Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child. Have fun!

Monday, April 14, 2014


How do you motivate a blind child to move?

Well, if I could definitively answer that question, I would have quite the following.

Alas, I can't answer it. That's why we take photo after photo after photo and never get that perfect shot.

Calling his name will not get him to look.

Singing songs will not get him to lift his head.

Ringing bells or clapping your hands will not get a face to the camera.

Pleading and begging will not motivate him to open his eyes or focus them in the same direction.

The same is true for getting him to crawl. Who wants to move when you can't see where you're going? We've tried all the same noisy tricks to motivate him to want to move forward, to no avail. However, give him a piano and he becomes Tom Hanks in Big.

Wait til Ms. Diane comes for therapy today. We have a lot to show her!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Happy Birthday, Victor!

April 13, 2013 was just a typical day in the life of the Kings.

I was working on background checks for the staff of the non-profit for which I am a board member and scheduling homeschool evaluations for the next two months.

We were discussing Annie rehearsals for Eden and HopeAnne.

I was feeling discouraged on the adoption front, knowing that Eden's date of April 20 was approaching but that there had been no recent glimmer of hope.

Jesse was at a camp-out with a group of middle school boys doing what guys do on these things, eating lots of meat, playing with fire, making torches, laughing, etc.

I was in the midst of a discussion with a non-believing friend, continuing to pray for peace, joy, and freedom.

HopeAnne was recovering from what I thought was pink eye and strep but what turned out to be pneumonia.

I was dealing with my own physical symptoms with pain and fear.

So maybe it wasn't just a typical day for the Kings. And maybe that was because there was a beautiful young woman in Utah who was bleeding profusely and who went to the hospital with fear for herself and for her baby. Maybe it was because this young woman was not only dealing with the physical pain of delivering her 25 week old baby but because she was also dealing with the emotional pain of knowing she was going to go home without that baby. Maybe it was because there was a young woman on the other side of the country who was frightened and alone but who was soon to become connected to us through the life of a little boy. That life being a gift that she chose to give to him. Her decision brought her great pain, grief, and fear.

A note to my prayer partners that day brought this response...

"So....are you guys storming the gates of hell or what?  Sounds like the enemy is rather ticked off.  I think it's awesome and I will joyfully join this battle for health ....  This tells me that you are doing something very right in the Kingdom.  XOXOX

Standing with you in prayer.

I released (in the name of Jesus) 400 angels to your home to care for "family matters."

Bless you all and thank you for letting me know.  I will keep praying."

We didn't know, we couldn't know, that those "family matters" included a baby already born who was soon to become our son. 

Happy Birthday, Mr. Victor!

In our joy and celebration, we know that there is a very sweet woman with a void in her life. We know she remembers this day. Please pray that my message to her today is received with the same message of love and hope with which it is sent. Pray for this young woman to know the Savior who loves her and is pleased with her. Pray that she knows that she is loved and valued by us and by her "Noah."

And continue to pray for "Victorious Long Life of Faith in the One True King." Pray for total healing. God said that he would amaze and he is doing just that!

God is good.
 All the time.
 All the time.
God is good.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Another basket

Adding another child means adding another basket come Easter time. Victor got textured fabric in his basket, of course.

And we weren't the only ones who added a child this year. A family who had previously purchased an Easter basket for their firstborn decided the second child should have one, too.  I couldn't agree more.

Friday, April 11, 2014

This, I love

I walked in on this scene the other day. Sibling moments like this always make me happy.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hitting a moving target

Victor loves to jump. If he feet are touching something, he's jumping. If he's sitting, he's trying to get onto his feet so he can jump. So we knew that getting his first haircut, ridding him of his mullet and shaping his hair up for his first birthday was going to be a bit of a challenge. We knew our dear friend Brenda would not only be up for the challenge but would be thrilled to share in this moment with us. And thanks to her expertise, she left with all 10 fingers and I left with my nose.

What a handsome almost-1-year old!

And we can't forget the brother who also got a haircut. :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

He talks!

He coos. He babbles. And now he talks in real, totally not understandable back-and-forth conversation!

I have continued with my ban on consulting developmental charts. This is so unlike me. The past 6 times I had the book right by my bedside, checking it monthly to confirm that my child was on or ahead of what he should be doing at each step of the way. Not this time. I do, however, remember enough from college psychology and education courses as well as first-hand experience, to know that we are behind in the game. And that's okay. We will celebrate each milestone, each developmental step, each small step in the right direction. This week, it's "talking."

It started a few days ago. Victor had been making the /g/ sound for a few days and would often say, "Ga."  Mariana was holding him. Every time Victor said, "Ga," she would say it. Soon, they were engaged in a back-and-forth conversation with Victor listening very intently, eyes open wide, eyebrows up, eyes "looking" upward, mouth open, and drool pouring out. Hey, at this point, you celebrate everything. The next morning, as Mariana got ready for school, she came over to Victor and started the conversation, "Ga." Immediately, his listening face came on and after a few moments of concentration he responded, 'Ga." Now he does it with everyone.

And the best thing of all, he has added /m/ to his repertoire of sounds. "Mom," the best sound in the English language. At least until they're old enough to say it with disrespect. But we have a long way to go for that one.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The most wonderful time of the year

Sing with me now, "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

I woke my public schooled kids up by telling them they had a 2 hour delay.  I don't know if that one would have worked in any other year but this one. Hey, ya gotta take advantage of small favors when you have them! Don't worry, a few seconds later, while they were still singing my praises and resetting their alarm clocks, I gently knocked on the door again, "April Fool's!" Jesse called me a jerk but all's forgiven; he's not really a morning person.

Then I heard, "I wonder what we can have for breakfast today? ... Mommmmm..."

While there were many comments about the cheesiness of this prank, and of the non-trick-qualities of this prank, I have to say it was my favorite. It brought many smiles to the faces of my children today. Even Jesse. Although Mariana did say she thought there was a scene like that in her nightmares once.

Poor Isaac went throughout his entire day checking each item in the house before using it. It took him forever to take a shower because he first investigated the whole bathroom. It served him well, however, as the ole saran wrap over the shampoo bottle didn't catch him by surprise. Maybe he should think about a career in criminal science. I may have been slightly disappointed that he foiled my attempt but since everyone else had already been caught by this one, it was only a small defeat. Even Shoun, who had his head shaved last night, picked up the shampoo, tried to get it out, tried again and again and again, picked up the other shampoo bottle in the shower, repeated the whole process, and only then remembered that he didn't have to shampoo his hair so he gave up.

From a recent trip to the Dollar Store I stocked up on all kinds of tricks like the fake golf ball through the window, the squirting water calculator and the squirting water stick of gum. They were all mostly duds except that can of fake peanuts which, of course, had a screaming, flying worm inside. Eden found the can first thing this morning, took one look at it and said, "Mom, really?" Shoun came to me at snack time and yeah, he was had by the can of peanuts.

Of course the kids need to add their own jokes and pranks to the mix which can sometimes get out of hand and go downhill fast. Shoun got Eden with the same old rubber band on the kitchen sprayer trick, the same trick he's done every year since he came here. It would have been okay in any combination other than Shoun to Eden or Eden to Shoun so then came the annual, "You have to know your audience, blah, blah, blah..." speech.  Eden looked for Shoun's and Isaac's toothpaste tubes so she could squirt blue food coloring inside. She came down to report that they were nowhere to be found. I thought that was pretty smart of them; hiding essential items the night before April Fool's. But when questioned in the morning, they admitted to not brushing the night before. Shoun's answer was, "Well, I guess it's still in my suitcase from the beach and when I went to brush last night I was too tired and couldn't remember where it was so I just thought I'd wait a day." I liked the hiding essentials theory better. Jesse and Isaac saran wrapped the toilet, later confiding that they were trying to trip me up but instead the Good Doctor came out of the bathroom saying, "It's a good thing I spit in the toilet first." Looks like some of the kids are learning the art of good pranking from yours truly but good, clean fun is an acquired skill.

Speaking of which, I learned it from the master herself. My mom was known for all kinds of great tricks, usually at my dad's expense. It's a wonder he didn't plan a business trip over the 1st of April every year. More impressive when you remember that she didn't have the advantage of pinterest to help her cause. Yes, thanks to you, Mom, I have plenty more ideas up my sleeve for years to come.