Wednesday, December 5, 2012

2012 Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our fun loving family!!

    Most of our friends and family follow us on Facebook or through this blog but I always like to write an end of the year letter.    Our biggest news for 2012 was, of course, when God brought our sweet Jenna Marie into our family.  You can read the story of how she came to us in our posts on this blog in June.  She is truly another gift from God!

 Jenna loves to smile and just goes with the busy flow of our family.  She doesn't ever fuss when her brothers or sister grab her for "just one more kiss."  I often think it looks like they are squeezing her too hard but she just smiles at them!  Jenna was born May 7th and became part of our family on June 21st. We can't imagine life without her!!

 Luke is 6 1/2 and in the first grade this year.  This is such a cool year and I had no idea it would be!!!  It's like magic!!  My son can read!!  I mean really read!!  This is so very exciting!!  He enjoys it and I love watching/hearing him read to us.  He played t-ball in the spring and soccer this fall.  I had the honor of being his coach which was a little nerve wracking but so fun with all the 5-6 year olds!!  He loves Legos especially the Ninjago series and is very creative with drawing and building!

Zack turned 5 in September and is in Pre-K.  He loves looking at books and playing with Legos.  He swam like a fish this summer and enjoys pretending to be a pirate.  His imagination cracks us up!  He also learned how to ride his bike this summer!!  We were so proud!!  Zack is looking forward to starting t-ball this spring!

Our sweet Kaycee turned 2 in October!  She is sassy and funny and loves to sing and dance!  She learned how to swim this summer!  She was not afraid of the water so we enrolled her in infant swim classes and she did awesome!!  She adores her big brothers and her baby sister.  She and Jenna share a room and she is always checking in on her!  Since Jenna came home Kaycee has been very fond of her dolls.  Prior to that it was all dinosaurs!  It's cute to watch her imitate us with her babies-- changing their diapers and patting their backs.  Luke thinks Kaycee will be a famous singer one day!  We love her singing but wish she didn't do it so loud at 2 or 3 am!  I guess it's better than crying though...

Chris continues to enjoy his Physical Therapy job at Freedom Pointe (a skilled nursing rehab) in the Villages.  He goes mountain biking once a week with the guys and does 2 weekend get-away biking trips a year as well.  Chris has taken the boys tent camping several times this year.  Luke and Zack love going camping with Daddy!!  He is an awesome father and husband!

I was fortunate to take 3 months off work when Jenna joined our family.  Unfortunately with "PRN" work they don't always save your spot when you leave.  A sacrifice I was willing to make.  Since September, I have been adjusting to piecing together home health and acute care therapy.  It's working for now but I've been toying around the idea of getting a steady full time job.  Still not so sure about that though... I love being a mom and having a day or two off a week to spend with the kids.
I have had great fun building more friendships with the adoption community locally and nationally this year.  I attended an incredible conference last March for adoptive moms and can't wait to go again this spring!  I still love my Monday night meditation meetings too.  Nothing better than sitting in silence for an hour.  It's the only time I do that all week and gives me peace and serenity!

So that's our scoop for 2012!!  We pray that you have had a blessed year and wish you well in the New Year!

With Love,
The Weber Family
Chris, Kierstin, Luke (6 1/2), Zack (5), Kaycee (2) and Jenna (7 months)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

2012 Adoption Blogger Interview Project

 I am really excited to introduce to you a new "friend" I had the pleasure of interviewing this month through the annual Adoption Blogger Interview Project.  There are over 100 Adoption Bloggers that participated and were matched up for this project.  The Interview Project is for any adoption blogger--not just open adoption bloggers, not just domestic adoption bloggers, definitely not just adoptive parents. It's a neat opportunity to "meet" fellow writer with different views and experiences pertaining to adoption.  I loved meeting Kira last year and have enjoyed following her blog which has been very exciting and family expanding!! 

This year I lucked out again and have had the awesome pleasure of interviewing Judy Miller, blogger at Parenting Your Adopted Child: Tweens, Teens and Beyond.
She is the author of the book What to Expect from Your Adopted Tween. Yes, I was totally psyched to get paired up with an ADOPTION EXPERT!!!  Wooo hoo!! Here we go...
So Judy-- tell me about your family...
I have four kiddos with my husband—two sons, one “homegrown” (biological) and one adopted from Guatemala, and two daughters adopted from China. Their favorite thing to do is to be with each other. Really, and especially since the big bro is now away at college. We often refer to them as “The Crew” or “The Unit” since they are so supportive of and enjoy each other so much. Individually they are involved in community and athletics—soccer, swimming, and tennis. Our house rule is everyone has one sport they participate in and benefit from.

Why did you and your husband choose adoption initially? Why international versus domestic?
We decided that we’d grow our family through adoption prior to being married and, indeed, that is the way our family transpired. We were drawn to international adoption by something bigger than us. We often say we were “listening.” Anyone interested can listen to my story here. (INSERT:

I have a friend that adopted her first son from Guatemala and second son from Korea. She was telling me how different the experiences were.  Can you talk about adopting from different countries?  Similarities? Biggest differences? The processes to adopt were 180° different. Among the biggest differences was the degree of openness and how we traveled. We received our son’s referral almost upon his birth and, in fact, named him. We were given regular updates, were able to send care packages to him, and traveled multiple times to Guatemala to be with him. We also received family information. With our daughters (China) we had no knowledge of them until we received their referrals, and then it was pretty spotty. We traveled within six weeks of receiving our referrals, with a group of other adopting parents from all over the U.S. We traveled to Guatemala by ourselves, spending wonderful time with our attorney and the director of the agency. The similarities were the length of time between dossier date and their adoptions and how quickly our babies bonded to my husband and I (me initially), and their siblings.

Did you meet any biological family members of your children? Not that we’re aware of. Would have loved to! We did have the opportunity to spend time with the foster mothers and ask many, many questions.

Have any of your children wanted to go back to the birth country or meet their birth families?  If yes, what have you done or how have you responded? On a scale of 1-10, 10 being urgently wanting to visit, my girls are at about a 5. That’s way up from a 0 a few years ago. The girls are learning Mandarin, so this may change as they become more fluent. My son is at a 9+. We plan to travel to both countries soon, Guatemala first, and as a family. We are making plans to do some community service while in Guatemala, assisting physicians with pre- and post- medical procedures (all of the kids are fluent in Spanish).

You are an amazing Adoptive Parent Educator and Support Specialist.  What did you do for a living before you became an adoptive parent educator? I assume you followed this career path after you adopted your children but perhaps I'm wrong.  Do tell.... Well, thank you. My career path has been a little unusual.

I was at home with my kids for years before becoming an adoptive parent educator and support specialist. I wanted to soak up the fleeting moments. As we all know, being a mama is a full-time plus job.

When the kids became older I began writing to process some of what I experienced as a mother of a multiracial family created through birth and adoption and raising a child with sensory processing disorder (SPD). Many of my pieces have been published in numerous parenting magazines and anthologies. My writing gave me the confidence to create a website, class and, quickly, more. Education expanded into workshops, speaking and support.

I continue to write for publication speak and now teach about parenting, adoption, culture, and parenting tweens and teens. I published my internationally selling guide for parents and support groups, What To Expect From Your Adopted Tween in August 2011, and am currently revamping my popular email class—Tweens, Teens & Beyond—for 2013.

I’m an anthropologist, so I enjoy applying some of what I studied (cultural and physical) when I work with clients, facilitate workshops or speak. Becoming a parent educator and support specialist grew out of my desire to equip parents with the tools to parent their children.

What is the biggest difference parenting an adopted child verses a biological child? There are more layers: adoption and race. I’m way-over-simplifying this… I fully believe that much more is required of people parenting children who have been adopted. This belief drives me to educate and advocate. It all gets down to the child and their needs.

What is the most challenging thing about transracial adoption for you and your family? For those who don’t know us, it’s the fact that our differences challenge them to accept us as a family. We sometimes grow weary of the rubberneckers, comments and questions. However, we’ve all become quite adept handing them with grace and humor.

If someone were going to read just one Judy Miller post, which one would you want it to be? Just one? Jeez… I’ll choose a recent one that’s had a lot of people thinking: Non-Adoptee Privilege

What is your favorite children's adoption book? It’s an “oldie,” The Ugly Duckling

What is your favorite parenting book? Siblings without Rivalry

What is your favorite dessert? German Chocolate Cake, with lots of coconut and nuts in the frosting.

What is your family's favorite thing to do together? This is a toss-up between playing games (especially board games) or all six of us snuggling up with freshly popped corn to watch a flick.

Thank you Judy!!  You and your family are an inspiration.  I hope to meet you in person one day!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Busy Month

Well I've been a slacker on the blog!  We've had a busy month and I'm getting used to working again and I was coaching Luke's soccer (which ended last week) and managing our house (please don't come over-- it's a mess!) and yadda yadda ya!  Anyhow, the news of the last month is that Jenna got Baptized on September 23rd which was awesome.  Here's some pics from that...

Jenna's Godparents-- Aunt Sonya & Uncle Dan
Father Peter was awesome as always!


Some of the Weber Cousins

Our cute kids!

Then Jenna turned 5 months on October 7th and October 8th we went back to Jacksonville and her adoption was finalized in a short but sweet hearing. We were hoping to see Jenna's Birthmom that day but she had to work. We hope to see her next month!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Late Post-- Our First Visit with Jenna's Birth Mom

Sorry this post is over a month late... Oh well.  I've been kinda busy!  The end of July, we met up with Jenna's Birth Mother "D", her son M. (8 years old) and daughter L. (6 years old).  It was the first time we met M. & L.  We drove to Jacksonville and met them at a community park.  The kids all played together and we had a really nice visit.  Kaycee took right to L. as she often does with little girls who are older than her.  The only awkward moment for me was in the beginning when they all said "Oh look at MaKayla!" (We changed her name to Jenna which they were ok with)  I felt guilty for some reason and called her "Jenna slash MaKayla" in the beginning of the visit.  I think I wanted to show respect but I also want her to be called by her name Jenna.  Anyhow, it's really not that big of a deal and no one else (ie other kids) seemed to even notice.  By the end of the visit they were calling her Jenna.
We set up our next visit for October-- hopefully they can come down for Kaycee's Birthday party at our home.  I would love D. to meet Kaycee's birth mother G.
The best thing was a text I received from D a few days after our visit.  She said her son told her right after our time together that he feels that somehow we are a part of their family too.  I think that is awesome....   (FYI-- D. ok'd the use of these pics here)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Picture post

We had pictures taken of Jenna and a few of the kids together last month!  I LOVE this photographer: MVL Photography  Meghan is awesome!!  I actually signed us up for a mini family session in November for our Christmas cards and since Jenna will be 6 months old!  Anyhow, here are a few of my favorites!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Adoption Club

I'm in a cool club-- it's called the Adoption Club.  I never knew I wanted to be in this club but I LOVE being a part of it!!  If you have adopted a child or are waiting to adopt or to be matched  you too are in this club (in case you didn't know it!)  I love my friends in the club.  Some of my club friends are people I have never physically met-- just blogging or FB friends-- and some I see every month or so at one of our  gatherings.  A year ago we (5 of us) started a Central Florida Adoptive Families Group on FB and now we have 75 members!  We try to gather for play dates every other month and after going to the Created for Care Conference last year I started a girls lunch every other month.  In June we met for a play date at a Splash Park and in July we met for lunch.  Here are some pictures of our last 2 events-- love these friends and families!!

Ladies Lunch-- these girls ROCK!!

This month we have a Called to Adopt dinner scheduled and a lunch in September. In November we have Magical Families which is awesome!!   I love this "club" or better yet "family" I now belong to.  We just "get" each other... like others don't...