Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Once more with Feeling!

Well, here we are, seven weeks into the greatest adventure of our lives. Everyday brings new surprises and joys. Life with Lizzie just keeps getting better and I cannot imagine life without her. Nearly all of our initial concerns have vanished. After a slow start at school and nightly attempts to be stubborn about homework, Lizzie has now evolved into a little sponge. She brought home her first report card yesterday and she had all A's. I was bowled over. Ashley and I had already begun talking about letting Lizzie repeat kindergarten but now, after seeing how fast she has caught up with the rest of her class we are talking about how we can continue to challenge her. After just two months Lizzie has gone from not knowing her letters or letter sounds to actually reading stories to Ashley and I. Of course the books are pretty simple but still I am just amazed at how far she has come in such a short time.

We took Lizzie to the fair this weekend. I did not know if she would even consider getting on any rides. Well she wanted to ride everything. She went on all the kiddie rides and when we started down the midway she wanted to ride every big kid ride she saw. She wanted to ride the Mega Drop, which is the one that takes you up about 100 feet and then drops you in a free fall. She was 4 inches too short to ride it. She also wanted to ride the Super Loop, the Fire Ball and a bunch more but she did not meet the height requirements. About half way down the midway, Ashley asked Lizzie if she wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel and she said yes, then she saw the giant Ferris Wheel at the end of the midway and said "I want to ride that one." Lizzie and I rode the Giant Ferris Wheel and the Tilt-A-Whirl, which I always called the Spin-n-Puke. Lizzie also rode the Yo-Yo which is where you sit in a swing seat and get spun around. It started raining while we were on the Giant Ferris Wheel and we decided it was time to leave. Given more time I think she would have rode every ride she could get on. She is an adrenaline junkie. We have not mentioned to her that the Fair is still going on. We are considering taking her back for a second visit. We left so fast I did not even get to give Lizzie any Fair food. How can you go to the Fair and not eat a corn dog or funnel cake?

Nearly every day when we first became a family, Lizzie would ask for her friend Schaefer. Even as recently as last week she would say "I miss Schaefer." As we were walking around the kiddie rides Lizzie suddenly reached out and grabbed a little boy who was running by and said "Hey!" He stopped, looked at her and then said, "Hey Mom, look, it's Lizzie." Well at that point I figured out that she knew him so I knelt down and said, "and what's your name?" When he told me his name was Schaefer I about fell out. I quickly stood up and told his mom how happy I was that we ran into each other. I told her how Lizzie always asked for Schaefer and she said that Schaefer always asked about Lizzie and that he prays for Lizzie each night. Schaefer worried about Lizzie so much that his mom went to school to ask about Lizzie. The teacher told her that Lizzie had moved to another school. She had no idea that Lizzie had been adopted out by her old parents. I did not have anything to write on so I gave her one of my business cards and told her to call or e-mail me and we would get Lizzie and Schaefer together for a "play day." Lizzie asked today if Schaefer's mom had called yet. I hope she still has my card and calls or e-mails soon.

We have developed a routine where Lizzie and I watch Johnny Quest, an old cartoon from my youth that I still enjoy, each evening before dinner. We turn the TV off during dinner and have the best conversations. She eats very well and will try anything. Tonight we had Pork Chops, Sweet Potatoes, Squash and stuffing. She asked what the Sweet Potatoes and Squash were and I think the names turned her off but we encouraged her to try both and when she did she ate all her Sweet Potatoes and most of her Squash. She said she was full and looking at her nearly clean plate I told her that she had eaten plenty and did not have to eat the last little bit of pork chop and squash. Then when she got down she asked if she could have a piece of candy, the girl is a chocoholic. Ashley and I both said at the same time, "If there is room for candy there is room for pork chop and squash." She got this cute little smile on her face because she knew that we had her and she dutifully got back in her chair and started eating again. In reality, she had eaten a very good dinner and I told her to eat two more bites of pork chop and two more bites of squash and she could have a piece of candy. I could not be more pleased with Lizzie, she will go far in life with her attitude, her willingness to try new things, and her ability to make new friends. She is a very special little girl.

Although we have not talked about it in a couple of weeks, Lizzie is supposed to have a sleep over friend this weekend, her second-cousin Clancy. We will be going to the Fall Festival at Dayspring Church on Cody road this Saturday. I am sure both Lizzie and Clancy will have a great time. By the way, if you have children and want a safe fun environment for them, you cannot do any better than the Dayspring Fall Festival this Saturday from 4 to 7.

We are still hoping that Lizzie's old family will have a moment of compassion and contact the attorney about signing the adoption papers. Otherwise we have a date with the judge on November, 30th. Keep us in your prayers and ask that God will work on this woman's heart and spare us and Lizzie the uncertainty and expense of going to court.

Other than that, everything is settling down to a real nice routine. It is all pretty boring but in a way that makes me the happiest man on earth. I will send another update when something worth telling you about happens. Until then, may God Bless us everyone.

Reggie, Ashley and Lizzie.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Still More Lizzie News

Welcome to another Lizzie update. I have had a plethora of requests for another update. It has now been almost six weeks since Lizzie came into our lives and changed them forever. I find it hard to believe myself but I love Lizzie more each day that passes and cannot imagine life without her. Ashley and I want to thank everyone who has shared in our joy and for the outpouring of love we have experienced. Lizzie has enjoyed a month long birthday party. Each week brings more gifts for her. We have been a little tardy in getting thank you cards out but they are coming. Really, they are.

Let me see if I can catch everyone up in as short of an email as possible. First, try to buy school uniforms six weeks after school starts if you want an exercise in frustration. We are living proof that it can be done but it is not easy. Lizzie is in school again and adjusting great. She loves her teacher and is making new friends. She is still a little behind where she should be at this point in the school year but she is rapidly catching up with the rest of the class. She enjoys being read to and now she is starting to enjoy reading to us. We found out the hard way that young children require more sleep than we thought. She now gets between 9 and 10 hours of sleep each night and her capacity to learn has grown. Lizzie makes friends with everyone very quickly and loves to give hugs and kisses. She enjoys dress up and is a little clothes horse.

Lizzie has still only mentioned her old family a few times and she has never become home sick or asked to visit or speak to her old family. A couple of weeks ago Ashley was taking Lizzie through the Springhill section of town on the way home when Lizzie noticed some of the older homes in the area. She asked if the homes were "condos." Ashley replied that they were not but that people lived in them. Lizzie said that she thought they were condos because she had stayed in one at the beach and they had "lots of boats." Ashley said, "I bet that was fun" to which Lizzie replied "Not really." After a few moments of silence she asked Ashley if she ever had to go back to her old family. Ashley said that she didn't to which Lizzie said, "Good. I'm glad we found each other." It melts my heart.

We are letting Lizzie's hair grow out. Lizzie asked to have longer hair because she does not like to be mistaken for a boy. It has finally grown out enough that we can get a bow to stay in her hair. Lizzie enjoys going to Sunday School and Praise Workshop, a type of children's church for 4 and 5 year old children. She loves the dogs and cat and says a "God Bless" for each dog and the cat when she says her bedtime prayers. The cat really loves Lizzie because she is so gentle with the cat and will just pet the cat for days. I have never seen a cat not run from a 5 year old.

Lizzie continues to be very independent, the one thing I hear over and over is "I can do it." Lizzie is very clean and neat and is good about picking up her toys with out complaining. She also listens to reason most of the time. She is totally mesmerized by Sesame Street and of course her favorite TV show is Spongebob Squarepants.

We still need to add some flooring to the attic to make room in the closets. Things have now overflown out of the closets and onto the floor but we will get to it soon. A little over two weeks ago I developed a rather large pain in a very tender place. I had surgery on September 26th and have just in recent days been able to sit for an extended time with out having to spend time soaking in a tub. Let me tell you that the type of surgery I had is the most painful and uncomfortable thing I have ever experienced. But things are much better now. Although it was a big pain in the rear, it seems my troubles are behind me now.

Ashley and I are ready to move ahead with the adoption and have been for weeks. However, Lizzie's old parents are not responding to phone calls, voice mails or e-mails. If her old parents would sign the "consent to adopt" paperwork we could move forward quicker. Without the consent forms we have to wait of our November 30th court date where we expect to be given permanent custody of Lizzie. Once we have permanent custody of Lizzie we can consent to her being adopted, by us. However we then have to serve her old parents with papers showing our intent to adopt Lizzie. After being served, Lizzie's old parents have 30 days to hire an attorney and contest the adoption. We expect that they will not contest the adoption. After that it is just the adoption itself. That sounds like a long process and it is. Everything could be done a lot faster (and cheaper) if her old parents would just answer the phone or reply to e-mail.

The PE teacher at school today commented on how fast Lizzie can run. The PE teacher said that when the class runs laps that Lizzie never looks back and just hauls butt. She said that Lizzie is very competitive about it and leaves the rest of the class in her dust. Maybe we have a budding track star.

I have a few more photos on my Picasa Photo Site. Here is the Link.


Well that is about it. Take care everyone and thanks for all the support and prayers. We love you all.