Off to Hawaii!

January 24, 2015

  We're heading off to Honolulu for Sky and Fire's USCIS interviews!  We don't anticipate any problems so hopefully my next post will be one celebrating two new Americans.  I don't know how much free time I"ll have so this might be a bit of a blogging break as well.  Wish us luck!!

Weekend Getaway

January 23, 2015

Sky's First Story

January 21, 2015

  In the archives of Our Charmed Life, you can find why D and I chose adoption to grow our familySky's adoption timeline, the story of Sky's first days with us, and then her diagnosis, and our time in America for treatment.  You can find our reasons for wanting more childrenFire's story, and Water's story.  The one thing you can't find is the story that started it all.  The story that I tell when I want to share how magical adoption is and how I know that we were meant to be a family.

  It was Christmas, 2009.  D and I were living on Roi and had just decided that we were going to stay here in the Marshalls for a while.  We'd been apart for over 19 months and had just reunited in October.  It felt good to be settling in someplace.  We were making friends, picking up new hobbies, and were both really happy with our lives.  That day, Christmas day, we'd been invited to go over to a nearby island to watch the "beat" dances they do here to celebrate so we got dressed up, put on sunscreen and big hats, and caught the ferry over to 3rd Island.  After an island tour, some playtime with the kids, and a fried-chicken lunch, we were ushered into the Protestant church.  Being visitors (and ribelle), we were given seats in the front and following the tradition, D sat with the men and I sat with the women.  We saw the Elders dance, then a group of women, and then, just before we had to leave, the children's group got up to dance.  They were all in elementary school (the junior high and high school are on other islands), all in matching shirts and dresses, and they had some of the biggest smiles I'd ever seen.  About five minutes into the kids' dance, I hear a voice say "Let's do that.  Let's adopt here." I know it must have been in my head because the music was so loud there's no way I could have heard it with my ears.  A feeling of rightness hit me like a ton of bricks and I turned to look at D, who was sitting behind me.  He gave me a giant smile and nodded his head.  On the way back to the boat a little later, I asked him if he was thinking what I was thinking.  He said "Adoption?  Let's do that."
  Fast forward to mid-December 2010.  D and I had been up all night for work but we were pushing ourselves to be perfect because the ladies from the Central Adoption Authority were here for our home study.  Once the questions were answered and the pictures taken, the ladies asked us again about the age range we'd requested on our form (0-12 months) and asked if we would consider an older child.  While I had no idea what they meant by "older child", I said, "Yes" and they handed us their camera, turned backward so that we could see the picture on the tiny, pixelated screen.  There she was, our daughter, sitting on someones lap and playing with a cell phone.  I started to cry and D said that we would accept the match.  The ladies made some notes and started packing up to go it occurred to me that I should ask some questions about her.  All they'd told us was her age, 11 months, so I asked her name and when they said, "Heaven", my jaw literally dropped.  D and I had chosen our daughter's name months ago, before we even contacted the agency.  The name we chose: Siela *, a feminization of the Spanish word for heaven. 

Our heaven
*For our family's privacy and to protect our daughter Internet identity, her name is intentionally miss-spelled here and she is referred to as "Sky" on this blog
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Mommy Reality Challenge 27: After the Housekeeper Leaves

January 17, 2015

Jenerally Informed
For this Mommy Reality Challenge, Jen and Celeste challenged us to share what it's really like in our homes- not the Pinterest perfection that we usually like people to see.  Without further ado, here's what our house looks like right after the housekeeper leaves:

Looks great right?  Ms B is an AMAZING housekeeper and I love that we can have someone help us keep up with the house. 
So those are the perfect (I can work full time and manage everything) pictures of the house.  Here's what it usually looks like:

The kids were home from school for about 30 minutes and the house is trashed.  I was making dinner and they were "playing quietly".    Sky and Fire did have to clean this all up before bed time but there you have it:  what our house usually looks like.
What about you?  Care to share your "normal"?  Link up at the Mommy Reality Challenge!

This Week: Goods and Bads

January 16, 2015

  My good for this week is that it's over!  I know that's not a very upbeat way to finish the week but there it is.  Last week, things were magical at my house and this week was full of crying, hitting, and stress.  I guess that's just the nature of things, right?  On a more positive note, we are headed to Roi (another island in the atoll) for the three-day weekend.  D and I used to live up there and we try to visit every few months.  We're going to swim, feed chickens, have a bonfire, watch movies, and just try to relax a bit ahead of our trip to Honolulu next week for the kids citizenship.
  Another good for this week is that I think I've found a solution for Water's childcare that will let him get some extra attention and stimulation while keeping our nanny/housekeeper employed (I shared my dilemma about this situation last week).  I think we'll be putting him part time at the CDC with Fire and Sky and have Ms B pick him up at lunch time and keep him for the afternoon.  Water will have "school" in the mornings and this will free Ms B up to work for other families (which we'll help her find) to make up the difference in income.  D's not a fan of this solution- he thinks it's asking too much of Ms B in terms of her workload but I like that it will give her a regular income that she can count on and give her time to supplement it by working for others.  Of course, as we get more info about when a spot at the CDC will open, we'll ask Ms B for what she wants to do and go from there.
The last time we went to Roi was just a few days before we found out we'd been chosen as Water's family.  Here's a few pics from that one- hopefully this one is just as much fun!

  I'm not trying to look the unexpected gift horse of Sky and Fire's US citizenship coming through quickly in the mouth but friends, this has been the cause of a lot of stress for us this week.  Sky still doesn't do well with changes in her routine and although we're prepping her and Fire for what will come (like we do every trip) she's still worried and acting out a bit because of it.  She also doesn't fully understand what the change in citizenship means for her and that's a little scary, so again, more acting out.  It's also been a big strain on our wallets.  The tickets alone for the trip cost over five thousand dollars and while we've lived here long enough for that to be a normal price for us, it's harder to find that kind of money so soon after bringing Water home.  This wasn't the answer I expected when I prayed about what our next step as a family should be but since it's the answer we got, I'm trusting that He will make the trip possible.
How was your week?  What were your highs and lows?  Any surprises?
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