L. (on left) and G. on right - with M.'s velociraptors she made
G. (on left) and L. (on right)
G. and L. are next in the line-up. They are four year old twins and a lot of fun to have around. G. loves panda bears and L. love superheroes (especially Superman). They are very bright, verbal, and determined. This is not always a good combination in a four year old... just sayin'.
K. is next. He is seven years old and was adopted from Vietnam at the age of two. We adjust his age down two years to make up for the very deprived two years in the orphanage. K. loves vehicles of all types and also really likes super heroes. He is small but ridiculously strong... his ability to do sit-ups and pull-ups is astonishing. He's our happy guy.
On to D. one of the 10 year olds. I don't think there is a child who has a kinder or more tender heart. He just loves people. He also loves to read and to act. D. is a sweetheart. A sweetheart with a pretty amazing memory.
TM is in the middle of the ten year olds, though he turns 11 in October. TM was adopted from Vietnam at nearly 4 years old. He has a fantastically mechanical and artistic mind, and I am always amazed at the things he creates. He is pretty physically gifted and has yet to meet the physical activity that he can't master. TM also has suffered greatly from the trauma related to too many losses in his early life and learning to parent him and help him to heal has been a significant journey for all of us.
The last 10 year old is H., though she, too, will be turning 11 in October. H. came home from China at nine years old... just a year and a half ago. We knew she had facial tumors, but were unsure of her diagnosis which has turned out to be linear nevus sebaceous syndrome. She is the most loving and resilient girl I know and has accepted her new life with open arms. Instead of suffering emotionally from the deprivations of her past life, she suffers cognitively and we are moving ahead with the knowledge that the brain is plastic and can change and grow. She has a lot of holes in her knowledge and abilities and we are slowly working to help her fill them in.
P. is turning 13 in September. She is my quietest child and I work very hard to be sure that she isn't overlooked. P. loves all animals, especially horses and wishes that we lived somewhere more rural. She is funny and loves to read and is great company provided she has had enough alone time to recharge.
Here is A. who is 15. She loves photography and this is a self-portrait that she took of herself. A. also is very social and has a wide circle of friends that she likes to visit with on a regular basis. I think it's safe to say she is my most driven, competitive child. She is also really excellent with people, especially hurting ones and there are many days I am very thankful she is in the house to help with the hurting people who live here. I love spending time with her.
Then comes B. who is 18 and will be living on campus at college this year. Also very quiet, he has a great sense of humor and is a lot of fun. We will all miss him a lot. He loves plants and bees and books. You will all be relieved to know that he will be taking all of his indoor plants with him to school so there is need to worry that I will kill them.
M. is 20 and the oldest. She will be a junior in college this year. Like TM, she is also incredibly creative and mechanically minded. I love seeing what the next thing is that she has made. M. is also very level-headed and terrific in a crisis. She adds life to our family that is missing when she is gone. I couldn't ask for a better 'practice child'.
In order of age, HG (for our house guest and mother of the young children) comes next. As we get to know this charming young woman we like her more and more. We are so happy that we can provide a safe place to land and can be her much needed family. The process is a learning one for all of us and she adds a great deal to our family. We hope she'll be here for quite a while.
This is me, E., and writer (mostly) of this blog. I spend my days trying to keep chaos at bay and maybe help people learn something as well. When I have the time I read voraciously and do a little sewing.
That leaves us with J., father of all these young people. He is my best friend and best supporter and cheer leader. I wouldn't want to live this crazy life without him. He is very smart and very funny and the best father and husband. He works at a local university and is also working towards earning his doctoral degree, thus giving him essentially three full-time jobs. He doesn't get a lot of sleep and hasn't read a book for fun in a long time.