In the beginning, JD adamantly only wanted two children. I thought that four would be perfect. Once we caught God's vision of putting orphans into families, our plan was multiplied by God. We are currently blessed with 12 children; five biological, six adopted and one more waiting in Ethiopia. Our first adoption was from the U.S., the next three were from Liberia, West Africa, and our last two were from Ethiopia. We are supporting our 12th child in Ethiopia after her adoption could not pass court.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Neck Doctor"

We headed out bright and early this morning to the ortho. doctor that I've seen for six years. We took along a copy of my MRI (and Julia...and Elijah.) The good news is that my MRI looked better than the x-rays had left him expecting. He is not recommending surgery at this point and just wants me to start using my brand new, home, neck-traction machine. Good times, indeed, but a lot better than surgery.

I do have degenerate disks and I also have some bone spurs, but nothing that is at a crisis level, at least for now. I'm excited to be able to focus on more exciting things, even if I'm doing it while I rest on an ice-pack.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Adoption Update

I'm still waiting to see what Ethiopia's MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs) decides about the future of the adoption program there. It appears that the current rate is five cases per day instead of the previous thirty. At that rate, it will take about two years to process the children that have already been matched with families and few places will be jumping on the idea of starting adoptions beyond that. After watching several families lose all the money that they put into Liberian adoptions and never bring their children home, I'm rather diismayed to see several similarites in the current Ethiopia situation.

Today I received an email from a large adoption agency that does Ethiopia and Uganda. The lady stated that she didn't think Uganda would be a good country for us due to the number of children that we currently have (if I had a dollar for every time I've been told that!!!) Apparently, they have one family that has seven children and are having a pretty rough time getting through court. I guess God is answering our prayer to make His will concerning adoption clear. This "door-slamming" happened to us several times before Liberia opened in 2006 as well, so we will plug on until we are sure of the direction He has for us.

In the meantime, there are kids around here to pay attention to. This is Elijah's friend, Summer. On occasion he calls her "my baby, Summer." I think he's a bit confused since we've often spoke of getting him a baby someday.

They were parked on the counter to help confine the stickiness caused by the cantaloupe dripping off their chins.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Our bedtime routine involves group prayer in the living room each night. This was the picture I took last night of three kids with three pets.

Julia sleeps on a loft bed. Every night she hauls Gus up the ladder to bed with her; the amazing thing is that he generally just lays down and stays with her. He really helps make bed-time less traumatic for Julia.

Bad picture (with the shadow), but such a good kitty.

Good night.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Venom For A Deal

I've always been a CVS deal shopper, but even more now that Alei works there. Their prices are way high, but they offer Extra Bucks deals that are quite fabulous each week. Often the item is free once you get your extra bucks, which was the deal last week for this - It's a homeopathic pain reducer that lists necks and backs on the box. The tiny spray bottle is normally $18.99, but was free after EB, so I bought one. It tastes pretty bad, but Alei has decided to dedicate herself to making sure that I use it four times a day as per instructions. So, after days of using it, I finally took a moment to read the ingredient list and the primary ingredient is COBRA VENOM. JD then pointed out that it is called COBROxin; wow, I didn't even make that connection! In case you're wondering, I'm still using it; I didn't die the first several days, so now we'll just see if it works at all.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday High-lights

I spent the entire morning corn-rowing Julia's hair. Later in the day, I observed embedded dirt and asked her what happened. She replied, "Tori threw dirt in my hair." Oh well, it's staying a minimum of two weeks either way!
JD started another one of our building projects. We are installing three solar panels on the roof that should provide all the hot water our home needs. In case you are wondering, these enormous solar panels have taken up a good chunk of unfinished basement floor room since we moved in. Right now, we are using an instant demand hot water heater, so we should see a nice reduction in our monthly electricity bill as soon as they are up and running.
And, here's my new excitement (other than my fruit trees.) This is our first roto-tiller, kind of a necessity when you are trying to become a "real" gardener. I think it reveals something about me that my greatest material wish of lately is a tiller; I'm equally excited that my husband will till my every desired planting spot, since I'm subjected to the neck I have at the moment.

I did not lay grass-seed today, since they are calling for snow tonight and tomorrow (how annoying towards the end of March in Virginia.) We also did not plant our fruit trees since we are working on securing a truck-load of horse manure to plant them with. I guess we'll be out there as soon as the snow thaws.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

MRI and Gardening

This morning was my MRI; we turned into more fun than that and went to Tractor Supply for grass seed and a new spreader and Lowe's for fruit trees. We got four apple trees, two Granny Smith and two Gala, two peach trees and two pecan trees. I have also designated space for two pear trees, but Lowe's was out of them. Rumor is that Wal-Mart has them, so we'll buy them there if we still have any energy after planting these. It isn't really that tough with the back-hoe compared to the lady we met in Lowe's who's husband was hand digging them; they are pretty big root balls!

Tomorrow is supposed to be clear, so it is possible that I'll be riding around and around in circles spreading grass seed for the 5th or 6th year in a row. In the beginning, we spread with a spreader pulled by the 4-wheeler. Last year, I did it with the push spreader since the 4-wheeler was broken. This year, we are pulling a new spreader with the riding mower. Every year I hope that this will be our banner grass growing year! I also have to clip all the guinea's wings and attempt to keep them in the chicken fence for a while since they will just eat all the fresh grass-seed before it has a moment to grow. They actually recently stuffed themselves in the left-over grass seed bag in the barn and ate 25 pounds of grass seed!

Here's proof that I actually was in D.C. with JD and the kids last weekend -

It's supposed to dip into the 20's tonight - not exactly the spring weather that we were blessed with in D.C. last week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Attachment Insight

I think I may need to go back to school and get a psychology degree just to get through the next several years of parenting. Unfortunately, I'm dealing with too many "specialties" to have time to become an expert in all of them! Julia is on a five week waiting list for the only therapist any where near where we live that actually files insurance. Here's the big doozy that no one ever tells you when you are adopting internationally - it seems that 95% of therapists for children suffering from attachment challenges, etc, will only bill Medicaid. It seems that they all have more work than they can handle just treating previous foster children and since the state funds those children with Medicaid, they just don't even have an avenue to bill private insurances. The good news is that I found this one psychologist that works with young children that will bill our insurance and we have hope in having a few of our many questions answered.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Guess Who Went?

In the end, we took two little people on our weekend away to D.C. We decided a few weeks ago that I would probably bring Elijah since JD would have already been gone for five days, and as he said, "Dad misses me; Dad wants to see me!" By about Wednesday, it was decided for sure that he was coming since he was constantly asking for his Daddy to come home. Then, there was all the Julia drama and we decided that it would be too traumatic to leave her behind as well. I'm really glad we took them; it was still a very nice and peaceful weekend away. The nice thing is that the kids that stayed home would have prefered to stay home with Aunt Deb than be drug from monument to monument. This morning Julia kind of realized that she missed the Aunt Deb time that she could have had and told me that next time, she wants to stay home with Aunt Deb. We'll see, Julia, we'll see!

After paying $11 an hour to park on Friday evening, we decided to take public transportation. On Saturday morning, we took the hotel shuttle to the metro, the metro to the spot that it shut down for repair, a bus around the construction area, another metro into D.C., switched line colors and then headed to the zoo. All together, the travel still took almost two full hours! There is really just no quick way to get around D.C. (or New York city!) Of course, we had to reverse all that to get back in the evening.

Julia and Elijah were train riding pros by the end of the first day! There were several times that we boarded packed trains and didn't have seats. There was one especially crowded ride that I had to hold a folded stroller with one hand and the pole with the other, Julia held the pole herself and little Elijah just held on to my leg for dear life. If you are wondering, there were always able bodied men sitting in seats watching the kids and not once did one ever offer their seat to me or the kids. I'm afraid chivalry in the District of Colombia is a thing of the distant path. (There was one man on the first bus that did offer me his seat; I had no idea at that point how rare that would be.)

Julia and Elijah got along so well and really enjoyed each others company. I don't think the "normal" family realizes how easy it is to just juggle two kids. We had several people comment how bad they felt for us with the kids and the strollers up and down the escalators and on and off the trains, (we had to unload and fold them each time.) We usually didn't tell them that this was our idea of a peaceful break!

Look at Julia holding Elijah's hand while we waited for the train.

While we saw tons of stuff, the high-light for the kids was the D.C. Zoo. It was perfect weather and while we had been there a year ago, they didn't remember much. When we told Elijah that we were going to the zoo, he jumped up and down and yelled, "that's a good idea!"

Here's Elijah leaving the zoo; he held in there until we saw the last animal - the kamodo dragon. While Elijah was completely enamoured with it, Julia broke the bad news to him that it didn't have wings, so she didn't think it could fly. He didn't care, he's still asking to go back and see the "modo" dragon.

As I'm finishing typing this, Elijah is standing by asking to please do back to the zoo now. I realize how my greatest joy comes from watching them do things more than doing things myself.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Sometimes, often-times lately, I feel so beat down by different circumstances in life. It gets exhausting at times to just try to get through that day. Even more overwhelming is the realization at times that no matter what I do, different situations with different children, do not seem to improve.

Alei just finished a book, entitled Trust by Lydia Brownback, from her College Plus advisor. I just started reading it and this was in the introduction -

"Some of us don't realize that we are trying to pull the wrong yoke. We reach toward dreams and goals designed to further God's kingdom and to bring blessing, and our prayer requests are for good things. But how do we react when things don't go according to plan? If, when our plans don't work out or our prayers aren't answered in the way or time we think best, we get frustrated and impatient and worried and fearful, that's a tip-off that something is off-kilter. All wrong views about God result in anxieties and fears about life.The health of our vertical relationship - our relationship with God - will always determine the health of our horizontal relationships - those we have with people, with life, and with ourselves. So the first thing to get straight is our view of God.

Since God overarches everything, we must view our lives and everything that happens to us through that lens. But we often don't. Instead we allow our circumstances to shape our view of God...Sometimes when we cry out in our pain, asking God to make himself known, we can't find him. He seems faraway and distant, and we conclude that he just isn't as good and kind and powerful as we had thought. Our weak faith is shaken, and we wind up distancing ourselves from God, because our own means of comfort and the people who love us seem safer."

We thought we'd been relying on God, but the truth is, we'd actually been relying on our idea of God and on what we were hoping God would do for us to make our lives happier. What we don't see is that disappointments and other difficulties that seem to threaten our faith are really blessings in disguise. They are designed by God to draw us closer to him, to enable us to see him as he really is, and to dispel our misconceptions about him and our wrong understanding of what it means to be a Christian."

I have so much to learn...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Back

It's really not accurate when I refer to my back issues, because in reality it is all my neck. The pain shoots down my back, but is doesn't appear to actually be a back issue. Long before my blog writing days, I've had neck issues. Looking back, I realize that I herniated the disk way back around 2004; although I didn't pursue medical care for it. I don't know why I didn't; I was in horrible, horrible pain for months and could barely function. That is when I started going to the chiropractor regularly. My documented disk herniation was in 2006, when we were working on Tori's adoption; it was so severe that I didn't do anything for a full month.

I have lived in constant fear of another episode like 2004 or 2006. Since I've had three "flare ups" in the last year, I went back to the ortho. doctor that I've seen since 2006. He did new x-rays to compare the disk to my x-rays from five years ago, and sure enough, the disk is not holding up. He basically said there wasn't anything that he could do other than surgically fuse that spot. Even more alarming to me than that, is that I have three other disks in my neck that are at risk of herniation. I'm going for a new MRI next week, so he can predict how close they are to rupturing.

Needless to say, I've found this whole chain of events pretty depressing. At this point, I have booked a consultation at a laser surgery center in early April. I don't know if my neck is eligible for laser surgery, but it is a far less invasive procedure and doesn't require near as long to be back on my feet.

Although there is never good timing for all of this, it's really leaving some things hanging out there - of course, the new adoption plans, enrolling my kids and/or teaching at Classical Conversations, even knowing how much child care help I can offer to the mom that spent last weekend at our house. So much is balancing on my neck at the moment, but I'm assuming God knew that when he presented all these other "opportunities."

Since you don't want to see pictures of my neck, I'll show the three hour play-dough fest we had yesterday around the kitchen table. I sure don't mind the mess when it entertains so many kids for so long!

Here are the play-dough food creations; the chocolate do-nut looked good enough to eat.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Back to Normal?

I thought I'd say that we are back to normal around here, but I'm not sure that you could ever actually label us as normal.

We are, however, back to everyone sleeping in the correct bed, other than Julia. JD had to leave on travel for the week and that is always enough to throw Julia into the depths of despair at bedtime. I thought that I would help her out and let her have a turn sleeping on the inflatable bed that was set up on Alyssa's floor. She was so tired at 8:00 p.m. that I got her into bed. I tried everything! By 11:00, she had been in the inflatable bed, her bed, my bed and the couch. She had also ripped all the sheets off of several beds and was still screaming. At times like this, I know we are dealing with way more than just strong will. In spite of her passing the attachment testing in Charlottesville last year, my gut tells me that she is suffering from attachment challenges! Today I called two closer places to at least have an evaluation done; I really think we need some therapy or something. (If she doesn't qualify for it, maybe they can provide the rest of us with some advice for dealing with hours of high-pitch glass-shattering screaming, because our nerves were a bit shot my the end of the session last night!)

I'd also like to point out that JD never sees these episodes, although he has heard many of them across the phone lines. She just doesn't act like this when he is home. And from what I've heard, it's even worse if we are both gone. I'm supposed to head north to meet JD for the week-end this Friday. I really hope it improves this week because I"m not sure that I would even leave her with a sister I didn't like!

So, that's my question of the hour. Do you leave attachment challenged children that freak out anyway? Or do JD and I never go anywhere without Julia because she has a tough time? She adores my sister and my sister is the one here with her, so it's not like I'm leaving her in a strange environment or anything.

Parenting can be so tough!

I Just Love This!

Make sure you watch the end!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Quick Update

I wanted to post a quick update about the mom that is here with her children this weekend. Every thing is going far better than I hoped. For the most part, the kids are all getting along and enjoying each other's company. While we initially offered the family to stay for a few weeks, the Lord graciously opened up a home for her to move into that is a single lady who is equipped for children because her grandchild recently moved out. I am relieved since JD leaves on travel tomorrow and it would be a bit much for me to handle all week while I'm still having back issues. While things are going very smoothly this weekend, it is mainly due to the fact that JD is very hands on with the older kids; I don't assume that I would get the same respect since it's obvious that their mother does not.

You would think that my four years of foster parenting would prepare me for helping families that function is great dysfunction, but I'm totally out of my comfort zone with situations like this. I'm not sure what our role will be after tomorrow, but I'm sure that we will still have a role. It's been a remarkable witness to see the Christians at my husband's company come together are provide this family everything they need to start a new life. We are praying that she sees Jesus in it and will come to know Him through this difficult time in her life.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Being the Hands and Feet

We are getting the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus this weekend; we have an abused mom and her four children coming to our house to stay. We have been involved in the situation for a few weeks, but it all changed yesterday when the mother made the very courageous decision to take her children and flee with only the clothes on her back. This situation appears to be at a level beyond our imagination as the family has lived without even electricity for over three years.

Please pray for us!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Do It For the Kids....

Please take a moment and sign the petition to keep adoptions open in Ethiopia. It doesn't matter if you've ever adopted or if you ever plan on adopting, it's just a simple statement that says THIS many Americans care about the orphans of Ethiopia and we want you to fix any corruption without shutting the door of adoption. So many lives depend on it!


And to accompany that urgent request, here's a few birthday photos. We had a great time eating as a family at Chili's. For obvious reasons, Chick Fil A is the fanciest restaurant that my children are accustomed to, so it was a nice treat for everyone. After that, we headed to Aunt Deb's house for cake and ice-cream; she even had a few friends that came for the event.

We are planning on having a father/son camp-out in honor of Ben's birthday in a month when it warms up a bit. He is very excited about the idea.

Happy Birthday again Ben!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I've been battling discouragement lately in a few area. (I generally do less blog writing when I'm feeling like I have more negative than positive to say.) The first issue is my back; it's been really bad again and stops me from accomplishing the majority of the things I want to. I have booked an appointment with "my back doctor" on Thursday and hope to schedule another MRI. I then want to consider what I can actually do to help remedy this problem; this is my 3rd serious round in less than a year.

My second area is one of my children. Sometimes, I feel like we have made progress and other times, it really looks hopeless. I really hate how negatively it can impact the other children in the family as well.

And thirdly, the Ethiopian adoption realm isn't looking too promising right now. They are reportedly cutting adoption processing by 90%. At that rate, it looks like a new adoption could take up to three years; that is not good when we are often talking about medically fragile children that desperately need to make it "home" to be treated.

Lastly, I really dislike how I often allow my joy to be sucked out by the circumstances around me. I'm trying to not allow these situations to steal my joy...I'm trying!

As for the right now - it's Ben's 10th birthday and Chili's decided to have a today only special that allows two kids to eat free for each paying adult. Thank you Chili's and happy birthday Ben! (pictures will come.)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Beginnings of Spring

I'm thankful that it's March; January and February rank as the lowest months in my opinion. Today was nice and warm and we ventured outside to evaluate things for spring and plan where I'm going to plant my fruit trees. I'd like to plant berry bushes as well this spring, but I'll have to see how much I can cram in!

Here are my 15 guineas wandering and eating. We are down to exactly half of what I ordered last year, thanks to Charlie the secret chicken killer. They wander and peck around all day and fly back into the coop at night on their own. I got them because they eat ticks and keep snakes away, both valuable services in my opinion.

We had a few regular chickens that needed their flight feathers clipped to stay in the fence. I armed myself with the scissors and sent Ben to catch them one by one. In this picture, Julia is blocking them for Ben.

We decided on planting four apple trees along the retaining wall in the backyard and dug the holes for them. I'm planning on planting two pear and two peach in the front yard, but I have to have the power people come mark the lines before we dig their holes.

Elijah was pretty impressed when we cut a few roots under the ground. He spent a good while longer chopping dirt with the pruning shears.

Elijah also got a bonus trip to the dump today. While he was playing in the back (as JD was jumping the truck battery due to him leaving the interior light on,) he said, "me like being a farmer, me like big trucks and little trucks, me like big tractors and little tractors." It's a good life for a boy!

Actually, I think the country life is good for girls too!

Here's Gus enjoying his first spring; he only goes out with supervision but he sure is enjoying the great outdoors. He hangs with the kids much like a dog.

Welcome spring.

Adoption Prayer

Dear Blog friends,

This is a copy of the email that we sent our to friends and family yesterday - we are requesting direct prayer on our behalf in the area of our future adoption. Granted, this is not a "are we going to adopt" - it's a "do we start now" request. If you are led, won't you prayer for us when we come to mind.

Hello family and friends,
We are asking prayer for wisdom and direction for our family. We know that God directly answered a prayer a few years back that we are supposed to adopt a special needs child from Ethiopia. On Monday, we were finally able to close on our house, making this the first realistic opportunity we have had to move forward with a new adoption. We both desire to be in the center of God’s will, not only with the subject of adoption but in everything. Compounding the challenge is the awareness that we have for the necessity to save a child (or children) and contrasting that with being good stewards of our financial resources. Without the focus of being in the center of His will, which we are still practicing, you can imagine the emotional roller coaster that we are experiencing.

We really need prayer to know if we are supposed to step out in faith and begin the process now or if we are supposed to start saving towards it in the future. There are early components in the adoption process that have to be complete before we could even claim a child that God would lead us to adopt, but if we were told that the time is not now these parts would expire and have to be redone. Unfortunately, the cost of Ethiopia has really sky-rocketed, mostly due to the requirement of making two trips per adoption. We can't imagine delaying much beyond next year and even then, the amount we could save up would only be a small fraction of the needed funds.

We are specifically petitioning God in prayer to show us if we are supposed to step out and do what we can now or take a step back and continue to prepare for a future time that he would lead us to begin the process. Thanks for praying with us in this vital area for the orphan/s that we know we are called to bring home one day.

The Foringer family

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Services Offered

You know how you can hire those professionals to come and organize your house and tidy your closets? I can offer you the complete opposite service, courtesy of Elijah - free of charge! He has really proven his gift in the office closet - just the place you may need extra help with the paper piles!

If your papers are under control and it's your wardrobe that needs some sprucing up; look no farther than Ms. Julia. Although she didn't smile in this picture, because she was griping that I had the camera on her, you can tell that her flair for fashion hasn't diminished over the last few years. She is really into layering and could help you pull off an individual look you'll love.

Let us know...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Biker Gang

On Tuesday mornings, I take care of a biker gang; at least that what Elijah calls himself and his Tuesday morning friends. He derived the term "good biker gang" from an episode of the Backyardigans I'm ashamed to admit. The other members of the biker gang stay here while their mother teaches Alyssa's Zoology class.

Today I made five trips to homeschool co-op; usually it's four on Tuesday and four on Wednesday. While I'm actually quite happy with this co-op, I'm still contemplating putting the children in Classical Conversations next year. I may do the three day training in June before I actually make up my mind and hand over the big bucks.
On a very happy note, we actually closed on our house yesterday just as planned. There were also no hidden costs at closing, like we have encountered once before. At the end of next month we should close on our re-fi on our rental home. So, that really is one huge thing off our mind.

There is little on my mind at the moment other than an adoption. I still don't feel like I have real peace with starting an adoption immediately nor do I have peace with delaying; we are going to be spending serious time praying and fasting over a few major decisions that our family needs to make.

In the meantime, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and praying for wisdom to know what we are supposed to do.