Monday, October 31, 2011

Adoption 101: Choose a Great Agency

I've gotten some questions about adoption in general and although I'm absolutely no expert, I'm going to share some key things we've learned about navigating the adoption process.

Seeing as how I've spent the day at all sorts of festivities with Robin Hood, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and a knight, and I'm completely worn out, I'm only going to highlight one key thing tonight and I'll share others later.

Choose a Great Agency

I cannot begin to tell you how key this is.

With everything we've been through adopting from Ethiopia -- slowdowns, investigations, major changes in procedures, unknowns, etc. -- I am so glad we chose well at the beginning. There were many nights we were (still are) able to sleep soundly knowing we could trust our agency. That doesn't mean we haven't asked questions here and there. It doesn't mean we didn't visit the region our daughter was from and poke around into her story. Because we did ask questions and poke a bit, but the trust proved true and in fact, our agency's reaction to our times of asking or poking made us respect them even more!

Also, for us, a key deciding factor in the agency we chose was that they run their own care center in Ethiopia, so the children in their adoption process are transferred out of the orphanages where the care is not as good and into the care of our agency where it is a whole lot better! Now, having so long between our trip to meet our daughter and the time we can bring her home (which is still unknown), I'm so thankful she's well cared for! There is no way I could have left her in Ethiopia if I did not believe that to be absolutely true!

I got further assurance of the care level this past weekend. My husband and I attended an adoption conference and part-way through one of the sessions I realized I knew one of the speakers. She was one of the people who had recently travelled to Ethiopia for humanitarian work and met our daughter, took pictures of her, found out we were her family and emailed the pictures to me. After the presentation we met this lady face-to-face and it was so fun to gush together over how amazing our new little girl is. But also, this lady shared with me that they saw the children walking outside their guesthouse as a group with their caregivers and that they watched through the window for a long time before going out and playing with the kids. She told me how struck she was by how well the nannies interacted with and took care of the kids even when they thought nobody was watching!

So, how do you choose a great agency?

1. Do not go with the agency that claims the shortest wait or lowest fees.
Pretty much all agencies are playing in the same arenas with the same rules, so if someone is claiming to do it much faster or cheaper that would be a huge red flag to me, likely either they are not being honest in setting expectations or they are doing something shady to achieve the faster or cheaper.

2. Pick an agency with a proven track record for the type of adoption/country you are doing.
An agency could be great at domestic adoptions but not have enough experience in a particular country. Some basic Internet searches can uncover any scandals that may be brewing around a particular agency.

3. Talk to other families who have used the agency.
Go beyond the references the agency will provide you because those people are guaranteed to only give you a glowing report. Instead seek out adoption groups in your city, your church or other local churches (remember when we began the adoption process our church did not have an adoption ministry, so we attended meetings and events at other churches) and ask those people what agency they used and what their experience was.

4. Pick an agency where you feel like you connect with the staff.
I picked the OB who ended up delivering all 3 of my biological children, not just because she's a great doctor, but because I loved how sweet and kind she was, yet she still gave honest answers. My theory was, being pregnant and giving birth are very emotional experiences and I wouldn't want to go through them with someone I wouldn't consider as a friend. Well, I'm hear to tell you adoption is a very, very, very emotional experience and we've been blessed to always be treated kindly and with compassion by our adoption agency staff.

5. Pick an agency that offers real post-adoption support.
You are going to need support. We are going to need support, I have no doubt. We attended a 2 day optional training course offered for free by our agency where they provided tons of real help for the issues many adoptive parents face. But most important, I know staff that specialize in post-adoption that I can call on if and when we need help. In fact they emphasized, "Call before you lose your compassion" (meaning your compassion for your new child and the "hard places" they've come from that is contributing to the really annoying behavior).

There are a few other things I could cover and maybe even some big things I'm forgetting, but just like my 4 year old's little session of cutting his own hair tonight (Oh, yes he did! Thankfully only a few strands were snipped - he was "trying to get rid of the bumpy part".), I'm ending it.

** That is our little girl in the top picture, just an earlier picture of her than what I've showed before -- such a punkin'!! **

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween 2011, minus one muchkin

Dorothy, Robin Hood, and a knight

Wishing you the happy of Halloween -- the fun of dressing up, the fellowship with neighbors otherwise rarely seen, and, of course, much more candy than your mom lets you eat on all the other 364 days of the year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Real life, only better

Jen Hatmaker wrote this hilarious post about The Fake Family after adding two children adopted from Ethiopia to her 3 kid household. And it was so funny to me because for months now we've been doing the same thing, conjuring up in our minds all these goals we wanted to achieve as a family before our new daughter comes home from Ethiopia.

You know things like: get our puppy better obedience trained, have regular family devotions, raise our voices less, clean out our closets and drawers, prepare more freezer meals, teach the 4 year old to dress himself, somehow train the 8 year old to flush more than 50% of the time, get the older 3 kids using their checklists and performing daily household chores, become experts at Karyn Purvis methods of discipline - "Are you askin' or tellin'?", get the carpet cleaned, Christmas shop early this year, make homemade injera, have daily one-on-one time with each child, replace that light switch plate that has been cracked since we moved in the house nearly 5 years ago. . .

Because she will be here some day!!

It's ludicrous and funny and nuts but the motivation is genuine.

She made us want to be a better family.

Even though it's true of all four of our children, with this forth one, it is most apparent, she is God's child and He is allowing us the privilege and responsibility to parent her. And we want to get it right.

Though I know we'll fall far short of the ideal, perfect family -- no matter what we try I can't imagine our kids not being loud, our dog not stealing food off the table, and my husband and I never forgetting the right attachment-based parenting methods, resorting to blurting out, "What's wrong with you?!" to our beloved children every now and then -- the goals are not bad things to aim for and we'll keep trying for all our sakes.

But the reality is that she'll be coming home to an imperfect family. An imperfect family that will love her like crazy for the rest of her life and stick by her even on the days she'd rather disown us!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Follow the Yellow Brick Road . . .

I finally made my 6 year old daughter's Dorothy Halloween costume! I was spurred on by my daughter's dramatic statements of, "But you HAVE to finish it by Sunday afternoon because I have Maya's costume party to go to!"

It took way longer than I thought it would, 2 extra trips to the fabric store, part of the pattern instructions I never did understand but just made up my own step, and as always, there was lots of use of my seam ripper for undoing mistakes, BUT I'm really happy with how it turned out! And it was my 2nd project where I sewed in a zipper and it turned out much better than my 1st zipper (which did in fact zip up and down but had some minor cosmetic issues), so progress!

Then after all my blood, sweat and tears to create the dress (no idea where my 6 year old gets her drama, by the way), exactly 45 seconds into the party the kids were painting pumpkins and my daughter got black glitter paint on her dress! Very thankfully it came out easily!

Oh, and I made the hem extra wide so I can let it out for future years. She's going to be Dorothy for the next 10 Halloweens or until she can talk her little sister into taking over the costume!

Find more Wordful Wednesday here.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Thank you, everyone, for your support and sharing in our excitement over the news that we passed court and the little girl we've been in the process of adopting is now officially a member of our family! We've gotten the message out to many friends and family and have been so blessed and overwhelmed by the response. So many people are excited for this little one to come home, and really it is overwhelmingly wonderful to me that one year ago this precious girl was all alone in Ethiopia and now she has so many pulling for her here in America, people who can't wait to meet her and watch her grow up! And I've seen a lot of evidence that she is changing hearts, too!

We are busy doing all kinds of preparations for her to come home, even though we have no idea when that will be. Recently we got the book Simple Language Amharic for Adoptive Families (from this website), and it is awesome! We have an English to Amharic translation book we bought for our first trip to Ethiopia and it was really useful, but also overwhelming. I love the Simple Language Amharic for Adoptive Families book because it just contains phrases you'd be likely to use with an adopted child, so it helps us focus our learning on the most important stuff! It also comes with a CD which really needs to be playing in our home non-stop until we get to go pick up our sweet girl!

And if I'm being honest, I don't cry easily, but this book got to me. A language translation book? I know! But just listen to some of the phrases from the book and think of getting to say them to your newly adopted 3 year old child:

I am your Mommy.
Eh-Nay eh-NAH-tish negn.

You are my daughter.
Ahn-CHEE lee-JAY nesh.

You are going to live with us.
Ahn-CHEE keh-GNAH gahr nohw yeh-mih-TNOHR-re.

We are so happy to be your family.
Yeh-GNH beh-teh-SEHB ah-BAHL beh-meh-HOH-nesh des bloh-gnal.

We love you so much!
Beht-AHM ehn-wuh-dih-SHAH-lehn!

You are so precious!
AHN-CHEE WUH-deh nesh.

Can I hold you?

We are going to ride on an airplane!
Beh-ah-roh-PlAHN nohw yeh-min-HEH-doh!

This is our house.
Yikh bay-tah-CHIN nohn.

This is your room.
Yikh kih-FLISH nohw.

And then there are the practical things like "Do you have to go potty?", "Stop", "Are you hungry?" and one every parent needs to be able to say to their child, "Please don't do that."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

We passed court!!!

You guys are not going to believe this -- after hearing yesterday that we had a new court date of October 27th, we were all, "Well, at least we can take a break from anticipating/worrying about the phone ringing for a week." AND THEN this very morning I got the call from our caseworker that we passed!!!! Of course I was totally confused and like, "Huh? What about our court date?" Our caseworker said she didn't know why we were given a new court date and then passed the next day, but we definitely passed.

We are officially her family!!!!!!

And today is our new little girl's birthday! She turned 3 years old! Exactly one year ago today she became an orphan. And now precisely one year later, after an extended, unexplained wait to pass court, weeks after all the other families from our travel group passed, it was made official that she is our daughter.
Oh God does write the most amazing stories, doesn't He?!!!

Although 3 years old she weighs 26 lbs, which is what our other children weighed as 1 year olds, but all indications reveal she is mostly healthy. We can certainly testify to her preciousness, friendly personality, and spunk from our visits with her! We are so thankful for the privilege of being her family, thankful for all the ways she's already changed us and she's not even home yet! So that's the big question, right? WHEN can we go get her and bring her home?

Nobody would like that answer to be tomorrow more than us. It's been 11 weeks since we had to say goodbye to her in Ethiopia and being home without her has been harder than we ever imagined. The missing of someone who's never been here is inexplicable, really, but so is leaving a child behind in an Ethiopian orphanage. However, we do have to - deep breath in, deep breath out - wait some more. Although she is legally our child in Ethiopia, we must now clear the U.S. embassy to be able to bring her home to America. The embassy process used to take 4 to 6 weeks, but lately as the embassy has begun doing more investigations, it is taking many families closer to 9 or 10 weeks and some even longer, although there is still potential to clear quickly!

We are so excited to be on the last leg now, marveling at God's faithfulness, and dreaming of the day all four of our children are not only on the same continent, but we can tuck them all into bed under one roof! At the same time, we have been through enough adoption training to know that when we step off the airplane with her in our hometown, it will not be "happily ever after". It will be the beginning of another tough journey of adjusting to our family of 6 and helping our new little girl heal from from the hard things of her past.

We really appreciate your support throughout this long, emotional roller-coaster of a journey!

***Just like I don't post my other children's names on this blog, I will not share our new daughter's name, but if you'd like to know, feel free to email me at itfeelslikechaos AT yahoo DOT com (just replace the AT and Dot with the appropriate symbols; I didn't type it exactly because then those pesky spammers would get me!). I have, however, lightened up a bit about sharing my children's pictures!***

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Adoption Update: A New Court Date

We got news today that we have a new court date for our Ethiopian adoption on October 27th. Since we appeared in Ethiopian court on August 2nd we have been desperately waiting for news that we passed, that we are officially, legally the parents of our little girl in Ethiopia. While the new court date was not the coveted news that we passed court, we are relieved to no longer feel like we are waiting indefinitely, which is how it was really beginning to feel!

Our agency assures us that being given a new court date does not indicate anything bad and they do not foresee any issues with our case. The court date gives a set date for our case to be looked at and potentially finalized. (We do not attend this court date, just thought I'd clarify in case you envisioned us scrambling to make the 20 hour flight, nope next time we go to Ethiopia it will be for our Embassy appointment and we won't be coming home without her!)

Please pray our case is finalized next Thursday. Our girl needs to be in a family, with a mommy and daddy instead of just caregivers, she needs the nutrition and medical care we can provide her. And we are so tired of waiting, ready to have our little girl home with us rather than watching her grow up in an orphanage through pictures and updates. It's been 11 weeks since we had to say goodbye to her in Ethiopia. Tomorrow she turns 3 years old.

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl, if we had it our way, you'd be home eating cupcakes with us and dancing to some Ethiopian music in our living room -- you are an amazing, adorable dancer! We will wait as long as it takes to be able to bring you home and look forward to all the other birthdays we'll be able to celebrate with you! I pray that you can somehow feel that you are loved and wanted and not forgotten.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Poor Mr. Monkey!

Really, I'm surprised Mr. Monkey made it through several months of our puppy Madeline before losing an appendage.

Good thing that is her toy, rather than a kid toy (although our house could stand to loose a stuffed animal or 40).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Remember when . . .

Anyone been reading my blog long enough to remember this story?

Something today reminded me of this and I had to search out the blog post; a republish is definitely in order.

I'm grateful the popcorn mess has not repeated itself in the past 2 years, but I'm even more grateful to have recorded the memory. It's not that it necessarily gets easier or that there are not spectacular things about every age and stage I've seen so far, but at the same time, there is just nothing like those toddler days!

***Originally published April 8, 2009***

What it is like having a toddler in the house:
  1. Yeah, it's pretty much like that. THOUSANDS of popcorn kernels strewn across your kitchen floor!
  2. He pulled the bag out of the pantry, took off the clothes pin that was keeping the bag shut, and shook the entire contents onto the floor.
  3. I was just a few feet away and heard him rustling in the pantry but it was snack time, the bigger kids had been in the pantry, too, and I assumed he was getting out crackers.
  4. Then I heard it, a sound like rain and wondered what in the world had happened that it was raining in my kitchen.
  5. The next sounds were from my 6 year old shrieking, "He's doing something really bad!"
  6. I stared at the mess in disbelief. We were having guests the next day and I had many things to clean up already!
  7. Clearly the popcorn kernels became first priority.
  8. I whisked out the 2 sets of hand brooms and dust pans as my toddler began shouting, "MESS! MESS!"
  9. I guess it was a lesson in cause and effect for him. Bag of popcorn kernels + opening + turning upside down = MESS!
  10. I made the mistake of enlisting my toddler and 2 older kids in helping clean up the mess, I guess I thought the work of cleaning it up would deter any of them from making such a mess again, but soon there were popcorn kernels coating the entire 1st floor of my home!
  11. Because you see, kids sweep with gusto and they are not so good with the dust pan!
  12. If you come to my home anytime in the next 8 months you are likely to step on a kernel. Take my advice and wear your shoes at all times!
  13. Thankfully that mischievous toddler is also the sweetest thing, giving the best hugs many times each day. Just yesterday when I got him out of his crib first thing in the morning, all he wanted to do was, "Kiss . . . Sisser! Hug . . . Sisser!" and he did, crawl in bed with his big sister and kiss and hug her!
Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Very Few Red Carpets in the Real World

Friday night my 6 year old daughter and I went on a Mother/Daughter retreat with our church. It was at a hotel about an hour away. We've done many dates together just the two of us, but it's the first overnight and I have to say, it was lovely! Sweet, sweet time together.

We will be doing it again some day, only next time maybe not with a scheduled 8am breakfast we need to attend because my girl will sleep in, unlike her two brothers that wake us up at 7am every single day with no regard for a Saturday morning and parents who are not morning people!

Practically as soon as we got home on Saturday afternoon, we had to head out again, she and I, for a birthday party for a little girl in her class at school. My husband almost took her so we could switch and I could have time with the boys but we decided I'd take her to the party at the last minute and good thing because he would not have survived! I knew it was some sort of dress-up party at a place we'd never been to before, but I had no idea how over the top it would be. The moment we walked in the doors and the fumes of nail polish remover mixed with hairspray about knocked me over, I knew we were in for it!

The little girls all got to choose a dress to wear during the party from a rack that did not contain your typical princess wannabe dresses, oh no, these were dresses fit for the academy awards! Like dresses I would probably not even let my daughter pick out for prom! Think full-length sequins, feathers, and fake fur!

They got their fingernails painted. Then they got their hair and make-up done complete with tons of glitter, red lipstick, and blue or purple eyeshadow. I whispered to one of the moms I knew well, "This is the last time she wears red lipstick for a very long time." The mom whispered back, "Yeah, I don't even let my daughter paint her fingernails at home!" I replied, "I know! We just do toenails because I feel like that's enough for now, we are probably going to fight the make-up battle soon enough, why rush things?"

THEN they rolled out a red carpet and had the girls walk down the runway one by one!

Oh, no they DIDN'T. Oh, yes they did.

I was amazed that some of the girls seemed to know exactly what to do and even struck a pose at the end! And I was really relieved when my 6 year old didn't exactly "work it" on the runway but shyly walked down and stood at the end looking cute rather than like a diva!

The party being a one time thing probably didn't scar my daughter, but really what are we as a society doing to our little girls?

I mean seriously, I was just browsing potential Christmas gifts for my 6 year old daughter who wants to be a teacher when she grows up, do you know what teacher Barbie looks like?

Is it just me or is Barbie more dressed for a night club? Have you ever seen a teacher dressed like that?

How about the Preschool Teacher Barbie? Surely, she's dressed more practically to deal with the physical care of little ones?

Nope, a short, short mini skirt!! No way she could bend over to wipe a 3 year old's nose without revealing way too much!

One more, "Barbie I can be a Newborn Baby Doctor". Give me some scrubs! Oh no, a short ruffled mini skirt and pink high heals!

Perhaps I should have had all boys.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Sure Sign of Autumn

A sure sign that fall is here! The dog came in from outside with this leaf stuck to her face.

It stayed there for about 30 minutes until I just had to photograph it and then my daughter felt sorry for the puppy and pulled the leaf off!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reforming a Pack Rat Child

In preparation for the new bunk beds and dresser arriving for our girl room, we moved the old furniture out of the room.

My 6 year old daughter slept in the guest room during the change-over but loved the emptiness of her room. She was thrilled to sit in the middle of the wide open floor space with a few books and declare it her "reading room"!

This same daughter is a pack rat by nature (confession: she comes from 2 packrat parents but we are getting better and learning life is better with less stuff) and in recent months her room had become too crammed full of stuff. I've been telling her once we re-do the room, we are going to have less in there on purpose and it will be better. She'd get very uneasy about just which things we were going to get rid of. I told her we'd decide together.

So, I couldn't help pointing out to her how nice her room was when it was empty!

Today, I gave her a basket I'd moved out of her room, one she had stuffed full of tons of junk (treasures!) and a trash bag and told her to go through it.

I quickly noticed her "keep" pile was a lot bigger than her "trash" pile and decided she needed some parameters. I gave her a clear plastic box and told her "If it can fit in here, you can keep it."

I left her to her sorting.

When she called out that she was finished, I should not have been surprised to go find the box completely filled to the brim.

Have you ever seen such a box of junk?!!!

But, as she demonstrated, it closes!

And can be tucked away out of sight under the new bed!

Now I just have to hold her to the rule, "Any new treasures have to fit in this box, too, and if they don't fit you have to get rid of something else to make room to keep them."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Knight in Shining Armour

It's pretty much Halloween around here every day, minus the candy.

Yes, the dress-up stuff is some of the most played with of all the things in our playroom!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Why didn't we start this sooner?

Our kids now have a chore charts.

I found a tablet of templates at a dollar store, wrote in the tasks each child needs to do every day, (including various conduct sheets and agendas they must have signed daily for school, homework and their household responsibilities), and then laminated the chart.

Now the kids can check off their tasks each day (with a dry erase marker). And my job as a parent just got a whole lot easier!

Instead of trying to remember all the things they need to be doing and reminding (nagging) them to do the tasks, I only have to remember to say 5 words, "Let me see your checklist"!

Today, my 4 year old wanted to build a fort out of sheets, "Sure Buddy, just let me make sure you've finished your checklist first."

My 8 year old wanted to play his DS game during my daughter's gymnastics, "You can play if you've finished your checklist before it's time for her class."
My 8 year old can drag out a task like nobody's business -- slow like molasses. But today? I've never seen him accomplish so much in a short amount of time!

Seriously, why didn't we start this sooner?

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Third Child

When my firstborn was in pre-K, he pretty much never brought home any artwork. I'd wait outside his classroom to pick him up and admire all the adorable creations hanging on the line above so many of the other children's names, but by my son's name? Nothing.

He was too busy doing all the other centers in the classroom and skipped the art center, every day.

I'd prod and question him. "You didn't want to make a pumpkin picture?" "Maybe tomorrow you'll make something." "Daddy would be so excited to see something you made at school!"

Then 2 years later came my daughter into the same pre-K program and she pretty much camped out in the craft station for the entire 3 hour school day apparently, and brought home the following amount of creations EVERY DAY!

And she didn't want to part with any of them. They were all priceless keepsakes!

My house was so full of construction paper treasures and sequins that fell off and glitter and feathers and macaroni necklaces. I'd have to stage elaborate stealth operations to be able to throw away secret piles I'd squirreled away long enough that she forgot about them.

And now 2 years after my daughter's pre-K year, my youngest son is in the same pre-K program. And like his brother, he prefers not to do the craft activities, but instead builds zoos and museums and towers out of the blocks every day and fills his shoes up with massive quantities of sand on the playground.

But, my little 3rd child is blessed to have a momma with the perspective that only multiple children can bring. He gets no secretly judgmental comments from me about the lack of creations. I stand outside his classroom and smile at the other children's piles of artwork compared to the empty space beside his name. And, truthfully, I really am kind of glad. Yay! Nothing to take home! No wet paint or shaving cream getting all over our clothes and the car during the transport home! No figuring out how to display or store or trash the artwork!!!

And we all marvel at the affects of birth order on personality!

Find more Finer Things Friday.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Big Question

Recently as I was putting my 4 year old son down for a nap, I kissed him and said, “I love you.” He said, “I love you, too.” That exchange happens often, but then he asked me a question that stopped me cold.

“Would you love me even if I didn’t love you?”

It was a good question. A big question for anyone to ask of another human being, much less to come from a 4 year old.

I began my answer to my little guy like many parents probably would, "Of course I'd love you! No matter what, I'll always love you, even if you did not love me."

But because we've been in this process to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia for over 2 years, it's something we've talked about for so long that my 4 year old son probably does not remember life before adoption was a regular family topic of conversation, I was also able to illustrate it for him like this, "You know (insert name of our Ethiopian daughter here)? She doesn't love us right now, she doesn't even know we are her family, but we love her, right?"

And oh how we love her! How we desperately want her home with us!

But, we do not love her because she loves us.

We love her because she was created by God in His image and because hers was the picture He predestined to have flash up from an email onto our computer screen that wonderful referral day.

We love her because that is how God first loved us, when we didn't love Him.

"In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
1 John 4:9-11

"We love because He first loved us."
1 John 4:19

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Great Devotionals for Families With Young Kids

Here's something that's working for me lately:

It's a super little book called My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts. It has a Bible verse for each letter of the alphabet and after the verse there is a little story about 2 kids and a scenario of how they apply the verse to their lives.

We've been reading one verse and short story each morning at breakfast as a family and I've really been amazed at how much my kids like it, they even remind me to read it if I forget! The letter per day is great for my 4 year old who is learning letter sounds in preparation for reading, and having the first letter clue is helping my older kids remember the Bible verse even later in the day when I ask if they remember what it was.

My plan is actually to start back over with the letter "A" after we get through all the letters and keep cycling through until I get really sick of it or my kids memorize all 26 verses or they all move away to college (we'll see which happens first)!

It's a really easy way to do family devotions with young kids and I love that my kids are starting their day with God's word!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

***I am an affiliate and will receive a small portion of the proceeds of any sale completed through one of my links, however I was not asked to do this review and am only recommending the book because we truly use and enjoy it as a family.***