All Things Colbry

All Things Colbry
All the Colbry's

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Boys Are Sick

Boyd's dad gave us an old black bell on fathers day weekend.  Seth and Grant easily lifted the heavy iron bell into the trunk of our car.  We were at the house Boyd grew up in, his brother Blaine lives there now.  The bell used to stand right outside the back door of that house. The house is on a sleepy Michigan dirt road where the next house is a quarter mile away.  Blaine, Boyd and Brett would go swimming at that neighbors house and their mom, Maxine would ring the bell to call the Colbry boys' back home. Three boys, on a lonely country road with a barn made for jumping off the rafters from, a field perfect for shooting off rockets and fireworks, and a woods perfect for exploring and hunting in.  I bet summer vacation was eagerly anticipated by those 3 boys.  Summers are different now, camps, school commitments, and over scheduled lives. But  memories are timeless.  Boyd remembers his mom when he see's or hears that bell.  He loved having a cup of coffee with her in the morning, sitting in the kitchen taking as she canned peaches or tomatoes, made dinner, or even just sat with him watching the birds outside at the feeder and hummingbirds in the flower garden.  Listening, caring, loving. Richard and Maxine gave their 3 boys some good stuff growing up, stuff that turns boys into men, into fathers.

We have 4 fabulous boys, when they hear good music or taste good food, or glide down a hill on long boards or snowboards faster than any mom want's to see, they say "that's sick"....well, Okay then, our 4 boys are sick!  Now our girls are sick too, but I had a friend ask me to advocate for boys, because in the world of adoption, boys are left behind.  For some reason girls get picked more often.

We didn't plan on choosing boys, or girls when we chose to adopt.  We were matched with Lian as a baby.  When we decided to adopt again we were looking at kids with albinism, we found Jack...waiting.  When we decided to add another child with albinism, it was overwhelming the number of boys waiting.  How do you choose just one of them..... leaving so many behind? If you are seeking adoption and reading this wondering, boy or girl, don't wonder, take gender off the list of things to decide, give a boy a chance too.

Maxine's bell is now by our pool.  Boyd is in Budapest and we wanted to surprise him when he gets home.  Jack dug a hole 4 feet deep, Eli carried each landscape stone from the car to the back yard one at a time. We sunk the pole, laid the stones, cut the wood, and poured cement.  Max loved flowers, we planted a rose bush, a clematis and some little petunia's around the bell.  I could not have done it without them,  our strong sweaty boys. It will be a nice surprise for Boyd.  We wish Maxine could have known all of our kids, but I am not worried, Boyd will pass along all she taught him.  And her bell will call them home.

Monday, February 3, 2014

What Language is OK?

I am not a football fan, but the commercials are pretty entertaining.  I was not paying attention when our national anthem sung in many languages came on, I was brushing my teeth.  But our daughter was.  I paid attention to her.  She was glued to the TV, and smiling. She was proud, she was accepted, she was home.

The next morning I saw numerous post's on Facebook attacking this commercial.  I was stunned.

Does it matter what race our daughter is, what color she is, what religion, what sexual preferences she may have, or what language she speaks?  Does it matter what country she was born in?  Does it matter if her IQ is a certain number?

So what IQ is high enough, what color is OK, what religion is OK, what language, country, sex, sexual preference, political affiliation,  address, income, class standing, career, car...blah blah blah, is OK?

I can assure you, none of this matters to Boyd and I.  These things don't matter to us if you are our child, or our friend, or our neighbor.

Our son speaks another language.  Every week in school he has an assignment to write a paragraph about a specific virtue.  About integrity.  About forgiveness.  About kindness.  About caring. About grace.  About honesty.  About respect. About ambition.  About persistence.  About perseverance.  About generosity.  About compassion.  About humility.  About love.

Boyd and I can tell you loud and clear without any hesitation, our son has learned all these things, in another country, in another language, in an imperfect sometimes hostile environment.

These are the traits that measure a person to Boyd and I.  There are more, but you get the picture...well I think you do.  This list of virtues is what matters to us, these traits describe the kind of person we want to be.

It is hard for  Boyd and I to stand still, to listen to the hate, to quietly let other people get away with attacking human beings who are different from them.  Especially hard if our children feel less than when you do it. Boyd and I won't be quiet any longer.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Still Surprised

I am better at taking pictures than writing, for one thing they are a quicker way to document the event's and special people in our lives.  I look at the pictures and don't need any words, I can remember the feeling of being in the presence of the family or friends, or the excitement of the place or event.  It takes me back, and I smile. 
I have tried to keep up with our blog, it has been hard knowing what should be shared about our children's lives.  So generally we only choose the good, the happy, the funny.  Most of it is exactly that, with some drama here and there to keep us humble:)  We do have to admit surprise however.  We were ready for a huge challenge when we decided to adopt a teenage boy from China.  We brought him home18 months ago.  We were ready for grief.  We were ready for anger.  We were ready for attachment disorder.  We were ready for fear.  We were ready for sibling rivalry.  We were ready for chaos and confusion and challenges beyond our parenting skills.  We are still surprised when we think about it, because this young man has made a huge life changing event at such a young age look pretty darn easy.  He has a wisdom balanced with a sense of whimsical humor that draw's everyone in who meets him, you instantly like this kid!  We know it is not always this way when you adopt an older child, that is why we almost didn't take the risk.  We have had some heart wrenching talks about growing up in an orphanage and multiple foster homes that were not all picture perfect.  It  is no surprise it takes a lot more time to do homework with him, to explain things and listen.  But the important things, like kindness, grace, honesty, perseverance, integrity and self esteem are all there, he went through so much, and came out of it with all that.  We write this just in case someone unknown to us is reading and wondering what it might look like to take on an adventure like older child adoption.  It is one of the good stories.  It is the one we hoped and prayed for.   We knew the risks and did it anyway, we are still surprised.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

That was just last week, and now we are in Christmas mode.  We have made the blog private, everyone deserves privacy growing up, it is not always pretty:)  Eli was sensitive to having his picture and story out there, so we stopped posting so much, and made it private before posting more.  He has been home for 17 months now.  He adjusted beautifully, gracefully and seemingly effortlessly, it has been amazing to be a part of, we never dreamed it would be this smooth.  His English is great, he stumbles speaking Chinese it seems.  We think it is more because he is thinking in both languages as he tries to speak Chinese, he is trying to translate it all in his head.  Tonight he was in full Eli mode, talking non stop.  "4x7, what is it mom..28!, you lose"  In October he couldn't wait for snow, today "I hate this snow, it keeps punching me in the face"  "Aiden is a really good friend, I like all my friends at school"  "What's that black helmet dudes name?  Ill just call him black helmet dude" (darth vader) and on and on it goes!  Lian is in 7th grade, a beauty inside and out! She is playing the flute and the piano, Jack is playing on the drum line and clarinet. Eli is playing the clarinet, Grant plays the drums.  Boyd picks up the guitar and plays beautifully too.  They don't all play together, but the background sound of music of each of them playing is a joy every day!  (And even the neighbors get to hear Grant as he plays:) Jack loves band, his favorite teacher, his favorite class and his after school activity!  He study's non stop, rolls his eyes like a real teen and answers all questions with one syllable, LOL!  Seth is signed up for EMT class next semester, and working at Morning Star, a locally famous restaurant that has lines down the street in the summer time, Grant works there too.  Seth made dinner for the gang tonight (without any bloody fingers chopping it all up...he lost a few tips of fingers this summer:/) Grant skimmed by and passed his drivers test this weekend,  Boyd has to ride in the car for all road tests, I went with Hillary and knew I could not do that ever again!  It is too tough to keep my mouth shut!  Hillary will be home for winter break tomorrow, first semester of the real nursing school stuff behind her, she is going to be a great nurse!  We love that we can both help her when she call's, Boyd and I met in nursing school!  Well, not much time, my usual flight of idea's, hope you could follow;D

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Love you too

     6 months, it is amazing how easily Eli has adjusted into our family.  We have small issues, some we have expected as he continues to attach and learn about the flow of this family. Nothing that makes us crazy (well a little on the edge sometimes...).  He still will follow either Boyd or me around the house, talking constantly.  He interupts conversations, he talks louder than anyone else in the house.  Yea, sounds like a "normal" kid, and it is to some degree, but beleive us, it is notched up a level or two!
     Every once in a while, alway's after dinner, he will start talking about his life in China.  Tonight Boyd made a favorite meal of us all.  Death Row Chicken....because if it was time for your last meal, you would want this meal!  Eli loves it. He has stopped putting his bottom lip on the plate and shoveling the food in, but the Chinese "slurp" continues.  He likes it so much it reminds him of meals he loved in China.  Mommy number 1 made an egg and tomato "soup", "I lovea dis soup my mom #1 makes" and he tries to explain what is in it and how to make it.  That reminds him of a 20 year old sister who would have to make dinner for herself and Eli when "mom and dad gone and brother and sister at school".  "She cook SOOo bad, mom!! Her food NO GOOD!  Ha Ha Ha :D She makea rice, stir stir, we both eat it...she know it BAD too!"  And as I'm scraping bowls clean of the few bites left into the trash can, he is disturbed "Mom!  In China, you no throw food away!  You save for tomorrow, put in cold (refrigerator) for tomorrow lunch!" He goes on and on about this, even as I have saved everything anyone here would want to eat.
     He then talked about the choice to have a family in America.  His best friend said yes to the director.  Eli said "no 5 times".  But he was worried about being left behind in China, alone, without his best friend. When he says best friend he links his hands together tightly to show us how close they are.  He was told how good it would be to know English and Chinese.  So, with his friend saying yes, he decided he would go too.  
   I couldn't help but wonder...."Eli, are you happy you came to America".  He looks up smiling, "yes mom".  We told him we were happy he is here, "we love you so much Eli".  "I Love You Too"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

@ 3 months

Eli has been home for 3 months now.  He is amazing with his ability to adapt to a new EVERYTHING.  He has not seemed to skip a beat, but of course we see more depth and personality the longer he is with us.  He is getting more relaxed as he can predict what each day holds.  His English is enough that we have conversations, he finds creative way's to get his point across or to understand.  For instance, he was asking about his grandparent's.  He was asking how many he has and trying to figure out who's mom is who's.  He then got to Great Great Grandparents.  We were pantomining that they were no longer with know, dead....He nods his head..."OH!  GAME OVER!"
We have not made rice or noodles for day's at a time, and he is willing to try just about anything.  He hated pizza the first time, now he loves it.  He didn't like marinara or cheese on his noodles, now he eats 2 bowls at a sitting as big as his head! We offered him ice cream when the dinner food was depleated last night, and he was confused..."In China, no COLD 2 hours after supper.....tummy, OUCH!"  Thats what his China mom would tell him.  So I asked about his foster family.  "I no talka". So we left it at that.
He likes school alot, he knows nearly all the kids names in his class.  I go in to help him with reading, which does not thrill him (the reading or the fact that his mom is in his classroom!), but he is cooperative and making progress so fast. He is focused, attentive and socially appropriate.
We marvel and comment to each other daily how surprised and amazed we are at how smoothly this adoption has gone.  Our experience with adopting a 5 year old was so much more challenging. So worth it, but challenging. He is now 14 and quite an inspiration to us daily.  So we were prepared for so much more drama and temporary disfunction with this 12 year old,  But we were wrong, and we have been blessed with another perfect gift from God.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Things continue to go well:)
 First day of school
 Eli's new glasses, he doens't like to wear them, he says they just help a little bit
 Rain at the Wheatland Music Festival

 Mic and Seth
 Hillary volunteered in the Henna Tatoo tent, Grant and Jack volunteered at Kid's hill