Friday, December 16, 2011

Random Assortment of Ramblings

I have an odd assortment of things to write about this evening, nothing profound or important, no photos, so feel free to pass on over to the next blog...or grab a Diet Coke and hang out a bit.

First of all, we are trying to find a time to have our Pie In the Face Splat Fest and record it.  Why is it so delayed?  Well, Dominick is getting up for work at 3:00 AM and pretty wiped out every evening, falling asleep super early.  We have had several evenings with the usual Christmas stuff going on, and then the flu swept through half the family...and the jury is still out on whether the other three will get it.  Stay tuned though, we will try seriously to do it in the next few days...we owe you all and are SO grateful for your donations and help for the kids in Kyrgyzstan.

Oh yea, maybe there IS a picture to share...check this out:

Yup, that's us, featured in a news article in Bishkek this week.  We were contacted by our agency last week asking for a family photo and permission for it to be used in an article regarding international adoption.  Advocacy efforts still continue for the Kyrgyz children waiting to be brought home by their adoptive parents...waiting for 3 years now.  Of course we would do virtually anything to help get these kids home, and gladly offered up a familiar picture to you all.  While the article did get some details wrong...including Kenny's birth name...most of it was close enough.  Translations of post-placement reports are more about getting the essence of it right :-)  They did not interview us and instead used info from our last post-placement report for the article.  I found myself wishing that the authorities over there could just meet Kenny for 10 minutes, let him speak from the heart, and then let them try and argue that adoption is not the best option for these children languishing in orphanages by the thousands.  Funny how God continues to use Kenny in ways never imagined. How I wish these kids were spending Christmas in the arms of parents who are so committed and have waited so patiently!!

Speaking of Kenny, we continue to have huge challenges with academics with him right now, and interestingly his speech teacher today recognized for the first time some of the odd, atypical things we experience on a daily basis. We have only been working with her a few weeks, but even she saw his total blackout with reading certain words and his addition of consonants that don't exist...and his repeating it 4 or 5 times no matter how slowly he sounds it out.  She looked at me as if to say "Now that IS odd!" and I looked at her (she was in on our IEP meeting too) and said "I told you one believes me, but we go through this all day long, and much more!"  I could tell that she was beginning to "get it" and seeing that what we are dealing with is totally atypical.  We have decided to give ME a break on this until the holidays are over with, and then I will be back at the research trying to find what is best for him.  I did speak with a specialist over Thanksgiving break, to no avail.  She does know what she is doing but suggested $4000 worth of Speech and Language Pathology testing in addition to an audiology test for auditory processing disorder because she thinks he has APD as well as other issues.  There is no way we can afford all of that, so we don't really know what to do now. She said what we are experiencing is typical for families like ours with kids from the former Soviet Union, and that most parents find success getting an attorney and suing.  Well, if we had money for THAT, we'd just do the testing ourselves!!!  So, back to the drawing board in January, it was beginning to really get me down and I need a mental break from it.

We were trying to see if we could send Matthew to Civil Air Patrol Camp in Kansas the day after Christmas, but we just can't swing it.  The camp was CHEAP at $115 for an entire week, and enormous experiences attached to it like earning an NRA marksmanship award, flying in a C-147...157...I dunno but one of them big old planes :-) .  But we learned he needed tons of extra uniform stuff and there is no way we can do it right now, or really ever.  Why can't they make these things more affordable? The uniform items would have been another $300+!!  So, we learned there is another Camp scheduled for mid-June, and it will be even longer at 10 days...and get the Air Force Academy.  Could it get any better?  I got an email about it just today and told him honestly that we can't afford all the gear and the cost of the camp, and the trip over there, so we are going to have to work together to find a way to get him there.  We all brainstormed and he is going to try and get extra work somehow, which at 12 years old is not easy.  He is going to make up a flier and see if he can get snow shoveling work, or jobs putting away Christmas decorations, or weeding in the spring.  He wants to go so badly he can taste it, and I wish I could just tell him not to worry and that we can cover it, but the truth is we can't.  I loved that all the kids tried to come up with ideas and almost cried when Kenny said "Matthew, for your Christmas gift I will give you 2 weeks of free help on any job to help you earn the money.  Anything I earn I'll give to you so you can go!"  

That's my Team LaJoy!!

Somehow, we will make it happen, even if we all have to have a bake sale in front of Walmart!

What else...well, our fridge is on the fritz, of course, because this is one of those times when simply everything is going to go wrong.  Dominick has tried to fix it three times and it is leaking water all over the interior and blowing up sodas and freezing yogurt, salad and cottage cheese.  We looked at fridges this weekend, and just about died at the cost even for smaller ones which really makes no sense for us at all...we need a bigger one if we are going to spend the money and replace it.  Ours is 17 years old, and through the years Dominick has managed to replace the ice maker twice, and repair this particular problem 4 other times, but for some reason this time it is just not working.  After looking at Home Depot this weekend and gagging over the cost, he came home and tried one last time to see if he could fix it.  We are holding our breath but betting we will be buying a new one.  Dreading that purchase there anything less glamorous than a fridge?  Maybe a water heater or tires for a car.  With ours being 17 years old, we didn't realize that purchasing a new fridge these days was the equivalent of buying a used car!!  For those prices, I want to have a steering wheel attached, and an Alpine speaker system! Hahaha!! Shhhhhh...don't tell the dishwasher, it is the same age and is due to hit the recycling plant as well but it doesn't know it yet.

On a brighter note, today Matthew used "hyperbole" in a sentence and explained to us all that the earth was tilted 21 degrees, something he remembered that Mr. Steve taught him and so he shared that with the rest of us while we were studying the moon and earth's rotation around the sun.  Olesya struck me today as changing, I looked at her and you know how you are just brought up short by your kids sometimes?  When you actually see the transformation that is taking place?  She is growing up, she is turning more into a woman than a girl, and I think the next year will be a big one for her as she matures and discovers herself. 

Kenny had a great day this week when our beloved Miss Lael treated him to lunch out at the Dragon Wall Buffet here in town and then took him to pick out a brand new book at the local bookstore.  Poor woman didn't know what she was getting herself into, taking Kenny to a buffet AND a bookstore!  Needless to say, it was hours later before they returned :-)  He was full of tales of the adventure, animatedly sharing about his long conversation with her (Oh, you dear, patient friend!!), telling us how he tried Sushi for the first time and showing off his new book.  You'd have thought he had been to Disneyland.

And I am trying to wrap my mind about how I feel about all this "Tebowing" going on. You'd think this new fad would be one I would grab on to and use as an example for the kids...after all, Tim Tebow is with our own Denver Broncos, is a homeschooling graduate, and is taking Christianity to a totally new level.  For some reason, instead of being overjoyed at this public example of what is probably a decent young man, I am disturbed by this, and can't really explain why.  Christianity on display just to prove a point has never been something I was drawn to.  I don't condemn others for it, and I don't think he is a fraud or anything, it just isn't my style.  And then I think how contradictory that is of me, because here on a very public platform I too don't exactly hide my faith, and in fact probably display it in ways that are distasteful to others.  Anyone care to shed some light on why they think this may be not setting well with me?  You might help me figure it out!!  I don't seem to have the brain space at the moment to analyze it and will be lazy and ask you to do it for me :-)

We're looking forward to seeing friends who just flew in from Vermont today, they are grandparents to Josh's best friend and we claim them as ours too :-)  We'll be doing a little shopping this weekend with our youth group for a small family in need of a little help this year, as so many are. Another way to keep Christmas more about the important stuff. 

The kids all want to go see Santa, so we have to make time for that.  Yes folks, strange as it seems, we still believe in Santa here.  One thing with adopting older kids is they want desperately to have those same experiences as their new peers have, and will cling to it far longer than most would expect.  The girls have had one Christmas with Santa, and we want them to have one more if they want it...which they do...and so even though I suspect most of our older ones surely know we are Santa (even the girls themselves), we all will allow this for them.  Every child deserves the magic that Christmas really is, even if only for a couple of years of their childhood.  However, we somehow need to get Santa to understand ahead of time and not ruin it...that is easier said than done.  I am so glad that those close to us understand this need for our kids, and don't think we are weird for having 12 and 13 year olds who want to sit on Santa's knee and ask for a gift. I am grateful for Matthew's care for his siblings and not pushing it either.  This will be our last Santa year, but we will get that photo, we will have our stockings, and we will dream of  hearing reindeer on the roof top one last year.  

But if you ask our kids what Christmas is all about, they will first tell you it is the celebration of Jesus coming into the world, and about love.  As long as they get that, we think Santa can co-exist with Jesus quite nicely.

I told you this was going to be deep thoughts...I've had enough of those for a few days and need a "donut" and "hole" free week I think.  Behind the scenes, that's not really happening, but here on the blog I am stepping away from the concept for now! Hahaha!  Here's wishing everyone a wonderful week before Christmas.  Don't shop, just stop...OK?


Anonymous said...

Okay, my jaw is on the floor...$4000! Yes, if he would be cured instantaniously but what is she giving for this? And who are these families suing? Wow! That whole concept just brought up a ton of questions in my mind.

Nice pic for the newspaper. I pray that the article opens many hearts and minds. How could it not? What a beautiful family!

Merry Christmas to all the La Joys!
Teresa F

Anonymous said...

Glad you are flu free and hope you stay that way.

Disneyland--great metaphor--it was like Disneyland for me, and having a conversation with Kenny is like having one with a young, wise theologian figuring out his faith.

That may be why Tebowing is troubling. We have figured out our faith differently than Tebow. Most of us do not think that God is a Broncos fan, but that God works in ways to celebrate and guide us to do our best. If our best helps us win a game, then we have accomplished what we want while doing what God wants. If instead, God works to assure the outcome of a game, God is surely a Green Bay fan and hates the Colts.

Also remember Jesus saying, "And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
"Here's what I want you to do. Find a quiet, seluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. fJust be there as simply and honesly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God,and you will begin to sense God's grace."
Mark 6:5-6 (The Message)

Jesus goes on with more instruction and also teaches The Lord's Prayer.

In the UCC we are more likely to show faith through compassionate action. Prosteletizing through football games isn't our "style". Yes, I am uncomfortable with Tebowing, probably because I have a different take on prayer and our relationship with God than my understanding of what Tebow does.

That said, he at least is engendering some discussion about faith issues, and he demonstrates his faith much more publically than most of us are comfortable doing.

I had a great time with Kenny. The hours flew by as we talked, ate, shopped modestly, and had a delightful time. I'm glad he enjoyed it also. Thanks for sharing your gifted son with me.

Love you all,

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a scholarship fund that Matthew could apply for? Seems like they would already have something like that set up.
I have been dreaming of winning the lottery and setting up an adoption fund to help people pay for their adoptions. Now I need to set up another fund to help with the various therapy costs. Wouldn't that be awesome! Another thing to take up with the Lord.

Teresa F. again

Anonymous said...

For those families who invite Santa to be part of
Christmas celebrations, this internet site is lots of fun

Marry Christmas!

Peggy in Virginia

Lindsay said...

I would hope God has a few more serious issues to deal with than helping a football team win their games! I wonder if there would be quite as much praise if he were essentially advertising a more minority faith. Imagine the uproar if he were painting verses for the Koran on his face instead of biblical verses! Then we would see a lot of people talking about indoctrination etc. Would people be so happy to defend a bunch of teens blocking a school hallway whilst 'tebowing' as a supposed 'act of worship' (of course not just an act of disruption) if they were bowing to Allah instead? I'm generally very uncomfortable with anyone who use their religion as a means of explaining or justifying material success (like Joel Osteen). I don't think the primary reason for worship is to make me rich or successful, which is what both these men advocate in their evangelical self-promotion.

Tammy said...

I hear your frustration and pain over feeling like you can't give Kenny what he needs. Maybe you could look into seeing if he would qualify for SSI. If you don't know, SSI is for kids and adults who have disabilities. It would give him health insurance and often has a monthly subsidy. I know you don't agree with Kenny's IQ testing but you may be able to use it to your advantage. People who have cognitive delays do often qualify.

Anyways, just a thought. Merry Christmas! Focus on that tiny baby in the manager...the rest will come.

Kikilia said...

Is there anyplace you could buy a scratch and dent frige? They are a ton cheaper and sometimes you don't even see the damage.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I have to second the idea of a scratch and dent fridge. We got a fabulous deal on one, almost 50% off, just because of a dark scratch down one side, which ended up facing a wall! Another thing to consider is going to Not sure if it's big in your area, but it's HUGE here in the D.C. Metro area. You can often get fridges for free just because some folks are redecorating. Even if the free fridge dies after a year, hey, it was free! Just a thought......

Carrie DeLille said...

Don't know how I missed this-I had no idea you had made the papers in K'stan. Thank you friend, for being an advocate!!