Saturday, October 3, 2009

Updates on the children

Hi! Sorry that I haven't posted an update in so long! I'll try to catch you up on the children.

Benjamin turned 1 on September 30th. Wow did that year go by fast! He's doing so well. He figured out how to crawl just a couple days before his birthday and loves being able to get around now. He has 3 words - mama, dada, and no. He still enjoys nursing and snuggling, but is getting more interested in fun baby toys.

Susanna is 3. She's going in for her next MRI on October 15th. We'll know more after that about how her 4 tumors are doing. We are praying for good news. She and Miriam are enjoying doing Before Five in a Row during homeschool this year. She loves playing dress-up, playing on the playground, and snuggling.

Miriam is 5. While she is definitely still autistic, she has made wonderful progress. She's doing so much better in communicating with others, including her Sunday School teachers. She is excited to be kindergarten level this year in homeschool. She loves playing Putt Putt Saves the Zoo and Freddi Fish computer games in her free time.

Hannah is 7. She's still a super laid back fun little girl. She's working hard on learning how to read this year. She loves drawing, playing dress-up, playing with dolls, roller skating, and jumping on the trampoline.

Rebekah is 9. Through vision therapy and hard work, she is overcoming her enormous difficulty in recognizing letters and numbers. She's now a beginner reader and I'm so proud of her. We're continuing to slowly steadily push forward. She continues to have a lot of anxiety in different areas and usually needs to know exactly where I am at all times. That requires quite a bit of patience on my part. She's a very loving affectionate girl and has such a desire to please. She loves drawing, books, dolls, paper dolls, and playing with her sisters.

Naomi Ruth is 10. She's really growing up. Just yesterday I was sick with a tummy bug and she took over the running of the household for me, including making all of the meals. She's such a blessing! She's doing great in her studies with the exception of math. That is a big struggle for her and I'm trying to really help her with it this year. One thing really fun and special that we added to our homeschooling this year is that she has started working through Training Our Daughters to be Keepers at Home. It's a 7 year Christian homemaking course that is just fabulous. So far, we're working on godly character. In her free time, she loves reading historical fiction, playing the Wii, cooking, and riding her bike.

Sarah is also 10. After a year and a half of living here, she is continuing to slowly transition to life here in the United States and specifically in our family. She has done the amazing feat of doubling her weight since arrival - from 45lb to 90lb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She really enjoys math and reading. She's a beginner reader. She loves drawing, coloring, playing with paper dolls and real dolls, as well as jumping on the trampoline.

Stephen is 12. He has been transitioning wonderfully to life here and now fits right in. He is another of our beginning readers. He is on a soccer team this year and loves it. That was one of the few activities that he was able to do over at the orphanage in Liberia. He also loves riding his bike, playing the Wii, and jumping on the trampoline.

Thomas is also 12. He continues to love math far beyond any other subject, but has really taken an interest to geography and science this year. Writing continues to be his most difficult area, but that is due in large part to his Aspergers. The handwriting aspects and the spelling are both incredibly challenging for him. We will be getting a program soon that will help him in this area. He'll type things in to the best of his ability with spelling and it will figure out what he's trying to say. All of the children have been learning typing since August. Thomas loves riding his bike, jumping on the trampoline, playing the Wii, and playing with his modeling clay.

Love, Dawn

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Obedience/God Answers Prayers

Sixteen months ago we brought home Stephen, Sarah, and Samuel from Liberia.  We'd started the adoption about 18 months before then.  But God started even earlier than that it our hearts.  We both felt when we got married that we would have children both biologically and by adoption.  We always knew it would be sometime later.  It was when I was pregnant with Susanna that we felt God calling us to adopt "now."  At the time I was on bedrest with #6 with our oldest being only 8 years old.  Several of our children had/have special needs.  We were living in a 2 bedroom home.  We didn't have the finances for it.  NOW, God?  But we obeyed and God opened the doors through the long adoption process.  He answered our prayers!  He is so good!  God taught my heart what it was to feel called to bring a child/children born of another into my home and heart and love them as my own.  They arrived in our home and we set about ministering to their hurting hearts and meeting their needs and loving on them.  The challenges were tremendous, but so were the blessings.  Finally, though, we realized that Samuel's needs were above what we were able to provide.  We prayed for God to show us what to do.  We consulted many people and prayed and prayed for wisdom.  We wanted for our Samuel to be able to heal from his difficult past.  Again, God answered our prayers.  This time, He asked us to give up Samuel.  Now He taught my heart what it was to love your child but be unable to meet their needs and need to give them up for adoption.  Oh that's hard!!!  We obeyed and God brought just the right family for Samuel.  We are grieving our loss, but rejoicing at the hope that Samuel now has.  We believe that God never makes mistakes and that He is always good.  We had wanted to be his forever family, but God made it clear that our family was just a part of the journey Samuel was taking to his true forever family.  We will forever be honored and thankful for the time we were able to have him with us and will always love and pray for him.  May the Lord forever bless and protect him.  The photos above were from when the children got to say goodbye to their brother last night.

Love, Dawn

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Birthday, Soccer, and Fun at the Park

Hannah celebrated her 7th birthday.  We opened gifts at home and enjoyed cake and ice cream and THEN headed out to Chuck E. Cheese.  The children were shocked and delighted that we were eating dessert before dinner.  :-D





Naomi Ruth and Hannah playing air hockey, Susanna in the background

Stephen really enjoyed getting to go to a week of soccer camp.  Although he'd never had any coaching in his life and had never played on a formal team, his personal skill level was at the 9th/10th grade level and his team skills were at the 5th/6th grade level.  We're all SO proud of him!

Yesterday, we all went to a nearby park for a good chunk of the afternoon and just enjoyed relaxing and playing together.  We ate a picnic lunch and then the children played on the playground.


Aaron, Rebekah, Thomas, and Stephen on the swings

Miriam, Naomi Ruth, Stephen, and Hannah

Naomi Ruth, Hannah, Thomas, Sarah

Thomas and Stephen

Miriam and Susanna

Lots has been going on since I last posted.  I'm hoping to catch you all up with these photos.  Happy 4th of July!

Love, Dawn

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer has begun!

Last night we kept our annual tradition.  On the first night of Summer, the children get to play outside until it is all dark and catch fireflies.  They also enjoyed eating lots of fresh mulberries from our many mulberry trees and playing freeze tag.  Before we headed in, I gathered the tired happy children together and said, "I officially welcome you to summer!"  They erupted into applause and wild happy cheers.  :-D

Love, Dawn

P.S. - That's mulberry juice on Susanna's face in case you were wondering.  ;-)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Down on the Hall Farm

This is one of the many fruit bushes and fruit trees that we recently planted.  We decided to go with some unusual varieties.  This is a medlar tree.  It, like the others, doesn't look like much right now, but they hold promise for the future.  :-)

Loving on sweet Susanna 
Notice her very pink cheeks.  I'm concerned that she has strep throat again.

Benjamin is really growing up.  He's gone from his long baby locks to a burr cut, thanks to Daddy.  One thing funny that we discovered through that is that he has two totally different colors in his hair - dark brown and blonde.  You can really see that in the top photo.  He's also getting more teeth.  He's up to 6 now!

Miriam with one of the MANY kittens born here this year

Susanna, Thomas, and Benjamin

Rebekah and Naomi Ruth
Rebekah has on her hot pink cast from fracturing her wrist while jumping off a swing.  She's also holding the teddy bear that she received at the hospital.  She has named him Teddy.

Getting in our garden has been slow going this spring, due to all of the sickness.  Still, we're getting there bit by bit.  Yesterday, we finally got the strawberries in.  As you can see, the children are great helpers.

We bought 19 chicks - 18 hens and 1 rooster.  They're such fun to watch!

We also bought 2 male baby goats.  There names are Chewy and Louie.  :-D  Their job is to eat the thistle patches and all of the tall weed areas.  They are happy to help!  Rebekah and Hannah love taking them for walks with their collars and leashes.  The goats seem to think it is a lot of fun, too.  They are such social creatures!

Love, Dawn