Hello!  I am so pleased to be introducing myself to you here at the Lots of Kids-Special Needs blog!  My name is Missy (MomZookeeper) and I live in central Kansas.  My dh is Brandon, and we have a house full!  We have 7 legally adopted children, all adopted from foster care.  We also have 1 informally adopted older daughter and 2 former foster sons who are still “ours at heart.”  All that brings us to a grand total of 10 so far (5 living at home still)!  AND we are already working on grandchildren!!!  We love our life, we are firm believers that God has created this family and continues to do surprising things here.

While dh and I are only in our early 30s, we have been doing what we do for over ten years now.  Currently, we homeschool 4 of the 5 children who are left at home.  Most likely, we will homeschool all 5 of them within the next year (we are leaving one of them in public school as we complete her adoption process).  Homeschooling 4 children with VERY different levels of ability and attention span can be quite interesting!

We have 3 children who are classified with “mental retardation” based on their IQ and school testing (which I despise) and have spent a significant amount of their time in special education at public schools. We also have 7 of the 8 kids who have significant attention problems, either diagnosed ADHD, ADD, or strong symptoms that would lead to a diagnosis.  We have worked with children who have learning disabilities, dyslexia, attachment issues, attention problems, and even more severe psychological and emotional disturbances.  We are also now dealing with transitioning some of our children with special needs into adulthood.  All of this, at my age, is a bit overwhelming, but I have learned a few things over the years.  I also find that it is so much easier to walk through difficulties and life in general when we have others with similar experiences to share it with.

Most of all, we rely very firmly upon our faith to carry us through.  My writing will probably always be tinged with the importance of my faith while I parent all of these children.  Were it not for my faith in a God who created all of these children and has brought them all into this family, I could NOT get up each day and do what I do.

So, I’m excited about sharing with everyone the “ups and downs” and “ins and outs” of life with all of these children!  I’m a bit eclectic in my approach to writing, writing whatever “the Spirit” leads!  🙂  I do enjoy hearing from readers, so please leave comments!

I will leave you with a list of my beautiful family members, and close for now!

  • Brandon (35) my dear husband
  • Missy (33) ME
  • Crystal (22) our informally adopted daughter, engaged to Shane, mommy to Cayson (3mths) and #2 on the way in May 2009
  • SueAnn (20) legally adopted in 2007 at 18, engaged to Gary, soon-to-be stepmommy to Tiana (2yrs) and Danny (1yr), and expecting baby #1 in May 2009 also!
  • Dean (18) adopted in 2001 at 10, currently in a juvenile correctional facility for trouble, LONG story of about 5 years of ups and downs with him, ADD, ODD, PTSD, CD, RAD, Bipolar, you name it?
  • Thomas (17) adopted with sister, SueAnn, in 2007 at 15, homeschooled, developmental disabilities, learning delays, ADHD, nervous tics (mostly resolved), and a very HAPPY, friendly, loving kid!
  • Corly (16) adopted with brother, Dean, in 2001 at 8, homeschooled, ADD, learning delays, and some emotional/psychological issues, a very hard-working, responsible young lady, learning to DRIVE and hold down a job and keep life all-together (not an easy task with severe ADD!).
  • Kevan (13) adopted in 1998 at 3yrs old, homeschooled, severe ADHD, developmental disabilities, learning delays, biological sibling with Thomas and SueAnn, attachment issues even after 10 years, but overall, a sweet boy, loving and sensitive, who just gets into a LOT of mischief!
  • Skylar (7) adopted in 2002 at 9mths old, homeschooled, attention problems (not diagnosed), a very smart and loving child whom we have had the joy of calling our baby for almost 7 years now!
  • Cary (6) recently adopted (will be final in 2009), public school 1st grader, blond-haired, blue-eyed cutie, she’s funny and lovable, yet a little scared and shy and still adjusting to being a member of such a large family!
  • Our two former foster sons, Cameron (3) and Issac (18 mths), now live back at home with their mommy and are doing well!  They both have some developmental delays, mostly fine motor skills, language and some gross motor skills.  They are thriving with the stability of being back home with mommy, though!  We’re blessed to have been a part of their lives.

Have a blessed Friday!

-MomZookeeper (aka Missy)