Monday, November 30, 2009

Oh, He is Good

Very, very good.
I put up my nativity last night on the back of the piano and sure enough, this morning the babies were drawn to it like moths to a flame. Nervous of their loitering and longing looks toward the delicate ceramic figures, I queried, "Hey, what are you two doing over there?"
Randy did not miss a beat, "Mommy, I'm teaching her about Jesus!"
Now, how's a mom going to argue with that?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tree Farm and Follies

We have the best tree farm in America thirty minutes drive from home. Oh, how we missed it when we lived on the coast. After a year, we found a decent one an hour away. The folks were nice there, but they just couldn't hold a candle--or Christmas light--to the one we visit up here. At this farm, there is a Santa (with a real beard and an authentic twinkle in his eye), goats, hot cider, and even a few Christmas trees ;0) Add Image

K is lamenting our "outdated family tree" as he put it. Funny, but those cutsie group ornaments are hard to find with eight (or say nine and ten) members. Because we have all the room we could want and 9 1/2 foot ceilings, we got an eight foot tree--our biggest tree ever. And it is beautiful! Still with six kiddos, throwing ornaments on in wild abandon, it didn't take long to decorate. Just as we were sitting down with hot cocoa to admire our handiwork, Randy's seat (a turned over ornament box) popped out from under him, making his cocoa into a fountain and soaking him through and through. Poor thing! He hardly knew what happened to him and he looked so funny with cocoa dripping from his face and hair--he even had a marshmallow clinging to his nose! We all busted out laughing. Kind of spoiled the quiet H*llmark holiday moment, but that's the way it goes at our house.

Friday, November 27, 2009

What She's Thankful For

What I'm Thankful For

I'm thankful for alot of things. I'm thankful for a loving God who is there for me. I'm thankful for great parents who watch and teach me. I'm thankful fo a big house for me to live in. I'm thankful for my brothers and sisters as well. I'm thankful that we have food on the table. I'm thankful that we can worshp our God in church. I'm thankful that God gave us away to go to heaven through His son Jesus. That's what I'm thankful for.

By: Abby-age 8

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Find My Family"

This started out as a comment, but it was getting long, and then blogger ate it. I'm retyping it here. It is concerning ABC's new show "Find My Family."

Overall, it was a good show. It definitely left me with warm fuzzy feelings for the birthfamily and I was very happy for the adoptee. Of course, this is television, so we are seeing a "fairytale" adoption story--i.e. the birthparents stay together, get married, raise three other children, live the American dream, all the while never giving up hope of being re-united with their long-lost daughter. I think you would find that stories like theirs are pretty rare. They aren't going to tell you about the prostitute who had to be drug out of a crack house to sign her TPR, the eighth grade drop out who was being sexually abused by her uncle, the biological father who beat the mess out of his girlfriend and hit the road when he found out she was pregnant, or the dear old dad who was about to be incarcerated for 10 years. They aren't about to put that much "reality" in our reality t.v.
I also feel that they heightened the drama on the part of the adoptee. It is important to remember that--while she was glad to meet her biological parents--prior to the cameras showing up, she had not searched for them on her own. Even though her dad had encouraged her to! It was clear to me that adoption was no big, bad boogie man hanging out in her past and shadowing her present, but a fact about herself that she was on good terms with. Sure she was curious, but had she never learned any more about her adoption story, she would have been o.k. with that. I found this very comforting.
I am disturbed by the title "Find My Family" and the multiple references to biological parents/siblings as "YOUR family," "YOUR daughter," etc. The people who raised her and the brothers and sisters she grew up with are her family! In this show, I felt the adoptive parents were being treated like glorified babysitters. Especially when the host commented, that "It is every adopted child's dream to be found." What?! For starters, my girls are not "lost." They are right where they were placed (by an almighty people Placer)--in a family, loved and cared for. We are in closed adoptions--not by our choice--it is simply the way it is. Now, I regret that my daughters will have very little information about their biological backgrounds and that building relationships with their birthparents was not possible, but if they reach adulthood cherishing a fantasy of being "found" by them, I will most assuredly feel that we have failed. I would have to see more episodes; perhaps they would have devoted more time and attention to the adoptive parents had the adoptee been younger. I would choose, "The Missing Piece" or "Back to Beginnings" or "Roots" (wait as second--that's taken!) or something to that affect as a more appropriate title. The title demonstrates that the narrow definition of 'family' as individuals who are genetically linked to you is still alive and well within our culture. A supposition that, as members of the adoption triad, we should continue to work towards changing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Talking In Your Sleep

1. Has anyone in your life talked in their sleep? The kids talk in their sleep off and on. I love to hear them laugh in their sleep.
2. What do you like about fall? Cooler temperatures. Looking forward to the holidays. But I've married something of a Scrooge, so I have to keep that kind of low key.
3. Do you have an addictive personality? I don't think so. Seems as though folks can get quite enough of me. I can't even get my own sister to visit for Thanksgiving for Pete's sake. More like I have a-little-dose-will-do-ya' personality.
4. Who was the last person to do something extra special for you? My friend Cari made time out of her week to meet with me twice in the last six months. Since together we have a dozen children, I think that is pretty monumental. And my mom and dad put their heads together and replaced a special keepsake of mine that I had lost (and assumed was irreplaceable) for my birthday in July.
5. Would you ever take someone back if they cheated on you? No. I don't see myself being able to forgive that.
6. Are you happy with where you are in life? Yes. Only I wish we had more money--but we are working on that.
7. Do you believe that you can change someone? No.
8. Have you ever wished you could've had someone but you couldn't? I don't care for the verbiage in that question.
9. Would you ever fight someone over your significant other? "If you don't want to go to Fist City, you better detour 'round my man...."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Hockey Stars?

They have the look, if not the skills.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Encouragement and Correction

From my three year old.

Encouragement- I'm standing at the bathroom mirror when Randy walks in.
Randy: Mommy, what you doin'?
Me: Oh, I'm trying to make myself presentable.
Randy: But you are just so cuuuuuuuute!

Correction-As we are driving out of the W*llm*rt parking lot we must stop and let the traffic filing out of our local plant pass. There is a homeless man "camped" at the stop sign. It is the last moments of light before the sun sets.
Randy: Mommy. There is a man there. He is sitting in the dark. In the night. His clothes are dirty. He is not walking. He does not have a car.
You can tell the wheels in his head are turning. He cannot fathom why someone is alone at night beside the road. I feel certain he is about to bust lose with a hundred questions: Why is he there? Where is his house? How did he get here? Where is his family? Questions I will evade as best I can and blunder through the rest. I feel mild irritation at this man. Another bum who has to be standing at a corner where I have to stop. I know it is horrible, but I'm keeping this blog honest--ugly, unloving, selfish thoughts and all. I clicked the automatic locks and hoped something else would catch my child's attention. This whole time, I have not said a word; I knew he was perplexed, but I wasn't going to volunteer any information. Little did I imagine, Randy would draw his own--wiser, better, truer--conclusions.
Randy: That man is not filthy. He is...he is...lost.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, November 16, 2009
Outside My Window...brrrr......
I am thinking...I am thinking about the gruesome murder of the 5 year old girl in NC. Wish I could stop thinking about it. Her own mother selling her as a prostitute? I want to vomit. When I hear stories like this, I feel certain we live in the last days.
I am thankful contacts and restored vision. I've been blind since Thursday.
From the kitchen...finally finished off last week's VAT of turkey soup tonight. Tomorrow we have lentil and ham stew. New recipe--I'll keep you posted. We had to spend this week's grocery money on contact lenses, so things could get interesting.
I am clothes. Went back to aerobics after a two week absence. It felt great to exercise again, but I'll probably be soar tomorrow.
I am creating...finishing up some sewing projects and work continues in the daycare.
I am going...I have no travel plans at present--unless you count L*wes and H*bby L*bby.
I am reading...started new bedtime book with the kids tonight--The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey
I am hoping...the headache I feel beginning behind my eyes will dissipate once I lay down. I wonder if it is related to my new contacts? I hope not.
I am hearing...not a creature stirring, not even a guinea pig.
One of my favorite things...I really dig a well put together classroom. My daycare rooms are starting to look like first-rate learning environments. I love that.
Around the house...I started to type "fairly clean," but as I glance out the office door my conscience pricks me. It was "fairly clean" this morning. In all honesty, it now falls into the "needs improvement" category.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The and nutrition lady is supposed to come train me tomorrow. Wednesday church.
A picture thought I'm sharing:

She is five years old, too. What have we come to?

More daybooks at

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Family Opinion

My friend Debbie wrote a post about the decision to adopt--specifically in regards to the degree your family's opinion influenced that decision. This post is for her.

Al*n J*ckson sings a song, "Chasin' That Neon Rainbow," that contains these lines.
"Daddy won a radio
Tuned it to a country show
I was rockin' in the cradle
To the cryin' of a steel guitar.
Mama used to sing to me
She taught me that sweet harmony
Now she worries cause
She never thought I'd ever
Really take it this far."

I think that about sums up my parents, when it comes to the master and I adding to our family. The lessons I learned on their knees and at their breast--lessons about love and strength, redemption and family, sacrifice and significance--have indeed influenced my desire and decision to give birth to and adopt children, as well as provided me with emotional resources and values to care for them.
But they, "worry cause they never thought I'd ever really take it this far." And that's not only with adoption. On the day we found out that I was carrying a girl, my mom exclaimed, "Great! You have a boy and girl now, so you can stop!" It just made perfect sense to her. Over the years I've tried to explore their concerns and fears about our ever expanding family.
*worry over finances--Will we be able to support them? Where would we live? How will we live? By far, the number one issue.
*concern over my long term ability to cope--Why do I pursue a life that in many ways is such hard work? Will I crack under the strain leaving them with 3...4...5...6... children to raise?
*concern over limited resources--can we give each individual child the love and attention they deserve?
Still to this day my dad will lament that I "have ALL these children." He says 'all' as though it is not a good thing. To which I will respond, "O.K. Daddy, I'll have the kids line up and you can choose which one we should get rid of." He will chuckle. He knows I've got him there.

When my older sister could not carry children, it made perfect "sense" to my parents that they adopt. But when I the middle daughter with three borned children in tow come up with the hair-brain scheme to fly around the world and adopt a baby from Russia it was quite a different matter. They had new and old worries mixed and compounded by two daughters in the adoption process at the same time:
*worries over finances!!! When I told my dad what it was going to cost for Marina's adoption, I thought he was going to have a stroke.
*fear they wouldn't love an adopted child like they did a birth grandchild
*worse fear--they would bond with the child and he/she would be taken back (my sister was trying to adopt through the foster system.)
*worry about the child's medical diagnosis and prognosis
*a sense of awkwardness trying to explain our reasoning to their friends, co-workers, and extended family when they themselves do not understand it
*concern for their daughters' heartbreak if the whole thing did not work out.

Time cured or made them face those fears. I know each of them--all of which are fairly valid--stems from a sincere love and concern for me and my family, so I don't let it hurt my feelings. Love covers a multitude of sins. I don't know how I would feel or react if I doubted that or believed they came from selfish motives--which may be your case, Debbie. I listen with respect and try to hear what they are saying. They are my parents and I honor their opinion, even if, in the end, we must make a different decision. And I must say they have done splendidly despite their misgivings--it just takes them a little while to come around. They love their adopted grand-daughters every bit as much as their birth grand-children. If anything, they are more protective and tender towards them.

All that to say:

Yes, my parents opinion is important to me. No, my parents have not always approved of our decision to expand our family--either by birth or adoption. Yes, in the end, we did adopt/have more children despite that. Yes! Thankfully, they did accept these children. And--purely hypothetically--should we sit down one day and say, "Mom, Dad, we're flying to Uganda to adopt two children from Am*ni Baby House," I won't expect them to like it. They will share all the reasons we shouldn't do it. They will blush in their Sunday school class as they tell their friends the news. They will worry that they will not be able to accept a black child. They will be concerned for the children's health. They will worry about them growing up in a white family in a still very prejudiced south. They will want to know how much it is going to "set us back." They will be convinced that their middle daughter is insane for having EIGHT children and they will wonder if I will ever stop. BUT, they will ask for prayers on our behalf from that same Sunday School class, they will become champions of equal rights, they will keep the other children so I can take the babies to check-ups, Mom will find "the cutest" outfits for them, Daddy will secretly slip us cash, and when we step off the plane, they will be the first ones to hold them.

At least, I'm betting they will. ;0)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You Decide




Which one for our Christmas Card?

We had an appointment yesterday evening at the local Wallyworld for Christmas pictures. It is the same studio I used this summer for individual photo shoots (I refuse to buy school pictures--it's a racket), and was quite pleased with the portraits especially considering the price. Since I bring along six children worth of business, they have been very solicitous, calling every few weeks to see if they can schedule another appointment. Last week, I relented. They were offering free 10x13 with booking. So, I ran around town all day yesterday, taking in two Goodwills, and J.C. Penn#y just to make sure we could pull off eight coordinating outfits. Then convinced and/or wrangled all six to don said attire amid several protests of "But Mo-om, it isn't even Sundaaaaaaaay." AND made it to the studio at 5:15 on the dot.
We were there, but the photographer was not. We waited 45 minutes, but they never showed. The kids were getting cranky and hungry, and there was no way, I was going to go through the holiday photograph ordeal twice in one season, so we called a church member with an awesome camera and begged her to have mercy. We were getting pictures made one way or another. She took these in her living room. I don't think they turned out half bad. Be sure to vote on the above for the card picture, but I'm including some rejects for fun.

Marina: "Me? Smile? Seriously?"

Randy: "Will it never end??!!"

Cara: "I feel certain they are plotting against me."

K sporting his dazed and confused look

Sunday, November 8, 2009

When the Moon Hits Your Eye...

Like a big pizza pie, that's amore. Abby and Marina cooked dinner tonight. Homemade pizza ....mmmmmmm.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, November 2, 2009
Outside My Window...chili breeze, but clear and very beautiful
I am thinking...I am one of the most blessed people in the world.
I am thankful for...times when I remember the above.
From the kitchen...not much. We've been in revival this weekend, and we have taken most of our meals at the church building.
I am wearing...striped shirt and blue jeans.
I am creating...still not many creative endeavors beyond the daycare.
I am eat dinner with a friend Thursday night. Looking forward to it.
I am reading...honoring my promise not to begin another book until the daycare opened. The daycare must open soon.
I am hoping...that Women of Faith trip will be a blessing to our church. It is not until April, but I have been put in charge and I'm starting to get nervous. I have to get 25 women to the conference or the church has to eat the tickets. I have eleven signed up. Anyone want to join us?
I am crying her "final protest before I succumb" cry.
One of my favorite things...being with other Christians and feeling that sweet Spirit--knowing heaven will be like that--only a million times better.
Around the house...a little tidier thanks to my mom and mother-in-law's efforts, as well as my this-has-gone-on-too-long breakdown over the bathroom. I stayed up till 11 last night scouring it.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...some family is coming in to help us paint the daycare tomorrow night, the aforementioned dinner date, and who knows what all?
A picture thought I'm sharing:

Tickle Torture
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