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 with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

4 years ago today

This is what we saw after we signed the papers, scrubbed in, and met our 2 week old son for the first time.

And a year later, just look at those cheeks!

At age 2...

And 3...

And now he's 4!

There are many emotions swirling around in my head concerning this day four years ago and the days that led up to us flying to Utah to meet Mr. Victor for the first time; thoughts for his birth mother, for what was to come as I sat with him alone in Utah and for the family back home, for what has transpired in the past four years. But through it all, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is good. All the time.

All the time. God is good.

Be victorious, Mr. Victor, be victorious!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A lazy old dog

When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” Matthew 26: 40 - 41 (The Message)

Ouch. Because Jesus wasn't just talking to the disciples. He was also talking to me.

I want to wake up at 5:00 to pray before Victor is up but some days I just can't get to bed early enough to wake up so early. And when I do pray, I get distracted.  I know I should fast but too often I fail. I give up something for Lent but can't make it all 40 days. It's more of a up-and-down attempt.

So many times during Lent this phrase came to me, "Could you not tarry one hour?" (Obviously my brain is a little older than The Message translation.) I claim my devotion but the reality is that "there's another part that's as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire."

I'm allergic to cats. (Stick with me, this is related to the topic, I promise.) My eyes get itchy and watery and my nose starts leaking. When we went to pick up Victor's bunny, the same symptoms started. I chalked it up to the fact that there were about 7 bunnies living in one small room with lots of hay and dust. We brought her home and all gathered around on the floor enjoying and petting our new pet. Soon after we left her alone to regroup and de-stress, my chest tightened and I started to wheeze. Several of the kids mentioned watery eyes and nasal issues.

I panicked with the tight chest and trouble breathing. That's never happened to me before. We can't have that. This bunny is so special to Victor. And God provided everything we needed. I might have even gotten a little upset with God. But then it went away after about an hour.

The next day, the same thing happened after I spent some time with the bunny. This time I was mad. God, You gave me the idea. I thought you blessed it by orchestrating things so beautifully. But after an hour it went away again.

"Could you not tarry one hour?"

I know I need to pray and fast more and to spend more time with you. But I get so hungry and it makes me think about food all day long... (I know that's the point but...)

Okay, God. Tomorrow, on Monday. I'll do it. I'll pray and fast for complete healing from allergies and  a job for Andrew (something else which had been weighing heavily on my mind).

"Stay alert; be in prayer so you don't wander into temptation without even knowing you're in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God."

Yes, God. I'm ready for anything in you.

And you know what? He didn't have to, but He did heal all of those allergies to the bunny, for me and for others in the family who were struggling with varying forms of allergies. No more tight chest. No more wheezing. No more itchy, watery eyes. He didn't have to and he doesn't every time but this time, He chose to heal. He cares about us and our families and even our pets. And all the glory goes to Him.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bunny love

"I'm so glad I have a bunny."

I wish you could see how gentle his is with what he called his new "best friend." I wish you could see how long he will sit with her, petting her, and asking questions about her and what she's doing. And she's so gentle and patient with him. He checks everything out; her ears, her nose, her tail. She sniffs him all over.  After finding out that the noise she was making was because she was itching her nose with her foot, he tried it himself. He isn't as flexible as she is.

"Wissewa, I love you. I'm so glad I have you."

Yesterday morning Victor told me he wanted to make some observations about his bunny. (Thank you, Pretty School.) I gave him a pen and some paper, and he "wrote" and dictated these words and then he used the Smart Brailler to record them as well:

"Wissewa is a bunny that she came to my house. When she chews it sounds like tickling. She likes to eat carrot and banana. She chews ad she goes in the cage and poops."

Monday, April 17, 2017

Victor does D.C.

If you are planning a trip to D.C. in the near future, Mr. Victor would like to offer the following recommendations:

Be sure to check out the Washington Monument - great for selfies and drumming on the lights.

The World War 2 Memorial is impressive although Victor was a bit unimpressed with the No Wading signs. Touching is allowed. (We think.)

The Lincoln Memorial is best viewed from someone's shoulders.

And no trip to D.C. would be complete without a stop at the Floral Library. Yes, the Floral Library. Tulip tasting and sniffing by immersion are required.

One last thing: Be sure to take your family with you. All trips are better that way. (And the big kids highly recommend The Holocaust Museum.)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter joy

Mariana captured this photo of pure joy.

The rest of Easter was fun, too. An egg hunt for the under-12 crowd (the balloons were so Victor could find them easier) and an egg hunt watch for the 12 and over crowd.

And a little bit of candy sneaking...

Which resulted in a whole lot of candy staining...

Oops, pull up your pants, Buddy.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter birthday bunny

It wasn't supposed to be an Easter bunny. It wasn't necessarily going to be a birthday bunny, either. But that's how it worked out.  We've been considering a "therapy" bunny for a while and it just so happened that everything worked out so we could tell him the good news on his birthday. He's been so excited while trying to wait patiently for today to arrive.

Meet Wissewa Dakota King, formally known as Dakota. Wissewa also happens to be Victor's imaginary friend. When we told him that his bunny needed a name and asked him what it should be, he didn't even hesitate to say, "Wissewa." I asked him if that might get confusing to have a friend and a bunny with the same name, but he just looked confused.

She was found hopping around Harrisburg and brought to the bunny rescue because one of the neighbors was afraid she'd eat his soon-to-be planted garden.

So we found the bunny and we somehow passed the bunny adoption home study. The next step was to find a 48 inch dog crate; a bunny adoption requirement. I started by posting on FB: Anyone have a large dog crate they are looking to sell?

A few days later the answer came back: Yes. Not only did we find a crate but it was free! In the wonderful way in which God orchestrates these things, He connected me with a fellow foster/adoptive mom about two years ago. She saw my post this week and contacted her in-laws who volunteer at a food pantry. Last Christmas the food pantry received a large donation of dog crates. This Easter, they gifted one of those crates to Victor for his bunny. The in-laws traveled to pick up the crate and drop it off to the FB friend and she and I connected halfway between our houses yesterday and transferred the crate from her vehicle to mine; a crate which traveled about 40 miles just to bless a little boy.  It might be just slightly over the size we need but hey, sometimes God just likes to over-bless His children. (And maybe next time we'll get a therapy pony.)

Victor was on his pretend phone this morning, telling his friend, Ms. Jackie,
all about his bunny that would be coming soon.

She loves to cuddle and be petted but is just slightly stressed at the moment. Victor has already told her all about Easter and has invited her to the beach with him on Monday. I'm not going to tell him that she's staying home. Are you?

Victor and Wissewa meet for the first time.

We have never seen him so focused on a task for such a long stretch of time. He was very kind and gentle to her.

Victor has another imaginary friend named "No." Just before bed he asked if he can have a bunny named No, too.

No, Victor, there will be no No. One bunny is enough.