For those who don't know me, my name's Dawn and I've been married to my best friend Aaron for 14 years. Thus far, the Lord has blessed us with 10 children. Thomas and Stephen are both 11. Sarah and Naomi Ruth are both 10. Rebekah is 8. Hannah and Samuel are both 6. Miriam is 4. Susanna is 2. Last but not least, Benjamin will turn 2 months tomorrow. :-) Stephen, Sarah, and Samuel joined our family via adoption from Liberia in March of this year. I gave birth to the other seven.
Anyway, I wanted to have a place to share what our life is like with all of our little blessings. Our last name is Hall, hence "lots of little Halls" as the blog name. ;-) Okay, enough of the introduction. I'm going to hop right in now.
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My parents were able to come up from Florida to join us for it. We are very blessed in that they are able to come up and see us so often. As you can imagine, trying to take our family on big trips is quite an ordeal. We are, however, hoping to go to Texas this Christmas. That's where Aaron's family lives. It's been 5 years since we've been able to go there. Aaron is getting new tires put on the van up at Sears right now, in preparation for the trip. Back to Thanksgiving, I made a mixture of traditional Thanskgiving cooked foods plus a variety of raw foods, too. (Check out my other blog, www.rawmommyto10.blogspot.com for more info on raw foods.) We did have a big pause in our Thanksgiving preparations while I worked on saving Naomi Ruth's bunny, Silky. She'd gotten out of her cage and was in the yard wet and nearly frozen to death. I held her on my lap and used a blow dryer set on warm while massaging her for about an hour. She went from limp and lifeless to sitting up with bright eyes. We let her stay in a box in the house for about another 24 hours and then she moved back out to her hutch, looking perky and healthy. At our Thanksgiving meal, we went around and everyone was to say something that they were thankful for from this last year. Answers varied from "that you're my Mommy and Daddy" from Samuel to giving thanks for our chickens from Thomas to Aaron and I being thankful for 4 new children this year. Stephen absolutely refused to answer, though. We thought that was both rude and strange. After the meal in the kitchen, he told us that he's so thankful that we are his family now and then burst into tears. He hadn't said it at the table for fear of bursting into tears out there.
I took Sarah and Naomi Ruth shopping yesterday for some new clothes. In our family, the girls wear dresses/skirts only and theirs were getting too short. We went to the Salvation Army thrift store and practically got them a whole new wardrobe. We had a lot of fun together. Of course Benjamin was with us, too. He and I are practically inseparable. We got plenty of skirts, jumpers, and dresses for them there and then went to Kohl's to get a few slips and tights. They are all set now! Oh, I also needed to get Sarah a couple of bras. She's only just turned 10, but is already in puberty. Apparently it is not that uncommon with girls adopted internationally. On the way to the stores, I talked with both girls about their upcoming monthly cycles. I think that talk went well. I hadn't planned on having it with my girls at 10, but I don't know how soon Sarah will start. Having discovered that Sarah is in puberty, Aaron and I were talking last night about how that explains a lot. Nothing like a hormonal girl! Who knows how much of her attitude is adoption transition and how much is hormones??? It doesn't excuse it, but it does help explain it a bit better.
Half of our children have special needs. Just recently we've been doing an evaluation of Samuel through our local school district to determine where he's at cognitively and in other areas. He came home from Liberia with lead poisoning and it appears that he has permanent brain damage from it. We found out this week that he is testing well into the mentally retarded range. That really saddened us, but I can't say that it shocked us. As I mentioned above with Sarah, that explains a lot. He's been an enormous challenge since arriving and has required an unbelievable amount of patience. Just as an example, it took 5 months of me helping him everyday before he could figure out how to pull out his clothes in the morning. He needs 1 pair of socks, 1 pair of underwear, 1 t-shirt, 1 hanging shirt, and 1 pair of pants. He finally did master it, though. Our hope and prayer is that as we fill with with good nutrition and lots of love that he will improve in all areas, including cognitive function.
I'm nursing Benjamin while I type this and Susanna is standing next to us kissing him on the head and singing her favorite lullaby to him. "Hush my baby. Don't cry my darling. The lion sleeps tonight. In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight." :-) She learned that song from one of our story CD's. You can see it at http://store.musicforlittlepeople.com/42553d.html.
Well Benjamin is finishing up nursing and the children are busy working on chores. I better get breakfast out on the table.