Sunday, January 11, 2015

Grace - Freely Given , Life - Lived In the Reality but Knowing His Love

Here is the link to a documentary that can be found on Netflix that follows the adoption of 3 children from Russia in 2012 and their transition into a Wisconsin family. Our family watched it this am during our family time and it was interesting on many levels for our family.

We are a family who communicates , we talk a lot all the time. It is one of our parenting styles and it works very well in our family. We are probably more open than many families are with their children and with the public about our adoptions. We feel that this has benefited our children and family by being this way. I often will share things like this or I will ask a question of the kids, when I read something on one of the many adoption boards that I am on, for their response. My children have found it therapeutic and not harmful. We talk and acknowledge issues, emotions, feelings and our love has built a base of trust for the children to talk. 

I want to share some of our thoughts and observations when we watched the documentary here :

At first the family which consists of just one single child, and her parents express their feelings about the adoption of 2 younger boys around 4 or 5 and an older girl ( 11 ) not a sibling of the boys but all 3 were from Russia. They seem to have an idealized view of what was going to happen when the children came home. Their hopes were a very different reality than what actually was the case. The bio. daughter, who was older than 10 was excited about getting 2 brothers and a sister....but when the reality of them being home hit it was difficult for her especially and not at all anything she could even like. She traveled with her parents to pick up them and her comments when they returned home were, " It does not feel like home anymore. Very restricting. " She struggles thru out more than the first year to accept them as can be seen in her face. 

The parents struggle as well. They had many years of not being able to have another child and they thought their dream was coming true...but in reality it was tough for them. Mom was worse in our opinions. We all caught when they were first visiting the daughter, how the dad referred to the mom using her first name, Cheryl instead of "momma"when talking to the adopted daughter. Dad also blamed his wife after they were home for the adoption and one of them even asked, " Why did we do this ? "

Some things my kids shared during the documentary or afterwards in our family time....They noticed that the girl was in a room by herself with even a desk. It looked like the orphanage was a " nice " one and not anything like what my children lived in . They liked the dad better than the mom. I asked them how they felt when they left ? Some of my kids were sad, scared, and excited all at the same time. Some of my kids , " Never looked back. " All of our kids were able to transition into our family quickly and all are deeply connected and attached to us. We did not go thru many of what we watched this family go thru. Sometimes watching the parents was frustrating for Paul and I because we could see things that we felt would have made the transition easier...and funny many of our children reacted the same way. All most all of us thought they were to easy with the boys and let them get away with too much...there was scene where one of the boys kept throwing an item and the dad, to all of us was pathetic and the boy knew he could get away with his behavior and he sure did. We thought it was interesting that the bio. daughter at one point thought her dad was strict and all about the rules where she thought her mom was not. We all thought dad could have been more strict...although dad had some good times of discipline - way more than the mom. 

We all felt like the mom gave up way to early and easily with the children and the transition. Mom did not seem as capable as the dad to handle the boys behavior. Dad seemed more connected with all the kids and that seemed to help him " handle " the boys. None of felt like the mom did not want the adoption to work just that she brought so much more to it from her own past that made it way more difficult to express to her adopted children some of the things they desperately needed- like praise. All the kids thought the mom had a hard time of connecting and she seemed to be "acting or pretending " some of the time. For what ever reason the our kids thought the mom and the bio. daughter were not as prepared for the reality of when the new kids came home. It seemed like the father was just a more natural kid type person too .

In our family time afterwards we talked thru the documentary and it ended up going to each one of their adoption journeys into our family. We laughed and were happy about some of the things the kids did... They all love hearing their own stories. It was a blessed time of remembering where our kids came from, their birth families , their time in their orphanages/foster homes and how they felt about their family now. I think it made us all even closer to remember and realize they to have "connected" ...all of them agreed that we all were very close ...even the ones who don't live at home anymore.

I went thru some interpersonal issues and ways to deal with them that we had being the lack of direct eye contact with us at first and why and how we worked thru their inability to get into our space and us into theirs...building trust thru tough love and strong discipline and having boundaries in place. I also shared one of our main parenting techniques we use or value as a tool in dealing with kids with troubled and hard histories...Paul and I feel we must be stronger, badder, bigger than anything they have dealt with in their pasts and when they " throw them out to us " in words or negative behaviors they know they are safe with us...and more importantly they are worth it - worth our effort to struggle along side of them and not allow those behaviors that previous caregivers would not have stood up to and worked thru with them. Sometimes that means some pretty tough situations and in your face moments of conflict but as we were reminded today...we forgive and we are family thru all of these times. Never leaving you alone to deal with them and sometimes momma and daddy make mistakes but it is not for lack of love for them...we are not perfect just like them.

These are 2 signs that hang in our sunroom and I guess you could say this is like our family code -


In this house we do second chances


We do mistakes


we do HUGS


we do LOVE

Four Birthdays celebrated since Christmas

Levi's first at 10 yrs old

Mya and Ava - 13 and 8 was celebrated on Mya's day of birth 1/2 with a home party then on 1/5 which happens to be Ava's 8th my hubby's 60th we took some of the girls out to Cracker Barrel and then the movie , Annie. We have a surprise coming for Paul's celebration...He is always a good sport about celebrating with the girls at Chuckie Cheese and now the movie, Annie but we have a special day all planned for our daddy, paw to come.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Peak into our Christmas season

We celebrated Kloe's 3d birthday

They waited and waited ....

We had company and lots of fun

We ate and drank lots of food...
We were together....

We gifted our grand babies with their great grandparents bird, Ted.

We even had daily visits from " Handsome Rob"

We made ginger bread houses - a first for Grace and Levi

We were together....

As the 2014 year comes to an end we are thankful....Levi and Grace are home with us, Sandra and Jr should be soon and our babies are well into the process. We also have 2 more grand babies home who were healed of HIV, and Mary Kate and Keith moved 9 houses down from us, Jenn and Jeremiah home from Haiti after serving as missionaries and soon announcing a new missions opportunity, Ben graduating from college and into his career with the police, a wonderful beach vacation, and celebrating 38 yrs of marriage .... We have met so many new people from around the world thru an unexpected media blitz and we serve an amazing God. Life is good here inspite of the loss of a loved one ( Paul's dad), and the opportunity for Shadrach to join our family. I was able to travel 7 times out of the country and love on the people I love in Haiti and Ghana. I love our life and feel blessed to be on this journey that the Lord has given us.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Her family is forever - Meet my daughter, Mya

This is Mya ( our animal whisperer). She is almost 13 yrs old and has a lot of things she wanted to share so she asked if she could start a blog. So here is a link to her blog. I love seeing the pictures the kids who blog chose to share and the thoughts that are on their minds. Hope you all enjoy them as much as I do.   

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Some of my thoughts about Ferguson,MO, NY and praying for peace

I am posting in my blog some of my thoughts and reactions. I am not interested in dialogue on fb or here. If you wish to comment and it is negative than I will delete . If you wish to have a conversation with me I would welcome it thru my personal email or message....My husband and I live our lives as proof of our love for all people . God made us all and all life life should be valued - babies in the womb, black, white, disabled, and not . We are grateful for the service that the police have provided in our lives and we hate the negative publicity and how undervalued they must feel. So we as a family want to say - Thank you to all police officers who serve the public and risk their lives daily for us. 

Being the momma to 10 almost 14 African American children and 26 white children from multiple countries, and I have a son in a police academy, I have to say a few things :  First I am saddened anytime I hear of a death because I believe all life is valued and precious . Second I also believe and have experienced some prejudiced about some of my children ( not all because of their color but often because of their disability ). Third I am sickened by all the unrest I watch that is violent, and disruptive to other innocent people and their business or ability to travel in their communities. I have read on fb many other adoptive moms who I would disagree with their opinion about what is happening in our country....The nite the Ferguson grand jury case was announced we watched and we watched the second nite...during our family time of Bible and devotions we talked about all of this and here is what we came to think...and we still believe this after watching both videos of the NY incident. First as this article shares you must obey the authority that is there in your life. Whether it be your parents, a teacher, a coach or a police officer. You be respectful to authority even if they are not to you. Understanding this will make your life better in the long run. Even if you are not treated fairly. We talk thru this one concept constantly with our kids. When I leave and one older sibling is left in charge all the kids must obey them even if they think they are being treated wrong or unfairly. They also must be respectful...then when I return we will deal with this and sometimes the younger children were correct and the authority ( in this case their older sibling ) was wrong. It would be the same with any other authority in their lives. After the time or incident we will help our children go thru what happened and if it was something that was wrong we would deal with it in the appropriate manner...even if it means going to see a lawyer, or the police. I speak from experience too but that is all I will share.

Now we also try to teach our children a positive way to handle their emotions...especially their anger . Watching the news lately and even some of our leaders has been the best worst example of how to behave when you feel you have been matter what the situation may be. I am a rebel by heart and will do things the opposite way or if you tell me it can't happen I will do my best to prove you I have that deep within in me. No time have I ever been successful getting my way or my message heard by acting in a violent or abusive way to any authority I have had in my life. It harms my message or cause even more if I behave that way. So watching the news and all the people react to what appears to be some mistakes that have cost these lives has me quietly seething and angry. I have seen what every one else has watched and I don't get some of the remarks or comments I have read. I was not there and even those witnesses who were more on the side of the victim changed their story when they testified before the grand jury? I watched the 2 NY videos and I also don't see what some others saw. I did wonder why so many officers and people and the EMT did not start CPR because it is hard for me to not react to emergencies if I am out I am one who steps in...I am just wired that way. Even a black female police officer in the video did not . The responses I heard to the crowd asking were, " He is breathing and has a pulse ". You don't usually start CPR when that is the case. I have not heard anything about the time of death to help me understand this better... but if the video is correct and what I heard it makes sense . Sadly none of our conjectures or wondering will bring back this life.

I also never hear much about what these people ( the victims) were doing to cause police to intervene the moments before these tragedies. The Ferguson yg man had just robbed a convenience store , manhandled the clerk on his way out. He did not obey the officers command and resisted arrest...and according to witness even tried to assault the officer and remove the gun...hummm if any of my kids were in that situation I would not blame the officer totally for his behavior as the parents and many of this community have. The yg man should be held responsible and his choices that day contributed to his own death....I do feel sorry for the police officer and his family because I do feel he is being used as a scapegoat. I don't see how this man with a good record all the 10 yrs with the dept...never had any issues with harassment brought against him nor even once ever drew his gun before this has to suffer. He also has to relive that moment over and over...the day he took a life doing his job.

The other gentleman, was doing an illegal activity that the shop owners said he did often and they were upset about. The shop owners complained and the police show up to deal with the man who was not paying sales tax like the shop owners do for selling cigarettes and he was taking away some of their revenue....He was a big man and not obeying the police officers. My kids even saw that...which I don't understand why a CNN legal analyst minimized the crime...It was a crime and the man behaved in a way that help to contribute to his death. Doing something wrong is wrong...and resisting the authority of a police officer is wrong...That is why we teach our kids - You will lose if you don't obey the authority of a police officer. The consequences of your choices and how you behave could be just as deadly as it was for these people...even the 12 year old boy at the park who was pretending to shoot people and not listening the the command of the police officer. Many shooters in school have been this age and if they are going to "act" bad how can one blame a police officer for reacting to this threat ?

Having said all of the above and expecting some negative comments ...I do think it is a good thing to look at some of the issues these past shootings have brought up. We have taught all of our children ( black or white , disabled or "normal" ) to obey the authority of a police officer. It just can't be all about race to us. I don't think the violent protests and stopping of traffic, burning police cars and businesses is the way to go about it. For our family it is not just about a race issue. This common core sense of obeying your authority , not causing the need for an officer to be in your life ( a crime ) , and dealing with your anger and pain in positive manners is how our family will choose to see these past police confrontations.... and if there is a mistake we forgive. I can't imagine the pain the families who lose loved ones in this way must feel...first the loss, then all the media attention and then the criminal background and not so positive lives of their loved ones come out. Praying for peace here.

Here is a link to an article I like...especially his first 3 things listed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Many new things to share and just life...

Meet Mya's new bird- Sofia. Her sweet first bird,Polly died we think trying to lay an egg : ( 

Lucy and Lucas as well as Grace are doing so well.

Missing these sweethearts but process is moving along

Hanging with my grand much fun ! No matter what we do.

We love the new," Mary Did You Know" by Pentatonix- Here they are tonite singing along which lead to practicing their Christmas choir performance songs...first the little ones ( with some extra singers in waiting ).

Then the older ones practiced while the little ones watched and sang along.

Missing the 2 in the green shirts, Sandra and Jr but,we are very close to bringing them home - Praise God. Exit interview scheduled soon.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lots of food, fun and fellowship today

Our day started with brunch....

Our day ended with games and playing paper dolls and a Christmas movie. 

Leah took all the kids outside after dark to play find the turkey...which was why the boys are wearing glow sticks on their ears.

 These paper table cloths were a huge hit

 More eating and fellowship. So much fun to watch Levi and Grace during their first Thanksgiving. Levi's comment, " There is so much food. "
Some of us even grabbed a nap

 Some of my kitchen help

 We had a family Thanksgiving service and because the Bible says in Psalm 150 : 6 , " Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord. " We did just that.

Thankful to be surrounded by loved ones and to have food to eat, and a home to meet in... and the sound of children's voices as they played hard all day.