Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More Adventures in Apostille

I'm frantically gathering the last of the required documents that we need to adopt Maxim. Some of the documents originated and are notarized in another state. They must also be apostilled in that state. After waiting weeks for these documents to arrive, I had to turn around and mail them back the the secretary of state office in the state of origin...along with the required fee. Of course.

Today I went to the grocery store customer service counter to get this done. I paid for the money order, got my change, then the clerk asked me to step down to the other end of the counter to take care of the postage. He was confused because I needed to calculate return postage for the required self addressed, postage paid envelope in addition to the postage to send the package. Another clerk walked him through the process. Then he taped up my envelope and I was done.


My phone rang this evening while I was flipping pancakes for supper, (I found clearance priced buttermilk at the store!) my phone rang. It was my mother-in-love.She wanted to know if I purchased a money order today. My blood ran cold...

MIL was shopping at this particular big-city grocery store when she overheard the people at the customer service desk talking about locating someone named Nance. They were on the phone with the store pharmacy to try to locate my phone number. The clerk said, "There are eleven Nance's at that address!!" No joke!

Apparently, the clerk who assisted me earlier in the day never gave me the money order I paid for.

I mailed paperwork without the required fee. *gasp!*

Paperwork that I pulled teeth to get. *gasp!*

Really, it took me a month to get this piece of paper done correctly. *facepalm!*

I can't imagine how long this will delay things. Would the lady who wrote this letter even agree to write another one? Would it take her another month to get it done? AARRGGGHH!!!

MIL then says, "We have the envelope here. Was the money order supposed to go in the envelope?"

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ANGELS SINGING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MIL made out the money order, and the clerk assisted her in opening up the envelope and getting it sealed again and sent out. 

Here is my question? How did my MIL happen to be in the same exact grocery store...

at the same exact time these clerks were talking about me...

and be exactly near enough to hear them talking about me?

It's the hand of God. That's the only way I can explain it. HE is not going to let me mess up this adoption. HE is covering for me at every turn. No, it's not easy. No, we haven't yet raised enough money. But HE has shown me that he will not allow me to fail. That gives me an incredible sense of security. 

Blown away.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Zhen and his glasses

Zhen went all summer without wearing his glasses. Terrible, right?! His day camp could not guarantee that the glasses would not get lost, so we just put them on the back burner. I continued the chemical patching, also knowing that they wouldn't/couldn't be expected to keep a patch on him either.

Now that school is in full swing, we are making a big deal about Zhen's glasses. I insist that he wears them when he is awake. Most of the time he is compliant, but I sometimes have to sternly tell him to put them back on, and he does, most of the time.

Oh no! Mom is yelling again!!

This morning  I was driving Zhen and Hammy to school, when he removed his glasses. When it was time to get out of the van, they were GONE. I put Zhen and his backpack in the back seat so that Hammy and I could search the floor of the van. All the while, I yelled at Zhen, "where are they!!" (Yeah, I yell sometimes!)

Then I spotted the cup holder next to Zhen's seat. Zhen has ripped out the liner of the cupholder. I replace it, but he keeps doing it and stuffing things down there between the interior and exterior panels of the van. *sigh* So I reached down there and pulled a few things out. Then Hammy tried, but we couldn't find them.

I gave up. Hammy got out of the van, then I went to grab Zhen from the back seat. He was busy zipping up his backpack and his glasses were on his face. That turkey! He had taken his glasses off and put them into his backpack. Sometimes you just gotta laugh, right?!

Zhen came home from school with NO GLASSES!! Not on his face. Not in the backpack. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Apostille Adventure

Thanks to my awesome chip-in friends, Ralph and I drove to Topeka last Friday to get some documents apostilled. An apostille is a certification that documents need for international purposes. We could have done this by mail, but I needed these documents sent overseas immediately. So Ralph and I made the drive.

Can you imagine how horrified and sick I felt when the clerk at the secretary of state's office told me that my notary had mixed up a date on one of the forms? Honestly, I wanted to cry. But I couldn't. I wanted to fall apart, but I was cool and calm. Strange.

Ralph and I walked toward the exit, past the security guard and out the door. I was in a daze and didn't notice the multiple warning your step...step down...then I gave the security guard something to chuckle about. Ha ha! 

Surprisingly, I had the presence of mind to bring the computer with me. I stuffed the computer in my purse and Ralph and I went for a little walk. It was 4pm. The secretary of state office closes at 5pm.

Around the corner and down Kansas Avenue we walked. Before we were halfway down the block we found a print shop! First thing - get that document printed. After attempting to run behind the counter, Ralph sat beautifully in a chair as I fired up the computer and transferred the file to a flash drive.

Once I had the document printed, I ask them if they knew where I could find a notary. Lo and behold, a notary was standing there! 

Ralph and I walked back to the state office for our apostilles. This time we used the accessible entrance, partly to avoid making eye contact with the security guard and partly to avoid the steps.


I took my sweet boy out for some fries at Spangles after that. He charmed the manager out of a free ice cream with M&M's on the side! After a little down time with my boy, we got mildly lost looking for the FedEx office. $94 later, my documents were out of my hands, on their way over the ocean, and we were on our way home!

Mission accomplished!

Bus Trouble

Phew. It's been a tough week with the crew. We've not been able to settle in a school routine just yet. Mornings are the problem.

The special ed bus always stopped at our front door, but Zhen's riding the big bus with Hammy this year. I'm still not certain that this is a great idea.

They wait on the side of a busy street. The bus comes when it gets there, if you know what I mean. Supposed to be @8:15am. I could handle this just fine if the preschool didn't start at 8:15am.

Oh, and Theo's bus comes around 8:20am, back over in front of the house. Thank goodness for my homeschooled kids. They sit on the porch with him in case Theo's bus comes before I get back from waiting with Hammy and Zhen.

Yep. I gotta find a way to be in two to three places at one time. Ralph can ride the preschool bus, but Ruby cannot. It is against their policy since she is not on an IEP. So, on Mondays and Wednesdays, the days that Ruby attends, I have to drive five children to three different schools. Truthfully, that's easier than stressing out over getting the kids on the bus.

It's getting old, though and we are only done with our second week. I feel like something has got to give.

Friday, August 17, 2012


I've done a few chip-in fundraisers over the past four years and I have NEVER had the pleasure of ending one early! We are so blessed on this journey. Thank you!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I didn't want to do this...

I REALLY didn't want to do this, but we are in a crunch! This adoption is moving very fast. Very fast! We need $500 to cover the last of our up-front costs like apostilles, fancy state-level notary certification needed for international documents, and postage for those documents.

So, here is a chip-in if you are led to help us. Gifts made through this chip-in are not tax deductible, but will help us get our paperwork completed much faster and get Maxim home as soon as possible. Thank you and God bless!

Thanks from Maxim, too!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Snack Time!

Today I picked up Ralph and Ruby from school a little bit early. This gave me an opportunity to chat with his teacher for a few minutes. We had a little talk about snack time.

The food service department apparently thought that it would be cute and fun for the preschool kids to have these dog bone shaped graham cracker sticks for snack time, also known as Sc00by Snacks.

Ralph took one look at his snack offering and pushed it away. Knowing this boy as well as I do, he probably gave his teacher a smoldering dirty look, too!

Ralph knows that dog treats are shaped like this. They are for the dogs, not for people. He's no dummy. I can only imagine what he was thinking...oh my! I'm chuckling out loud while I'm typing this!

I don't know whether to thank the preschool staff or smack them around a little, but they finally convinced him to give the dog treat shaped crackers a try!!

Of course I'm joking, I LOVE these people. But, I think our puppies will have to go without their treats for awhile...maybe forever.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The First First Day

We reside in one of the largest school districts in the state, even though our town is quite tiny. This makes it necessary to stagger the first day of school. Parents here like to put their little angel on the school bus, then get into their car and race to the school in order to get pictures and video of their child getting off the school bus for the very first time. Is that a little silly? I was always content to line the kids up on the front porch.

The staggered start has been very confusing. Ralph, Ruby, Theo, and Hammy started Monday. Zhen, Hank and Chip started Tuesday. So we didn't have a line up on the porch moment at all!

Ralph and Ruby start early, 8:15am! We waited in the foyer until we were released to take our children to their rooms. Poor Ruby could hardly stand up due to the weight of her backpack.

She is leaning against the wall!

Ruby had red marks on her shoulders when she took the backpack off.

Ralph didn't need to be told what to do. He was off and running. He didn't even look back. The boy loves to learn. He's going to go places, I tell ya!

Theo in his life skills room. He arrived before everyone else, since I had to fill out his enrollment papers after dropping off Ruby and Ralph at preschool. the confusing transition from one school district to another over the summer, either his enrollment got lost or I messed it up somehow.

Theo must have been stressed out that morning because he was working his knuckle! In the many years he was left alone in a crib, Theo developed a habit of gnawing and working on his knuckle with his teeth. He used to have a thick yellow callous on that knuckle. It is softer now, but when he is stressed or bored, he falls back into that deeply ingrained habit.

Thank goodness his teacher had a chewy-tube all ready to go for him. Ahhhh! Something he can chew on without getting into trouble!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Recap the week

We survived a week full of meet-your-teacher nights, mandatory sports meetings, parties, elections, therapy and more! I'm looking forward to next week when school starts and we establish a new routine.

Theo helped me vote in the primary on Tuesday. The ladies at the desk gave him a sticker, too! We also hit three school meetings and national night out at the park that evening. Crazy!

Thursday was Zhen's last speech therapy session at Heartspring, since he is starting full day Kindergarten next week. Ralph will still have speech there, with the same SLP, but in the afternoon instead. Ruby is going to miss the waiting area/play room volunteer that always reads books with her. I got the boys dressed twinny and picked up a couple of flower bouquets for these special ladies. It was a great morning!

That night was meet your teacher for Theo and Hank. Theo was watching TV when it was time to go and completely fell apart when I put his shoes on and hauled him out of the house. He is impossible to carry if he doesn't want to be held! It is highly unusual for him to act this way. He was still bent out of shape when we got to the school so I took his shoes off. That helped a little. Disappointing.

On a brighter note, Theo's regular ed teacher had a desk all ready to go for him!! His name tag was taped on it and everything. He's a little small for the desk, so I think his teacher will try to lower the desk and find a smaller chair. He's in a self contained life skills classroom most of the day, but he will join the regular class at times. 

On top of all that craziness, I had set out some adoption paperwork goals for myself. We simply MUST move quickly to get Maxim home. He has some seemingly simple health issues that could become major problems if not addressed.

I accomplished my goals and more! I'm also working on a coed softball tournament fundraiser in September. After beating my head against the wall for a couple of days trying to find a venue, I located a suitable field and go the flyers made up. Full steam ahead!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Finally" Friday

Meet Maxim!

God willing he will become a member of the Nance family before the end of the year. More, much more, later.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

She said, "pancakes!"

Despite my very best efforts to keep her a little baby, my Baby Boo is growing up.

For starters, when I served her breakfast this morning, she said, "pancakes!!" 

I said, "What?! Don't you mean KUNG-cakes?" 

She said, "No, mom. It's PAN-cakes." Then she gave me the stink eye. I'm really going to miss her baby talk version of the word pancakes.

Secondly, she starts preschool on Monday morning. She is SO ready and I'll pulled really hard for her place in Ralph's preschool, but still...*sigh* She's my youngest and though I love the person she is becoming, I'm really going to miss the baby that she was.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hell week.

Today began "hell week" at our house. We are slammed with appointments, lessons, meetings, meet-your-teacher nights, therapies and early morning conditioning camps. Day one, Ralph, Zhen and Theo went to the orthotist.

Children with Down Syndrome have varying degrees of low muscle tone. This leads to pronation, where the ankle collapses inward and makes walking, running, climbing, all those joys of childhood, very difficult and tiring. In time, pronation can cause knee and hip problems, too.

If you ever see my little boys without shoes, check out their squishy ankles...

To hold their feet in alignment, my little boys with Down Syndrome wear SMO's, supra malleolar orthoses. They are custom fitted to each child's foot. And children grow. So we get them adjusted every three months or so, to avoid any sore spots. But, it's a long appointment.

I brought some cars...thank goodness they put us in the big room. Ralph went first. The orthotist took his shoes off and inspected his feet for red spots. He made a few notes in the chart and then disappeared into his workshop. He uses a heat gun to bend and stretch the plastic braces in just the right spots to fit a growing foot.

The orthotist disappears into his workshop, and we wait. And wait. Oh, look! A mirror! Little narcissist.

Then it's Zhen's turn. He has broken a strap off his braces so it takes a little longer to adjust. So we wait. And wait. Theo goes last. He can barely stand to have his feet touched without cracking up laughing!

We wait a little longer. We have long since lost interest in cars. Let's play ball.

I need to give a shout out to my awesome 12 year old son, who came along to help entertain the boys. He's a tender and sweet helper.

Almost done. Let's try some pull-ups!

In other news, Fred and Boo started school today. Aren't they so cute together? They were taking turns reading paragraphs in the science book. Aww!

On tap for tomorrow, 6:30am conditioning, Theo's new occupational therapy, and a mandatory high school sports parent meeting with a concurrent meet-your-teacher night at one of the elementary schools. How am I going to do that? Reading up on cloning tonight...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

It's here!

We got a big box in the mail the other day. Really big.

Inside, a styrofoam cooler with multiple layers of ice packs...

...all to protect the medication in that tiny little box.

I'm so pleased that Theo is restocked with two months worth of growth hormone injections. He really, really needs it. I'm so grateful that, with the assistance of a foundation, it is possible for him to have it.