Kenny's Special Smile :-)
What a quietly wonderful week this has been! It has been a week filled with surprises from all over! It has also officially been declared "Book Week" at our house. Someone who knows quite well the struggles Kenny is going through at school thoughtfully sent him 2 story books with characters that have cleft. It obviously hit the right spot when Kenny flipped carefully through the pages of the first book to arrive, pictured above, and saw a page in which a boy was teased by others about his cleft. Kenny exclaimed "Hey, that happens to me too!". Thanks Carrie for having the brain I didn't have on this one...I should have thought of looking for books before now, but it never occurred to me.
We also received some terrific Russian/English Dictionaries and picture books from a dear, dear adopted Grandpa who was thinking of exactly what we might need soon. They are perfect and will come in so handy! Even Joshie got a really cool book on bugs sent to him, and it came in quite handy as we learned about the praying mantis he captured and put in his bug cage. The book told us they were cannibals, and so he caught another...and another...and we watched Praying Mantis #1 have lunch and dinner...hahahaha!
Another package arrived from a special family with connections to our kids. Dee over at the Crab Chronicles sent a care package with craft projects for all 5 kids, books, some thoughtful travel necessities, and lots of love :-)
And the gift cards...it would be impossible to say thanks for our "virtual shower" gifts. Oh, how I wish I could show the same love and care for each and every one of you as you have shown us! I was floored when they first started coming in, not quite getting it until the 3rd one came in. And the sentiments on your cards brought tears to my eyes more than once. It is hard to explain what this feels like, having so many of you whom I have never met show us such love and kindness. We do not deserve it, and are completely and totally humbled by your care. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
We received a package yesterday that even had 2 girlie shirts! All of us were standing around when I opened it and we all said "Awwww..." and the boys teased each other about wearing them...so of COURSE I had to make them do it and post it to the blog! The blog and our followers have become more real these past few weeks to the boys as they see the concrete proof of your existence with the postcards that have come in. Now I find them saying "Are you going to blog about that, Mommy?" or "You AREN'T going to put those pictures on the blog, are you?" as they giggled this evening as they modeled the girlie pink shirts. I dug out a pink girl's shirt for Matthew to model so they could all show off their more feminine sides as they giggled and teased their way through the photo session...and yes...it included Kenny shoving apples in his shirt at one time to simulate girlie anatomy...they ARE goofy boys you know!
This is an honestly unretouched photo of Matthew...the pink cheeks were the real thing at the moment after roughhousing a bit and I SWEAR he matches that shirt!
Joshie and his "Hello Kitty" look.
Should I be worried that all 3 boys actually looked cute in girls shirts??????
Celebrating Sisterhood in Pink!
Here are all 3 boys displaying the postcards all of you have sent!! I wish I could show them all close up so you could see your own card, but maybe you can pick it out in the background. What a gift to our daughters you have given us...they will see in a tangible way that we were not the only ones anticipating their arrival. Thank you all so much for what you have done for us. You have also made this an enjoyable experience for the boys as well, which is equally important in helping them lovingly embrace their new sisters...they feel important as well, and a large part of this experience. There will be many moments in the coming months when the girls will get all the attention, and you including them in this by sending cards addressing them to the boys as well is another way of helping smooth the way so they don't feel left out or unimportant.
Amazingly we have received cards from ALL over, including Thailand (a card that Matthew insisted was his special card), the UK, Ireland, France and all over the US including from a beautiful waiting family for trip #2 in Hawaii, and a special card from Disneyworld (Hey Wichita!! We love you!). I have loved receiving photos of other Kaz adoptive families...kids we have followed through the years and who are so beautiful, healthy and happy. Lots of old friends and many newer ones. What fun it has been to check out postmarks and the boys have been very excited to see where the one from the furthest away would be. But I think we have a couple of very special winners in that "Furthest Distance" category...
Postcards from the two people for whom this is a life altering adventure!!
Yes, we have postcards from Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan, delivered via an angel here in the US!!!
So sorry, guys, as much as I'd love to say that your card was my favorite...and I DO love all of them from each of you, I hope you'll forgive me if I am partial to these two special cards :-)
I figured you'd all understand! Hahahaha!
Although it was unexpected and not part of our "Postcard Project", other than our "Longest Distance" card there was one other note that reached us recently which touched me to the core. 2 1/2 years ago when we were at our Embassy appointment in Almaty, Kazakhstan finishing our paperwork for Kenny, there was an adoptive mommy there who was truly struggling, feeling very conflicted and uncertain about what she had just done to her family by adopting this cutie patootie little guy who was...well...struggling in his own ways with all the changes. My heart went out to this mom who was also victim to a rotten and unethical agency and had a very bad experience all the way around (this agency was the one run by Orson Mozes who was recently convicted of fraud). I sat there talking to her, not really saying much that I would have even recalled but I was trying to reassure her that she didn't just ruin her life, that time would take care of a lot and that I understood how hard this all was. It was barely a 10 minute conversation as we each waited for our turn at the counter.
We left and I never heard from her again...until a few weeks ago when out of the blue a letter arrived along with photos of her family 2 years later. Our conversation had meant so much to her that when she found our address 2 years later she took the time to write and share with me how much it had helped her through a very rough time in her life. While I don't think I did anything at all but what any woman does...yack up a storm (yea Dominick, don't laugh too hard over that one!), it was such a tremendous surprise to learn so long after the fact that God used me in that moment to comfort her. Even though I really couldn't do anything at all to help her, somehow something I said still did manage to help, and I am so grateful God put us at the Embassy at that precise time. I think we all have had surprises like this, where we find out long after the fact that we made a difference without even knowing it. I know many of you who read this blog have been that person for me, at times when I was low or needed a lift, and perhaps I have failed to let you know. Isn't it just the coolest when that happens? And the happiest part of this story is that all turned out well, her son is the light of their lives and they all settled into their "new normal" and lived happily ever after. Thanks God!!!
In other news, a bedroom is being painted in yellows and pinks, thanks to our friend Mr. Steve! What a gift to have friends who offer their talents and love in unique ways. And to top it off, I pulled a "girlie act" of my own and after the poor man got two coats of yellow on the walls, it dried a different shade than I wanted...way off actually as it looks more puke greenish than yellow as the yellow went over the boys old blue bedroom walls and it just didn't work well. I thought about keeping my mouth shut and living with it, but realized I will live with this for a long time and I needed to be honest. Poor Steve was the best and even though we tried to say we would paint it over (it still would have saved us a ton of time with the under coats) he wants to do it for us so will be repainting a 3rd coat. I feel so bad, and yet totally relieved that I won't walk down the hall for the next 10 years thinking "I hate that color!". We will post pictures soon when the room starts to come together. After all, you are all in this with us!!
And I truly feel that way, I want you to know. It seems to be a growing feeling I am having, that our children may reside with us, but in some odd way unlike in other families they really belong to many, many others. Of course we are their parents, I am not saying that. But there have been so many people who have offered their love to all of us, who participate in our daily lives in so many ways. I was telling someone just this evening that I have never in my life had so many very special people to call friends, and that includes so many of you whom I have never even met before or may have only met once or twice.
We have extended adopted family all over, intense and deep friendships that are more important to us than anything we might own, and so many who have contributed to the well being of our children and our entire family, for that matter. And not just anyone...really extraordinary, insightful, caring individuals who express their feelings openly and put a lot of effort and care into their relationships with us. How grateful we are, and how we know we could not do what we do without so many special people in our lives. My mommy friends, my older friends, my virtual friends, my faith friends, my counseling friends, my own mom...so many wonderful voices and so much wisdom surrounds me. If I end up failing at anything I attempt, it won't be for lack of support and nurturing guidance.
I finished the slide show for our Family Celebration, and man was that a hard one! Whew! Glad it is over with, I don't know if my keyboard would have survived the waterworks much longer. It surprises even me how powerful the emotions are surrounding this experience. And still, as I shared tonight, we are this close and I find I am guarding my heart for fear it will fall apart at the last minute. Usually by now I am letting my defenses down, but then we have never had an experience as long and drawn out as this one, where it has continually felt as if this might never actually happen. I might not allow my heart to leap until the day we actually step on the plane.
We head into another week starting with a holiday which will be spent at home, as Kenny has been ill this weekend and all of us are trying to take it easy. We will do a few projects around the house, continue nesting and preparing in many ways. And I guarantee you we are feeling quite thankful for so many things right now, and will spend a lot of time sharing and laughing and savoring your presence in our lives.
PS: I feel the need to apologize as Dominick has pointed out that I often don't catch my typos on the blog. The fact is that I sometimes have a hard time squeezing in the time to blog, and so I do it quickly, get it typed up, do a quickie spell check and then post it. If I carefully scrutinized each post as I would my school homework, I fear I would never get a blog post completed! So please forgive my sometimes less-than-perfect posts. Sometimes I re-read them and see mistakes and think "Well, I should go back and correct that..." and never get around to it. Sometimes I wonder how many of my blog posts have been written after midnight!! Can I blame tired eyes or weary fingers? Or just plain old laziness???? Whatever the case may be I'd love to look more professional in writing but if that is what you want you'll have to wait a loooonggg time for me to have enough spare time to do that!! HAHAHA! Night everyone! Happy Columbus Day tomorrow!