Saturday, August 31, 2013

Celebrating the lives of my children is always a blessing

Being silly daddy gave her a "cake" kiss

We celebrated Lila and Isaiah's b-day on the same nite . You can see the boys in the background. This is what they wanted but Isaiah did not want a Tinkerbell party and Lila did not want a Superman party so we did both :)

Being gifted...

Lila is all about girly stuff...fake fingernails were a hit. 

Celebrating the lives of these precious children is always a blessing. Lila turned 5 and we celebrated .

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Celebrating our " Superman Isaiah's " 7th b-day

He has a "Superman" smile 

It was actually Isaiah's party and Lila's " Tinkerbell " party last nite. His b-day is today and hers was yesterday. So we had a girl's table and a boy's table. They both wanted pizza and you guessed it we did our Totino pizza. We love celebrating b-days . I guess it is a good thing to because we do that a lot here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Happy 6 Years of "being a couple" to DeeAnna and Abraham

They celebrated being together now for 6 yrs. by going out for lunch and sharing some time together. Leah took pictures for them and here are some of my favorites. Sweet and cute couple - Who are perfect for each other. I am very happy that Abraham has someone as special as DeeAnna is . Happy Anniversary !

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Save big on a family-friendly getaway Your six-night vacation to Jamaica includes airfare and lodging at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay -- all starting at just $599. Kids 12 and under stay and eat free

No we did not go to Jamaica but, we are going to the Outer Banks in a few weeks. Since our family has grown we do not get to go to the beach every year. One we have always been using any extra money to be able to adopt ( every year now for the past 11 yrs) and secondly it is expensive to travel with 30. This year though we have a weeks vacation in our favorite place. The house we are renting is huge. Bigger than what we live in at home :) It has 11 bedrooms with 11 full baths...everyone including Mary Kate and Keith's family will have a "real" bed to sleep on. The pool is heated with a baby pool, hot tub,and a sunning pool - lounge chairs in a few inches of water attached to the big pool, a Tiki bar for our luau we traditionally do on Friday nite of our beach vacation, a pool table, a hole in one golf in the basement, and a surround sound theater room. There is also an elevator. The kids are excited beyond excited. We have already planned all meals, room assignments and even van seating.... organization is a huge part whenever we even just leave home for church much less for a whole week 

I saw the ad on AOL this am for that Jamaica trip and it made me laugh. Whenever I see things for that I always wonder how they would handle our family. It would be a steal for us just to have kids under 12 eat free....Anyways we really are going to the beach and actually our family knows who to thank for this blessing and we do thank God for His provision. I will let you know a little secret because this is how we have rented before...for the week it is costing 3,000 . It is a new listing for the rental company and to get months rented the prices are cheaper. This unit actually would rent for 15,000 next year- obviously we won't be able to return but for this year we are thankful it is just 3,000. Also we are grateful to our family friends who have given us money to be able to eat out in a "real" restaurant as a whole family. This is something we never get to do but will be able to enjoy something most "normal size" families do regularly. Thank you Helen and Dick for your gift. 

These are some pics of past beach vacations....

Friday, August 23, 2013

Post comments with dignity and respect and I will publish them

Just to share some more we have 10 adult adoptees- meaning they were born in countries that are poor and came home to their family-ours, as a child but now have grown up and are adult members of our family. Some people I realize will not agree with us and our ability to adopt so many children, or with our reasons why. Honestly we don't care what others think about our family and ministry. We only care to please the One who called us to be obedient to His will and His will only. We have lived long enough to know that not every one thinks the same way we do or lives their life like we do. In my previous post I shared about this and my thoughts on adoption vs family preservation. It is my blog and I am allowed to share my feelings about what I choose. If you wish to disagree please do so with dignity and respect. I won't post any of your comments or do I feel your arguments are worth posting because of the type of language and the hatred you seem to express thru the words you chose to write in a comment. If you want to take the time and settle your very troubled spirit and then compose your arguments about how you feel. I would welcome a difference of opinion to my blog. I also think it would be to your benefit if you wrote and shared who you were as well. I always teach my children that honesty is best and if they feel strongly about something always put your name on it . I would love to be able to converse more with you but your anonymity prevents me from doing so. Also letting my children know that the countries they were born in are poor, and struggle to care for them is being honest with my children. Even with my older now adult adoptees they have not been harmed by this honesty from us who they know love them...actually in their own words, " It has made me a better person and stronger. " They are glad to have left their birth countries and families because they were hungry, lonely and sufferd abuse...even neglect- not having enough food, being left alone when you are 2 yrs old not being able to be treated for a medical condition that would have most likely killed you is abuse.  It almost sounds like you were not given the same respect and honest answers to your life when you were growing up . I am sorry you feel such sadness and feel the need to attack my faith or my opinions with such pain. I did not post this blog to cause you pain . I will pray for your heart and precious spirit and if you ever want to become known I would love to connect.

I even just talked with my daughter, Sari, who is 9 and only been home just over a year from Ghana. She is " thrilled to be in our home and our family." As a matter of fact I get love notes from her at least 3 times a week . Yesterdays says," I am so glad that you are my parents." We don't bad mouth her birth mom, or Ghana. Actually we like you are grateful to them for the gift each child is in our family. We are for real and so is our faith and none of our children were "ripped from their parents" and all would want us to adopt them again.

I don't need to investigate how adult adoptees feel about these issues- we have adult, adopted children. We also have been in the adoption community maybe before you were even born.We have lived this life for over 28 yrs.... I think your adoption of just 2 children is not making you an authority on this issue...I do respect that you may have a different opinion than mine but until you change the tone of your comments I will not be publishing them- sorry.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Thoughts on Adoption vs Family Preservation

We have been adopting now for over 28 yrs.. We have 5 bio. children who are now adults. We have done foster to adopt in the US as well. We have adopted 27 children. We adopted for the first time from Mexico, and continued to have bio. children and did foster care. Then for the past 11 yrs. we adopted 26 children- 6 from Russia, 10 from Ukraine, 2 from Bulgaria and 8 from Ghana. We have traveled to all of these countries and visited many orphanages even many we did not adopt from. We have always felt called by the Lord thru the verse in James 1:27...Religion that God our Father excepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. I have been a part of groups doing ministry to orphans in these countries. I have financially supported NGOs and even gave prayer support to them. This is not being written to condemn to putting your efforts towards these types of programs and ministries in a country. They help the few for a time and I am certainly a believer in the starfish thought- " It helps for that one starfish that got thrown back into the ocean." So don't take this post that I am against this effort because I am not and have even participated in them. There is great value for the ones they do help. Unfortunately for the long term I don't think they are the answer to the orphan problem. I also believe that the Lord is always in control and if that means a child is orphaned thru the loss of their parents, or circumstances of the parents that does not allow them to take care of their children and they become my child because of these circumstances. Then that was God's plan all along. God does not have a plan B....He is never controlled by our ability to respond to Him. I believe this and know that He has been real to me in my life and my ministry with orphans. I ultimately believe every child that is in our family was given to us by the Lord. It was always the Lord's plan for our family to have these 32 children (bio. and adopted). He is the builder of our family. Even though some of my children did not form or develop in my womb - God knew them before they were born and He knows the plans for them. I don't like the circumstances that some of my children had to live thru before they were in our life. I feel the deep grief of loss some of them have felt but to be honest all of them have gotten over this. Maybe it has been with the guidance of us towards seeking God's will in their lives and using their past experiences to fulfill this purpose. Each one of us has pain, and grief for losses we have experienced even if we are bio. children of the families we are in. I do know it is always thru the love of Jesus that we all overcome this grief and pain. How we deal with this, to what or whom we turn to for healing is what is important. I am grateful to the birth moms of my children but, I feel the Lord wanted us to complete the parenting of these children. I fully support all of them seeking their birth families and countries when they are adults. I hope to even travel back with some of them.

I think that Ghana is not whole lot different than the other countries we have adopted from....except the children seem to have less attachment issues than the other children from the EE countries we have adopted from. I love the process, dossier and even our travel in country. I am in a constant state of sadness about Ghana. I pray that it changes and that families will be able to adopt again. I do not think that the culture as a whole will ever take care of the poor children of their country. I am not for family preservation as much as I am for adoption. I am against child trafficking but, I don't think programs like NGOs are the answer in these countries and especially Ghana. The gov't really does not care or have the capability economically to make families be able to provide food, medical care and jobs for their people.... So children will suffer. NGOs help a few for a short time but the overall thoughts, emotions and ability for the culture to think differently takes a long time for positive changes. I believe it is better for the children to be adopted into a culture that does provide food, health care and economic possibilities for their children like the US generally does. UNICEF tries to promote and encourage a country to keep children with bio. families. However, for the 28 plus yrs. we have been adopting I have never seen a country change it's opinion of the orphan or poor child. They are not valued and often thought of as trash. No money is spent on these children or the country like Ghana is so poor there are no resources for orphans. Ghana not so much but all the EE countries for sure feel this way. What is needed in a way is for these countries to provide jobs, and ways to earn income for their people. It is a huge economic issue that causes an unbearable social issue- to care for the orphans, special needs and the children of the poor.

I do not think NGOs are the best way to help orphans. I believe that adoption is the best for these children stuck in families who may even love them dearly but can not give medical care for preventable diseases that will kill or cause harm to their children. Families can not provide enough food to sustain them let alone be healthy. Families who are forced to leave very young child at home ( age 2 yrs) so that the mom can work all day. I have some children from Ghana who were left by themselves all day until dark....with no food and my son still has nightmares about " some evil men who came while mom was gone and he was only 4). Did his mom love him- yes but because her culture is economically poor and the majority of its people can not sustain their families I believe it was best for him to be adopted by us. Some of my children were even sold to not so healty situations where they were abused. Some of my children have had health issues that could have been prevented if they had received medical care here in the US earlier in their lives that was not available in their own countries. Some of my children's lives were saved by us adopting them....They would have died if they had stayed with their family or orphanages much longer. God used us to give them life or a chance at life....Now what they do with this opportunity is really up to them. I don't harbor any ill feeling towards the birth moms. My children all know we are grateful for their birth families....and we are even more grateful that the Lord gave them to us.

Am I certain without a doubt all my children came legally- not really. I do believe they were adopted legally and feel that all the agencies we worked with are legit and legal who really do care about the children and doing the adoption on the up and up. I would be against child trafficking of any sort. However, now that my children are apart of my family I feel and support any contact they wish to have with their birth parents or other significant caregivers before us - this should be up to them as an adult to decide. I have been apart of many support, yahoo groups and it is interesting to see comments from what I call "Newbie adopters" who think they have all the answers about orphans, child trafficking, and family preservation. They don't and have not earned my respect when they shove their own thoughts or emotions down other adoptive families throats. No one should feel shame or be shamed publicly about their views on adoption. Everyone has their own answers to the problems of orphans but unfortunately my husband and I over the 28 plus years we have been on our adoption journey have not seen their answers to work. They help a few for a short time as I shared but none have been doing it for the long term sponserships or support for orphans. In reality the issue is much bigger... It is a cultural thing that even us in the US suffer from - We do not value the life of a child as God does. We think we have the answers and we don't. Children suffer from this lack of valuing them and who they are in God's eyes. All of the countries we have adopted from are struggling economically and until this is improved money will not be given to orphans or their care. Families will continue to struggle to provide. The rich will always get richer and the poor will always struggle until we can change the ability for the families to be able to make money and take care of their children. Providing it thru NGOs helps the few but the overall ability for change will take years - not in my lifetime, only God can move in the hearts of people to change how they value children. So far I have not seen a great movement of this being done even in the hearts of the people in my own country. Until it does there will always be orphans, and children who do not get medical or necessary living care to survive let alone flourish.

At least for these children in my family, who call me momma adoption was better than family preservation.... No regrets and definitely do not feel shame for adopting them. Thank you Lord for all of my children- No matter how they were given they were received as a blessing.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I had a lot of help making donuts and a lot of eaters of donuts

Easy , easy delicious recipe to make your own donuts.

Everyone got in all the making and the eating.

This was our dinner tonite. We also eat our main meal on Sundays at lunch and then in the evening it is "eat whatever you like". I made these donuts tonite and they are super easy to make . You take the refrigerator rolls and pop them open. Cut out the middle with any circle object and save for donut holes.  Heat oil in a pan and place the dough in the oil for no longer than 3 minutes- when they turn a golden brown. Throw the holes in to for less time. Remove onto a paper towel and dredge in powdered sugar , granulated sugar and cinnamon sugar. Amazingly fast and easy.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sweetness times 5

Kloe helping Sari sweep

All ready for bed on "momma's/nana's bed"

Sweetness times 5

White powder donuts..."No momma I did not eat one "

But the evidence is all over your face you silly boys.