Sunday, January 29, 2012


Jasmine is the only one of my adopted children that I've had almost since birth. I started visits with Jasmine in the hospital nursery when she was about two weeks old. She'd been transferred to a college hospital for a ten day evaluation and then brought back. I started visiting her after that and took her home as a foster child about a week later.

I will warn you that her post is longer than the twins' were, but that is only because it's only about a month short of her being with us for eleven years. Hard to pick out the highlights because there are so many. This was going home day.

Always my angel.
First Christmas.

First birthday.

Second birthday

Third birthday

Jasmine helping me get my race trophy from former President Carter. She actually "ran" the race too.

The first five
July 14, 2004 Adoption day. Jessica was a TMI preteen camp and was at a project in New Mexico so Tyler is holding up her mission card. It took 3 1/2 years to be able to adopt Jasmine. She's being held by her case manager.

Jasmine's first year at Teen Missions. She was four and we were at Mustard Seed camp together.

First dance recital

Fourth birthday

Pilot for a day

Kindergarten graduation

Jasmine's favorite author--not to read, but to talk to each year. Gearing up for the Karen Kingsbury cruise right now.

I could post pictures of her all day. I have so many very special memories of together times. We have a great bond because we were totally inseparable her first three years of life. And I've walked beside her through so many surgeries and tough times as well as sharing many wonderful times. We have traveled together throughout IN, MI, GA, FL and to Colorado Springs, St Louis and other places. She went with me to Haiti four out of five trips to visit the twins.

Jasmine is a good reader and musician. She's just started drums and bells (looks like a xylophone to me) this year. She has some challenges from EEC Syndrome and from some genetic junk, but don't we all? We'll deal with it as it comes. She really does the best she can with what she been given.

I'm going to post a couple of my favorite older videos of Jasmine before her new one.

This is Jasmine Christmas 2006 at the Christian school where all the kids attended at the time.

This is Jasmine singing to Nicole C Mullen in 2008

You may have to turn your volume up for this next one, and it doesn't seem to have picked up the background music on the first snare piece. There is no background music for the second one. Jasmine didn't sing on this video, but is working on two songs for the next time.

Since this post is so long, I'm not going add newer pictures of her at this time. You've seen most of them in past posts.

But please take a minute to leave a comment or Scripture for Jasmine.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Adam left to take his SAT. Jessica and Rick went car shopping. The rest of us got creative with what was in the fridge.

If you missed the post about Kayla and Kaleb, please go back and leave them a comment or special verse. I read them everything posted.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Here are some photos of Kaleb sent to us by the orphanage. Ignore the dates. The photos were all taken 2007-2009.

Kaleb is a fun loving little guy who would rather do sit down activities than those requiring physical exertion. But if you get him going, he does quite well at running, biking and other things. Kaleb is a good reader, but needs a little work on comprehension. He tested highest in his class on one of the recent reading evaluations.

We did not realize at first that Kaleb has almost no vision in his right eye. He was seeing everything through his left eye. Now he wears glasses and a patch. The vision has not improved in his right eye, but the eye is learning to work with the glasses to see much better.

When we first met Kaleb, he was quite delayed. Not unusual considering his life at the time, but he was a lot behind Kayla also. When he got home, he caught up in most areas. One problem was that Kayla was trying to be his mother, and I made him start dressing and feeding himself. He was four by then.

He really surprised me because I expected delays in learning math and reading, but he caught on quickly. Socially he still has a lot of catching up to do, but his teacher said that's true for many of the boys in the class. He has what the teacher calls a fun side and a dark side. We are hoping to see less and less of that dark side as time passes.

Kaleb is a great kid and easy to love. He is more the follower than the leader and more easy going than his twin. Before he'd do everything she said or chose to do, but now he's learned he can make choices too.

Kaleb is in tumbling once a week at the dance academy and will be in his first recital in May.

We are sure that Kaleb's love language is food. If that isn't one of the five, it should be!

Here is Kaleb reading.

Kaleb will be going to Teen Missions as a Peanut this year June 17-24. He will learn to mix concrete and pour sidewalks for the Covered Wagon Circle. Some of you will remember that Adam was on the team that built the covered wagons a few years ago. Kaleb will also do puppet skits, music and will learn Bible verses. This is not a church camp, this is a mission training camp. It can be tough. They have obstacle course, work projects and missions time. This age group does get to swim everyday, but showering and washing hair is done by bucket. They sleep in tents and eat in the chow hall. Sometimes they eat outside. It's a tough program, but builds character and friendships. Jasmine went three years of Mustard Seeds and one year of Preteen. Jessica went to two years of Peanuts, one year of preteens and lead a preteen team last summer. Adam and Jeff went as Peanuts and preteens and Adam as a teen. So the kids know what to expect.

If you want to help Kaleb raise his $300 please use the donate button to the right. Neither twin has any donations so far.

Here are some more recent photos.

Please leave a comment for Kaleb. I will read all of them to him, although he does a good job of reading for himself!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Two Years Home

I debated quite a while about posting what yesterday was really like or skipping this post altogether. I had decided to skip it instead of writing a negative post. But then I decided to just say it like it is. Because it wasn't all bad. But that's only because my facebook friends gave me good advice.

We did not tell the twins it was the two year anniversary of their homecoming until last night. When they get privileges or extra attention they feel empowered and that often results in serious bullying and hurting others. I wish I understood why that happens, but for now I just know it does. It's the same reason I can't eat with Kaleb at school anymore. Last time he had that, "I'm better than you because my mom brought me lunch" attitude and he hurt children.
I had planned to make the celebration very special, but when I picked the twins up I was so disappointed to learn that Kayla had to pull not one or two tags for defiance and hurting others, but FIVE! Earlier this week she told another child she was going to kill her. That did not go over well at all. If she makes a threat like that again she will be suspended or expelled. She can be very sweet and helpful and also very defiant and downright mean. Obviously time for a conference.

It's been this way for two weeks now. She told me she was really good on the morning bus. I gave her a star on her home chart for that (that's how we determine rewards and privileges for the week). But then this morning when Jessica walked them to the bus, the driver told her Kayla was very sassy and defiant all the way to school yesterday. So the star comes back off the chart. Don't know what to do about the lie. Kaleb is having a pretty good week other than eating his lunch on the bus and then telling the lunch ladies we wouldn't give him breakfast so he had too. Thankfully they asked Kayla if that was true, and she told them he'd had hot oatmeal, a banana and milk. We talked to Kaleb about how saying something like that can get you removed from your home. Those of you who have been foster parents know how true that is. Now his backpack has to stay up front with the driver. Kayla had done the eating her lunch and then telling people she didn't have a lunch routine early in the year. She knew if she convinced them, she'd get a hot lunch. But once they figured her out, that stopped, and she had to eat whatever she had left of her lunch. Both of them now take their lunch in a stapled brown bag so at least the teacher can see it's been opened. (We don't do hotlunch because of cost and because they instantly bond to whoever gives them food and we don't need an unhealthy attachment to lunch line ladies based on food.)

It was very tempting to skip celebrating their homecoming, but we didn't. We told Kayla that we were celebrating her and her being with us two years, but we were not celebrating the behaviors we've been seeing lately. We watched a video of our last trip to visit them in Haiti which was just a few weeks before the earthquake. We watched their homecoming and their first couple days at home so they could see how much they'd learned and grown. So the evening ended well.

I know we are going through a difficult time behavior wise with Kayla, but hopefully she will soon decide that having privileges and activities is more fun than missing out. We've told her that when she is so defiant and ugly to others, her heart is all junked up and she can't feel very good about herself but that obedience brings peacefulness to her life. I don't know if she's able to understand that. I think she did. Now the decision is hers. She's been to a few counseling sessions and she's not feeling trauma from anything that happened previously or a sense of loss. So we don't really know where this is coming from.

If you have walked this road, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a more cheerful post.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Two Years Ago Today

We (jessica and I) left the Stanford Airport with our twins at 1:20 a.m. after being at the airport for 36 hours and 20 minutes. Even paid $109 for a hotel room we didn't get to use. This was the easiest way to get the twins to the car.

We got to bed at 3:05 a.m. Monday. I hadn't slept since I got up Thursday morning!! We woke up the next day around 10 which is the latest I ever remember sleeping, but I don't think I've ever gone so long without sleeping. We stopped at McDonalds and had major trauma getting the twins inside, because they had no idea where we were. It is no problem at all now : ) But at that time we had a whole crowd gathered wondering why two children were shrieking in fear of going into McDonalds.

We got home near 6 p.m. and there was a television reporter waiting. The kids played while Jessica and I talked with her.

I looked so hyper on TV later. But considering that I only had seven hours of sleep to make up for three sleepless days or so....

This post tells more about the pick up trip. Seriously, it was a nightmare and I don't let myself think about it much. The twins are home now, and that's what matters.

Her are some more pictures from the twins' first days home.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Some of you reading this blog know my children personally, and some don't. I thought I'd feature each child in his/her own post over the next couple of weeks. For their complete stories, you can go back to when I told about each child and how they joined the family. Check the archives.

I'll start with Kayla, the youngest. (Birthdad indicated she was born second).

Here are some earlier pictures of her. She is between 2 and 4 in these.

Below is a video of Kayla that I hope plays for you.

Kayla is smart and very capable. She is social and loves to learn. We are working on some issues, but she's learned a lot about living in a family since arriving home almost two years ago. Kayla is in tumbling 1 at the dance studio and will be in her first recital in May. I think she is going to succeed in many areas. She can probably do about anything she puts her mind to, and I look forward to watching her talents blossom and seeing all she can accomplish.

Kayla is going to Teen Missions this next summer! She will be a peanut. She will be a the camp at Merritt Island from June 17-24 (along with Kaleb). Jasmine and I are going to stay in Orlando during that week rather than make two very long round trips to Merritt Island. Jasmine and I would love to meet up with some of you who are in that area.

Kayla's project will be to build trusses that will be used to cover the sidewalks at camp. She will learn to use tools and do carpentry as well as learn Bible verses and talk about important things like obedience, faith and the Bible.

Kayla needs to raise $300. If anyone would like to help her, just use the donate button to the right or send a check to her, but made out to Teen Missions.