Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31 - Whoa, where did October go?

Shoot where did the month of October go?!

Honestly the month was a blur. My high school reunion was the last weekend in September, and that seems like yesterday!

Today was crazy, but we were able to put some candy collecting costumes in time for the harvest. Zhen was such a good boy! He listened to me and only picked one piece of candy at the self-service trunk-or-treat stations. We still had to work on putting the candy in the bag for later, but we celebrate EVERY victory.

Finally, Thomas let me do some zombie make-up! I've been wanting to do a zombie for years. I love to have fun with make-up.

Poor Ruby ate too much candy. Her sugar high lasted until 10:30pm! Gonna be a cranky-panks in the morning.

I've got big news to share with you tomorrow, so please check back. I need your help. Yes, you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30 - Stuff

Down Syndrome awareness month is coming to a close. I'm not sure I did much to further awareness. Are you more aware? ha!

It seems that our transportation problems will be solved tomorrow. I just need to get my teenager driving and life will be rainbows and unicorns! Well, the evenings when my husband is traveling will be more enjoyable anyway.

Daddy was gone last night. So we had cereal for dinner and I didn't even feel a little bit guilty.

Except for Ralph. No cereal for Ralph. He goes through phases with food. It used to be bologna...on sandwiches or alone. Yick! Then it was buttered bread, one piece after another. He is presently going through a green bean phase. He got a can of green beans out of the kitchen and brought it to me in the living room. He shoved it in my face until I agreed to open it for him. At least he knows what he wants, right?

Theo is getting a feeding therapy evaluation. I recently posted a video of him eating lunch, in the lunchroom at school...with all the other kids...and not grabbing their trays and throwing food!! It was pure victory. But, someone commented that he had not chewed any of the food he was eating.

That person was right. He smushes. He doesn't chew. We are going to get that looked at.

Zhen pops the lenses out of his glasses. Turkey! I pop them back in and try to keep a better eye on him. Recently he "lost" the bifocal lens for his right eye. He might have thrown it in the garbage for all I know, but it's GONE.

I took the frames to get new lenses today and guess what? Yep. The prescription is expired. Sheesh. We are going to try a new doctor but can't get in until next Monday. I hope the new doc is more tolerable than the old one.

Hey, it's a full moon. Bright, huh? Anyone else having trouble sleeping?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28 - Good News/Bad News

The good news is that my dossier has been successfully submitted to the adoption authorities! Better late than never, right? 

The bad news, there is still a chance that some of my papers could be rejected, and there is nothing I can do but wait for it. I don't know why some documents that were fine two years ago are not acceptable this time around. The department has been reorganized over the past year or so. Perhaps that is it. Perhaps I am being more closely scrutinized. Hard to say. 

The fun news...which I suppose could be filed under "good news"...
  • Theo waved "bye-bye" to me when he left for school on Friday!!! That counts as another sign. He has two signs, now!! I've been doing hand-under-hand assistance with him lately, for eating, for coloring, for signing. I place my hands under his elbows and give his arms some support. Friday, that made his hands come alive and he just started moving his fingers up and down, WAVING!! Every single victory is so precious for him.
  • Zhen did not freak out at his school "fall party." You know, the party where kids dress up but they can't call it Halloween! I was honestly worried that he would fall apart, considering his history of fear of stuffed animals, particularly puppets. I arrived at his school to find him waddling down the hall in his dinosaur suit and groovy headphones. (He has an MP3 player with a playlist and headphones to keep him calm during stressful events)
  • Thomas had a great swim meet on Saturday. He's only been learning the different strokes for a few months, but he gives it his all. His freestyle looks great already! Size 13 feet and huge hands don't hurt at all. He's got a huge meet next weekend. I think he can better all his times if he works on his turns and starts.
  • The four "littles" played outside all afternoon today. It's so hard to keep them busy on a long day at home, especially when the weather is not nice and they are stuck inside. This afternoon was nice! Not warm, but not howling windy, so we played out front. No one ran away. No one got hurt. Theo enjoyed picking grass and weeds. Zhen and Ruby ate the rest of the broccoli in the pallet garden. Ralph, Ruby, and Zhen took turns pulling the two seater wagon. I'd have photos of the adorable scene, but I left my phone turned off all day. Heaven!
The please pray for us news...we have transportation issues. They are not new, but we are trying to fix things this week. For one thing, Richy, who is in college in California, needs a car. I think we have found something for him, but the timing is not great for spending money. I bought him a beater last spring and it was never reliable to drive anywhere. I'm hoping to trade in that piece of junk sometime this week.

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 26 - A Comment from a Dad

From an Adoptive Dad of Multiple Kids with Special Needs 

When asked about how he feels about society's vision of large adoptive families with children with special needs, one adoptive dad very frankly shared this from his heart to a group adoptive parents. The other adoptive parents appreciated his insight and validation, but felt that we aren't the only ones that needed to hear this. Written candidly, here are his thoughts:

The general population of America is mostly ignorant and oblivious to the reality of anything beyond what they have seen/experienced in their lives. While I acknowledge that having multiple adopted children is unusual, I do not worry about, nor am I offended by the general idiocy we face as a family. In my opinion, adopting multiple special needs kids will teach several lessons: 

1. Who your real friends (and family) are. Many friends and family can't handle "it". In my opinion that's their problem and if my life is too much for them to handle they can pound sand. I've got too much going on to baby them. Fish or cut bait, all I've got to say about that. Go for quality friends, not quantity. 

2. There is more to life than the McLifestyle. We have a lot of friends with two kids, three cars, big TV and a big fancy house in a neighborhood of houses that look exactly the same. Most of them are up to their eyeballs in debt. They can keep that life because self-glorification just isn't for me... (yes there is some generalization here, but not much). The reality is that special kids don't belong in the McLifestyle - and that's NOT a bad thing. 

3. Do what works for you. (And no one can tell you what that is.) I don't know why people love to give unsolicited advice. But man it's annoying when a one-child mother of a one-year old tries to act like she's "been there, done that." when it comes to our lives and our family. (The caveat to this is older grandmotherly women who raised large families - they're like the Oracle in the Matrix.) The only person who can make good judgements for what your children need is the parents - everyone else should just shut up and stand aside. 

4. "Let me know what I can do to help" = "I don't really care enough to really help, so I'm just throwing out this bone knowing that for you to call me would be to admit that I'm right about adopting all those kids being a mistake." Boy this is common isn't it folks? If a friend shows up at your door with brownies, they're golden. If they show up with a mop bucket and cleaning supplies, they're your best friend (or a maid.) 

5. Accept the fact that some folks just can't fathom what you do. They'll try to do the math, they'll try to figure out how you fit in the house, how you make the meals, how you handle the medical needs, etc. The reality is - we just do it... we don't think about the math, we don't wallow over ourselves when we deal with medical issues. One foot in front of the other every day... it just happens. 

Final caveat - I've found that it is important to surround yourself with people who understand and accept you, your family, and the special needs of your children. For us this has created an environment of stability and safety that helps our children grow and develop. We have a strong support system through church and (parts of) our family.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25 - Staying Busy

I was hoping to have some good adoption news to share today. But I don't have any news at all. Figures, right? I figured I might not hear anything, so I tried to stay busy.

It's fine for me to be busy when Ralph is at school, so I try to get as much done in the mornings as possible. He's really a good boy, don't get me wrong. He plays with Ruby and watches his favorite shows on Netflix in the afternoon.


Ralph knows. He knows when I'm preoccupied and that's when he makes his move. That's when he disappears. Poof! Gone!

One day we looked for him for 20 full minutes. Upstairs. Downstairs. Garage. Front yard. Down the street. Finally we found him in Boo's closet, under some clothes, drinking a juice box!

Today he got into my bedroom and found my toy that I have picked up on clearance and have stashed away for Christmas and birthdays. He was so excited!! What could I do?

I broke out the philips head screwdriver and the AA batteries! It was almost as fun as Christmas morning, except that no one took these toys away in order to shove yet another present in their faces. It was precious.

A new batch of of my projects today.

My kids are cereal pigs. I try to keep cereal stocked, especially when I can match coupons up with a decent sale. My stockpile has recently been exhausted and I haven't found any great deals lately. Maybe I'm just too busy to look?

Anyway, I have planned to make our own granola for awhile. I even ordered a 50 pound bag of organic rolled oats from Azure standard about a month ago. I'm serious!

I found a nice simple recipe and made it my own. I use good quality ingredients. I hate the idea of my kids eating soy anything, canola oil, high fructose corn syrup or preservatives. So here is what I came up with:

18 cups of organic rolled oats
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
6 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup melted coconut oil
2 cups honey
6 tsp vanilla
optional: nuts, dried fruit

Thoroughly mix the oats, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, blend the coconut oil, honey and vanilla with a hand mixer. Pour the oil and honey mixture over the oat mixture and mix completely. Spread the sticky granola mix in an even layer on a cookie sheet. This recipe will cover 4 cookie sheets. Bake at 300F for 10 minutes. Take out and stir. You may add nuts at this time. Bake for 7 - 10 minutes longer, or until the granola looks toasty. Take out and stir, add any nuts or fruits that you like. Let the cereal cool completely, break up and store in an airtight container. Shh! I use plastic ziplock bags. :)

My big kids absolutely would not wait for this to cool. They all had yogurt with hot granola for an appetizer tonight! I'll let you know how long this recipe lasts.

October 24 A Week of Firsts

We have had a wonderful week of firsts around here!

I got this note from Theo's teacher yesterday, "Theo ate lunch in the lunchroom with the gen today. He did such a great job. We will start having him eat in there unless we are really working on a skill."

So what, right? He ate in the lunchroom, big deal. You cannot even fathom what a big deal this is unless you have spent time with Theo. For as long as I have known him, he has been OBSESSED with food and water. He has a history of grabbing food from anywhere he can on impulse. He hangs around the stove, he has grabbed fistfulls of food off of other people's plates to many times to count. Grabbing food, throwing dishes, dumping drinks is all typical behavior for him...driven by obsession and lack of self control. 

I actually wept when I read that note from Theo's teacher. For him to have developed enough self control to eat in the lunchroom with other children is a miracle. 

Zhen had a big first this week, too! He went on a field trip with his kindergarten class!!

This one got me a little choked up, too. Zhen went to the pumpkin patch with his regular ed kindy class at school. He got to eat a sack lunch, play in the dirt and brought home two cute little pumpkins! This is just so far removed from his former life that it blows my mind. I'm so thankful that he has the opportunity to go to school and participate in these events alongside the typical children at school. 

I wanted to share this story before, but I'll do it here. I was helping Zhen participate appropriately in Sunday school a few weeks ago. He had been in an unstructured play room at church for too many months, and it did him no good. Taking the boys to church is really stressful, but I'll talk about that another time. Just know that I was feeling pretty blue that first day back in the classroom with him. I was helping Zhen with his coloring and making sure that none of the crayons got eaten, when the last girl to arrive sat down to color her lesson page. Zhen was grumpy and noisy. The girl looked up from her work, and noticed him, and very matter of factly said to the whole group, "hey, I know you, Zhen. He's in my class at school."

She didn't say anything else. She didn't have to. Those simple and pure words of acceptance healed my hurting heart that day. 

And finally, my little Boo had a great big first this week, too!!

Out of concern for my nine year old daughter's rapid development, I signed her up for Girls on the Run this fall. This is a confidence-building program for young girls that incorporates running. The program culminates with a 5k run in November. Daddy has signed up to be her running buddy, an encouraging runner to stay on pace with her throughout her 5k on race day. Since he couldn't be with her for the practice group run, he took her out for a 5k run last night.

I was so proud to hear that she completed the 3.1 miles with her daddy without stopping to walk one single time! She was so bubbly and cute when she tole me, "daddy encouraged me the whole time. He told me I could do it!" 

So now I'm crying again, thinking how special it is for Boo and daddy to have each other. What I wouldn't give to have had a daddy like that for my very own! What a difference a daddy can make.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sorry about that...

I just about fell off the face of the earth there for a moment.

The past month has been unbelievably stressful and blurry. Homestudy, immigration approval, four trips to Topeka, one trip to Kansas City, calling my social worker over and over for new copies, hunting down notaries on a Sunday, 25th high school reunion, no sleep, driving, puke, rental cars, notaries, tears, grandma's memorial service, tears, driving, poop, laundry, emails, more documents, you get the picture.

In the middle of the storm I experienced some real love and encouragement. We received some of the most heartfelt donations out of the blue from a high school acquaintance, one out of the blue from a long lost high school BFF, one out of the blue from a current dear friend.

Another dear friend was available by phone to help me figure out paperwork, shipping, and talk me off ledges in general.

I got to hang out with my cousin and his sweet little son. I got to cry with and love on this devoted dad and enjoy watching him care so tenderly for his little boy.

I got to watch my childhood girlfriend walk her handsome son out onto a football field and cried with her as he was named homecoming king! I got to hug her tightly later and do some catching up.

I learned a few things, too. Things that I though I knew. I'm not good in noisy crowds, just not my element despite the crew that lives in this house! I learned that I'm not in control. Really. How many times to I have to learn that one?

I'm looking for some more positive adoption news this week. But if I don't get good news I won't be surprised. I won't be crushed either. God's in control, not me. I'm just along for the ride. Storm or no storm.

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 19 - Special Guest Post

Hi! My name is Angela Kosmicki and I am married to Steven Kosmicki. We have been married for 14 years and have 3 amazing kids. Jonathan is 12, Katelyn is 11 and Mackenzie is 10. When I was 25 I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had to have a hysterectomy. My heart was broken when this happened because I realized that I would never be able to give birth to another child. I prayed about it and I realized that I just because I couldn’t’ bear a child, I could always adopt. There are so many children that need lifetime mommies and daddies. My husband and I have talked and prayed and we do really feel GOD is calling us to adopt and love more children. Steven has been in the Air Force for 11 years and we love this lifestyle. The reason we need this $3000 is because Steven is leaving for deployment in 11 days, and will be gone for 4 months. We need to get the lawyers paid this amount before we can start any of the paper work with the birth mother, so that Steven can sign all the necessary documents. I have ran my own in home daycare for 10 years now, we love having lots of children in our lives. I have had children living in our home on different occasions while parents are deployed or just having financial hardship. I have helped out a dear friend of mine when she went through a financial hardship, she didn’t have electricity or running water for her children. They were getting baths from a neighbor’s water hose, so we volunteered to take her child in until she could get back on her feet. He lived with us for 5 months and we loved every minute of it. We also have enjoyed having another child live with us for 6 months while her single mom had to go on a deployment with the military because her family wasn’t able to help her out. Our whole family loves having lots of children in our house.

We were blessed this past week by a wonderful person asking us to take her children in as our own. Here is our story. The birth mom is an 18 year old girl that is a senior in High school. She was kicked out of her parents’ house when the parents realized she had a “baby bump”. Her parents told her that she was dead to them and to never return. The birth mom started staying at friend’s house from that day on and continued to go to school and keep up her straight “A” grades. She didn’t know what to do or where to go, so she went through her pregnancy with no prenatal care. Her water broke on 10-10-12 and she thought something was wrong with the baby because she didn’t feel any movement, so she went to the hospital. The hospital staff hooked her up to the monitors and they realized that there were 3 babies! One of the babies was transverse. They took her in to perform an emergency c-section to deliver the babies.

The birth mom had been undecided on her decision of adoption for a few days, until Thursday October 11, 2012 the babies’ father came to the hospital to see the birth mom and babies. There was a heated discussion and the dad was arrested. He is currently on a non-bondable hold in the county jail. On Saturday October 20, 2012 the birth mom tried to call her mom to see if her feelings had changed. Her mother proceeded to tell her that her children were bastard abominations of Satan and that she should get rid of them as soon as possible. She then proceeded to tell her daughter (the birth mom) that she is dead to them and not to contact the family again. The birth mom got upset at this conversation and decided that she wanted to give the babies to a family that would love them and never show them the kind of anger and hate that her mother had shown her. She was so distraught over her conversation that she checked herself out of the hospital and gave one of her friend’s temporary guardianship of the boys until she could get the adoption finalized.

On Sunday October 13, all 3 boys were flown to a bigger hospital because they became very ill and remain in intensive care isolation today. The pediatricians cannot figure out why all 3 boys are so weak and not gaining weight. On Monday October 14, the birth mom started back at high school again but midday she passed out and had to be rushed to the hospital. The hospital staff couldn’t control her bleeding which resulted in her having an emergency hysterectomy. When the birth mom woke up on Tuesday she was complaining of a severe headache, they did a CT scan and found she had a brain bleed, then on Wednesday they found a blood clot in her lung. The hospital staff started her on a blood thinner which made her bleeding severe again. The doctors seem to have things under control for now.

The triplet boys are still in the hospital in isolation and cannot be held or loved on due to the illness. So they are just laying there without a mom or dad supporting them! We have always wanted to adopt, but we were going to wait until my husband got back from his deployment so we could save all the money from his deployment for all of the adoption fees. Since he is leaving in 11 days, we don’t have enough time to come up with the money. I believe with my whole heart that God has brought this family into our lives so that we could be their forever family. It makes my heart so sad knowing that the only thing holding us back from being mommy and daddy to them is the money.  I want so badly for these boys to be ours, and I believe that GOD will allow this happen because he is SO very good!!

Thank you for reading our story. ~ Angie

**************************************This faithful family needs $3000 fast to expedite the adoption paperwork so her husband can sign them before he leaves! This opportunity fell into their laps and they said "YES!" to God in faith. Donations through this link are tax deductible.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10

Ralph at the age of six months or so. Still so squishy-cute. Still loved and doted on by everyone. Still insulated from the big bad world.

I was prepared to fight for him, to the death if necessary, for his inclusion and acceptance. But I wasn't really concerned at that time. We still had time, right? He wouldn't be in school for years, right?

Well, I learned early and at a place that I never would have expected, that inclusion and acceptance don't always come easy. Can you guess where?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9 - Brotherly Love

Today was the last middle school cross country meet of the year, the league meet. I like to attend as many of my children's sporting events as possible, especially when dad can't be there.

Ralph and Theo had their therapy at Heartspring this afternoon, and Ruby always comes along. Since we were already on the other side of town, my plan was to stop at the meet before heading home. I had grandma coming over to care for the other kids after school.

We did a quick trip to Sam's Club for dog food and snacks before driving to the coliseum. When I opened the back of the van to load the dog food I saw, to my dismay, that the stroller was not there! Heavens! How could I take those three little kids to the meet without a stroller? Could they even walk that far?

Well, we managed. Theo wanted to sit and play in the grass...or the gravel...or the asphalt...wherever we were, he wanted to sit and lick it, grab it, or fiddle with it! I carried him a little way, but mostly I strenuously insisted that he walked, meaning that I was often holding him by one arm as he lifted his legs and refused to walk.

Thomas ran a great race today, a personal best by about 20 seconds! After the run, he shared snacks and drinks with the little ones.

Thomas knows how to keep Theo from dumping the whole water bottle on his head. 

And he knows when to put it away.

And he's not embarrassed to be hanging out with babies, eating animal crackers when his friends are watching. He is the kindest, and coolest 7th grade boy in the universe. Love these kids. Love my life!

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8

Yep, I missed a day.

In the past 11 days I have been to Kansas City once, Topeka twice and Hays twice. I've hunted down grocery store notaries and begged for new paperwork from social workers on Sundays. I've run back and forth from state office building to state office building. I've reunited with long lost friends. Stayed out until 4am. Reunited with relatives from Vermont to Arizona. Had my heart broken. Laughed. Cried. Screamed. Cleaned up puke, poop, and more (trust me, a lot more) poop. Steam cleaned a rental car in the dead of night (puke, remember?). Got a parking warning when my meter ran out. Thank goodness it wasn't a ticket!

All I want is to stay home, bake banana bread and assorted pumpkin goodies, hang out with my kids and get the fall and winter clothes organized. I want to spend more time with my home schoolers, working on school. I want to spend time with my swimmer, working on his strokes and turns. I want to spend more time with Ralphie, working on his sight words. I want to spend more time with my teen, working on his driving skills. I'm really in the mood to paint trim, too.

I just need life to slow down a bit, but I've nearly given up. Each day brings it's own fresh drama and emergencies and expenses. Each day I make it through. What other choice is there, right?

I *think* I'm getting close to a more relaxed pace. It's time to start cooking ahead and putting meals in the freezer. It's time to start thinking of warm things to pack for Ukraine. It's time to rearrange sleeping quarters, and make a nice spot for Maxim. There is much to do here at home.

I'll be saying "no" more from here on out. I'm the type that wants to do everything! I hate to miss out on anything...until I start missing out on the really important and eternal things, right? So easy to lose perspective.

It's been a wild week and a half, but I do have fresh perspective. And I'm very thankful for it.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October 6 - Remembering

Today our family is gathered to remember a special woman. 

My gram.

She was not just my gram. She had seven other grandchildren, and they weren't always very happy with me when I said, "my gram." But from my earliest memories, she was mine. Mom and I lived with gram and gramp for most of my growing up years. She made me bacon and toast and dunkin' eggs for breakfast. She gave me my first coffee, with lots of milk and sugar, while grampa complained that it would stunt my growth. 

Gram worked her tail off, from a very young age. She lied about her age to get a job making ammunition boxes during WWII. She started and ran at least five restaurants. She took care of people, lonely customers, hobos, employees, her family and more. 

I'm sorry that I can't call her up in the middle of the day anymore. I could always count on her to help me figure out what to make for supper, or how to work with a certain cut of meat that I found on sale. Sometimes I'd call just to chat about nothing. 

I think I'll miss that the most.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 5

The T-shirts are ready!

This adoption shirt, designed by the beautiful and talented Heather Schlitt, features the outline of the country of Ukraine. We chose a cotton/poly blend for durability. Your choice of adult M, L, or XL is available for a gift of $20, XXL for $22.

Proceeds will benefit our adoption of Maxim. 

October 4 - Rockin'

Theo ROCKS!!

And like many (most?) post-institutional children, he actually rocks.

It's a behavior that we generally discourage, but it's so DEEPLY rooted that I would have to be next to him every minute of the day to catch him every time. But I don't always want to make him stop. Maybe I'm just tired. Maybe I understand that he NEEDS to rock. It feeds something in his soul.

Poor kids. Babies are MADE to be rocked and cuddled. Mommies are MADE to rock and cuddle babies. This is what you get when you interrupt the natural order.

This morning Theo was in a rockin' mood. I was busy and couldn't redirect him, but I didn't want him to rock like a zombie either. This time I put some Switchfoot on my phone, locked the screen, and gave it to him. It's socially acceptable to rock to music, right? He loved it! And I'd have video of it, except he was holding my phone!

Do you think I can teach him to only rock to music?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October 3 - Looking for headlights

Once upon a time, long, long ago, when I lived in Arizona, I enjoyed cycling. I did a few Mountain biking series, a few time trials, lots of groups rides. It was a lifestyle that I loved.

One day, when I was first getting started, I went out for a training ride with my husband and our good friend, Joe. We dropped off our two little boys at my mom's house and headed out to the foothills of the Santa Rita mountains.

I struggled to keep up with the men from the start. One steep hill revealed another, after another, after another. At the top of each new hill, I watched for the trail to turn and head back to our parking spot, but like waves on the ocean, the hills were endless.  

I began to fade, walking up at times and the coasting down, only to quit halfway up the next hill. The sun began to fade as well. We were in real trouble. If you've never experienced it, you can't imagine a darker place than the desert on a moonless night. 

Panic set in. I thought about my boys, Wesley and Richy, and my mom and grandparents who were waiting for me to return. How long would they wait before calling the sheriff? Would they even know where to look for us? (This was back in the the day before cell phones!) Should we turn back? Press on?

Joe rode ahead to where the trail met the road and made it back to his truck. James stayed with me, and stayed cool as I strained to keep moving. I could barely see the trail when we finally reached the road. Riding on the road was blessedly easy after tackling the huge hills, but still we could barely see. I was never so happy to see a set of headlights in my whole life!

This episode has just been tucked away in my mind for years. I never really thought much about it, or took away any lessons (other than better training ride planning!) until this week. I've dealt with one obstacle after another for a few weeks now. It feels like I have many hills left ahead of me and little relief in sight. I am slogging ahead, tackling the hills and watching for headlights. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2

Once you have been Shanghied to Holland, and you come to terms, other destinations become less intimidating. Take Eastern Europe, for example.So I need to express my appreciation to Holland on behalf of Zhen and Theo.

Eastern Europe was not on my radar before Holland. Adoption was not on my radar before Holland. Zhen and Theo were not on my radar before Holland.

Thank you, Holland!

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1

Good gravy! I've been BUSY!! When I slow down this week (oh, I hope), I'll do some catching up.

If you have followed me for long, you might know that October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. I will try once again to blog every single day in October to raise awareness. It's called 31 for 21. Since I'm beat and mentally spent tonight, I'll start out with a well known poem. I hope you like it!


Emily Perl Kingsley
c. 1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.