Thursday, September 7, 2017

Happy 7th Boo Bear--Thanks for a sweet day!

Right after Hurricane Harvey blew past our house, Manny's 7th birthday blew in.  It was lovely blue sky day, completely uneventful and full of sweet birthday happiness.

No really, it was!

There was no birthday trauma, no birthday meltdowns, no birthday resentment.  It was really quite extraordinary.  I almost didn't notice it because it was so very chill.

If you're an adoption mama, you have probably experienced the ups and downs that come with any holiday, including birthdays.  But this one felt really normal and uneventful.

We let Manny open gifts around midday.  He didn't get mad when his siblings crowded around him like vultures, trying to "help" him open his presents.  Then when everything was open and spread around the room, he actually gave one of his presents to his brother.  This wasn't a giant act of kindness, he really just wasn't that impressed with the gift.  But he gave it to his brother!!!

Next all six of them sat at the kitchen table and helped him build the new Legos kit he had just gotten as a present from them.  They played nicely together, there was minimal bickering.  Small miracles were happening right in front of my eyes.

Later that afternoon, Manny and I baked his cake together and he didn't get mad when I let everyone have a turn licking the frosting spoon.

We had his favorite dinner, tortellini, and then the kids watched a movie together.  It was Shaun the Sheep, another birthday gift, and no one complained that he got to pick the movie.  Finally we all sat down to cake, and a couple of them complained about not getting seconds, but got over it quickly when we told them they could have the leftover cake for breakfast.

Now don't get me wrong, it wasn't a perfect day.  But it was a nice, quiet, sweet day.

And I'll take one of those any day of the week.

Happy 7th Birthday to my sweet, sensitive, angel boy.  I love you more than you love Legos and tortellini!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hurricane Harvey--Rain Rain Go Away

So as most you have probably heard on the national news, Texas just got hit by one heck of a storm. They named it Hurricane Harvey. Clearly, he didn't like that name and he's trying to get even with us!

We are pretty far away from where the actual hurricane made landfall. However, hurricanes are curious creatures.  They tear up the coast line and then they make dozens of laps around the inland areas dumping gallons of rain.  Like a billion gallons.

We live in a suburb of Houston on the Northwest side of town.  We live in a sort of high spot in our county and in the 20 years we have lived here we have never flooded.  But in our 20 years here, there has never been a storm quite like this.
Red is bad.  Yellow sucks a lot, too!  We have been pretty much red or yellow for 3 days :(

We are quite safe in our spot.  We have a bayou that runs directly behind our back fence, but it drains well and fairly fast.  Our streets are draining well.  Our yard is completely saturated.  In our subdivision we have had about 16-20 inches of rain in 2 days.  Another 15-25 inches are expected. The rain could continue for 5-10 more days.

We have not lost power or really been inconvenienced. Our Dish TV has been a little spotty, but I haven't lost internet at all.

We have been in several tornado warnings and a couple of my kids have been pretty freaked out about this.  They have spent a lot of time in my closet with their blankets and tablets.

Did you say tornado???

You have probably seen the aerial photos of Houston.  Huge portions of the city are completely underwater.  Although our neighborhood is safe we can't really go any where or do anything.  The grocery stores are closed or closing early.  Most area schools have been called off for the remainder of this week.  We were supposed to have our first day of students tomorrow, but we will be delaying school for one week.
After how many hours does TV literally start to cause brain damage???

My kids are a little stir crazy, but hanging in there pretty well!  We've had entirely too much "Loud House" and "Sponge Bob" , but we've also played in the rain and even took a swim. All this closeness has had one slightly unpleasant side effect.  We seem to have a small stomach bug spreading through our ranks.  Luckily, toilet paper was one of the things Brian did remember to stock up on last week!!

It's raining anyway, we might as well get wet!

We were supposed to have a big camping trip over Labor Day holiday weekend to a beach campground.  We're not sure that beach is even still there.  Our camping trip has been cancelled. It's a tiny inconvenience in the great scheme of things, but camping is so important to my mental health and it's got me feeling a bit blue.

It is sad to watch the news.  So many people have lost literally everything they have.  There are homes that are completely submerged and families that had to be rescued from roof tops and attics. There are many many families who don't have flood insurance because they live in places that have NEVER flooded.  This is a disaster that no one could have really prepared for or ever expected. If you're the praying type, send up a few extra for those families with small kiddos and no home to sleep in tonight.

Thanks so much to all of you from all over the county who have reached out and checked up on us! I've even had some of my More Love Mama fabric shop customers from around the states checking on me! It's like a warm hug on a rainy day!

Tip for next hurricane: stock up on Legos!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

There Are Six Citizens Sitting at My Dinner Table Tonight

Today was a pretty special day for our family.  After waiting over 14 months, we finally got word that K and L would FINALLY be getting their Certificate of Citizenship.

Some of you might be asking what the heck is that and do I need one?

When a child is adopted from overseas they don't automatically become a citizen of the United States. But sometimes they do.  When G came home from China, both Brian and I traveled to China and met her before she was officially "adopted". Because we met her before the court order making her our daughter the moment we stepped off the plane in the United States, she became a citizen and they mailed us her Certificate of Citizen ship within about a month.

When H came home, only Brian traveled to DRCongo to pick him up.  Since only one parent was present he did not automatically become a citizen.  He came home on a "green" card as a "permanent legal resident".  We quickly filled out the paperwork to get him official and after about 6 months his certificate finally arrived.

I and J were a very weird case.  Brian and I both traveled to bring the boys home, but changes in law were happening while we were in Congo so although we thought they were automatically going to be citizens, that didn't happen.  We also were not able to do their name changes while in Congo.  So about a year after coming home they became citizens, but we also had to go to court in our home state to get their names changed.  Which meant their Certificates of Citizenship had the wrong names.  We had to apply for new certificates with corrected names, which cost over $300 EACH and took over six months to get.

PHEWWWWW!  And finally to the girls.  They did not come home as citizens.  We had to apply once we got them home, but this time we decided to wait until after they had their legal name changes in our state.  So back to a US court, name changes, and then.....well by then quite frankly we were out of money.  It was going to cost over $1000 more to get their Certificates of Citizenship and it didn't seem that urgent at that moment, so we just waited.  .

But then rumors started to circulate that the prices to get these certificates were going to increase by double or more.  So we bit the bullet (or the credit card) and started the paperwork.  We officially applied in June 2016.  And waited.  And waited. And waited.  And people we knew from around the country got their Certificates.  And people who applied much later than we did got their certificates.

Then we got a new president.  So what has that got to do with anything?  Well, this particular new president didn't seem to think too highly of immigrants.  And I had a bunch of them living in my house.  So the wait seemed to feel even longer and heavier.  But I did find out that the particular field office that handled our particular case was the busiest office in the country.  So I did my best to just put it out of my head.

Then last week our notice to appear at the official office of immigration came in the mail.  And today we got our OFFICIAL Certificates of Citizenship.  All the names are spelled correctly, dates are right, and we have 6 OFFICIAL citizens sitting at our dinner table tonight.

You probably heard my sigh of relief all the way up in Alaska!

Just to add to the excitement, G threw up in the car on the way to the offices.  It was a very long drive in very bad traffic and road construction and her little car sick self didn't quite make it.  It's not an event if someone doesn't throw up!

Next, I have to take a trip to the Social Security offices and get their cards updated with their new status. Before December.  Ugg!  More lines.  But this time its free :)

For tonight, we celebrate with spaghetti and Yahtzee!

Hope you and all your little citizens have a great night, too!
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