Category Archives: parenting

Especially those that don’t have it…..need it desperately.

This has NEVER happened to us before.


Our 4 yr old pup ran away from a friend’s HOME Sunday evening. “Nala” was sighted headed, south, towards OUR HOME Tuesday. This means a 6 lb dog, in 90 degree heat, has walked at least 7 miles, admist cars, in less than 2 days.

Poor thang..She WANTS to come home…She is SO close… She just wants HOME.


[THIS is Nala….sigh….Praying she shows up on our front step or we get a phone call that someone found her….some hearts hurt around here…]

I know this is SUCH a stretch but….But, pondering the instinct a dog has to return “home, even after months in some cases, has me contemplating what ‘HOME’ truly means. It’s a dang big deal.

Let’s pretend we are not talking about “Nala the Dog” for a second….but a baby that doesn’t have a home. I know…big stretch. Canine versus Human…HUGE difference…but…

I’ve been dwelling on getting Nala HOME since Sunday. It’s natural for my brain to meander into other avenues of what “HOME” means…to all sorts of all of us.

A baby…don’t you think…don’t you KNOW they have an instinct for a Mother? A Father? 

They KNOW when they do not have that. They KNOW when they do not have a HOME. A PERMANENT place of love and safety.

If the baby grows into toddlerhood in this same situation…be it in an orphanage, a temporary foster home, etc., does an instinct kick in to LOOK for “Mom” or “Dad”.

I know for a fact it does. 

If they do not find a parent, or someone who functions like a permanent parent, they do not develop the ability to BOND. 

To know the safety net of “HOME”. 

To understand unconditional love. To know the feeling of falling asleep without fear.

And the longer they are without ‘HOME’ the more jaded they become. But…jaded is removable..ask us how we know …. phew.

Children…starting at a startling young age…yearn for ‘HOME’. A HOME.

Our Tye [this is how we know…] did not come “HOME”, from China,  until age 2.25. 

It was APPARENT that he HAD yearned for a home but had not found it and, as a result, had hardened himself against what he did find…which was chaos, transitional caregivers, boredom, and hunger.

How do we know he had an instinct for a HOME, A Mommy, A Daddy? Because he was so closed off from all that was normal for a 2 year old’s heart. 

He was walled up inside himself. 

He was behind a wall of protection he’d set up for himself, mentally, because he had not found the things he instinctively knew he needed. Up went the walls.

It took God, and us, over 2 years to break those walls down…and to let his instinct for ‘HOME” resurface.  

He had to learn to trust again….to learn to go to sleep at night without fear that there would not be food the next day or that someone would take his only possession…his shoes. 

When he came home, he REFUSED to take his shoes off for months. He WANTED his shoes to be there ALWAYS. He had substituted a pair of shoes for a set of parents. [this world is so hard]

high quality and good price for kid shoe
 [they are similar to these but orange..of course I saved them 😉

When we finally had him as ours forever… he went to sleep STANDING UP in his crib….flat-out-FEAR. He was on HIGH ALERT. 

He also screamed his lungs out while he tried to decide if he was safe or not. Was this HOME? He had lost the instinct for such a thing and was crazy-confused about what was happening.

It did not matter what we, new and -again- random to him, people did to help him sleep…he had to figure it out on his own. Decide that he was safe. That his shoes would still be there. That there would be food. 

That, what he wanted and needed the most but did not quite know what it was, our LOVE would be there when he woke up. Eventually…he knew he needed it but he had to be ‘taught’ to let those feelings back out and to rest in the security of his HOME.

It was an IMMENSE struggle. Some of the hardest years of our lives.

But…now Tye is, mentally, “HOME”. He’s been physically home for 7 years. He’s been mentally home for about 5 or a bit less. We knew when it happened. It was the 100+ days we spent, alone as a family, in Guatemala during Aven’s adoption process.

He ‘settled’ during that time. He decided we were his and he was ours. The timing of that trip was divine for so many reasons….And one was to help Tye’s give that one last “nod of the head” that ‘this is going to work’.



It’s instinct.


Especially those that don’t have it.

If you are called to adopt…If you think about adoption all the time…If you lay awake at night thinking about “your baby”…..

You know what to do. Do it . 

Adoption is not on everyone’s plate…but it is on some. As much as we are not to be ‘inside-the-envelope-type-people’ (snirk)…Others LOVE the routine of the corporate life.  We all have our own paths.

However, if you feel the adoption bug but think there is NO WAY….We have been there. Knowing we were to do adopt but it did NOT make logical or financial sense.

However…It has worked out. God stretched dollars, blessed business, and had our backs.

 I cannot promise roses and long walks on the beach (smile)…..but I can promise a sense of wholeness that is not found in ANY other way…if you are laying awake at night thinking about “your baby”….


My Son is fifteen. But. I share him with another Momma. Let’s talk about it.

Our Chase.

My Sunshine.

Jim’s “Orange Pumpkin”.

Aven’s “Squeezy”.

Tye’s Protector.

Zane’s Idol.

Trey’s Best Friend.

Irina’s son.

Max’s son.

An entire family’s son that they do not have the honor to encounter day-to-day.   Who know Chase was happily adopted at age 14 mos, from the orphanage where he was taken after being in the hospital for 3 mos. after his birth. He was in a rural Russian hospital for those 3 mos due to prematurity, bronchitis, and failure to thrive.

A family, a Mom, that was in desperate need and left her son in the care of the nurses.  

I have always tried to paint a mental picture of her having/chosing to walk away from her son… I will never get it pictured properly but I honor her for that long walk…where she left part of her heart behind.

BUT! Now, Irina knows Chase IS THRIVING. 

We hired a private investigator to find Chase’s birthparents 3 years ago. It took over a year. Record-keeping is not the same there as in our very organized nation.

But.  Now she KNOWS.  She has pictures. She has video. She has information on his interests, his talents, his love of Jesus.

Every one of Chase’s birthdays makes me feel, truly, connected to Irina.  

To a woman that lives on a different continent, whose daily life is vastly different than mine, who lives in a different culture that is steeped in deep, deep history whereas I live in a relatively new nation that is still establishing and finding our balance.  

I live in complete freedom, whereas Irina lives within a system of “supposed” freedom but one that is not practiced in actuality.

 (We always honor our adopted kids’ birthparents on child’s birthday. The ‘adoption triad’ of birthparents/adoptive parents/child … is represented this year by this neat flower arrangement I found 🙂

You are wondering if Chase minds if I talk to you all about his heritage.

No. Not at all. 

He is proud of being adopted. He understands, to the extent a 15 yr old can (which is pretty deep), what Irina did for him and why….  

He talks openly about “Miss Irina”, “Mr. Max”, and considers adoption as just one way God can construct a family.

I asked him, on the the 31st (his birthday), if he was thinking of Miss Irina.

He looked at me…sorta sheepishly…and said, “Not really Mom. Is that bad?”  

My response, knowing he is 15 yrs old and thinks about video games more than food, said,”No babe. But I am and I wanted to remind you of how much I love her and am grateful to her because without her I would not have you.”

 (HOW completely AWESOME, eh?! My sis and Bro-in-Law were in Ukraine a few weeks ago. They got Chase authentic (as in used 🙂 Russian military cap with ALL the pins that would denote “Lieutenant” !!!!!  WOW, eh?!!)

“You are right Mom.” …. and he’s back to doing whatever it was he was doing before I asked him 😉  Yep. He’s a teenager.

But, our goal has always been to keep his adoption (all the adoptions) an open topic. As easy to bring up as a “What’s for dinner” type question. 

At this point, we see it playing out in all three of our kiddos who were brought to us via the journey of adoption. And within our ‘homemade’ kiddos. They have questions too.  

We welcome any and all types of questions in regards to the adoption journeys we’ve traveled – first as just “Jim & Andre” and then it was “Jim, Andrea, Chase, Trey, and Zane” to get Tye home from China. And, finally (so far ;), it was “Jim, Andrea, Chase, Trey, Zane, and Tye” to get Aven home from Guatemala. It’s been a group effort 🙂

It is a beautiful thing. It allows a child to see a bigger world.  A world where love abounds….a world where Moms and Dads go to extraordinary lengths to keep their children safe, fed, to be given opportunity, education, and to be so amazingly self-less as to allow someone else to raise their child.

I am daily amazed by you, my Chaser-Bean.

You can be discouraged and confused one minute and laughing hysterically shortly thereafter.  You bounce back from setbacks or bad days unlike anyone else I have ever met.

I want your perseverance.  I want that gigantic smile that you just cannot hold back.

Most of all, my son, I just want you. And, thanks to Miss Irina and Mr. Max….I have my wish.

I have you … a son that is independently focused on growing his relationship with God, who knows he struggles with Fetal Alcohol Effect but does not use it as an excuse for bad behavior or to not conquer something that is very hard for you (math!!). And you have found your God-Given talents and RAN with them! (music is one of ’em!)

Tears are rolling down my face as I picture God forming you within the womb, giving you an extra dose of perseverance (because He knew you’d need it)..

…wiring your brain with the ability to heal and conquer FAE..

…piecing your heart together but apparently using larger than normal components because your heart, Chase, it fills a room within seconds….

God giving you a craving that is unlike others…a craving to be generous beyond your years – How many times have you asked me, “Need anything Mom?”, “You doin’ okay Mom?”……  God has never created another one like you my love.

 (Papaw telling all of us about a prank he pulled on Chase awhile back…adorable)

It would be impossible to for there ever to be another “you”.

You are a young man that has fought, (even if we were dragging you through the fight sometimes….years 6-9 come to mind :) to become who YOU want to be…not who we are telling you to be, not who friends are telling you to be, but who YOU THINK YOU SHOULD BE.

I am amazed…my son…Irina’s son…God’s son….

Amazed at you and you, without any doubt, have made our entire family something that it could never have been without YOU.

When they handed you to me in a freezing, colorless orphanage in Rostov, Russia on January 17th, 1998… I knew I was holding an angel…My soul felt your angelic spirit the instant I touched you…I felt that, somehow, I had your birthmomma’s permission to take you into the folds of my arms, into the deepest places of my heart and to keep you safe, loved, and nurtured.

It turns out…. that Irina knew you were an angel too and wanted to let you soar.

You are soaring our Angel….. Beyond ALL expectations my… I mean OUR son ….. SOARING.

WE, Miss Irina, Mr. Max, Mom, Dad, your brothers,  and your sister,  … we love you and please use that love to change the world Angel.

With ALL of our LOVE….
Your Momma….and, by proxy, Miss Irina.

 (but…I bet Miss Irina is WAY WAY WAY more normal than us. Sorry ’bout that Sunshine Boy.. 😉

"But Momma, he was my Grandpa Bruce. Aren’t you sad?" said Aven, about my (passed) Poppa…

oh vey.
It is ALWAYS in the car. 

I SWEAR the “big” conversation ALWAYS.HAPPEN.IN.THE.FLIPPin.CAR.

Kids KNOW they have you “stuck” in there.  You can’t whisk yourself  away and claim you have to do laundry, you cannot answer a phone (that really isn’t ringing but is a great way out of conversations you are not ready to launch into), there’s no where for the parent to “go”.


I promise, upon my purple hair, that I have had more theological, spiritual, and conversations of the deepest kind….while stopping at stop signs, hurdling down the highway, and looking at my GPS to figure out where in the heck I’m going (hm. kinda symbolic with the GPS and all, ain’t it?!)

Today…Aven decided she needs to talk about death. 

While we are coming home from dance. Luckily, this drive is only 30 minutes, at most, so I took the opportunity by ‘the horns’ so to speak (as if I had a choice…if you know Aven or have read at minimum 2 posts on my know what I mean ;).

“Momma, the only bones we can see are our teeth, right?”

[my brain tries to jump back to anatomy class cuz I’m really not sure a tooth IS a ‘bone’ but then I remembered she is FOUR]

“Yes Aven. You can see your teeth and they are alot like bones.” (ha. got her.)

…wait for it…wait for it… ……

“Momma, will we have bones in Heaven?”


we’ve LAUNCHED into yet another theological question while in a moving vehicle.

“Aven, we are made in the image of God and God was Jesus so we will look like we look now, so, yes, we will have bones.”

“Mom, will I still have brown skin?” asked the girl-that-wants-fair-skin-and-blonde-hair.

“Precious girl, God created you perfectly. He wanted you to have brown skin. Remember, Jesus had dark skin too…Just like you. You are lucky! Yes, will have your beautiful brown skin in Heaven.”

{insert Andrea whispering prayers that these answers are at least 90% to close to ‘correct’ within the realm of what Heaven will be like :}

….get ready for it….get ready for….the 4 yr old’s about to dive even deeper…

……AND we’ve hit every red light on our way home so I know God’s smiling at me saying, “gotcha Andrea. Now stop checkin’ your phone and answer Aven’s questions with your full attention.” dang….busted.

….Aven jumps too……… MY DAD of course.

“Grandpa Bruce was my Grandpa. It is not fair. He’s dead. Aren’t you sad Momma?” asks a truly inquisitive, soft-hearted little girl who my Dad would think hung the Moon.

“Yes, Aven. I am sad but I know my Daddy feels better now. AND, I just bet that he knows about you and your brothers and is very happy. I think my Dad is happy that I am happy.” I respond…

[anyone else sweating? and if you are looking up scripture to prove I’m wrong …. please don’t… just shut your Bible and role with me…she’s FOUR ya know ;)]

I am now whispering to God that ‘could He PLEASE step in any ol’ time cuz does He remember that I have driving anxiety with my stupid Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and talking about my deceased father, while driving, probably IS NOT the best mix for this girl????……..

“But Momma, dead people aren’t happy. They look like this…” 

I look in the rearview mirror and she’s mimicking a dead body by frowning as big as possible with her eyes squeezed shut and her pigtails all hanging to one side, drooping over the side of her carseat.   (HELLO!! Anxiety?!)


{okay…now comes the part where God takes over because I’ve NEVER EVER thought of this before}

“Aven, you know how we love matroyshka dolls. We think they are so beautiful and each one has more inside than what you can see from the outside?” I say thinking…’where’d THAT come from?’…oh yeah…God’s steppin’ in! phew!

“Yes. My favorite is the teeny-tiniest baby one …. the last one.”  said Aven, who’s no longer mimicking a dead person, which is nice.

“Well, sweets, the teenist-tiniest one…THAT one is like your SOUL! 

The soul that God put into your body.  Remember how that last, littlest one…your favorite…doesn’t open? It’s because that is the REAL, never changing part of the matroyshka doll…just like our soul never changes.”

[I’m thinking…’hey..I’m not doing to bad with this one! woot! woot!. Thank ya Jesus I CAN listen AND obey WHILE driving! who knew?!]

“Right now, the bodies we have are like the ‘outside’ matroyshka doll. The one you can see.” I continue.

Aven says, “Oh my favorite is the pretty red one that has blonde hair but I’m still mad that that dog, Benson, chewed part of her up.” 

“Yep, Aven, you are right. I get mad about that too because that makes me think of my Daddy. His ‘outside’ matroyshka doll got sick. It wasn’t his fault. 

But it is because there is yuck in this world that wants to keep us from being really happy and really healthy.  God hates that yuck, ya know that yuck is the Devil.”  I say, seriously wondering if God is stretching time because this car ride is taking FOREVER.

matryoshka rings.JPG

“I hate the devil. I would be like my brothers and just “Tae Kwon Do” kick him Momma.” said Aven.  (laugh:)

“You CAN, in a way, do that when you pray Avenita because the Devil is such a whimp he doesn’t even let us see him. Your prayers are your kicks.” I replied.

I wanted to get back on topic (if possible with Aven :)…

“Hey Aven, you know how we are the ‘outside’ matroyshka now, right?  Well, when we die and go to Heaven, which is not scary, it is like we get to be one of the other, inside, matroyshka dolls!  

No scratches, no doggy bite marks, no chipped paint!  We are brand new but we are still ourselves because that littlest ‘matroyshka’, your favorite one, is still inside….like how your soul will always be with you.”

She looks out the window for a second and I am PRAYING to the SWEET LORD ABOVE that she does not bring up that not EVERY ‘inside’ matroyshka looks like the outside one….kwim?!

She didn’t. {PHEW}

She said, “I’m glad that little one is always going to be there. It’s my favorite.” (from the mouth of babes, right?!)

“Aven, it’s who makes “you” you. Your soul is “Aven”.  No matter what the outside looks like….you will always be how God made you…which is perfect.”

I looked in the rearview mirror, and saw my daughter….who looks nothing like me, who does not share my DNA, but who is so much a part of me that I sometimes forget where she starts and I end….

…..who has questions that seem beyond her age….who will have questions I do not have answers too….who seems to know that the world curiously complicated….

…A child that was knit together within her birthmother’s womb with perfection……with a purpose and a plan for that baby to have hopes and a future…not for harm….

and…I saw this precious creation, my kiddo,  smiling BIG.  

Thank you Jesus.*503/matryoshka3.jpg

I do miss my Dad.

I miss that my Dad cannot enjoy my kids (oh my heck he would have LOVED them SO much!) but I am HAPPY that there is a hope for us which promises us a much brighter future that what we toil away for here on this rock we live on.

I  am thrilled that God helped me answer one of my precious treasure’s deepest questions using something she and I both love and share and see as “beautiful”….. matroyshkas.

God IS beautiful like that…always making it as easy for us as He can….wanting us to feel Him and His love. 

Not fear. Not doubt. Love.

A LOVE that can be described in SO many ways….and today….oddly enough……it was via a matroyshka doll. 

Happily….we pulled into the driveway before Aven ended her “looking out the window smiling really big moment” and launched into more theological questions….

[cuz my heart was on overload…]

Regardless….What a joy to know that there ARE answers to ALL of our hard questions.

And, a joy to know that inner-matroyshka doll that makes “us” us…will always be there.

God Is Good. 


Tye has his BIRD!!!!

[This relates to my last post…If you are wondering why the HECK there are so many birds and so much crazy…read that post…and the crazy just comes with being part of the “Cockrum Collection” 🙂 

 We didn’t tell Tye (or Aven) where we were going until we were GOING 🙂 

You can see the completely stunned look on both of their faces 🙂  Tye was ALL smiles after the initial shock…

 Tye almost knocked the door down at our friend’s house to get ‘his’ bird 🙂
 Tye in awe….deciding which bird is HIS bird…HIS bird from God in a beautiful way.
 Sweet birds..they are both over 10 years old. 

One was attacked by a dog and only has one eye. Aven wanted that one, Pete, so “She could make him all better.”  🙂

 Our friend who gave us the birds..I think Tye hugged her  20 times. BUT then again..Tye hugs any pretty lady he can 😉  

BUT…he said, “THANK YOU! THANK YOU!” over and over.

 Kiddos realizing we are really taking the birds home WITH us! 

[I don’t know why they were so isn’t like we don’t come home with some sort of random rodent or something quite often! smile]
 Tye’s new BFF, “Nelson”, was a rescued cockatiel and had spent most of his life in a cage. 

[I don’t know how one ‘rescues’ a cockatiel but that is Nelson’s sweet story. I, personally, think it is perfectly fitting for Nelson to be rescued again by Tye…sigh.]

  Even though Nelson was not used to nor did he even like being held, Tye acclimated Nelson very quickly!!! 

And, get this, Tye knows the bird’s name is “Nelson” but has nicknamed him “NOON NOON“…which was TYE’S CHINESE NICKNAME 🙂  cry.
 Just like “Noon Noon”…Tye has a whole new world to FLY …and maybe this small miracle of events falling into place has put some pieces of his mental puzzle together for him.

No..not a maybe. I KNOW it has.

Tye really understands how God stepped in and got “Noon Noon” to him in a neat way. 

(After Mommy and Daddy had said “No!” haha I still find that hilarious.  God was like, “Sheesh Jim and Andrea…Do have to do EVERYTHING for you?”  Um. YES? 🙂

 Aven giving “Pete the Pirate” a kiss. 

This is a PERFECT bird for Aven. 

Pete is not “perfect” in appearance but he already LOVES her. Crawls all over her. Jumps to her. Kisses her 🙂  

She’s getting a wonderful heart-lesson from “Pete the Pirate” [get it…he’s a pirate cuz he only has one eye … wink…]

 Within two days, Tye can hold Nelson/Noon Noon without any “barrier” like a thick glove, etc. “Noon Noon” really seems to love Tye 🙂
 We’ve had our “Icon” [on the right] for two years. We tried to introduce him to “Noon Noon” and “Pete” but “Icon” was NOT interested. 

I think we’ll keep them separate for quite awhile longer 🙂

 This is just “good ol’ normal” in the Cockrum household 🙂 Which I think is really fabulous 🙂
 Zane was feeling sorry that “Icon” was feeling ‘left out’ [the boy with the softest heart in the world I swear it!] so he was telling “Icon” he was still “King of the House” ….
 Our birds’ wings are not clipped. 

(cuz I’m scared to do it. I ‘clipped’ Trey’s newborn baby fingernails and made him bled profusely. Since then, I REFUSE to ‘clip’ anything. No joke.)

So, sometimes, they ‘take flight’ and it becomes a “find the bird” type of game. 

Then a “get the bird” adventure”…..

 “Noon Noon” has BIG feet (?) claws (?) talons (?) ha.  Took Tye a bit to get used to the feeling of them…but it wasn’t long before “Noon Noon” was climbing all over him….
 Another “Find the Bird” adventure. 

Can you find the bird in this picture?

 Yes, sometimes poop happens 🙂 

But, honestly, the birds usually keep this in their cages. I promise. My house does NOT smell. 🙂 

I ask my ‘would tell it to me straight’ friends if it does smell and they continue to say “NO”. 🙂

 Yet another “find the birdies” game……

Yep! My lovebirds love hanging out ‘in’ the light. They never leave our bedroom…cuz…that would be just crazy to have five birds all about the house at once 😉


It was, needless to say, a wonderful time adding the birds into Tye and Aven’s lives … It felt like pieces just fell together in perfect ways. 

That God orchestrated what, to myself and so many, would seem SO minor…but, apparently, to Tye’s heart is a MAJOR.

It’s really thrilling to be “corrected” by God and to watch it happen as it is SUPPOSE to happen.

Thank God for God 🙂

We also got to spend some “family” time with some of the “Guat Girl” families in our lives. Some of us were  together celebrating The Holloway’s new home 🙂

Again….Thank God for God 🙂  

Who else could have orchestrated and laid it upon the hearts of FIVE families, who were all friends but weren’t comparing notes that intently, to start the adoption process all within 6 mos of each other? 

The end result is giving our “Guat Girls” a sense of community that these girls seem to really need AND giving the five family’s involved a sense of beautiful history and sense of ‘family’ that WE ALL desperately need.

I’m gunna say it ONE more time…

Thank God for GOD 🙂

 Chase and Delaney. 

Delaney’s Momma used to watch Chase will I worked when Chase first came home from Russia!  And..for the record…Delaney has always had a bit of a cute, little girl crush on her “Chase”  🙂

 SEE! These girls need each other :)))
Bad Girls! 

These two fashionista raided Jessica’s closet … and come down to show their creations!  Happily, Jessica laughed. She’s cool like that 🙂

 Sophia…the Guat Girl that we are ALL rootin’ and prayin’ for. 

Her and Tye have alot in common…unfortunately. 

BUT, I know her parents are fighting the hard fight for her. She’s come a LONG way.  Silly girl can fall asleep ANYWHERE though! Makes me jealous!

There were boys screaming, adults talking, etc….but Sophia decided it was time for a nap?! lucky girl. 

I wanna nap like that!

 Emily (Sophia’s Momma..and Delaney..and Addie’s 🙂 and I have been family for about 19 yrs now. Not by blood but by bonds.
 My husband has another lady in his life…it is Tessa. I admit it. The man swoons over that girl 🙂
 I sorta kinda really luv her too 🙂 She’s Aven’s “Special Sister” as they call each other 🙂

Thanks for reading, commenting, encouraging, and lovin’ on us here in blog-land.

I don’t think you all realize the happiness you all bring me.

Knowing you are “out there” and I can always “come here” and be ME.

You all make me feel exceptionally happy…thank you Readers :))


Some days I feel like I need a concealed "weapon" to parent.


It’s been a day.

One of the “males” in my Collection has really been having a rough go of it and he’s been pulling me along behind.

He’s going full speed ahead in a bright, fast, red sports car…..and I’m hanging on to an attached rope in my retro-roller skatin’ speed derby get-up hoping to the Good Lord above that the boy slows down soon.

(Just some fun picture imagery for ya…you know I’m good some crazy pictures!)

Today. Well. Sigh. Today. Groan. Today.

Today this male, I refuse to name him as you might ‘label’ him as completely and totally ornery and mean, and just because I’m blogging about all my daily life issues doesn’t mean the boy needs to be labeled.


this Male of Mine just started the day off with the idea of “Well, it’s a good day to die and I’m taking you all with me” mentality.

The child was not up for more than mere moments before he was causing rifts, fights, and frustrations.

At one point today this boy-Cockrum got angry at another one in our Collection and tried to physically hurt his sibling.

Now, I am NOT a naive Momma.  
I know that happens amongst siblings. It is not like this is the “First” time one of my kids has intentionally tried to injure a sibling. 
But the meanness this specific kiddo showed today…Well…I was SAD. 

It can’t be a happy place to be, mentally, if you are wanting to inflict injury onto someone simply because you are angry.

After ‘the incident’ (in which no Cockrum kiddo was actually harmed) this “Mean Male” spent the rest of the day within eyesight of myself or his Dad.  
Sitting quietly as we went on with our life…as, we told him …”we cannot trust you to be with your brothers or sister if we aren’t in the same room because you were so mean today.”
Needless to say, we will be working on this kiddo’s inner-anger….hopefully getting him to a place of peace where he can rest and feel confident in his environment…releasing the need to control by injuring! sheesh!

Now, I am also not naive enough to think this is the last time something like “this” will be attempted.

As a result…my mind went off in some rather unusual avenues in regards to how to handle and/or prevent this in the future.

Thus the “Concealed Weapon” idea.  (insert large laugh)

Now…I’m using the word ‘weapon’ loosely.

I think I’d settle for a concealed “NERF” gun …. (grin) …. just something that gives ME, da Momma, an advantage…a surprise attack advantage!  mmwwwhahahahaha

I promise not to shoot any kiddos in the eyeballs….but…isn’t this a grand idea?

The darts would start flying and the “mean” kiddo would be so shocked he’d stop his ominous behavior immediately and become totally complaint to my wishes 🙂  

Now, I might have to start wearing loose shirts to cover the massive “NERF” gun that I have in mind. 

Ya know…the one that shoots a gazillion “styrofoam bullets” a minute?! Yeah..that one!

And, I might need to apply with some county, state, and/or federal agency to be allowed to carry this “weapon” upon my person…

But I think I can convince those that are in “power” to understand where I am coming from.

At the very least, I can invite them to come over for a day or two and let THEM parent this child…but…no…they’d leave running, screaming, tail-between-their-legs, hands-in-the-air in surrender after just mere hours with THIS mischievous Male I am referring too 🙂

Anyways…If you see me with a big, bulky, fluorescent yellow, plastic “NERF” machine gun hidden under my artsy outfits from now on…’ll know why.

I may have lost this battle but I am not losing the war!  

I WILL win my Children! 

I will PREVAILLLLLL!!!!! 🙂


[it just helps to laugh sometimes….it really does.]

Okay. So. Yes. Maybe 5 is alot of kids?

(before my ravings…some pictures? ok!)

Tye (finally) graduated from “Camo” belt to “Green” belt. 
Once he finally got his forms down, there was no stopping the boy. 
 Tye had to recite a rather long and wordy verse to graduate.  He cannot, cognitively do all of this yet…

Enter Big Brother 🙂

Chase has, thanks to Dad’s idea, worked with Tye for about three months to get his forms and this verse DOWN.
Tye ‘knew’ the verse but needed prompting. The teachers allowed for Big Brother to prompt during Tye’s testing.
It was beyond sweet I have to say.

 Trey FORGETS to breathe when he’s sparring.

Scares me to DEATH everytime. 

Breathe boy…Breathe!

 Now Tye has started sparring!

He has a special face mask to protect the VERY PRICEY nose he has 🙂

 Chase is hilarious when he’s sparring.

He starts laughing…and running away 🙂

Oh my.

Then he gets back into the swing of things. (pun intended)

 Proud Grandparents.

 TKD gives our boys a sense of community.  

Seems very healthy for them to have.

I think I’ve been a smidge delusional the last ten or twelve years. 

Or…at least since I’ve been immersed in the ‘homeschooling world’.

I truly did not think that FIVE kids was ‘alot’.  In fact, if anything, it seemed a SMALL number to me. I am…now…changing my opinion.

I am waking up to the fact that FIVE is sorta alot of little humans to tend too.  That the homeschooling world is a bit skewed in regards to family size and comparing myself to “them” may not be the healthiest thing for me.

You see…MOST of my cyber-homeschooling friends (yes, I have alot…some of them are you all reading this blog in fact 🙂 have at LEAST four kids…Most have at least SIX.

Most are biological…which to me means “harder than adopting” because I am REALLY not good at being pregnant. I am mean.  Viscious really.  And I puke hundreds upon hundreds of times. blah.

So, BIRTHING 4+ kids … to me…. has been a ‘benchmark’ of sorts.  Especially birthing 6+ humans. I’m friends with ALOT of woman who have…and who are open to more kids.

However…I’m beginning to realize that a bigger family isn’t always better. For me.

I mean…I’ve ‘known’ this about our family size forever but not sure I really BELIEVED it.  

I am starting to become a believer :O)


What’s changed my mind?

Real Life.

For our (big?) Collection of People…we feel that it is important for them to have certain life experiences such as team sports, alot of community exposure, travel experiences, etc. 
Ya know…’real life’.

That is getting crazier and crazier the older they get!!!  Wowha.

We have multiple youth group nights, TKD nights, and music lessons nights. We have little kids that want to play in the backyard with friends while big kids want to go to the “Weapons” Class at the TKD Studio.

We have big kids who want to be busy with ‘big kid’ activities while we have little kids who need little kid ‘activities’… 

I’m not complaining, and we have a much emptier schedule than alot of families I know. 



Okay.  I give.  It’s alot. 

White Flag.

The World Was Right.

Five is Big.

I will NO longer judge myself against other large families and consider myself inadequate.
I will look at OUR life and consider it perfect for US.
What do you judge yourself against?  
Well STOP 🙂

It’s fun.  And refreshing.


 Zane and Tye have a very fun way of bathing the little dogs 🙂  

For the record…they have their swimsuits on.  Adorable. 🙂

Hearing my 14 year old worship….

 Last night (Wednesday) was my long-awaited “Mercyme” concert.

I am a fairly HUGE “Mercyme” fan…the lyrics of their songs penetrate my soul.  Their song “Bring the Rain” was almost a motto for our Guatemalan adoptions.  

Happily, last night Chase and Trey got to experience “Mercyme” IN ACTION for the first time!

Of course, they know most of the songs because I play them all the time 🙂 I have to admit to not really “loving” music like my husband…I don’t remember band names, song titles, lyrics, or…really..anything…

UNLESS the song stirs me.

(like Cindy Morgan’s “How Could I Ask For More”… and Etta James’ “Sunday Kinda Love” … and a few others- but not many. sigh)

So, as a result, I play the SAME songs over and over and over 🙂  This behavior drives my music-fanatic family quite insane……what can a girl do?!

Anyways, after they got used to be being CRAZY (read: dancing 🙂 screaming 😉 the boys really settled in and enjoyed the band.

“Mercyme” concerts have a huge “worship” component.  LUV this.

I LOVE worshiping the Lord in a huge group where there is no pressure, no pews, no expectations.

Apparently, so does my 14 year old.

I was nearly brought to (more) tears as I stood by my oldest son as he sang just as loud as everyone else.

As he lost himself to the love of worship.

He let his teenage insecurities drop and he became part of a larger whole that was lifting praise to God simply because God is God.  Not for what He gives us…but because He is “I Am.”

I, as a Mom, really and truly want NOTHING more for my children than to love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, and MIND.

Oftentimes, I think I focus on “the MIND” part a bit too much…because it was not focused upon during my upbringing.

I’ve managed to get information in front of my kids that make them feel, intellectually, secure about God.  About good vs. evil. About Heaven. About the Bible.


Last night…Chase was learning, more, to Love the Lord with his Heart and Soul too.

I really can’t ask for more than that…For if they love the Lord with all their Heart, Soul, and Mind then all the other pieces will follow.  

It was a special night.  

One that, I hope, my boys will remember as penetrating their Hearts and Souls in a way that only God can…

The whole event was fun…but this “moment” … hearing my Chase sing with no cares….was a “true moment” I will never forget…

 (I was trying DESPERATELY to get a stage dude to take my bowler hat (which is a clone of one on “Mercyme’s” latest album cover…back to the band to get it signed. Um. Yeah. Well. That didn’t happen and, actually, the stage hands were sorta mean 🙂

Before the concert…We enjoyed the fair…

It was just us and ‘the big kids’. This is unusual for us. Yet it was a BLAST! Trey, with his sassy sarcasm, repeatedly mentioned just how “nice” it was actually…eyeroll 🙂
 (we won four new fish…welcome ‘home’ fishy friends…mmmwwwhahahaah…)
(and, I ask, WHY is the Momma always the ‘pack mule’? huh? huh?)

Yet….the moment of hearing my son sing his heart to the Lord…remains the highlight of the day…actually of my parenting life in a way …..

I PRAY that this is a moment that it is a glimpse into the future for my Chase…and my Trey…and my Zane….and my Tye..and my Avenita.

Andrea..and my 5 monkeys

Enough pictures to last us a…..few days :) AND…What is YOUR child’s "ELEMENT"?


Um …. just a “few” pictures of mi familia :O)  Alot of summer fun along with amazing memories and plenty of silly antics.

“Why so many pictures Andrea?”

Oh there are many reasons …. a few:

1. to prove to my kids they had a great childhood 😉

2. to look at when I am wondering which continent Chase is currently in, how Tye’s doctor practice is going, if Zane got bit by a boa constrictor at his Zoo, if Trey gets a sabbatical from Oxford after he earns tenure, and if Aven will be home by curfew 🙂

 Zane was a hot mess with that cast at the Lake last week.

We tried …valiantly…truly! 

But, alas, the day after we spent at the Lake…

Zane & Jim spent at the Ortho getting a fresh cast 🙂


We were trying EVERYTHING to keep it try. Nothing worked.

Only today, on, did I discover “vacuum sealed swim covers”” for casts! 

And THAT was only after our neighbor told us about them! oh vey….

But…we think the day was worth a ruined cast….

You can replace a cast…You cannot replace a day with family!


I am IN THE WATER!! Not only ‘that’…but I am IN THE WATER on a skinny raft with a 4 yr old AND a little pup on my lap!  

Somebody “ROAR” for me! booyah! (see I don’t “do” cold water…but this lake water was -literally- past warm! JUST the way I like it 🙂

My sweet nephew, Bruce.  He is his own person. Sticks to his guns about his ideas. I like that about him…He preferred to sit by a hot fire on a  hot day than splash in the water. And that’s exactly what he did 😉

What a divine picture of my Zane…He is IN HIS ELEMENT.

Does your kid(s) have an “element”? Some environment in that they seem to think all is right with the world?

Zane’s is fishing/outdoorsy stuff

Aven’s is her bedroom 🙂

Trey’s is behind a guitar!

And Chase’s is working within  a leadership position….

It is FUN to see the kids’ hearts flutter and leap when they get to experience “their” element.

I feel like it is free therapy of sorts 🙂 (not that they NEED therapy..but..well…I AM their Momma so ….maybe!) but…

A therapy that EVERYONE needs….to be in ‘their environment’…

…Where your heart feels lighter, your cares slight, and your contentment soaring…

My element is my art studio…I FEEL LIKE ANDREA IN THERE! phew.  She IS still under there after all these years of parenting! good to know!

So, I ask again, what is you and/or your kids’ elements?

Then there are those AMAZING times…

When “life” is put away…When time “settles”…When a moment becomes breath-taking…awe…sweet heaven.

I feel “that way” when  I see my kids “liking each other”.

Seeing your kids love on each other is SURELY one of the best rewards a Momma could get.  

I want my kids to be siblings but also FRIENDS. There IS a big difference and we are FOREVER encouraging their friendships!

It seems to be ‘taking’ …. perfectly?! ha. no. never.  

But – improvements are happin’ 🙂 


I have a newly discovered passion..UMBRELLAS! I think we should move to Seattle so that I can use one almost EVERY day!

The more I look at them, the more intriguing I find them. 

They have SO much utility – keep you try, coordinates an outfit (smile), a weapon (!), a great photo prop?!! 

{weird. I know. whatever. I can hear ya’ll rollin’ your eyes!!!}

Then there’s my Trey….

Trey was mesmerized all day by keeping “the fire going”. The boy would make a GREAT cowhand I’m telling ya!

This is my twin “in Heaven”….

A new phone (that has internet access which she has never had or at least not in India) AND a can of the REAL ‘Mountain Dew”…

Heaven for her!

My kids seem so “big” in these pictures. I think I will only photograph them from the knees up now! 

HOW the heck did Chase (above picture) suddenly become a “man-boy”?  No one asked MY permission..No one asked if I wanted my first baby to grow up all of a sudden…growl.

But his is dang cute isn’t he?!!! To bad he can’t date until he’s about 28 🙂  bbwwwhhhaaahahahaha

How much do I LOVE (like oh so LOVE) that my girl though that hair band around her waist was “just where I thought it should go today Momma!”  

Oh my heck I LOVE her sass and her creativity. 

Thank you Sweet Jesus for giving her to me…THANK YOU FOR ALL FIVE OF THEM PRECIOUS GOD!!! What would I do without my Collection??? sigh. 

YOU knew JUST what my life would need…I, personally, had NO idea that THIS is what my heart would long for….You started giving me the desires of my heart before I even had them 🙂 shiver.  [i hadn’t a CLUE nor inclination to be a Momma to Many when I was younger or even newly married….God smiles at my cluelessness surely :)]

YES! Tye caught a fish!

BOO that he thinks it is now a true pet and has a meltdown when, after an HOUR of kissing, watering, and petting it Jim has him release the fish back into the lake.

Tye really might need therapy for that one!  But, really people…If Tye gets his hands on ANYTHING new (alive, dead, just needs to be tangible!) he DEMANDS to take it home.

Either I am raising  a ‘hoarder’ or Tye is still working out some mental difficulties about ownership, etc….Which he never had the opportunity to do in his orphanage. 

Everything, except his shoes, were communal property. 

As a result, the boy gets a massive snap of HAPPY when he “owns” a new thing…..I wonder when this phenom will end with him?!

If you are new here…beware.

I have a “FEW” areas where my self-control goes out the blogging window…

A few are:

*My kids’ toes! oh how I adore them!

*I write ALOT here 🙂 I lose track of time when I am blogging.

*An abundance of pictures…as you can tell from this post 🙂

*Opinions…MY opinions but I’d always love to hear yours!

*Art (I pretend to be an artist during those 23 free minutes I have every 4 days or so 😉

*Truth. I love writing IN a truthful way but also about how truth/trust are SO very important…and I’m always asking my readers for advice…So count yourself duly warned!!! 🙂

That, pretty much in pictures, was our “day at the lake” last week…Our first FULL day spent with my sister and her family. 

It was beyond awesome to see how resilient kids are…the kids just pick up where they left off and “get ova it!”  I want to be more like them!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures…. 🙂  

And…as I am about to close my eyes for the night…I SURELY hope it is not another 31 hours of sleep that will sneak up on me ….. because then who will be ornery and dorky to the kids tomorrow? 

Who would pretend to have forgotten Trey’s name and call him “Fred” all day?! huh? who?!

And, WHO, I ask would remind all these little people to  put the milk jug AWAY ..

,,,AND WHOOOOOOO would remind my 5 males to put the stinkin’ (pun accidentally intended but I’ll roll with it!) toilet seat down?!

No One! Only ME! 

I have to be up & at’em and get on “Toilet Seat Duty” asap tomorrow!

So…I need to be fully charged and roaring when my eyes open! (well…let’s not get CRAZY…I will be happy with one OR the other of those too!  *wink*)


Well…Oh Snap..Who Cares…Even a Momma of Many can still be super silly…See…

I wasn’t going to include these due to the high level of “stupid” that I look in these here pictures…but….I will [this whole ‘transparency thing I got going on here on my blog bites me in the buttocks sometimes!]

They are of myself [in the middle] with two of my high school “girlz” … and their spouses, friends.  Yep, we were and still are THAT dorky 🙂

Tye "speaks" on adoption. You’ll wanna listen. I promise.


You can see some of the “fun” of adopting…you get a ‘bigger’ family (as in birthfamily)…you get to tell your kids how incredibly special they are…..just like EVERY kid is…

but…you can also see, through my Tye and his cognitive delays, that -sometimes- the idea or concept of ‘adoption’ is a bit confusing.

Tye, age 8, has, in the last 18 months or so (hhmmm…maybe a smidge longer?) started understanding the basic idea of ‘adoption’…whereas our Chase & Aven understood the idea of adoption around age 2.

The process of adoption is not for the faint of heart…but building a family in any shape or form isn’t!

Please let our Tye inspire YOU to promote adoption, respect adoption, or…be that last little nudge you need to finally sign that adoption application you have had sitting on your table for weeks….or at least call the agency that’s been on your heart.


I do not promise it will be easy.  

But I PROMISE it will be worth it.

A daggone proud Momma…..

Sweet Summer Daze. Andrea wanes poetic…sorta.

Today was a movie-set perfect type of Summer Day.

A lake. 

(the same lake my twin and I grew up swimming in every single, daggone weekend of our entire teen years..whether we wanted to be there or not. It was our Dad’s version of a chastity belt I think. He was a smart dude. 🙂

Lots of cousins horseplayin’.

(they have a few years to make up for!)


(7 kids? And a little dog? There will be laughter 🙂

A ruined cast.

(oh well…it was worth it, right Zane? Tomorrow…new cast for you) 

A friend.

(a fellow momma friend who battles energy issues like I do..when I texted her this morning and said, “Ugh Amber. I just can’t do this today…” She responded, “Andrea Cockrum get out of your bed NOW and throw a rock at your Goliath. You need to do this. Get.Up.Now.”  

I responded and said I couldn’t find ‘a rock but could I throw a dog?’ smile [joking PETA people!]. She said, ‘Throw a lipstick! Whatever! It’s symbolic!’  Needless to say, her encouragement this morning gave me a great day of sweet memories. thank you Amber….

Mountain Dew.

(for my sister who has been utterly deprived of it for three years while living in India. I haven’t seen her without one in her hand since she’s been home this last week 🙂 

[Note to my Twin: this is where you comment and say, “oh but bless’ed sister of mine…I was not completely and utterly deprived for three years. You, my treasured twin, FED-EX’d me MOUNTAIN DEW more than once and it is the only reason I was able to stay in India an do ‘that work’ to those is such desperate need”. And then you proceed with several more adjectives about my niceties and such. super snort. no really.]

My hubby.

(whom I met EXACTLY 19 years ago TODAY… it was from across a crowded room on July 28th, 1992 around 7:12pm …. that I saw James Russell Cockrum for the first time. I went home and announced that I’d met my husband. I was 18.  

I have loved ya from that very instant my luv -which I have told you countless times and, yet,  it always makes me feel important that you love hearing me say it. I love the way your mouth turns into this geeky grin cuz you are still goofy about how strongly I felt about you from the moment I saw ya.

… and, just ‘by the way’ and ‘so ya know’ James Russell… you are officially VERY stuck with me now … for we have history, we have ‘people’ that are OURS – ours from God [dang, we had NO clue did we? Glad God is so much smarter than us],  we have been through amazingly goods and terrible bads but we never lost each other or let the other fall behind during these times,  we have inside jokes that are only for us, we can read each other’s entire insides by looking at the other’s face, and… so far, we have crazy life story together that is not even half-full…awesome.)


(not me. no. nope. nuh-uh. that’s there is boy stuff.)

A Bluegill fish.

(That Tye thought really needed to come home with us. It did proud of me people. Though it was put into a small plastic cup -with water!- and petted for quite awhile by our Tye:)

(‘almost’ enough on most of us…whoops and sorry to Chase’s face…)

Comfortable lounge chairs.

(but the kind that tip all the way back really easily…so my ab muscles got a workout trying not to let the dang chair go to far back even though they were ‘comfortable’? huh?)

A beautiful campfire. 
(started by my survivalist nephew…Bruce. If I am ever lost in the woods. I’m calling him. bbwwhahahaha..get it?!)


(found by my Aven Catherine Mundell every 5 minutes….and EACH one was found with a shriek of “LOOK MOMMA IT IS BEAUTIFUL!”)

Raft races with a kid of mine.

(uh-hem. I won. AND I had Aven and a DOG on my raft! Take that Trey 😉


(though even IN the shade it was the symbolic “Indiana Summer” day where the air drips with moisture and the heat sits upon your shoulders)

 “Camp DingRum”
(Trey donned our little area “Camp DingRum” which is a combination of our family’s two last names. He decided the alternative, “Camp CockMan” was just not “appropriate”. I will laugh about that …oh…for about forever.)

Brilliant Sunshine.

(happily I had my floppy twenty’s-throwback hat to shade me eyes…luv that hat.)

In all…it was a sweet daze within a beautiful summer day.

Sigh. So good. So needed. 

Well…..Sleep Tight Friends….

For tomorrow I will be showing you my devastated Art Studio (think MOUNDS of stuff piled EVERYWHERE from the downstairs remodel) in hopes that you will feel sorry for me (you can roll your eyes…) 

…AND/OR I will be “interviewing” Tye on video regarding how he feels about ‘adoption’ these days …..

And with that….

ZZZzzzzz…….(sunshine wears a girl O-U-T!)