Archive for October, 2012

October 25, 2012

Photo Post – Recap of Fall….

It’s Fall!

A photo recap of what we’ve been up to….

Preschool Fieldtrip Hayrides





Gorgeous fall sunsets.  

Self portraits


Getting messy. 


Sick babies. 

Ornery boys. 

Baby pictures from new far away friends.  {LOVE}

Doctors visits

Corn mazes.

Soccer, soccer, soccer and more soccer.  (Mayer, Finn, Kensia and Millen all played)



And this cuteness.  {Taken for a friend for a project}


October 16, 2012

A big, white, 10 passenger miracle…

There is a big, white, 10 passenger miracle sitting in my driveway right now.

Yes, folks.  We have a wheelchair accessible van!!

Let me tell you this story.  I’ll try to do it without crying.   :)

A little over a month ago I got a Facebook message from a fellow adoptive mom and Facebook friend Ashlee.   She and I had met briefly in Uganda and had stayed in touch on FB since that time.   Her message that day basically said – I’d like to raise enough money to buy your family a wheelchair accessible van. 

I was sitting at lunch with my family when I read the message.  I handed the phone to my husband to read and he and I sat there with our mouth hanging open, shocked and overwhelmed that someone would want to do this for us!

Ashlee’s goal was to raise $15,000 by October 15 .   It seemed like so much money in such a short amount of time.    You can read her original blog post about the fundraiser HERE.

Quickly it became clear that hundreds of amazing people were going make this dream  a reality.   We stood in shock as we watched money come pouring in, designated for the “van fund”.  Thousands of dollars were donated by family, friends and complete strangers who wanted to see this happen.   Ashlee hosted an online auction and dozens of people donated goods to be auctioned off.  Other adoptive families, some in the midst of their own fundraising, donated items.   Several stores and merchants donated goods and services.  Photographers, artists, online stores, and more.   Hundreds of people bid on these items and raised thousands of dollars which then went into the van fund.   Someone held a giveaway for a necklace.  Someone else hosted a book party.  People sent me encouraging messages sharing how our kids have touched their hearts and how they were praying for us.   Bloggers blogged about it and hundreds of people shared the fundraiser on Facebook.   It was so incredible and humbling to watch so many people come together to provide this amazing gift to our family. 

We started looking at vans several weeks ago.  We didn’t have all the money we needed yet but it was clear that God was doing something miraculous.  We quickly found three vans that sounded great.   The first one, our favorite, unfortunately turned out to be a scam.  But the second one, our second favorite, wasn’t a scam at all and as we learned more about it, we decided that this van was IT.    The perfect van for our family.

I told Ashlee we’d found THE van and she put out a final push to get the last remaining amount of money needed.  We didn’t need the full $15,000 that we had originally planned, we only needed $10,000 to pay for the van, the cost of getting it here and the repairs it needed.  We were about a thousand dollars short.

The van was in Iowa so as soon as I knew we had enough money to get there and buy the van I booked a plane ticket and flew to Iowa!

While I was there, the rest of the funds needed were donated and our van was fully funded!!!

Another Facebook friend/adoptive mama and her husband picked me up from the airport and drove me an hour away to check out the van.  I’m so grateful for their help while I was there!   Thank you Evans family!  The van was everything we hoped it would be so…. I bought it!!

After doing paperwork at the BMV the van was ours and I headed home!   It was a long 2 day drive home by myself.   I had never driven a vehicle quite this big before so I was driving slowly and carefully.   :)

When I finally got home the kids were ECSTATIC.

The next day we took it to church for the first time.  Loading up the wheelchair with the electric lift was so exciting.  It was SO fast and easy compared to the way we had been loading it in our minivan with those aluminum ramps!   That afternoon we took our first road trip, this time back to the airport to pick up my moms van that I had left parked there.

The van is just great.   It has room for eight plus the wheelchair.   If the wheelchair isn’t in the van then we have room for ten!  It is a hightop and I can actually stand in it, which is so cool for buckling kids in.  The electric ramp is on the back (so it doesn’t block the door where the kids get in and out) and works GREAT.  The kids are just in love with it and so are we!

We are SO SO grateful for everyone who helped make this dream a reality.  For Ashlee, who spearheaded the whole thing (while preparing to have her FIFTH child!), for all the amazing folks who gave items to the auction, for everyone who donated money, purchased things from the auction and book sale, held giveaways, sent encouraging notes, prayed for us and shared our story.   I still can hardly believe it happened!   This is going to make our lives so much easier and we are overjoyed with this beautiful gift.   Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

October 10, 2012

October 10th…

October 10th has been a big day in our lives.  It is a day that brings up so many memories as so many huge things have happened that day.

On 10/10/2004 I married my best friend.  We didn’t have a big wedding.   We stood up during church and announced that we would we getting married after church and anyone who wanted to stay for the wedding could.  LOL.  We did warn immediate family members who didn’t attend church with us that they might want to come that day.

On 10/10/2007 I left Haiti with a tiny, precious baby who quickly burrowed himself into my heart and became our first child.  That night I arrived home with our precious Schnider.

On 10/10/2008 – I was heartbroken and crying in Haiti as I said goodbye to Schnider and watched him be reunited with his mom.

On 10/10/2011 – We came home with Jovia and Benjamin and started our lives as a family of five.

So what does 10/10/2012 bring?  Nothing too exciting.  I’m preparing to go out of town tomorrow to get our new wheelchair accessible van (more on that soon!) but today will be a typical day.  And that’s just fine with me.

I wonder what next year will bring?



Schnider & Roobens on our way home from Haiti


The babies finally at home. 


Keith & I


October 5, 2012

Field Trip!

So I think Mayer probably goes to the coolest preschool ever. :)

I mean, I never got field trips like this when I was in school!

This morning the kids had a chance to meet members of the OU football team, score touchdowns on the field, go through some drills,  try on the football uniform, meet the Marching 110, watched demonstrations of the various instruments, were taught how to march and more.    Mayer was so excited he could hardly contain himself.   As we left he announced “I’m gonna be a FOOTBALL player!” and wore a huge smile the rest of the morning.

What fun!

IMG 4290 from sister haiti on Vimeo.

IMG 4295 from sister haiti on Vimeo.

IMG 4308 from sister haiti on Vimeo.

October 2, 2012

Benja’s Eating Update

It was almost exactly a year ago that I was in Uganda trying to convince 18 month old Benja that having something {anything!} in his mouth was OK.   At that point anything you tried to put near his mouth (your hand, a spoon, toothbrush, etc) was pushed away violently.  If you insisted he would throw himself backwards, shaking his head back and forth as fast as possible and start to cry.  He would do anything  to keep whatever you were offering away from his mouth.

Shortly after we came home we notice he started putting toys up to his mouth.  But only if he did it himself.   I spent time every day forcing my finger into his mouth to massage his gums.  His dentist shook his head, muttering under his breath that he couldn’t believe that Benja kept his mouth so clamped shut all the time that most of his teeth have never been given a chance to erupt.  “Do what you can to get him used to having things in his mouth…” the doctor told us.   They tried to pry his mouth open at one point at the hospital.  It was then that we realized we were dealing with a bigger problem – that it wasn’t that he wouldn’t open his mouth, he couldn’t.    It only opened a few centimeters.

So I kept at it.  Massaging his gums, encouraging him to make sounds and move his mouth, clapping and cheering when his tongue ventured past his teeth to test the taste of a new toy.   We started to notice him opening his mouth more and more.   And then he realized he loved the taste of icing.  So if we put our fingers in his mouth with something sweet he would allow us to keep doing it over and over.

A few months later he discovered that baby food on a spoon was pretty yummy.   That was the start of his love affair with food and the end of his oral aversion.  Now anything and everything that can be eaten off a spoon is taken happily.  Just the sight of spoon gets him excited.  And holding a spoon, even with nothing on it, is one of his favorite things to do.  He can now open his mouth wide enough to stick a small finger between the top and bottom jaw.  A spoon still wont fit between his teeth but if you scoop the food under his top lip he has learned to suck it down quickly.

He even lets us brush his front teeth now.   And enjoys it!

A few months ago I started seriously trying to get Benja to feed himself.  He’s started eating small melt-away yogurt snacks that I push between his teeth and onto his tongue.   I’m hoping he can master picking these snacks up on his own but we haven’t gotten there yet.

We’ve also been slowly introducing him to the idea of feeding himself baby food with a spoon.

It has been slow going.  For months we’ve worked on this.

Last night, like I have a hundred times in the past, I put him in a highchair with a tiny bit of applesauce in a bowl in front of him.   I took a hold of his hand with the spoon in it.  Over and over again I dipped the spoon into the food and guided his hand to his mouth.  Then I let go.   And guess what?  HE KEPT GOING!   He fed himself the rest of that bowl and then I gave him some more and he fed himself that one too!

Look at him go!  PROGRESS!!!  So proud of our baby boy!!

IMG 4263 from sister haiti on Vimeo.