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My God Is Mighty

It's funny how when you step out in faith, Satan seems to come and try to meet you right there... He's in the doubt, the well-meaning friends who try to dissuade you, the rude remarks...  He knows his game so very well - I mean, he's been at it from the ...

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NEW FIND OF THE WEEK:  EcoJarz - Review and GIVEAWAY!!

NEW FIND OF THE WEEK: EcoJarz - Review and GIVEAWAY!!

Have you ever wondered what you could do with all of your spaghetti and peanut butter jars? Or, had you wondered what kind of safe drinking cup you could take with you on the go that was as safe on your pocket book as it was on your body and the ...

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Family Mission Statements

Family Mission Statements

Imagine you are on this great expedition: you have a budget, you are excited, and you are ready to lead! Except... you aren't really sure where you are going.  Therefore, you aren't really sure how to go about getting there. We wouldn't DREAM (or most of us, anyways) of setting out on ...

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Advertise

Advertise

We like to promote anything that we think our readers would either enjoy or benefit from. If you're interested in working with www.bosssanders.com, you can reach Ashley by email at bosssanders(at)gmail(dot)com. WHO BOSSSANDERS IS Ashley is a mother and wife who chronicles the daily madness of her life.  Topics ...

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January 22

January 22

By faith, we stepped out on this journey. But, as our personal financial reserves begin to dwindle and we are being called to lean more and more on Him and His invitation to others to Bless and Be Blessed on this journey, I begin to understand ...

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When Adoption Isn’t Easy – The Things Nobody Wants To Say Outloud

by bosssanders on April 8, 2014 with 6 comments

Sometimes, I just want to be a “plain ‘ol” mom.  I want to be able to sit around a table and talk about my rough days without being looked at with wide eyed horror or like I’m a three-eyed monster.  Sometimes, I just want to be so honest about my thoughts and not judged.  Sometimes, I just need to be seen as a mom, wife, woman… just trying to love Jesus and her family and doing her best to do what’s right.  I’m just like every other mama…

I teeter on the line between being a “Trauma Mama” (as my friend, CS calls them… people who constantly complain about the hardness that comes when your life changes) and appearing as if our family came right out of a “Leave it to Beaver” episode.  I have no interest in either, I just want to be real.  And, while adoption can be messy, it is also beautiful.  I’ll never stop saying that.  I believe it.

But, here’s some things I don’t want to say, but that I want you to know (and to know…those of you with me… you are NOT ALONE):

- There are days when I’m EXHAUSTED and WEARY and feel like I’m losing a fight.  On those days, I miss how simple things used to be.  On REALLY hard days, I feel like we messed everything up.  It’s SO hard to say those words.  It’s hard to even think them.  But, on the HARDEST of HARD days, I wonder what the future holds and if we are hurting our other children.  But, the TRUTH is we didn’t mess anything up.  We have grown and our kids have grown and have an up-close view of tangible mercy and grace and redemption.  They know what it’s like to love others and to LOVE big.  The TRUTH is that doing what God has called you to do is never EASY.  He doesn’t call us to EASY.  I bet even Noah had fleeting thoughts as he built the ark and waited for the rains…

- And, on those super HARD days, I feel like the worst. person. ever for even thinking those thoughts.

- I hate the thought of saying it out loud, out of fear that some of the people who disagreed with our adopting would think they were right all along (YOU WERE NOT, BY THE WAY.  We were meant to do this.)

- But, down deep, I know the thoughts fleeting through my brain are NOT TRUE.  Because, I KNOW …without a shadow of a doubt… that God called us to THIS journey, THIS child.

- Some days, I feel weary from the burden of knowing there are people looking at OUR STORY, as they are considering adoption.  I don’t want to vent and them be overwhelmed and disheartened, and I also don’t want to contribute to some view of adoption where there is no mess, no hurt.  Because, ALL children need homes. –The easy kids, the hard ones, the healthy ones, the ones with illnesses, the black ones, the white ones, the young ones, the old ones… ALL of them.  We ALL need families.  Even when we don’t think we need families… we do.

- i screw up a lot.  And, I’m really tired of hearing about “What Would Karyn Purvis Do?”  Let’s all get bracelets: WWKPD?… NOT.

- Kids with hard pasts come home with a range of behaviors… manipulation, stealing, lying, bed-wetting, etc.  They are all “normal.”  And yet, it’s hard to talk about with my “normal friends” (those who haven’t adopted older kids) because I don’t want my child labeled.  I yearn for relationships where I can be real and talk about my day without a friend eye-ing my child when their kiddo misplaces their own favorite toy or book.  The truth is… my kid is a GOOD kid struggling along on his own journey.  And, he’s doing pretty darn awesome.

- MOST DAYS, I’m SO thankful for this little boy.  He makes me smile.  He has already come SUCH a long way.  We have trekked a LONG and TEDIOUS journey with him, even in the past few months.  I see where and what he came from and am AMAZED at the ways in which God has protected him and shielded him – physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  Had it been me, I can only imagine the shape I’d be in… I’d probably be rocking in a corner.  He has changed SO much.  He used to be a fighter, full of defiance and … HARD.  Now, we deal with some things (that are small in comparison but feel BIG on hard days in the moment) but he left fighting behind and has tried hard to become a new version of himself when he started this new chapter of his life.  He works hard, trying to obey and has attached well to his siblings.  He tries to be helpful at home, doing chores and helping with his little brother.

- Attachment is HARD.  I never, ever expected how hard it would be.  I had grand visions of a little boy who would give hugs and we’d snuggle (because we’re all snugglers here) and we’d all be so in love with each other.  After all, my “mama bear” instinct was immediately ignited for him and I prayed and fought so hard to get him good, quality care and keep him safe.

- Instead, hugs were awkward and it took 5 months to cuddle…once.  For the first couple of months, there were NO butterfly feelings.  I loved him because he was my son, but I didn’t expect the feelings that came instead of the butterflies….  The truth is… why wouldn’t attachment be hard?  Expecting a child who has never known what a family looks like to seamlessly integrate in…that’s CRAZY.

- And, again… I felt like the most horrible mother on the face of the planet.  What kind of mother was I?  (A NORMAL ADOPTIVE ONE, IT TURNS OUT.)  (Now, we are MUCH better but are still journeying towards complete attachment.)

- There are some days where it doesn’t feel like he cares.  About anything other than his immediate gratification.  And, fear grips me.  And, I feel overwhelmed with my responsibility to help him un-learn the negative behaviors he’s spent the past 7-8 years learning and to teach him to connect with others and love others and most of all, to love Jesus.  I feel overwhelmed and the fear of failing this task is SO HARD.  My mind darts to the future and the what-ifs and I just don’t want to fail God and the little boy He entrusted me with.  But, the TRUTH is… it’s our responsibility to train him up to know and love Jesus… but beyond that, it’s up to him.  And, it’s up to God.  Not me.  Maybe I didn’t get the first years of his life, but God has protected him and shielded him and He will not abandon him now.  My fears are simply a distraction from the truth.

- We adopted because we love Jesus and wanted to share our home with a child who didn’t have a family.  That’s it.  Not because we were super patient or had super powers.  Not because we were bored or rich.  Not because we wanted more kids (not that we don’t…it just wasn’t the reason.)  The truth is….We’re just … normal (mostly)… people.  Please don’t expect more from me than any other mama who spends her days pouring into her littles.

- And, sometimes, I just want to get out of the house.  Alone.  I homeschool 4 little kids and I pour BEYOND what I have into them on a daily basis.  My days don’t end at 5 pm.  They never end on some days…like when fevers or stomach bugs visit our home.  Some days I get super excited about getting out… or look super tired… it’s not because I hate my kids (I DON’T)… I just need a break.  And, by break, I don’t mean a playdate at the park, where I’m on high alert for child predators, moving vehicles, potential broken bones, or on the run children!

At the end of the day, I just want to be a mom… just like you.  I want to sit around a table with friends and be able to admit “this is HARD” without people hearing, “this was a mistake” instead.  Sometimes, I just want to be able to talk about a hard day and people know I’m talking about that day, that moment… not that my life sucks.  (Because, if we’re being honest, we ALL have hard days… I remember having 3 kids under the age 4 while my husband was deployed and that was HARD of a different kind.  But, still…HARD).  I want my son to be seen as a kid…not as the potential source of trouble because his beginnings started out a little differently.  –Because, the truth is… each of our kids have their own “stuff” to deal with.  I want us to be heard and seen and loved…with no mental assessments or judgements.

Because this journey we are on?  It’s just a journey… much like yours.

And, we don’t regret it, it’s worth it.  He’s worth it.

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bosssanders

Homeschooling and Adoption

by bosssanders on April 5, 2014 with 1 comment



“Z” has been home in the US with us for 21 weeks and 2 days.

I remember searching the internet for clues on how to school a child who does not speak your language, how to catch them up quickly.  I remember the search for materials that could help us, help him, and help us help him!  I remember finding next to nothing.  I remember calling schools, frantic, asking what they could do for my son (turns out, beyond Spanish students, there’s not much for older children from different languages when it comes to integrating them into school.  Their solution?  Stick him in a Kindergarten class with children 2 years younger than him and leave him there so that he’d always be 2 years older than the other kids.)  It felt like everywhere I turned, people encouraged me to put him in the hands of our local schools… they didn’t believe I could do it.  Heck, I wasn’t even sure I believed in me… so why should they?

I’ll admit… taking a child who had NEVER had any formal schooling and couldn’t speak our language…and trying to “catch him up” was a daunting task.  Terrifying.  I homeschool 2 of our other children, but we’ve never encountered barriers like this.  They are EASY to homeschool.  They are motivated and quick-learners.  It wasn’t until I was told that they’d simply “stick” him in Kindergarten to sink or swim that I decided I could AT LEAST do that.  I could AT LEAST get him to Kindergarten, if nothing else.  And, I could give him more than 30 minutes of one on one time that the school was offering.  I could do that much, I knew.

And, 21 weeks and 2 days later… this is what I’ve learned:

- You don’t have to catch your child up to where they need to be in the first year.  If the schools in your area aren’t the best option for you (I know some schools do this VERY WELL and have experience with older adopted children transitioning in…or, at the very least… are willing to TRY and WORK CLOSELY WITH PARENTS).  I kept thinking… must catch him up to 1st/2nd grade in the first school year (which only had 6 months left in it).  It felt and looked like a mountain.  It felt impossible.  But, the truth is… we homeschool ALL.DAY.LONG.  We may put the books away, but we keep learning.  He has siblings that are eager to teach him all they know.  We don’t have to take snow day breaks and our summer breaks will be filled with learning, too.  And, when you have a classroom of 4 children, you can get MORE done in a shorter amount of time.  (We have gotten through 1.5 grade levels in ONE school year before and another .5 during the summer.)

- When “Z” first came home, he didn’t know his alphabet, colors, English, numbers, or how this world worked.  Needless to say, basic etiquette, how to eat in public, safety rules, etc… all BRAND NEW!  EVERYTHING was new.  I wasn’t prepared for that to this extreme!  (I’m not sure why!  It makes COMPLETE SENSE!)  So, we began with PRE-K and toddler lessons.  The difference, though, was that he has the CAPACITY to learn quickly and deeply (unlike a toddler).

- We began with colors, ABCs, words, safety rules, manners, and numbers.  We bought picture dictionaries (like what you’d buy for toddlers) and Richard Scarry’s books.  The kids and my husband and I (and other family members) would take turns going through it with him, pointing out things and practicing naming them in English.  We role-played for manners at the table and other places.  We sang ABCs and practiced writing those and numbers.  We put on ABC songs and ABC/counting dvds and practiced naming a new color each day.  I had a sheet of paper that i tracked his new words (so I knew what else to work on with him) and in 3 weeks, he could say his ABCs and count to ten and name his colors.  He could communicate at a basic level with words with us.

- Then, we began the Leap Frog letter factory DVD to learn his letter sounds.  Each day before nap-time, the kids would watch it (even our 2nd grader and toddler still liked it!)  We kept teaching new words, practiced writing letters and numbers.  In about 1.5-2 weeks, he knew 90% of his letter sounds.

- At approximately 5 weeks, he “graduated” Preschool level!

- Next, we began Hooked On Phonics for Kindergarten, level one.  At first, it went TERRIBLY slow.  He could sound out the letters S-A-M, but then would simply say HAT!  We were really confused and felt like the wonderful progress we’d made had come to halt!  (Our four year old was speeding through and seemed to be able to identify letter sounds so we weren’t sure where the disconnect was coming from).  We kept trudging through for a couple of weeks with no real progress on that part.  Then, we realized his “best time” was in the morning after breakfast and we were trying to read in the evenings.  So, we changed the time and then had his older sister help him practice.  I’m not sure if it was just extra time, the difference in the time of day, or having someone to compete with that made the change (or all 3)… but, soon… he was on a ROLL!  (We do notice in the evenings, when his brain is FINISHED… he’ll resort back to having difficulty taking anything in.  I can SO relate!)

- We began some basic math … “You have 2 cookies, I give you 1 more, how many do you have?” sort of thing.  We used wooden pattern blocks and pattern animals to help learn problem solving.  (He caught on FAST!)

- With a good foundation of English, we began putting him in more situations where we could teach him how to interact with others in different settings.  AWANA – where he began to learn and memorize scripture.  Prayer group.  Playgrounds.  Stores.  Parks.  Theatre.  Restaurants.  Church.  He was a quick learner!  He went from a place where “anything goes” to some pretty specific rules and he did GREAT!

- I used the World Book Typical Course of Study (google it)and a few other curriculum guides to help me be intentional of things to prioritize to learn (jobs in community, family members/roles, farm and zoo animals, etc) for each grade.  Some things, I know he’ll pick up as we go… others, I spent some extra time on.  Some things, I had to wait to teach because he didn’t have the normal experiences an American child would to pull from (ex., He’s never been to a zoo.  Explaining zoo animals vs. farm animals is HARD when you’ve never been to either.  So are a lot of other things!)

- At 21 weeks… a little over 5 months… he’s finished Pre-K and almost half-way through Kindergarten!  We are focusing mostly on Reading and Math for Kindergarten while we try to catch him up.  He is learning science and Geography with his sisters from our My Father’s World Exploring Countries and Cultures set (3rd grade + level but adjustable for younger/older kids)  He can identify the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Africa.  He knows who God is and why Jesus was sent to Earth.  He can listen to simple stories and tell you what happened.  He can say a few words in Spanish and sing “Let it Go” from Frozen :)   His English vocabulary has grown SO much!  (Because MFW goes on a “cycle,” we put our kids in together for whatever the oldest is learning for science, geography, Bible, and history.  IF he didn’t have an older sister, I would’ve probably started him in their K or 1st program and fast-tracked through.  Example — the kindergarten curriculum can be done in 1/2 the time for an older child.)

- Next, he will begin the 2nd book for Hooked On Phonics (Kindergarten)  and continue to read Bob Books.  We will continue learning about countries and cultures, together.  Soon, we will begin 1st grade math and then first grade Hooked On Phonics.

Items we used and found helpful:
- Colors, shapes, and counting DVD like this one.
- Richard Scarry’s Biggest, Busiest Storybook Ever (HERE)
- Children’s picture dictionaries like THIS and THIS and THIS
- Hooked On Phonics – Kindergarten (Here) Also, check out the Hooked on Phonics Website to see if they are running any deals!  I bought mine on sale!
- Bob books (HERE)
- Letter Factory DVD (HERE)
- World Book Typical Course of Study Lists (HERE)
- Pattern Blocks and Pattern Animals (HERE) and (HERE)
- My Father’s World Curriculum (HERE) – We are using THIS ONE.
- This Math book (HERE)

For those of you who have adopted older children, which resources did you find most helpful for learning?  Please tell me in the comments!

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bosssanders

Around the world – MEXICO

by bosssanders on April 1, 2014 with 1 comment

We’ve had so much fun studying about Mexico!

OUR STUDY OF MEXICO

- We found Mexico on the map and learned some fun facts about Mexico (We used online resources, Children’s Atlas of God’s World, Classroom Atlas, Window On The World, A Trip Around the World, Children Just Like Me, Material World, A Life Like Mine)
- We learned about and colored their flag
- We learned about deserts and the plants/animals there
- We painted sombreros and tunics
- We learned some Spanish words
- We listened to fun Spanish music from Wee Sing and Boca Beth
- We watched some traditional folk dances online

-We grew cacti
- We dissected a cactus
- We made tissue flowers, tissue paper banners, and a pinata
- We had a fiesta with our decorations, Spanish music and dancing, Mexican food (a burrito/taco bar) and our pinata!

- We made string art
- We learned how to draw a cactus
- We watched Dora the Explorer
- We did some “sight-seeing” here and here
- We watched The Perfect Game on Netflix Streaming
- Watched The Three Cabelleros

See more photos here!

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Today, April 1, 2014

by bosssanders on April 1, 2014

Outside my window… The wind chimes are softly singing, the sun is shining, and the weather is… PERFECT! I am…

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Today, March 12, 2014

by bosssanders on March 12, 2014

Outside my window… And…it’s cold again!  But, I’m so thankful for the nicer temps this week, that I don’t care! …

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Today, February 24, 2014

by bosssanders on February 24, 2014

(La lost her first tooth!  She was SO excited!!) Outside my window… We had a couple of BEAUTIFUL days…and then…

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