Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Do you support adoption and happen to have a few minutes to spare? If so, please consider writing to your congressmen and asking that they support the Adoption Tax Guarantee Act of 2011.

Adoptions are very expensive. Expensive to the point where I’m not certain we would be lucky enough to have any of our three (soon to be four) children if it weren’t for the government’s help via the Adoption Tax Credit. The tax credit is available to adoptive families to assist in easing the financial burden that comes along with adopting a child. The current credit came about thanks to a bill enacted in 2001. The problem with that bill is that it has a sunset date. By sunset date I mean there has always been date where the would credit revert back to the pre-2001 amounts, which are significantly less that the credit amount allowed in the current and proposed bill.

The sunset date right now is December 31, 2012.

The bill that was introduced to Congress in January of this year would repeal that sunset date, thus eliminating the worry for many adoptive families like ours about the credit not being available when it is needed.

The bills that I am asking you to consider writing your congressman about are…

H.R. 184: Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2011
To write to your representative, go to

S. 82: Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act
To write to you senator, go to

On behalf of moms and dads like Sara and I that have relied on this tax credit to fulfill the dream of becoming parents, thank you for supporting this issue.

Monday, August 29, 2011

BROTHERLY LOVE: In sickness and In health

Starting Saturday night and lasting through today, Lleyton has been under the weather.  Under the weather to the point where we ended up at the Children's Hospital with him this morning (hence the nice looking gown in the picture above).

The little fella has been pretty miserable.

At one point yesterday morning, as Parker and Addy looked on, our little man threw up on the couch.  Obviously concerned about how his illness was affecting his older brother, he turned to Parker and in his most pathetic little voice said, "Parker...Do you still love me?"

I couldn't make this stuff up. 

I love these kids...especially when they say things that make me laugh.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I am sure I have written it before on this blog, but it's worth saying again, although I can't proclaim that I am the most religious person around, I do know that I have never been part of a more faith based group than the adoption community.  Hence, I am asking for your prayers again. 

Ella, our friends' beautiful five year old daughter that I briefly wrote about last week, has been diagnosed with having a malignant brain tumor that has also spread to her spinal cord. 

In the midst of this devastating news, the family has remained steadfast and positive about meeting this challenge head on and getting her the treatment she needs no matter what. 

Young Ella will be beginning her quest to defeat this disease very soon. 

If you're so inclined, please keep her and her family in your prayers.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Smart, Brave, and Tough

Today was a HUGE day in our world.  This afternoon Lleyton walked through the doors of his big boy school for the first time as he entered Pre-School. 

Our little guy is growing up. 

Very shortly after Lleyton was diagnosed with FASD, Sara and I sprung into action doing everything in our power to get our little man enrolled in the developmental preschool offered at the same elementary school where he will attend Kindergarten.  The application and enrollment process was a lengthy one, but we are thrilled that it worked out.

He has been quite excited ever since we told him that he was going to be starting school, and that excitement only grew as today grew closer.  According to him, he was most looking forward to teaching his classmates how to stomp, and trust me when I say he can stomp very well (and loud) in his fancy new back-to-school shoes.  At this point his class only consists of him and one other little boy.  Considering there is one teacher and two aids in the room with them I think he is likely to learn quite a bit (can't beat a 1.5:1 teacher to student ratio).

As I was driving the kids to school this morning we were talking about Lleyton's first day and how exciting it was going to be for Lleyton and Parker to be in the same school.  I asked the little guy if he was looking forward to school and meeting his new teacher and friend and he quickly responded in his most confident voice...

"Daddy, I'm going to be smart, brave, and tough."

That says it all.  Our little guy is growing before our eyes and I would be lying if I said it didn't make me the least bit sad. 

I'm not quite ready yet for him to grow up.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Parker's first day of school...

No wonder I refrain from calling him "little guy" any longer. 

Our young man is really growing up.


1st Grade

2nd Grade

Join with me in hoping this big fella never loses the enjoyment he gets from being in school.  He was excited this morning because today was the first day of the year that he was going to be learning in school, as yesterday was more of a get back into the routine type of day without much instruction.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Speaking of senses...

Parker's sense of taste is really unlike anyone else's that I know. The kid's love for spicy food is legendary. 

One perfect example: Most people dress up their spaghetti with some Parmesan cheese and marinara, or maybe a little butter. 

Not our Parker. 

What did he want chopped up on his pasta? 


Lucky for him there is a farmer's market outside of my office once a week and I spotted what looked like some delicious (if you like that sort of thing) jalapenos that I knew he would love.  I just didn't realize he would want to put them on whatever we were having for dinner that night.

After spending a lot of quality time in Ethiopia and falling love with their food, it should have come as no surprise to me that Parker tastes bud perform as they do.  A staple in many Ethiopian dishes is a mixture of delicious, albeit quite hot, spices called berbere.  Parker's favorite food of all, doro wot, is chock full of this very unique tasting spice.  So after spending as many years as he did growing up in Ethiopia, his taste buds were trained well to handle whatever spicy food is thrown their way.

Look out Adam Richman, this little guy could be the next star of Man vs. Food.

Monday, August 15, 2011


If you're so inclined, please keep our friends' daughter in your thoughts and prayers.  Five year old Ella has been in and out of (mostly in) the Children's Hospital since August 1st and today will be undergoing a difficult procedue to hopefully help her team of doctors pinpoint what is ailing her. 

Ella, along with her mom and dad and three brothers could use any and all prayers you are able to send their way. 

Thank you.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sensory Seeking Sunday

As is the case with most Sundays, Lleyton started off the day struggling.  It was one of those times where we could tell he was sensory seeking.  He was literally bouncing off walls, hitting himself with a racket, running through the house sliding like he was stealing 2nd base.  We tried the trick where we have him drag something heavy through the house.  That didn't work.  We tried to settle him down by putting a show he likes.  He wasn't having it.  So Sara came up with the idea of blowing the bounce house up inside.  It was wet outside after the overnight storms, so outside wasn't and option, and low and behold the kids' playroom is the perfect size for a little sensory seeking fun...

Since Parker was away for the majority of the weekend with Grammy and Pop, it was just Addy and Lleyton in the bounce house.  Max would have like to join the fray, but we didn't allow that.  The kids jumped around for for quite awhile burning off some steam in a fairly contained environment. 

Once the novelty of the home made Jump Zone wore off (more accurately, once my nerves couldn't take the constant worry that one of them was going to get hurt) we moved onto the next hands on activity of the day.  Sara's favorite blogger clued her in the other day on a way to make some very cool cupcakes, and knowing how much the kids love helping around the kitchen, it seemed to be the perfect project.

These aren't kids that just like to act like they are helping, they won't accept no for an answer when it comes to getting in and getting their hands dirty. 

Lleyton mixing the batter.

Who amongst us doesn't love taking care of the left over batter?

The beauty of our little ones is that they don't just do the fun work, they were both pretty excited about taking on the dirty dishes as well.

Once all of the dishes were done, it was time to take on the "cupcakes".

The finished products!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


What little boy doesn't love trucks? 

Ours certainly do, so we were quite excited to take them this morning to the annual Touch-a-Truck event near our house.  The little guys got to sit it and even honk the horns of trucks of all shapes and sizes. 

Which was their favorite?  The semi.  They were so were so jealous that the nice truck driver actually gets to sleep in his truck. 

Misery loves company.

For some unknown reason I want my boys to love the Bengals like I do.  Sara doesn't understand it, and most of the time I don't understand it either.  Is it because I would hate for the boys root for another team and then the Bengals become perennial winners?  Probably not, since that doesn't look like it is going to happen in my lifetime.  Subconsciously, it's probably because I want someone to suffer with after each subsequent loss.  Sounds like some sort of abuse to me. 

But hey, I can't help it if they love the Bengals.  Last night was the Bengals first preseason game and the boys were eager to put on their gear, so excited to be wearing the Bengals gear that they even chose to sleep in it. 

If you have another team that maybe I can introduce the boys to, let me know.  I can only imagine how easy it would be for them to jump ship at this young age and root for a good organization.  Colts? Patriots?  Dare I say Steelers?  (That pains me to write.)

One day they will most likely make the decision that they would look better in something other than stripes, but until then I think they look pretty handsome, and might I say comfortable, in the orange and black.

Who Dey!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Meet our friend Zhenya.

Zhenya is a 14 year old young man living in an orphanage is Kirov, Russia. He has lived in the Sovietsk Orphanage since his 8th birthday. 

Not unlike most other boys his age in Russia, Zhenya loves soccer, being outside with his friends, and from what we hear he is growing into quite a nice leader. I was introduced to Zhenya through our former case worker at the agency we used when adopting Lleyton. Her and her husband have an organization dedicated to giving back to the children living in Zhenya’s orphanage. Part of their efforts to raise the spirits of the young people living there is a pen pal/letter writing campaign.  Sara and I often talk about how we can give back or reach out to children like our own that have yet to find the loving home that ours have found and one way I have chosen to do that is through writing to my new buddy in Russia. 

Our little ones love seeing pictures of our friend in Russia and have all sorts of questions for him. Hopefully one day he will feel comfortable enough to write back to us.

As I was talking with Lleyton the other day about Zhenya I reminded him that he lives in Russia. Lleyton’s eyes immediately lit up as he exclaimed, “He lives in Russia! He is so lucky!”

Hopefully our teenage friend feels the same way. As I tell him each time I write, Sara and I love his homeland, we enjoyed our time there immensely and look forward to educating Lleyton and the rest of the kids about Russia, and hope to one day visit there with all of our children in tow (I can just promise that it won’t be during the winter months).

Do you have a few minutes every so often to write to a child in Russia? If so, jump over to Sarah and Ben's blog and let them know. Life can be very challenging for young people like Zhenya, but hopefully the occasional letter and picture he gets from our family helps him keep his chin up.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lleyton's newest pet?

While Parker looks thrilled to be getting his picture standing next to the steer that I just purchased on behalf of the bank I work for, Lleyton on the other hand seems to be racking his brain trying to figure out how we are going to get this cow in the van for the ride home.  Sadly for our little guy, the bovine wasn't able to make it home with us, as I am pretty certain there is some kind of by-law in our neighborhood prohibiting livestock from living in folks backyards. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Growing up fast.

This little beauty is growing like a weed.  Not just in size, but remarkably her personality is getting bigger as well (and we didn't think that was possible). 

Things Addy loves...

Ice Cream
Her brothers
Her new life jacket for the pool

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

DIY Network watch out...

The past couple of weeks has been quite hectic around our house, as we decided to take on quite a large DIY home improvement project.  Good thing we had this little guy around to help.  We wouldn't be nearly as far along today as we are if it wasn't for his hard work and excellent supervisory skills...

For those out there that may have aspirations of taking on a kitchen remodel, make sure that you have enough help.  Along with Lleyton's expertise, I also leaned on Sara's dad for the majority of the work.  It's always good have a Bob Vila type of father-in-law.  Allow me to let you in on a little secret, although I tell Lleyton and Parker that I taught Grandpa Paul everything he knows about home improvements, that's not necessarily true. I would know very little about how to rip boards, or cut granite, or operate heavy tools, or really anything else home improvement related if it weren't for Grandpa Paul...but my boys think it's cool that I have bestowed my expertise on him, so I will just let them keep believing that.  Thanks to Sara's dad for going along with my story.

Back to the project.  Before we got underway, I envisioned wrapping everything up in two days. Twelve days later we are nearing the finish line.  Although it has taken quite a bit longer than we had expected, the end result is going to be better than we could have imagined. 

Soon, it will be onto the next project...anything to keep us busy while we wait for our chance to go get our little guy from Korea.