Nate's finalization Nov. 2009

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I failed miserably in my quest to blog every day in Oct. Sorry to all my loyal fans. You knew I wouldn't make it, didn't you? I'm too much of a procrastinator. Anyway, about our Buddy walk... I really wanted to go to the Buddy Walk this year, but wasn't sure I could do it, emotionally. Last year we definitely could not make it. Emotions were still way too raw after losing precious Jacob. But I LOVE the founder of Sharing Down Syndrome, Arizona! Gina Johnson is such a kind, generous, totally wacky (in a good way) Lady, and she works so hard on the Buddy Walk that we really wanted to support her. Plus, she sent us a very generous donation for our adoption fund. So, while I was a little nervous that I would break down and cry, we all went to the Buddy Walk. I invited my friend Carrie and her family as well. I am so glad we went. it was great. It was nice to be among "my people" :o)
We had 2 signs- one with Jacob's picture that said "in memory of sweet Jacob" and another with a picture of Aunika that said "In anticipation of beautiful Aunika". I am always hesitant to share with other parents of children with DS that our sweet boy passed away. I don't think any of us really like to face the mortality of our children. That is why I have stayed away from our DS group for a while. But waiting for our little Aunika has strengthened me once more. I call her the happy ending to Jacob's story. Though I don't really think she'll be the end! Jacob has started something in this family, and we will bring as many sweet children with DS into our home as we feel we can handle. I am so blessed to have such a great husband who is on the same page as me. We both feel strongly driven to adopt special needs kids. It is nice to have him by my side. He is priceless!
I don't think I've ever blogged about Carrie. I am not a person that makes girlfriends easily. I never have been. I was always such a tomboy. But Carrie and I click. I met her not long after we moved here. She was a foster mom, and when I told her my husband and I were thinking of becoming foster parents, that is all it took. She gently pushed and prodded and poked until we finally had our license. And look where we are now! All of our little blessings (our munchkins) have come because of this. Our licensing worker came to visit us before we had any placements to ask us about the kind of children we wanted in our home. We weren't picky! but we did share with her our deep love for children with Down Syndrome. About 3 days later, we got our first placements. Little Terry and Abe as they were known at the time. Two beautiful boys now called Landon and Luke that will be ours forever! 11 days after we got the boys, my licensing worker (Kelli) called me with news that would change our lives forever! There was a sweet boy with Down Syndrome that needed a permanent home. We met our Jacob on the day he turned one month old, and the rest is history! After losing Jacob, we missed his sweet spirit in our home, which led us to research DS adoptions, leading us to Aunika. So all this, because my lovely friend Carrie wouldn't let us give up or put off our dream of fostering/ adopting. She is one of my heroes, and will be a life long friend. She and her husband have fostered many, and were finally able to adopt the sibling set of 4 you see in the picture. They are 6, 5, 4, and 3. The baby is 7 months old (not a bio sibling) and hopefully he will be joining their family forever also. What a lucky girl I am to have such a wonderful friend. Really she is more of a sister. We tell people we are sisters all the time. I love this Woman!

Monday, October 29, 2007

This is the pumpkin the boys carved. mostly they just enjoyed poking it, and playing with the goop from the insides. Daddy finally cut a standard pumpkin face on it. Because of the many pokes and scrapes on it, it only lasted a couple of days, but they had to keep the light lit as much as I would let them. They were quite proud of their creation!
We have been contemplating adding a second dog to the family. I have always wanted a second dog. Hopefully Ladybug will allow that. She is the boss. She is SUCH a good dog, that we don't want to ruin it. I really think she would enjoy having a companion, though. We have looked at a couple, but haven't found "the one" yet. We'll see how that all turns out. We are in no hurry.
We had lunch with Gordon (aka- Donald Sutherland) on Friday. He was the boys caseworker when they were in the foster unit. Always good to keep the caseworkers on your good side. He will be on the lookout for us for another addition to our family. We told him we didn't care if it was a boy or girl, or if the child had special needs, we just want a placement that is very likely to be permanent! We will wait for new foster placements until after we get back from Serbia. perhaps even until we move into the new house. But, you never know. Here is the house at it's current stage. The back yard is so much bigger. We are looking forward to having all the space. 5 bedrooms and a huge play room! yay! We are working on filling up the bedrooms!
So much more to write, but it will have to wait for another post.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Strawberry Fields Forever: Ode to my sister LeAnn

My older sister (much, much older) noticed that I hadn't written about her in my blog. Silly me. She asked for it! My Much Older sister LeAnn(who is a gorgeous Strawberry Blonde, hence the blog title) is the best. She is my kids' favorite aunt. And to any other sisters reading this, I'm sorry, but it's true. She works hard at the title of favorite aunt. You are all beloved, she is just the belovedest. LaRee ran a good campaign with the quiet book, Lyndee enthralled the boys with her puppy, and Lisa, well, she fixes airplanes which the boys think is pretty darn cool. But LeAnn is "IT". They ask nearly daily to got to "aunt nan's" house. It helps that she has come to visit a lot more, so the boys just know her better. I used to compete with her for the Favorite Aunt title. Just ask any of the older nieces and nephews. We'd each call them and say "Hi, this is your favorite aunt" then make them guess which of us it was. I am finding out now that we traumatized a few of them with this stunt. But finally I was defeated. LeAnn wins. Seriously. She IS the best aunt. Perhaps I better explain my family dymanics for those of you unfortunate strangers to my wild and wacky family. My mom had 10 children. 5 girls and 5 boys. There is a 25 year span between the oldest and youngest in my family. I am #6. being a middle child in such a large family is the BEST! I love it. I first became an Aunt when I was 9 (shout out to beautiful Andrea, my first born niece). Holy Schmokes, I loved my little nieces and nephews. Still do. And my younger sibs are pretty great as well. Todd was the next closest to me in age, so we fought a lot. I think it is the law, for you to have to fight with at least one of your siblings. We also played together the most, so I suppose it all works out in the end. But the other 3 were enough younger than me that I felt "motherly" toward them, and doted on them. My older sibs all adored me (admit it) except for maybe Lisa. Again, she was the one closest in age older than me, so we tended to fight a bit. All that is long since forgotten, and we became great friends by the time She was about 15-16. But I digress. LeAnn. Yes. Well, she is also my favorite sister. Again, sorry to all reading whom this might offend, but she has worked hard at the title. Admit it, she's your favorite sister, too (besides me, of course). here is a brief rundown of the sibs.
*LaRee, the eldest, mother of 4, "The Boss". She is the most creative with things other people would throw away, and the one to call when you need someone to go to battle for you.

*Danny, father of 2, extrememly talented artist and wood worker, and some of my favorite memories of my childhood include him
*LeAnn, mother of 3, favorite sister/aunt, and is a "Do-er". You need it done, call her. Has helped me through countless rough moments, Unintentionally funny (you know it's true) which makes it even funnier. Easiest to talk to, laugh with, etc. The "glue" in our family
*Darin, father of 6, and a great dad to his children, which makes me respect him even more, resident genius, most fun to watch a stupid movie with (don't EVEN get me started on High School Musical)
*Lisa, mother of 2, Most independent, and definitely the wittiest. The one to call when you need a laugh. SO much fun to have an adventure with (Starcon? Rennaissance festival?)
*ME, mom to 3 soon to be 4, the tallest girl (6'), best at most embarrasing moments. (except for ONE incident with LeAnn and Santa Claus)
*Todd, newlywed, Father to beautiful Crimson, Tallest boy, I think, though they are all tall. very clever and Extrememely handy to have around if something breaks (especially electronics- very handy)
*Mark, great student, soon to graduate College, most talented artist. Kind hearted, so much fun to be around- very creative mind. His friends count themselves lucky.
*Lyndee, mom to be (in March, I think), the baby girl. Sweetest, most tender hearted. She has amazing talent and patience when working with the disabled. She is a true gift to this family.
*Brent, "The baby". So funny, smart, and a gifted writer. I still haven't quite forgiven him for moving away from AZ. I loved my "Brent weekends". He assures me he'll move back if we can figure out a way to move the entire city of Seattle with him. Any ideas, anyone? I'll entertain any viable option!
Okay, maybe my rundown wasn't so brief, but it's my blog and I'll do what I want to. Just wait until I do my Ode to my mother.

So now that you know more about my family than you ever wanted to, I'll re-cap.

1- LeAnn is the favorite. in everything.
2- all other sibs are pretty darn great as well, just slightly less great than LeAnn
3- something about glue
4- Darin's deep and abiding love for High School Musical
5- Santa's deep and abiding fear of LeAnn
6- The relocation of Seattle

I should get some sleep.

Oh, by the way, My sweet Luke told me I was "cute". Coming tomorrow: pictures of the Boys' jack-o'-lantern.

Friday, October 12, 2007

And I Love Her

Salmon swim upstream to have their babies. It is a long and difficult journey, and sometimes they get bashed against the rocks. Adoption is similar, and I feel like we've just been bashed up against a rock. Kasia's agency feels like it is in her best interest to re-list her as available, in order to get her a family as soon as possible. We do not blame them, and told them we understand the concept of giving up a child to do what is best for them. As adoptive parents, that is what we are constantly asking birth parents to do. This all came about because they asked if we had a travel date for Serbia yet. We don't ...and we don't even have a time frame. This is extremely frustrating for us, but it is not something we are in control of. We love little Kasia, and hope she can find a family soon. We also hope with some part of us, that she will still be available when we get home from Serbia, so we can re-apply for her. I hope this all doesn't come out wrong. It wasn't the "big, bad agency" vs. the spencer family. It was a mutual decision based on what is best for Kasia. We have no problem with the agency, and truly hope to work with them in the future, either for Kasia's adoption, or for another child. But we are still hurting. A girl we love may find another family. And for anyone reading this that may be interested in pursuing her adoption--- don't feel bad, or guilty. Please, give this beautiful girl a permanent home. For anyone who doesn't wish to pursue her adoption, please pray for her to find the family she needs.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Having boys is so much fun! They have been outside playing and Landon came tearing into the house yelling "MOM, MOM, Come here! There's a lizard in our bucket!" They have a big toy bucket outside. I was alway quite a tomboy and had made pets of lizards, snakes, rats, etc. so these things don't bother me. We carefully emptied the toys out of the bucket, and there was a cute little gecko. I grabbed him so the boys could have a closer look. I asked if they wanted to touch him, and Luke decided Landon needed to go first. they both just gave him a quick one finger pet on the head. We caught a couple of these a few months back, and put them in a little clear plastic home and fed them meal worms for a while. The boys enjoyed watching them and learning about them. We let them go after a month or two. They must be easiest to catch at this size. the tiny ones are too fast, and the bigger ones are too smart. Anyway, we let this one go, but it gave the boys a little thrill for a while.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Yesterday was a beautiful, happy day. Luke is ours Forever! We love this boy. Landon was so good at understanding why it wasn't his turn yet. We told him we had to wait for the judge to say it was ok, and that was enough for him. He got to go play at a friends house while we were in the temple.
It just feels so GOOOD to have this all done! He is OURS. I can't
get over how good it feels to say that!

Monday, October 8, 2007

I've learned my lesson the hard way on why we keep the Sabbath day Holy. I Believe this is a true principle, and I'm pretty good at applying it-- most of the time. Yesterday there was one load of laundry left that I hadn't gotten to on Saturday. I knew Monday was going to be hectic with getting the bedrooms empty for new carpet, then re-filling the bedrooms again. Tuesday was going to be nuts with having the in-laws come into town, and having Luke sealed to us in the Temple (a religious ceremony that binds him to our family FOREVER-visit for more info. It is the way we "finalize" his adoption in a religious manner). And a pair of pants I wanted was in that last load of laundry. So, while I don't typically don't do laundry on the Sabbath day, I had rationalized it enough in my head to just throw in this one load. Well--- my washer broke. right between the wash and rinse cycle. So the drum was still full of water. and everything still had soap in it. Oh, joy. We were planning on buying a new washer by this summer, and we really would have preferred this one lasted until then. But, I guess I had a lesson to learn. an expensive one at that.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I don't have much to post today. I had a dream last night that we were in Serbia, and I was snuggling Elena, and playing with her hair, and Jasmina walked up and told me we couldn't have her. She gave us a different child, and Elena was right there! no explanation. I just cried and cried. ugh. that was horrible. I am anxious to hear about our girl.

I am posting a pic of our new flooring. it is very nice. We are happy with it so far. We get the bedrooms done on monday.

it has been crazy getting it all done around evreything else we have going on.
Can you believe it? I didn't take a single picture of last night's gotcha party! I am so bummed, and somewhat perplexed as to how i could have forgotten such an important thing. but it was fun anyway. We had costco pizza and oreos! i didnt want to do a lot of cooking, and didn't want a pot-luck. We even saw the Huff family, who are also adopting from Serbia. Their little guy is now 10 months old, and also has DS. Luke managed to get away from us without our knowledge, and right when I was starting to get freaked out about not being able to find him, a nice lady that he had followed brought him back to us. SHEESH!! the kid had been legally ours for 7 hours, and we are already losing him! I am going to plant a tracking device in that kids scalp! he definitely has wander lust. And then today we had to empty out the living and family room for new carpeting. Yay!! it looks great, and matches the new tile well. That is why I am just now blogging- just barely got the computer back together. We decided to switch things around a little for fun. Well, I am exhausted from furniture moving all day, so Off to bed!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

All You Need is Love

Today is Luke's "gotcha" day! We finalized his adoption this morning! Feels so good to know this boy is ours. We are having a party this evening, so I'll post more pictures tomorrow. this is one of us with our attorney. Wahooooo!!!! His full legal name is now Luke Aaron Spencer! And boy is he a typical 2 year old! He wanted out of that court room, out of that suit, and to be rolling around in the dirt! that is why we are having a party at the park, instead of our house (hopefully anyway-- at the moment it is threatening to rain. Rain would be nice, though). that will give him plenty of room to run and play! This is a GREAT day!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Free As a Bird

So, something I didn't tell a lot of people before hand is that when Landon's case worker told us that severance had been granted the first time, He was jumping the gun a little. He thought severance had been granted, but it hadn't yet. Today we got OFFICIAL word that it has been granted. Such a relief! We already started calling him Landon, so we are set! When we get to finalize depends on how many levels of appeals the birth dad goes through. Luke's bio dad went through all the appeals, and it took 14 months! We'll see. anyway-- Official Good News!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

This Boy

In an effort to blog every day of October, in honor of Down Syndrome Awareness, I will write something funny Luke did a while back. In August, my oldest sister LaRee was here for a short visit. They had dropped off my nephew Colton T. in Flagstaff to begin college, and then came down to Mesa to see us. One evening we were all over at my brother's house relaxing, and the kids were all playing. Luke and Sawyer were playing with a doll house of Eriana's. Luke leans down to the window of the doll house and says "ummm, I'll have a hamburger please". We all laughed so hard. Time for mommy to stop making so many stops at the Wendy's drive-up window!

Here is a picture of Andrea, Shiloh, LaRee, Colton T.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Love Me Do

Welcome to October!! Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and also my personal favorite month of the year. It may have something to do with the fact that my mom was a Halloween nut. She loved to transform our house every year. It was always so fun. I love the changing colors on the trees (though I just have to imagine them now-- these pesky trees in too-warm-Arizona don't change colors). I just returned a couple of days ago from Wyoming. I got to see some pretty autumn colors there.
My brother got married, and his new wife Jennifer chose Fall colors as her wedding theme. Loved it!
I also got to meet Crimson, their 6 month old daughter, for the first time. She is so pretty! My boys were in awe of her. she was a lot of fun to be around, such a happy baby! After the wedding, we stayed with my mom (a.k.a. Grandma Bear) for a week to spend some time with our family there. The boys love being around family! They got pretty spoiled. They loved every minute of it. We went to a "jam session" at the senior center with Grandma Clair. The boys loved the music, and got up to dance with mom and grandma. Todd and Jen came with Crimson. Here is a picture of her with Grandma Clair. A couple of funny things the boys did while in WY.... One night while helping Luke say his prayers, I said "now tell Heavenly Father what you're thankful for". He said... "Um.... Emma and Jakey's house" (his friends- my best friends kids). I said "good, what else?" ummmm.... Grandma's house. "good, Luke. anything else?" ummmmm..... Home Depot. (snicker, snicker) "good, Luke! " (note to self, tell Scott what a huge influence he is on the boys!) It was so cute. Then another night, mom went to get in some comfortable clothes, and came back out in some pretty silky pajamas. Terry literally gasped and said "oh grandma bear, you look BEAUTIFUL!!" My heart just swelled at this sweet boys words. every grandma needs to hear how beautiful she is! It made mom feel pretty good. Here is my favorite picture of my mom with Todd after his wedding.

On the adoption homefront- NO NEWS. blah. I want some news. I want to rush off to Serbia and bring home our little princess. I want her to be HOME for the Buddy Walk (ours is Oct. 27), but there is just no way that is going to happen. With any luck, we'll be in Serbia on that date. For any strangers to the Buddy Walk, it is to promote Down Syndrome Awareness. visit the website for National Down Syndrome Society for more info, or the site for our local organization - Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona - to sponsor a Buddy Walk team.

Luke the Belly Popper

Spread the Word to End the Word