Friday, September 30, 2011

Dirty Little Secrets - Part II

shh Pictures, Images and Photos

Don't tell

 my daughter


 she has


Our daughter has been home almost two months.  She has really blossomed and is quickly learning English.  She had only been home a couple of days when I began to wander if she understood that she had a long term illness.  She asked daily if she was almost finished with her medication.   We have contact with her older sibling so I asked if our daughter was aware that she had HIV.   I was not surprised when she said that our daughter did NOT know that she had HIV.  After asking our daughter a few questions I was able to confirm that our daughter only knew she was "sick" and needed medication. 

*Disclaimer:  I completely respect our daughter's birth family and their decision to not discuss the details of her diagnosis with her.  In her birth country there is still a huge stigma surrounding the diagnosis of HIV. 

As I stated in my previous post Dirty Little Secrets - Part I we are very open with our children about their health.  We do not want them to think they need to hide secrets about themselves.  There is no reason for them to feel shame.   It is also important that they be aware of their medical diagnosis so they can educate themselves and become prepared to manage their own health when they are adults.  We want to empower our children. We want our daughter to understand that God loves her and we love her.  We love EVERYTHING about her! 

Please keep our family in your thoughts as we begin this journey with our daughter.  Our prayer is that she would trust us and lean on us and our Heavenly Father.  I pray that God gives us the words to use that won't confuse or scare our daughter but will give her a clear understanding of her diagnosis. 


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lifesong for Orphans - Zambia

Brush to Berries from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.
"Simply giving this person money is treating the symptoms rather than the underlying disease and will enable him to continue with his lack of self-discipline... a better solution would be to develop a relationship that says, we are here to walk with you and to help you use your gifts and abilities to avoid being in this situation in the future'" (An excerpt from the book, When Helping Hurts)

Lifesong is serving the people of Zambia... the orphaned, the at-risk, and the poor... by utilizing the land that is, like the people, so full of potential. Lifesong farms-Zambia reaped its first strawberry harvest in June, and local grocers have been purchasing the berries. With additional acres to farm, we are hoping to process some of the berries and begin marketing Lifesong Farms Strawberry Jam.

By harvesting fruit, we are able to serve more orphans by providing the gift of a job at Lifesong's gardens and self worth to an orphan's caregiver. We are also able to provide future employment for our kids as they transition into adult living, develop a system to raise funds to help cover operational costs, and develop expertise that can be replicated in multiple countries where Lifesong serves. Most of all, we are seeking to glorify Jesus as we teach others how He walked 

1st PRIZE: Lifesong is giving away a 1-night hotel stay for the LIVE ORPHAN SUNDAY event in Kansas City!!! Let me just tell you, this event will be FABULOUS!!!

2nd PRIZE: Lifesong is giving away FREE Gobena Coffee for 1 year - 2 lbs per month shipped straight to your home.
HOW do you enter? Well, I'm glad you asked! There are several ways to enter. PLEASE LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT  BY GOING ON THIS LIFESONG POSTING FOR EACH ENTRY, including your email address so Lifesong is able to contact you!!!

1. Share how the Lord is working in and through your adoption/orphan care ministry (1 entry)
2. Re-post this Zambia blog posting on YOUR blog to share what the Lord has been doing at Lifesong Zambia (1 entry)
3. Tell about an Orphan Sunday event you had or attended in the past (1 entry)
4. Tell your plans for THIS YEAR's Orphan Sunday on Nov. 6th (1 entry)
5. Re-post this on your facebook wall (1 entry)
6. Re-post this on your twitter page (1 entry)
7. Post on YOUR blogs, facebook, or twitter and tell Lifesong that I sent you (1 entry)
8. Tell what you think about the 'Brush to Berries' video - what moved you, what stood out to you, what are you excited about? (1 entry)
9. Become a fan of Lifesong on facebook here (1 entry)
10. Send an email to info AT lifesongfororphans DOT org asking to receive our monthly updates (1 entry)

PLEASE leave a separate comment on Lifesong's post for EACH entry, including your email address so they are able to contact you!

***Giveaway starts immediately and ends at midnight on Monday, October 3rd.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dirty Little Secrets - Part I

are you ready?

shh Pictures, Images and Photos





I know you are totally SHOCKED, right? 

Here is my dirty little secret.

(my skin)

I have a skin disease called Psoriasis.  It first developed in the 4th grade and covered 90% of my skin.   I had it on the bottom of my feet and it hurt to walk as my feet would crack and bleed.   It was a terrible thing to go through as a 10 year old.  I remember people being afraid of me, being laughed at, and feeling ugly.  I would wear long sleeves and long pants even in the middle of the summer. 

I still deal with constant intense itching and a creepy crawling feeling on my skin.  My scalp is covered so I have terrible dandruff, which is not controlled by typical dandruff shampoo. 


I am content.  There was a moment.  I don't remember how old I was but I remember the specific feeling I had.  God gave me peace.  I felt an overwhelming unconditional love.  God spoke to my heart.  He said, "you were beautifully and wonderfully created by me.  it is your inner beauty that is most important"

So many people are shunned into hiding because of a fear of what others may think.  I will admit I have been there before.  It is a shame that we can not embrace the uniqueness of God's creations.  As a society we see uniqueness as a negative.  God created us to bring glory to him.  God does not make a mistake.

All of our children are unique creations made by the loving hands of our Heavenly Father.  One of the things we try to teach our children is to not be ashamed of or embarrassed by a physical feature or medical condition they may have. We also teach them that God would want them to treat everyone they meet with respect and love.  

Stayed tuned for Part II . . . .


Thursday, September 22, 2011

First World Problems and Adoption

I will admit that I am guilty of complaining about first world problems.  If you don't know what I am talking about  jump over to the Kinnell's blog and look at this post.

I am heartbroken right now.  I am seeing more and more complaints about "first world problems" from our daughter adopted from a third world country.  When she came home she had such a serving heart.  Now I have to hear MANY times a day how neglectful we are because we are not letting her have a cell phone, laptop computer and new clothes.   She is ELEVEN years old.   Seriously, why does an eleven year old NEED a cell phone.  Who are they going to call??  If she needs to call someone she can use our house phone.  She has been home a little over a year and honestly I am devastated.  I don't know what to do or where we messed up.  

We are fighting a HUGE battle right now for our daughter's heart.   One of the biggest lessons we try to teach our children is that this world is not about US.  It is not about living, acting, and having what everyone else has.  It is about loving and serving others.  It is a hard lesson to teach when almost ALL of the kids her ago DO have cell phone and laptop computers and new expensive clothes.  Sadly, that is just the area we live in. 

I could really use so advice here.   Anyone have suggestions or wisdom to share?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Officially In Love

I am officially in love with our newest daughter.   She has blossomed in the last two weeks into a content and joyful little girl.  I am not the only one who loves her. 

Check this out . . .

He lights up at just the sound of her voice!  It really melts my heart.  I have a feeling they are going to have a very special relationship.


Monday, September 19, 2011

VOTE for God's Littlest Angels in Haiti

Please watch the video below about God's Littlest Angels Haitian Baby Ministry in Haiti.  Several months ago I fell in love with a little baby named Sonia.  If you are a long time reader I am sure you remember me talking about her.  She was around 6 months old at the time and living at God's Littlest Angels.  She was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and had serious heart complications.  She was able to come to the USA to have life saving heart surgery and is now back at GLA and thriving.   There are many other babies in the same situation as Sonia.  They are sick, malnourished, and underdeveloped.  GLA's ministry is providing life saving care to these children.  This ministry has become very dear to my heart. 

After watching this video please take a moment of your time and follow this link to VOTE.  GLA is very close to receiving a $50,000 grant for their ministry.   It will only take a minute of your time but it will make a HUGE difference in the lives of these children. 


Sunday, September 18, 2011

I am sick, tired and grumpy. Since I have said I will always be REAL on this blog here it goes.

I am tired of dealing with night terrors EVERY single night.

I am tired of forcing kids to take their medication.

I am tired of listening to children who scream and cry all day long.

I am tired of living in a house that does not have enough storage.

I am tired of climbing into the attic to get things.

I am tired of having a doctors or therapist appointment almost every day of the week.

I am tired of the wheels on Jacob's wheelchair getting stuck in the grass.

I am tired of our family not eating at the table together.

the list goes on and on . . .

Basically, I am tired of the world not revolving around me.   There you have it.   I am actually a very selfish person!


Saturday, September 10, 2011


I am a dreamer.  I always have been.  Just thought I would share some things I have been dreaming about recently.

My Dream House
A kitchen where I can do some serious cooking

with a view like this

plus one of these


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Recap of our day

Our day started out well!  Everyone was up, dressed, teeth brushed and ready for the day by 9:00.  We got school started around 9:30.  Ms. Shanna(speech therapist) came to work with Sera & Jacob.  We wrapped up the morning half of school with a fun art project.  We had lunch on schedule at 12:00.  This is where things went CRAZY!!!  Elshaday came with some medication but not enough to get her to her first doctor's appointment.  We HAD to get her medication TODAY so she would have it for tomorrow mornings dose.  So I loaded up all eight kids and we headed down to the Kentucky Clinic Pharmacy to pick up her meds.  Should not be a big deal meds were called in 5 hours ago so we should be able to walk in pick them up and head home.  NOT!!!! 

I will not bore you with all the details of why it took us 4 hours to complete a task that should have taken us about 1 1/2 hours including driving time.  I would like to ask you to do me a favor.  IF ever again I mention taking ALL my children to pick up a prescription PLEASE remind me about today.  They were pretty good for the first 15 minutes, I think.  Gabriel & Elshaday kept fighting over who got to push the elevator buttons.  This led to me swatting Gabriel on the rear end right there in the middle of the clinic hallway. (no, I do not have a problem with swatting bottoms in public to get my kids attention) While waiting for our medication two kids had meltdowns which included them screaming and crying, "I want to go home" very loudly.  Gabriel could not sit in a chair appropriately and could be found in lots of interesting positions.  Ethan kept irritating every one else just for the fun of it.  Faith could not stop slapping her hands on the table which made a very loud noise, irritating her siblings and I am sure everyone else in the room.  When I moved Faith away from the table this led to her meltdown.  Elshaday kept creating tears because she wanted water, she was hungry, she wanted to go home, she wanted the book someone else had.  The girl is persistent she can sit and say "mom, I am hungry" repeatedly for a good 15 minutes.  She can also create tears in just seconds.  Sera kept wanting the seat everyone else was in and tried to push them out of their seat and yelled at them.   There was also a loud and lively game of paper, rock, scissors.  Good thing I do not get embarrassed very easily.

On a bright note there were two special people who blessed me today.  As we were walking down the hall an older gentleman asked if we were from Nicholasville.  He said he had seen the article about Sera in the newspaper and prayed for her every day. 

On the way out of the clinic the lady who collects the parking garage tolls said she had seen me in the clinic with the kids.  Of course, at this point I am thinking about how terrible the kids behaved.  I said, "yea, I feel like crying right now".  She just said, "I commend you on what you are doing". 
The kids were so exhausted after going crazy at the clinic that they immediately feel asleep in the car.  Got home around 5:00 and rushed to find something to cook for dinner that was quick.  Ate dinner around 6:00.  Medication given. Little ones to bed at 7:00.  They passed out very quickly.  Watched movie the big kids.  Faith got up twice with night terrors.  Big kids to bed at 9:00.  MOMMY TIME!!!!!

So there you have it.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Settling In FINALLY

Most of our children have transitioned into our home very smoothly.  We brought them home and the next day life went on as usual.  Granted we added a few more doctors and therapist to the mix when kids came home but we have never had to disrupt our normal schedule. 
As a family we have had to make some big adjustments this time around.  Each child is so different and their response to change is as different as they are.  I have always said that this blog is a place where I want to be open about the joys and struggles of a adoptive family.  So here we go . . .

Our family first saw a picture of our newest daughter almost three years ago.   As we were waiting for our court date back in 2009 we found out that due to circumstances beyond our control we would not be able to adopt Elshaday.  It has been a rollercoaster ride since that day.  We received a email in March 2010 asking if we would still consider adopting Elshaday.  Again, lots of ups and downs but finally brought her home a few weeks ago.  All of this to say that our family, especially our children, have been anticipating her arrival for a few years. 

Elshaday is a very strong willed little girl and I am getting the idea that she may not have been told "NO" very often.  However, she is perfectly fine with telling me "NO".   If she wants to play with something she just takes it.  If she doesn't like something you are doing she will just kick or hit you.  She would gently hit another child just to see what my response would be.    As long as she is getting her way life is good and she is a happy little girl. 

The kids have really had to work through their feelings about Elshaday's behaviors.  They were disappointed to fine out the little girl they had waited for and anticipated playing with was, in their words "MEAN".  Our other child, which we adopted as a older child, asked if she acted like that when she came home.  I assured her she did not. 

My husband often refers to parenting like training a dog.  Although I typically do not like this analogy I think it fits here.  In a pack of dogs their is a heirachy, same in a family.  A dog will fight his way up as far as he can in the pack.  When training a dog it is important to make sure the dog knows who is at the top of the heirachy.  If you don't your dog will never comply with your commands.  Our daughter is just trying to find her place in the family.  She is learning the heirachy of our family and where she fits in it. 

We basically decided to hide out at home for a few weeks.  We tried to keep a regular schedule and not have many disruptions.  We wanted to be consistant when dealing with undesireable behaviors.   I have been waiting to write this post because I wanted to be able to share progress not just struggles.  I am so happy to report that we have gone from her telling me "NO", to her first saying, "NO" and when I stand my ground she will say "okay, okay" and comply with my request.  ALL of the unwanted behaviors towards the other kids are gone.  I am sure that the "testing phase" is not over but we are in a good place right now. 

There is so much more to say but the kids are pestering me and I am having a hard time concentrating on what I am writing.  Hope to write more later.