Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Oh those summer days

A friend provided free passes to the Zoo and we really enjoyed our visit. The favorite of the day were the tigers. We kept naming the animals in English and Spanish. There were lots of opportunities to point and ask what things were in both languages. It was a great time and we will definitely go back again.

Mother's Day was so awesome! The boys each had a special event in their classroom the Friday before Mother's Day and I took off work early to attend. The eyes became a bit misty as I opened up a bag of items Juan had crafted. I was just overwhelmed by the love as I imagined him busily working away to make them for me. Johnnatan had a photo of himself with a poem about how he will grow up fast. The photo is so "him" and it just tore at my heart strings that I could not look at it without tearing up. The boys went to the store with Papi and returned giggling and smiling so I knew something was up. Sunday morning I was presented with flowers, a card and cupcakes. Never have I seen a more precious site than these boys walking towards me that morning. So naturally Mami went to tears and hugged them all. What a blessing! Even now I tear up thinking of how God has blessed me so with these wonderful boys.

The boys enjoyed the Adventure Science Museum tremendously and it took a full three hours for all the activities. Once the boys understand more English we will visit again. Some of the activities were difficult to explain. So even though they did the activity they did not grasp what is was intended to teach. But it was a great afternoon of exploration.

We intended to play glow golf one afternoon. However, before we stopped there was a small carnival with rides. So we rode the bumper cars and a few other things. Then enjoyed a round of glow golf to complete the day.

We visited Henry Horton park on Memorial Day with bikes and fishing equipment. It was a fun filled day of biking, swimming and fishing. Unfortunately we forgot the camera. But we will definitely visit again and get some pictures next time.
Both Jeison and Johnnatan have their glasses now. Juan will probably need them but we decided to wait one more year before having his eyes tested.
Jeison visited the Dentist to repair a cracked baby tooth. He complained a little of his mouth hurting afterwards and we just took it easy for the rest of that day. Well as easy as it gets with three boys! Juan and Johnnatan have both lost a tooth. We did talk about the tooth fairy but Juan seemed a bit scared by that idea. So we told him that we are the tooth fairy and they seem just as happy with the surprise under the pillow the next morning even though they know it is us.

A friend gave the boys a larger inflatable pool. They so enjoyed it and wanted to use it every day. Our community pool is open now and the boys really love it. The pool is perfect for them as the beginning depth is 3 feet, 4 feet in the middle and ends at 5 feet. There is also a smaller 2 foot pool and Juan will play in that sometimes. They have swimmies and two round floats but after the first day they did not use them because they want to learn to swim. Jeison can swim although not very well. They can all float and Johnnatan and Juan are making good progress.

The KidZone team at our church hosted a party at a local park to celebrate the adoption and welcome the boys. The kids all enjoyed the playground and flying kites. It was a great time of fellowship and we were overwhelmed by every ones generosity.
This past week Juan moved back into Jeison's room. After a week and a half of nightly complaints of being scared and sneaking upstairs we asked if he would like to move back in with Jeison. He did and Jeison was okay with it too. So when he is a little older we will try the room downstairs again. Now we no longer assist Juan with showering, dressing and brushing his teeth. When he had his own room he always asked that Papi or Mami help even though we knew he could do it on his own. Now he does them all by himself.

The boys started ESL summer school. It is a half day for the month of June and so far they like it. The boys are speaking a bit more English with us. However when they are playing with each other it is total Spanish. Hopefully they can retain the basics of Spanish as they transition. We have learned a lot more Spanish since we have had the boys but still do not consider ourselves fluent by any means.

Juan decided yesterday he no longer needed his training wheels. We are so amazed that he just decided this, the training wheels came off and he just started riding. He only needs help with initial push off and then he is fine. In time he will figure that out too. He was working on it yesterday as well.
It is still amazing to see how God is in the details of our family. We have received so many blessings from others. So many times a situation works out so perfectly and we give thanks and praise to our Lord. It is just undeniable that these boys were meant for us. We just continually pray that God will lead us through this journey and that we are obedient to his will.

Here are some pics!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The clocks are ticking

We want to thank everyone for their comments and well wishes. Those of you that have taken this journey know just how much it means. We feel truly blessed to have such support.

The boys are very excited to go to school in the morning and love to show us everything in their backpacks after the day is over. We spend a lot of time in the evening with homework and it surprises us just how much they have to do every week. We have signed them up for ESL summer school for the month of June. It is a half day and will be held at the school they attend. We will probably find something else after that as well.

We started with a new idea for getting them up in the morning and ready for bed. Jeison and Johnnatan can get themselves ready but most of our time was spent keeping them focused. So we purchased alarm clocks and made a list of morning tasks and evening tasks. Once they have these completed they receive a quarter, so fifty cents each day. This has worked really well and they get up, shower, dress and come downstairs to eat, then back up to brush their teeth. In the evening it is PJs, getting their clothes out for the next day and brushing their teeth. We will add Juan into this routine one day but for now he needs assistance. A bit later we will add some household tasks so they can earn more. They love to help around the house but we just like to take time between changes in routine or adding something new.

Each of the boys now have their own room. Jeison and Juan were sharing but kept asking when the room downstairs would be ready for Juan. So we let him try sleeping by himself to make sure he was going to like it and then decorated the room and moved his things. It is much easier for us as well since he is on the same level as us. He is usually the first one to get up in the morning and likes to crawl in the bed with us for a bit.

I (Ramona) went back to work on Monday which was earlier than planned. Since the boys are in school it was not necessary for me to be home during the day. I surprised myself at how much I missed the challenge work offers. I missed everyone there and looked forward to being back again. The company and managers have been very supportive and this allows me to work while the boys are in school but be there in time to pick them up. Larry takes them to school in the morning. I do miss seeing them in the mornings but would rather be able to see them after school and have time to spend playing and talking to them.

As you can see in the pictures a family donated a trampoline to us. The boys so love it! We also bought a very tiny pool. They cannot swim so we are afraid to get something any deeper. But the boys do not seem to care it is small. The trampoline and pool are the first things they want to do after school.

Friday, April 17, 2009

What's new

Things have been very busy. The food issues seem to have subsided for the most part. It may have been just hesitation to try new things and being in new surroundings. We have found quite a few things the boys like now and will continue to try more new things.

Their first dentist appointment here went well. Jeison has to return to cap a sheared tooth in the back. He will also definitely need braces but we will wait for his permanent teeth to all be in place. Johnnatan and Juan had no issues. The boys brush their teeth after every meal, rinse and floss as well. While in Colombia they always brushed after meals and we added the other here.

They have also had their first round of vaccinations. Jeison was very brave and only winced. Johnnatan and Juan had a hard time and well...screamed. We had to hold Juan down. Jeison and Johnnatan return next month for more but Juan is blessed to have no more until October.

We visited the school twice and then the boys started on Wednesday and are really excited each day when we pick them up. They are always eager to tell us about their day and show us what they did in school. The teachers have sent home sight word cards so we will work with the boys on these at home. They are once again very interested in how to say things in English. All of their teachers are great and the staff their is so excited to have the boys at school.

Other than that we have been attending church, riding bikes, going to the park, etc., typical family life. We are still finding thing pretty easy with the kids. Of course their are some difficult times but for the most part they are really great kids. We have found that giving them choices works very well. We still are in awe that God has so richly blessed us with these children.

The pictures are from a day we took the boys bikes to the park. They found the stream that runs around the park and jumped in shoes and all. Also, a picture from the first day of school. Johnnatan began crossing his eyes for the pictures and once he finally stopped Juan began trying to do the same...therefore his crazy eyed look. Jeison thought it was all too funny.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Life is crazy now

The trip home was interesting. We made it to Atlanta and then the flight to Nashville was cancelled due to weather. Delta kept promising another flight and after many gate changes and about 6 hours of waiting we stayed in Atlanta that night. The kids held up remakably well and there were no meltdowns, we were very surprised. The next morning Juan was not in a good mood but after about an hour he was fine. We think the excitement of another plane ride curbed a lot of the possible issues that could have arisen.

So, now we are home and it is just non stop with the boys. They love to ride their bikes outside. Johnnatan kept insisting he needed training wheels but we helped him for two days and he is now riding his bike. He is very proud of his accomplishment! We are busy scheduling optometrist, dentist and doctor appointments. We were told by the ICBF in Colombia that both Jeison and Johnnatan need glasses.

Things are going well and the boys seem to be adjusting to the changes. We are having one issue with food. They don't seem to like much. So far they may or may not eat a hamburger. They will eat hotdogs but Johnnatan does not like his cooked. They will eat plain pasta if it is mixed with milk. But tomato sauce of any kind is out of the question. Eggs, toast and cereal are good. They also like fruit. They were very picky in Colombia as well and did not eat much the ladies made at the hotel. So, it is a challenge at the moment.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Coming Home!

Monday started out with Larry going with our attorney to obtain the boys birth certificates and change the last name. Then he returned and all of us went to obtain the boys passports. A quick trip back to the hotel for lunch and some last minute paperwork completion. Then we were off to the Embassy doctor.

Tuesday we all went to apply for Visas at the US Embassy. Larry will pick them up at 3:30 today. We are scheduled to fly out Thursday morning.

Not much time for anything else. As you can see by the photos we are all packed! The boys thought is was funny to climb into the luggage so we snapped their picture.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Colombian Countryside

Saturday we took the boys to an artisian store called Maku. The boys each chose one thing as a special reminder of Bogota. We also purchased some beautiful linens for special occasions. There were some beautiful nativity sets but we were concerned they would not survive the flight home. Later in the day we went to a restaurant comparable to McDonalds called Presto. They have a five story indoor playground and the boys enjoyed climbing, jumping and sliding.

Sunday we took a van with two other families to El Dorado Lake for a five mile hike. We were concerned but the children made the hike just fine. The countryside here is very beautiful and lush. At the bottom we enjoyed corn roasted over an open grill. Then we traveled into the city for an outdoor lunch of chicken roasted on a spit. It was very tasty. Once we finished eating the afternoon was spent walking around the town and looking at handmade goods. On the ride home we enjoyed spectacular scenery and grand views of Bogota. Johnnatan and Juan enjoyed a nice nap as we traveled back to the hotel.

Here are some photos from Presto and El Dorado Lake.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Yesterday afternoon we went before the judge for the final decree. It was an informal ceremony in his office. The judge said he likes to make these events very special. He spoke to us from his heart and was very greatful that we were keeping the three boys together. This man has a great heart for the children here and likes to see them move forward to a better life. He also presented us with a special letter written as if from the children to us. There were many tears and hugs. We all shared cake and much joy. Jeison even teared up a bit at one point as the judge told him ¨no more will you seek your hearts desire because now you have your family forever¨.

The drive to downtown Bogota was beautiful despite the rain as beautiful lush mountains surrounded us. After Sentencia we stopped for empanadas and then were given a tour of downtown Bogota. The drive back gave us spectacular views of the city as we ascended into the mountains again. It was a truly special day for us all.

At supper last night each of the boys took turns saying in English ¨My name is ____ Schiefelbein¨ Larry and I became tickled with one another when I asked him a question and he responded with ¨Que?¨ Our first instinct is becoming to speak in Spanish. So we know this will also happen with the boys in a few weeks as well. Jeison continues to ask how to say everything in English and even Juan is now doing the same. Johnnatan does not seem as interested but we know he will do fine as well.

We are so greatful to God for all his blessings. We feel so honored to have these children and every day is a new adventure.