Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Not Your Typical February Weather

On Sunday afternoon, while Kevin was teaching a class on missions, Kristi came over to get in some quality Kate-time.  It's busy season for both of us, so she doesn't see Kate as much as she would like, but she had time to come over for a visit on Sunday.  We had some pretty great weather and spent the whole time outside. 




And playing on her playground...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Basketball & Birth Moms

This past Thursday, Kevin and I got an email from Kate's birthmom.  She is a high school senior and her basketball team had just won their last game to make it into the state championship game.  She wanted to share her good news with us, and wanted to invite us to watch her in the championship game.  She knew it was last minute, and didn't really expect us to come, but still wanted to invite us to watch her play in her last high school basketball game. We were honored to have been asked to go, and so Saturday at 11am we got to watch her play. 

I get emails a good bit from other families who are waiting to adopt.  Lots of people just want to ask about our experience, and get advice, or that type of thing.  But lots of people ask how we plan on dealing with Kate's birth family in the future, and how we plan on sharing that with Kate.  Kevin wrote a post on his blog last week that answers those questions perfectly.  I decided to share it on here. 

From Kevin: 

Kelley has a blog about our adoption and our life with Kate - www.thebiglongwait.blogspot.com .
She receives emails weekly from adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents, and they ask all kinds of questions - good questions, the kind we also ask or used to ask.

I read an email today from a married couple that's going through the beginning stages of adopting a newborn.  The lady asked how things are NOW with Kate's birth parents, and how/when we plan to tell Kate.  Kelley will reply to her directly, but these questions are good to discuss since open adoption is the general rule for domestic adoptions today. 

First, open adoption is a very broad term.  All it means is that there is some form of open communication between the birth parents and the adoptive parents.  How open the adoption is and continues to be must be determined by those involved.  Some adoptive parents want little contact with the birth parents, some birth parents want little contact with the adoptive parents (and the child), and those are some of the big things that help with finding a match.

But this is important - the old way of adoption is going the way of landlines.  I should probably say, going the way of rotary dial phones.  Some people still have them, but don't go looking for them on store shelves.  When I was in elementary school in the 80's, I had a few friends who were adopted, but we (classmates, church friends) weren't supposed to talk to them about it in case they didn't know.  They had been led to believe they were their parents' biological children - even though their dad was 5"7, their mom was 5"2, and they (the adopted children) were already 5' in 4th grade and looked nothing like their parents.  (I made all that up, but it helped make my point.)

Here's how our adoption has gone - SO FAR.  By telling our experience, in no way am I acting like an authority or a predictor of the future for every adoption.  In some cases, I'm SURE it's best not to have any contact with the birth parents - at least while the child is young.  Not only do we HAVE a very open adoption, we WANTED it.  We heard stories from both sides and the children who grew up with some kind of contact with their birth parents seemed more peaceful about life.  We didn't want Kate to wonder.  We didn't want her to feel bad for wondering, like she was doing Kelley and me wrong by imagining how life would be with her birth parents.  We didn't want her to wonder about her heritage.  We didn't want her to wonder about any siblings, or what she might look like when she grows up, or, or, or . . .

So we wanted an open adoption.  Kate's birth parents were 18 (birth father) and 16 (birth mother) when we met them.  We've seen them at least every few months since - with Kate.  Kate has a room full of toys and books, many from her birth parents.  We've made sure to keep some of these things they gave her at her birth - a blanket, a stuffed animal, a book, etc.  She's presently sleeping with a glow-worm type toy that lights up and plays music.  Her birth father gave it to her on her first birthday.

When will we tell Kate her story?  We don't really plan to.  She's living her story openly.  As she grows, learns, and understands, her story and all the information is openly available to her.  First, Kelley just printed the first year of her blog in a book.  Kate has a BOOK about the first year of her life, how all of this came to be.  Everything that's in Kelley's blog is in this book.  And second, on Kate's dresser, we keep a picture of 1-day old Kate at the hospital in her birth parents' arms.  She can now say both of their names, and she knows the little baby they're holding is her. She'll figure things out in time, and we'll continue to discuss her story with her until she completely understands.

Again, I know our situation isn't representative of all adoptions.  God blessed us with a wonderful daughter and wonderful birth parents who wanted to give her what they couldn't.  We'll never stop thanking them for allowing us to be Kate's parents.  I've asked them at a couple of our face to face meetings if they are still able to handle the visits, or if the visits are too painful.  They tell me that although the visits can be emotional, and yes, difficult, they are GREAT, and they want them to continue.  They know where we live and have been in our home - in Kate's bedroom.  They have our phone numbers.  We text them pictures of Kate occasionally.  Kate's birth mother invited us to her high school graduation this May, which isn't going to be one of our official visits.  We count it an honor.

If you're considering adoption, or if you're an adoptive parent and you're worried about any of these scenarios, or when to tell your child, or if your child will resent or reject you, I encourage you to trust God and be as honest as you can appropriately be.  There are adoption horror stories, but there are far more stories like ours.  So forget the old-school rotary dial phone.  Life with an adoptive child is so much more peaceful for everyone involved when nobody is trying to keep lots of secrets.  (And, I can also encourage Kate and our future adopted children with the fact that they never have to worry about growing up to look like me.)

I think to summarize all that Kevin wrote, we just plan to be open with Kate.  She can already say the word "adopt" and "adopted", but of course has no idea what that means at this point.  She's been around her birth parents 7-8 different times in her 18 months of life.  We share her story with others all the time.  She has a picture of her birth parents with her in her room and says their names daily.  She doesn't know what being adopted means now, but gradually she will learn. As she looks back on her childhood, we hope that when people ask her how she felt when she learned she was adopted, that her response will be "well, it was just something that I always knew."

By no means are we saying that we are the experts when it comes to adoption.  Far from it.  We know our situation, and we know what is working for OUR family.  I think the best plan is to be flexible and know that your plan can (and probably will) change.  You can't really plan the exact situation that your adoptive child will come from, but regardless, that is part of their story. Be flexible when dealing with it.  Know that if you want a very open adoption, that may not necessarily be the best option.  Not every situation is as ideal as ours is with Kate's birth parents.  On the other side, a very closed adoption may not be what is best either. Be flexible. Be open. Be gracious.  Be loving. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kate's "Jeep"

Well I am SO glad that I wrote this post a few days ago and then just saved it as a draft, because apparently Kate wanted to share whatever she had.  Now I don't feel so great, but luckily have a post already saved to share with you.  :)

We have been so lucky to get some really great hand-me-downs for Kate.  Kate's high chair came from a sweet family in our church, and just a few days ago we received another pretty great hand-me-down from a different family in our church.  

 She calls is her "jeep" and you better believe that she LOVED it. She did not want to get off  and cried when I made her come inside. 

 It has two speeds and a reverse, and even has a seat belt! I was very impressed. My sister and I went through two little red jeeps similar to this when we we little, but of course it was not this fancy. :)  

On another note, any guesses as to what I've been up to?  Here's a hint...

Yes, I have been trying to get ideas for Kate's 2nd birthday.  I know, it's still a good ways off (August), but I would prefer to have a plan and be able to buy small pieces here and there instead of all at once. Plus, it's fun! :)  What have YOU done for 2nd birthday parties? 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday "Dinner"

Kate still had a very slight fever on Sunday (around 99.5) and wasn't quite back to her normal self.  I decided to take her to church anyway, but not send her into the nursery just in case.  I still don't know what she had. Maybe it was just some 24 hour thing.  Whatever.

We stayed out in the service and listened to the music but once the message started, we went out into the foyer area and tried to watch it on the television.  Kate got pretty antsy so we ended up in Kevin's office, playing with his golf balls.  

Do you say "dinner" or "supper"?  Do they both mean the meal at the end of the day, or does one of them actually mean lunch?  This is an argument that Kevin and I have had FOREVER.  I say dinner when I'm talking about the meal at the end of the day, but Kevin calls it supper.  I also grew up where "Sunday dinner" meant the big meal that you ate after church.  My parent's came up to visit on Sunday and we met them, Kristi, and her friend Davis for a big "Sunday dinner" at Mutt's BBQ. 

Not the Weekend We Originally Planned

Friday afternoon, I really wanted Mexican so Kevin and I decided to go get some for dinner that night.  When Kevin got home with Kate at 5, she seemed fussy and tired so he put her to bed.  She went straight to sleep (not normal at 5pm).  I woke her up at 7:30 so we could all eat dinner, and because I didn't want her to nap until 9pm and not go to bed.  Big mistake.  I didn't realize she was sick or I would have just let her sleep.  She had a temperature of almost 102 and was not feeling well.  We couldn't get her to eat anything, and just put her back down to bed.  She slept until 7 the next morning.

All day Saturday, Kate still had a fever but no other symptoms other than just acting sort of puny.  We stayed home and inside all day.

We also had a little bit of afternoon excitement when it started SNOWING.... not a regular occurrence in our neck of the woods.  I know this doesn't look like much of anything, but it was still fun.  Also, it seemed like everywhere around us got enough snow to actually play in.  We did not. 

Meanwhile, I did a little cooking to stock up our freezer. Started off with some mini Chocolate Lava Cakes before moving on to Chicken Chili and Broccoli/Rice casserole.  Priorities, right?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine's Goodies

I know you're probably sick of seeing Valentine's stuff by now, especially since it was a few days ago, but I've got to share one more.  This year was Kate's first year of handing out Valentine's to her friends at her Mother's Day Out program and at church.  Of course, I had more fun with it than she did. I saw TONS of cute ideas on Pinterest, including this one.  Although I thought they were adorable, I thought it would be too hard to track down shovels at this time of year so I passed on the idea.  One of my friends, Marcie, saw the same idea, and was smart enough to get online to find shovels.  Didn't hers turn out great? 

You can pop over to her blog and see more.  I love them!

Anyway, I also saw these on Pinterest and thought they were pretty do-able...


After looking at Walmart.com, I decided to switch things up a little bit.  This is what I ordered from Walmart (obviously with Kate's picture).  I ordered 5 sheets so that I would have 15 total Valentines, and it cost less than $2.

I cut the top picture away from the bottom part, and then glued each piece to one side of red card stock.  Then I filled heard shaped treat bags, purchased at Target for $1, with some sweet goodies.  I finished them off by tying on the tag with red ribbon.  I think they turned out well.

And here are close ups of the front and back.

So those were Kate's 2013 Valentines.  I'm sure before long she will be begging for the store bought princess Valentines, which is fine, but for now I'll have fun making our own. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Silly Valentine

Today is Kate's second Valentines day.  Crazy how much she has changed.  And CRAZY how much her hair has grown. :) 

When I got home, I gave Kate a card and two Caramel Milky Way bars (so good) to go give to Kevin.  She ran over to him, gave it all to him, and then said "please"?  In other words, "open that thing up!"  

Of course she had to give Daddy kisses to tell him thank you for sharing his candy bar. 

A little later she found my heels, which I had kicked off after getting home from work.  I figured she wouldn't even be able to stand up in them, much less walk around.  She definitely proved me wrong. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Kate - 18 Months!

Wow- Kate is 18 months today.  I'll spare you the whole "I-can't-believe-how-fast-she's-growing" spill, although I still feel like she should be a teeny-tiny baby. Instead, she is an energetic, rambunctious, crazy, talkative little girl.  With that being said, here is what Kate is up to at 18 months!

Kate can identify the following animals and tell you what sound they make... 
  • Sheep
  • Cow
  • Horse
  • Owl
  • Bird
  • Bee
  • Pig
  • Chicken
  • Duck
  • Dog
  • Cat
  • Frog 
  • Monkey
  • Elephant
  • Snake
  • Fish (no sound on this one!)


She can also point and name the following body parts...
  • Nose
  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Cheeks
  • Tongue
  • Teeth
  • Mouth
  • Hair
  • Head
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Feet
  • Fingers
  • Toes
  • Belly/Belly Button
  • Elbow
  • Knee
  • Back
  • Neck

She still LOVES music and likes to dance.  She recently learned how to do the splits, and thinks it is so funny. 

She likes to "sing", which basically means you sing while she does the motions to some song.  Her favorites right now are the Itsy Bitsy Spider, This Little Light of Mine, Jesus Loves Me and The Wise Man Build His House Upon a Rock. 

She runs everywhere... there's no such thing as walking!

She wears a Size 5 diaper, Size 24 months (or 2T) clothing, and a Size 6ish shoe in Stride-Rite sizing. 

She has definitely become a much more picky eater, and doesn't eat nearly as much food as she used to.   She will devour dinner one night, and then turn her nose up at leftovers the next night.  

She likes to face-time with Papa Rick and Gigi and can say both of their names. She's still working on Aunt Kristi, but she's getting there!  She can also say Nana, Papa, Ken and Angela, as well as most of her cousin's names.

We've recently started the whole potty training deal and she has done GREAT.  I know it's probably too early for it, but she showed an interest and she does actually do what she is supposed to at night. We'll see how this goes. 

She will repeat just about anything you say, good or bad.

I posted a few "Kate-isms" not that long ago, but here are a couple of other cute things that she has been doing lately...
  •  When we pull up to a stop sign or light and come to a complete stop, Kate starts yelling "GO GO GO!".  Guess she has her Daddy's patience. 
  • I have been teaching her to respond to me with "yes ma'am" and "no, ma'am". which she has gotten very good at.... except she obviously hasn't learned "sir" yet.  So Kevin will say "Kate, do you want to go in the living room?" and she will respond emphatically "No, ma'am!".
  • In addition to saying "here you go" (hee-go), she has also learned to say "hang on" (hay-ohh).  Guess I use that phrase with her a bit too much too!
  • When Kevin gets her up in the morning, she points over to her bow board and says "bow, peas." That's my girl! :) 
  • We have always said the blessing with her before she eats, but she is really getting the hang of it. If we sit down at the table and I ask her what we have to do first, she will bow her head, fold her hands and pretend to close her eyes.  At the very end she will say "Amen" and then start eating.  Lately, however, she has started bowing her head, folding her hands, and saying "God" between every single bite.  So funny! I am just thankful that she likes to pray. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Easy Toddler Valentine Art

Since Kate is still very young, we haven't attempted many art projects yet.  However, we broke out some paper and stickers a few weeks ago and she LOVED it.  She has asked to do this again multiple times, so today I thought I would attempt a little Valentines art project that involved paint. Call me crazy.

I'm sure you've all seen this pin multiple times on Pinterest since sometime last year...

So I kept this in mind, and thought MAYBE Kate would like to do it this year.  Oh she did!  I set up everything in our garage and we got started...

I didn't get any pictures while we were actually doing it, because I had my hands full.  I used all pink and red (and added in some glitter, of course).  The funnies thing was when I squirted out the red, Kate thought it was ketchup. :) I didn't have any problems, but I definitely reminded her that we couldn't eat the paint, just in case she got any ideas.

It was SO easy to do.  I bought a small canvas at Hobby Lobby (2 for $3) . Then I used Duct Tape to make the "LOVE" outline on the canvas, making sure to press the tape down on all the edges.  Then I let Kate have at it!  After everything was dried, I pulled off the tape and it was finished!

So here is Kate's final project...

And then I found the perfect place for it in her room...


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