Thursday, July 30, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Looking for...

...a new social worker.

That's right - you guessed it. After waiting for what seems like "forever" I made a few phone calls today to find a new social worker to handle our home study for Benjamin. I am really at my wits end here and I am so over the sleepless nights I have been having ~ stressing over this whole home study thing while my mind is racing and I am thinking would of, could of, and should of. I'll know more tomorrow so please check back than with hopefully some promising details...


(As for our current SW - he is once again on vacation...3rd one this summer...and from what our agency said to us about the received "unapproved" copy of the home study report they did receive...we need to find someone else. To put it as we were told, "Your report is just plain old junk"...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Can it be? (and a few photos too)

Since I know that Grandma can't wait for the newest photos...I will post them first!

Annabelle and her Daddy!








(I swear...she gets more beautiful every day)



And I just couldn't forget about our Francesca - check out the position she got herself into while playing on the living room couch...
Our silly, silly, silly girl!


OK ~ so I do have a little bit of some interesting...VERY EXCITING...news to report...After weeks and weeks of waiting...our social worker sent us our first "unapproved" copy of our home study report to us and our agency this past Wednesday! Can it be? Now, before we all start getting excited here - I did personally reviewed the whole thing and in my opinion, there are some changes that need to be made (and I am sure our agency is going to agree with me on this one). Seeing how our social worker is again on vacation next week, I don't see "an approved" - and might I add - a corrected home study in the near future...ugh.


So with that said - I hope you all have a wonderful weekend as we are going to take this set-back as another hurdle for us to conquer which will only make us stronger for this road that still lies ahead in this amazing journey to our waiting son (who ever said that this process would be easier the 3rd time around...the harder it is ~ the strong we become...)


I'll be seeing you all sometime next week...




Tuesday, July 21, 2009

at the car wash...

Here are a few photos that I took while Keith and the girls washed my LR. I know, I know...I posted way too many but I just couldn't resist! My family truly means everything to me ~ and for that they will always be my number ones....




(Francesca walking like Simba - which is her new favorite Disney character from The Lion King)


















(isn't she just so beautiful...)




(my truly amazing husband!)




(having some fun in the water...)

("Here Dad, I can help!")








(got water?...from the garden hose!)




(want to help me out here, Shell?)


With this past weekend, we here at the Leonard household truly had a wonderful one! With having to postpone our trip back the Pennsylvania (we are going this coming weekend), we found ourselves with nothing "officially planned" to do. So with that said, we took an all day Saturday outing to...a day of riding around in & out of Washington DC, some shopping at our favorite Chinese dealer's store, an outdoor lunch at a wonderful Italian Bistro & supper at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants...and I was also able to squeeze in some shopping for our waiting son, Benjamin! (seeing how all the summer clothes are now on sale I found some amazing deals at one too many stores!)

Friday, July 17, 2009

What one pair of Spider Man Pajamas can do for One's Soul & Spirit...

(ok so I more or less stated in the previous post that I wasn't going to be posting anything until after this weekend, but this just couldn't wait...)

As I walked down to retrieve our mail Thursday afternoon, I was still reeling from the fact that our social worker is once again on vacation until next week. (and before you can even ask...yes our home study is STILL NOT completed UGH!) With a ton of emotions flowing inside of me, I almost forgot where I was headed. (it is a lot longer walk to our mailbox now than it was when in PA) When I opened up our box, there sat a huge manila envelope stuffed inside. Seeing how I knew I didn't purchase anything lately that would fit inside a manila envelope, I was very curious. As I walked back up our drive way, I searched for a return address and there it was...it was a package from the McClintock's! (from one of the bestest friend ANYONE could ask for!!!!) I couldn't make it into the house fast enough to rip open that package and see what delights were hidden inside. Once I did and "the surprises" fell onto the kitchen counter, there laid the most perfect gift I so needed at that exact moment...A Set of Spider Man Pajamas!

How could a friend so far away who was wrapped up in her own family's move from Colorado to Iowa, adjustment, care, her own blog at http://www.footballandfriedrice.blogspot.com/ and all the other crazy stuff we moms deal with every day know exactly what I needed to make it through this wait! I don't know how she did, but she did. THANK YOU MY DEAREST & SWEETEST FRIEND SARA - YOU ARE MY ROCK THROUGH THIS WHOLE CRAZY PROCESS!

This is the first piece of "anything & everything" that I have obtained for our Benjamin! When we started paper chasing for Francesca, I went crazy with buying everything and anything I saw and just had to have! With Annabelle, I didn't buy as much (seeing how I went way overboard with Francesca) but she still got some new pieces of clothing...and now with the hold-up on our home study (no fault to us) I haven't purchased one thing for our Benjamin (we haven't even sent a care package out to him yet...how sad is that). Well - this weekend that is all about to change! I vowed to myself that I will be going out and purchasing some great stuff for our Benjamin! Nothing is going to hold me back now!

This is actually going to happen...we have a son waiting for us in China!

***I am also in contact with some very special angels who are trying to get me some updated photos and medical information on our Benjamin. I am praying that by next week, we will have "something" more to share...***

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Breaking Bad Habits....



Well ~ as you can see our little Miss Annabelle was able to send all her "binks" to the "Bink Fairy" last week! This is truly a HUGE step for this very unsure little girl. Sure she is loaded with a personality a big as the Montana sky but she is also so very well reserved when placed in new situations and when around a lot of people. Her bink was the one thing she truly counted on whenever she felted unsure. Since coming home back in November 2008, I have been diligently working with her in feeling secure, confident, and loved. She has since been able to give up her bink when in public but still needed that reassurance when going down for a nap or night time. After doing a lot of soul searching within myself...conflicted within myself on taking away the one thing she felt she needed the most and feeling like the "Bad Mommy" for taking it away...I kept putting it off. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that our little Miss Annabelle starting waking up in the middle of the night calling out for me and me waking up to see what was wrong (thinking the worst) only to find her laying there on her back asking for her bink while it rested next to her head. The first few nights this happened I was very understanding and patient, but after a week of this going on...I knew what I had to do. So last Friday after having good night sleep with her bink (and me getting up because she was too lazy to look for it and place it back into her mouth) we said good bye to her binks and placed them in our mail box for the Bink Fairy to come and take them away for the children in China who so need them. And as you can see in the photo, she was very happy about her binks upcoming adventure to her birth country. Nap time on Friday, she cried very little and did sleep for about 1 hour and 20 mins (not her usual 2 1/2 hour nap) and Friday night, she only got up once crying for me which I got up and walked the hallway while carrying her until she feel back to sleep. Saturday & Sunday afternoon there was no naps so no issues, but Saturday and Sunday night...she was really missing her comforting-germ infested friend. She even asked me several times for it during her crying & sobbing and I felt terrible. I think I would of had caved (and give them back to her) if it wasn't for the fact that I did throw them away and I was not about to go digging through the garbage that has been sitting outside for almost a week waiting the salvage company to come and pick it up. So that was truly the end. And since this past weekend of major crying and sobbing at night of needing her little friend and not getting it, she has not had any more incidents of longing for her bink. She has gone back to napping for her normal 2 1/2 hours and has been sleeping thought the night since Monday with not getting up at all. I know some of you must be thinking, "What an awful mother she is!" And believe me, I felt the same way, but after seeing that it can be done (even with a few nights of crying and sobbing and maybe taking a chance that she would form some other bad habits)...she is much better off with out the nasty-germ infested-gross-bink and it was all so well worth it!!!

***Since giving up her bink, Annabelle did fall into the habit of pulling/twisting her hair. She did this about 3 days and with the help of a special glove she stopped that new forming habit quickly. She still does lightly rub her ears when "going down" and she now requests that her musical dragonfly play until she falls asleep...which is about 20 minutes. Not too bad in my opinion - if I must say!***

As for the other "breaking bad habits", my husband finally quit smoking after many, many , many years of doing so. It has been almost 3 weeks and according to him, he is never going back to that dirt habit! I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of him for doing this! He has tried in the past with only quitting three days at the most...so him making it three weeks smoke free - that is truly amazing! "Way to go Honey! I am so very proud of you!"

Well...there you have it on our end! Life here in our household has not stopped for one moment since our move! I don't know if it is the new home, new location, beautiful weather we have been having, or it is just because it is summer-time, but I can't seem to catch up (especially here in bloggerland). Just want to say to you all - Have a wonderful "rest of the" week and here's to a beautiful weekend ahead. See you all very soon...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Special Delivery!




Who would had ever thought that one large cardboard box would entertain two kiddos for hours ~while we "the parents" assembled the new patio furniture that came in that big box!!!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

3/4s of the way completed ~ What did you just say?

Well, after weeks of what seems like playing a one-side game of "phone-tag" Keith finally got in touch with our social worker (on the Thursday before we left for our beach trip reunion) with in regards to our home study for Benjamin James & Annabelle's 6 month post placement...and according to him, it is three-quarters of the way completed. NO! He didn't just say that - did he? Doesn't he know how important these two reports are to us? Doesn't he remember that he TOLD me that they would be completed within a few weeks after our first visit (back on May 11th). To ask if we are upset, you bet we are - but what else more can we do...we are at his mercy.

So to make it seem like we are moving along with our dossier, I am working on getting our 8 family photos together, our three couple photos together, and our extra passport photos as well. And after having our blood work repeated for a third time in the past four years the last time we were in PA, we also made an appointment with our physician for our dossier physical exam form on the 17th. We are trying ~ to move forward and not let this "bump" get us down....

AND

since I do have two very funny photos to share with you all...I am including them in on this post! You know how most kids get gum stuck in their hair - not our daughter - she got...



that's right - a battery operated car stuck in her hair and yes I did have to cut it out!

Since this coming weekend will actually be our first official weekend home with only the four of us around ~ I am once again taking a short break from bloggerland to sit back and ENJOY! I'll catch up with you all next week!
Here's to all of us having one beautiful weekend ahead!!!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

one amazing weekend!

After months of traveling for our daughters to China back in October 2008, 3 out of the 6 families reunited for one amazing weekend at Bethany Beach in Delaware! The house was beautiful, the beach was a ton of fun, the kiddos (between all of us there were 9 of them) were always laughing, the food was delicious, and the conversations were never-ending (along with a lot of laughing happening with the adults too) - we all truly had ONE AMAZING TIME!

"Thank You - Woody, Becky, J #1, J #2, CC, Little D, S Man, Tova, Al, Lori, and Hannah - for inviting our family along in sharing with you all one truly amazing weekend at the beach! We are already looking forward to meeting up again...and knowing from our very last conversation before we all headed out in our separate directions...that it will be happening very soon...Miss you all so very much."



J #1 and J #2 ~ I just love these two boys. They always had me in stitches! And next time, I will bet you both at some Checkers!


Lori, Hannah, and Al enjoying some ocean time!



Francesca & CC! I am not sure if you all remember but CC was one of the adopted children from our travel group. Francesca and she formed a bond in China that was never broken or forgotten....


Annabelle's first steps into the ocean - she just loved it!


Keith & me (OK so we needed some photos taken for Benjamin's dossier - no better time to take them than with other families who have already traveled down that road and know exactly what is needed...this was one of the couple's shot)


(and this was another - a family shot!)


Mama and her baby girl!


The boys playing in the sand....


Woody on "kiddo-watch" while us Mamas enjoyed some free time!


and again that's our Woody!


and this is our Hannah!


Our claim to the beach! (like how Annabelle is just passed out on the towel - that's my girl!)


Francesca being buried in the sand by CC and Hannah...





Francesca always loves a trip to the beach!

and our Annabelle - just plainly passed out!




Again, here you have CC - This beautiful young lady has truly changed me as a person, an adult, a friend, an on-looker, and as a mother. She is such a beautiful girl...inside and out! I would love to tell you more of her story, but her story is not mine to tell. All I can say is...she has changed me and touched me like no other person has ever had...

and last but not least....little Tova! She is such a cutie!

And well - there you have it! One amazing weekend - wrapped up in one heart-felt post!

(Keith snapped 99% of the photos this past weekend and I must say, he did a great job at it! After snapping over 300 of them, I think he is starting to actually like it!)

As for Jen/Brian Family, Karen Family and Lisa/Monty Family - we all miss you guys so very much! Hopefully we can all plan something half way in between all our homes for a reunion!