Welcome!! Grab a cup of coffee and visit with us! We hope you enjoy our story! (((HUGS)))

Welcome!! Grab a cup of coffee and visit with us! We hope you enjoy our story! (((HUGS)))

Friday, January 30, 2015

Just a few pictures that make me smile!

My son, my precious son Noah. 
I love saying that. 
I LOVE being his mom!
To say his name and see his eyes light up with recognition brings us all such JOY!
He is 11 and 1/2 now. The same age as Tyler in Bulgaria who needs a home. (post below)
Noah was 9 when he came home- and he was the easiest of the 5 boys because he was older. Being "older" did not make caring for him harder. He was much more flexible. He loved being with us.
Julius and Pauly were 4 years old when they came home and it was harder for them being younger. They always ran away from us!

 Noah's heart has only LOVE. He doesn't understand jealousy, or anger or hurting others. He doesn't want what everyone else has. He's always satisfied with what he has! He doesn't understand arguing, he never raises his voice. He only expects LOVE from all of us here and everyone he meets. He gives so much more to everyone than he receives in return.
He blesses our lives so much.

New Minnie Mouse slippers for out little "polka dot gal"!!!
She cracks us up as she stomps through the house in these like big foot! ;o)

I never get to dress her up in the morning because her 3 older sisters beat me to it every single day! They LOVE going through her wardrobe and mixing and matching outfits for her!
They do not put as much effort into dressing their brothers! LOL!!
So I'm always saying- put that cute red shirt on Moses! Mercy hates getting dressed or change into jammies so you can hear her complain loudly as they fix her up. It's a sensory thing.

 She likes to hide in corners and under things. She doesn't sit still for long unless it's in a corner!

She has a habit of "chewing" her hands and putting them in her mouth. We bought her this little musical toy "vanity" this year, hoping she would like it. Last year she was not yet playing with toys like we had hoped. She likes it!

This year she is actively playing with toys more than tossing them about the room or biting them. Her favorite toys are her musical puppies she sleeps with. We can see improvement in her comprehension of what we say. Children with Sotos tend to be delayed and catch up later, usually around adolescence. This is different than the boys having Down Syndrome, they gradually learn most of their lives and don't "catch up" like that. The boys like repetition and Mercy prefers to learn and see "new" things, or have things presented in different ways. For Noah everything he learns has to be hand over hand. He doesn't understand a lot of language. You can't tell Noah to "get a toy". You have to walk him to a toy, have him pick it up and tell him good job!

The boys like to do activities as a group. Mercy only likes to observe.

 My LOVE MA eating some birthday cake from Faith and Isaiah's birthdays in January.
MA turned 58 in December! :o)

Silly MA! She's telling my photographer Isaiah "I'm watching you!" I never have to worry- she has kept an eye on our children for 28 years now! I am so blessed! 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Laugh, cry, LOVE!

I am biased.
I LOVE Bulgaria. The people there are wonderful. It's a beautiful Country with a History that makes us wish we too were Bulgarian.
Our hearts are there with our boy's birth families.
God has truly blessed us with FIVE of the most precious blessing/boys; all from Bulgaria.
The boys have been a part of our lives 4 years now.
We do not take the precious gift of my boys lightly.
We cherish them with great JOY.
That is why I cry.
Because these 2 boys, Tanner above and Tyler below, have large grants on Reece's Rainbow. And yet neither has been adopted.

These 2 precious boys would bless whomever brought them home. Please isn't there anyone who could be their mamma and pappa?
I haven't been able to even think of writing about the JOY in our lives here, while these boys continue to wait.
My heart aches for them.
It has worn heavily on us.
Julius and Mercy heading upstairs to get ready for bed. Both 7 years old/ Julius older by 3 months.
(MA in the background :o)
Julius always the goofy face! :o) Always ready for a hug- with a little mischief. 

 Kitty helping Noah up the steps, Julius watching.
Look at that little belly on Noah!  Such a good eater! At 11 1/2 he's maturing more physically. Almost into size 7!

Julius finding the toys he hides just for himself! They go to Moses' train, but not if Julius gets them first! He's fast so he always gets to them first!

 Mosie " mowing the lawn" with his lawn mower. Mosie loves to push things. He was always pushing the little tykes plastic rocking chair everywhere!! Crashing into walls, rolling up rugs! Until we found him the talking lawn mower!
Can you believe this is the same boy on the top right of my blog?
Next month month he turns 10!!

 Pauly (7) and Mosie sharing a toy. Pauly taps his teeth with toys. His autism causes him to have repetitive behaviors. Tapping his teeth helps him calm himself when he's stressed. It's hard for him to relax. We teach him to try other things to relax. So far he has rejected the OTs suggestions.

Jacob the "contrarian" as Dad likes to call him! When we smile he frowns. When we all goof around he avoids us!! He too will be 10 soon. Growing like a weed, he too is almost in size 7. Such a little man!

Isaiah (my photographer) can get Jacob to smile. Jacob adores big brother Isaiah- when he feels like it! It's always worth the wait to see this angelic face!

Samson...........not from Bulgaria, but just as darn cute! LOL! Creating his lego artworks. He doesn't like being interrupted! And don't even dare try to show him "how" to use his legos! He doesn't like to create with others!! 

 Precious Pauly says no pictures please Isaiah.

Miss Mercy and her popcorn poppers. One in each hand in case brothers want one! You can tell if she's sad, happy or mad by how hard or soft she presses the popper. 
The pink leotard over her jammy is not a fashion statement, it is a diaper digging deterrent. ;o) 

We would add Tanner and Tyler to our family in a millisecond. Our hearts ache for them. As we share our JOY we cry at their loss.
Please help us find them a home/homes.

We just needed to get that out before we share our JOY in 2015.
Thank You for reading!!  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Reeces Rainbow Angel Tree and precious Tanner


On the right side here you can see Tanner. He is 13 years old. He does not have a family. He was 9 years old when we chose our boys Pauly and Julius. He was 11 when our last 3 boys came home.

Now he is 13.

Please help his fund grow by donating to his name on the Angel Tree. Or please donate to his page- you can click on his picture.

He needs a family before he turns 16.

Please help Tanner find a home!
Thank You!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The precious girl who stole our hearts

Taking a picture of Mercy can be a challenge!
She is not always willing to let us capture her beauty! Trying to get a relaxed picture of her is hard! (that was her old bed to the left, she kicked slats out of it and hurt her sweet toes, she loves her new bed I wrote about on my other blog)

So she runs, turns away from us.........

Looks anywhere but at us! :o)

Up at the light,

 Closes her eyes head down,

 I keep clicking to try to get something cute! And goodness she is cute!

 Nope, eyes looking up again!

 If she could talk she'd say "Give it up mom!"

But I can't! She's just too darn cute! And oh how I LOVE her! 

Below, along with the great pictures Isaiah took of our Sweet LOVE; is the story I wrote for the Sotos Syndrome Association newsletter. I hope you like it.

In the summer of 2012 we were adopting for the 2nd time from Bulgaria. Tom insisted he needed to go back for a little girl. We had adopted all boys. I was reading the listing of available children regularly. My heart was drawn to the boys. The boys were chosen less often. There was a new listing, a toddler boy with Sotos Syndrome. I had not heard of Sotos so I clicked on their Wikipedia link and read about it.

By fall we had a crisis in our family . We were homestudy ready to adopt. But due to the crisis things weren't looking good. We told our Social Worker that first we needed to heal from the crisis. And hoped we'd decide what to do around March of 2013.

March came and we continued talking about what we would do. A week into March our Social Worker called. There was a 5 yr old girl with Sotos Syndrome desperately needing a family. The Social Worker wondered if I knew what Sotos was! I explained that because of one precious toddler in Bulgaria, I did know exactly what it was! (He was adopted as well by a precious family) The family that had brought Mercy home to adopt her was searching everywhere for a new family for her. They said she was too much for them. They had 9 other children with various disabilities and lots of help, the mother was a well educated Social Worker working in the field of adoption. And yet no one in the family wanted her to stay. The next week we had our first visit with her. She had no one. She was rejected and alone. She  needed us and we needed her.

The transition was not smooth and it upset our new precious daughter Mercy. She felt rejected again. She had bonded with 2 of the teens in the last home and mourned losing them. We could not explain it to her in ways that she could understand. As far as she was concerned we were temporary caretakers like the last 4 birth and adoptive families. She was angry and took it out on us and herself. Everyone who previously parented her had burnt out after only 1 year.

She was medicated in her last home. Even though the med did not "help" with her behaviors. Many of our concerns disappeared once we weaned her from the med. We are not against meds, this med did not work. It made her sleepy, drool, and walk hunched over.

The law does not allow you to adopt a child by just moving them into your home. There are legal steps. The previous family was not happy about the length of time it was taking these legal steps. We had her with us up to 28 days at a time. (for legal up to 30 day visits) And we had to then return her for 1 night back, to comply with the law. We picked her up the next morning. The law is called an interstate compact. She was living in another state and we were in the State above. Each state has to agree to let minor children in for adoption. It's silly but we've worked with that law many times adopting from other states.. This time it was the hardest. The previous family was upset with the slow progress of our State to allow her to live with us. They took their anger out on us. Even threatening to send her back to her original State where they had picked her up. They refused to help make the transition easier for her. 

Finally late July 2013 we received full custody. Her birth parents and the previous family went to court and released custody to us. She was finally ours! We still weren't supposed to have her living in our State with us yet.  But after our State heard that the other State's family refused her back even for 1 night, they agreed she could stay! We were thrilled to say the least!

Mercy continued to grieve heavily for every family that she had lived with. It broke our hearts. We were so happy to have her and she felt lost. After living with us a year she was still fighting us at every turn. And yet we'd have a week or two here and there where we saw glimpses of fun, love and acceptance from her. Sadly since she'd never lived with anyone longer than one year, she was always ready to move on!. That was very hard.

We have only 4 pictures of her at age 4 from her last family that are so unflattering we wouldn't show them to anyone!! We have no baby or toddler pictures of her. We only have her medical files. Sometimes I cry because I know she was a beautiful baby. When I see photos of adorable little girls with Sotos I smile because I know in my heart that my love bug Mercy was just as adorable and sweet. I wish I could have seen her! 

We have a large family, 17 children adopted, 4 by birth. Seven are grown, three in Heaven. Our kids are ages 7-39 yrs. Our oldest grandchild is 17. 

At our home Mercy now has 4 older sisters ages 11,12 and 13, and a brother 10 who are not disabled. (the 10 yr old is our youngest birth son, the 11 & 12 yr old girls are 2 of our grands we adopted) The other sibs at home that Mercy has are all boys :o) And all have Down Syndrome, they are ages 19, and 7-11 yrs old. Mercy shares a room with her 3 sisters. They have loved her through nights of yelling, tantrums, and concerning behaviors. They have accepted her completely and were thrilled to have her as their sister. They are a blessing to her.

Our youngest two children, Mercy and our son Pauly were both born the same day, and the same year!

17 months after she joined us we decided to go camping at our lake property up north for 8 weeks. We worried about how we would handle her behaviors in the woods where we "rough it". No running water, a 5th wheel, and a bunk house. Sound carries for miles. And she can scream louder than all of our kids!

She absolutely LOVED camping! It helped her to bond with us in incredible ways. You can't force a child to bond. And she has the best reasons in the world not to bond after all she's been through. We have no idea how or why we had the best 8 weeks of our lives with her there. We cherished every moment. We all came home as one big happy family! Of course once home Mercy wanted to go back! We all wanted to go back! Now she just has a "mood" or an occassional bad day just like the rest of us! :o)

How did we survive the stress and the initial never ending challenges? I joined the SSA and read everything I could. I also joined the SS yahoo support group where I met angels who held our hands, and listened. I asked tons of questions. I shared my pain and my emotions during the difficulties that felt never ending. By the time Mercy saw the geneticist I had tons of info to share and he was very impressed with all the SSA has to offer. I still regret that we missed the SSA annual conference when it was in our state. Mercy was sick, it was an hour drive. We'd only had her with us 4 months and did not have full custody yet.
But we will get to a Conference!!!   

I was able to show our Social Worker valuable information on what Mercy really needed to grow and thrive from everything SSA taught us.

Today everyone agrees that she is an entirely different child. I couldn't love her more. My heart bursts just looking at her when she smiles at me daily now!

Thank You everyone at SSA! You helped us become a family!  

Isn't she beautiful! We Thank God for her every day! :o)