Saturday, July 31, 2010

Positive Aspects of Paperwork

Unexpectedly, I realized early on in this adoption process what a blessing it is for Vu to get a glimpse of just how much paperwork is involved in an adoption. 

I often leave my younger kids home with the teenagers when I have errands to run, but I can now see how important it is for Vu to experience all the steps.   I intentionally take Vu with me now, and I know he will have a better understanding of WHY it took so long for us to come for him. 

Accomplishments over the past two weeks: our doctor completed our medical forms, more immunizations for Patrick and me, notarized employment and financial records, sent one document to another state for certification, and scheduled a homestudy visit.  Now, we are just waiting for two background checks and then we are golden!  THEN we start on the dossier.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Healing Vu's Heart

I have discovered a serendipitous side effect of adoption paperwork. 

Before I share it, I invite you to re-read the depth of Vu's heartache in "It's Not Fair".

I am reminded of the pain my sweet boy endured.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Does anyone in blogland have this aggravating problem???

In every house we have ever lived in, our children have managed to do this:

I guess I should be glad that my children are at least using toilet paper (sometimes I wonder), butt

I am open to any ideas for PTH (physical therapy help) for my TPH (toilet paper holder.)

I am seriously considering going with the commercial variety.  Or, maybe just an old Sears catalog!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Under Construction!

Just wanted to let everyone know that my mom's blog is temporarily under construction.

So there will be many changes occuring over the next few days as I mess around with templates and backgrounds until it reaches her approval.

Hold tight!


Monday, July 26, 2010

The Relatives Came

I love this book by Cynthia Rylant.  It brings so many sweet memories of relative visits.

My niece and nephew came from Texas and we enjoyed some serious cousin time.

The traditional cookie making:

A trip to the skatepark.  I was a nervous wreck thinking only of, well, WRECKS!  Somehow they all survived!

Slip 'n Slide:

And the drive-in movie!  We added three neighbor kids because there wasn't quite enough noise!  Despicable Me.  It was cute--except for the part where he gives his adopted kids back!  He does eventually get them back--but still!  I still liked it.

SWEET TIMES!  My other sister is now half way across the states--more relatives on the way!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Joy . . . and Sorrow

Vu's bedtime prayer tonight sums up the joy and sorrow our family experiences every day.

"Dear God and Dear Jesus.  Thank you for bringing me to my family.  And I'm sad I never got to meet Joe.  Amen."

From the mouth of babes.

Vu, Joe would have loved you too buddy.  He would have loved you a BUNCH!  Joe was an amazing big brother and he was so excited you were coming to our family.  I'm sorry you never got to meet him on earth--I thank the Lord you will have ETERNITY together in heaven--sharing stories, and wrestling matches, and licorice and STARBURSTS--Joe's favs!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Proof That Some People Are Crazier Than Me

Today my baby sister, her husband, her 6 yo and 2 yo, begin a cross-country car trip vacation.

I am glad there are people in this world who are crazier than me. 

Did I mention my sister is 6 months pregnant?  But surely, what an adventure it will be!

Many clips come to mind from Chevy Chase vacation movies--especially the one where Clark freaks out in the car and tells everyone they are going to be having so much fun they're going to be whistling dixie out their pieholes!  LOL!  Keeping it PG with this one:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Suffer From A Terrible Disease

I have a horrible disease.  My disease results in me feeling scatter-brained and exhausted.  My disease costs me time and money, yet most doctors do not even know my disease exists.

My disease?

It's called But First Disease.  Today was a perfect example of how my disease affects me.

I woke up this morning, with the little closet still beautifully clean, but the rest of the house in the same state of chaos (despite the fact that when I went to bed I prayed for the good fairy to come).  Right away, feeling full of energy, I decided to wash our sheets, so that I would at least have one wonderful part of my bedroom clean.  I put them in the washer and began to start it BUT FIRST decided it was a waste to have such a small load, so I went and stripped the boys beds too.  I started to take their sheets into the laundry room, BUT FIRST decided to gather up the puppets all over the floor--the ones we had borrowed from the library since I was planning on taking the overdue books back soon.  I put the puppets downstairs and got a big bag to carry everything in, BUT FIRST tidied up the sweatshirts from the closet floor and was just heading back up to start the sheets, BUT FIRST decided to go into the kitchen and see if any dish towels also needed to go into the laundry.  I headed toward the sink, BUT FIRST noticed the milk was still out from my early riser.  I started to put it in the fridge, BUT FIRST decided to make coffee (why put the milk away when I would need it for coffee?), BUT FIRST decided to tackle the dishes.  I started to put the dishes away, BUT FIRST took the big spaghetti pot out to the garage storage cupboard, BUT FIRST saw the skateboard waiting to break someones leg.  I put it away and started to head back into the house, BUT FIRST noticed the shoes on the storage shelf, and wondered if one might be the right size for Patrick, who is growing out of everything.  I chose two pairs and brought them inside, BUT FIRST walked by my desk and noticed I had forgotten to mail Will's letter (we try to send him something everyday while he's in boot camp).  I started to head out to the mail box, BUT FIRST Vu asked me to get the paints down, and when I got into the closet I noticed the craft bucket really needed straightened, BUT FIRST. . . ad nauseam.

And that was just the first 30 minutes of my day. 

My disease seems to get progressively worse as the day wears on.
My disease seems to get progressively worse as the years wear on.

Some days are worse than others.  Some days I never do complete the task I first began.

Take those sheets for instance.  They have yet to be started, it is now bedtime, so I am going to pull out the back-up sheets (which is actually a lie, because I plan to just sleep on the mattress pad with a comforter thrown over the top, because I am so tired from all the half-done chores I did today), BUT FIRST . . .

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tiny, Tidy, Tight-y, Tea For Two

My house is generally clean enough--not perfect by any means--but not unsanitary either.  I find a sense of calm when things are more-or-less picked-up.

Bring on summer, with mom and dad at work, but kids at home.  Granted, I am only working part-time (more on that later), and I go to work a couple hours before my kids even get out of bed, but you would be amazed at how much can happen in the time I am gone.

Then again, if you are a mom, you would probably NOT be amazed at how much can happen when I am gone.

The babysitters do a fair job keeping the dishes done and the trash taken out--but the closets?  And the laundry???  Not so much.  And honestly, the growing piles are not all from my kids, there are stacks of mail, and thank you notes waiting to be written (long past due), and clothes needing to be sorted into piles of "give-away" or "save for the next kid."  True confessions--I still have a pile of school supplies (from the last day of school--in JUNE) that I need to sort through!

Having been out of town the last several weekends has not helped matters.  Nor has working on mounds of adoption paperwork when I have been home.

So, yesterday, I looked around the house and sighed.  Where to begin?  Surely a complete overhaul was in order.  A good old fashioned spring cleaning!

For reasons only a psychologist would know, I began with the boys' closet.  (Note:  This is not a dramatization.  This is a real picture, of a real closet, from my real house.)

So, WHY did I decide to clean the closet FIRST?  Because you know, everyone who walks in the front door is really going to notice that the upstairs closet is clean!  They won't mind tripping over the vacuum cleaner and pile of overdue library books, to run upstairs and see the immaculate toy shelves.  Certainly the closet should be the first priority!

It does look quite beautiful, if I do say so myself. 

It's sick how much joy I get from looking at that picture. 

And, the psychologist within me knows the reason I tackled the closet first-- to feel that at least one small part of my world is under control.

If you stop by, please come up and join me in the closet, where I am drinking tea, blogging, reading books, and pretending the rest of my house does not exist.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Adoption Labor Continues

An update on the adoption front--we continue to hammer away at paperwork.  The main hold-up right now is waiting for child welfare clearances from every state we have ever lived in. 

In the past week we have completed our on-line parent training, given our doctor instructions for writing the medical clearances, mailed more paperwork to our agency, finished writing our financial report, and requested/received employment letters. 

I wouldn't classify adoption paperwork as fun, and I normally wouldn't classify shopping as fun, but it has been very fun to begin some shopping for Rose.

The girls wanted to have matching dresses and here is the result:

This will definitely be one of the pics we put in Rose's family introduction photo album!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Five Days of Fun!

We arrived home this afternoon after five full days of fun, laughter, and happy memories.

For the record, we did not visit friends in Vietnam, but friends who have adopted from Vietnam, and are now home.  Many of these friends were "virtual" friends, known only through blogs and an adoptive forum.  Now, we are REAL friends!  LOL! 

The trip started out perfectly with Chinese food for breakfast at the airport!  Hey, it's 5 o-clock somewhere, right?

We also visited Vu's "baby," one of the children he has grieved for since leaving Vietnam--a child he cared for in the orphanage.  It was a very special reunion indeed!  Vu is so happy to know "his baby" is in a loving family!  Interestingly enough, the adoptive family was one of Vu's sponsors when he was still in Vietnam.  Doesn't God work in wonderful, miraculous ways!

Here is Vu, reaching into the van to hug his special friend.  Vu was surprised to see "his baby" has grown a lot!

More excitement included visiting two zoos, the beach, and eating Vietnamese food with forty friends.  A first for both of us--seeing Lake Michigan and eating Chicago-style pizza! 

One of Vu's pictures (head chop tho it may be) sums up the trip!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Clean House--no
Get Cash--no
Buy Map--no
Buy Lego for Airplane--no

Purchase 2 Airline Tickets--yes
Make Hotel Reservation--yes (at 10 last night)
Make Rental Car Reservation--yes (at 1 this morning)
Finishing Packing Suitcase--yes (at 2 am)

Vu and Mommy are going on a trip!

Time to see some friends from Vietnam, including Vu's "baby."

Cost of the trip--too much
Value of the trip--PRICELESS!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Waiting Child

One of my favorite adoption books is, The Waiting Child: How the Faith and Love of One Orphan Saved the Life of Another, by Cindy Champnella.  It is a remarkable story of unforgettable love--just be sure to buy a box of Kleenex if you buy the book.  The following poem begins the true story:

The Waiting Child

By Debbie Bodie

I saw you meet your child today
You kissed your baby joyfully
And as you walked away with him
I played pretend you'd chosen me.

I'm happy for the baby, yet
Inside I'm aching miserably
I want to plead as you go by,
"Does no-one want a child of three?"

I saw you meet your child today
In love with her before you met
And as I watched you take her out
I knew it wasn't my turn yet.

I recognize you from last year!
I knew I'd seen your face before!
But you came for a second babe.
Does no-one want a child of four?

I saw you meet your child today
But this time there was something new
A nurse came in and took MY hand
And then she gave my hand to you.

Can this be true? I'm almost six!
And there are infants here, you see?
But then you kissed me and I knew
The child you picked this time was me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Passport Fees Increasing

Today we applied for Vu's and Patrick's passport. 

FYI, passport fees increase as of July 13th.  We saved 80 bucks.  We also picked up our police clearances--two more things checked off the list!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Can Fingerprints Get Wrinkles?

I've heard about the dreaded dossier required for China--and now I get to experience it!  Actually, our homestudy requirements for our state have risen to the point of also feeling like a dossier, so I have been up to my fingerprints in paperwork. 

Just for our homestudy, we have to do a background check from every state we've lived in (which is NOT fun when one has been a military family), fingerprints for our state, and FBI fingerprints.  This is BEFORE doing the fingerprints needed for our USCIS (US immigration) approvals. 

Wouldn't you think that in this day and age we could just do one set of fingerprints and have them all cleared in lightening fast, computer age, speed? 

Better yet, couldn't we just use our fingerprints from last time, since they haven't changed--unless fingerprints can get wrinkles, because I know I do have more wrinkles--and all this paperwork is adding more. 

I am told fingerprints can take up to two months to clear.  TWO MONTHS!!  And this is just the first step in bringing Rose home.  WHY DOES IT HAVE TO TAKE SO LONG???

We went to our first homestudy meeting today.  That was actually exciting.  We are beginning to work on our pre-adopt training.  We have also been to the doctor, the pediatrician (twice), the police station (twice), the sheriff's office (twice), the post office, and vital records.  And we've spent hours putting documents together at home.  We are in the labor of adoption.  It's painful. 

This is how I feel about adoption paperwork:

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Answer: A Beautiful One

The answer to a lot of prayer and to all the previous questions--we are adding another daughter to the CrazyForKids team!   I think this truly puts us into the next level of CRAZY, but when I said that to my baby sister, she gave a long pause, and then informed me we had already hit that level a couple of kids ago!!!  (Who knew???)

I wish I could post her picture, but after a lot of thought I have decided that I will not post it until after she knows we are her family.  She will not be told until we submit our dossier to China--paperwork we are madly trying to put together now. 

For now, I will tell you that her blog name will be Rose.  Like a rose, she is beautiful, delicate, sweet, and too lovely for words.  She is eleven years old, and we cannot wait to bring her home!

So close your eyes, imagine our beautiful new addition, and listen to the words of Jeremy Camp.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


So, here's a question for you. 

We are bringing our three youngest boys (and our oldest son might come too). 

So, why have we just purchased our first item for the trip and it's a pair of pink ballerina p.j.s?  In a size 10? 

Since today is the 4th of July, perhaps I should ask,

WHO will be a US citizen next year?

It's time to tally the guesses.  I will post the real answer next!

Saturday, July 3, 2010


What will we see in China?

The Great Wall?

Would love to but not sure if it will happen.

How about the big towers in Guangzhou?

Pretty cool! 

But the reason we are going to China is even cooler!

WHY are we going to China?

Friday, July 2, 2010


Where are we going after we hit Vietnam and Korea?


This is not a picture of China.  I do not have any pictures of China (yet).  But China has panda bears.  And Lizzy made these adorable cupcakes for my graduation party.  And I've been wanting to post them.  So, pretend this panda bear cupcake is from China.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


When are we now planning our big trip?

I would love to say April 2011.  It will more likely be June.  Or July.  But, because I am always the eternal optimist, I am going to stick with April.

This picture has nothing to do with this post . . . it just makes me smile!  And I've been smiling a lot lately!