Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are you WILLING?

I do not believe that every Christian should adopt. (I do however, believe that every Christian needs to be doing s.o.m.e.t.h.i.n.g. about the orphan crisis.) But IF God should call you to adoption . . . or foster care or global orphan care or whatever . . . are you WILLING to say "yes, Lord?"

For me, willingness is often the true issue when it comes to matters of obedience. In the case of adoption, issues like parental age, size of house, size of income, ability to get off work to travel, medical history, number and needs of other children in the house, etc., etc., may truly be legitimate issues--but in other cases some of these may only be excuses. God knows the difference--and I think deep down in my heart, I know the difference, too.

Sometimes--often, actually--the foundational issue for me is that I just plain don't WANT to do whatever it is that God is speaking to me about. And in the end, I finally have to come to grips with my will. If Jesus is truly LORD of my life--well, doesn't that mean that He is the boss? That His word is my command? No will but His will?

God may call you to adopt or He may not. Are you WILLING to obey?

Monday, February 27, 2012


Statistics say that over 18,000,000 children are double orphans--meaning they have lost both mommy and daddy. In our day of global economics we hear numbers like millions, billions and even trillions thrown around so much that even I have almost no concept of how large a number 18,000,000 really is.

I knew that the kids in our children's church yesterday had no idea either. So I measured a grain of rice. That grain was merely 0.5 cm in length. Did you know that if you placed 18,000,000 grains of rice end to end you would form a line over 55 miles long!! I also measured a penny--and found it to be roughly 1 millimeter thick. Did you know that if you stacked 18,000,000 pennies you would have a pile reaching 11 MILES into the sky!! [By way of comparison, Wikipedia lists Mt. Everest at 29,029 feet which equals 5.5 miles]

Oh Jesus, capture our hearts for these precious children who are so much more valuable than rice or pennies.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Tribute To My Parents . . . And Advocacy

"Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." First Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)

I had the immense privilege of being raised in a minister's home. My Dad and his older brother Carl traveled as evangelists before they were married. My Dad and Mom were still engaged when they "tried out" at their first church in Shelley, Idaho. They were married July 29, 1959 and their first Sunday as the new pastors was in early August!

My Dad would not describe himself as a flashy preacher. He doesn't shout or run up and down the aisles or pound the pulpit. (I'm not saying there's anything wrong with those things--they're just not my Dad.) He just loves Jesus, loves the Bible and loves people . . . faithfully. Day in, day out. Attendance up, attendance down. The same with my Mom--no flowing silk robes, no golden chains and glittering diamonds, no "thus saith the Lord" pronouncements over people--just consistency. Sure, they got discouraged and frustrated and felt like giving up from time to time . . . BUT THEY DIDN'T. They were at one church for nine years, the next for thirteen. Their last pastorate was at the church I currently attend; they ministered here for thirteen years before officially "retiring" from the ministry several years ago. I put "retiring" in quotation marks because my parents still make many hospital calls, still preach at other churches when the pastor is on vacation or when the pastor has resigned, still are at the local church multiple times a week cleaning, scooping snow, helping with various projects, etc. And they are still steady in their attendance to Sunday services as well as mid-week prayer meetings and Bible study.

Their faithfulness has had a profound impact on my life and on our church as well. A solid foundation of solid biblical faith and true, committed love was laid; as a church we are now reaping the results.

So what does this have to do with adoption advocacy? Just this: if God has given us a passion for the fatherless, then let us be faithful in our advocacy and our prayer. I know I can (and do) become easily discouraged because I don't express myself as well as my friend Adeye or Julie. I don't have as many followers as Meredith or Shelley. (They each have excellent blogs, by the way--I highly encourage reading them.) I often feel like I am talking to myself on this blog. I feel that people who actually know me in real life are tired of hearing me advocate for waiting children on Facebook.

I am just reminding myself that what God required of me is faithfulness to his call on my heart. It's OK if I'm not like my friends because I'm NOT them--I am myself. I can't quit for lack of response. It's OK if people roll their eyes at yet another orphan picture posted on my wall because I'm not answerable to them: I am answerable to Jesus. HE has called me to orphans. Someday I want to hear him say to me, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord." (Matthew 25:23)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Every Child Deserves A Home

This is a great video showing the importance of a family for every child.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Children "Aging Out" in Asia--WACAP

Message from WACAP: In Asia, children “age out” of the adoption system in some countries when they turn 14 years old. If a family is not in the country signing some specific adoption papers by the child’s 14th birthday, he or she is no longer legally eligible for adoption. Below are three children who are soon going to age out (plus a little girl in special need of a family.) Since their 14th birthdays are only a few short months away, we are looking hard for a family that has already completed their homestudy and is ready to adopt one of these children. Each of these three kids has a generous donation of $5,000 from an anonymous donor who has a heart for older children. This donation applies regardless of the family’s income level and is in addition to the $4,200 Promise Child grant that WACAP has available for each of these children for families who qualify based on income. Contact Ckids@wacap.org


Logan will turn 14 years old in late April. He was found when he was 3 years old and started living at the orphanage, where he grew and developed over the years. Now he is in an age-appropriate grade in school. He receives average grades and learns math more easily than other subjects; he’s also been learning some simple English. His teachers say that his learning abilities are strong and he’s careful with his work. When Logan was 5 years old, he had heart surgery to correct his condition, and now he can run and play sports freely. He loves to read comic books and can draw very detailed pictures of the characters in the books. He has a few close friends at the orphanage with whom he plays and talks. Logan is described as optimistic, friendly, gregarious, and smart. We hope that we can find his forever family before it’s too late. There is a generous donation of $5,000 from an anonymous donor who has a heart for older children. This donation applies regardless of the family’s income level and is in addition to the $4,200 Promise Child grant that WACAP has available for each of these children for families who qualify based on income.In addition to the $5,000 donation and $4,200 promise child grant, the orphanage might be willing to reduce the orphanage donation.


Mieka will turn 14 years old at the beginning of May; is a carrier of a blood disorder. Abandoned at the age of 6, he has been living at the orphanage since then. Mieka is described as a curious child who continually asks his teachers and caregivers questions in order to understand as much as possible. He is fond of studying and likes to write and draw. He particularly likes playing with robots and playing outdoors, but he also enjoys watching cartoons on TV or reading books. He has a good appetite and gets along with other children. The caregivers like Mieka a great deal, call him a lovely child, and hope that he can find a family as quickly as possible. A generous donation of $5,000 from an anonymous donor who has a heart for older children. This donation applies regardless of the family’s income level and is in addition to the $4,200 Promise Child grant that WACAP has available for each of these children for families who qualify based on income.In addition to the $5,000 donation and $4,200 Promise Child grant, the orphanage might be willing to reduce the orphanage donation approximately $2,700.


Kirk is a healthy little boy who turns 14 years old in late May. Sadly, his mother died when he was a year old, and his father died when he was 11 years old. He has been living at the orphanage since that time. He adapted to his new environment quickly and is liked by all the teachers and kids. A polite and kind child, he works hard and shows respect to others. He enjoys watching cartoons and playing with balls. Kirk is described as smart, active, and generous. He has agreed to be adopted by a foreign family and hopes to grow up happy and give back to society. Perhaps your family can help Kirk achieve his dreams. There is a generous donation of $5,000 from an anonymous donor who has a heart for older children. This donation applies regardless of the family’s income level and is in addition to the $4,200 Promise Child grant that WACAP has available for each of these children for families who qualify based on income.


Shanaia is a sweet little girl who has been waiting to be adopted and has been waiting at least since 2009. She is almost four years old now and is a part of our speical Partnership. Because of this partnership, WACAP staff met Shanaia in May 2011 at her orphanage in Asia and we ahve high resolution photos and video from this trip to share with her adoptive family. In addition, the application fee and pre-approval deposit for Shanaia’s adoption are waived, and she also has a $4,200 Promise Child grant for qualifying families. Shanaia gave us a little wave when we met her and her caregivers report that she can say simple words. She’s a charming little girl with a high, quiet voice. Though her caregivers say that she can crawl, she prefers scooting around on her bottom. Shanaia has some limb differences that affect her legs, but her hands and arms are not affected. She can put food in her mouth with her hands, and while she can’t dress herself, she is able to corporately help. When her caregivers hold her up at a sink, she’s able to wash her hands on her own. She enjoys eating sausages, and in terms of activities, she’s able to build towers of three blocks. The caregivers say that they believe her cognitive development falls within the normal range. Shanaia has been waiting a long time for her family to adopt her, and we hope to find a forever family for sweet Shanaia soon.
Contact Ckids@wacap.org

Monday, February 20, 2012

Advocating for Older Children--What's the Big Deal?

I really want to advocate for the adoption of older children. In some circles that means any child over about 3!! In other contexts "older" seems to mean boys and girls 8 years or older. But what's the big deal about adopting older children?

I know EVERY child needs a family--even healthy, white infants. But there seem to be long, long lines of eager couples drooling (and practically dueling) over those babies . . . while other children, equally created in the image of Almighty God, wait and wait and wait to be matched. These kiddos who wait are more-often-than-not non-white, non-baby, non-"typical" and/or non-single (meaning they are part of a sibling group)--or sometimes just non-female.

Now I personally am no longer seriously interested in parenting a baby. Puh-leez! I am 51 after all. I have done puke and pee and poo-poo, thank you very much. But I still tend to be more drawn to the children who are 8 or less. The older kids scare me. I'm afraid of their baggage. I'm scared they won't like me. I'm afraid they're too bossy, too mean, too damaged, too stuck in their ways, or even dangerous to my other kids. But that ain't necessarily so.

So what's the big deal about adopting an older child--or adopting any child, for that matter? I remember when we were adopting Caleb with Down syndrome. One of our relatives (who was very concerned that we were making a big mistake) asked, "What's wrong with where he is?" And in Caleb's case, he was obviously in a place that kept him fed and clothed and apparently even brushed his teeth. The facility did not stink, there were bright colors on the walls, the worker who presented him to us clearly enjoyed him. (Believe me, not all toddlers are so blessed.)

BUT the big deal was that he was already 3 1/2. In some eastern European countries, kids with special needs like Down syndrome are routinely scheduled for transfer out of the baby house at/around age 4. And the next stage of housing can be everywhere from fairly decent to unspeakably awful; I've only heard of a handful of orphans with Ds in those countries who have had the opportunity to attend school. Many, many kids with disabilities regress developmentally after transfer--they may lose their ability to speak, decrease in physical skills, and even lose the light of hope in their beautiful eyes. Children who are lower functioning mentally or who can't walk independently tend to be transferred to worse facilities. Kiddos who can't get around on their own may remain bedridden in cage-like cribs for the remainder of their existence. And yes, children do die in these holes.

Our Steven who also has Ds was already 5 when we met him. He was higher functioning and had been blessed to be transferred from the baby house to a decent facility for older children. The building smelled clean, had big windows and lovely plants in the hallways. I met two nice care-givers. We were there in December and got to attend three different seasonal programs in which various orphanage residents participated. Steven greeted people with a threatening fist. Yet in spite of his bravado, he seemed emotionally fragile and skinny to me. He wore some outfits with pretty wild color combinations and I saw other children sporting the same outfits on other days. The few toys out in the living area (I only recall 2 or 3) were definitely the worse for wear. When we gave the boys markers to draw with, more than one little guy immediately bit the end off. When Steven was given pieces of candy at the Christmas program, he clenched them with a death grip and would have eaten right through the paper had Kevin not intervened. When we returned in sunny June, I witnessed the boys in his group all holding hands and going outside. But they didn't play. They just sat in the sandbox with their caps on. I didn't see them digging or scooping or making paths or piles or even mischievously throwing sand on each other. (Steven was not sitting--he was running around like a wild man--maybe because we were there and he finally had permission NOT to sit?) There was a small selection of playground equipment with chipping paint--but I never saw any children using it. In fact, when we let Steven climb one of the ladders, I was sure we were going to get in trouble at any moment. I saw children sitting on the bench in a gazebo-like building. I saw older children sitting on benches around the grounds. I did see maybe 3 or 4 older boys randomly kicking a soccer ball but there was no organized game.

I have friends who have adopted children from living hells and I don't use the h-word lightly. These are children who were literally so near death they had to be hospitalized immediately upon arrival in the U.S. (At least one had to be hospitalized in-country before he could even be granted permission to GO to the U.S.) Other children were so sedated in their orphanages that they went into withdrawals once in their new parents' care. One recently-adopted older child had spent the majority of his days sitting with his group-mates in a shed.

Our Abby, with mild cerebral palsy, was 9 1/2 when we met her a year ago. If I recall correctly, she was already in her 5th placement--and this was not technically an orphanage but a "family-type home." She too was very blessed--she had already had surgery on her leg, she was attending the local school, she was taking some kind of music or dance lessons. Staff members truly loved her. There were only 8 or 9 kids that lived there. She had been given a very nice good-bye send-off with lovely parting gifts.

So what's the big deal? After all, our 3 internationally-adopted children were in decent places. Well first off, kids in orphanages--even if the facility could be described as good--have no permanency. They do not have a mom and a dad consistently looking out for them. Caregivers change as the child moves from one age group to another; caregivers move on to other jobs. I asked our attorney what Abby's future would have held had she not been adopted and received a couple different scenarios in reply: (1) her birth parents could have un-surrendered their parental rights and sold her as a bride as young as age 13 or 14; or (2) she could possibly have been able to get a job at a sheltered workshop-type of place when she aged-out of the system (in a country with very few opportunities for people with disabilities.)

And what would probably have been the future for Caleb and Steven? At some point they would have been transferred to an actual mental institution for the rest of their lives--a warehouse for human beings. Probably to sit from one meaningless day to the next.

And what about the relatively-typical orphans--even those healthy, white babies who for some reason never got chosen by an adoptive family? If adoption papers are not signed by their 16th birthday, they are not available for international adoption. Period. When they age out of the orphanage system (I've heard it can be as young as 15 or 16 but I'm not sure about that), they are--very literally-- turned out onto the streets. (This is really hitting home with me because we have 2 fifteen-year-old daughters.) They have no family to turn to, an incomplete education, no real job skills. And with their orphan status they have a very difficult time getting a job. It's no wonder that so many end up in alcoholism, drug abuse, prostitution, crime and suicide.

So for these orphans it seems the end of the story is all-too-often death in a mental institution or death on the streets. This breaks my heart. This should not be. Please, please consider the adoption option. You may well be saving a life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WACAP Toddlers and Kids--Asia

WACAP (www.wacap.org) a non-profit adoption agency is seeking adoptive families for these children from Asia. We are surprised we haven't found them a family yet. Please contact ckids@wacap.org. Please ask about applying for private grants/loans and any possible waivers.


Child's Name: Sheldon DS
Gender: Boy
Date of Birth: Aug 2009
Continent: Asia
ID: Sheldon SP.SSX.0809.32058
This child is a part of the Special Focus Program.

Sheldon is a very active little boy who can crawl very fast. When he wants something, his nannies say he will crawl over and get it. He is a very determined little fellow. He is able to recognize his caregivers and distinguish them from strangers. Sheldon has Down Syndrome. He arrived at the orphanage when he was about a month old. He is able to sit alone and pull himself up to standing. He tries to communicate by babbling. He can pick up food and put it in his mouth. . He is a little bit small for his age. He has two hemangiomas on the back of his shoulder and one café au lait spot on his left leg above his knee. There is a $4,200 Promise Child grant for eligible families for this adoption. Please contact a waiting child case manager at ckids@wacap.org for more information.


Child's Name: Shelby DS
Gender: Girl
Date of Birth: May 2004
Continent: Asia
ID: Shelby SP.FZ.0504.32442.0

This child is a part of the Special Focus Program.

Shelby is an introverted girl when around strangers. She goes to school within the orphanage and takes their special education classes. She has Down syndrome. Her nannies say that she speaks occasionally but not very clearly, saying simple sentences. They call her “very shy.” She follows directions when she wants to, but they say that she is very stubborn and very smart. She prefers to tell others what to do! She likes to tell the nannies when the babies need their diapers changed. Her nannies also say that she’s very good at reading facial expressions and how people are feeling. She was in a talent show at the orphanage and knew her part very well and was able to remember what she was supposed to do. She is able to dress herself. She has no simian creases in her hands, but her fingers are slightly shortened and stubby. The volunteer doctor noted that Shelby has a slight nystagmus, but her optic nerve appears to be normal. This child is listed with WACAP through a special partnership project with his orphanage. At this time, his file is not eligible to be transferred to a different agency.There is a $2,200 Promise Child grant for eligible families for this adoption. Please contact a waiting child case manager at ckids@wacap.org for more information.


Child's Name: Danny Missing rib, eczema
Gender: Boy
Date of Birth: Sep 2010
Continent: Asia
ID: Danny SP.ZDJ.0910.32568.01

This child is a part of the Special Focus Program.

Danny is a cute little chubby baby boy. He is very outgoing and charms everyone around him. He was very busy, curious, and active. His nannies adore him. Danny is diagnosed with a missing abdomen muscle and missing rib. .The nannies also say that lately he has had some rashes on his cheek and they think it is eczema. He eats and sleeps well. He tries to talk with everyone and babbles a lot. We saw him using both of his sides equally and he would grasp things in either hand. The volunteer doctor who was visiting the orphanage noticed that his eczema appears to be in front of his ears and behind his knees. His tummy pokes out on the right side of his chest where a rib should be. . He can follow the doctor’s penlight from side to side and up. He was able to bear weight on his legs. The volunteer doctor also noted that his heart and his lungs sound fine. We asked the orphanage to provide us with an x-ray of his chest along with his medical file.


Child's Name: Samson
Gender: Boy
Date of Birth: Sep 2009
Continent: Asia
ID: Samson SP.SSK.0909.32533.

This child is a part of the special focus program.

Samson is a sweet little boy with chubby little legs who likes to be held and comforted. When he gets upset, his nannies will hold him and pat him gently on his back. He likes to play patty cake. He is able to walk on his own. They say that he is not a picky eater and will eat everything. Samson has a bilateral cleft lip and palate. The nannies feed him using a spoon. He can also pick up food and feed himself a little bit. So far, he mostly babbles and doesn’t know how to say any words yet. We tried to see if he would scribble when holding a pen, but he didn’t cooperate and may not be able to do that yet. His caregivers also say that he doesn’t take off or put on his own clothes yet. The nannies say that they feel that compared to the other children his age, he is probably about 6 months or so behind in what he is doing, but they feel that if they could pay more attention to him that he would be able to catch up and would have more normal development. The volunteer doctor at the orphanage also noted that he has a slight pigeon breast (pectus carinatum).
Samson needs a family to give him the nutrition and attention that he needs to reach his full potential.


Child's Name: Gene CP mild
Gender: Boy
Date of Birth: Jun 2004
Continent: Asia
ID: Gene SP.FJC.0604.32517.01

This child is a part of the Special Focus Program.

Gene was nearly 7 years old when we met him. He is described as a very happy child who likes to talk a lot. He is very smart and has an excellent memory and learning abilities. He’s able to count up to at least 20. The orphanage staff told us that they have not yet sent him to school because he is too young for that right now. He is a very handsome boy.

Gene is diagnosed with cerebral palsy that affects both his legs and his arms. His right side is more involved than his left and his legs more so than his arms. His left side is not very affected. He is able to walk well on his own, but since he has some difficulty with his gait, when he runs, he tends to fall. He has been receiving physical therapy for the last two years and the orphanage staff say that he is still improving. They say that he doesn’t have as many friends as the other children because he isn’t able to keep up with the other boys. The nannies say that in spite of his special need, he is fully independent. He is continent and is able to take good care of himself. His speech is very clear and is not affected by the cerebral palsy and he can see and hear well. The volunteer doctor at the orphanage noted that he has a right positive babinski sign.There is a $4,200 Promise Child grant for eligible families for this adoption. Please contact a waiting child case manager at ckids@wacap.org for more information.


Child's Name: Peter leg difference
Gender: Boy
Date of Birth: May 2008
Continent: Asia
ID: Peter SP.FPZ.0508.32445.0

This child is part of the Special Focus Program.
Peter is an active little boy who will let nothing stop him – least of all his limb differences. He was born with one shortened leg and has a small kneecap and a bump near his knee on his other leg. He is able to crawl incredibly fast. Peter is also very afraid of strangers and didn’t want to show off when he knew that we were watching him. When he saw the strangers in the room, he began to cry and held tightly to his nanny. She tried to get him to stand or crawl for us, but he was too shy and didn’t want to be put down. Later, we did see him scoot quickly across his playroom when he thought that no one was looking. He’s also able to walk by holding onto furniture. He had just turned three years old on the day we saw him. He has all of his baby teeth. His caregivers say that he talks well in full sentences and he also likes to sing and put on a show. He’s a good eater and sleeper. We observed him playing happily with other children in a play room upstairs, but when he saw us, he stopped playing and began to cry a little bit. A volunteer doctor who visited the orphanage noted that his right leg is much shorter than his left and he seems also to have a hip problem on that same side – possibly an underdeveloped joint. The doctor also noted that he seems to have an underdeveloped kneecap in his left leg and a bony knob as well. Peter is an adorable, but shy little boy whose biggest need is a family of his own.This child is listed with WACAP through a special partnership project with his orphanage. At this time, his file is not eligible to be transferred to a different agency.There is a $2,200 Promise Child grant for eligible families for this adoption. Please contact a waiting child case manager at ckids@wacap.org for more information.


Child's Name: Francesca SB post op gait difference
Gender: Girl
Date of Birth: May 2000
Continent: Asia
ID: Francesca SP.FA.0500.323

Francesca is cheerful girl who is described as very smart by her nannies. She attends school at the orphanage in a special education class because she has an abnormal gait and they say that they can’t send her to a regular school. She was born with spina bifida and received surgery for it in 2006. She has been living in the orphanage since 2000. She is able to play the piano and played Edelweiss for us and while she played, the toddlers in the room danced to her music. She likes to do arts and crafts in the school. She also enjoys helping the nannies with chores for the baby room. She has an unusual gait when walking, swaying quite a bit from side to side. Her nannies say that she always smiles and is very patient and polite. There is a $4,200 Promise Child grant for eligible families for this adoption. Please contact a waiting child case manager at ckids@wacap.org for more information.


Fu Yu

Child's Name: Fred
Gender: Boy
Date of Birth: Oct 1998
Continent: Asia
ID: Fred SP.FY.1098.32310.01

This child is a part of the Special Focus program.

Fred is an outgoing boy who was not too shy when talking with us. He attends school outside the orphanage and is in the 2nd grade. Because he has grown up in the orphanage, the orphanage started him in school at a much later age than he would have started had he grown up in a family, but they report that he is quite smart. He’s a very good student and above average. His favorite subject is math. He has dwarfism. He enjoys playing when outside of school especially with a ball. He has many friends of all ages. He’s very active and likes to run. He says that some of his favorite things are snacks and new clothes. Fred says that nothing makes him sad. When he sees an injustice for himself or others, he tells the teachers. His caregivers report that he is a hearty eater. He was very polite and always smiled at us when he saw us walk by during our visit at the institute.This child is listed with WACAP through a special partnership project with his/her orphanage. There is a $4,200 Promise Child grant for eligible families for this adoption. Please contact a waiting child case manager at ckids@wacap.org for more information.

Monday, February 13, 2012

When Jesus Calls Us

Saturday night as I was reviewing my Sunday School lesson about Jesus walking on the water, I was reminded that if it is JESUS who calls us out of our boat (of relative comfort and security,) we don't have to fear the outcome of our adventure.
So for my friends in the adoption process: If JESUS has called you to adopt then you don't have to panic no matter how high the waves of paperwork hassles or strong the winds of bureaucratic rigamarole or how wild the emotional roller coaster. Jesus says, "Take courage. It is I. Don't be afraid." See Matthew 14.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I'm Caught Up!!

Billy did not want to be outdone by Teresa, so he made a display board of his own showing on one panel his beloved Boise Broncos and on the other panel some of his favorite singers.
Abby at the dentist just yesterday, February 10getting a fluoride treatment. She gave me a glare when I showed her this shot.
Scheri in front of the Dept of Motor Vehicles. She is starting Driver's Ed on Monday!

Yesterday was one of those crazy days. For some insane reason, I had scheduled dental appointments for 8 a.m. which meant we had to rise and shine at 6:30 a.m.--even earlier than on regular school days. That did not boost my mommy popularity. It was foggy and a bit slick and we didn't get out the door when we should have so we were 10- 15 minutes late--but I'd called to let them know we were indeed almost there. Scheri went first. Then James, Teresa and Abby also needed to be seen. (Billy was the only one who wasn't accompanying me--he headed to STRIVE as usual.) As soon as Scheri's dental exam was complete, I grabbed her along with Caleb and Steven and headed to the pediatrician's office for Scheri's medication follow-up. I waited for the doctor to nicely sign several prescriptions as well as a note for Billy's school. Then we all scooted back over to the dentist's office where Abby's exam was in progress. I got follow-up appointments scheduled for all those needing to return to have cavities repaired. BAH HUM BUG!

We all climbed back into the van and I noticed the gas gauge was on empty. So we stopped at Costco for a fill-up. I decided that was as cheap a place to eat as any so we all went in and everyone had cheese pizza except for Caleb who still wanted a hot dog. Back to the car we went. By this time it was something like 12:35 and I knew there was no sense in driving all the way home so we headed across town to the DMV. Scheri is supposed to start Driver's Ed on Monday so we had to get her learner's permit. So Scheri and I jumped out of the car and went in. The line in that place was crazy. Then we discovered we could not pay with debit card or check--only cash. So we hopped back into the car and down the street to the ATM machine at the bank. Got the $40 cuz I needed $21.50 and the ATM only gave money in $20 increments. OK, back to DMV, back to the long and extremely slowly-moving line. Then when it was finally our turn we of course had to show them all the legal documents showing that both Scheri and I were indeed who we said we were. She had to do a little vision test and get her picture taken. We both had to sign several papers and hear the explanation of the driving log, etc. By the time we got out of that place I was already almost late for Abby's 1:45 therapy appointments clear back across town near our dentist's office. I didn't have time to drop the 3 older kids at the library so just let them walk. Sure enough , by the time I got to the OT and PT appointment we were nearly 30 minutes late. Anyway, she got about 15 or 20 minutes of OT followed by her regular 45 minute session of PT. I'd kept Caleb and Steven with me because they can be a real handful for the other kids to handle. So Abby was done about 3:30 and we jumped back in the van to head back across town for the library. I started looking in the children's section--no kids; 2nd floor--no kids; 3rd floor--no kids. Back down to the children's section to start over. Thankfully this time I noticed there was a newly-added Teen Room--and there my kids were all reading away. WHEW! We drove through at Burger King for ice cream, dropped off prescriptions at our pharmacy, got a labeled medication bottle for Billy's school and finally headed home. It was 4:40 and I was totally exhausted. Sheesh, I could have flown clear across the Atlantic in that amount of time!!

{Retro Post} James at School ` January 25, 2012

James is in 8th Grade this year with the Idaho Virtual Academy. Here he is during his Science unit on Force and Motion. His goal was to put the egg in the styrofoam cups protected in such a way that the egg would not break when dropped to the kitchen floor from ceiling height.
Here is a painted clay plate that he made in his art class.

Here is more artwork. It is always fun to see James on an art project because he really puts himself into it with all kinds of tiny details.

{Retro Post} Back from St. Lucia

Abby showing off her pretty new bracelets.
James showing the cross necklace.
Lovely conch shell that Teresa talked Kevin into purchasing for her.
Teresa's shell collection

Teresa had several requirements in relation to her J-term project. She had to log her hours daily and explain what she was doing during that time. She had to write a written report on the project. Finally she had to prepare a visual display of the project and then present it by video to her on-line instructor.
Here she is working on displaying her pictures.
I thought she did a very nice job on her display. The blue and yellow were main colors in the St. Lucia flag.
Here is her rendition of the St. Lucia flag.
Here is a map of the Caribbean with the main islands labeled.

{Retro Post} Mission Accomplished ` Jan 21, 2012

James got this major Lego Star Wars building set for Christmas. Putting it together has been a challenge to say the least--the project has been started several times only for the pieces to be eventually thrown back into the box in frustration. But finally!! perseverance has paid off. Here are Scheri and James justly proud of their accomplishment.

{Retro Post} Water Water Everywhere ` January 19, 2012

So far we have had a remarkably mild winter. Well, we had lots of snow on Jan 18 and then the next day it rained and rained. This was the view at the Elementary School when I went to pick up Abby, Caleb and Steven. This shallow river is where the waiting parents usually park!!

This small lake was down at the end of the school's front lawn.
Here's the water running along the edge of the football field.

{Retro Post} Clear the Roads! ` Jan 13. 2012

I thought this was too cute not to photograph because I love to see good imaginations at play. Here are Caleb and Steven driving through the living room. Steven is holding a captain's hat as a steering wheel. I can't remember what passenger Caleb had in his shopping basket.

{Retro Post} Off to St. Lucia ` January 10, 2012

Both Teresa and Kevin had the wonderful opportunity to go to St. Lucia (tiny island in the Caribbean) for a MAPS project this year. This is Kevin's 4th time on one of these approx 2-week building trips. For Teresa the timing worked out perfectly with Idaho Virtual Academy for her to go and earn credit for her J-term service project. The goal of this MAPS project is to erect the block walls of a new church. I drove them over to Twin Falls where they met up with our good friend Terry Archibald. He was driving them and Pastor Tellez from Hagerman Assembly to the Salt Lake City airport.

Terry's truck loaded and ready to take off.

{Retro Post} The chefs at work Jan. 3, 2011

Here are Steven and Caleb ready to put in a batch of fresh Play-doh cookie bits.
Here are Abby's creations. I was so proud of Scheri for working with her younger sister to show her how to use the cookie cutters.

{Retro Post} January 2, 2011

God is so good to us. We still have a house!! While we were gone, our neighbor/friend who was watching our home for us thankfully noticed a gas odor. Sure enough when the guy from the gas company came to check it out, our old stove was TOAST. Just imagine what could have happened if Tina had not been here?
So here's our purty new stove with our old microwave that Kevin was able to repair beside it.

All four of our boys bought light sabers at Disney Land. Here they are in way-too-much action.

Eating at Arctic Circle with Joy's parents. It seemed like forever since we'd been together. I am sooo glad this was not a back-to-work, back-to-school day.
Dad, Mom, James and Billy's arm.
Billy, Scheri and Teresa

The Cabe-ster. Yes Abby was there, too . . .