Thursday, December 27, 2007

Introducing the newest Knipper...




Sarah! That's right, we're doing it again! We've just started the process to bring Sarah home. She is Henan provence and we figure we'll have her home (hopefully) in the fall sometime. She's 11 and sounds very sweet. We are all very excited about bringing her home.

We hadn't planned to adopt again. In fact, we thought we were finished. We have three great kids and are very happy with our family. But something happened when we were in China adopting Caleb that I haven't been able to get out of my mind. Mom and I were in the elevator at the White Swan, and a woman and the older girl she was adopting were in there with us. The girl must have been around 10. She looked up at me and said, "Oh, you're very pretty." I smiled and thanked her then told her I thought she was beautiful. Her eyes filled with tears, she looked at the floor and said, "No, no I'm not." A few days later we saw them again at the swearing in. The girl was so scared, crying and crying. But so brave. Her mother talked to her. Her guided talked to her and the girl settled a bit.

I've thought of her often since coming home and thought that if we did adopt again, I would like to adopt an older girl. Well, I hadn't been on line for awhile due to computer problems but then a friend emailed me about some of the kids on our agencies waiting child list. And there she was. I called Steve in (thinking he would say No Way!) and showed him her picture. "Okay," he said. So here we are again! Life will certainly be different with a pre-teen in the house but different has worked for us so far!

In Zach's words, "I don't like that she's older than me, but she doesn't have a family. We need to do this." How did my four-year-old become so wise? I am so proud of him.

Really though, as it is almost impossible to know what will happen to this kids if they don't find a family and not act. As I said before, every child needs a home. And we are so lucky that that home is ours.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!






We survived!! And I do mean survived. I came down with a stomach virus on Christmas eve that lasted all through Christmas day, so no turkey for me! On the bright side, instead of gaining weight over the holiday I actually lost 5 pounds! There's always a silver lining.

Anyway, on to the important stuff. The kids. After yesterday, Caleb has realized that Santa is actually a pretty good guy! I mean, who leaves all that stuff and you don't even have to talk to him? Pretty Cool.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas & that Santa brought you all peace and joy this year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Caleb and Santa Claus

Well, it's the big countdown to Christmas and all through the house, not a creature is sleeping, especially not Caleb. Why you ask? Because the child is terrified, and I mean terrified of Santa Claus. He's okay with the man in red when he's on T.V., in fact, I believe we have just finished our 50 bazillionth viewing of Rudolph and Caleb loooves Hermie the elf. And I mean loves with a Capital "L". We have a little stuffed Hermie doll and when you squeeze his hand he sings "Why am I such a misfit". Well Caleb loves the doll. He has a little dance with hand movements and everything to to song. And he has to sleep with the doll at night, which makes for interesting noises over the monitor. "Just fixing these dolls' teeth," comes across several times a night.

But Santa, he's another story. Near our house there's a street where every house is lit up. They have big arches of lights down the street, inflatable Santa's in the yards, and a real Santa handing out candy canes to the kids in the cars that drive past. Well, the other night I made the big mistake of driving the kids down the street. Everyone was fine, enjoying the lights until Santa showed up. I pointed him out and everyone was getting excited until I rolled down the window for Santa to give us the candy canes. Well, Caleb had his head turned looking at another house and when he turned back, there was Santa, leaning in the window to give him a candy cane. He screamed. And screamed. And screamed. Santa handed me the candy canes instead. Maybe he felt sorry for me. Maybe I've just been extra good this year!

Anyway, we got home, calmed Caleb down and got ready for bed but he just couldn't get that Jolly Old Elf out of his mind. Over the monitor I heard, "Ana Cwaws, Ana Cwaws!" And the crying started again.

And it's been like that for the past four nights! Next year, remind me to avoid Santa at all costs! Or maybe find someone dressed up like Hermie the Elf so that Caleb doesn't want to have anything to do with that doll and "Why am I such a misfit?" won't keep us awake at night!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Why we adopt

So many times people ask us why we adopt special needs kids. Most of the time the person asking really is curious. Sometimes they're not. Sometimes it's like they're saying, "Why in the world would you want to do that?!" But mostly, people really just want to know why.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the answer to that question. In the beginning we decided on special needs adoption because of my Crohn's disease. We knew our way around doctors and hospitals so having a child with physical needs didn't really scare us. Then of course there was Grace. And she taught us that no matter how big the need is, somehow, you manage and it becomes not such a big deal. But yesterday, I found the true answer to that question.

Yesterday, a little boy named Abraham died before his family found him. He was on CHI's special needs list and he had been waiting for months for a family to find him. Yesterday, when he died, there was no family to notify. No mother or father to mourn for him. No Mommy to hold him one last time. No Daddy to give him one last kiss on the cheek.

No child should have to spend their life waiting, and not finding, a family.

That's why we adopt.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Two years ago



We met Grace. I can't believe she's been with us for 2 years. Where did the time go? In honor of her Gotcha day, I'm posting the one picture I have saved from our computer crash from her Gotcha day. She was one sick little girl. Boy, has she changed! And somewhere along the way, she changed us as well. She changed us from people who never thought we could handle needs like hers to people who take it in stride.

Thank you Gracie for making me the person I've always wanted to be.

Stephanie

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas trees and Gotcha days





Well we finally put up our Christmas tree. All of the ornaments are concentrated in on spot on the front but it's up and the kids all helped. Even Grace (with a little help from Mommy!) I've been a little worried about putting it up this year. Grace is so much more mobile than she was last year. I have visions of her pulling it down on top of her. But so far, she hasn't been that bad. She's grabbed at it a few times but nothing too bad yet.

After we put the tree up we went out to our favorite Chinese restaurant to celebrate Gracie's gotcha day. On December 12th she will have been with us for 2 years. It's hard to believe that it's been that long. In some ways it seems like she's been with us forever and sometimes it seems like just yesterday we were meeting her. The road has been long and hard but it's been so worth it. Two years ago she was a little girl without a family. She couldn't hold her head up. She couldn't walk. Didn't want to be held. She didn't smile, didn't laugh. She was a little girl locked in her own little world. But gradually, she is waking up. She smiles freely and gives the world's best hugs. I can't imagine my life without her. We are so blessed to share our lives with this little girl. She is not perfect in the world's definition of the word, but she is in ours.

Gracie, we love you. More than you can ever know. I wish so many things for you still. I hope that one day you will talk with us. That one day I'll be able to tell you I love you and have you understand. I want you to know that there hasn't been a day that you weren't wanted and loved. You are perfect just the way you are. I love your laugh, the way you rest your head on my shoulder and tap my back when I hold you. You have made me a better person. I am forever grateful to you for that. My one wish is that more families would take a chance on a child like you. That they would know they could do it. They are strong enough. Yes, our lives are different in ways we didn't expect. We don't think of colleges for you, we think of group homes. We don't dream of you graduating from college, we dream of hearing your first words. And I'm constantly worried about keeping you safe. From little things like pulling the Christmas tree over on yourself, to big things, like people taking advantage of you when you're older. But Grace, it's worth it. It is so worth it.

If you are considering adoption, please look at some of the special needs children through Children's House International (there's a link on this blog.) There are so many children waiting for a family who will love them no matter what and what better gift can you give a child than a home for the holidays?

Stephanie

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Zach's proposal


This is why I love having boys. After dinner Zach came up to me and said, "Will you come sit with me on the couch?" Of course I couldn't resist that so I went over, spread a cover over him and sat next to him while he rested his head on my shoulder (my favorite part about being a mom!)

After a minute he looked up at me and said, "Why don't we get married?"

"Sure," I said with a smile.

He gave me a little kiss and then followed up with, "Why don't we go out and get each other a surprise since we're getting married."

"Okay," I said. "What kind of surprise do you want?"

He thought for a moment. "A big super marbalous. Where you can put the marble in over here and it zooms over there."

I just laughed. This has to beat Steve's proposal!

After a minute he said, "What do you want?"

"I've already got what I want. Just spending some time with you."

Times like this are what I love about being a mom.

Stephanie

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Catching up

Well, it has been way way too long since I've posted. We've had 2 computer crashes, both our home computer and my work lap top crashed and I lost a lot of pictures (unfortunately, all of the pictures from our first trip to China when we adopted Grace - aggh I could scream). Anyway, now everything is back up and working and the kids are settling down into a routine, at least what passes for a routine at our house! So I'm back to blogging.
Finally, everyone seems to have found their place. I know from my last post things sounded dismal here & it was at the time, but now we've just passed our first six month with Caleb & aside from the sibling squabbles between the boys, we've all adjusted well. No more struggles with bed times. Everyone goes to sleep in their own bed & mostly sleeps through the night. It is wonderful!
Caleb fits in perfectly with our family. It's like he's always been here. We had his birthday party in October and he was thrilled to be the center of attention. We definitely have 2 hams in the family (3 if you count Steve!)
All of the kids are in preschool and Gracie is riding the bus! I can't believe it, she's such a big girl now.
Zach is having a great school year. Last year was so hard for him, it's great to see him going to school without all of the separation anxiety he had last year.
Well, enough writing. How 'bout some pictures?