Wednesday, July 24, 2013

my yellow bird.

It's surreal to think about how Ossi behaved back then.

He is still highly frustrated, but it has become entirely outside the norm for him to try something verbally or physically abusive to get his way. No more "I hate you, mom"s or "I'm going to kill you all"s. And no more extreme threats to the safety of others.

Mostly he just bawls to indicate he's hit the frustration wall. He'll push his brothers from time to time but it's different from before. Before I caught him doing things like trying to suffocate his brother with an emergency blanket.

He's basically become a regular kid. Only a little more likely to be stumped in social situations.
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Our big sisters from China love the kids. They have noticed that Ossi is a little different from the others. One girl drew a picture of the boys and while Liam and Finn were smiling widely, Ossi's face was scowling.

It makes me a little sad to know that other people will continue to see him that way. It makes me a little sad to know that he's frowning often enough to make that impression. But the fact that we can even safely take in foreign exchange students is a clear sign of dramatic improvement.
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A couple of nights ago we gathered our family for what we call "Family Home Evening." It is a special meeting we hold as a family every Monday night when we sing together, pray together, and teach one another, sparking some of the greatest discussions.

Ossi spoke up, telling us he'd like to teach us something. He hid under his blanket while he composed his thoughts. Emerging from his hiding spot, "Angels are important people who have once lived on the Earth," he said. "They are like missionaries and they share important messages to people. I want to be an Angel someday." And he popped back under the blanket.
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That is one, sweet kid. He went on to teach us for a very long time, peeking his head out to tell us many things he believes about spirits and the nature of God.

Ossi has always had an incredible sense of spirituality. Maybe that's why he has so many obstacles to overcome. Heavenly Father is slowing him down so that the rest of us can keep up.
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Like I said before, the change has been so phenomenal that I can hardly believe my own memory of what he did during the peak of his behavioral struggles.

When I opened this surprise gift from a loving friend I sighed a happy sigh. My yellow bird.

It was cathartic to see Ossi gingerly hold the frame and tell me it was perfect.
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Thank you everyone who has been thoughtful of our family during this last year of great turmoil and unrest.

Thank you for sending me messages of encouragement and fellowship. Thank you for sharing your similar experience with advice or questions giving me hope and purpose.

Thank you those who are near him for changing your diets to match his and for learning new approaches to communicating with him.

Thank you all for standing by Ossi and loving him even during his worst moments. And by me in mine.

Monday, July 22, 2013

you are my...

you are my mission.
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you are my story unfolding.
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you are my greatest adventure.
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when we were first married matt did all of the driving because i was terrified of traffic.

now that i've been running people here and there for so many years i am actually starting to love it.

it's weird though, because i often feel guilty for using the car.

maybe because gas is so expensive. maybe because we could be getting some good exercise walking.
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guilt and pleasure so often come as a package deal, don't they?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cinry and Amanda

the most remarkable things are happening in our home.

most of the blessing are coming in the form of laughter. these girls are always smiling.
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i believe their culture contributes to their character, for sure. for example, they are very respectful and focused. but also, they have completely human tendencies. i love that! it makes me feel like we all fit together in this world.

i love that i have to wake them up five times every morning like any american teenager.

it has been an eyeopener to hear from them about their lives in China. they each have very different perspectives on their lives there and i have come to realize that their happiness has less to do with their country's culture and more to do with their family lives.
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Cinry is one-of-a-kind. she has a child's heart. she spends most of her spare time jumping on the trampoline with the boys. she will try any new food and is excited about every new experience. there is a passion inside her that seems to be growing since her arrival. she has shared quite a lot with me about her home life and her dreams for the future. i feel very special to have had her confide so much in me.
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Amanda is very sweet, and has a calm spirit. she is reserved and content. she loves the children and our cat and she takes pictures of everything, just like me. she is hesitant to try new foods and games but she summons courage and overcomes her misgivings every time. i admire her for her peacefulness and kindness.
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Cinry and Amanda have complimentary personalities and have created a happy balance in our home of playfulness and peace. our children have had more attention in the last few days than they could ever dream of, and for that i am incredibly thankful.
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what a blessing!

Monday, July 15, 2013


evy has incredible eyebrows.

i think that's why she doesn't really talk yet.
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any time she needs to say anything she just uses her eyebrows.
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her only words are, "mama, dad, os {ossi}, dis {this}, owie, me" and "woof." can we count the gargling noise she makes to mean "cat?"

oh, i forgot her favorite! "NO!" she uses that word a lot.

and for everything else she uses those fabulous eyebrows. or her brothers.

"evy wants a drink of milk," they say.
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how her minions always know exactly what she wants, i'm unsure.

maybe they speak fluent eyebrow.