Saturday, July 31, 2010

We made it!

Can I just say....birthdays WEAR ME OUT!  Today, was Catfish's 6th bday!  I can't believe how time as flown by, since he moved in with us March 30, 2007.  He was so small.  He couldn't talk, he didn't each much, he had no play skills...didn't smile much.  

Now, he is a ham.  He smiles, laughs and loves to tell jokes.  His speech has improved so much.  He is full of life and love.  He loves "daddy hugs" and wherever there is a warm body, there he is, sitting on it :)  He plays dress up, so everyday, he is someone new.  He is such a blessing.

We had guests come over, last night.  Great friends with 4 sweet children.  We had so much fun.  Alas, I didn't get any pictures :(  Today, we had more friends/family over.  Here is a picture of my sweet boy and the celebration of his life!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cutie #6

He is nickname free....we'll have to work on that. We think he is 3ish, will be 4ish when he comes to his forever home. Excitement....that word doesn't even cover it. We are beyond thrilled!

He looks like a chocolate Catfish LOL (according to my MIL). He has beautiful big brown eyes and a smile that can melt your heart in a moment. We are thrilled to be adding to our family, although we know that there will, obviously, be a HUGE adjustment (ie not speaking English, toddler, time change, food change, emotions from other 5 kiddoes, etc).

We serve a BIG God who loves my son (and all my other children) far more than I can even fathom. He has this all worked out and I pray, daily, that His presence will in every nook and cranny of our home as we make this transition.

I wish I could post a pic, but I'm not able too, just yet.....keep your eyes peeled for our newest addition!

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Catfish, 6, need I say more? He is a boogeyman catching, boobytrap making chameleon whom I love dearly.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Boo, 9, wants to be Steve Irwin when he grows up. He is a professional lizard/snake/frog catcher and he loves to come and show me his finds. He is sneaky sneaky. He can tell you the differences between each snake he catches, whether they are boys or girls, poisonous or not. He is the man :)

Boo has come a long way since he was a bitty. He entered into this world, with his mommy sick with bronchitis/laryngitis (the nurses loved me). He was flanked, in birth by his daddy and his 2 aunties....we had the privilege of them blessing him with prayers and they were really good to me and my back (altho, I still have hospital washcloth scars on it). He was so so sweet, such a joy.

We went through a very dark time, together. He was diagnosed with a lot of stuff, mainly centering around the autism spectrum. Sensory issues (only would eat crunchy food), couldn't handle touching different textures, screamed with bright lights, noise, people, he wouldn't look you in the eye, you couldn't touch him...there was a lot of screaming involved and he was the master of escape. He also didn't speak until he was a bit over 3.

During this time, daddy was on the road, working. Me, I was homeschooling my 5 yr. old, corralling my 3 yr. old and loving on a little man and working through his issues. I distinctly remember being told that I'm crazy, he's fine, leave it alone, blah blah blah. I went to visit my sis, in L-ville and, by mistake, she gave my little fella real milk. Within a matter of minutes, she was at the bathroom door apologizing LOL. He went from eye contact, sweet, good, happy to screaming, not looking at you, couldn't was a trip. I got tickled, because I'm used to it, but she had never seen a switch, that quick.

Fast forward a few years and we (off casein and limited gluten and shot free) have a bright, busy, active little boy. He has the most awesome belly button on the face of the planet. He is such a joy and a blessing. We have a very strong bond...I guess due to many sleepless nights. He is a fish in the water and a reptile wrangler out of the water. He loves deeply and our lives would not be complete without him.

He's a busy busy busy boy LOL.....busy.....and precious "Mom, have I had a hug today?" Love that kid!

Why Ethiopia?

1/10 children die before one.
1/6 six children die before 5.
44% of the population<15>
60% of kids stunted by malnutrition.
The median age is 17.8 years.
1.5 million people are infected with AIDS.
There are roughly 4.6 million orphans.
Per capita receives less aid than any other country in Africa.
1/2 of the kids will never attend school.
The doctor to child ratio is 1:24,000.
Why not?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Coupon Class

Interested in saving money?

Do you like free things?

Want free movie tickets or incentives to go on vacations?

Brandi Johnson (coupon guru of Murray) is offering a Coupon Class for our family. It will be $20 per person and childcare will be provided, if needed.

Here are some examples of our (and my) savings:

8 boxes of name brand cereal for 4 cents.
6 movie tickets + fun cash for the theatre
$600+ worth of groceries for $200.

Here are some of Brandi J's savings:
Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens and Kroger:

Total Shelf price = $247.24
After sales, coupons and incentives OOP = $20.82
92% Savings and an average of $.24 per item!

Here's what I got:

6 Betty Crocker potatoes
2 Boxes of Gorton's Fish Filets
2 BC Warm Delights
2 BC Cookie mixes
7 Bags of Chex Mix
4 boxes Kellogg's Raisin Bran
4 Boxes Nature's Valley Granola Bars
4 Bags Nature's Valley Nut Clusters
4 boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats
2 Loaves of bread
1 24 ct. Kroger Brand American cheese
5 lb. roll of Ground Beef
1 large bags of Kroger brand french fries
2 Cans Hunt's Spaghetti sauce
6 boxes of Hamburger Helper
1 box Oreo Cakesters
1 Bologna
2 Lunchables
2 Boxes of Go-gurt
1 doz. eggs
15 Pk of Bounty papertowels
6 king size starbursts
4 king size skittles
2 small boxes of Keebler Club Crackers
3 bottles of Dawn dish detergent
2 Bags of Wonka Gummies
1 Lint roller
1 Travel wipes
4 packs of Stay Free pads
2 bags of Starburst jelly beans
2 Oral B toothbrushes
1 Crest toothpaste

If you are interested (the class will be held the third week of August and a specific date will be announced when she gets home from vacation), please call leave me a message here, on fb or email at Please pass the word along! We need all the help we can get, we are traveling (the first time) in October!!!!!!!!!


And the blessings just keep on coming!

WE HAVE A COURT DATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My first thought is AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, my second thought is AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH and my final thought is God doesn't work on timelines, yet we have one zooming down the road. We have to raise A LOT of money between now and October!

Please pray that (God willing) we pass court A and then have the money for court B and then 6 wks later have more money to fly again to pick him up!


Praise the Lord!

God is good

I made a HUGE step towards obedience and almost instantly afterwards, I got a call from my mother in law. She was working at the senior citizen building and she was sharing, with another lady, our story of adoption and the lady, out of the blue donated some money towards our adoption. My mother in law was shocked and excited. I was humbled.

Thank you, Lord for your provisions and your promises.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And then there was G....

G, is...well....difficult. We adopted her and her brother (Catfish) when she had just turned 6. When we met her, she was full of energy, love, laughter, joy......she was fun to be around and she was eager to please. Fast forward a week (literally) and she was then full of rage, anger, self mutilation, violence, lying, deceit, was almost unbearable the first year. Yet, we pressed on.

Before I get to all the other issues of the world...let me tell you that she loves to sing, she looks great with short hair (much to her dismay), she knows what she likes and doesn't like. Singing is her favorite thing to do. She also likes swimming, being the center of attention, reading and talking (in general).

She was in therapy, for a while, but she is queen of "telling people what they want to hear" regardless of truth. She would rage for hours, on end. We tried medication, didn't work; we tried therapy, didn't work; we tried love and recreating her broken first few years, didn't work. We were made to be the odd ones because in public, she was an angel. We were viewed by many people to be the villians and they just couldn't understand why we had so much trouble with her.

Reactive Attachment Disorder is a disorder where it makes a child one of 2 ways. They can be resistant to affection (stiff when hugging, no eye contact, will not let you near them) or they can be OVERLY touchy/feely. That was the case for G. She would go and sit in anyone's lap, tell them she loves them (strangers), touching inappropriately, acting inappropriately, etc. It is a hard disorder to live with because there is nothing that can be done, medically. There isn't a magic pill that can change the behaviours, there isn't any amount of love or devotion that can be given that would make a difference. It is horrible.

The manipulative, that is a big one.....a really really big one. Here are more signs to look for (the ones in red are the ones that we have dealt with over the last 3 yrs):

The Ambivalent Children –

  • Are angry, defiant & can be violent.
  • Will push affection away to keep control
  • Are destructive both with their own belonging and others
  • Are extremely difficult children to parent because they sabotage or destroy almost everything positive that happens to them.
  • When they want something, they act very affectionate.
  • Have few friends if any, although they will say they do, listing several acquaintances – keep friends only for a short time
  • Lack the ability to give and receive love
  • Lack empathy for others – often cruel to animals and other children.

The Anxious Children –

  • Tend to be overly clingy, showing extreme separation anxiety when separated from their mothers.
  • Incessantly chatters to control conversation
  • Appear to be eager to please and are superficially compliant.
  • Are often passive aggressive, constantly doing little things wrong, but never doing anything really bad, but frazzling the parents patience and control.
  • Usually recover faster than those in the other categories

The Avoidance Children –

  • Are often overlooked as they are very compliant, agreeable & superficially engaging,
  • Lack depth to their emotions & functions – robotic like, not genuine or real in emotional engagement.
  • Don’t enjoy being around others because they don't feel safe.
  • Are Omnipotent – believing that they can care for all their own needs by themselves, and do not need others, especially their mothers.
  • Are sullen and openly oppositional, but mostly in a passive aggressive way.

The Disorganized Children –

  • Have highly disorganized behaviour and a bizarre showing a variety of symptoms.
  • Hide anger deep inside, they are easier to deal with, harder to treat.
  • May have atypical psychosis, bipolar disorder, and other neurological disorders.
  • Often will have mental illness in the family history.
  • Are excessively excitable (other RAD children are usually moody.)
  • Are most difficult to treat in therapy because they have so many different problems and often require medication and out-of-home care.

Other Signs & Symptoms

Signs of Reactive Attachment Disorder in infants may include: weak crying response, rage, constant whining, sensitivity to touch and cuddling, poor suckling response and eye contact, and no reciprocal smile response.

Reactive Attachment Disorder Children may also have these symptoms: lack of conscience development, lack of eye contact except when lying, will not give or receive affection (hugs & kisses), no impulse control, abnormal eating patterns (gorging, hoarding, etc.), constantly making noise of some kind, pacing, and unusual speech patterns (mumbling, robotic, talking softly).

Here are some dos and don'ts (just as some friendly advice...when you come across a hagard mom of a RAD kid)

1. Don't compare their difficulties to yours with a healthily attached child who gives some trouble. It is like comparing an acorn to an oak tree. The parents will feel like their problems are being belittled, and they will feel even more alone.

2. Don't give advice on how to discipline unless they ask for it. Often with these children nothing, I mean nothing, works.

3. Don't judge their parenting.

4. Don't side with the child in trying to get what he wants, or to defend him against the parents.

5. Don't help the child to get around rules set by the parents.

6. Don't say, "He is such a pleasant boy. He seems to be so stable. I don't understand why you are having trouble with him. He's not that bad."

Now some dos.

1. Listen with sympathy. You may not be able to understand completely, but admitting that is encouraging. It shows that you recognize the problem.

2. Support the parents in any efforts they are making.

3. Babysit the problem child, or take him on an outing, to give the parents a break.

4. Show love and acceptance to the child.

5. Pray for and with the parents.

6. Support the parents in any treatment decision they might make. It is very hard to give you child over to a treatment facility, but then to be criticized for doing so really hurts.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Peachy Girl

Peach, 12, she isn't a wannabe flower child, she IS flower child LOL. She marches to the beat of a different drum and I love it. She was the sweetest, fattest little baby, ever! She was so happy and full of giggles and fun. Her imagination is fantastic. She would come to "school" everyday in an evening gown and a tiara. She plays in her room, for hours. She loves all animals, but especially horses. She is the animal whisperer. She can calm the most frightening dog. She loves to read and her favorite thing to do is color. She *loves loves* to color!

She was recently saved and she strives to walk the walk and talk the is a work in progress. She struggles, but the Holy Spirit wins more times than not. She is trying to find her niche' at church and right now, she has been spreading her wings by singing at church. She has also been helping with our special needs class. She loves to help.

She is *very* blunt. When she was little, I remember her gently caressing my MIL's face and saying "Mimi, you are so beautiful....I love you so much....your breath smells bad." She never misses a beat and she isn't malicious when she makes these bold statements. She is so precious and her vivacious attitude and her walk with the Lord will get her very far, in this world in whatever she chooses to do.

Excited to see how God is working

We received our "bill" statement from our agency. It was humbling to see the total and in big letters PAID IN FULL! God has worked miracles to provide, so far...we still have about $6-8K more to raise *travel and the extra expenses that goes with that*

Praise you, Jehovah Jirah for being our Provider, thus far and for the duration of journey.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Sitting here watching all of my kids doing their "things"...they are so different. It'd be a boring place if they were all alike.

Bug, 14, flower child wannabe :) She is super super smart. She corrects me on any/everything that when I'm wrong, but she does it with a side of grace. She is one that uses her imagination in her artwork, poetry, writing and she thrives on learning new things. She will not stop till it is mastered. She tends to get flustered when something doesn't work out the way she pictured it. She is a crocheting, knitting, cross stitching, painting fiend.

Her walk with the Lord is amazing, she is a very centered young lady who only sees black and white (sin and good). There is no gray with her, at all. Example: we went to the movies and before we went, I brought a big purse and put some snacks and drinks in it (instead of buying it). Once the movie started and I began handing stuff out, she asked me where I bought it. I told her at Walmart and she said that we can't bring food into the theatre that wasn't bought there, so we shouldn't eat it because it was wrong. Well, that just let the wind out of my sails. I had never thought of it. I thought more along the lines of it was extortion how much they charge for things. That's my girl...bringing new thoughts, bringing scripture and what is good and right to a world (a person) who has been desensitized to so many things over the years.

She handles, even the worst of situations with grace, dignity and forgiveness. My knee jerk reaction is grudges and looking for revenge. She has tempered that in me, praise be. She is showing me that it can be handled right, because God is our avenger and He loves us (and the one who sins against us/hurts us). Humbling. I simply adore her. Every odd, off beat thing she does or says. When she talks, she talks 90 to nothing. I usually only catch every third word or so. She reads like nobody's business and she loves.....unconditionally, even when I screw up.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Control Freaks Anonymous

Okay, okay.....I'm a recovering yeller. I've gone through the classes, I have my certificate, my t-shirt and I still contact my sponsor LOL.

I've been standing at the doorstep of a new class, Control Freak Anonymous. I like things the way I like them and I want them when I want them. Period. The. End. Who knew that it was a Pass/Fail class.

When you pray for God to reveal your vices, you don't expect Him to hold your hand and walk you through adoption...not once...but twice. You'd think I would've passed my class when I was "in the process" of adopting my 2 little ones. It took 3 yrs. 3 long long long years of court, paper mess ups, threats, therapy, etc etc etc. Apparently, I failed that class. No certificate, no shirt, no sponsor.

So, fast forward another year (after that adoption is final) and here we are again, walking down the road of international adoption. My dreams being fulfilled, one child at a time. Again, I'm in the control freak class and for the first 4 months....I was failing miserably. Bit by bit, situation by situation, paper by paper.......I'm trying to learn from my mistakes, I'm trying to let go of my issues, I'm trying to allow God to do what He does best. Not control me, but lead me, guide me, love me, direct me.

The past month, I've experienced one of my worst nightmares, I've come to realize that I can be alone and it is okay, the house won't fall apart, I've lost trust in a trusted person, I'm financially strapped, but still trying to raise money to bring my little guy home, my dishwasher exploded, insurance companies won't do what they are *supposed* to do, my floors ruined, my dishwasher broke, my washing machine broke and I've felt so displaced in my life.

I've realized, now looking back, that:

My worst nightmare: was horrible, but forgiveness has to take place and I know that God will use this according to His glory and His purpose.

I can be alone and the house not fall apart: My dh is a very capable dh and father, praise be to God. I have great kids, too :)

Lost trust in someone I trust: That's been hard, it has hurt, but again, forgiveness *has* to take place.

Finances: Be good stewards of what God has given us and He will bless us beyond reason.

My sweet boy: He will come home in God's time, not mine.

Dishwasher: fixed, floor still undone, estimate done, waiting...just waiting.

Feeling displaced: It is me being refined.....boy does it hurt, sometimes.

Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). Psalm 55:22 (AMP)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another EASY way to help!

If you have ANY empty inkjet cartridges, cell phones, or laser cartridges, please let us know and we'll either pick them up or we'll pay for you to have them mailed to us.

Remember, all monies collected goes straight towards bringing our son home from Africa. He is ready :) So are we!

Please continue to pray over him, his safety and health and for God to sell a few cattle to send us to Africa! You are all helping to save a life (and my sanity LOL)

Please email at for ways you can send your cartridges or phones.

Also, you can still send donations (100% tax deductible) to:

Lifesong For Orphans
ATTN: Crum #1277 Adoption
PO Box 40/202 N. Ford St.
Gridley, IL 61744

Not for the faint of heart

I must caution all of those in the process or considering adoption. It isn't for the faint hearted. There are things that you simply can and can not do. One, of which, is put your life on hold for your precious little one. Paperwork snafu's happen, delays happen, lack of communication or miscommunication happens.....there isn't a single day that I don't think of my son. Wonder how he is or if he's been hugged today. I found myself getting angry....why won't you hurry up, what do you mean you need *more* paperwork, why isn't this in country, why won't you call me back, I can't buy that extra gallon of milk because I can use that money towards the adoption. All these things go in and out of my little head, more times than not.

As a wise woman told me (she's an elderly lady LOL, love to you, T).....adoption isn't necessarily about providing a child with a home more than it is about sanctifying us in the process. All things happen for a reason and God's hand is all over my son and all the other little delays that happen. All things work together for good and to give Him honor and praise. I do not want the glory of adoption, I want my Lord to have it all. I hear people say, all the time, how impressed they are and how I'm saving a life. I didn't save a life...God chose me and my family to bless our home through adoption and HE saved our lives. This was His choice, not necessarily mine. I'm simply being obedient and I'm learning how to be patient. That is a hard lesson to learn, for me. I'm not the most patient person in the world.

For now, I have my pictures, I have a video, I have my thoughts and I have tons of prayers. I'm willing to answer (or find the answer) to any adoption question you might have. I've adopted through our foster care system and now I'm adopting internationally. Sincerely pray and ask God how He might use you and your family. All you have to do is be obedient to His call, the rest, He will take care of. You will be in awe of how He works things out!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ways you can help

  • Donating frequent flyer miles
  • Donating items for yard sale
  • Spreading the word on a spaghetti dinner/silent auction at a suggestion donation of $10 per person or $30 per family..invite as many people as you can (date to be announced if enough interest is in this)
  • Donating pies/cookies/cakes for sale at the dinner
  • Have your teen be willing to be a server for the dinner
  • Donating items for the silent auction
  • Putting up a donation jar with Jude's picture on it at your local business
  • Prayer, lots and lots of prayer
  • Monetary donations that are 100% tax deductible (the address to Lifesong is at the top of this page) *this will go towards traveling twice, room, food, shots for B and me, gifts to the other orphans at the orphanage
  • Being available to watch my other 5 children during the day while I'm gone and B is at work
  • Any boy clothes/shoes....I'm saying about a 3T in clothes and a size 5 in shoes
  • We are in need of a set of bunk beds
  • We are also in need of a toddler bed
  • You can purchase (or ask for...we have some left) M & M the goodies and then fill the jar up with quarters and return them to us.
  • Any fundraiser ideas are welcomed!
Here is the address for any monetary donations:

Lifesong For Orphans
ATTN: Crum #1277 Adoption
PO Box 40/202 N. Ford St.
Gridley, IL 61744

Love it!

Don't ya love checking your email and you get a wonderful surprise! Here was my surprise, this morning :) We got 2 new pictures of our little man....Israel Jude Abinet Crum :) For those of you who know me and my family, picture a little boy that looks like the chocolate version of Catfish :)

I had his pictures posted, but due to the fact that we haven't passed court, yet, I had to take them down :( *thanks again, Ms. Hannah, for the heads up*

Just know that he is edible, tiny and in most of his pictures, he is wearing something pink LOL

Monday, July 12, 2010


I'm a bad bad bloggin' mama.

I simply haven't had any new info to post, so therefore, I haven't posted.

I NOW have something to post. We have our referral. We are thrilled. I received it during one of the worst weeks of my life. Monday ended horribly with things that I never thought I'd have to deal with....I'm dealing with it. Tuesday was full making statements to important people, crying, praying (yelling rather), Wednesday was met with my pastor and a trusted counselor to try and make sense out of this horrible issue. Wednesday, I left for California. My friend from Finland was home and she wanted to see me....I needed to get away...then again, maybe I didn't need to get away. I was a train wreck on the plane. That was a lot of time to remind myself of what a horrible person/wife/parent I am. Once I safely landed, I was greeted with my dear friend, her sweet husband, precious baby and wonderful mother. Nothing but smiles and understanding. My friend "briefed" everyone on my situation, so supper was nothing short of how to properly maim men who don't understand that no means no. Things were okay, tense, not sleeping much, but okay Thursday and then Friday...we got a video of our precious son and pictures to boot. My tears of heartache were transforming into yelps and tears of joy. Everyone in the room was an emotional basketcase (I, of course, drug them by their hair to see my sweet son.)

It is official...we have chosen...we have been chosen...we have wonderful people in our lives that have brought us one step closer (you know who you are and thank you again). I have a bit more peace. I'm reminded everyday that each delay, each moment there isn't enough money, with each is all ordained by a Big God. He will bring us together in His time and His time only. He sends people from the farthest east and the farthest west to meet the needs of His chosen ones, according to His will. I have to rest in that. He won't call our family to do something if he hadn't already ordained how it would all play out.

Once I figure out how to find my picture of my cutie.....I'll be posting it :) Blessings to all.