Wednesday, June 29, 2011

9 years ago today...

we walked down the aisle and committed our lives to each other for better or for worse. Of course we had no idea then how good the "better" would be and how hard the "worse" would be. I also had no idea that I would be celebrating my 9 year anniversary by doing 4 loads of laundry before lunch. =) I'm hoping for our 10th anniversary, we'll be able to take a trip together, but this year, I'm just hoping to have dinner without the kids. I love you, honey!

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

that is until a skunk got very mad. We never saw him, but we sure smelled him. Luckily the girls were all done eating their lunch so not a big deal to come inside.

Essie & Chloe

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Christmas in June?

I figured after my last post, we all needed something to smile at. The girls entertained me last week with their own rendition of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What I Want You To Know About Older Child Adoption

I have so much to say on this topic, but being in the midst of the battle, I don't feel ready or able to process all my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I found this post on another blog and she says so much of what I want to say so I decided to link it here.

This is exactly what we've been going through for the last 11 months, but have usually been unable to verbalize it. Isolation is so true for us and finding a good therapist has been terrible. And again, the author is so right...a bad therapist is worse than no therapy at all (been there, done that). Luckily we found a good one recently. Though we've only had 1 session with the whole family, she's already given us some practical tools to help build attachment and diffuse tensions. I highly recommend Joan Miller at Focus on Relationships in Lexington. If you are struggling (even if your child was a baby when you adopted them), call Joan. Don't put it off like I did. Time does not make the hurts go away. Older kids come to us with years of life experiences already. They have their own personalities and have gone through horrendous life experiences that no child their age should go through. Some of the stories my kids have told me has made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. But living every day as a family with children who don't know how to act as true family members is so frustrating and so draining. I try to remind myself that each of my kids has come so far, but most days the future looks so very bleak for us. But they are worth it. They are children of God that He has redeemed from the hand of the Devil. Just as He has redeemed me and called me to walk this very hard road with very broken children. The irony is we pursued them. We asked for this. We called them to be members of our family and now call them our sons and daughters. Just as the Father pursued me and called me to be His daughter. He paid the ultimate price just so I could be called a daughter of the most high God. Adoption is such a beautiful portrayal of God's salvation plan for us. And yet most of the church misses it. I grieve for my brothers and sisters in Christ who just don't get it. So many people say to us how great we are for adopting these kids and making them our own and I want to scream at them, "Don't you get it! It's not about us. We are so NOT adequate enough to do this on our own. I am a terrible person who is daily frustrated by my children. Who loses her temper way too much and sometimes I just hide- in the bathroom for a few minutes so I can get away from my kids. Many times I hear the voice of the enemy telling me I'm not good enough. And many times, I listen to him. But that is the joy of this journey of adoption. He calls us to take on something we can't do on our own. We have to rely on His strength or we fail. And the best part is, even when we fail, He is there to mend the hurts and sew back the cords that bind us together as a family."

So pray for us. Pray that we will see past the anger, the harsh words and the sullenness. Pray that He will indeed heal the hurts that we see and those that we will never realize. Our kids are in such desperate need of a Savior to salvage the years when no one treated them as the princes and princesses that they have been called to be. And pray for us as parents. We are emotionally drained. We are physically exhausted. But we want to be the parents that God calls us to be. We want to show the love of Christ in everything we do with our kids. We want so much, but the journey is so long and we need you all to stand in the gaps for us when we as humans fail. Thank you for following our journey. Your support, prayers and encouraging words mean more than you will ever know.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Food Battles with Kids from Hard Places

I just found this video on the Empowered to Connect website and I had to post it. We deal with food issues on a daily basis in our house and as always, Dr. Karen Purvis has words of wisdom on the subject. If you are parenting a child from a hard place, I strongly recommend you check out this website.

Engaging Food Battles with Connection in Mind from Tapestry on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

The girls picked out a new pair of UK pj shorts for Ababa. The boys got him a new basketball (since they've pretty much ruined his old one). I bought him The Best of Simon & Simon because as Matt says, "it has the best TV theme show song ever." Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

AJ Explains an Episode of MacGyver

The Kinnell family may or may not have all seven seasons of MacGyver (plus the two TV movies!) on DVD. (Don't judge.) All four of our kids love MacGyver. And when AJ explained the plot of last night's MacGyver episode to dad, we had to get it on video. (You may have to turn up the volume to hear, and please excuse the darkness.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Look what we found...

hopping around our local public library. (Hint: Its not the big guy, that's Matt's boss Ron). If you missed all the great animals from the KY Down Under show this morning at JCPL, you can catch it again tonight at 7pm.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Another First

Lots of people tell me they want to adopt an infant because they don't want to miss their child's "firsts". I often say, my kids' "firsts" are more fun to watch because they are truly appreciate the experience. Today was no different as Mickey not only got to pet his first horse, but also got to take his first horse ride. Some of my clients invited the kids out to ride and since Mom needed to do their 6 month post placement visit for their daughter Chelsea (Russia), we made it a family excursion.

The kids waiting for mom to stop talking (i.e. working).






Mom (finally getting a turn)

Chelsea finally got a ride after waiting for all the big kids to go

Mickey got bored waiting for while the other kids rode so decided to give mom a new do. This kid is crazy good at braiding.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fun day with Ellie #2

Cydil took the girls yesterday afternoon for some time with Ellie. You have to check out her blog. Cydil is a professional photographer so her pictures are ALWAYS so much better than mine, but I remind myself her camera also cost A LOT more than my point and shoot one.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fun day with Ellie

Yesterday, our friend Ellie came over to play to give her mommy a chance to get some work done. The girls had a fine time playing dress-up and with babies.

Ellie & Chloe

Taking the babies for a stroll

Swinging with the babies

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wilmore Adoption Support Group Picnic

We ended Day 1 of Summer 2011 by having a picnic with other families from the area who have adopted children. We started this group back in 2007 and I cannot express how the friendships have carried us all through our adoption journeys' highs and lows. Last night we had 13 families with children from Ethiopia, China, Taiwan, Albania, Tanzania and Liberia. It is amazing to me how many lives God has redeemed just in our little town of Wilmore (population 5,000). We were all having so much fun that we didn't realize what time it was. We didn't get everyone in bed until almost 10pm so Day 2 of Summer 2011 got off to a groggy start.

Sorry I didn't get more/better pics but there was too much fellowshipping to do!

Had to get a video of this. Mickey got this ride-on toy going really fast down the hill and I just envisioned him taking out some kid at the bottom and all of us spending the night in the ER. But he proved me wrong and never ran into anything. Here he is taking Chloe for a spin.

**Update: Cydil posted some great pics on her blog, if you want to see more of the fun-

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer 2011

Today we began our summer schedule so of course I made the poor kids pose for yet another photo. The boys are attending day camp and the girls have VBS at a local church this week in the mornings. Change is always hard for kids from hard places and we've had our share of fears since school ended. This morning actually went pretty well, which we are grateful for! Tonight we are having a cook-out with our adoption support group in town and everyone is excited about that! We also started a new chore chart, which has gone pretty well so far also. Last night in church, the pastor said something about chores and Essie looked at me and said, "just like us, we have chores!" Love it when they make connections like this. Of course 2 minutes later, the pastor read in Genesis where it says "Abram was 99 years old" and Chloe yells out, "99! WOW!" That got a few snickers from those sitting around us.

Excuse the sticker on AJ's hair. I have no idea why he did that, but with most of our kids' explained behavior, we don't ask why, we just go on with the day.

AJ entertaining us for a few minutes this morning. Matt & I call this toy the ankle breaker, but AJ has mastered the thing.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A-Hunting We Will Go?

Sometimes raising kids who lived in Africa is really fun. Like when they make their own bows and arrows and go "hunting" for birds. (They assured us that they would not really hit any.) Clearly a skill that they learned in the bush. It has occupied them for several hours, which is a good thing in the first days of summer vacation.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Caear's new summer do

With temps being near 90 degrees all week, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and pay to have Caesar groomed. Since this only happens twice a year, we went with the full shaved look. He is much less hot and looks like he lost about 10 pounds. Wish I would have taken a picture of him before.
Isn't he so cute!