Tuesday, February 24, 2015

We have company and all 4 are together

Jenn and the grand babies are up this week and they brought their birds. 

Here is the Hambrick "couple" - Ted and Summer

Here is the Briggs couple - Checkers and Sofia - hanging with the Hambricks ( I guess it was a double date  : )

Jenn came up for the week while Jeremiah is in Haiti...They brought their birds and Mya and Ella got right to taming them to be together. Amazing to watch the girls. Animals are such a great way for kids to learn compassion, gentleness, and caring. I think the birds respond well to them because the girls have earned their trust. Happy times for the birds and all of us as we spend time together this week.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Why are we having crab legs, shrimp and an ice cream party ?

Yes some of us wear rubber gloves while eating our seafood : )

Banana splits, ice cream sundaes enjoyed by all.

And of course Azonto dancing

Sleeping at Nana's and Paw Paw's after the party.

She said, " My daddy always snuggles with me" so Paw Paw did to. 

We celebrated that we passed court, gave birth to our sons -John David and Jabin Kofi Briggs on Wednesday.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Update on the babies - all of them

They are such cuddle bums and we love it.

Here they are ready to be put down for their naps...they still take a bottle and Leah is ready with both pockets full of their bottles.

They are doing super well. They both walk now and have started some speech....they can even say, "Nana" which makes my heart swell. They are gaining weight ( 4 to 5 lbs ) and sleeping great. We just took them for their 15 month check up....one benefit of there being 2 and we actually took Calea and my Gracie Friday to the pediatrician so I get to go along with Mary Kate. They are all caught up with their shots and life is busy actually crazy with these 2 little ones....Can you imagine how it will be with our babies home....My kind of crazy though. Here are some pictures of my babies that another adoptive momma shared with me this week. I am planning a visit to them and my older loves the beginning of March. I can't wait to hug them all again.....
John David 

Jabin Kofi

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Grace - Freely Given , Life - Lived In the Reality but Knowing His Love

Here is the link to a documentary that can be found on Netflix that follows the adoption of 3 children from Russia in 2012 and their transition into a Wisconsin family. Our family watched it this am during our family time and it was interesting on many levels for our family.


We are a family who communicates , we talk a lot all the time. It is one of our parenting styles and it works very well in our family. We are probably more open than many families are with their children and with the public about our adoptions. We feel that this has benefited our children and family by being this way. I often will share things like this or I will ask a question of the kids, when I read something on one of the many adoption boards that I am on, for their response. My children have found it therapeutic and not harmful. We talk and acknowledge issues, emotions, feelings and our love has built a base of trust for the children to talk. 

I want to share some of our thoughts and observations when we watched the documentary here :

At first the family which consists of just one single child, and her parents express their feelings about the adoption of 2 younger boys around 4 or 5 and an older girl ( 11 ) not a sibling of the boys but all 3 were from Russia. They seem to have an idealized view of what was going to happen when the children came home. Their hopes were a very different reality than what actually was the case. The bio. daughter, who was older than 10 was excited about getting 2 brothers and a sister....but when the reality of them being home hit it was difficult for her especially and not at all anything she could even like. She traveled with her parents to pick up them and her comments when they returned home were, " It does not feel like home anymore. Very restricting. " She struggles thru out more than the first year to accept them as can be seen in her face. 

The parents struggle as well. They had many years of not being able to have another child and they thought their dream was coming true...but in reality it was tough for them. Mom was worse in our opinions. We all caught when they were first visiting the daughter, how the dad referred to the mom using her first name, Cheryl instead of "momma"when talking to the adopted daughter. Dad also blamed his wife after they were home for the adoption and one of them even asked, " Why did we do this ? "

Some things my kids shared during the documentary or afterwards in our family time....They noticed that the girl was in a room by herself with even a desk. It looked like the orphanage was a " nice " one and not anything like what my children lived in . They liked the dad better than the mom. I asked them how they felt when they left ? Some of my kids were sad, scared, and excited all at the same time. Some of my kids , " Never looked back. " All of our kids were able to transition into our family quickly and all are deeply connected and attached to us. We did not go thru many of what we watched this family go thru. Sometimes watching the parents was frustrating for Paul and I because we could see things that we felt would have made the transition easier...and funny many of our children reacted the same way. All most all of us thought they were to easy with the boys and let them get away with too much...there was scene where one of the boys kept throwing an item and the dad, to all of us was pathetic and the boy knew he could get away with his behavior and he sure did. We thought it was interesting that the bio. daughter at one point thought her dad was strict and all about the rules where she thought her mom was not. We all thought dad could have been more strict...although dad had some good times of discipline - way more than the mom. 

We all felt like the mom gave up way to early and easily with the children and the transition. Mom did not seem as capable as the dad to handle the boys behavior. Dad seemed more connected with all the kids and that seemed to help him " handle " the boys. None of felt like the mom did not want the adoption to work just that she brought so much more to it from her own past that made it way more difficult to express to her adopted children some of the things they desperately needed- like praise. All the kids thought the mom had a hard time of connecting and she seemed to be "acting or pretending " some of the time. For what ever reason the our kids thought the mom and the bio. daughter were not as prepared for the reality of when the new kids came home. It seemed like the father was just a more natural kid type person too .

In our family time afterwards we talked thru the documentary and it ended up going to each one of their adoption journeys into our family. We laughed and were happy about some of the things the kids did... They all love hearing their own stories. It was a blessed time of remembering where our kids came from, their birth families , their time in their orphanages/foster homes and how they felt about their family now. I think it made us all even closer to remember and realize they to have "connected" ...all of them agreed that we all were very close ...even the ones who don't live at home anymore.

I went thru some interpersonal issues and ways to deal with them that we had used...one being the lack of direct eye contact with us at first and why and how we worked thru their inability to get into our space and us into theirs...building trust thru tough love and strong discipline and having boundaries in place. I also shared one of our main parenting techniques we use or value as a tool in dealing with kids with troubled and hard histories...Paul and I feel we must be stronger, badder, bigger than anything they have dealt with in their pasts and when they " throw them out to us " in words or negative behaviors they know they are safe with us...and more importantly they are worth it - worth our effort to struggle along side of them and not allow those behaviors that previous caregivers would not have stood up to and worked thru with them. Sometimes that means some pretty tough situations and in your face moments of conflict but as we were reminded today...we forgive and we are family thru all of these times. Never leaving you alone to deal with them and sometimes momma and daddy make mistakes but it is not for lack of love for them...we are not perfect just like them.

These are 2 signs that hang in our sunroom and I guess you could say this is like our family code -


In this house we do second chances


We do mistakes


we do HUGS


we do LOVE

Four Birthdays celebrated since Christmas

Levi's first at 10 yrs old

Mya and Ava - 13 and 8 was celebrated on Mya's day of birth 1/2 with a home party then on 1/5 which happens to be Ava's 8th my hubby's 60th we took some of the girls out to Cracker Barrel and then the movie , Annie. We have a surprise coming for Paul's celebration...He is always a good sport about celebrating with the girls at Chuckie Cheese and now the movie, Annie but we have a special day all planned for our daddy, paw paw...pictures to come.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Peak into our Christmas season

We celebrated Kloe's 3d birthday

They waited and waited ....

We had company and lots of fun

We ate and drank lots of food...
We were together....

We gifted our grand babies with their great grandparents bird, Ted.

We even had daily visits from " Handsome Rob"

We made ginger bread houses - a first for Grace and Levi

We were together....

As the 2014 year comes to an end we are thankful....Levi and Grace are home with us, Sandra and Jr should be soon and our babies are well into the process. We also have 2 more grand babies home who were healed of HIV, and Mary Kate and Keith moved 9 houses down from us, Jenn and Jeremiah home from Haiti after serving as missionaries and soon announcing a new missions opportunity, Ben graduating from college and into his career with the police, a wonderful beach vacation, and celebrating 38 yrs of marriage .... We have met so many new people from around the world thru an unexpected media blitz and we serve an amazing God. Life is good here inspite of the loss of a loved one ( Paul's dad), and the opportunity for Shadrach to join our family. I was able to travel 7 times out of the country and love on the people I love in Haiti and Ghana. I love our life and feel blessed to be on this journey that the Lord has given us.