Thursday, February 25, 2010


Can you believe it? My little guy is SIX!!!
He was out in the yard snowboarding with his brother when I snapped this picture. We don't really have a hill, just a mound that the kids shoveled, but they are having fun.

Monday, February 22, 2010

testing the love

Attachment and bonding are ongoing experiences. Trials come and go, and just about the time it seems things are settling nicely, someone decides to "test the love."

Here's what that looks like:
As you know, we home school. It does not come naturally to me, but we are plugging through. I have finally mastered not just telling the kids the answer they want, but instead I ask leading questions to help them figure it out themselves. Nobody really likes that, they just want me to tell them the answer. Especially Hanna.
Lest you think I am expecting too much of her, before I begin you need to understand that she can identify and knows the functions of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. She can identify prepositions and prepositional phrases and can tell you what the object of the preposition is. As much as she wishes I believed it, she is no shlub when it comes to school.
We were working on a sentence:

The puppy, a beagle, has been barking since she left.

"Mom, what's a beagle?"
Good question. I believe she doesn't know what a beagle is. She knows dog and puppy, but certainly not breeds.
Instead of telling her, I started asking questions.
What is happening in this sentence?
The puppy is barking since she left.
that's right, what kind of word do you think beagle is?
It is a noun?
Yes, it's a noun. So what is a noun? It's a person, place or thing.
That's right. So from this sentence, you should be able to make a guess about what a beagle is.
(At this point, she is frustrated that I am making her think, why won't I just tell her the answer.)
So, what do you think a beagle is?
The puppy is beagling?
Why would you even say that? Why would you use the word like a verb when you know it is an noun? What question are you answering?
She starts to lay on the "I don't know anything, how could I, I am new here. I don't know what a beagle is. I don't understand anything in this new country...)
When she first came home a year ago, she did the same thing, but she really didn't have much English at all, and even then, I got the feeling it was an act. I always told Scott that is seemed like she was "putting on" more often than she really didn't understand. At that time, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Since then, we have come to the knowledge that She really does not want to learn. She doesn't see its value and doesn't understand why it is so important to us. She is angry that we don't just indulge her every whim, and let her do what ever she pleases. this reality that she is living doesn't measure up to her "dream family".
She digs in here. If I am not going to tell her the answer, she is not going to tell me the answer.
I ask her where do we find out what words mean when we don't know what they are?
You look in da book. (snarl)
What book?
A dictionary.
Ok, go get it.

I have never had her use a dictionary, didn't even know she knew what it was, much less how to use it. She proceeds to look up the word.
I found it.
Ok, read it to me.
Beagle: a small breed of hunting dog that has short legs.
So in one word, tell me what a beagle is.
it is a hunting dog.
Yes, use one word.
no. different word.
a breed?
A small?
A short?
no. (are you kidding me? she WILL NOT TELL ME IT IS A DOG!!!)

I sent her to her room. I told her to come out when she would tell me what a beagle was.
She tried to squeeze out some tears and say she really didn't know, but she is not that good of an actress and failed to produce any. Biruk was sitting next to her and he was practically climbing out of his skin he was so disgusted.
After 5 minutes, I went up and asked her if she was ready to tell me what it is. No mom, I really don't know.
Look in my eyes and tell me that because I know you are way smarter than that. She couldn't look at me and say it.
I told her I didn't understand why this is the road she was deciding to go down, but if it was really what she was going to choose, I would go all the way with her. She didn't back down, would not tell me that a beagle was a dog, and she lost the few privileges she has. She is back to only being able to do school work for entertainment. She can watch no movies, the only thing on her mp3 player is memory work, and even when we are at other people's houses, she can't join her friends if they are watching a movie.
The reason for that is because if she gets any entertainment she refuses to use her brain to learn. We had allowed her to watch some movies with the family and she went right back to refusing to learn. This is the road I'm talking about. It is the one she is choosing, and I will go all the way with her because I LOVE her.

Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

self correction

Dear friends,
As I struggle and wrestle with God's will and am infused with a passion to seek justice and protect the helpless and homeless, I have come to the realization that my passionate words may be doing harm.
In my last post I slammed "most Christian agencies." While my observations are true to my experiences, are they really constructive to say out loud? My intent is to spur change, but is that really my result? It may be that all I am really doing is giving Christian agencies a bad name. Therefore I am becoming an ally of satan by spreading discontent and a sour taste toward these agencies. Shame on me.
What I should be saying is that I know that these agencies are living out James 1:27 in the manner that they see fit. I am frustrated with how bureaucracy and culture has morphed this into something that should not be.
What would be more constructive? I feel a duty to you, my adoptive friends, to tell you the avenues that will best help you live out God's desire for you, while at the same time, I have an obligation to these other brothers and sisters of mine to cover them.
Forgive me for my misguided fervor. If you ever see me veering off into wrong territory, please do not hesitate to redirect me. If you have specific questions that you think I may know the answer to, please comment to me and we can arrange to speak one on one.
I encourage you, if you experience these frustrations with the agency you are dealing with, to lovingly confront them directly, in hopes that they will hear truth and seek change.
I will not mention the names of the agencies I am referring to, but I will tell you that they have prayerfully been contacted regarding these shortcomings, and we have hope that truth will be heard and changes will be made.
I do not wish to be a source of discouragement for anyone and I hope that I am not a detractor to our Lord Jesus.
Very sincerely,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Are you kidding me?

I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that most Christian adoption agencies are the biggest obsticle to placing orphans and therefore satan's greatest ally in the orphan crisis.
Why is it that Christian agencies, who only work with Christian adoptive families, place the most restrictions on placement, with the end result of each adoption being to provide the "American Dream" for the orphan?
1. Don't put 3 children in one room.
2. We won't help you financially, but don't you dare finance an adoption, only autos and large houses (you know, so each kid can be isolated within their own room)
3. Heaven forbid the child might have a birthdate too close to another child in the family.
4. Don't even think about bumping birth order.
5. Reduce fees? Are you kidding me!!!!

These are the standard guidelines for most Christian agencies. While they waste time trying to meet these unrealistic standards for Christians who are trying to live with God's will, "secular" agencies are bending over backwards to find and place these precious children. 3 kids in a room- sounds cozy. Artifical twinning- do you as a family understand what this entails? Ok, go for it. Same for birth order bumping. It's not a given, but will certainly be considered. And the fees? commonly slashed for older children and sibling groups.

I know someone right now who has been told by the case worker that "it does not feel like a good fit for me, so let's not go any farther."

They were being considered for a 5 year old boy. He would share a room (a very large room) with 2 other boys. He would not be an artifical twin, but others within the home were, so, no. And besides, you might take on a little debt in order to finance this. (A Christian agency who should realize that God our heavenly Father PROVIDES!!!)

I am not kidding.

This is breaking my heart.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

$5 face lift

Dear friends, I have an opportunity you won't want to pass up. I know about a $5 face lift.


You read correctly. $5.

Where might I get one of these face lifts you ask?

follow this link.
hit the paypal donate button.
donate $5 giving special instructions designating your donation to the Allen Family for Irena.
step 5
look in the mirror and see the smile you get from helping a family become whole!

Pretty cool, I know! Please tell all your friends. Lets watch this go viral!!!

I bet you are wondering who the Allens are, and why do I want to help them?
I'm glad you asked.
here is their blog:
Tim and Cindy Allen are a wonderful couple who are striving to become a family for Irena, a darling HIV+ girl from Ukraine. They need your help. They can be her family but have just one tiny little hurdle.
The matter of oh, $23,000.
If we pull together, this really is a small hurdle.
What do you say?
Get your face lift and make sure your friends do too!!!!