Archive for the ‘Adoption’ Category

Angel Tree: 2018

Monday, October 1st, 2018

Today is the day to sign up to sponor the holiday season fundraising for an orphan living overseas to the goal of raising $1,000 to the adoption costs of bringing that child home to a family in either the USA or Canada. I have participated in this fundraiser since 2012, which is quite a long while now. The event is held by Reece’s Rainbow, a non-for-profit program that supports the advocacy and pairing of special needs children overseas with families here. Reece’s Rainbow has a very comprehensive website through which families can find a child of particular interest to them and pursue adoption of that specific child, this is a piece of the adoption journey that I’d never heard of before: not just knowing which country you’d like to adopt from, but knowing the face of a child. Adoption is expensive, the wait is long from signing of initial papers, to visiting and bringing the child home and all the stages in between.

It’s this financial bit that Angel Tree is meant to help with, but I’d like to think that equally is the advocacy…we’re putting forward the faces of these young children which makes them seem so much more real. On sign up day, we usually pick three child that we’re interested in seeing on the Angel Tree and working toward that 1,000 additional funding boost in the money banks available for their future families.

The child I raised funds for (and met my goal) is Scarlet. My draw to her is that, like me, she has a seizure disorder and an older brother. I’m also Scarlet’s, “Prayer Warrior” that means I’m supposed to talk about and pray for her all year. I have her picture up in my room and look at her often. My heart really only feels sadness anymore as I do wonder how she is, while really knowing that there isn’t anything I can do. Truthfully, her face is so familiar that it’s part of my room the environment private to me and indeed I rarely speak of her at all.

Lost In Translation

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

I’ve sat down so many times over the past six months to try and write a called Lost in Translation. This is the picture that I start with. Sweet Yana. Perhaps it’s the wrong picture though. Because as soon as I change her beautiful face into a file link I just sit here. Perhaps the best thing to do is to just trust my hands.

Over the past few months I’ve been working on learning another language.
In college I read a wonderful book called Train Go Sorry about a woman who lives her life on the border between the hearing and deaf world, fitting in to neither one 100%. She’s fascinated by the deaf community but is not welcome because she is hearing. It did not matter that she has family members who were deaf, that she had grown up playing with children at the deaf school where her father worked. It didn’t matter that she knew sign language extensively; their world is one of silence unpenetrable and carefully caged in self imposed solace.

I think language is like that. It holds us apart. But the fantastic things that can happen when barriers break down and connects are made. When words make sense. When the strangeness of the letters becomes familiarity. The wonder of the letters and formations of sounds come together, it’s like a dance where you see the general sway and hear the tune. You can enjoy the music, even though you know that your ears are not quite tuned yet to hear the voice inflections, so it is with language.

It takes a lot of bravery to pick up a book that’s written in a foreigners tongue and promise yourself that someday you’ll read it.

почему ты здесь?

Because of a little girl named Yana. She captured my spirit and held on tight without knowing it. When I saw her picture it was like I really believed she was to be my daughter. What’s life if you can’t feel something crazy like that? I hope everyone does, at some point in there life. She something or someone and say, that person will mean a lot to me one day. Even if it never happens, you’re different. Yana’s photo came into my life in 2012. In 2013 Russia closed it’s doors to Russian to American adoption.
I really did think that this was like an over night thing. Like it was a halt on adoptions to US families. Not so. It’s 2018 now, and Russia holds a solid ban on adoption to the USA.

My knowledge of Yana did not die there. March 2014 a friend of mine who spend time in Yana’s orphanage and had sent me numerous baby photos sent me more that she was able to receive from the director of the Baby House were Yana had lived. The photos were of Yana now a toddler walking hand in hand with two other children. A nothing photo pictured her with a smiling young woman near a climbing structure. My sweet girl had been adopted by a Russian family!! What a tremendous blessing to see that she was among the lucky few to see the outside of institution walls.

God never gave me a child through adoption, as I’d hoped he would. I have felt sad over that, absolutely. But it’s not about me. The story of Yana is a wonderful one. God had a plan for her. He saw her and knew what she needed and brought the perfect family. I’m sure that she’s doing well, and being cared for by loving people. How pleased I was to hear that she’d been adopted by a family who already had children so that she could have siblings to grow up with!

And that’s it, the beginning of my interest in the Russian language and culture.

We moved into this neighborhood in 2009, only months after coming home from our two years living on the East Coast. The neighbor who lived directly behind us asked if I’d like her to teach me some Russian, just for fun. Of course I said yes!! We dove right in to learning as we drank tea and watched our little kids play on the floor.

Time has a way of folding together. Memories close and the pages that make up the chapters of our lives become sticky and torn with the experiences in life, and that’s just how it is, true as much with language as with anything else.

My first words in Привет(hi), Спасибо(thankyou), пожалуйста(please), пока(bye), and хорошо(good, or ok)

So, I guess while my initial interest in Russian came from an orphan in a beautiful foreign slavic nation, I’m now at a point in my life when my kids are grown up a little and I have a sliver of time to try and learn this intriguing language. I’ll never truly be a part of it, as the girl in Train Go Sorry, I can admire and learn everything I wish, if only from behind the space of true immersion of living inside the culture.

One of my favorite words in вы and Ты. Both words make the sound, and mean “You” but one indicates familiarity, and a status in a relation from acquaintance to friend.

I think that to learn another language is to open a window into another world. It requires intention, and can be a struggle but the view may be pretty amazing if you take the time to apply a bit of tenacity and determination the reward can be tremendous. Even if the reward is just to be able to pick up a children’s book in a foreign language and read a story written for small children. Doesn’t это look so similar to “it is”? это всего лишь небольшая часть …It is just a small part, but I smile that I’m understanding the sounds a bit more.

I’m so often lost in translation, aren’t I? In my daily life making notes of what I need to do. Orange chicken and rice for dinner, or ham and mashed potatoes?

Interpreting what’s really behind what my children are asking for or sad about requires translation, as nothing is quite as it seems. Why not mix in with that wanting to learn an actual foreign language. I’m game.

I choose русский. If you ask me why, you’ll get a really long answer like this. My answer changes based on who I’m talking to perhaps, but this is the reason and story that I’m putting forward today. What’s here is Life According to Laura, my story.

Miracle Makers

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

It’s time for MACC (Miracles of Adoption Christmas Campaign) which was originally called Angel Tree when I started following it back in 2012.

The premise is that waiting children are sponsored over the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, ending new years day to bring individual attention to little in overseas orphanages who can easily become such an ambiguous cause if not talked about specifically. There is of course always much debate over if the young children in orphanages should even have photo listings before adoption commitment, some countries absolutely prohibit showing children’s photos which can make raising funds for their future adoptions quite a bit of a challenge.
Sponsoring a child comes in all forms with a universal goal among those who commit to sponsoring, which this year we’re calling being a “Miracle Maker”

The goal is to raise upwards from $1,000 for That Child. Two years in a row I sponsored a little boy named Kolya. The third year I intended to signed up for raising 1K, he’d died and his fund had been gifted to another boy with Down Syndrome waiting in the same country. My heart was torn into so many pieces and I really was brought to the brink of wondering if raising a thousand meant any more than donating a dollar to that child’s “future adoption” Kolya never knew anyone knew about him, it could be he wasn’t even able to see beyond his day to day minimal care or reason anything as there was nothing else to compare in his perceptions any other reality to that which he lived and died in.
While I cried over the loss of Kolya, I knew too that it was because of him that I needed to sponsor another child. Last year I picked a boy and girl sibling set. This year that set has been split up, I’ll apply to be Miracle Maker for the remaining child who has severe epilepsy and just really is not doing well.

When I say that there are many ways of being a sponor I mean this: Some warriors go all out, setting up an awareness fundraising table at the mall selling baby booties and washcloths to profit their MACC child to organizing a spaghetti feed while others get their church to pray and share on FB a few times. Online auctions is another way pull in a bit of money for building adoption funds.

The questions I get asked is, “If this is so great, why haven’t you adopted?!” Simple answer is that God’s plan doesn’t include that for me now, maybe ever, but He sure can use me to bring awareness to the need of orphans even aid in finding the perfect placement for a little one near to my heart.

Through all the changing tides that my life has taken, either written or not, adoption is one that I forever come back to here. My hands are always comfortable typing out words on this subject, I can have the balance of peace, plea, grief and sorrow safely and come out with a smile knowing that God sees all these little kids and takes care of them in his own timing and perfect plan.

I’ll announce shortly which child on Reece’s Rainbow I’ll be participating in the Miracle of Adoption Christmas Campaign (MACC) with.

Scarlet

Monday, May 1st, 2017

This little lady has epilepsy, well a brother too, but he’s been adopted and she’s left waiting for a family. While it seems so sad that Rhett’s been brought into a new home without his sister, I’m not sure if they were even together in the orphanage where they lived prior. Rhett, the older of the two in this Eastern Europeon sibling set is only 7 years old, Scarlet is 4 years old.

Scarlet is noted to have sever handicaps in her development and in addition to a non specified seizure disorder she has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

View her video here and her Reece’s Rainbow page, which updates according to any information that the orphanage may forward on to the adoption agency. Scarlet and Rhett’s page

He’s 9

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

AJ and Deeder, 2015

AJ and Deeder, 2015

Where’ve we gone, and how’d I stop remembering every day.

Yesterday I got to walk Deeder to his second day of summer school. Of course I remembered our long walks together in Vermont. He had his blue camouflage backpack on and green sneakers, a blue T shirt that had the characters from Mario across the front. We’d missed the bus yesterday because he’d taken a minute too long to tie his left shoe and along the way near the end of the block his right shoe’s tie became loose and he stopped to tighten it.

We were four minutes late for school, but it was pricelessly worth the potential tarty mark (although hopefully it is the only dock for the summer session). My son and I don’t get the time alone that we used to in which he feels free to voice his private thoughts and I just felt so blessed to be given this opportunity to hear from him. He called me Mommy and held my hand, talking openly and pausing to look at a squirrel scurrying along one branch and jumping to a nearby tree. That’s a morning I can’t live again or step back into to change a word that either of us said. I’m glad I let him take the second to look at the squirrel and that I fought the urge to pull him along and remind him of the need to hurry along to school. He has at least 9 years of school left, in that moment I thought What’s a few minutes? Yesterday was the day before my son’s 9th birthday. This is the last single digit number and Lord willing I have so very many years ahead to celebrate the amazing gift God gave me on July 15th, 2006 when I was 21 years old. We had 22 months together before his sister was born, and I’m thankful that I wrote every day and took about a dozen pictures each day, rooting even the smallest pieces of our daily routine into my mind forever. When did that stop being the most important thing to me? Deeder’s youngest sister turned 3 this past February and what better time than now to resume my postings of the basic things. It’s the basic things that make the memories that stay forever. Not the gifts, but the giving of time. The conversations, the involvement and caring. I remember sitting and building block structures with him, talking all the while, noting his cute life observations and taking him to library hour and music class, swimming in the summer and walking over the bridge to New Hampshire to shop at Walmart together. I remember all of this, not just because I was there, but because I took videos and pictures and wrote it down.

Fair 2014

Fair 2014

We’ve been in WA 6 years now and have traditions like going to the Northwest Washington Fair every August and love that as a family. This year will be the first that we don’t have to bring a stroller along with! Deeder loves being the leader in our touring of the barns and choosing which rides to go on. Since we’ve been there are new traditions as we’re a family of four kids, and love that our oldest got to have these siblings as much as he thinks he would appreciate less noise and excitement around him, it’s absolutely healthy that I’m not his only playmate at home.

North Dakota 2015

North Dakota 2015, with Deeder in the truck because he was feeling sick.

We’ve developed a tradition of going to North Dakota every summer to visit Darren’s side of the family, and what a terrific experience that is for all the children. Darren and I always talk about how wonderful it would be for Deeder to be on a farm daily and have chores to do, animals to love on and see grow. There’s an openness of land that our children just aren’t really exposed to here and we see that difference, absolutely, but when we make our return drive to WA it does feel like home. That said, we also would love to get back to Vermont one day to show the kids where our journey first began.

2006 napping baby Deeder

2006 napping baby Deeder

I remember looking over this sleeping baby thinking how great it would be to see him running around, riding a bike and telling me all kinds of stories and drawing pictures, painting and learning to read. He’s nine now, where’d that time go? He enjoys computer games, has some favorite YouTube channels that he tunes into daily. He watches Cartoon Network’s Teen Titan’s Go and in school writes about his cat, Tony Chesnut. He shares a basement bedroom with his brother and has the top bunk. He’s not a soccer star, or a math whiz, but he’s my son and deeply loved, cherished and celebrated.