Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Over a year

It's been too long since I've blogged.  Goes to show you how busy we've been and, if you know me, I'm not much to talk especially when it's not "pure, lovely and of a good report."  I won't lie to you, or sugar coat it, this past year has been a tough one, but most of the kids are doing amazing! 

Leza and Nico are growing and learning by leaps and bounds.  Nico is signing up a storm and doing his best to verbalize.  He does say "Momma" quite often which just blesses my heart! Leza can eat and walk, even up stairs, like a pro!  Emily knocks the socks of anyone who encounters here with her gifted intelligence and super strength.  Misha is an amazing little trooper having just gone through major surgery on his feet, six weeks of casting and now two more (yes, the doc said two instead of four!), and he's done it (mostly) with a smile and his usual animated self!  Flora has become a precious little lady who is loving and kind and gentle and ever willing to be the big sister helping Mommy and Daddy with "the babies".  Gavin has grown to the size of a 7/8 year old.  Sometimes I have to remind myself he's just five!  Ian, what can I say, he's precious and loving and just warms my heart every time he says "Mommy, I love you."  <sigh> And then there's Lyra . . .

Lyra came home with some behaviors that broke our hearts.  When one lives in an orphanage for fifteen years, one learns things that are not appropriate amongst civilized folks.  We've had to regroup on many of the things we initially thought would be good for her and go in the complete opposite direction.  Like putting her in the room with her sisters and putting her in public school.  Both were a disaster.  She now has a room completely away from the kids, closest to our room so we can be more aware of her whereabouts.  She is also being homeschooled because her extreme attention getting behaviors and being easily distracted kept her from learning.  Since being homeschooled, which stated about two weeks ago, she is beginning to read! Something the school did not think she was ready to do. She is isolated from the triplets (Ian, Misha and Emily) during the day, left alone with her lessons which are mostly online or videoed, but monitored to keep her on task, and she's doing well.  She has learned many new, more appropriate behaviors, like how to hold an eating utensil, how to use proper table manners, how to be completely independent with her personal hygiene, how to pick out clothing that matches, and how to appropriately interact with an acquaintance or stranger.  That last one was HUGE especially since she is a pretty, friendly smiley girl.  She's in counseling to help heal her traumatic past so that it will not continue to try to repeat itself.  It's gonna take awhile, but it took awhile for all this to come about too.  She's learning what unconditional love is and how to really love in return.  She's learning that next to God, family is MOST important and one should be loyal to their family.  Keeping her home is emphasizing where that love, direction, and training should come from first.  Like I said, it's not been easy, but we are seeing progress. 

I felt like I needed to updated my kids' fans, you know who you are, and let you know how they are doing.  We really are doing fine, and with much prayer for wisdom we are making steps to do what's best for all of the kids.  We love our life and as we go through everything we have to, we grow together and become a much tighter knit family. 

Thank you all for your continued prayers!  We really appreciate them. 

Jode, Kelley and kids

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Janelle 3

Hi all, let me tell you about a precious one known as "Janelle". 

She was born in 2007 with CP and struggles some with epilepsy. She is not able to walk on her own, but would be such a blessing to any family.  She will remain bed/chair-ridden for life if she is not adopted.

Her medical records says she has microcephaly, Spastic tetraparesis (CP), steady movement violation, Episyndrome and Strabismus. She is a tiny, frail little thing and her caregivers are very concerned about her lack of growth.

She has reddish brown hair and eyes to match with pale skin. Although weak, she is alert and watches what goes on around her.

She is in desperate need of a Mommy and Daddy who can give her love and get her the medical care she so desperately needs. 

In her country parents must be married to adopt.  She is available to older couples and those with large families. 

Janelle has a grant of over $9000 through Reece's Rainbow to help with her adoption.  If interested in finding out more about her, please contact me or Reece's Rainbow through the link above. 

If you are not contemplating adoption at this time, please share her, pray for her and donate to her grant.  We may not be able to change the world, but as advocates for God's most precious ones, we can change the world for that one!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Emi and Misha - prayers please

Tomorrow morning Emi and Misha have an appointment with the ortho peds surgeon.  Misha is supposed to begin casting for his clubbed feet.  He's going to be a bit miffed since he's so active. I'm happy that nothing invasive should need to be done.  Emily is to be assessed by the surgeon to see what can be done to help her. 

Emily, who came home under the diagnosis of Arthrogryposis, actually has Sacral Agenesis. This means that part of her spine, the sacrum, is completely missing.  It causes her hip bones to rest upon one another, rather than the sacrum, and her hips are dislocated meaning the top of her legs are not in the hip sockets.  Her knees are also stiff and her feet are clubbed.  When we saw the ortho pediatrician we were not given much hope of fixing her feet, knees or hips.  He said her hips would probably just slip back out of the sockets.  If her knees were released so that they bend and then they became stiff in the bent position, she would not be able to walk.  If they do not release her knees so that they bend, they cannot cast her feet to fix the clubbing since the cast/legs have to be in the bent knee position to cast the feet correctly. 

If you're reading all this and your heart just skipped a beat, imagine how I felt while holding these two precious bundles when the doc told me all of this.  I was devastated.  My heart broke for her and what could be her future.  I cried then and many times over the few days after we got this diagnosis. But it's been a couple weeks now and each day she continues to be such a joy.  They all are.  God has blessed us with some amazing children.  Did I mention that Emily is already talking in three word sentences in English!  She's amazing.  The appointment tomorrow will be a consult.  We will then take this information to Shriners to get their opinion.  We have an appointment with them February 20th. 

I've said all that to say this, please pray for us/them through all this.  I believe God has amazing things in store of our kids, all of them, no matter how that presents itself. 


Sunday, January 4, 2015

This One

Many of you remember her as "Aubree" from the Reece's Rainbow website.  We fondly call her Lyra which means music, and if you know our family, you know that her name is very appropriate.

When we first began to pray about adopting Lyra, all we knew was she had a diagnosis of Arthrogryposis and "moderate mental delays"; however, a video we saw of her made us wonder if there wasn't something more going on.  She seemed to have some spasticity in her limbs and difficulty talking especially when excited.  We were also privileged to see a videoed interview of her asking about what she wanted in a family, what her likes and dislikes where, her favorite color etc.  In this interview, the interpreter, someone who knows and loves her, said she was much smarter than her speech would indicate.  Since brining her home, we agree.

Lyra has been learning very quickly and although she still has a difficult time articulating her words, she is picking up English quickly as well as American Sign Language.  The later she uses when she's unable to get a word out, like "thirsty".  Although she never had the privilege of going to school until she came home, she loves school, participates well and is picking up everything very quickly.  Unfortunately though her lack of education, special needs and that she is already 15 makes the possibility of her catching up to her peers bleak.  However! It can be done.

Lyra has until the age of 21 to graduate with a diploma from the public school system.  That gives her 6.5 years to complete 13 years of schooling.  We have decided that this year she will stay in the special needs class and we will work on language immersion and early education.  Next year it is our goal to mainstream her in a classroom of her peers.  Somehow, someway, we can do this.  Right now her education plan states she will receive a "certificate" which means she would not graduate, and then go on to classes for adults with special needs.  Jode and I feel she is able to graduate, given the chance, and go on to college.  She deserves this opportunity. 

So wherever you are around the world reading this blog, please say a pray for her, and us, and all those in the education system who will rally behind her to make this happen.  We know she has a "long row to hoe" as we say here in the South, but we serve a Mighty God for whom nothing is impossible. 

Thank you for your prayers!
Lyra's parents

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Three Little Pumpkins - One year home

Hard to believe this month will be one year home for us with Leza, Nico and Misha.  In ways it's been a crazy year but in others really rather calm considering.  We've not made as much progress as I had hoped, but we have progressed from where they were when we came home last Dec. 

For instance, take Leza.  I had really hoped to be able to communicate with her more.  She's still basically nonverbal, and honestly she may well be for a long time.  I hope and pray not, but the reality is, you can't undo 4 years with little to no therapy over night.  That being said, she has made great strides figuratively and literally.  When she came home she could neither feed herself or walk without assistance.  She can now use a fork and spoon, she can chew her food, something she did not do when she came home, and she can walk fairly well.  We do think some of her delays are due to strabismus, or crossed eyes, and that the knee cap on her left leg will slip completely off to either side of her knee making her gate somewhat awkward.  Both her eyes and her knee are now being considered for surgery since glasses and physical therapy have remedied neither.  She just had a well baby checkup and the doctor reports that she is growing well and looks great!

Nico too has grown quite a bit since coming home.  He was 17 pounds last year and he's now 25 pounds.  He's gone from size 6-12 months to size 18-24 months.  He's leaning sign language and can sign "more please" and "thirsty".  His only consistent spoken word is "eat" and the boy does love his food.  Although Nico can feed himself and chew, he has a hard time keeping the food in his mouth when he's chewing.  We recently requested feeding therapy for him and speech for him and Leza.  We're hopeful that it will help.  Since coming home Nico too has learned to walk.  He does really well. 

Misha has grown by leaps and bounds.  For a baby who could not crawl, walk or feed himself one year ago, Misha has amazed us all.  He can now run, climb up the 5 foot ladder to our playground fort, hold his own cup and feed himself with little assistance.  His arms and hands continue to be strengthened and more mobile.  His core strength is amazing, and I do believe he could be a gymnast with the ability and agility he demonstrates.  Although his vocabulary is not as developed as I had hoped, he does understand everything we tell him.  He is currently getting PT and OT once a week, and we're hoping to add speech therapy to help him catch up developmentally.  Misha is also scheduled to go to Shriners Hospital in February.  He's going to need to have his feet, which are clubbed (yes he's running on clubbed feet!) fixed either through surgery or serial casting.  I'm hoping for the later.  His right wrist and elbow will also need to be straightened and I'm hoping that too can be done in the least invasive manner.  We shall see. 

So, we really have made great strides although they do not appear as I originally imagined.  God has a plan and He's in control.  I trust Him to put all the details in place and as you can see in the picture below, part of the plan was to bring home two more girls.  But that's anther post to be updated at a future date =)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Here We Grow Again!

Hi all, Yes, you read that right.  The Robinson family is growing again!
I've tried to add pictures of our beautiful darlings to this page, but blogger is not cooperating.

Here's a link to our Family Sponsorship Page (FSP) on Reece's Rainbow which will show you just how gorgeous they are.

Both of the girls we committed to this time have the same diagnosis as Misha and if you've met him, you know just how inspiring he is.  His accomplishments have encouraged us to pursue Aubree and Laelia.  Although they do have Arthrogryposis, the manifestation of it in their bodies is different than his. 

"Laelia", who is almost 2 years old, is only affected in her legs. We will not know to what extent until we meet her and get her to a specialist.  We are told that she is "a very beautiful and smart girl, affectionate and well behaved" by those who have met her.  Of course "Laelia" is her pseudonym and the name we have selected for her will be announced once we have passed court. 

"Aubree", who just turned 15, is affected slightly in her arms and more severely in her legs; however, her upper body is very strong.  She is currently in a wheelchair but has expressed the desire to walk.  We are hoping that once she is home, the specialists will be able to help her realize that dream.  Because she has been listed on the Reece's Rainbow website for so long, and in an orphanage for so long, many have met and fallen in love with her.  We will be keeping her given name, adding a middle name, and will let all know what it is once we have passed court.  You can read more about her here. 

We are very blessed and very excited.  Thank you for your prayers, encouragement and support through this journey.

Jode and Kelley

PS - we have a $500 matching grant going on right now.  Every dollar donated to our FSP, also linked above, will be doubled up to $500.  Our FSP needs to read $2251.99 to meet this goal.  Please share, pray and donate!  Thank you!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Be Slow to Speak

I’ve been taking a poll as to how many other adoptive parents feel the same way I do before I said anything.  I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just me being over sensitive.  In chatting with many I have come to the conclusion it’s not.  So, I’m going to put this out there.
Please think before you speak about and around my children.   I’ve heard many statements in front of my kids, or within ear short, which are hurtful. 

For instance, “I’m just going to take this one home with me.” 

Now why would you say that?  Yes, they are cute, but you must have no clue what sort of trauma an adopted child may have gone through, some in several homes before finally being adopted, some abandoned in orphanages for many years and now you want to add to their already, possible, insecurity by making them wonder if someone else is going to take them yet again?  And even if the adorable little one you have in your arms is too young to understand what you’re saying, his/her older sibling is probably close by and is now worried that someone will “just take him” or his/her baby brother or sister.  After all, Mommy and Daddy just brought them home.  You also must have no clue how much time, tears, persistence, prayer, paperwork, patience and money it takes to complete an adoption.  There’s no “just taking” anything. 
And then there’s this one.  “How can you do that at your age?” 

Really?  Do I look like I have one foot in the grave?  Honestly, I can better do this at my age now, than I could have 20 years ago.  I have a lot more parental experience and much more patience.  It also floors me that anyone would think that caring for our children is difficult.  Until just recently, I was an international business woman, managing many projects across many countries, to include the personnel, all at once.  Believe me, taking care of my children is a breeze.
And what about this one?  “Do you have help with them?”

Why? Help because they do . . . what?  I know many, now days, who think six children are a lot, but it wasn’t too many generation ago that multiple children, meaning more than the 2.5 average, was normal.  This is our choice, and what we feel God has called us to do.  If it’s not yours, then more power to you.  Like David said to King Saul, I can’t wear your armor.  What God has called us to, He has also equipped us to do.  It’s my opinion that you’re the one who is missing out on the fun.  We believe the more the merrier!

I was also told of a statement made around my children, while they were standing there, in regards to their being adopted and another child being a bio-kid.  Please don’t do that.  God knew our kids before they were born, and whether bio or adopted, he knew they were to be ours.  He created them just for us.  They are no more or less part of the family because of their adoption.  Are you any less a child of God due to your adoption into the family of God?
I have many more statements from people which have made me wince and scared my kids, but I won’t write them here.  Suffice it to say that you really need to think before you speak in all cases, but especially around my kids.  Believe me when I say, and some of you have heard this, those are fighting words.  I’d hate to have to go all Momma Bear on ya! ;-)

James 1:19 says we should be quick to listen and slow to speak.  Listen to your inner self. If it would hurt your feelings, don’t you think it hurts me/my children too?
I’ll get off my soapbox now.