The Googegs - Strangers in the World

The Googegs - Strangers in the World

Monday, April 20, 2009

The AGE old Questions

I see that I must have deleted my original post concerning the actual age of Mary and Wokelle. In international adoption it is not uncommon for children's ages to not be accurate. When I received my pictures of Mary and Wokelle from Liberia, I had a feeling that Mary looked older than the age of 7. Even the agency told me there was a possibility she could be older.

In a country torn by 14 years of civil war, with no basic services, corruption rife and children that are not born in hospitals -- accurate birth and death records are not a priority. When their birth mom made the decision to place the children for adoption that is when they went to make birth certificates.

After celebrating Mary's "8th" birthday and finalizing the adoption she came forward and told us she knew she was older in Liberia. My first reaction was to call the dentist who had recently taken X-rays. He cautioned me that there were no guarantees but her teeth showed her to be in the 11 - 12 range. We were not stunned by this news as we thought she physically seemed older.

We did contact our adoption attorney to ask the judge about changing their US birth certificates. He advised our lawyer that we would have to void the adoption and return all paperwork to Liberia to re-do. This would be a very risky venture. At this time international adoptions have been suspended.

We let time pass, although we all recognized Mary and Wokelle had different ages than their paperwork. Mary thought she was 12 and she remembered Wokelle as being 3. We cleared up all their medical issues, caught them up on immunizations and worked on getting some school done.

Just this past week we went back and had a bone scan done. This is an x-ray of their hands that can help determine their age. Mary came back as between 11 and 12 and Wokelle as 3 to 3 1/2. On her coming birthday in May Mary will be considered 12 for all of us (9 on her legal paperwork). In June we will be celebrating Wokelle's 4th birthday (5 on his legal paperwork).

Why get the bone scans done if we can't change anything legally? I wondered that myself, but it gave us great peace to settle the issue. Also, the primary physician knows what he is seeing in his office. Is this a 9 year old girl experiencing precocious puberty? A 5 year old boy that is really behind the mark? No, these children are developing quite well, paperwork is just not correct. Since we home school, it really doesn't affect any school placement, but it does help me know what to do in social situations. Sunday school, keep Wokelle in his pre-school class for instance.

The issue is a bit of a conundrum legally. We can all accept the children for the "real" ages, but have to remember that for driving ages, or home school report forms we must go back to those legal documents and report the children as it is written down.

So welcome, to the "age" old issue -- resolved at last.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Our Easter

Easter was a great day with awesome weather. I do not know how to make those nice slideshows, so I just have a very long line of pictures (sorry!)

At church the children surprised us all with a cute song. Notice how excited those older kids are to be singing!

After church Jerome's brother and family came over to have dinner. Here's the tribe with their cousin.
The Three Maidens of Virtue:
The Three Mighty Men:

And... one princess! SHH .... just between you and me, the little princess may get an addition to the royal court come December.
After lunch it was time for the annual egg hunt in the yard.

Getting ready:

He's OFF.

Even the big kids love to hunt.


Checking out the haul.
Burning off some sugar.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Good Friday

We have had to make a lot of decisions about how to spend our summer. Jerome's work has given him quite a bit of time off over the summer. A nice conundrum. He is home more -- but he is earning less. We have already decided to cancel our normal vacation trip to the home school conference. This is usually our big vacation. However, we have all this time with Jerome at home. Our decision has been to try to find inexpensive ways to enjoy our family. We will still spend money, but far less than our traditional vacation.

This Friday Jerome had the day off. A long weekend and our first opportunity to get the kids excited about our "new" recession era summer. It didn't start off too well. Jerome was so sick Thursday he had to take the day off work and stayed in bed all day. Wokelle wasn't feeling well that day and Ricky started in the afternoon. Everyone rallied for Friday, though.

We drove to Cincinnati and visited the Taft Education Center. This was a great time and completely free! During our school we have a "President of the day" time. I read a little card about each president and we try to name them up to the day we are on. So, I read Taft's card before we left. We watched a short movie about the president and then we were given a guided tour of his boyhood home. It was great fun.

Then we headed across Cincinnati to Plato's Closet and Once Upon a Child. My favorite re-sale shops -- but only found in big cities I don't get to often. This was not the most fun for 5 of my kids, but a necessary thing for preparing the kids closets for summer. I found a lot of great stuff and so did Riane. We had a lovely late lunch at Arby's and headed homeward. We stopped at our favorite McDonalds Playland (again, far from home and a rare visit). Mom and Dad enjoyed their favorite coffee and the kids ran around like crazy. (SHHH don't tell -- but Riane is over 12 and still played on the equipment).

We got home had a bucket of chicken for dinner and watched a movie -- staying up late!

It was a "good" good Friday.

P.S. Toted my camera around all day and forgot to take even ONE picture!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Country Tales

Ahh -- Spring is here and the kids are finally able to run free. We only own a little less than two acres. However, the new neighborhood planned to go in next to us, is moving MIGHTY slow (thank goodness!) and just down the path next to our house is a creek!. So, we really feel countrified. When the kids are not in the creek catching crawdads and frogs they do things like this for fun...
Ricky loves to roll the yard. He is good at it too! This day he did the entire yard by himself. In the summer Braydon and Ricky are huge helpers to Jerome in keeping it all mowed.

You might not be able to tell what they are doing in this picture, but they are pushing a wagon to the small hill in the middle of the field. For grins and giggles they push it to the top - jump in and ride down. Sounds crazy and a tad bit dangerous -- Braydon once told me how he "flipped out and landed on his face" -- but they think it is fun.

This is our new trailer. Jerome has been looking for a trailer forever. We do not have a pick up truck and it is hard to get mulch or take our lawn mower to the rental house. He looked at trailers the other day and really thought of spending $900. This one he "found" for $300 through a friend at work.
I put "found" in quotations because I believe this is a God story. Jerome's hours have been cut at work and things are getting tighter and tighter and yet what a deal we found on something we really needed. All I could think about when this came to pass was our story of the piano.
We had a really old upright piano that couldn't even hold a tune anymore. Riane, Braydon and Ricky all take piano lessons and so we knew we needed a new piano. The cost of a new piano was more than we could consider and we thought of used ones. We kept telling the kids they would have to make do, because it looked to be awhile before we could get one.
We even thought of buying a keyboard. It would be cheaper. However, there is just something about having the kids playing a "real" piano. One day I happened into a friend at McDonald's. Both of her husband's parents had recently died and they were cleaning out the house. She turned to me and off-handedly said "Do you know anybody that needs a piano?" DO I? "YES!" She said "You move it, you can have it." I found movers for $200 and that was the cost of our new piano.
We had it tuned and was told it was in great shape. The great thing about our piano story is R__ was a great woman of God and played the piano in church for years and years. Her son is our friend and often comes up to Riane and asks about R__ piano. He gets misty-eyed every time he sees Riane play in the praise team. He tells me how important it is to him that his Mom's piano is still used well. Before R___ died she would raise her hands and flex her fingers in the air saying "I gotta keep them nimble to play." I am sure she is playing for Jesus right now.
That $200 piano blessed their family and ours too.
All that to say, God meets us in our need. This time the story wasn't quite so moving, but I sure don't want to miss that indeed that trailer was not "found" but provided.