Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Living with a dinosaur

  1. This might look like a boy, but  if that's what you guessed....
    you'd be wrong. 
    This is a dinosaur.

    Ever see those dinosaurs that have the middle "killing talon" on their feet? Raptors I believe are the ones who have these claws. Well, look who walks around with his toes like this. He even did this at his well child check up. The dr. asked him to remove his socks them stared kind of befuddled at my son's feet. I'm like, "Oh he thinks he's a dinosaur."

    His baby brother finds himself the "victim" of many raptor attacks. Not that little man can't take it. He's been known to find an equalizer and bash away at the bad dino the minute he isn't looking... or even when he is!

Notice the killing talon in action.
 *No toddlers were harmed in the making of this photo*

Here we have the dino in full out roaring stalk. He mimics a predatory dinosaur's stalking gait incredibly well.
So there you have it.  I am living with a dinosaur!


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Field Trip

Mariah and Wyatt go to the same preschool. They had a field trip to a local camp last week. This field trip included A LOT of walking! I thought it was a lot for typical 3 year olds, but Mariah did well even with her walker. It kind of made my heart hurt for her class to have such a physical outdoor field trip and no one thought about making accommodations for her. I guess we're in for a lifetime of figuring out ways for her to participate with other kids on trips like this. She so wants to be like everyone else and she had a lot of fun, but she told me how tired she was at the end of the day and said it was too much walking! I did call ahead of time to ask about the "hike" and was told that a stroller would NOT go on the trail. They were right; it would not have and even if we had a wheelchair, it would not have either. My husband took the day off to go with us since I was so worried about hauling 3 small children into a wooded trail, one who can't walk up a hill that's covered with sticks and tree roots. Its a good thing he did because he had to carry Mariah most of the way.

Here they are looking at pelts. The kids loved this and there was even a kangaroo pelt. Unfortunately, the pollen in the woods and the animal fur sent me into an allergic meltdown. I had to run back to the van for tissues with umm snot streaming down my face. I stopped and made use of some leaves a few times for fear of running into someone with my nose running to my chin. Fun right??

This is Mariah showing me the freshwater clams and asking if we could EAT them! Hahah!

This was a floating dock on a small pond. Mariah really wanted to walk all the way around it and she did :)

It was just a bit windy that day and the wind kept blowing our hair all over the place!

Stumbo Family Story

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Ditching the crutches

Mariah walks great inside.

Outside she falls a lot on uneven ground.
  So we had tried forearm crutches, but were not happy with how slow she walked and how bent over she was.  It was worse than the falling!

Mariah's new PT suggested a Kaye walker with all terrain tires for outside ONLY.  She loaned us a used one to try out and the consensus is that we LOVE it.  She's so much faster and more upright than with the crutches!  We will be ordering a custom one just for her on Friday with the all terrain tires so she can go even faster!  The only problem is, she can't decide if she wants to get a yellow one or keep the nice shiny style with red handles... 

Oh and LOOK!  She finally has enough hair for REAL ponytails!!
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mariah's new obsession

I had a pack of Ramen noodles left over from our emergency food supply for the winter.  I always want something on hand that can be cooked on our backup butane burner.  Well, little miss wanted to try them and ohhhhhh if they aren't the BEST thing she's ever had!  Yum yum!

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Well, who's tummy did I grow in?

That's the question Mariah asked me tonight. It turns out that she thought that she grew in MY tummy. How she had rationalized why she was in Ukraine in an orphanage for 4 years and 3 months, I don't know.

I guess it makes sense though. I was the first mama she ever knew. I was the only mama she ever knew. Her bio mom relinquished her parental rights when Mariah was a few weeks old.

Mariah said something tonight about WHEN she was in my tummy and I said, "Oh Mariah you didn't grow in MY tummy."

Well, who's tummy did I grown in?

I explained as simply as I could that she had a tummy mom in Ukraine and that's who's tummy she grew in. I asked if she wanted to see a picture of her? So we looked at her memory book that I made when she came home and for the first time we named the lady in the photos as "tummy mom."

"Where's my daddy?"

We looked at a few pictures of her bio dad.

"Did he take care of me?"

And that's when I started to tear up. Because he didn't. He couldn't. For so many reasons and one of them being that he chose not to. I don't fault them. The conditions, environment and society they live in was not a good place for a premature baby with cerebral palsy. But how does one explain that to a 5 year old?

We flipped through the book and looked at pictures of her little sisters that live with her bio parents.

"Did I sleep in THAT crib too?"
"Why not? Why didn't they put me there too?"

I explained as best as I could that she was born too soon, was very small, and very sick so she had to stay at the hospital for a long time and then go to her grouppa where they could take very good care of her. Her mama and daddy in Ukraine couldn't take care of her like they wanted to so they made sure someone else could.

"Where were you, mom?"

I was here. God told me about you when you were bigger. He told me that I needed to come find you and bring you home and I came as fast as I could.

"But I was sad in my tummy mom's belly in Ukraine. I missed you. I wanted you."

I'm sorry I couldn't come sooner. I came as fast as I could...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Don't touch me

Because Mariah has CP, she walks differently than other kids. Sometimes she crawls upstairs or goes slowly down. Sometimes she falls down. Ok, she falls a lot. Some of it is from CP, and some of it is on purpose as part of her control issues.

Being a special needs parent of an adopted kiddo makes me feel like I have a bulls eye on my back. I feel like people are always staring at us. I am an introvert. I like to be a wallflower so this makes me feel extra uncomfortable.

One of the biggest issues I have is with people always trying to "help" Mariah do things. They see her doing things more slowly, or differently and they assume she needs "help."

Many times people will rush over to "help" her and will act like I'm not even standing there. They will ask HER if she needs help. To her credit, most of the time she says "No." BUT she has struggled with indiscriminate affection so many times she will very gladly accept the "help" of a stranger and let someone pick her up.

This is not ok. Ever.

So many of her control issues and attachment issues stem from her early life at the orphanage where she was carried everywhere. She was never allowed to crawl about and play on the floor or encouraged to do things for herself.

This led her to feel like she should NOT have to do things and sometimes she will pretend that she cannot do things that she really can, just to see if she can get someone to do it for her. Its not about how hard the task is or isn't. Its about control.

So, when someone comes over and usurps my authority as mommy to my child who has both attachment and control issues, it makes my blood pressure rise. ALOT.

People also think its ok to hug her or pat her head or back or leg, or ask for a kiss, etc because she is "So cute."

I can tell people to back off, but no matter how I say it, if they asked HER first, I look like the bad guy.

So today I taught Mariah what she should say when someone who is not a family member comes over and touches her in any way. She knows that we don't hug people who are not our family. We do not tell people who are not our family that we love them. We do not ever agree to go to people's houses with them (yes people will say "Want to come home with me?"). We do not put our hands all over another person's body for any reason if they are not part of our family.

We role played me being someone who is NOT family and practiced having her say, "Don't touch me! You're not my family!"

I certainly hope this does the trick.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Under Construction

Yes. My blog is a mess.

I thought I'd be cool and find a new super cute template.

Well... it messed up my blog.

So I fooled with it and found another template.

Eh... we're still under construction.

I need someone to just make me a custom template. I don't have time!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Change of hosting plans

As is so typical of Ukraine, plans have changed.  We can't host Zhenya because he was adopted!  Great news for him and his siblings :) 

So, we decided to choose another little boy to host this summer:  Vlad.

Vlad is actually younger than Wes by a few months and Mariah is only 7 months younger than Wes so I will have three kids within 7 months of each other under one roof. Yipes!

I can't wait to see the looks people are gonna give me with 4 little kids in tow this summer.

So while I'm on the subject of looks and comments...

A few of my favorite lines are: "Are you their sister?"  Sure am.

"You don't look old enough to have that many kids."  Thanks. I have great eye cream.

"Can I talk to your mom?"  Sure buddy, her house is *that* way. This one is mine.

"Are they all yours?"  Nope, they just keep following me around.

"How do you stay so skinny?"  Do you see how fast they are?  I have to be faster.

Ok ok,  in all honesty, I really cannot wait to meet Vlad

If you want to help us with our hosting fees, here's a link to our fundraising site. You can purchase flowers that will be shipped directly to your door and 50% of the proceeds get donated back to us for Vlad's hosting expenses.
Click here to view our fundraising site.

How to eat a cheez puff

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We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson