two adoptions and seven kids later… :)


Our three foster children: Joseph, Brian, and Adriana were officially adopted into the McCracken clan on Thursday, August 11, 2011. We adopted them from Clark County Foster Care here in Las Vegas. We are so happy to have an official day to celebrate and commemorate their inclusion into our family. The three Littles have been with us for almost a year now, and we have considered them “ours” from the moment we got them. But there is something about the adoption decree that allows us, the parents, to exhale that last bit of breath. You know, the “what if” breath that we don’t even know we are holding until the judge says, “YES.”

At the courthouse…we had so many friends and family members in attendance. In addition, there were many dear workers from Clark County, whom we consider friends, who have been involved in this wonderful placement. Joseph kept wrapping my arm tighter and tighter around his tummy. Brian wouldn’t let go of Adam. And Annie, well, she’s just smiley bubbly Annie…happy to be along for the ride. :)


We’re guessing most people are not excited to see their name listed on a docket at Family Court. We got quite a few stares as we were taking pictures of it.


And look at all the amazing people who came in support of this awesomeness:


It was obviously a beautiful day. Thank you, to everyone who attended, and who continue to support our growing McFamily!

Welcome (officially), Jo Jo, Brian, and Annie:



growing up juan p.


“Mommy, can you print me off a Halloween project to work on?” “Mommy, can I have more work today?” Mommy, can I work at the table instead of watching the movie?”

Seriously? When did he start growing into his age. Juan’s growth has been so gradual that we do not always notice the great amounts of headway he is making. But today was one of those days when I stopped and noticed that his behavior was much more age appropriate. Juan is our most emotionally driven nino. He is our most affectionate. He is our most sensitive. All of these wonderful qualities have made raising him up out of make-believe dreamland into reality a most challenging project.

Hard work does not just mean physically demanding labor. Raising Juan is a true labor of love and compassion and consistency. The work is tedious and constant. The fruits of this particular labor, however, are ever so slightly starting to bud. And that is such a sweet reward.

homeschooling? yes, we are!

In 2008, the children started in public school as soon as we brought them home from Colombia. I pulled them from school shortly after Spring Break 2009 for reasons mostly having to do with bonding and attachment rather than academics. School was a real struggle that first year for all of us for SO many reasons. So I brought them home and spent some time getting to know them better. We did basic skills work…number and letter recognition, etc., but mostly just having fun. It was valuable time that I spent establishing myself as mom–and all that means–and teaching the children what their roles are in a family. I had missed so much of their little lives that I simply was not ready to give them up!

After the Holidays of 2009, we re-enrolled the children at their new school across town:

  1. I felt like we had sufficiently bonded. The children had matured a lot in that time, and their language skills were much improved. They were better able to respond to change.
  2. The house we moved into was simply too small for me to effectively school. Call me a wimp, but at least I know my limits! :) Since we were in that house for longer than anticipated we decided to send them back to public school.

Now, two years later, we have brought them home again. This time around it looks more like “school.” We have a schedule that we adhere to. I follow a specific curriculum in each subject area, and I have everything laid out in my lesson plan book. But we also have enough flexibility in the schedule to deal with life as it comes. I am schooling four days a week, with Friday being a catch-up, organize, field trip, errand day. Actually, our intention is to school year round with small breaks here and there. I am hoping that a year-round consistent schedule will help the children to continue “catching up.”

We have been schooling for a month now, and I can honestly say that I have not been overwhelmed with the task at hand. It is fun and rewarding and actually super exciting. (that probably has to do with the fact that I LOVE teaching. Perhaps having experience in lesson planning, pacing, learning styles, etc helps. I know a common complaint of homeschooling moms is that they can never seem to get to all their material. So I took that into account when I was planning out our year. That has helped a ton.

Now that the kids’ language is improved, everything else is easier. I am better able to assess where the true holes and gaps are in their learning. I am able to understand better how each child processes a new concept. And the kids are just plain ol’ excited about learning–always have been. Of course, there are other reasons we think homeschooling is for us, at least right now. Yes, I have complaints about the current condition of our school district. Yes, I am one of those weirdos that prefers having my children near me instead of away from me. Yes, we put religion and God at the forefront of our learning and our day. Yes, I believe that my children will be better prepared for life if I am the one socializing them–not 25 seven year olds. But those are all points of discussion for another post.

I am hoping to be better at taking pictures and doing updates weekly. I know the kids will have a blast looking back on these posts in 20 years with their own children. That makes me smile.

When my children leave my charge as an adult I want them to:

*be caring citizens of their community, country, and planet.

*have a deep love of God, Country, and self.

*be able to debate intelligently, to listen carefully, to speak kindly.

*know who they are, and know what they believe, even when those beliefs are not popular.

*and of course, be super smart! :)

name that kid

kid #1–Daddy, I like two things: naps and hiking.

 kid #2–Mom, we need to sell the Wii so we can buy a baby.

“peep show,” anyone?


The boys had surgery a month ago–I am sure you can guess what they had done. They came through unscathed, and bounced back rather quickly. We had a little scare with Danny up at Zion, but we got through it. And now, everything looks great. The sisters were by their sides the entire time, except during surgery of course. They were very good little caretakers for a couple of days.


All I know is that I am ready for the nightly bath/vaseline routine to end. We have our final check-up this week sometime.

it is done

I am officially posting again on the adoption blog… 

It feels like coming home.

And you do not have to register to comment anymore–on the adoption site!

(Keep complaining to hubby, and maybe he will change it here too.)

Wish me luck!!!

blogging wars

Does anyone else have this problem? Adam and I can’t seem to come to an agreement on what the ‘real’ purpose of our blog is. There is so much I want to say about fertility and adoption and parenting adopted kids. I am not sure that it belongs on our fun-family-for-the-grandmas blog. That’s what Adam envisions our family blog being.

And to be fair, he does not mind that I write heavier posts, and he certainly does not dictate what I write (we all know how far that would get him). And yet, I feel myself holding back, censoring, and sometimes not writing because I feel uncomfortable.

And all this to say that I am considering reopening our adoption blog. In fact, writing this has made up my mind! :)