck in my head.  Now it's stuck in yours.  Whilst you sing, enjoy some pictures.  Many thanks to my fabulous husband who took the camera for the day so I could play and actually be in some of the pictures.

This is a zip line kind of equipment.  All the kids loved it!

Digging in the sand.

This rocket ship spins like a merry-go-round.

Isn't he cute?

They had these swings with really long ropes.  Some were seats that you buckled into and some had cages like this one.  They were really fun.  The frame that held them was taller than most of the trees.

And slides, you just can't go wrong with slides.  And, by the way, John has decided that he likes me better now.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Are We There Yet?

I feel like the typical kid in the back seat of the station wagon (oooohhh, I'm dating myself) on a roadtrip.  "Are we there yet?" 

I'm ready to be home and we are one step closer to getting there.  I went and picked up the kids passports today.  So far, no reaction whatsoever on the TB tests.  We go to the doctor tomorrow for the official reading and we have an appointment for Visas on Friday at 1:30 because they don't do those in the morning.  So close.

On a good note, when I returned from the passport office, I was greeted by a, "MA!" from the stairs.  It was Diana.  She was so happy to see me back she ran down and jumped into my arms.  I carried her to the bottom of the stairs to the tune of crying.  I got there and looked up and both Yuli and John were standing at the top, held back by only a baby gate, crying for me to get there faster.  It felt good to be so wanted.

We went to the park this afternoon and ran off some steam.  Kids had another cut throat game of soccer.  They like playing with the other Colombian children because they are really good.  Baby girl took on a wooden swing and the swing won.  Yes, that is a band-aid between her eyes.  She wouldn't stop touching it and I was afraid it would get infected.  Other than that, we are just passing the time, waiting to get home.

John is wearing toy glasses (he's always grabbing mine so he was very happy to find a pair to play with) and Cody's shoes... you can't really tell from this angle but they are huge on him.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Long Day, Small World

I would like to see more of Bogotá, I really would.  However, I have reached a certain state of doneness that I can't quite describe.  I can compare it to going past your due date when you are expecting a baby.  I know about that... my first three kids were 12, 11, and 10 days late respectively.  When my sister-in-law (love you Claira!) would talk about being done with here pregnancies at about 32 weeks (as far as I know, none of hers were late and most of them were early) I would think, "Honey, you don't know what done feels like until you are a week past your due date."  Yeah.  That's where I am now.  Done.  I wanna go home and we have so much to do before we can.  I'm thinking about how to make it through each day, not about sightseeing.

Anyway, the day started with Helena picking up Ken and Diana this morning to go get her ID card.  She's 7 and in Colombia, at that age, you have to have an ID card.  They waited a really, really long time just to be seen.  When they were seen, they were told that she was already in the system and had a card.  They would have to pay a fee to change the info on the card.  They have to go to the bank to pay the fee and bring the receipt back.  They have to wait again.  By the time they returned, the rest of us had eaten lunch and I had just gotten John down for a nap.

Helena ate with Ken and Diana while we talked and worked out a game plan.  It was decided (partly because Ken wasn't feeling great and partly because John seems to prefer me now-yay!) that I would be a better choice for the afternoon errands.  As soon as Diana was finished eating, all three new kids (had to wake John-practically against my religion), Helena and I set out for the passport office.  We squeaked in about 10 minutes before they locked the doors.  We didn't have to wait long for help but doing the application wasn't fast and Yuli and John were done before we got there.  Diana was fantastic all day.  She was just really patient and well behaved.

After we left the passport office, we headed over to the medical building for the kids' TB tests and Dr.'s appointments.  This was not fun.  Diana complains a lot about doing stuff, but I think the complaining is mostly for attention.  When it's time, she puts her big girl panties on does what needs to be done.  I was counting on that when I made her go first for the test.  In the US (at least the last time I had it done), they just poked you with something that looks like a thumbtack.  That's what I had told the kids it would be.  I was wrong.  It was a subcutaneous injection that bubbles up the skin like an allergy test.  Oops.  Diana did great but it was lost on Yuli.  From the instant I wheeled the stroller in and she was face to face eye level with the three syringes laying on the table, it was over for her.  Let's put it this way...  when Diana was done, the nurse looked at me and said, "Let's do John next."  Yeah.  It's a good thing I've had a lot of practice holding the girl down this past month.  Even the nurse told me to wrap my legs around hers and hold her tight.  It was bad.  She's no bigger than a minute but her eyes can pierce right through you.  Today, they were telling me that I had betrayed her.  I did not tell her that we have to go back Thursday and she needs two vaccines... I'm just going to act surprised when we get there.

By the time we saw the Doctor (they are all healthy, by the way) it was very late.  We had missed dinner at the hotel but I had asked Ken to request they save food for us.  As we started to drive home, we passed a restaurant and we all started talking about what might be for dinner and dessert.  The girls were talking so fast about what they hoped it would be and then John started yelling, "Pan, pan, pan, pan!" (bread)  Helena listened for a few minutes and then whipped out her cell and called the hotel.  She told them we were on our way and we'd be home soon and the kids were all starving.  They had it waiting for us when we got back.  It was really nice.  I, however, acted like a first time mom today, rather than the usually prepared experienced mom I am.  I took no snacks or water.  They were starving.  And somehow in my packing for Bogotá carry on and then repacking my around town purse, I forgot to put the diapers and wipes back in.  Fail.  I had nothing and had to present my two year old to the doctor with a diaper so full it had seeped through his clothes.  I don't know what's wrong with me, neither one of those are things that I forget.  Lose my car keys, cell phone, or my sunglasses, yep.  Forgetting snacks or being caught without diapers or wipes, never ever.  I'm just so thankful that he didn't do a job.  I don't even want to think about that.

The highlight of my day was sitting in the doctor's office.  I started chatting with an obviously American couple who were also there adopting three kiddos.  Their kiddos were 14, 13, and 10, if I remember correctly.  As it turns out, they are from Bel Air, Maryland.  I looked at her and asked, "You didn't by any chance get your kids through KidSave, did you?"  "Yes, we did."  I proceeded to tell her how much we love KidSave and how we had tried to host several times but that it never worked out.  I then told her about the two KidSave kids that we dropped everything for and drove to NYC to meet.  I told her the whole story about how we decided to adopt them and then the host family decided they wanted to adopt as well.  Of course, the host family got first preference and we were disappointed, but how could we be sad?  We had seen them together.  They obviously belonged together as a family.  She was asking about the kids and I told her more.  She said, "They are staying in the same hotel as us.  They left here about 10 minutes before you came in."  Wow.  Seriously small world.  They arrived in Colombia 5 days after we did and their sentencia was the day after ours.

By the way, KidSave is an awesome organization.  We loved them... it just didn't work out for us.  Maybe in the future.  If you really, really want to help kids find a home but adoption isn't right for you, click on the link above to check out KidSave.  They are near and dear to my heart and they have really helped a whole lot of kids.

New City, New Friends

We left Pasto early Sunday morning.  It was a little like leaving family.  Patrice doesn't serve breakfast until 9am on Sundays but he got up early and the guys were ready to cook for us at 7:30am.  We miss them all already.  We were so very blessed that God led us there.  I don't know what we would have done or how we would have managed without Patrice and the guys.  Amazingly, I have done pretty well with the morning business, both on the day we went to Las Lajas and Sunday as well.  I think it's because I'm a little overwhelmed with the idea of getting out the door with six kids so I plan better and procrastinate less.

 I started packing on Friday night.  We found out that there was a classical guitar series going on in Pasto last week... we found out because all the guitarists were staying in the hotel.  Since that's what Connor does we really wanted to go.  It was a difficult decision and Ken and I waffled several times on to go, to not go, what to do.  We typically do everything together as a family.  We decided to split up and give the big four kids a choice as to whether or not they wanted to go.  Two of them said yes, two said no.  When those two found out that the contingent that stayed at the hotel would be going to bed, they decided to go.  Anyway, Ken took them and I stayed with Yuli and John.  I got them to bed and then started packing.  This was Friday.  I never pack this far in advance.  By the time I went to bed, enough stuff was packed that we needed to keep the kids at the park all day to keep them from unpacking.  It worked well.

We had to take two taxi's to the airport.  I was dreading this trip.  Since we didn't book until Friday afternoon, we couldn't get a direct flight.  I was very stressed.  I was afraid we'd lose someone in the airport(s), I was afraid one of them would twig on the plane, I was afraid our luggage would get lost, I was afraid that one of the girls would have a fit and security wouldn't let us on the plane.  Praise God, none of the above happened.  It all went really well.  All the kids did great.  Everything went very smoothly.  Again, praise God.

When we got to our new hotel in Bogotá, we met another family from the States.  They have a 6yo boy and are here adopting a 2yo girl who coincidentally has the same name as my daughter, Diana.  I thought that they must think we're crazy until we chatted and I found out that they have three more in high school at home.  They are really great people and are here at the beginning of the process.  They're hoping to be home by Christmas so we'll be praying for them as we make our way home.  They showed us the way to a park that has some soccer fields.  Once we got there, Keith (the dad) organized a soccer game and it got really intense.  A couple of local boys joined them and they had a real game going.  We went back with them again today, this time Joshua (the son) was sporting a Colombia team shirt too.

It's nice to be with people who speak English.  As it turns out, Joshua is home schooled and that was nice too.  It's also nice to be with people who know... I mean know... what's going on and how it all works.  Unfortunately, the girls are having a difficult time with the transition.  Diana is very excited about our family (until she has to do something she doesn't want to do) but Yuli still says she's not going to the US.  It doesn't seem to matter how they outwardly feel.  Subconsciously, they feel the change coming.  Something big is happening and they are reacting to it.  It's been rough since we got to Bogotá.  They are having a really difficult time, again.  Anyway, neither Jamie (the mom) nor Keith batted an eye yesterday when Yuli pitched a fit and Ken fireman carried her all the way home.  At one point, I took her shoes off her because she was kicking him and I was sure it hurt with the shoes.  Jamie asked if I wanted them in their stroller.  She then proceeded to tell me that if any of her biological kids had done that, she would have taken them to the wall (I can't remember her words but that's the idea).  She said it's different with these kids and you have to meet them where they are.  As it turns out, they used to be foster parents so they have a lot of experience.  Anyway, it was nice to know that we weren't being judged, that they understand.

We are looking forward to going home but that means another difficult transition for the girls.  So tomorrow, we have (among other things) to take the kids for their TB test and Dr.'s appointments.  We also have to apply for their passports.    On Thursday we go back to the Dr. to have the 'results' read from the TB test.  They will probably have to have some immunizations at this point but we're not sure what yet.  If they are all negative for TB, we go to the Embassy Friday afternoon to get the Visas.  Here's hoping we're on a plane Saturday morning.  If the TB tests come back positive, we will have to have x-rays to confirm they don't have TB.  That will delay our return.  Here's praying we will be back with our church family for the next Lord's day.  I've really missed worshipping with them.

Since I hadn't posted in way too long, this post is way too long.  I'll leave you with the highlight of my day.  John has become more and more relaxed with me.  This morning we were having our meeting with Helena and Ken got up to go get more paperwork from our room.  John had been sitting with me but he jumped up to follow Ken.  I asked him if he wanted to go with Papí or stay with Mami.  He grabbed Ken's pants.  Ken scooped him up to go faster and he turned and reached for me and yelled, "Mami!"  That's the first time he chose me and the first time he called me Mami.  When it comes to adoption, like everything else, you have to roll with the punches.  You have to find the blessings in the midst of chaos... and I mean chaos.  That right there was God's gift to me, letting me know that we are doing the right thing.  We are the ones that need to raise these kids.  He knew that today was going to be a bad day and he saved that gift for that moment.  If you've ever thought about adopting but were afraid of it being too difficult, too expensive, or just too much, realize this-God will give you what you need to get through all of that if you just trust Him.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

They Are Ours Now

Ken is back with us and safe.  Their travels did not go well, nor did the paperwork go smoothly.  He did however accomplish the one thing he set out to do today: sign the sentencia.  The kids are ours now.  They are Yeatmans.  It's official.  Unfortunately, they had to leave our lawyer in Tumaco to finish up the rest of the stuff.  I'm thankful that he is doing that for us and that Ken and Patrice were able to come home, but I have to wonder, "Why does every single step have to be so hard?"

On the other side of the mountain, the kids and I did pretty well.  I had absolutely no problems with Diana today and John did great with me.  Unfortunately, Yuli was very upset that she had to share me with John.  She had an extremely difficult day.  I'm sad that she's having such a hard time.  When John took his nap, I held her on my lap for the entire 90 minutes.  I don't know if it helped or not... she didn't do better the rest of the day but hopefully, it will add up.

So without further ado, meet the newest members of the Yeatman family

Diana Milena Yeatman

Yuli Tatiana Yeatman

and John David Yeatman

There is so much that I want to say that it's all swimming around in my head and I can't get it to line up the way I want it to.  So for now, I'll say this:  I am so blessed.