Sunday, May 1, 2011

This One's For You, My Sweetie....

Apparently, someone has missed my blogging, and if only he were someone who could pay me, I would probably be more motivated to blog more often. However, in honor of his persistent emails, I give this blog entry about, "The Birthday of a Ballerina Princess".

Much has changed in the life of my Ballerina Princess. First of all, she has exchanged her tutus for jeans, and doesn't seem to keen on changing them back. She has, of course, found jeans with flowers and sparkles, so all is well in that area. She hasn't wanted to turn in the long hair for short, but does like to keep it braided or in pony tails, so as to facilitate such activities as breaking her arm while climbing on the couch, climbing trees, working with the electric snap kit and exploring the creek in the woods behind our home. She still loves shoes, though, and has more than anyone else in our family. Including heels. I have no idea where the girl got shoes with heels.

Anyway, Our Princess Ballerina turns 9 in just several days, so yesterday we celebrated. She is our first kid to actually draw a diagram of how she wanted the cake to look, as can be seen above. She even included a cross section. She was also able to talk her Daddy into a three layer cake: chocolate, strawberry and yellow, with both chocolate and pink frosting. Needless to say we picked Neapolitan ice cream to go with it. She wanted a big birthday party, so I graciously said, "Nope" and limited her to a few friends. I'm just boring that way.

They started the evening with cake, ice cream and kool-aid. A brief appearance was made by two "big boys" who then quickly recoiled back to the lair of bass guitars, guitars and computers. The kids then followed that with a rip through of presents and then went outside to play such games as "Whack the Bubbles with Sticks" and "Tie the Birthday Girl to the Basketball Hoop with Her New Jump Rope", all of which are games that fall under the category of "Mom Didn't Plan Party Games This Time and It Never Occurs to Dad to Plan Them".

Not long after that the party ended, and I began to get persistent emails about my need to start blogging again, as, apparently, my blog is an electronic memory of family fun for some people. And, since it's a person I love, I will start blogging again....

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Baby is an AWESOME Graphic Artist

This is my shameless posting of our oldest son's work with blender. And, Dude, it's a guitar!

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Awaking the Sleeping Dragon

Although I have not blogged much lately, the disturbing case of Artyiem Saviliev, the 7-year-old who was recently placed on a plane, alone, to fly back to Russia where he was met by a stranger, hired on the Internet, has awakened me once again. The stranger was paid $200 by Artyiem's "mother" to return him to the Russian government.

The Mama Bear in me cannot help but lash out in this case. What, in all that makes sense in this world, was that woman, and her mother, thinking? Did she honestly think that adopting a post institutionalized 7 year old boy was going to be easy? Did she think he'd be able to express the complexities of his emotions --- of abandonment, fear, culture shock, language shock -- to her in a healthy way? Did she think attachment would come quickly and without sacrifice on her part? Does this woman understand that we become parents not because children are extra cute pets or fashion accessories, but because we are willing to love sacrificially for their sake, not our own?

What they did was unconscionable. I fully believe that both she and any family member aware of what she did should be investigated, tried and punished to the full extent of the law for child endangerment and any other charge that fits. Children need to be protected. Period. Not just Artieym, but all the subsequent children who will be denied families either because this story has scared off families, or because they are denied a family due to the Russian governments understandable reluctance to let go of children, not fully understanding the fate of those who come here.

Yes, he was a difficult child. Yes, he scared her. But, she also did nothing to really change the situation. There is a large national support group for families that adopt from Russia: FRUA (Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption). FRUA provides resources and services for adoptive families that face these types of difficulties. She never joined. In addition to that there are many ministries and mental health centers that will work with children with these types of issues, in both residential and out patient service. There are families willing to foster children with these types of issues! There were options available. All that I have read has indicated that she did nothing to get him said services.

And, as any adoptive parent knows: The first year is HARD. Very very hard. Children have to learn to accept love, accept the permanence of family. They have a new language to learn. They have a new culture to learn. This is not for the meek! However, the rewards far out weigh the sacrifices. As is often the case with sacrificial love.

And, what about this "difficult child"? What has he learned? Well, one thing is certain. He has learned that you can be bad enough to drive off a person who has promised to love you forever. I lament what this child has learned. This precious child, made in the image of God, is reacting to a cruel world that has shown him, literally, no love. Reject me once, shame on you. Reject me twice, shame on me. I'm sure that idea is ringing in his head. Rejection for who he is. I pray that that lesson is not inscribed in his heart and yet, I realistically, I know it is. He now has evidence that he is unlovable. I pray that the Lord sends him a family to teach him that that is a lie, but at this point it will take a family that really knows unconditional love and is willing to live it.

What caused this woman to commit so hideous an act, so hideous a crime? I wish I understood. However, I do believe that our culture relies so heavily on our independence that perhaps the thought of needing other's help never crossed her mind. And, we so often buy into the lie that quality time does not mean quantity time... that perhaps more of us should consider if we really want to make the sacrifices necessary to parent a child. BEFORE the child is conceived or adopted.

Please consider signing the following petition to be submitted to both Russian President Medvedev and President Obama. It is sponsored by the Joint Council of International Children's Services:

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Friday, January 1, 2010

My Baby Stood! She Stood!

After 2 complete rounds of botox and serial casting, and months of waiting on braces, my baby stood by herself with her walker!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Writing in the Snow: An Irreverent Perspective on Our Cultural Ideas About Inclusion

Warning: This blog entry involves imagery that some might find offensive, while others might find quite natural.

Once upon a time there was a small town in which all the children, except one, were boys. The one lone little girl, Sally, was cherished by all, even though she was "different". At first she didn't notice the difference because, well, small children don't naturally notice those things. The other kids didn't notice either, and all was good in the world. Her parents knew that she would come to understand that difference, as would all the boys, but that if they made sure there was always a way for her to participate in the town, then she would not see that difference as something to be ashamed of. The world was full of girls and everyone knows how important they are! In fact, when she was all grown up, she would be one of the most valuable "possessions" that the town had!

So time went along and all were happy in Boyville. But as she and her friends grew, she began to notice things.

For the most part, her friends were faster and than her. True, she was faster and stronger than some of the other children, but she never placed first in a test of strength or speed. But, that was okay, because she also noticed that there were things she could do better them them -- she could sit still and pay attention longer, and was able to add her own perspective on things to conversations. She was always able to keep up, and her smaller size made her an attribute in some games (like hide-and-seek). She was different, but no one saw that as a problem. The lone girl in a town full of boys, comfortable with who she was.

One winter day, though, her friends all discovered something that they could do that she couldn't. They could write their names in the snow. Now, really, Sally thought that this was juvenile and didn't really care that she was missing out on this "fun". There were hundreds of other ways a kid could have fun! So, she contentedly found another activity to fill her afternoon, never a thought about it.

The next afternoon, the boys were all done being enamored with their unique ability to write in the snow, and so the kids all went back to playing dodge ball, snowball fights, video games and board games. Occasionally they would write in the snow, and when they did, Sally just found something else to do.

But, then, one day she heard the oddest thing. Her town was going to have an afternoon play date and the focus of that play date was -- writing in the snow.

Sally held back the tears as she read the flier on the town square:


What?! The one thing I can't do? Why in the world would they pick that? She thought. There are so many fun things to do... why would they pick that one thing? And why would they make it the only thing at this party?

Up till now, there are had been moments where it felt awkward to be different, but this, the feeling of being left out, this was completely new. Her Mom and Dad understood, and tried to advocate for her, but no one was willing to really listen. They thought that inclusion meant that she was simply welcome to be there, not that she was to be included as a valuable and equal part of a celebration.

Her parents sought counsel with the Mayor. The Mayor was a nice man, but he just didn't get it, because, well he could write in the snow, too, and had done so all his life.

"We'll get her an aide." He told them. "She can have some one with her and when they write in the snow then the aide can do it for her. She can kind of wiggle her hips so it feels like she's participating."

"Well," her father replied, "Sally doesn't want to pretend she's participating. She wants to participate. And she definitely doesn't want some adult following her around all afternoon. I mean, would you have wanted that when you were 10? Something like that will only make her feel like she's standing out even more!"

"Well," the Mayor responded, "It just doesn't make sense that you wouldn't want the town to have fun...." and the case was closed.

He didn't understand that the parents weren't saying not to have the town party or that the town party couldn't contain some form of writing in the snow, but that by making that the focus it was excluding Sally, and any other little girl that happened into town. Or maybe the boys who were uncomfortable with writing in the snow, or whose parents didn't have the money to purchase them snowsuits to keep them warm while writing in the snow, that those boys would be left out as well..... with a world full of options, why is there a need to focus on this one thing?

For the weeks leading up to the event, all the kids in town talked about it. Sally was silent. Her parents were silent. There was nothing for them to do, but every time a smiling boy came by and mentioned it, or a teacher at school asked if they would go, just one more tiny little part of their hearts would break.

Not because writing in the snow was really all that fun, but a certain realization would sink in even more each time they heard about it. People were willing to include Sally, as long as it cost them nothing in exchange for doing so.

They also felt sad, too, that people would never understand that the joy of having Sally, or any other little girl, included in what they were doing, far outweighed the fleeting fun of an afternoon of writing in the snow.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Letter from Jesus about Christmas

This was forwarded to me by a new friend of mine, Santa Bill, who is a kind gentlemen that happens also to beSanta Claus for some beautiful Ukrainian orphans in norther western Ukraine. It was a role he took on because he loves Jesus.

I don't generally post forwarded things on my blog, but I absolutely love the perspective of this:

Letter from Jesus about Christmas~

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up..... It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5 Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit-picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday.. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families.

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then BEHAVE like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest.

Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love -- and remember: