Friday, March 26, 2010

A Moving Reality

No, not moving as in packing up the house and moving (scared ya there for a minute, didn't I Mom!!), but moving as in touching or according to Webster's, "stirring deeply in a way that evokes a strong emotional response." This post that I saw in the Madison Adoption Agency Yahoo group from Ashley, who lives and works in China, did just that to me. It is about a little girl's reality and so many realities in China and all over the world. I typically post about waiting kids at the end of the week, but I have found that there are not as many people active in the yahoo groups over the weekend and I really want my waiting kid's posts to reach as many as possible. So, I thought I would post this very "moving" truth as a precursor to my waiting child posts, that I am now going to try and post at the beginning of the week. Please check back on Monday because there is a huge list of kids whose files go back on April 16th and these kids are just precious! Until then, please read the post below and tell me how "moved" you are!!!

AMEN! In my work with SN orphans in China the last four years I have often come home bursting to the seams and my only recourse was to write. I felt tonight, I should include this story about an older girl with CP. She is one person, but there are so many others in her shoes.

L., Beautiful, chubby L. The poor child, I never knew she was a girl until she had to go to the bathroom in the bucket, after several weeks of calling her, “little boy.” It wasn’t her fault of course, she was trying to show me with that too-pretty smile that she was a girl, but CP without therapy has left her lips partially paralyzed and she couldn’t correct me. But now that I know, I put barrettes in her hair and give her flowers to draw and bring her pretty socks and she is so appreciative.

L. is waiting in her chair from which she seldom moves as I walk around holding others; waiting to catch my eye and flash me one of her gorgeous smiles. She mostly smiles, a huge sparkling bowl full of grace and joy to anyone who will look her way. She only rarely weeps and it is only when she is sick or in pain and seconds later, even through the tears, she will smile again.

Limited movement of her hands mean coloring and using scissors is difficult, but to L. it’s worth the struggle and she never leaves a craft or drawing half done. And when you praise her art, her smile turns into a full-body dance that shoots down those useless legs and returns to her lips as a joyous giggle.

She has the softest cheeks I’ve ever kissed and I know why it is her mother waited until she was quite old to turn away from her, she’s not an ounce of trouble, and such a gentle little lady.

L. will stay. Unless a miracle occurs she will live out her days in this room watching others come and go to foster care, or permanent families. She will stay, cared for by Ayis and volunteers hat have to go home at the end of their shift. But L.’s life is not scorched by bitterness. She lives and loves and expresses gratitude.

My dream for L. is not that we relieve her monotony or give life to stiff limbs through our games, but that our touch would be the expression of a different kind of Father. The One who is never off duty. The One who waits with open arms and sits with her as He shapes the inner life just as gently as He shaped L.’s body in her mother’s womb.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

If God brings you to it. He will bring you through it.

I have this taped on my fridge as a constant reminder of who is actually in charge around here. I know I tell my kids that I am (yea right!!), but honestly it is not me or hubby (definitely not hubby - hehe)!! It is God and in times of struggle, I sometimes need to be reminded that I am not in charge and that I need to let go and listen. I have always been religious and as a child, went to Church every Sunday (well, just about every Sunday), but I don't think that I really, truly understood His role in my life (and still don't understand it all) and how He had been preparing me for my life even when I was too little to understand the feelings I was having. I began to get a glimpse when I met hubby and the circumstances around that meeting and how I had gotten to a place where I was open and healed enough to let hubby into my life. The timing was His own and while I didn't understand (at the time) why I was 30 years old and not married or engaged or even "going steady," I understood the moment I met hubby.

My journey continued with the birth of each of my children. Clearly they are all blessings straight from God and I knew the moment our first son was born that this was what I was meant to do, this was my life.

I had not understood anything about what is important in life until I held my children in my arms for the first time.

Our adoption journey began long before Lizzie and was surrounded by doubt and confusion and not understanding what He was trying to tell me. I know now. I know that it was because Lizzie was waiting for us. I know now that Lizzie (and Em) were the reasons I had to wait, again. It was His perfect timing, again. It was, however, during this adoption journey that I really started to see and feel His presence and His hand in it ALL.

I will never forget the kids and myself going through their stuffed animals trying to decide which ones to send to their sister's orphanage. They were so sweet and so excited to do this and we ended up sending a huge box of stuffed animals to China (um, Cha Ching!!). One of those animals was a purple, stuffed Barney that sang! I have never been one to hate Barney, as most parents do (Barney allowed me 30 minutes of peace, for goodness sake!!), but I was sooooo glad to see this one go!!

Anyway, a few weeks later, I was feeling really down about our progress. We had not received any updated pics of Lizzie and had not gotten any additional info on our sweet pea in a very long time. It looked like we were not going to make it to China by Lizzie's 2nd birthday and I was just feeling generally down about it all and so very far away from her. That night I prayed that God would wrap His arms around her and somehow let her know that we loved her and we were waiting for her and would be there as soon as we could.

The very next morning, there was an email waiting for me with pictures of my sweet Lizzie from a family who was there visiting her orphanage, and can you guess what Lizzie was holding, no clutching, in her arms in every picture?

Yep, it was that Barney!! If it had been any of the other stuffed animals that we sent, I don't think I would have recognized it, but it was that Barney and I suddenly knew that He was preparing her heart for us and that this was my sign to stay strong and stay faithful and that He would get me through it, and He did!!

This was one of so many signs. It kept me strong and helped me to make it through to Lizzie. It also confirmed for me that this was His plan for me, for hubby and me and for our family. There were many times that I doubted and every single time that I let it go and just trusted, my strength and my faith was renewed in some way or another.

There is one such "renewal" that I don't feel comfortable talking about right now ( I know - not fair) but will share when the time is right.

However, today (and the reason for this post) I received another little reminder that He is there and will always be there and that there is a reason for all that we are going through and that I just need to let go and let Him "bring me through it."

Hubby and I had made the very difficult decision to take our girls out of their wonderful little preschool. They only go 3 mornings a week but love their teachers and their friends there and it was heartbreaking to have to do this, but we just couldn't afford to continue. We had not told the girls because we were going to finish out the month and because we are big chickens (grin), but knew that we would have to break it to them sooner rather than later! As hubby was dropping them off this morning, the director of the preschool and a wonderful friend walked him out and told him that they wanted the girls to finish the year, that she understood what we were going through and that she wanted to be able to give back. As hubby stood there, fighting back the tears, he thanked her and walked away, knowing the gift we had just been given. The tears began the moment he called me and we both were reminded of how incredibly blessed we are and what a beautiful sign this was to hang in there and to let go and listen and know that there is a plan and a reason and that we will be OK!!

In times of struggle, there can be such goodness all around us and that is one of the beautiful things that has come out of our recent struggle, the other...

once again, being brought to our knees and being reminded that...

If God brings you to it. He will bring you through it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I thought I had her - darn!!!

The food battle continues. Sigh!!!

Lizzie will agree to being restricted from snacks in the afternoon if she doesn't eat her lunch, however....

She has a very selective memory and gets very upset about NOT getting snacks when everyone else does.


I videotaped her, thinking I would show it to her later when the inevitable tantrum began(you know, kind of like evidence) and do you know what that little stinker did???

She didn't get upset!!! I was armed and ready and she didn't get upset!!

I think she got me??? Hehe!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Offi YooDo Product Review

Last week I posted about a very cool toy, here, that we were going to review for a great online store, CSN . It finally arrived last week (imagine 5 little faces pressed against the window pane - and drool) and being the busy family of 5 kids, 3 dogs, one cat/dog and 2 very tired parents, oh and one really stupid mouse, we just got the chance to open it and play with it, yesterday.

It was worth the wait, however! The kids were so excited and couldn't wait to start building.

One very amazing thing happened, though.

My 2 older boys actually took the lead, organized the little ones, decided which structure they were going to try first and then (drumroll please)

READ the directions!!!!

Can you believe it??? A member of the male species READ the directions!! I was very proud!! Hehe!! Anyway, they began the assembly

and created a very cool Control Tower!

Next was an equally cool puppet theater!

I was very afraid that the pieces, while big, were going to be very flimsy and easily destroyed. However, I have to say that they held up so well, even during the destruction phase, aka Em's turn!!!

In the end, the Offi YooDo got 4 out of 5 thumbs up.

I think the older 2 boys (12 and 10) had a great time creating the structures but then lost interest after about 30 minutes or so.

Our 7 year old had fun creating his own structures and was looking forward to playing again. He loves puzzles and leggo's so I wasn't surprised.

Em was the only one that gave it a thumbs down and I think that had more to do with her "pink eye" than the toy and she is just not my puzzle, leggo kid. She enjoyed the demo and playing in the structure once it was built, but was not so much into the building.

Lizzie loved the whole process. The only thing she didn't like was having to wait her turn!! Hehe!!

I think I would have to give this toy a definite thumbs up. It is great for using a kid's creativity and it held up so much better than I ever thought it would with our demolition team!! The best part, the kids actually worked together! You heard me, together!! So, worth every penny, that is if I had paid for it!! Hehe!! Thanks CSN stores!! Again, please go here to check them out.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Pied Piper or the Tom and Jerry Chronicles

Ok, I thought this post appropriate coming on the heels of the Blog Hop/Pets post and considering the events of this morning! You see, I think the word must be getting out in the animal community around here about this Pet Palace we seem to be running. Before our wonderful neighbors moved in next door, I do believe there was a Kitty Cat Brothel being run from underneath that house and how we didn't end up with more cats over here, I will never understand, but I digress! About a month ago, we had our first encounter with a very cute little mouse - in our house!! Now you have to understand that we have a doggie door and a cat door in our mudroom, so his visits (yes that would plural) consisted of the bottom of the stairs of the mudroom, running in terror from our cat and our dogs (HELLO - house of pets here - with teeth), that is until this morning! Have I ever written here about how wonderful it is to have sons????? No??? Well let me tell you, ever single time this really "silly" (I am being kind here) mouse has made it into our house, my sons have taken over. I swear I think that mouse must keep stumbling over here after having one too many at the Kitty Cat Club next door!! Anyway, this morning, Christian got the mouse box (yes, we have a designated mouse box - what!) and proceeded to try and catch our mouse to put him back outside (we won't mention the time that I made hubby trap a mouse in a humane trap and then drive him to the next town - again, what!) Anyway after a heroic effort from Christian (that includes the mouse climbing up the outside of his pant leg - yikes), the mouse finally decided to get smart and climb in the box and I, being the good bloggy Momma that I am, decided that I HAD to get a picture of our newest "pet."

While I managed to get a fairly decent pic of our little mousey friend, son #2 decided that he needed a pic too because what 10 year old boy wouldn't want a pic of a mouse in his house, right? Well in Charlie's effort to get the "perfect" mousey picture, our little friend decided that he had had enough of all the paparazzi and decided to bail. Yes, our furry little friend jumped out of his mousey box (ingrate) looking for an upgrade, I suppose! That upgrade however was my kitchen (oh no you don't)!! Christian spent the next few minutes chasing the little ingrate around my kitchen until he was able to shoe him out of the house and onto the back porch, where I am convinced he took up residence in one of the 2 very nice decorative bird houses we have back there! As he was running around my kitchen, dodging the cat and the 3 dogs, looking for the big block of Swiss cheese, I am almost certain I heard, "Bonjour Monsieur Pussy Cat!!!!" Hehe!!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Blog Hop - Pets!!

Now how could I resist that??? Pet is my middle name! Well, not actually my middle name but it does start with a P!! It should be anyway!! Next to my passion for children and adoption, is my passion for pets and honestly that particular passion started long before I understood the joys of mommy hood and the plight of so many kids in this world. I have been in pet rescue for many years and can remember people chastising me for being so involved with animal rescue and not "human rescue." I didn't realize it then but looking back, it was just a natural progression for me (a warm up as it were). As I matured and married and finally learned what it was like to love a child, my heart expanded to the point of breaking in my advocacy for pets and now children everywhere but in particular, China (as that is where our Lizzie is from). My hubby has always teased me about how difficult it is to watch any T.V. with me - nothing with kids, pets or elderly people!!! Nick Jr. is good for me! Nothing bad ever happens on Nick Jr.!!!! Hehe!!

Anyway, long story short, I am a HUGE animal lover and have been in dog and cat rescue for a long time. we have fostered many dogs and kittens and have plucked quite a few from the side of the road - just please don't ask my hubby about the time I made him stop on a VERY busy 2 lane road in the middle of a thunderstorm to chase down 2 lost pups or the time I jumped into the middle of a dog fight and ended up in the ER!!! I lived hard for a long time after those, um, adventures??? Not the brightest things I have ever done and I have to add, they were both pre-kid days!!! I have gotten a lot smarter since becoming a Mommy - right Honey??? The only ER visits I make now are for the kids and with 3 boys and 2 girls who act like boys, you would think we would have our own wing!! Sigh!!!

So my pet story really began when I was single and found my first puppy in the newspaper. She was $40 worth of pure puppy love and gosh, she was just about the cutest little thing that I had seen!!

Maggie was her name and just as blame my first born son for the bevy of kids that we have now, I blame Maggie for the, ahem, "dog fever" that has inflicted me!! She and I had lots of adventures together (we won't mention the stingray incident) and she actually helped me through a really rough time in my life. She was my first "baby" and she helped me to understand how pets can help to heal.

Next came sweet Grace.

Grace was just another mutt that my vet was trying to find a home for. They told me about her and the minute I met her, I was in love! She was cute and friendly and Maggie liked her, done!!! She was VERY attached to me and not very "man friendly." However, as soon as she met hubby, she liked him!! I knew that dog had good taste!!! Adopting Gracie was what turned my thoughts to all those wonderful animals out there who needed homes and how great it would be to help!

So then came my first foster baby, Tippy. Who wasn't with me for long but long enough for me to completely fall in love!

Then there was Homer the old hound dog!! That poor old guy had been through it, but was still such a sweet dog.

Homer actually led me to a really sweet elderly gentleman who had been abandoned by his family and was in very poor health and who needed him. Homer ended up being too much for Mr. H. to take care of, but I continued to visit and when Mr. H. was in the hospital and we knew he was not going to leave, the nurses let us "smuggle" our little Cocker Spaniel in so that he could pet her and be comforted by her. But I am getting ahead of myself!

After Homer, was Stanley or Stan the Man as we used to call him. Stanly was a challenge at first (to say the least) but after working out a few things (like ripping up my sofa and pillows every time I left the house), he ended up being a GREAT dog.

He was with me for a long time and was tough to let go. I found him a wonderful family though and just in time too, because I was to met hubby who had 2 dogs of his own, Dingo and Cricket!!! We were like the Brady Bunch - with dogs instead of kids!!!

Dingo was a German Shepherd/Husky and was very attached to hubby but was so sweet and so great and later, was wonderful with the kids.

He is what hooked hubby on pets. Well that and a dating and marrying a "crazy pet person!"

Then there was Cricket!!!!!!

Sweet little, baby Cricket who stole my heart the instant I saw her leading the pack of doggie delinquents who had escaped from hubby's backyard (a few days before we met). To this day, hubby insists that I married him just to get Cricket! Of course not, honey!!! It was YOU all along!!!! I promise!!!! Really!!!! Hehe!!!

In the midst of all of this, there was Mego,

and Bagel,

and Carney,

and Rosie (who ate an entire plate of fried chicken, bones and all, and lived to tell the tale)

and Daisey,

and sweet Bumper,

and hard headed but wonderful, Henry,

and Smiley girl!!

She was another tough case but with LOTS of love and attention, she ended being such a fabulous dog and lived a long a suuwweet life with her new family!!

After Smiley, we got married and moved to Florida for a while where we met Tippy #2.

Tippy was a 3 legged red dog who was headed for the pound. We took her as our first Florida foster and she never left!! So now we had 5 dogs!!! After our first son was born, our family would joke and laugh and say that we needed to have a child for every dog!!! No one is laughing now, except us but we're crazy!!!! Hahahahahaha!!!

While we lived in Florida, we had a few more doggie fosters and a couple of litters of kittens, but after our first son was born, we got the baby bug and spent the next 12 years in diapers and wipes and baby food and toys and NO SLEEP and fostering became a thing of the past - for a while.

We have lost all of our original gang of 5 but they are forever in our hearts and will always be remembered as the reason we met!

I don't think a day goes by that we don't talk about or mention one of them!

Now, we have Tazzie

our 90 pound "nanny" dog who has to be with the kids, watching over them at all times!! What a gentle giant he is!

Then there is Goose

who is the barker and the cuddler and the "smart one."

We also have Memow

who showed up one day and never left. We call her our cat/dog because we think that she thinks she is a dog!!

We did start fostering again, as soon as we felt like the kids were old enough to understand and it has been fun!! The kids are a big help, have learned such responsibility

and really seem to understand loving these dogs and then letting them go in order to help more.

There has been Coco,

and Kendell,

and Sophie and Aggie (the dynamic duo)

and our latest foster is Lily

who is another 3 legged sweetie!! She better get adopted quick or she may never leave!!

As you can see, pets are very important to me and have been a very important part of my family's life. They have taught my kids (and me) about compassion and unconditional love. They don't ask for much and give so much in return.

While our Christmas card has gone from this,

to this,

pets are still VERY important in our lives and will forever be!

I never, ever thought the kids would outnumber the dogs!

I think we have a bit of doggie catching up to do, don't you??? Hehe!!!

To see more Pet stories or to join in on the Pet themed blog hop click here,

MckLinky Blog Hop