Friday, August 28, 2009

I Wonder...

I wonder what the poor folk are doing?
Standing around, watching the popcorn pop?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School

Blissful, blissful day. The kids are back in school! And don't they look handsome and beautiful? And very, very grown-up?

This was Rina's first day of all-day school. She did well and came home chatting happily about all of her new friends. According to her, she is now best buddies with her entire class ;0)

Unlike last year, Ian came home with a good mark on his behaviour chart for the first day! We threatened him within an inch of his life if he didn't. In my life as a mom, I've had some embarrasing moments, but nothing beats my child coming home from his first day of kindergarten with a bad behaviour report! I taught kindergarten and every kid--absolutely everyone--gets a good mark on the first day. It's the law. Oh, but not my son....anyhow, better and brighter things for first grade.

Abby likes both of her teachers but isn't too sure about the gym teacher. "She yells all the time. Even when she is talking to other teachers!"

K said he had a good first day, but switching classes every hour is going to take some getting used to.

The home crew had an amazingly productive day without the older four. I breezed through the "children's summer chores" list in about an hour. Tackling in 60 minutes all the tasks it took four kids most of the morning to complete. With me riding them the whole time, and half the time having to go behind them and polish the job. Surprise. Surprise. Randy plays as happily on his own as he does with the group--which is a blessing. Cara seemed a little puzzled by the sudden reduction in adoring servants content to follow her around and see to her every comfort, but ultimately this may encourage her to get off her well padded Luvs hiney and do things for herself. Which is a good thing!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Our Day at the Water Park

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We had a great time yesterday. I wanted to thank Cari for the free tickets and Mom and Dad for the "scholarship." In case you wonder why Cara is missing from all the photos, we left her with our neighbor, knowing she would have a better time and, perhaps more impotantly, we would have a better time without her. Sorry, Cara, but a water park is no place for babies, IMHO. We saw so many MISERABLE infants (and mommies) yesterday we know we made the right choice. The master was a little concerned about going. It was our fist water park since the amputation, and we weren't sure how it would work out--two adults, one of them one-legged, and five kiddos in and out of water for eight hours. He walks so well with his prosthetic, we hardly even think about the amputation anymore, and we certainly aren't used to making accommodations for his disability. Since he can't wear his leg in water, he would spend all day crutching and hopping, and even talked about staying at home. But there was no way the kids were going to be o.k. with leaving Daddy (aka "the fun parent") at home. I'm so glad we convinced him! The stairs were a little hard on his foot, but otherwise it went well. The children are great for fetching Dad's crutches and if they notice the stares, they don't seem to be bothered by them. AND, it turned out that there was a man at the park yesterday who will be undergoing the exact same amputation in a few weeks, and seeing the master enjoy the day was a great encouragement to him. He spent a long time talking to the master and even gave him his name and contact information. He lives within 15 minutes of us. The master plans to be at his surgery and be there for him during recovery. Don't you just love the way God works?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday's Photo Journalism

The friend of a local housewife buried alive in her laundry room said she once described her fate as her greatest fear. "She despised the laundry most of all her household tasks," friend commented through tears. "She used to say: 'Laundry is going to be the death of me yet.'"
Jessica Lynn Su______, 31, was last seen on August 21 when a group of small children allegedly witnessed her entering the laundry room of residence at approximately 10:35, investigators told the EightHearts Enquirer.
“We have a lot of clothes. They stay around the house," son Ian stated. "Some big piles. Some little piles. Some middle-size piles. Some piles are dirty clothes and some are clean." First responders report that it appears one of these "big piles" toppled and crushed the hapless woman under its weight.
While rescue efforts are ongoing, hope for recovering the young woman alive is slipping away. Meanwhile, J_____ S_____, 35, K____ S_______, Abby S______, 8; Ian S_______, 6, Marina Su_______,5 Randy S____________, 3 and Cara S________ 1, have been brought in for questioning and may be held on involuntary manslaughter charges, according to jail officials.
Investigators say they don't believe the husband and children intended to lose wife and mother to the laundry. Nevertheless their actions--or lack thereof--resulted in this tragedy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Deep Thoughts with Rina

Rina: I think I know when Nana and Papa are coming.
Me: When?
Rina: When they get here.

Uh huh.......that is a pretty safe assumption baby girl.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Family Night

Indiana Jones DVD game and chocolate chip cookies. It just doesn't get any better than this.
We'd never played one of those types of games before, but on a date night a few weeks ago we found this game on clearance. Marked down at half price, we clouldn't resist. The kids have been drooling over it since then--they are CRAZY about Iniana Jones. One of Randy's first words was "Inny Jones!"
The game was pretty fun, but it takes a LOOOOOOOONG time to play. We called intermission at 9:00 and will resume tomorrow morning. Anyone else bought and played DVD games before? I'm wondering if they are all like that?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday's Photo Journalism


Texas--Cara S________, a culinary prodigy at 13 months? Her singular passion for cookbooks would indicate so.

Family members report that the tiny toddler spends much of her free time perusing the latest issues of 'Taste of Home' and carefully studying cooking classic such as 'Betty Crocker.' Older sister, Abigail S______, laughingly remarks:
"Cara likes being mischievous. [Seen here] she is getting into the cookbooks for about the thirtieth time."

Parents intend to refuse--at present--any offers from Food Network for syndication; they're taking a slow approach, hoping to "channel her genius into more constructive outlets." When the young chef was asked about her plans to take the cooking world by storm, she denied comment, grinning wickedly.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Father

My father can die a happy man.
But I'm hoping he doesn't for a long, long time.

Monday, August 3, 2009

No one ever said it was going to be easy...or cheap!

EDIT--Debbie, it bothers us, too. It's crazy, in this day and age, that we have different prices for different races. And the ladies at our agency don't like it either. Two of them have adopted African-American children. But, if they did not keep the cost for AA adoptions lower, there would soon be infants who were placed at birth waiting in foster care. As it is, they still have to place out of state in many cases. An upshot is that the lower cost is a big incentive for African-American couples--who might not otherwise consider adoption--to pursue placement. Our agency places AA children with AA parents whenever possible.
That being said, when we were going through the homestudy and thought we would be matched with an AA child, we told Denise that even if it took us twenty years, we would pay the same amount for the adoption of a white, healthy child.

*sigh* For the last five years, the master and I have been unofficial spokespersons for adoption. I guess it is something you fall into when you decide to adopt. When people discover that we are an adoptive family, they in turn will know someone who is interested in adoption or trying to adopt and will pass along our information. Occasionally, said persons will follow through and contact us. At first, I was over-the-moon excited to share with anyone and everyone about adoption, but I suppose I've grown cynical and pessimistic. Perhaps because we've met with too many Terrys and Buds (names have been changed) over the past half-decade. I've run out of patience for the "It's too expensive" nay-sayers. Read the following from the bottom to the top (Terry's in green, the master's in red, and mine in blue) and tell me honestly if the tone of my response is totally lacking in tact and grace. I'll leave it to ya'll if I should just hang up the Adoption Proponent badge.


I am so sorry this e-mail has taken so long! I just realized it has been sitting in my in-box FOREVER. I guess I don't pay attention to e-mails from my husband; he is usually e-mailing his sermon notes back and forth from the office.
Well, I don't really know where you are in the process. You mentioned that you are a fertile couple, so do you already have children in the home? If you have children, and have a heart for adoption, but are not able to afford a private adoption, you might want to consider going through the state foster/adopt program. This would be the best option if you are only open to a white child and are also open to older children (ages two and up) and siblings. Infants are seldom available for adoption, but you could foster an infant who might later become available for adoption. But that is always an emotional risk. My sister and her husband fostered many children, and did eventually adopt four of their foster children (one single child placed at 18 months and a sibling group of three, ages 3 and 5 at placement), but it was not a road without heartache.
If you contacted [agency name], you realized you did not mis-read the information. An adoption for a white, healthy, clean (not drug exposed) baby is going to cost you 30+ grand. It is shocking at first, but trust me, they are no more expensive than most other agencies in the country. This money goes to care for, shelter, clothe and counsel the birthmother throughout pregnancy, agency advertising for women looking to place their children, as well as pay the salary of [agency]'s staff. Believe me, they don't get paid near what they are worth. They work long hours for little pay because they believe in what they are doing. (And no, they don't pay me to say that! I just really love these ladies.) Adoption of other races and mixed races is significantly less--around $15,000 for full African-American and going up from there to full Caucasion--as well as adoption of special needs children. [Agency name] actually receives a state stipend when they place special needs children in adoptive families and that family's adoption cost them little. Which is how this poor pastor's wife brought home Cara last year, in case you are wondering.
Your other route is international, but I will say the international adoption scene is very bleak right now. Many countries have closed and those that remain open have long referral waits (again for healthy, young children). If your husband is nervous about the cost of a domestic adoption, he won't even want to go there! Marina was adopted from Russia at 13 months. Our international adoption price-tag (once we paid for travel and in-country cost) was well over $30,0000. At the time, [the master] was making little more than that annually. We were poor as church mice--literally. We got a few grants, sold stuff, sold cars, held fundraisers, worked extra jobs and took out a loan. She's been home four years, and we just paid off the last of her adoption three months ago. Was she worth it? All of it, plus a million times more. You do what you have to do for your children, and God is faithful. If it is something you feel He is leading you to do, He will provide. I know that sounds pretty cliche, but I'm not just saying that--I've lived it!
I hope this helps and let me know if you need any more information.

In Christ,


Do not be discouraged. Adoption is very expensive, but there is help. My wife is an expert on this subject. *Whatever! This man really loves me. He grossly over estimates my capabilities* She knows the "ins and outs" of the adoption world better than most people in the industry. I am going to forward your e-mail to Jessica, and let her respond with specific information to help you. Believe me, we understand the discouragement! The adoption process can be overwhelming at times. Keep praying and get all the information you can. Since you are so close to [agency name] go talk to Jan or Ann or Debbie. I guess that you found their web-sight. These ladies are the best! They can give you more information, and they would never try to talk anyone into adoption. We will be praying for you and Bud.

God Bless You as you seek His will.

Bro. [the master]

*Terry met the master at a family funeral that he was presiding over. A family member told Terry that we had adopted, and since she lived close to our agency in Houston, he gave her the agency's website and phone number in addition to his business card*

[the master],
I received information from [agency name] on adoptions. I’m very interested, whereas my husband needs to think on it a bit more. I think we’d be perfect candidates, but the cost is really going to throw my husband for loop. It’s crazy expensive! It appeared that it is $8000 up front, then $8000 halfway through the process, then another $17,000. Surely, I read it incorrectly. I’ll read it again tonight. Maybe it’s the 8K+8K+ another K. How can any average family afford a child? The literature said that there are more kids than adoptive families – no wonder. That’s really discouraging. I’m still fertile, so it doesn’t make sense to adopt at that rate. That’s a bit selfish, but factual and I’m sure I’m not the first person to have that thought. Do you have any tips? Are there programs out there to assist with finances? We make a good living, have a great home, are well grounded in our beliefs and practices as Christians, we are all around stable. I feel really disappointed.
Any words of advice from experience?