Slow going

Not much to report on the adoption front.  We did meet with our social worker recently and are hoping to have the home study completed by mid February.  Unfortunately, our state clearances will expire in the next couple months so we will be redoing those.  We are also hoping to get medical and background information on our little angels.  We have received very little information thus far and it is getting rather frustrating.
Please continue to keep our family in your prayers as we navigate through the crazy world of adoption!

For now I will leave you with a link to an etsy store.  This sweet adoptive mommy has a very sad story to tell but through her tears of sorrow the Lord has blessed her with 2 sweet children from Ethiopia and she is now waiting to bring home her daughter from Ghana (from the same orphanage as our little darlings).  Click here to check out her store.

God Bless!



Yes, I know it is Wednesday and, yes, I know I said I would be blogging about homeschooling on Tuesdays.  Bare with me, I am a work in progress. :)

Today, I am asking for advice/thoughts from all the homeschool mama's who read this blog.  I am struggling to get school done with a 2 year old running around!  So, here are my issues and some thoughts on how I can change things.  I would love any input you can give.
My two oldest children can pretty much do all their schooling independently.  They still come to me with questions and we do Science and History as a family.  My biggest issue is with my youngest two.  Some of you may have seen my facebook post about my  3rd child.  He will be undergoing some test for Autism Spectrum Disorders and Sensory Processing Disorders (ASD and SPD).  I am not going to go into these issues now but we are definitely dealing with some learning delays.  Mainly, reading.  Kyle turned 7 in December and is "technically" in the 1st grade.  I tried the 100 Easy Lessons with him and he did ok but didn't seem to retain it.  Now we are using a different reading program and it slow going.  Since he can't read on his own I need to be able to work closely with him to read instructions and such.  This is extremely difficult with my toddler who thinks he needs my undivided attention every waking hour!  I had a pretty good schedule going on for a while.  I was able to help Kyle through some of his subjects and have him play educational games until my youngest went down for his mid-morning nap.  Recently, my strong willed, wild, gets into everything sweet, lovable toddler has decided to move his naps to the afternoon.  I prefer to have most of our schooling done by lunch time.  I tend to lose my energy around then and I enjoy my quiet time when all the kids are resting (the older 3 rest for one hour in the afternoon).  Right now, the child who needs my help the most is getting pushed to the side so I can deal with the toddler and my older ones aren't getting the help they need and this mama is ready to pull her hair out!
Now, my thoughts on how to fix this.  I think the obvious answer is to do the majority of schooling in the after noon while the toddler naps.  Fortunately, he does take a 2 1/2 to 3 hour nap.  The pros I see with doing this are as follows:  I would be able to give most of my attention to my 3rd child with some interruptions to help the older two when needed.  At some point I will be starting at home exercising therapies with Kyle and the mornings would be a perfect time to do it so that he is more able to focus on his work later.  I would also like to start doing Tot School with my little guy and this would give me the time to do it.  I think the older kids would enjoy being involved in this as well.  The cons:  I definitely lack energy after lunch time.  I worry that the kids will also be tired and not able to focus as well.  My husband gets home from work around 4:30ish so I am concerned we would feel rushed in getting the house picked up and all our normal "before daddy gets home" chores. 
I would love any input from those teaching multiple ages and how you do it.  We will probably end up going to the afternoon school schedule because I just don't see another option at this point.  I also want to make sure we have a good routine/schedule down before we bring home 2 more children who will also need A LOT of my attention. 
Thanks in advance for any help!



For those of you who haven't figure it out yet, we are an Army family.  Moving is what we do.  A lot.  Not only do we move to a different state (or country) every 2 to 3 years but my family seems to move 2 or 3 times within that same state (or country).  LOL  When we moved to Hawaii the Army was unable to get us in a home in a timely manner and we were quite tired of living in a hotel so we moved off post (off base for the "other" services) and signed a lease.  Our neighborhood was great.  Our home, not so much.  The homes in Hawaii are rather small and it is hard to find one with AC. So, we were hot and little cramped.  Also, the charge for utilities out here would blow your mind.  During the past year we stayed on the list for military housing.  As we came to the end of our lease we started calling to see if there was anything available.  It wasn't looking good.  One day, out of the blue, housing called my husband with great news.  They have a house for us!!!  Woohoo!!!  Better yet, it is BRAND NEW! 
On Wednesday, January 11th we received the keys to our new home and started moving in.  Our amazing church helped us finish up on the following Saturday.  Our lovely new home has lots of space and will accommodate our growing family well.  We are also just a few miles from our church now which is wonderful since we spend a lot of time there.  In our little community there is a pool, splash park, skate park, library, movie theater, rec center and more.  Oh, did I mention we live in a crater?  Yep, a crater...kinda weird. 
Now that we are settled it is back to business.  More blogging, adoption paperwork, homeschooling and just being a family.

P.S.  I will have to add some pics later, they are on a different computer.


Blogging: a schedule

I mentioned that one of my goals is to blog more.  I have set up a schedule to do just that.  My goal is to blog at least 3 times a week.  So, here is my schedule:  Mondays: my life, Tuesdays: homeschooling, and Thursdays:  adoption.  Occasionally I will add in Wordless Wednesdays and Photo Dump Fridays.  So, today is Thursday...

Let's start off with an adoption time line.  The number one question after we announced we were adopting Hannah and Isaiah, is when are they coming home.  In short, no idea!  The adoption world is very unpredictable.  So many things have to happen in a certain order before the children can come home.  Sometimes these "things" happen quickly and the children are home in a very timely manner (insert hysterical laughter from all my adoptive mama friends).  More often than not, these things do not go quickly or happen without issue.  So, here is a rough run down of what needs to happen:

Home study finished!  This is a big one...we are at a standstill until this is done.  The hubby and I will be meeting with the social worker on January 17th to get this ball rolling...quickly, I hope.  Since we changed countries there are, obviously, some changes that need to be made to the home study.  After this meeting we will have a better idea when this will be finished.  I am praying for the end of January!
Then we have to file a form called the I-600a, which is the application for the advance processing of orphan petition.  This form carries a ridiculous fee along with it and the processing time for this form is currently 75 days. 
While waiting for this document to be approved we will be getting together all paperwork that we need for a dossier.  This isn't too difficult...just some very specific paperwork that needs to be notarized and sent to our agency.  They will put everything together in a nice, little packet. 
Once the I-600a approval is returned, our agency will add the approval letter to our dossier and send it off to Ghana.
This next part I just copied straight from my email...much easier. 
Our in-country liaison will provide your dossier to a lawyer in Ghana. The lawyer will then complete the petition for adoption and file this with the Court. The Ministry will then file a report supporting the adoption. Once this is complete, the Court will set a hearing date. At that time, you and your husband or one of you will go to Ghana and present yourself to the court to receive the Adoption Decree. This is usually about 3 months after sending your dossier.
So, in case you have lost track, we will be making our first visit to Ghana about 135 (business) days after our home study is finished.  IF...that is a very big IF...our home study is finished by the end of January we should be traveling to Ghana to meet our little darlings some time in August.  We will be staying in Ghana for 10-14 days.  In that time we will be spending a ton of time with our little ones and we will also have a court date.  At this point we will officially adopt Hannah and Isaiah!  Very exciting!  We also hope to be able to file the next necessary form while in country.  This forms is the I-600.  This is a petition to classify the orphan as an immediate relative.  This seems obvious to me...um, we just adopted them in court...they are our son and daughter!  The government loves paper work!  
Then, we wait!  I imagine this will be the most difficult part of the whole process.  I can't imagine spending two weeks with my children and then leaving them.  I am really not looking forward to this part of the process.  
This form takes a minimum of 60 days to be approved but it seems it is usually longer so I am praying for no longer than 75 days!  Once this is approved our in-country liaison will, with power of attorney, pick up our children's visa packets.  Then the visa interview and hopefully a printed visa...with no issues or hold ups would be nice.  Once the visa is issued we will be on a plane to bring home our baby's!!!  This trip will be about 7 days long.  
So, if all goes well (HA!) we will be bringing Hannah and Isaiah home around Thanksgiving time! ( I think in an earlier post I mentioned October...this would be great but I forgot to count business days only...oops...so in reality we are looking at closer to the end of November.)  
Typing this all out kind of makes me sad.  November seems ages away! 



Goals vs. Resolutions

I have noticed a trend lately regarding New Years resolutions.  People just don't make them anymore...instead they make goals.  I like this.  Often, we make these resolutions, stick with them for the first month or two...maybe even three...then we slowly taper off until these resolutions are a thing of the past and we haven't truly accomplished anything.  Resolution has a certain...well...resolute feeling to it.  A goal has a more long term, achievement type feel to it.  Did that make any sense?  A popular resolution is to lose weight.  Many jump into this resolution by working out and dieting.  They quickly burn out and then give up entirely.  So rather than resolving to lose weight, your goal could be to start living a healthy lifestyle.  See, the resolution has this "must do now or fail" feel to it but the goal has a "long term, move toward it gradually" kind of feel to it.  So, all that rambling to say we have made some goals, both personal and for our family, this year.  We are still working on the family goals so I will blog about that later.  Without further ado, here are my personal goals for 2012:

Consistency!!!  This is a huge one for me and goes for all areas in my life...my relationship with the Lord, with my husband and with my children, homeschooling, house keeping, eating healthy, exercising.  I tend to dive into something with closed eyes and outstretched arms, only to quickly fall flat on my face.  So, with the strength of my Heavenly Father I plan to slow down and be consistent and steady in all I do.
Another goal is to enjoy this little slice of paradise in the pacific.  When we first moved to Hawaii I was very excited.  It didn't take long for that excitement to dwindle and for me to feel like I was stranded on a deserted island.  I almost felt claustrophobic.  I spent 2011 brooding.  NOT ANYMORE!  The Lord does not make mistakes.  He has sent us to this island for a reason.  We have a wonderful church that we are already serving in and I plan to serve even more this year!  The Lord has blessed us with two more children we will be bringing home to this beautiful island sometime this year.  In less than two weeks we will be moving to a brand new house that will accommodate all 8 of us nicely.  The Lord is certainly blessing our time here in Hawaii and I plan to get out and enjoy His beautiful creation, making the most of our short time here.
Last, but certainly not least, I plan to keep up on this blog.  I would like to develop a schedule of sorts to help me post 3 or 4 times a week.  More on that later. :)
So, if you are still reading this...sorry so long...I would appreciate your prayers as I work towards these goals.  Feel free to comment about your goals and I would love to pray for you as well.  Consistency in my prayer life!!!
Happy 2012 to all.  It's going to be a great year in the LORD!!!