Sunday, September 21, 2008

Another post-placement done!

Can you believe we have just completed post-placement number 2! I don't know where the last 3 months has gone. Tiffany was gone for 6 weeks this summer so we had a lot of one on one time with Brian. He has grown so much more comfortable with our family. I think him having all the attention for a few weeks really helped. He did miss Tiffany though. He would often ask when she was coming back. We actually went to pick her up in West Virginia. Brian did great with meeting the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. He wasn't shy one bit. He talked to them on the phone often so he recognized who they were by their voices and of course the pictures we had been showing him. Brian did great traveling in a car for 2 days up to West Virginia and then another day up to Pennsylvania. Coming back was a little different. Tiffany was with us and he didn't have the back seat all to himself. He also got carsick several times but luckily was able to tell us so we could pull over. We now carry plastic bags in the car for traveling over 30 minutes!

We believe Brian still has not yet gotten comfortable knowing that he will have food the next day. He tends to eat alot still. We will finish up a meal and about 30 minutes later, he wants to eat again. He also always wants to have something to drink. We just took him for his 6 month check up. The peditrician tested him for juvenile diabetes but thankfully that came back negative. She said he is just a growing boy. He is healthy and seems to be progessing normally. Brian is still wetting the bed though. He goes through spurts where he will be dry for a week and then all of a sudden wet the bed again for several days. The doc gave us some info on bedwetting alarms and they also gave us some medicine. We are only going to give him the medicine if he sleeps somewhere other than at home. I would rather wake up every morning at 2 a.m. and take him to the bathroom than put him on medicine. We will see what works best.

Brian has started to talk about his life in Colombia. His first outing was at home in West Virginia. We were all sitting around the fireplace with the lights out just enjoying each others company. All of a sudden, Brian starts talking about a scary time in Colombia in the dark with a man and a knife. We were shocked. We didn't get any information on Brian except that his mother neglected him. We were also told that the father wasn't in the picture. I am happy that he feels comfortable enough to share his thoughts with us. Not everything he tells us is bad. He did say his room had only a bed and no toys and a little bit of clothes but that he missed his room. He also has asked if his mother would be coming to Texas to see him. He also will occassionally mention his brother but has not talked about his sisters. We take each situation as they come. He isn't showing any signs of anger, resentment or withdrawl so for right now, we just listen. There may be a point in time that he may need a psychologist to talk to and we will certainly get him any help he may need. As for everything else, we are doing great.

Tiffany started 7th grade and Brian started 1st grade. Tiff is having a hard time adjusting to 7th grade though. Everything is not spoon fed like it has been and she actually has to take her own notes and be responsible for knowing when tests are and homework is due. It is a bit of a change from 6th grade. Brian is doing great. He has learning many words in English. Sometimes it is still hard to understand what he is saying but we work through it. I am very proud of both my kids.

Here is Brian on his first day of 1st grade. He was ready 30 minutes before we had to leave and kept telling me to come on that I was too slow. He was really excited to get to see his friends again.
Brian is playing soccer. He is on the Earthquakes. Learning to play as a team has turned out to be the hardest thing for him. Actually, all the kids are having this issue. They all want to kick it in the goal. Their coach is doing great with teaching them how to pass though.
Can you tell who the family clown is? We always have to take several pictures before getting one that is "good." Brian thinks it's funny to make faces or pick on his sister when taking pictures. We were trying to get this pic for our last post-placement and he was making sure it wasn't going to happen.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Where has the time gone?

I can't believe I haven't updated in so long. Time sure is flying by. We have had several things happen since my last blog. Things are going great! Here are some pictures of things that have happened since the adoption was finalized in Texas.
Brian graduated from kindergarden. He is going to first grade. YEAH! He will be one year behind but they said if he catches up, they will move him ahead.

My mom and niece came to visit from Pennsylvania. Brian hugged my mom right away. He has talked to her on the phone several times so he was really excited for her to come. He would cross off the days on the calendar. They were here for 12 days. Tiffany when back with them for 2 weeks and then she is going to West Virginia for 11 days before we head up to get her. We are going to be driving 17 hrs to get there. Hope Brian does okay. He has gotten car sick a couple of times since we have been in the states. I guess we will take lots of garbage bags!

For Father's Day, John wanted to go to the waterpark. Brian loves the water. Now he doesn't want to stay in the kiddie area anymore because as he said "THat is for babies!" We did manage to get him to play a little while in the kiddie area so we could take a break.

I finally gave in to John. He wanted to get a pool for the backyard. I wanted one but they are not allowed in our housing area. The housing area has a pool but it is not opened yet. THey are hoping to have it open by 4th of July. Several other families have gotten one and the kids would just stare at them swimming. At least if the tell us we have to take it down, by now, we have definitely gotten our monies worth. The kids were in it almost everyday for the past month.

The only other thing that has really gone on lately is that we have finished our 1st post placement. I just have to get the pictures together and wait for a copy to get back from the Sec of State and that will done for another 3 months. It was a pretty short visit. Brian was great and answered her questions. Tiffany told her how she loved having a brother but that he does annoy her sometimes. It was a bit funny the way she said it. Well, I guess that is all for now. Brian is wanting to go to the park so I guess I should get going. He is a bit lonely without Tiffany here so John and I are trying to keep him busy.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Brian is Officially BRIAN ARLEY MIDDAUGH!

Introducing Brian Arley Middaugh! It is official. As of 0800 on May 21st, 2008, Brian is now officially adopted in the United States.
Here we are waiting for the certified copies of the final adoption decree. We left Wichita Falls at 0500 yesterday morning to head to Fort Worth so we could meet our lawyer at 0745. We made it in an hour and 45 minutes so we had a few minutes to spare. We met with the lawyer and she went over what to expect in the court room. We were the first case! The judge called us up to the bench and had Brian sit up on the front ledge so he could see him. We were all sworn in and then asked a few questions. Brian just smiled. You could tell he had no idea what was going on. He just answered yes when asked if having us as parents was in his best interest. The judge was so nice. I couldn't help but cry when they were asking us questions. I was so happy. We were back on the road by 0830. We stopped for some breakfast and were home by 1100. I wrote up a note to get Tiffany back in school.
We were originally planning on doing something in Dallas after the hearing but something better came up. Tiffany was going to be receiving an award at school. We had to have her back to school by 1:25. I am so proud of my little girl. She received an award for Student of the Month, Honor Roll for the first 3 marking periods and a Math award. I cried when I heard the math award. You see, last year, Tiffany had a lot of difficulty with math. SHe had to go to summer school for extra help. She is much more confident with her school work this year and I couldn't be prouder!!!!! She should get one more award when school is done and that is honor roll for the 4th marking period. They had to wait for school to end before saying who received that. School doesn't end until June 5th. Here is one of the pics of Tiffany getting her award!

I have to tell this story. Throughout the years, we have given Tiffany different nicknames. SHe has been called pumpkin, tiffbug, peanut, princess and boo. Our latest name for her has been Boo Bear. We have probably been calling her that for 3 years now. Well, Brian had his own take on it. At first, he was calling Tiffany, "Tiffa" but now, he has decided to call her Boo Berries. It is so cute especially with his spanish accent. Tiffany says she is embarrassed and doesn't want him to call her that but when you look at her, she just has this big smile across her face. It is like she doesn't want to admit that she likes the fact that her brother has a nickname for her. We told her to come up with a nickname for him and she wanted to call him "Melon Head" because his head is big. We told her she had to be nice so she is working on his nickname.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Another 2 weeks gone by!

For Mother's Day, we went to the Dallas Zoo!Brian loves getting his picture taken.
Here is my beautiful Tiffany. She is doing better at being a big sister!
Brian had cowboy day at school. We almost bought him the holster with the guns but then realized that probably wouldn't be a good idea to take them to school.
He insisted on having his picture taken this way. Toooo cute!

You know, I made a promise to myself that I would update on here at least once a week and I didn't think it would be that hard. Well, it is. WIth going back to work and taking care of 2 kids now, having spare time is a rarity. As for what has gone on in those 2 weeks, let me see... On Mother's Day, the kids and John took me to Dallas to go to the zoo and eat at one of my favorit restaurants (Macaroni Grill). We had an awesome time. I had told John what I wanted for Mother's Day and for once, he actually heard me. I really wanted to get away and do something special with just the 4 of us. A lot of other mothers must have had the same idea because the zoo was packed. It was a beautiful day and I couldn't have asked for better.

Brian is doing great in school. He came home with green on his calendar all this week! He has started learning the days of the week and will ask if he has school on that day. His teacher suggested he go to summer school but unfortunately, they don't start that until July 24th and we will be gone for at least 2 of those weeks. We promised we would work hard with him this summer. We did talk to the Sylvia Learning Center but they said they couldn't really help him. THey said it doesn't sound like he has a learning disablility. I was happy to hear them say he didn't have a learning disablility but I was also hoping they could still help him. That is when they told me they don't have a Spanish teacher. Brian doens't need to learn SPanish! John and I I will continue working with him like we are and several people have said they would tutor him so we make take someone up on their offer.

Thursday, we got a wonderful letter from Tiffany's school. SHe is getting an award! They haven't said what it is for. We have to wait until the ceremony. I am so proud of her. Hopefully, we will make it back from Dallas in time. The ceremony is May 21st! The same day we do Brian's readoption so Tiffany wasn't going to be in school that day. We have to be at court at 0745 and the ceremony is at 1:30. Our problem is the hearing and her school are 2 hours apart. Please pray that we make it to her ceremony on time!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

One month down, many more to come!

Here we are, one month since bringing Brian home and things couldn't be going better. Brian has made great progress with adjusting to life with us as we have with him. I can't even remember what it was like without him. I am so proud of him. He really wants to learn English. Everyday, he asks to do his ABC's and we work on his numbers. He can almost count to forty with only a few mistakes. His teacher said he is doing better in school although he came home with yellow on his calandar for the day on Friday. He was talking. If that is all that he gets in trouble for then I will be happy. We did take his bike away from him for the day though so that he can learn that he has to follow the rules in school.

We have some wonderful friends here in Texas. First, let me start with my (Patty's) friends at work. They are awesome. I went back to work on Monday and they had planned a lunch. It was international foods and it was great. Of course, I over ate but I couldn't help it. Well, as I was sitting down eating my lunch, they whole staff came in and gave me a card and a big truck for Brian. As if that wasn't enough, the back of the truck was full of money! Brian had a great time with the money and the truck. They also gave Tiffany a gift so she wouldn't be left out. I work with a great group of people!

John works with a great bunch of people too! They had a welcome home Brian get together. We had cake and icecream. Brian ate 2 pieces of cake and I think he had a third helping of icecream. He loves sweets!!!!!!! No that is not all that we feed him but I think if it was his choice, he would eat icecream and chocolate for every meal. Here is the cake they had for us.

Along with the cake, they gave us a card from the whole staff. In it were some gift cards for Brian. Well, we decided we would take him to ToysR'Us and he could get what ever he wanted (to an extent). He had a blast. I think he was a bit over whelmed but he had a blast. Here is a picture of what he bought. Thanks to all of you at the Chapel!

Just a warning! Don't buy the markers that are made for kids and the bathtub. Brian had an awesome time making this artwork. Mommy and daddy had a terrible time getting it off the wall. We even used bleach to get it off and there are still signs that someone had fun in the tub. I guess we will just have to keep scrubbing it and maybe it will eventually come off!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

3 weeks home!

The buffalo were only about 20 feet away running by like we weren't even there.

I actually climbed to the top of the rocks! It was beautiful!

This was Brian's favorite part. He loved walking in the water once we convinced him it was okay to wear his sneakers in the water.
I can't believe 3 weeks has gone by already. It feels like we just got home a few days ago. Things are going good. Brian is on his 5th day of school. He has a hard time getting up in the morning but if you wake him up by playing with him, he is fine. His favorite thing to eat for breakfast is rice with butter, sugar and milk. We let him pick what he wants for lunch as long as it has a main meal and fruit or vegetable. He loves jelly sandwiches but no peanut butter. Tiffany eats only peanut butter sandwiches with no jelly. Every day, Brian asks to have pizza for dinner. Of course, we have to tell him no but he tries.
This past weekend, we went hiking in the Wichita Mountains. We had a picnic. It was beautiful. The buffalo roam freely there and while we were eating, a bunch of buffalo came running by. There were only about 20 feet away from us. It was amazing. They definitely are used to humans being around because they just ran on by like we weren't even there. On our way back down the mountains, Tiff jumped off some rocks and twisted her ankle. Daddy had to carry her about 3/4 of a mile on his shoulders down the mountain because she couldn't walk on it. We had to take her to the ER the next day to get x-rays and they said she sprained it. She was on crutches for 3 days and is doing okay now.
Well, I am not convinced putting Brian with a teacher just because she speaks spanish was the best thing to do. For the past 4 days, when I picked Brian up, I asked how he did. Well, yesterday, she said since he is so far behind, she had him do something else well the other kids worked on phonics. She said she didn't think he could spell words with the sh sound and then walked away from me. I felt like it was too much of a bother for her. It looks like we are going to have to have a meeting with the school. We were also told the ESL teacher would call us to discuss what we need to do and that was 2 weeks ago and nothing yet. We get the feeling that they feel since it is so close to school ending why bother to teach him anything now. We are working with him in the evenings with sight words and the alphabet but after being in school for 8 hours, he really doesn't want to do it again at night. I honestly wouldn't want to either but we have explained to him that he has to learn his alphabet. I think I am going to get the Hooked on Phonics computer program to help him. He loves using the computer and that might get him more motivated. We will have all summer to work with him so he will be ready for 1st grade in the fall.

Friday, April 18, 2008

First day of school!

Brian walking to school on his first day of kindergarden.
Brian couldn't wait to go to school. He was waiting outside for me to hurry up so he could get there.
Yesterday was Brian's first day of school and it was a success (at least for Brian, not mommy)! John woke Brian up yesterday morning and the first thing he said was "School today?" I didn't think enough time passed for the chicken pox to heal but John insisted we let him go. On the way to school, I kept telling John that we needed a note from the doctor saying he could go back. John of course said no we didn't. When we got to the school, we took him in the front office to say he was here and to see the nurse. She said he was fine to start. John thinks I was hoping she would say we needed a doctors note and that he couldn't go today. Maybe he was right.
The kindergarden classes eat lunch at 1040 so I told the teacher we would be back then.
Boy, 2 and a half hours sure went by reallllllllllllllllllllly slow. I kept looking at my watch. I was thinking that Brian would be missing us. When we got there for lunch, he acted all embarrassed that we were there. Of course, we were the only parents there so I guess that is why. John told him we would leave and he just said "Bye-bye!" I was heart broken but at the same time happy to see that he was just fine. We stopped by to ask the teacher how he was doing and she said he started to get a little restless but with her help, he did his work. Every morning, they put their stuff up and them get a blank piece of paper. On this paper, they have to write the sentence that is on the board and then color the sheet. We are not sure what he did the rest of the day but it must have been fun because Brian couldn't wait to get to school today.
Before school today, we had his follow up doctor's appt. All his lab work came back okay except for one thing. Something about possible allergies. They want to recheck that blood work in a few months and see if it has cleared or if he will need to be allergy tested. He now can get his last 2 shots and his immunizations will be up to date. Since he has started school, he shots have to be current so we couldn't help to get them already.
On another note, we have started the readoption process already. We filled out the paperwork yesterday. Since Texas doesn't require a 6 month wait since Brian is already legally adopted we have decided to do the readoptin here rather than our home state of West Virginia. John and I are both residents of West Virginia but are in Texas due to a military assignment. We had the choice of either state. John really wanted him to have a WV birth certificate but once we weighed the pros and cons, it would be cheaper and easier just to do it here. Also, by doing it now, Brian's name will be legally changed by the time he starts 1st grade and there won't be any problem with using Brian rather than German. Everybody who sees his name has pronounced it just like it is spelled so he doesn't respond to that since his birth name is actually pronounced Hermahn in Colombia. Oh, by the way, my little boy is now writing his first name by himself!!!!!! He is learning so fast and I am so proud of him.
Tiffany is doing much better too. She is started to feel more relaxed with him and acting more like a sister rather than a mother figure. Tiffany is also doing really great in school and I am so proud of her.