His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis


I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Precious Sister Love

Alli is doing so great! I am so proud of her.  I must say, that Alli has 3 sisters rooting for her success, besides mom and dad. :) 
Each one of them is on TEAM MINICH as always.  But today, I'm going to talk a little about Erika. :)

Erika has overcome so much herself and she is a beautiful, sweetheart.  Erika learned how to knit when she had her feet amputated. She started on a knitting loom like the one Alli is holding.  She decided to teach Alli how to knit too.  Alli has really taken to it, and they sit together every day and talk and snuggle and knit. 
The other day when Alli was a little frustrated with her math.... I watched Erika walk by her, put her arm around her and kiss her on the cheek.   That was exactly the affirmation Alli needed. Erika is very sensitive  and has very keen intuition. :)

Alli ADORES Erika.  They have developed a very close relationship and it is precious to see. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I played banjo when I was younger. When I was 19, my banjo was stolen in a robbery. I got it back the next year, and then it got broken.  Life had its twists and turns and I never replaced it. 
I started feeling like I wanted to play it again.....35 years later. LOL
So, I looked on EBAY and found this lonely old banjo that somebody had purchased from a Pawn Shoppe and had sitting in their closet the last few years.  I bid on it. CHEAP.... and I was the only bidder.
So..... my Banjo arrived today!!!!
 Oh the Anticipation!


And there it is, in all its oldness! :)

I took it to Guitar Center and had it restrung... he said the head is in good shape and I didn't even need a new bridge. :)
So, with new strings and a new pick, Erika and I headed home.....
So here I am.... ready to try:
And here is my try:  I have a LOT of catching up to do!

And somehow..... I think I am going to have dueling banjos here soon....... :)

The Importance of Punctuation

It could save your life! :)
 This SHOULD read:  GRANDMA'S..... Do Not Eat!

All Ya-Yas and Grandmas thank you for getting it right!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When God Intervenes

God intervenes in our lives and gives to us circumstances in life that will cause us to grow in Him. He uses us, if we let Him, as HIS HANDS and HIS FEET and we extend HIS LOVE to those around us, when we are willing to do so.  And when we do, we see great things. GREAT things, not just in other's lives, but in our own lives too.
I found this quote on "Wrong In All The Right Ways" blog. God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, he will increase our capability. I have found it to be so true. :)
Oh how we MUST depend upon our Lord. :) He is not optional,  He is our very life source. 
 We have had wonderful smoothe sailing waters with Miss Alli, and then tumultuous waters with Miss Alli.  Today, I will refer to both, because HEALING involves stretching and pain.

The last two days have been so healing..... but they have been hard too. 
One of Alli's biggest fears is that if we think she has told a lie, that will mean we don't love her anymore.  So she'll say, "If you think I lied, then you don't love me!"  Well, she DID tell a few lies, and we confronted those lies, and she clammed up with tears and anger and yelling and accusing and saying, "Well, since you don't believe me, you DON'T love me!"
Both Mike and I calmly spoke truth to her last night and confronted her.  She was going to have NONE of it.  We prayed and went to bed.
This morning.... she awoke as a rather agitated bear.  She was still not ready to deal with truth. In fact, it took her a good part of the day. 
We decided at about 9:00, it was time to confront her head on.  YOU ARE LYING AND WE LOVE YOU!  We worked together through the fall out of that statement.  That means, we held her while she tried to throw a major tantrum..... she exhausted herself. We remained her constant. We were firm,  honest and truthful with her.
We love you... You lied.
Once we got a calm sense from her.... as she exhausted herself.... we were able to directly address her deepest fear.  The abandonment fear. The one that says, "If you really know me, and how shameful I can be, then you won't love me."  That fear!
We hit it head on today.......
I told her the dreams I have for her. I look forward to the day when she is a happy teenager and says, "Mom, I'm going to the movies!" "Mom, can I borrow the car!" "Mom, I met this really nice man!"
"Mom, we are going to get married!" "Mom, I'm going to have a baby!" "Mom, I love my baby so much!"  And I look forward to the day when she holds that little one and loves them deeply and NEVER hurts or abandons them.  I look forward to the day when she can tell her story, of how GOD worked in her life, and how HE changed her from the inside out! I look forward to the day when she stands before a group and teaches them about God's LOVE and MERCY..... those are my dreams for her.  Her tears flowed.
And there was calm for about 2 hours.
Then came math.
She was back at it.
This time, however,  after she ran to her room and slammed the door shut.....
I took a deep breath and waited for about 5 minutes.
When I went in.... I felt that there were some specific things to say. They were different.
I did not address the behavior but the shame behind the behavior.
"I bet you feel so badly behaving in such a way!"
"I bet you feel really scared, like we won't love you anymore."
And then the tears flowed once again.  She said she was so ashamed, but didn't know how to stop it.
At that point I said, "This is how you stop it." "You go and wash your face and hands, and then, we go and do your math." It is that simple!

She did it! She calmed herself while washing and then finished her math in a few minutes. (literally!)
After that, she finished the rest of her school.
She expressed that she doesn't know why she behaves in such a way. I believe that. I don't think she knows why. I DO think I know why.  11 years of NO instruction whatsoever, and a trauma background , along with total rejection from 2 other families have deeply wounded her!
And the rest of today has been great.  I am confident that we turned a huge corner with her facing her fear of rejection.  Her being able to admit to her lie is HUGE.

I actually received a nice note from her saying, "Mama, I'm sorry I lied"... but it was spelled liyd. :)
"I love you".

I'm sure we have much more ground to cover. :)

But tonight during our prayer time, she confessed her sin to the Lord and asked for forgiveness.....with each specific thing she had done today. :) And then, she mentioned to the Lord what she would like to become.... "I want to be a loving lady. I want to be truthful and honest and kind when I grow up."

And that places everything into perspective, because I want the same thing. :)


Oh To Be HIS Hands Extended.....

I saw this picture today on facebook, and then again on my friend Jeane's Blog (blessed by a child).
The photo was taken by Mike Wells,  to show the extent of starvation in Africa. He took it for a magazine, and when they went 5 months without printing it, he decided to enter it into a competition, but did not want money for the photo.

It is said,  "Pictures are worth a thousand words", and this one certainly fits that category.  The hand is that of a missionary in Uganda holding the hand of a dying boy. It does not say the boy's age....

We saw many children in Ukraine that were too small for their ages due to neglect and not enough food. I have seen video of children in orphanages who are starving to death. Some of you have brought home children who were hours away from dying because of a lack of food. 

I am priveledged to know a handful of folks out there who have changed the lives of children forever. I am priveledged to know those who go day in and day out and minister to the orphans that are etched in our memories.  May we NEVER EVER forget those left behind. :( 

That is what haunts me the most; the ones who are left behind. 

I bet this missionary never thought he would be holding such a precious little hand and sharing a loving moment in such a dire time.  I am sure he was changed forever, just as each of us who have gone overseas and seen the orphanages, are changed forever.   May we all continue to be the Hands and feet of Christ and never cease working until He comes!

I challenge each of you who have an adoption/family/ blog to repost this photo.  People are STARVING  while we are laughing and playing and going to restaurants, throwing out more food than many of these people have seen in a lifetime. :(

For All My Canadian Readers :)

I thought this was pretty funny. :)  Enjoy.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I am so proud of Anna.  She is going to be 13 in a couple of months.  Last week she had kitchen duty.  She did such a great job and I never had to ask her to do anything all week.  I was really impressed! :)
Thank you Anna!

And of course she did suggest that if we adopted 52 kids, she would only have kitchen duty for 1 week out of the year! LOL

Sunday, September 25, 2011

We Saw Dolphin Tale

 (sometime we need to get a picture with all of us at the same time) :)
We went to see Dolphin Tale at the theater today. :)  I mentioned the movie was coming out in  a post here.
I have to say, we REALLY enjoyed the movie. The theater was the largest one, and it was nearly sold out. It was full all the way to the front.  I am really happy that Hollywood made a decent family movie with a good message!
It was the message of "NEVER GIVE UP!" At the end of the movie there was a bit of film showing all kinds of people with various disabilities and amputations visiting Winter the Dolphin. It was really touching.
If you haven't gone to see it, I highly recommend it. 

waiting for the movie to start. :)

You can see Winter and Clearwater Aquarium here.

And now: a Special Review for kids with Trauma backgrounds:

The main Character in the movie is a little boy named Sawyer.  He is adorable, but his father had abandoned the family. His Uncle was going off to war and he was very sad.  The dolphin came into his life at just the right time, and his spirits were raised.
His Uncle came back from war, injured. He didn't have missing limbs, but had to wear a brace and couldn't walk at first.  He was more emotionally damaged than physically damaged, and Sawyers first visit with him was not good. He asked him to leave.  Sawyer very quickly said, "Your accident effects more people than JUST YOU!"  And it was done very well.
What is GOOD, is that his uncle wheels out to catch him and says that it wasn't Sawyer..... he just wasn't ready to see anybody yet.
Eventually Sawyer and his uncle are back to normal, or their new normal, and Sawyer give a public speech where he looks at his uncle and says, "Family is FOREVER!"  You don't give up on your family.
The other possible issue is Hazel's mother has died. She lives with her dad.  All of this is handled very tastefully.
I think, that because of these statements, a child with Trauma can get through this movie with a new understanding. But that is a personal decision. We all know our kids best.  Alli handled it really well.

I think the other great thing this movie has done is make an unitentional plug for amputees across America.  There was a little girl IN the movie who was missing a leg.  It also called attention to the FABULOUS job our prosthetists do for us, and the complications of fitting a limb.  The sock incidents were humorous to me, because we have had many of those.  :)  Also, the dolphin's reaction to the first prosthetic, reminded me of our son Tim, when he got his first braces.  He was MAD! He didn't want them and refused them......  Once they were fitted correctly and he became more confident, he was fine with them. :)

SO, would this movie be good for a kid with a trauma background. I think yes.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Things I NEVER Thought I'd Have To Say!

As a mom, I never dreamed of the things I would need to tell my children over the years.....
Here are a few including some from years ago with the boys:

No, you may not go outside naked!
Please don't ever throw the rabbit over the fence!
Don't make guns out of your peanut butter sandwiches!
Don't fish for your brother!
Please Take Tim's Cabbage Patch Doll OFF of the noose!
Please don't spread your arms and say "It is finished!"
Your brother said "Gunnery"?
Ok, don't say "gunnery"!
Don't put dresses on the Tom Cat.
Don't EVER tell big boys your brother is going to beat them up!
You Traded our brother's CRANE for Tooth paste and a tooth brush??
You'll choke if you swallow Brussel's Sprouts whole!
No we do not climb on the school roof!
Please take your glasses off before you fight!
Do not put beans in your ears OR your nose!
Please don't take the baby's pacifier.
Don't hold your doll by the neck or the foot!
What do you mean you went door to door to tell jokes and made 35 Cents!
I know you want to be different, but you actually look like everybody else who THINKS
they are looking different!
Medians are NOT for driving over, just because there is a driveway on the other side!
YES we got new furniture! Why did we wait so long? Did you see our old furniture???
We had to wait until you went to college. :)
You better take her on a date, she flew all the way from Maryland to see you!
If your sister is bleeding in the driveway, it is best to come and tell mommy, not just come in for a hug.
Don't wrestle the goat!
Didn't you see your sister laying next to you on the floor while you were blowing bubbles
in the mirror?
NO! Daddy does NOT act like a rooster.
Please don't baptize the duck!
Yes, mommy and daddy are married. 
Don't cry sweetie, Mommy and Daddy have been married a LONG time!
Please keep your leg by the bed at night, then you won't lose it!
Be careful, your toe is about to fall off!
No it is not ok to walk barefoot just because you can't feel anything.
BE CAREFUL... .Don't fall! Please! 
NO YOU CANNOT drive! You're 12!
YOU WHAT??? When did he let you drive????
Don't forget to pack your legs.
We can drop your leg off tomorrow and pick it up on Friday.
Please don't kiss the goat.
I'm sorry I didn't see you laying there!
Please don't tell people our food had a name, it will ruin their appetite.
NO you SHOULDN'T have removed your leg and layed it on the sidewalk and hid behind the mail box to scare the nice lady!
You don't have cancer, that is a mosquito bite!
No you may NOT hide your sisters leg! Body parts are off limits!
You said the "S" word???
Oh yea..... Stupid is NOT nice to say! nor is Shut Up for that matter.
NO S words are nice to say!
Ok, you can say, sweet and smile.....
Your teacher was wrong.... YOU CAN LEARN!
No, it was not your fault that they abandoned you.
No, we are not going to sell you for your body parts.
Yes, Sarah is still alive!
I bet you look just like her. :)
I can't imagine the pain in your heart.
Hi, My name is Mrs. Minich.... I'm here to keep you safe.
Do you have any questions before we go home?
This is your sister Anna, would you like to order some french fries?
I don't know all the answers, but God does.
Can you trust me just a smidge?

AND:  We will Never, EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER give up! EVER! :)
 and another EVER after that one.

What are a few of the things YOU never thought you would have to say? :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Me and My Wonderful Loving Dad...by Erika

This Post is from Erika. I found it on her blog tonight. I am so touched.  What a precious daughter I have. :)


Me and My Wonderful Loving Dad

Last week my wonderful dad took me out to Cristina's. Me and him had a great time. That will be a memory that I will never forgot.

I have a great gift from God and many others. One of them is my Inspiring,Caring, and Loving father.

The first time I met My mom and Dad, my words were, where have you been, I have been waiting for you for 50 years!

I use to dream big about having a loving family. Seeing other kids being adopted made me want to dream more for a loving family. Sarah was my friend in the orphanage, my true friend. When she was adopted, I felt so Scared, so Sad, and Angry, Losing my only true friend.

I was left in a dying crib for four years, everyone thinking I was not going to live. After four years, I was taken out and was put in an orphanage for three more years. Mom and Dad came and I was so happy.

Today we are all a family. It so amazing how God worked to put Sarah and I together as sisters. Not only me best friend, but has been my sister for 5 years.

I also have my sister Anna, that is funny, Sarcastic, loving, and Caring. She makes me laugh when I don't feel good or when I am sad. I love her very much.

And Also Alli, my Silly, wonderful, Loving, and Caring Sister. She cares for me when I am hurt or when I am sad.  She loves to spend time with me. And I love her Dearly.

 And now I come to my loving parents. My mom is very gentle with me. She is every thing all in one. She gets worried when Fall. She will set down with me and hold me and when I need her to. She is everything to me. Not long ago she told me I was turning into a beautiful young lady, inside and out.And I love her so very much..

And my Dad. It is hard to describe him. He is Daring, Silly, Sarcastic,Loving, and many. He loves to give me and my sisters hugs. He loves to love.
Today I stood with my dad and gave him a hug. While giving him that hug, it made me think about 15 or 20 year later I wont have my dad standing their able to give me a hug. I soaked that moment in loving my dad very much, hoping the moment would never be over.
If you think about your Dad or your Mom, the are a gift from God, they are very special.
After Losing my dearest Grandfather, it made me want love my Dad and my mom even more.
Every Day, Week, and Month we get closer to our death. Tell your loved ones that you love them while you have the chance to say.

So I got to soak another moment with my dad last Thursday.
Me and him leaving to go.
We turned up the radio really loud and rocked every place we went.
We could also call in and ask for a song we wanted to listen to .
So dad told me to call and ask for one that is not very popular. The radio station couldn't find it, so we called in and asked for another hard one.

He took me out to Cristina's and we had a wonderful time.

We had some great food.
Mom was very jealous!!

It was very Good. We prayed and had a great dinner.

It was very special to me and meant a lot.

He also took me to Guitar Center, and I got  a guitar tuner.

It was a wonderful Time.

Me and Dad came home and I thanked him and gave him a long hug.

Love you very Much Dad!!!
And thank you.

Thanks for Reading.
You might also like:

Benjamin Netnayahu

I don't like to get political on my blog, but honestly, I thought Prime Minister Netnayahu was fantastic. He gave a riveting speech at the U.N. today.   He reminded me of Golda Meier...The First Prime Minister of The State of Israel.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Healing hurts.  There is pain before gain.  

We had a really good talk yesterday with Miss Alli.  She had a bit of a rough afternoon and I could see in her face that she didn't want to have a rough afternoon, she just couldn't seem to get out of it.

As I was talking with her, my heart once again broke for her. She said, "Mama, I don't know what to do! I don't want to be this way, but I am." 
That is when I could really talk with her.  She said in her heart she starts to fear that nobody cares about her.  Of COURSE she does! Because for her, that is how her first 11 years felt.  We have just had her 6 months.
She said that most of the time when she gets upset, it has to do with that very issue; feeling like nobody cares.  And her biggest fear is that we will send her away.
She told us yesterday. You are different parents. You are the most different parents I have ever had. That statement made me sad.  How many kids have the life experience to have to say that? :/  When she called us different, she meant it in a good way. She truly does love us. We know she does. She shows it in many, many ways and I should probably blog about it more. :)

I told her, "Sweetie, you are not a visitor.  You are MY DAUGHTER, just as if I had birthed you myself.  I don't see you any other way. I love you the same as if you were born to me. You are a part of me, a part of my heart. On the worst of days, I have never EVER thought one time about sending you anywhere! EVER, EVER, EVER! 
We are on the same team.  I am not against you. I am FOR you. ALL THE WAY TILL THE DAY I DIE.  I am FOR YOU.
As she pondered my words, tears welled up in her eyes and we began to work out some strategy to help her when she starts to get stuck, to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Mike and I along with Alli had a snuggle time and a time of prayer this a.m.  at about 6:15.  She was UP and ready. And then,  later in the morning, I had an opportunity to use that strategy we planned the day before.  It was a simple, "Remember....I care."  And that was enough to circumvent an incident that could have resulted in talking back and defensiveness.

I am witnessing a miracle take place in Alli's life.   Her very presence in our home is a miracle. The healing, DEEP healing that is taking place in her life, is amazing to watch.  6 months ago, we started on the basic things of getting over the shock of being moved yet again, and of all the things that happened TO her.....Now we are working on healing WITHIN her.  She knows that there is much to learn and discover about herself and what makes her tick.  Even though she is just 11, there are times where she is able to understand and comprehend way beyond her years. Yesterday was one of those times. :)
She is so smart and sweet and beautiful and I just KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW, she is going to succeed! She is going to make it! And she is going to live a happy, healthy and productive life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

School Days

Anna and Erika working on Math.

Alli and Sarah watching Liberty Kids during lunch break...... What interesting positions these girls get into when relaxing. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blog Award

Erika gave me a blog award .... called the Liebster Blog award. 
Thanks Erika. :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Funnies In September

Erika to Anna:
Wouldn't you like to own a German Shepherd?
Anna to Erika:
Erika, owning a person is ILLEGAL!

Anna and I were on a drive and she was talking about a musician's hair.... She described it as "Ancient..... Soooo  20th century!" 
I had to laugh at that one. :)

Sarah's leg is sore from jumping on a trampoline it was all read and not getting better.
We went to see the prosthetist today.
He said, "So you jumped on a trampoline with your leg on?
She said, "Ummm. How ELSE am I supposed to jump????"  LOL

Alli and I were role playing.  I was pretending to be her and she as me.
She even put her glasses on the end of her nose and said, "Look at me!" :)

SO I was pretending I wanted dessert before eating my dinner. I was really putting on a show and she said, "Look at me!"  "Ok, you can have dessert sweetie!"
I had to stop my acting and say, "ALLI! That is NOT a good mommy idea!" and she started laughing hysterically!
(you would have had to have been there) :)

Anna's New Jacket

Anna  was showing daddy her new jacket. I think she likes it! :)  Daddy liked the price. :)
We found Plato's Closet. A second hand store for teens.   YEA!
We have shopped Kid to Kid for years.  Erika and Anna are now out of girl sizes and more in Jr. sizes.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What a Wonderful Day and A Message

It was such a nice day... We had a wonderful time at Worship, and then went out to a family dinner with a great coupon. All six of us ate for 11.00! :)

Alli and I went to the grocery store and had a really great time. She was happy and talkative.  She shared a few things that she remembered from Russia; some pleasant, some not so pleasant. And then she helped me putting things in the grocery cart.   I love it when kids get excited about simple things like "Fruit Roll Ups". :)

On the way home she said, "Mama, I love being a kid."
I can really tell she is enjoying just being a child. And seeing her smile and receiving her hugs just melts my heart. :)

The purpose for this blog is to help others who are in the adoption community, or about to be, either through adoption or a relative adopting.  It is also just about family life and all sorts of other things thrown in. :)
In other words, it is sharing OUR life with you!  I do my best to keep things honest and not be too rosy or too bleak.  If I post ROSEY, it is true. If I post drama, it is true.   But the reasons for posting are to help those who may need insight AND because I love to do it.  It is a release for me too. :)

I received a private message today from somebody who said, after reading my blog, they did not feel they were going to be able to adopt.  They don't believe they have what it takes.  I am saddened,yet at the same time, I am thankful for a potential adoptive parent who is seriously counting the cost, both for herself, her family and the potential child.
Adoption, as many will say, is NOT for the faint of heart, but it is also not for the perfect, as there is NO BODY ON THIS PLANET that is perfect.
However, I DO believe that there is a RIGHT SEASON for adoption.
Maybe it isn't the right TIME to adopt, but that does not mean it isn't for you at all!
We did not adopt until our youngest son was 20 years old.  That means we raised our 4 sons and then we adopted our 4 daughters.  We adopted them separately, over a period of 7 years.   We have learned a lot along the way.
One of my favorite lines from Martian Child is in the beginning of the movie when a lady is walking with the main character and they are discussing adoption.  She makes the statement, "Most people put more effort into how to raise tomato plants than they do in raising their kids."  That line cracked me up.
I don't know that it is true....but there is no room for that blindness when it comes to bringing hurt children into our homes.

I hope I did not cause anguish or scare off a potential adoptive parent by being too bleak lately.
At the same time, I think this person has really been weighing the cost, and has decided this is not the time.
I hope she comes back to adopt in a different season of life. :)  I bet she will be a great parent.

And the broken heart can be made whole.  The joy of being a part of that process, though difficult sometimes, where self examination is deep and life changing.....and being in a circumstance that causes us to cling to the Lord, is PRICELESS and RAW AND REAL and I wouldn't change it for ANYTHING.  :) 
I believe we are right where God wants us to be.  And I am full of joy today because my 4 little girls have a happy and secure home and they are orphans no more. :)
That is something to rejoice over.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Accidental Humor

I posted this picture of facebook.  I made home made tortilla chips for Ministry Group and put the picture up for Ministry Group friends....
Then my friend JJ from the East Coast commented, "What is that FOOT doing on your table?"
LOL..... I never even noticed it!
It is amazing how many times I take pictures and have to edit them (usually catch these things) of excess limbs. :)
(you have to click on the picture.... the foot is hidden behind the side bar photos)

Sister to Sister

I wrote about "Mom, Dad and Me Books" a little while ago....  and so far those books have turned out to be a big hit! We love reading what the girls write and writing back to them.

But this a.m., I found something while helping the girls clean the rest of their room.  Sarah and Alli have a sister to sister book.
They let me thumb through it, and it was precious.
There were a few "forgive me's" and "I love you's".   There were some admonishments to obey mom and dad, and some encouragements to each other.  

WOW! I am a blessed mama. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Somebody's Been Having TOO Much Fun!

Believe it or not, Sarah wore her foot out in 4 months!

I love it that she is so energetic and enjoys herself thoroughly! But 4 months!
Today she received a new foot. It is a little larger so now her shoes fit right!
 This one doesn't have a tan, but that is ok, she wears shoes most of the time. :)
I think she wore herself out. She didn't make it through the movie. :)


I wrote earlier this month about "The Unseen Clock".
I am going to extrapolate a little more on this issue as it is relevant in our family right now. :)

I just want to say, I am learning so much right now about trusting in my Lord.  I have been called again and again to my knees to seek wisdom, and I believe the Lord has heard my prayers and granted me what I have needed to parent our sweet little Alli.

Alli is the youngest child in our family. She has been home a little over 6 months. She is also the oldest child we have adopted. She was adopted at 11 years old.  Much of her life has been a mix of abuse, neglect and family changes.
For those who do not think adoption dissolution/disruption effects children who are unattached or RAD, and they are just resillient and don't care..... I will say, It DOES effect them deeply, and They ARE resillient and they DO care DEEPLY. :)

I am starting to believe that children who are considered RAD, are actually very sensitive children who lash out when they think they are going to be rejected or hurt once again. They try to reject because the pain of being loved and then losing that love is just too great for them to bear. I do realize I am making a broad generalization that may not fit others who have children with mental illness.... but I am speaking from my own experience with 2 children who were determined RAD, 1 with attachment issues, one from Eastern Europe who has had almost no issues and 4 bio sons who were abandoned and rejected by their bio father and then adopted by Mike.
Yes our son Joseph, would have been considered RAD when he was little and he fits the very M.O. I am portraying.
Each and every time we respond in a negative way towards our hurting children, such as being impatient, that is another brick that seals them in a personal hell that they can't understand and are to confused to get out of.

When they think we do not understand them, and ESPECIALLY when we ASSUME how they are feeling or the REASON BEHIND something they have done, they feel betrayed and unloved. (That is one of the reasons I DO NOT believe that children are manipulating, but very may well be trying to control out of sheer fear.)
Many things are interpreted in their hearts all day long in a maze of reasoning that We as regular old mom and dad or sister and brother do not get.

One of the most important pieces of information I have ever come across in regards to confusing behaviors has been about the internal clock that our kids have regarding trauma.  When that timer goes off, they may be interpreting EVERYTHING based upon a feeling they had years ago that they cannot understand.
One of the great things about adopting an older child, is she can tell us a LOT. :) She has a very good and acute memory.  That can also be hard on her because she has a LOT to remember.... or forget!
She won't forget.  We just need to make new memories, especially during those times that the alarm has sounded. :)

I always get a little nervous writing about this stuff, as I don't want my readers to interpret that we are always having issues. We are not.  Most of the time we are sailing in fairly smooth waters. And then BAM... it gets rather choppy.  I don't like the choppy.  But that is where healing takes place.

We have all gotten into a pretty good routine around here.  Today was a really great day.... and then suddenly.... it wasn't.  Miss Alli became defensive about not wanting to drill with her sisters for science.  She sat in the hallway and began to mourn.  You don't treat me the same as you do my sisters. You love them more than me. They don't like me anymore. They used to play with me and now they don't.  They don't play with toys anymore.... I am over my cold... and then, when I tried to talk to her, I was met with a brick.  WHY?

The WHY is, because I was not listening. I was getting ready to prepare an accurate and true defense and that is not what she needed IN that MOMENT.  She needed me to hear her heart and fears.

We were getting ready for a play date, so I gave her about 10 minutes to decide if she was going to comply with the rest of our study time, or not take part in the play date, not because she was being punished, but because she was in no frame of mind for a play date.

She didn't decide. So I decided for her. She would stay with me, and I would take the girls to their play date and drop them off.  My friend Deanne is SO understanding when it comes to my quirky parenting. :)  Thanks Deanne. :)

When we were on our way to the play date, I saw my precious Sarah  smile at Alli and then put her arm around her and give her a huge hug. Alli started to weep. 

Alli was sobbing by the time we drove off. She really needed some calm time.  I shocked her by not taking her home and putting her in her room or forcing her to talk to me.....
I had been praying all along and Grace and Mercy came to mind.  God is so gracious and merciful to me, a sinner, and I STILL SIN.... and HE STILL forgives.

So, we drove to the Sonic drive in and I bought her a coke. (I'm not supposed to be having coke, but I did.... and it was GOOD!) :)
I didn't have to say anything.  I was in a state of listening and she poured her heart out.

Her first question:  Am I leaving?
NO! You are NEVER leaving.  We love you.  It seems like it is time, because last time, I had a cold. (she did) And I had a cold at the first family, and I also had a cold when I went to the orphanage. (I checked her paperwork and it was true)  "And I remember my nose hurt from blowing it!"  And my nose hurts now from blowing it.... and it hurt when you came  to get me..... and her FLAWED logic flowed from her like the best of algebraic equations.  The problem was, her hypothesis was flawed.
She actually said, "Everytime I get a cold and sore nose, I have to leave."
Now I can see why she would think this! LOL

All I could do was hug her and reassure her.
And then came the next statement.  "The other family didn't want me anymore. (the first one) They only wanted my sister really. They told me that."

I threw up another emergency prayer and waited a minute..... and then the words came.....
"Alli, We chose YOU.  When we got the call for you.... it was all about YOU and nobody else... We CHOSE TO LOVE YOU!"  And the tears of healing flowed.

And then the issue of sisters who don't play with toys anymore came up.  I was able to share my own experiences of being the little sister with sisters who no longer played with toys. It wasn't because they didn't want to play with ME, but because they are getting older. That's all.
I mentioned to her Sarah's sweet hug and she smiled and said, "It made me feel good and I started to cry and I don't know why."
Maybe it is because she is experiencing genuine love. :)

I think her feelings about the girls not playing much were valid.  They do need to consider playing Barbies with their little sister. :) It is OK to play, even if you think you are too old. :) That sort of kindness can go a long way.

Alli and I wandered into a really cool store and looked at some things as we continued to talk. And then we headed back to the play date. She seemed happy and calm....
At that time, I addressed the issue of not joining us for science.
"Mom, I'm really sorry.  I'll try harder."
I told her, "Sweetie, when you are fearing you are going to leave, you are going to HAVE to FIGHT IT! Fight it with ALL YOUR MIGHT.... when the enemy whispers in your ear, "They don't love you, or you're leaving", say it ISN'T SO! Because it ISN'T!

Today, we came a little closer to our sweet baby  knowing she is here forever.  The REAL forever.
6 months is not long.  She has TRULY come so far. I know I say that alot, but it is TRUE. :)

Her final question to me was: "Who's fault was it that I had to go to the orphanage? My mother's or my father's?  What heart wrenching discussions.
You know, I can't even remember how I answered that.... but she was in a secure place emotionally when we went swimming. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Erika's Daddy Daughter Date

Mike tries to take each of the girls out once a month. Tonight was Erika's turn.  This has been a winner week for her because her mommy daughter date and daddy daughter date wound up in the same week!
Here they are leaving....

 Erika texted this picture to me from "Christina's" mexican restaurant..... Daddy and MOMMY need to go on a date soon! YUM!
Here they are back from a lovely evening. :)

Alli and the Cicata

No words...... LOL

Overcoming Food Issues

Many children who come home from Eastern Europe have issues with food when they come home. They are afraid of the different food textures, tastes and smells.   In some cases it can be more than just fear or dislike of the new tastes..... it can actually be an induced eating disorder CAUSED by actual starvation within the system from where they came.

My sweet Daughter in Law Ivy, wrote about overcoming an eating disorder here.  She described our Sarah's pain exactly!  I remember Sarah waking at night crying hysterically that she was hungry, and then not being able to really eat more than one bite.

When Sarah came home, she weighed 32 lbs and was nearly 6 years old. She was in a 3T.  The first time we sat down for a meal she said, "I only eat red soup!"  (borscht)  When we went to see the movie "Martian Child", both Mike and I looked at each other and grinned when the little boy said, "I eat Lucky Charms." :)

I realized very quickly, based upon what I had been told by her other family that she was going to have feeding issues.  In fact, feeding issues were a huge deal in her previous family.  They felt that she was being rebellious by not eating.  They thought she was throwing up on purpose.  Not only was she NOT, the lack of understanding towards her reinforced the food problems she was having.

Mom became a beet expert really fast!  I learned to make red soup!
I cannot tell you the joy she had on her face when she saw that comfort food sitting before her.  She ate her bowl of soup.
Why soup though?  Because It was easy on her stomach and she was very used to liquids and very simple foods. Everything else she would claim "hurt her stomach."   I believed that it did, but I think the pain was something else.

She was suffering the pain of hunger. She had been starved for so long and gone hungry for so long that she couldn't tell the difference between  hungry and full.  So, when she ate a pea, she'd say, "I'm full."  She hated the feeling of being FULL. But she would cry because her tummy hurt, especially at night.
We were giving her lots of whole fats and familiar foods, letting her graze all day long to try and not have a setting that would cause her stress.  We found that she would eat a few bites, declare herself full and then 10 minutes later she would be able to come back and eat a little more.

It was a very slow process getting Sarah to understand and recognize the difference between full and hungry. Before we could address it, she had to fully trust us with one of  her most vulnerable of feelings.


One day, after a couple of years being home, she declared that she was full after just eating a few bites.  I suggested to her, "Sarah, maybe you are not full, but your tummy just needs to rest a minute and what you are actually feeling is still hunger."  "Can you try to take 3 more bites and see if it goes away?"
She was very willing, and took those 3 more bites. This is something we could have never done 2 years before!   And, surprisingly to her, the feeling went away.  We worked on her recognizing the difference between the feeling of full and hungry for a long time.
That was the beginning of the learning process which enabled her  to eat more, try more foods and heal.
 She not only had to heal from the food issues, but from the frightful torment she went through at the hands of those who thought she was just being "rebellious". 
They cut her beautiful hair off. They hit her. They hit her because she would throw up. They punished her and made her sit for long periods of time, force feeding her....
Of course, NONE of this worked and she mourned the loss of her hair. One of the first questions she asked me when I met her was, "Are you going to hit me if I throw up?"  I was perplexed by this question and told her, of course not! Are you sick?  She said no.
To THIS DAY, Sarah has never thrown up. EVER.  (except right after surgery)

In the last 4 years, as we have served her the comfort foods she loves,  we have introduced slowly more and more foods, and today, I am very happy to say, we have a very healthy eater. She eats all of her food and has begun to ask for SECONDS!
Sarah still eats something right before bedtime and drinks whole milk regularly.  She still grazes in between meals too, and her food intake is at a healthy balanced rate. She loves all sorts of foods and will even eat cookies! :)   She is ON the charts! (not that charts are that important)  But she is ON THEM! :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Sweet Erika

I took my girl out on a mommy daughter date today. :) We really had such a NICE time!  She is growing up so fast before my eyes. She is a far cry from the sweet little TINY girl we brought home 5 years ago. :)
Erika has such a sense of calm and serenity about her.  She is sure  and confident.  And she loves the Lord Jesus. 
So today, we just enjoyed each other's company. :)  We went to eat lunch and then to World Market and covered every inch of that FABULOUS store! :) 
Tomorrow, is her turn for her daddy daughter date. She told me on the way home that she had requested they go out in the boat.
I asked, "Who will drive the boat while daddy parks the trailer?"  There was this simple silence with a hopeful smile...... LOL   She said, "Daddy has promised to teach me!"
So, this will be continued....... and I will NOT be there for that event! LOL

A New Blog

I was made aware of a blog by a sweet lady named Sarah. I have added her blog to my blog roll.  Sarah has Arthrogryposis. Her arthrogryposis is a little different than Erika's, as there are over 430 types of arthrogryposis.  She has such a sweet story and I wanted to share her blog.http://www.sarahkovac.com/ :)
Reading some it today, was a real encouragement to Erika and to me. :)

Describing A Negative Feedback Loop

I have rarely used this wording , but we CLEARLY were in a negative feedback loop for a couple of days.
One of the things our kids will do for us, is keep us from being lazy parents. Lazy parenting will get you into all sorts of trouble whether your child is adopted or not!
Heather Forbes and Bryan Post in "Beyond Consequences Logic and Control" talk about "Negative Feedback Loops" that our children AND WE can get into.... and they discuss breaking out of the loop.

Have you ever been in a useless discussion argument with your spouse?  SOMEBODY has to make the effort to STOP, turn things around and jump off the roller coaster of despair!

In the VERY same way, this can happen with our children.  I wrote earlier today about my own issue but wanted to clarify in this post a little more detail.

We started school 4 weeks ago, we have had a really great start,  but I was not feeling very well.
It turns out my thyroid is overactive..... so my meds are being adjusted.  As a result I was not sleeping well, concentrating well, and just feeling overwhelmed.
At the same time, Alli's 6 month anniversary happened and she was feeling the unseen calendar.... the one that says "It is time to move on."  She didn't know why she was feeling so anxious, she just was.
This started her in a spiral backwards that she just didn't seem to be able to control. She was too busy trying to control everybody else. LOL
Poor baby.... She needed ME to be on top on things and I just wasn't.  What resulted was a little bit of head butting.
I won, every time.... but at what cost?
I began thinking about it.... and was convicted in my heart of looking for short term solutions to long term goals. This is called "goal killing". :)  I was becoming snappy, and judgmental and internally angry.  Instead of gently guiding, I was becoming a coach, barking orders.

Alli has come SO FAR in such a short time.... I am so proud of her.   I didn't look the other day past her initial behavior to see  that she was overwhelmed, and instead called her on the behavior, not caring about why it was there.   This did not help her at all and so, because of my OWN failures, we locked horns off and on.
And the Lord was convicting me.  I needed to be her lifeline and instead I pulled the rope away.

After seeking the Lord and feeling back on track , I was trying to do things right for Alli, but she was STUCK in a loop of negativity. Had I not escalated, I don't think she would have been stuck.
I cooked her favorite fish. We had green beans and I also made everybody a Strawberry Milk shake.
She likes those too.
I figured we would talk after dinner.
Instead, she came to the table angry and then proclaimed she didn't like what I had prepared.
She couldn't rise out of her trouble.  As Mike and I tried to encourage her, she dug in more and more.
And then, she started to cry.  She said, "I really will eat everything, but I want a piece of toast too!"
Honestly, I don't think she knew what she wanted, she just couldn't get out of her loop.

So, here I am thinking. No way!  But my husband saw something I didn't. He saw her trying and she didn't know what to do.  So he very gently said, "do you need the toast?"  She said "Yes Daddy".   He asked ME to make her some toast.
Inside, I was not wanting to, but I put myself aside, and trusted my husband's wisdom.   I brought her the toast and she thanked me, and then she ate every bite on her plate.  She even liked it.  And then, we had a chance for more conversation.

Without any prompting, she wept and said how very sorry she was for how she had been acting. She then began to tell us about some of the memories she was having and we were able to pray with her. I also repented to her that I had not been more helpful.  She engaged in deep conversation for quite awhile, and then during our family worship time, she openly prayed to the Lord, asking for help and forgiveness, thanking Him for her family and how much we care for her.

That small gesture.... a piece of toast, broke her out of her negative feed back loop.

Some may ask, "wasn't she manipulating"?  Some may ask, "What about discipline?"

My answer is, no to manipulation. She was out of control, lost in her emotions and sometimes in trying to gain control it can look like manipulation, but it really isn't.    And what about discipline. The end result of all of this was a very happy, repentant and apologetic child who ate every bite of her dinner and  told us how thankful she was to have us.  Isn't that what every parent wants?   She knew she had done wrongly and we did talk with her and give her tools to learn how to break out of those negative loops. 

I just need to be reminded that I am the one holding the rope. If I don't give it to her to hang onto,  it won't do much good.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Over the last week or two I have seriously needed a breath of fresh air...a new desire, a refreshing of my spirit. 
I have had to come to terms with my own frailness, inability, insecurity, and lay them before the Lord.
I needed to be washed in the Word  and renewed in my heart and mind.

There are times when it is just so hard, dealing with pain, both physical pain for me, and emotional pain for some of my girls, which is also emotional pain for me and for Mike.

Sometimes I get lazy, and can fall back on old ideas.... I knew yesterday I was at that point. I went into the office and told Mike, "maybe she just needs an old fashioned SPANKING!"   This coming out of my mouth, reflected in Mike's face....
 LOL  and then his wise words.... "and how would that help?" :)It wouldn't, in fact I KNEW it would only cause hurt and would not build relationship or communication.

So, I became very aware that I was trying to parent on my own strength. This is something I do NOT want to do!
The thing is..... nothing that has been happening under this roof is unusual or out of the ordinary! It is just kid stuff, a little bit of RAD (reactive attachment disorder) thrown in here and there with FASD, Dyslexia, language differences, math problems,  and some preteen stuff to boot, X's 4. :)

You're darn tootin' I better be on my knees! LOL  But I wasn't. Not like I should have been.  And you know what?  I was not responding like I should have when little situations popped up.  I found myself reacting, being impatient, I found myself requesting respect , being demanding...... and I found that I didn't like what I was seeing either in result or personally.  Demanding respect seems so silly to me. It is EXTERNAL.... when what we really desire is an INWARD respect and desire to honor father and mother.  That is the LONG term goal.  Short term demands can be detrimental to long term desires. 

As I began to weep sob in the privacy of my room and repent, I found renewed strength. As I began to confess my mistakes, SIN, before the Lord, my spirit was lifted up, and I was renewed so that I could be the mom GOD has called me to be.

It was so interesting seeing everything just LINE UP in an amazing way yesterday afternoon, which has carried into today. :)  In fact, today has been a GREAT day!

I think our failures are not the end of the world though.... I think our children can learn from US, in how we deal with our own sin and our own baggage.
I talk a lot about MODELING, and that is exactly what happened.  They began to model me, once again. In fact, they were modeling me all along! Yikes....

Last night also resulted in our little Alli, truly confessing her heart and sin, and really discussing it well. We got a VERY strong sense from her that she really wants to do well, and she DOES.... she just gets stuck sometimes and sometimes needs a manual reboot. :)
She needs ME to guide her, and I can't do that if I'm stuck at the bottom of the cliff with her!

Who's gonna hold the rope?? LOL

So today, I feel so refreshed. I am so thankful for a godly husband who is MY anchor too.  He loves all his girls. :)

This was a very good lesson for me, that I MUST remember from WHOM my strength comes!
I am but dust.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Guess Which One is Doing Her Own Thing!

Silly Sarah. :)

Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita

Or AMC..... This is the name of the condition Erika was born with.   One of my biggest fears as a mom is when Erika falls.  She is REALLY balanced, but that doesn't mean she doesn't fall now and then.   Today, she was in the hammock and rolled out of it. 
Now, typically, I am off to the rescue.... because it is just HARD to watch your child struggle.  It really is.  I want her to be able to just GET UP and brush herself off, but that isn't the way things are. Not by a long shot. 
YET..... we are so thankful that Erika can WALK!  We are thankful she can knit, and how wonderfully sweet and bright she is. She is our ray of sunshine every morning. :)

Today, instead of going to her rescue, as we have been working on ideas for her to get up alone when she falls..... instead, I armed myself with my camera.  :)  I stood inside and she didn't know I was there cheering her on.  Both Mike and I watched her get up and I am so proud of her!  She gave me permission to post this video of her efforts.  :)
As a mom, to more than one child with physical disabilities, I can honestly say, the hardest part is not rescuing and letting them figure things out for themselves.  Erika has learned to do MUCH by ME stepping out of the way and letting her blossom!
Love you so much my sweet girl!

Studying Revelation

We started studying 1 John.  Then we went on to 2nd and 3rd John and Jude..... all very short letter books.
And then, the last book is Revelation.  We decided to study it.  So far it has been quite interesting.
And there has also been some humor.

We have one particular girl who has seems to have very particular tastes in clothing.  So when we got to Revelation 6:11.....
Mom read a little between the lines:
Rev 6:9- And I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and because of the testimony they had maintained........ Revelation 6:11-And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer...
and then I added: 
But one of the souls said, "Ummm but I don't wear white?  Do you happen to have any 'skinny robes'?
In cotton?  And with one of those little waist thingys?........

Ok, so I thought it was funny..... said daughter.....stared at me like, ummm. mother, that was NOT funny. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend Review

We had a really nice weekend. We had low key shopping, cleaning and remembrance of 9/11.  Here are a few pictures:
 Yes, this is me in the hammock trying to take a nap.  Anna is very stealth!Alli and Sarah playing girl games and having breakfast

Eria and Anna having sister snuggle time.

You Are Still Holy