Monday, November 26, 2012

Lauren's first Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close, I am ever thankful for my family.  We spent Thanksgiving at a friend's house with their family and had such a great time.  My mom was invited too, so that was nice.  Our day was filled with food, hanging out chatting, watching some football, a little dozing on the couch, and then also kiddos playing football in their back yard.  I'll update with pictures on another day. 

Lauren was so great that day, sitting like a big girl at the "kid's table", eating her turkey and mashed potatoes, and later running the back yard along with the football game of kids verses daddys. Our friends have "tween" girls, I think 10 and 12 or so years old, so they LOVE to play with Lauren.  She just follows them right along. They also have two dogs, which Lauren LOVES.  Lauren also followed the boys to the basement for a game of wii - so all in all, she had a great day. 

Her day was wrapped up by her "finding" daddy in the middle of his football game in the back yard, and motioning for him to walk the creek and they ended up in the park next door.  About 20 minutes later, Brad came in the house from the front door without Lauren.  I was like, "where is Lauren??" His reply was, "she's asleep on the couch in the living room" -- when he took her to the park, she feel asleep in the baby swing and he carried her all the way home asleep!  That girl was just totally worn out!  It was so cute - she continued to sleep through the second round of eating and more football games, but this time on TV.

It was an all around great day!

The rest of her weekend consisted of play time with Joshua and daddy, while I got some shopping done.  As a family we went to the Lexington Children's Museum - she LOVED that!  She helped my mom and Joshua put up our Christmas tree (while Brad and I slipped out to Panera for some mommy/daddy time), and we wrapped the weekend up with a pot luck at church last night to celebrate advent.  She helped, along with all the other children, decorate the church Christmas tree.  I think she's got the Christmas tree-thing down. :) 

I have to say, I'm not a big fan of decorating for Christmas.  Not crazy about putting up a tree, etc.... but because of Joshua and my mom, we do it -- well, they put it up...we just allow it in our home. :)  It seems like so much work and I've never really been a fan of decorating a Christmas tree.  But I can see that for Joshua and now also for Lauren, it's important -- they LOVE it - and lay on their belly just watching the lights and the train circle around the tree.  Lauren particularly likes to take off one ornament that has a picture of Joshua from last year and she walks around with it - telling anyone who will listen, "bye-ah, bye-ah" - which is brother in Marathi.  She LOVES her bye-ah.   I've found myself wondering this weekend what is she thinking when it comes to all this Christmas stuff and decorating trees.  I pray her little heart is filled with the love of God - so that she knows how very much SHE is loved by us and by our Lord. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Anjali is legally Lauren Anjali

Not to discourage any of you PAPs out there, but guess what….even when you get your child home there is STILL more paperwork! If you are a JOH family, never fear, they send you a packet of information once you get home and they guide you through those steps, I’m sure other agencies do the same.

Today, we went to court in our county to file for a Petition of Name Change. This is just one of many processes you have to go through in our state, probably yours too. (Next once we get her citizenship certificate, we have to get her US birth certificate, social secuirty card, and file with insurance her new name, etc).... But for today, this court appearance was easy….. very easy! We didn’t even use an attorney. We just waited our turn and then when the judge called us up, she read our petition (the form we filled out when we asked for the court date) and then asked a few questions and then Brad was sworn in to answer a few further questions under oath….and that was it…. Anjali officially and legally became “Lauren” – Anjali Blunt. She now has a first and middle name!

On the name change, so many people ask…. Are you changing her name, what does your agency think about this??? Why are you changing her name from such a beautiful name like Anjali?

So I thought I’d share the story for anyone new to this blog. You can also check out a post from the past (April 2011 - What's in a Name post) that talks about this topic….although doesn’t give all these details. :)

So when we received our referral and we were told her name was Anjali, we instantly liked the name. Names in India always have a meaning, unlike here in the U.S. In the U.S. a name may have a meaning, but we don’t put as much “stock” in a person’s name and any meaning behind it, if there is any. We looked up the meaning of Anjali….. it means, “an offering or a gift”. While this may be a beautiful idea, we truly believe she is a gift to us that has blessed our lives; however, as an orphan child, she may not want to be thought of as “a gift given away”. This is also a strong Hindi / Sanskrit name and some definitions consider the name meaning as an “offering to the gods”, emphasis on godS. In India, the people worship MANY gods. So as a result of this research, we struggled with the idea of keeping her name the same for two reasons: 1.) All the research says don’t change a child’s name if they are older than 2 years old, I believe. 2.) We have always in our mind thought our daughter would be named Lauren. Actually, Joshua was going to be named Lauren if he was a girl :) Our hearts and our minds have prayed for a child named Lauren well before we even knew about Anjali. So as we’ve had “the adoption world” highly encouraging us to keep her birth name…. Perhaps the only thing her birth mother would have given her…. We also have our own faith and beliefs tugging at our heart. So what did we do??? We prayed….and prayed. Brad and I talked at length….and we prayed. He was convinced we change her name…. I needed more time.

So during this time (which looking back was Divine timing), I was in a Bible study called BSF (Bible Study Fellowship)… it is a fabulous bible study. We were studying Isaiah. I was deep in the study, all in the context of the questions and the historical references and meanings of what was happening at the time in the Bible and when studying passage Isaiah 62, specifically verse 62:2-4 and in the middle of lecture on that Wednesday morning out of the blue (I wasn’t even THINKING about Anjali at the time), the Holy Spirit said to me, “give her a new name, she is no longer desolate, nor abandoned”… I couldn’t believe it – these words, although not audible…. Were so very clear in my mind, that I KNEW it was the Holy Spirit. So what does any good Christian girl do when something like this happens???? Contact a trusted Christian mentor and talk it through. So I emailed a friend and we set a lunch date.

THEN a few nights later, I woke up in the middle of the night and it’s as if the Lord was speaking to me again and said, “we are all adopted, I value adoption, but these adoption books and academics are missing one thing….. ME, the Lord, the I AM”…. “you have longed to write a book… how about start with a children’s book on adoption and the name change??” And I literally went down stairs and wrote the ENTIRE narrative of the children’s book! This was April 28, 2011, and I just checked the file time saved on my computer and it was 2:15 a.m. So what do I do with that??

I had lunch with my trusted friend and she was so encouraging and excited and she reminded me of all the times in the Bible that God gave his followers a new name and she challenged me to study those times and pray on the significance of changing a name. She read my first draft of the book, listened to the story and then in the only way she knows how….she spoke some truth to me. She said, “Renae, are you ready to give this to the Lord, in His timing, all for His glory….Renae are you ready to obey?”…. and then she added, “I think you also need to add a John 3:16 moment in the book….but that’s just what I’m thinking listening to your story on this unfold”. So on May 4, 2011, I felt particularly inspired and I edited the book to add her suggestions. And then I saved the file and I told God – it’s yours, so when YOU are ready, I am ready. You must open the doors when you want me to pursue this further.

In the meantime, I’ve met a few artists, and I’ve checked on self-publishing, but all the while I haven’t felt that God has opened the door that I’m waiting for…. It is all for Him. Self-publishing isn’t that expensive (maybe a few thousand dollars), but selling books and being a no-name author isn’t that financially rewarding either….so I wait on Him! One offer to illustrate is Joshua’s art teacher…so I may consider talking to her again and have her do one page to see if it fits the style we have in mind. We also wanted Anjali to be home, safe and sound in her environment – and settled…. Certainly don’t want to exploit her in ANY way….or take on a huge project that may take away time from her. So meanwhile, we wait for God to take the next step on this call and open that next door. We do feel compelled to offer something to the adoption world that may not be fully present on this topic…..something of God….something of another perspective.

I don’t mean in any way to diminish anyone who has kept their child’s birth name – I do see this as a family decision, but for those that do want to change their child’s name… I also think there are ways this can be done in connection with building a strong identity in Christ. Certainly only time will tell if Anjali is sad or hurt by this name change, and that is why we left her birth name as her middle name to allow her the option in the future to use her middle name, merely out of respect for her (right now she seems to like “Lauren” and smiles and responds when we call her by this name). For now, we are really praying she finds all her identify in our ONE true God and that one day she too will be adopted into the body of Christ by her own longing and desire…her own free will.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

One lesson learned with little miss

So maybe I'm a slow learner (or perhaps maybe I think I can change the way things are??) - but one thing I've learned about Lauren Anjali -- don't plan things around nap time or lunch time (unless it's a nap or LUNCH!) :)

I've had to really work hard at getting all the "stars" aligned before her PT session each week --- when everything is in sync, this girl LOVES physical therapy...... no lunch, .... no session, it's just that simple, she just won't cooperate.  The timing of her appointment is really right at lunch time, so I've tried to get through the appointment and then have  So now we have lunch a bit early and then go to PT - works so much better.  

And today, we had our family photo session for the holidays...... oh, was that a challenge -- well the first outfit session was great (but again it was before her normal lunch time).... she was in a good mood, all was well.  Quick change of clothes and oh my, she was all "sensoried-up"  - that's my made up word for sensory seeking.... out of sorts.... crazy .... kookie.... AHHH get me home behavior.  But what did we do, we changed clothes and the photographer just kept trying.   And then again changed clothes and got a few shots of her and Joshua.... only a book finally calmed her. 

On the way home she fell asleep and is still asleep now -- without even eating lunch!!  She is going to be one hungry little girl when she wakes - but that's ok, we have left over rice :)  She is so strict in her routine and I think preschool is also heightening this.  When I was home with her, sometime she wouldn't nap on schedule... she generally always eats on schedule :)

One bit of other news... her preschool did a hearing screen and discovered TWO ear infections.  I felt awful; she hasn't been running a fever or fussing, so we didn't even know it.  It makes me wonder if she's used to a certain level of discomfort and accepts that as "the way it is".  Anyway, I think she's already feeling better from her medicine.

Excited to have a friend over and her family tonight for pizza.  She was in my bible study a few years ago -- and is now adopting from India!  She lives here in Lexington, so that is really exciting for us too!  I think I'm off for a quick nap - since little one is getting one -- and Brad and Joshua are practicing for the church variety show - they are doing their David and Goliath puppet show with homemade paper puppets taped to a straw. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - pics

Ok - you all know I can't be totally wordless...check out some pics and captions :)

                                                              Halloween party at neighbors
 (mommy had the cutest fairy costume, but I was NOT about to wear it when I could be Luigi to my big brother's Mario! When I saw his hat, I had to have one of my very own - thankfully Ms. Ali next door happen to have one!)

Lauren Anjali and Riley (Nana's dog)

Catch the toy "i-ee" AKA Riley

Love my girl!

Lauren Anjali LOVES Riley

Let's play hairdresser!  Daddy's first...... Lauren Anjali's turn .... Joshua is either going to be a mechanical engineer or a hairdresser :)

C-A-T-S (Check out the TV - great unplanned timing :) )

                                                                     Cats! Cats! Cats!
                                                    It's official, we have a Kentucky girl!

                                          Quit taking pics ..... while we watch our CATS!

Because of Election Day - Joshua and Daddy didn't have school or work and got to see Lauren at preschool! 
                                                  Makin' Mr. Potato Head.

                                                 Home in the kitchen on my scooter!

                                            All done, now off with this helmet!  :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

One Happy Mom

So no doubt about it - we've had our fair share of challenging moments during this transition bring Lauren Anjali into our family.  At times Joshua has struggled, I've struggled, and I think even Brad has struggled.... we know our little one has also struggled.  The hardest thing at times has been when anyone leaves the house she cries.  But it seems like we might be making some good progress in this thing called SECURE attachment.

Today - a local church, where we are part of an adoption support group - held an orphan Sunday event - basically booths set up and interested families can come and ask any questions about adoption, foster care, orphan care.  I volunteered to serve at the support group table.  So right after church, we all came home, I grabbed a quick sandwich and made my way to this event.

Lauren Anjali fell asleep in the van on the way home from church.  Brad carried her in and put her on the couch where she is used to napping.  I took off for the adoption event.  Brad would have the kids for at least three hours.  When I got home, Brad, Joshua and Lauren were all at my mom's house.  She has a dog - Papillion named Riley -- Lauren LOVES him.  I worked on laundry until they came home.... he ended up having them for about 5 hours!

Joshua ran into the house and said, "we are home, guess what when she woke up from her nap she didn't cry!"  I was like -- "that's great".  Then Brad came in and Lauren came in too -- she ran to me gave me a quick hug and then tackled Joshua who was laying on the floor right in front of me in the family room.  He laughed, she laughed ... it was all good.  So I said to Joshua, "so, do you think you like your sister now? remember when she first came home - you weren't so sure about her when she bugged you, got into your stuff, etc."... his response made this mom - one happy mom!!  He said, "when she first came home I liked her - then the jar went a little empty -- but now it's back full again".... that is his way of saying, "yep, I like her"... I love the heart of this little boy who has always been a bit quiet, sometimes hesitant to really share his feelings (we've worked hard on that one)... but now, as I see how happy he is when he's playing with her -- AKA rough housing, sword fights, even sometimes legos.... it makes me so very happy.

So today - I got THREE hours of adult time talking about adoption topics, which I love - with great Christian families - all in various stages of the process... or still considering it.... Brad had the kids played with them and then visited my mom for more fun times.... I got some laundry done in a quiet house for another 1 1/2 hours! ... and now Brad's off to his small group -- and all is well at home.  When Brad left, Lauren gave him her typical goodbye, "bye ki-ee" -- have no idea what this means - at first I thought she believed everyone was named "Kelly" -- but it's her goodbye -- and tonight she said it to Brad with confidence, AND security that he would be back....and there were no tears.  This little one is making it....and she has a brother that is continuing to love her more and more  :) 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Decision: No OT for a period of time

Thanks SOOO much for your insight to my previous post.  Today the decision was made to stop OT for a period and I feel so much relief about it.  As I looked at our calendar it just seemed to be too much to add to an already busy plate.  Anjali is doing very well at preschool and I want to just focus on PT and getting her stronger.  I'm sure we will visit OT next year - perhaps in the spring - but I feel good that at this time it's the best decision for us.  I totally agree - she just needs to be a kid for a bit (actually a LONG bit since she's just 3 - but you know what I mean) -- and she has lots of time to catch up.  It's a delicate balance going for ALL the suggested treatment versus just growing closer at home and knowing time is still available for treatment later..... We just love our kids so much, we want them to reach their full potential.... but the best indicator is, when she falls asleep nearly all the time when we get in the car ... this girl is toooo busy :)  She used to LOVE PT sessions - and now seems to fuss a bit (because it's the same place as her OT visits - which she clearly didn't like all that much).  So here's to hoping her love for her PT returns, we all have more down time, and she continues to thrive at preschool.  Meanwhile, we've learned just enough from OT to help us add sensory inputs when needed to settle her seeking heart.  

Thanks to you for such great comments, and to my friend Mer who added encouragement too on the phone.