Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Misty Rain


This picture is from yesterday.  It is our road with misty rain and fog about 2pm in the afternoon.  I thought the picture turned out lovely!




I will tell you a funny....  I'm outside taking pictures, it was just so beautiful and still.  A second after I took this picture there was a huge lightning flash and thunderclap!  I thought I was a goner!!!!  Well thankfully I did not get hit and I did get a beautiful picture. 

We have the most unusual rain sometimes, it is a soft, misty rain with fog.  It's always alluded my efforts to catch it in a picture.  I've never seen "our kind of rain" anywhere else.  It's almost like being at Niagara Falls  and having the mist all around.  It's just gives the most peaceful feeling.....

Well I hope all my American readers have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Our turkey has been defrosting and I plan to put it in the oven around 3 am this morning so it's done early.   We were laughing at how BIG it is (24 pounds) and this year we have the smallest crowd in years 10 people...we'll have a lot left over.  This turkey weighs FIVE pounds more than Sarah did when we brought her home at 5.5 years old.  For some reason that has just freaked me out!!  She's a lot bigger than the turkey now and thanks to my wonderful Magic Bullet she will be chowing down on the turkey tomorrow right along with us! My girl LOVES to eat! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Racism has no place in America!

I don't know about you but we were watching the TV last night as the verdict from the Grand Jury was read last night.  And I'm angry!  I'm angry that people would react to our court system like they did.  I'm angry that racism is used as an excuse for lawlessness.  I'm angry that our leaders have no backbone or may even want to stir up racism in their comments. 

For 13 years altogether I worked in the juvenile justice system.  I can honestly say I do not remember any situation where a probation officer, a cop, a judge, or a lawyer acted in a racist way towards anyone "in the system"  There were times when it was an "us vs. them" situation BUT the "us" might just be a black officer dealing with a black teen.  It was law enforcement verse criminal, whether the criminal was black, white or Hispanic. 

My husband has worked in law enforcement as an officer ( just a little over a year or two) and as a chaplain ( now close to 17 years)   He has seen or heard of  a few incidents of possible racism over the years but it was as apt to be a black officer on a white criminal as it was to be a white officer on a black criminal.  In fact the last firing/resigning I know of was of a black officer who said something to a white criminal who was baiting him.  My sympathy was 100% with the officer!  When I heard from someone what had happened, I could have cried!  I had known the officer for some years and always thought the world of him.  I KNOW that officer did not hate whites, he was just pushed beyond his self control by a white criminal and said & maybe did something ( I can not remember all the details right now) that he should not have, being the professional he was, and he lost his job. 

I HATE that this whole Ferguson incident has become about race.  I'm very proud that the Grand Jury listened to the testimonies and made a decision based on facts NOT stories and not emotions!  It is quite interesting that the "witnesses" stories began to change once the autopsy reports came out, reporting that Brown had not been shot in the back.  If you listened to what the DA said last night, it was almost laughable as he talked about witnesses who changed their stories or who backed away from testifying once other witnesses and evidence made it clear that the people were lying.  I'm so proud that many in that community stepped up and told the truth of what they saw, I'm sure some were scared of their own friends and neighbors because the real story did not fit in to what the race baiters wanted to be told. 

I do not believe that Officer Wilson targeted or shot Brown because he was black.   Officer Wilson was a cop in good standing.  Michael Brown was a criminal who had just robbed a store.....  Brown was much bigger than Officer Wilson and had drugs in his system.   No one reported that Officer Wilson said anything racist to Brown.  Wilson has no background of doing anything like that at all.

This is a blog that I thought was very good....
http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/hey-ferguson-protestors-justice-has-been-done-but-you-never-wanted-justice/


I wish this country could get past always having people make things be "black verse white"   I don't know about you but I judge people on their character NOT the color of their skin.  There are some crappy white folks and their are some wonderful black folks....there are also great white folks and awful black folks....or Hispanic, Asian etc.....   The color of someone's skin is not an indicator of the person's character.  There are white people I would not want to be alone in a room with!  And then there are some black folks I'd trust my life to.....  So don't allow race baiters to turn something that was NOT about race ever.....but about a cop trying to protect a community from a thug!



Monday, November 24, 2014

Why INTERNATIONAL Adoption?

Have you heard of this story?
http://www.wfla.com/story/27459315/us-congressman-aids-in-dunedin-couples-intercontinental-adoption

A local Florida family adopted a very sick little boy from the Congo and has had to fight for months to bring him home.  Our US Congressman Mario Rubio got involved and helped the family.  (I LOVE Rubio!)  Anyhow the story is sweet and all has ended well, hopefully the little boy will get the surgery he needs and live a long happy life with his new sweet family.

So I read the comment section, I rarely do but I was SHOCKED at the very very nasty comments directed towards this family and to international adoption in general.

Let me answer some questions for folks who do not understand......


First, International adoption and US adoption generally cost about the same, around $25,000.  Most of that cost is legal fees to the governments and to lawyers.  Often an healthy infant adoption in the US is closer to $60,000 and the cost of the birth mom's housing and medical bills are involved.  I do not know anyone personally who adopted that way as it is so expensive.    Recently I saw the announcement for a few special needs adoptions in the US that were $25,000 -$30,000.  

Second, Adoption from the foster care system is often said to be something people should do BEFORE they ever think about going overseas.  Well......for the record MANY children caught in the foster care system are NOT available for adoption.  I have had quite a few friends who have been or are foster parents and have wished to adopt the child(ren) they were fostering only to see that child(ren) go back to the birth parents OR to other relatives.  That is how the American Foster Care System is set up, reunification of the family is the goal.  And if reunification of the family is not a possibility, then IF there is a willing relative, the child will go to them.  So even though we have millions in the foster care system, only a small percentage will be adoptable.  Many years ago we looked into adoption from foster care and were totally turned off by the uncertainty of the process.  We were told we'd have to go through classes and then do foster care.  Then if a child came through we would have to go through about a year process IF the child was released for adoption.  I did not want to deal with all the emotional parts of this, knowing a few families who were devastated by having to give their beloved child back to parents or relatives.  So adopting from foster care can be free financially, sometimes even giving the adoptive family a monthly stipend for the child BUT it is costly emotionally. 


Third, for all the folks ( I replaced the word folks for the word I had written LOL)  who don't understand, International adoption requires approval from the US government and a foreign government.  It is MUCH more stringent than a private US adoption or even adopting from the Foster Care system.  People get through the cracks in all systems because each layer of protection is dependent on the layer underneath to get the right info on families.  For international adoption, a family must first be approved by a REAL home study agency/social worker.  Then they have to pass the state & local  background check and any other state/township area lived in the past.  Then they have to have a clear record with the Child Protection Agency for the state they live in and any states they've lived in the past 10 years.  Up to this point domestic and international adoption is equal....but for families wanting to adopt internationally, they then must be approved by the Department of Homeland Security.  That includes a nationwide background check as well as meeting ALL of the Department's requirements which are higher than state requirements.  THEN when ALL of that is done the dossier of paperwork is sent to the country the family wished to adopt from.  The family must show they meet all that countries' requirement AND passed international Interpol's background screening.   Also some countries have different standards.  China has a higher medical standard that parents have to pass.  Most countries will not adopt to single people or to homosexual couples.  Some countries do not allow divorced people to adopt and have age limits.  So....if you adopt internationally your family is scrutinized deeply and there are many more rules to follow.


Fourth, our US Foster Care system is flawed BUT it's so much better than anything I've seen in other countries.  The system might break down here, some children may not get all the services or medical care they need and in a few cases, a child might be abused BUT the difference is some adult will get in trouble, lose their job, go to jail, depending on the situation and hopefully change will come out of the situation.  No system is perfect but some are better than others! When I think back to the orphanages I've seen, they would be shut down in the US. 

In our personal case, we were not planning or thinking about adoption either time we adopted.  With Shad we "just happened" to get a newsletter that told about him and our hearts were moved since we had just had Sam.  With Sarah, I "just happened" to see her picture and was moved because of the similarities between her and Sam.  And Selah was a precious surprise to us.....

Some people adopt because they can't have biological children. Some  adopt a specific gender.  Some people think it is the "Christian thing to do"  We adopted because somehow THOSE children were OUR children. 

Yes we had thought about adoption after we'd been married a couple of years and couldn't get pregnant.  But we were turned off by the cost and the fear of going through the foster care system.  Plus we were not sure we were ready to give up our childless life!!!   Then again after I'd had Steve I read an article about the "dying rooms" in Chinese orphanages and I prayed that God would let us one day adopt a child to save them from that fate.  (BTW, I believe I saw a "dying room" in Shad's orphanage) But I didn't look into it or do any research on adoption.   Then after Sam was born, adoption was not on our radar at all.  It was not discussed nor research in any way until we saw Shad's picture and read about him and our hearts were moved.  Once we had our three boys, we didn't think about adoption again except once briefly right after we adopted Shad.  At the time I saw Sarah's picture, it was not something we ever thought we would do again at our age.  But once again we were drawn to THAT child.  Then as the adoption progressed we decided to adopt another little blind boy who was in Sarah's orphanage.  He was adopted by another family and then that's when we learned of Selah.

Having been in the girls' orphanage for weeks, there were three children who we were drawn to by daily interacting with them.  We were in the process of researching the possibility of adopting one or all of them before the accident happened.  

So for us adoption was not "something we did" it was always because of SOMEONE we were drawn to specifically.   Every case is different and every family is different. 

I'm for adoption of every kind, anything that gives a child a home and a family to love.  So whether it is an adoption out of the foster care system, or a private adoption or an international adoption....I celebrate it!  

I do have one last word for all those jerks who wrote in the comment section of that article, the ones who were so very concerned for the orphans in America....WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT?????




Sunday, November 23, 2014

Waves.....

I'm a Florida girl.  I love the ocean and being at the beach.  I love it when the sun is shining and I love watching  a thunderstorm sweep over it.  I love the smell and sound of a beach.  I love the waves.  Nothing is better than riding the waves when a hurricane is out in the Gulf.  Yeah I know you're not supposed to do that but it is great fun.  The last time we did it was years ago but it was a blast in spite of all the bruising I got on my legs from the waves literally knocking me down. 

Well today one of those "waves" hit me.  It washed over me right during Jon's sermon.  We humans are funny.  We can act like nothing is the matter even when our heart is breaking.  I have no idea what triggered the "wave"  But as Jon was speaking and I was sitting on the front row with my kids...a longing for Selah- the Selah before the accident- washed over me so hard that it seemed to take my breath away.  I could remember her little babbling noises and how she loved going to sit at the table to eat.  I could remember the funny little way she tried to drink out of a cup.  SHE came back to me in my mind.  OMG....all these memories just flooded my mind, so clearly.  Sometimes I try and remember Selah and can't....but today I could remember her and oh did it make me miss her so much. 

I had to ride that wave of memories in my head till it was gone.  It left me wishing for all that was lost....Oh Selah.....

So I managed, grateful for being able to remember various nuances of Selah......I gathered myself together.

Then as my husband was finishing up his sermon, he sang a song with the congregation.  Well he didn't have the words of the song....got it a bit messed up.  Then as the crowning touch managed to sing about God as being created rather than the Creator!  -the song is taken from Revelation 4:11 "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are  created.  Thou art worthy O Lord."  He sang it as   "and for thy pleasure thou art created." Anyhow for me, that just took me over the edge.  I was pushing down my laughter and just looking straight ahead.  BUT my husband had to mention his mistake and the fact I was trying not to create a scene and that just did me in!  I started laughing a bit hysterically!!   You HAVE to be a pastor's wife to get it I'm sure but there are just some things that totally crack me up and singing a song really wrong does that ! 

So I went from a deep despair to laughing in a matter of minutes.  Humans are strange like that, sometimes we can't handle our feelings very well.  Or maybe God helps us to be able to be distracted when sorrow rolls over us.  Or maybe I'm just crazy myself.....

We did take pictures today






 
 
 
 
 
 





















 
 
 




 






My satilitte or computer is messing up once again and I can't see the pictures!
They are from playtime yesterday and church today.  Hope you enjoy!





 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Working on the Play


We've had such a busy week, can't believe it is the weekend again.  This week has sped by......

This morning I worked with our music minister on the Christmas play.  Yeah I know it's a little a lot late but at least we are doing it.  It's going to be a very simple play with the children acting out the nativity scene while my husband reads the Christmas story.  We are also throwing in some Christmas hymns throughout so the whole congregation can join in.  Shad and Sam will be Wise Men (Shad holding Sam's hand and trying to keep him in place) Sarah and Selah will be angels.  Sam's favorite doll will be Baby Jesus.  One of my blog readers sent the doll to us.  It is a boy Cabbage Patch doll and Sam loves to take the doll's clothes off.  It is quite funny.  So we do not know what to expect during the play:)   We have about 15 - 18 kids that regularly attend our church now so we've tried to make roles for everyone.  There are a couple of kids who LOVE the spotlight (one of mine is one of those LOL)  Most of the other kids, have to be bribed a bit!!

After we worked on the music for tomorrow and the music for the play we took our music minister out to see the house.  For the FIRST time we figured out the lock on the fence.  If we've come when the workers were gone, we've had to climb fences or squeeze in gates.  It was great to go in the right way and not worry about someone calling the police!  Walking through the house and seeing it come together as it is being framed is just plain exciting.  The only room left to frame is part of Steve's and Sarah's where their closets will be back to back.  Also the kids' bathroom and the kitchen need work  and then it will be framed.    Our friend was so taken back by the property with all the mature trees on it.  It is such a beautiful peaceful piece of land.  I can not wait to be able to sit on the porch and relax out there!!!!  

Another GREAT thing about the house....there is a convenience store, only a mile or so away!  IF you have not lived in the country you have NO idea of how wonderful it is to be able to jump in the car or walk down the road and be at a store in just a minute!  It has been about 14 years since we lived within walking distance of a store, even here the walk would be probably a mile and a half but hey that is close for us!  For us it is quite the trip to go to a store and we BETTER make sure we don't come home with the car on empty!  There is one store about 5 miles from our house towards town.  In the other directions, there is nothing for 10-15 miles - no lie!  We have relatives that live in a subdivision within walking distance of probably 15 restaurants, a Wal-Mart, a nice shopping center and there was a movie theater there until recently.  If I lived there, I'd be FLAT OUT BROKE all the time!  Shopping or even picking up food is something that is planned around here.  Nothing is convenient which is GREAT in some ways but a pain in other ways! 


Well I bought a BIG turkey!  BIG!  24 pounder!  I confess I usually get the Turkey that either pops the little thingy out when it is done or the precooked one from Publix.  This year I got the REAL one with the guts and everything in it!  I've only done this once before and it did turn out good so hopefully this one will too.  If you live near a Publix, they are having an incredible sale going on right now.  I only spent about $12 for that turkey!  If I had more room, I'd probably buy another one and keep it frozen for such a deal.  I was SOOOOOO tempted to buy the more expensive one that was easier but I figure a woman with FIVE kids ought to be able to do this!  It is already defrosting in the church's fridge.  We have two fridges in the fellowship hall and they are a blessing to me in times like these!  In fact that is where I will cook and serve the dinner on Thursday as it is easier for our family and everyone who is coming.  We were laughing and saying "Next year ...the NEW house!"

Steve is finishing all his assignments for college for this semester.  Yesterday I went with him to the public library and checked over everything before he submitted it.  Our computer access is so bad here, that he can't log into the college's system.  Anyhow this gave me a chance to get some new books!  YEAH two of my favorite authors had new mysteries out.  I finished one yesterday:)  I'm trying to make myself wait to start the other one till next week but it maybe a futile attempt.

We've had nice cool weather here in Florida and I've been living in Pajama pants!  It started last Sunday night when I had to go with Steve to find internet at a local restaurant.  It was cold and rainy and I was so snuggled in my fleeced  Grumpy PJs.  So I just went to town in them!  I'm so tired of NOT having good internet.  In fact I'm trying to post that picture now and it doesn't seem to work although it may go through for the blog.  In the new house, we will have REAL internet!  Woohoo!  No more satellite internet that is spotty at best.






Well hope you all have a good weekend! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

All about Shad!

 
 
Last night we were watching the new season of Duck Dynasty
Thought Shad looked cute with Vermont and Gladys. 
 
 








After school today Shad and I went by the new house.  All the workers were gone so I will confess that I climbed the fence to get in with some help from my son:)
 


 
Shad is sitting in the living room window eating his after school snack
 
 
 Here he is standing in his closet:)  Still eating!

 
 
 
Do you notice his hand hadn't left the bag????
 
 
More inside walls are up!!!!! 
Watching the progress is fun!
 
 
Well "our" dogs got picked up by animal control.  I was able to track them down today.  The black lab has already been adopted.  The male boxer/pit was on observation till next week since he nipped someone in the neighborhood.  The person I spoke to seem to think he still has a good chance of being adopted, he was not aggressive when he nipped, he was playing with the man but since the dog doesn't have shots, they were afraid of rabies. 
 
Last weekend there was a puppy that was out at the house but she disappeared before we left.  Some of the guys said they thought she was the other dogs' puppy.  We had really thought of taking her home.  She wasn't out there today either.  We do not need another animal but......
 
 
Today I got a ton of paperwork done, that always makes me happy.  It used to be paperwork was so easy for me to get done but nowadays, it just boggles me down  So if I can get things done....it's good!
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What Irks Me


Irk -verb means to irritate; annoy.

You know something has been irking me for awhile now.... All these serious blogs about adoption.  Maybe I'm just simplistic but to me adoption vs. natural birth is the same thing when it happens.   Not sure that I can articulate this blog like I want to, maybe I don't have the words....But our "adopted" kids are just as much our kids as our "biological" kids.  I don't mean that in a sloppy sentimental way-it's just they are my kids!

I don't get too boggled down thinking about their "birth parents".  Those "parents" did what they did selfishly.  That's how I look at their abandonments.  I've read a few blogs  lately that got all "misty eyed" thinking of the "birth" parents "sacrifice"....whatever....they sacrificed MY children and subjected them to hunger and horrors.  I realize if the parents had not abandoned them, we would have never adopted them but did the people even care?  I doubt it. 

And these blogs that want to tell the 'truth" about adoption and how "hard" it is.....get over it.  Biological parents go through problems with their biological kids all the time.  As an adoptive parent, you chose to adopt, now be the parent!  I don't want to hear your whining! 

All I can speak about it our adoptions.  The only issue we had was with Shad who is an extremely smart boy.  He was two and right in the middle of the "terrible twos".  He was a trip those first few months but no more so than other "biological" two year old boys.   Sometimes I think people go looking for issues because the child is adopted.  Granted, there can be more things to overcome and I do feel we've had to work harder with Shad but he is also a very smart boy and very confident.  Just those two things together can make a child a bit headstrong.  But it's not necessarily a bad thing. 

The girls' adoption and transition into our home was so sweet and easy.  Because Shad had had some issues, we certainly expected problems with two older girls but there was nothing but two sweet girls who trusted us more ever day and responded quickly to love.  Just like that euphoric feeling after giving birth, I had it to the extreme with Sarah and Selah.  I can remember hating it when they'd take a nap, I wanted to get them up to play with them LOL!  Everything was like a dream, until the accident happened. 

For me adoption has been nothing but a blessing.  Sure my heart grieves over the accident and will for the rest of my life but Selah is still our daughter, still loved and cherished.  Selah and her needs  come first in our family.   So now she is the number one priority  in our family. No decision is made without considering her needs/care first.   Every now and then someone will send me something nasty that some nameless ballless troll has written about us.  There is always some implied idea that adopting the two girls together was what caused the accident.....  the little comment or section will try to imply that we were overwhelmed....one thing I read took something I wrote and twisted it around to show how overwhelmed I was.  What caused the accident was that my husband stopped the stroller and took his cell phone out of his pocket, turned away from the stroller and the sun so he could see the time on it.  I wrote on this blog that I WISHED I had gotten him a new watch the week before but was too tired/busy and forgot.  I GUESS I should have gone into detail.  THE TRUTH is I was at the store and forgot till I got in the parking lot BUT since I'd just had foot surgery a few days before and my foot was bleeding through the bandage I was just too TIRED to get back on the little cart I was using and go back into Walmart.  It had NOT one thing to do with the adoption!!!!!!!!!!!    I wasn't tired from the adoption, I wasn't tired or stressed by the girls but rather from the two foot surgeries I'd had that summer.   I actually had to have one more foot surgery just the day before we left for NY.....

In fact the accident would have never happened IF I had not had the foot surgeries I am sure.  If I could have walked for a distance I would have gone with Jon OR the whole family would have gone to a nearby mountain park that we love to go to in the Rochester area.  In fact we even discussed going earlier that morning but I did not feel like I could go.   So the root cause of the accident in my opinion was my foot surgery.  The pain kept me from going back in the store and buying another watch and it kept me from enjoying a walk with my family on that fateful morning.  I'm sure some idiotic would say we shouldn't adopted since I had a foot problem...well the problem started about a month after the adoption....sorry I was not forewarned about it. 


Then I read this long discourse on how we should have researched and not used the particular jogging strollers as primary means of transportation of the kids.   Well the jogging stroller was being used for its intended purpose when the accident happened.  The kids were well within the size specified for that store, quite UNDER the height and weight recommendations.   Some idiot said something like we should have had wheelchairs for the kids....  first we wanted to encourage Sam and Selah to walk short distances on their own.  Selah hated to walk-but we certainly would not have been eligible through our insurance for Sam or Selah a wheelchair at that point.  Back then, we mostly carried Sarah unless it was a long distance LIKE a walk in the park.  People are just beyond idiots and beyond jerks!   The thing is if I ever say anything negative or positive anywhere on the internet, I can sign my real name!  Nameless faceless comments are from tiny weird minds....

Again accidents are horrible, but to link an accident with an adoption....just is not right.  If we had no longer wanted Selah- just to be blunt- when the doctor encouraged us to not put in the trach or gtube and just let her go....we could have done that.  She would have quietly died and that would have been the end but we fought and still fight for her life.  We chose to bring her home rather than put her in a nursing home.  I had to spend the summer of 2013 fighting for her to stay home.  We have lived in a tiny house for two years with nurses, therapists and teachers in every nook.  We don't get any compensation from her accident-nor should we.  the accident made our lives so much harder.  It was a wonderful happy easy life before....oh we had doctor appointments, therapy appointments and yes the three little ones needed a lot of care but we knew what we were doing BEFORE we brought the girls home and we knew their needs were manageable at that point. 

Anyhow those are a few things that IRK me that I've been rolling around in my head lately. 

WHEW.....there may be some PMSing going on around here!!!!!!!