I hope you will visit my ministry website: http://ajourneyoffaith.net .
Monday, July 27, 2009
Jim and I were BLESSED last night by an amazing night of worship. We got to soak in a 4 hour worship concert with Brian Doerksen, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Michael W. Smith. Couldn't ask for a better combo of Godly men for an evening of Praise & Worship.
On a side note ... after we sat down and were "people watching" (one of our favorite activities), Jim said, "Wow! This is a crowd of older people." "Older?" I asked, "As in ... our age?" "Yes." With a house still full of little ones, we just don't quite see ourselves in the "older" crowd yet. But, it was pretty interesting to look around and see about 5,000 people in the "almost 50" or "just over 50" crowd. Yes, there were a few of the "over 60" crowd, and actually quite a few of the 20's and 30's crowd; but the majority was definitely the "almost 50" crowd.
Did you know that Michael W. Smith is actually in the "over 50" crowd? So, with him still dancing around the stage like a twenty-something, Jim and I thought "he's older than we are, and he's still young ... so we can still be young, too."
While I've seen Michael in concert before, this was my first time at a Steven C. Chapman concert. I prayed for him often last summer, after his family's tragedy. So, it was neat to see him and hear his story, and see the beauty that can come after such a personal crisis. While our family's crisis is nothing compared to what the Chapman family went through, the Lord showed me last night that we will rise from the darkness and we will be able to minister in ways we haven't yet ministered, after successfully navigating our current journey.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Coming Soon ...
Remember back in June ...
... we had 3 situations we were walking through.
... the good, the bad, and the very, very bad.
Much of my blogging this past month has been focused on The Crisis (with the wonderful interruption of our 12 day road trip to southern California).
At the same time, however, the GOOD situation has been plugging right along.
God is doing AMAZING things in and for our family, and I can't hardly wait to tell you.
Hopefully, everything will be confirmed within the next week.
We want to share ...
... the excitement.
... the miracles.
... the future plans that God has laid out for us.
But, for now, we must keep quiet for a bit longer.
I know ... you would all promise to keep our secret ... but we can't quite trust you with it yet.
Stay tuned ... for an update on God's work on our behalf.
I am so thankful ...
... that the Lord led me to write the
previous posts about the Challenges of Adoption.
... for all of you who have shared your comments.
... that you feel safe sharing your stories with me.
I have already received several emails from readers ...
... thanking me for talking about the tough stuff.
... sharing their horror stories with me.
... telling me how alone they feel in their Crisis.
Father God, I pray tonight ...
... for all of the parents that are walking through
an adoption horror story
* that You would bring them peace and comfort.
* that You would give them wisdom.
* that You would bring healing to their families.
Lord God, I pray tonight ...
... for all of the adopted children who are
the source of their family's Crisis.
* that You would wrap Your arms around them.
* that You would show them Your unconditional love.
* that You would bring healing to their hearts and minds.
Lord Jesus, I pray tonight ...
... for all of the adopted siblings of these children
that are causing family Crisis situations.
* that You would protect them.
* that You would heal all of the pain that has
been caused by their sibling.
* that You would help them to love their
brother or sister who has caused them such pain.
Thank you Lord, for the ministry you have given me through this blog. I pray that you will continue to guide the things I write. Help me to honor You in all I say and do. Help me to speak out for those that feel they have no voice ... the parents, the children, the siblings.
Thank you Lord, for showing my readers that my personal email is a safe place to share their stories. Thank you for showing my readers the love I have for each of them, even when we haven't yet met face to face. Thank you for allowing me to be a "big sister" and "mentor mom" to so many young ladies and young moms. I count it a privilege that you have called me to walk my walk in this public format, so that others might see You in my life, and the life of my family.
Thank you Lord, for each of the moms that wrote to me today. My heart grieves for the Crisis situations that they find themselves in. I pray that you will wrap Your arms of love around each of them tonight ...
... that they may know You are with them.
... that they may know You hear their cries
and feel their tears on Your shoulder.
... that they may know that
You have a plan for their family.
... that they may see Your light
at the end of their dark tunnel.
Thank you Lord,
for allowing our family to walk through Our Crisis,
in order that others might find healing for the
Crisis situations that they find themselves in.
Thank you Lord,
that You are carrying us through our dark tunnel.
Thank you Lord,
that You have an AMAZING plan for our family.
Thank you Lord,
for showing us how to love each and every one
of our 13 children, even in the most difficult of times.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Some of you are waiting for the individual posts about the specific adoption challenges.
I posted 9 posts at the same time ....
so you need to SCROLL DOWN to read about ...
The Undisciplined Child
The Physically Abused Child
The Uneducated Child
The Unloved Child
The Neglected Child
The Malnourished Child
The S*xually Abused Child
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I would like to look at a variety of areas that may bring challenges when adopting children older than infants. My purpose is not to create fear amongst those who are just beginning to look at the option of adoption, but to present a clear and honest look at some of the issues that families face when bringing non-biological children into their homes.
As I said in my last post, I have had several close personal friends that have adopted older children, and I also have several bloggy friends that have become personal email confidants as well. Now, I want to draw from my own experiences, and those of my friends, to help others take a closer look at some of the challenges of adopting older children.
I so appreciated your comments the past two days. Jill gave a detailed list of some of the challenges that are common amongst children who are adopted after infancy (and I added a few areas that I thought of, also).
When you bring home older children, you may find yourself with ...
Emotionally abused children.
Physically abused children.
S*xually abused children.
"These are the realities of children around the world." (Jill)
"If anyone expects a child to not have the potential for problems after a life like that ... that is naive." (Amy)
One commenter thought that since there are so many books and resources already available, that maybe I should just give references to those resources. However, I know that, personally, I would much rather learn from the blog of a "friend", someone I know and trust, than from a book or website. By sharing these types of things on my blog, I hope to open up a time of discussion ... and give you a place to ask questions and dialogue with other adoptive parents.
I am going to write short individual posts about some of the different challenges, so that people can track back to specific posts if/when they desire.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts ... getting your insights ... hearing your stories ... and passing along your suggestions.
When we were just beginning our adoption journey, we began reading adoption blogs. We found a family that lived in our state, that had adopted several older children in the previous year, and we asked if we might visit them when we went on a business trip a few months later. That visit was certainly an eye-opener.
What we found ...
... an overwhelmed mama
... an angry teenage bio. son
... a father trying to hold it all together
... a house full of older children trying to
figure out exactly where they belonged
The father's Words of Wisdom for us, as we entered the world of adoption:
"The children will destroy everything in your home. They will break your televisions and dvd players. They will rip your furniture. They will ruin your carpets by spilling everything on them. They will break every type of switch in the house, as they just flip them on and off over and over again."
Right there, Jim and I realized that we would definitely be laying down the ground rules VERY quickly with our new children. We had to wonder, "Do the parents just allow this type of behavior? Do they even try to have rules for the children?" We'd never heard such a thing. Even with a house full of 10 children already, our house was not chaos, and our children did not regularly break or destroy things.
The mom told us that the children wouldn't listen to her at all, that they only saw her as the "mean one" who had all the rules and made the children do their chores and their school work. (They were homeschooling.) She said that they all loved the dad because he was the "fun one" that came home from work and wanted to play.
After we left, I told Jim that if that turned into the case at our house, I would just take the children to the park to play all day, and then they could do their school work with Papa after he got home in the evenings. We knew that it would be important for both parents to be the disciplinarians and for both parents to be the playmates.
The mom then showed me a well worn book and told me that she recommended the "purple book" to every adoptive parent. I did not go right out and buy the book; because, truthfully, I thought, "If this is the type of adoptive family that is the outcome of the book ... I don't think I want to read that advice."
At that point, I knew that I did not want to read about every possible horror story. I knew that God had called us to adopt and I knew that He would walk us through every conceivable situation.
Now, you may be wondering if we wished we read all of the books and available resources? I did read several books prior to bringing the children home. But, no, I don't believe that reading more books or taking more classes would have prepared us any better for The Crisis we are now facing. Even if we'd asked more questions during the adoption process, I don't believe we would have been prepared for what we are now working through. It's just one of those things that you have to face head on, and cry out to the Lord, "Now what!!??"
The "Undisciplined Child" is not what we are currently walking through, but I wanted to use it as an example as to why we did not read the recommended "purple book" (Do any of you know what book that may have been? Just curious ... ), and take all of the recommended online classes. We really didn't want to hear all of the horror stories.
I also want you to know that while we personally viewed one of those "adoption horror stories", it did NOT scare us away. We knew that we knew that we knew that we were called to bring these children home, and we knew that God Our Father would hold our hand as we faced the coming trials, whatever they might be.
We know several families who have brought children into their homes who were physically abused in previous living situations. Some of the children were abused in their biological home; some of them were abused in previous foster homes; and some of them were abused in their orphanages.
One thing that many American parents aren't aware of when adopting from other countries, is that many other countries use physical abuse as an everyday ordinary form of punishment. Many children that are adopted internationally have known no other discipline style. They have been regularly beaten by house mothers, by orphanage directors, and by their school teachers. They are often hit with long canes (sticks) across their backsides and/or hit across the tops of their hands with the sharp teeth of a comb. They are beaten as toddlers, for not potty-training quickly enough. They are beaten in kindergarten, for not learning to read quickly enough. They are beaten as older children, for not doing their chores quickly enough.
Many of these children have already begun to physically abuse those younger than themselves. It's the only way that they know of to get whatever outcome they are looking for. I know two families who have had to disrupt their adoptions (find new homes for their children) because the physical abuse that the young child was already displaying was more than their family could handle. One dear friend had phoned the police multiple times about a child that would grab a big kitchen knife when angry ... and the police finally told this distraught Mama, "You can't do it. You can't let her destroy your family, or hurt your young grandchildren." One of the most difficult things any adoptive parent may have to do is say, "I can't do it. I've done all that I can do; but it's just not enough."
Okay ... this is one of those "Ouch!" situations. This is one of the "hush-hush" things that people don't want to look at. This is something that international orphanages certainly don't want us Americans talking about. But ... we must not keep it a secret any longer. In order to know how to parent these precious children that have come into our homes, we must understand the background that they have come from. We must know how to teach them better ways of relationship management.
We must be patient with their potty-training. We must be patient when we teach them to read. We must be patient when we teach them how to do their chores. We cannot perpetuate the abuse that has already taken place in their little lives. We must show them that things can be different.
Now ... for all of you that are saying, "Oh ... this scares me ... this is not what I want when I bring a child into my home." This is not every child ... this is not every previous foster care situation ... this is not every orphanage. There are WONDERFUL international orphanages that have taught their local house mothers how to use different styles of discipline. They have broken the patterns of abuse found in these countries.
What can you do while researching adoption, to find out what your future child might have experienced? Ask the foster care social worker what the child's background is. Ask the orphanage specifically what types of discipline they allow in their home and in their school. Or, better yet, go visit ... and observe first hand how things are run. And, while you're there ... ask a lot more questions.
This can be a HUGE issue when bringing home children from another country. Many of them have had no education prior to their orphanage experience. And, even if they have "gone to school" it may be an educational system vastly different than what we have here in the U.S.
I have talked about some of our educational issues in previous posts, so you can probably find them in the archives under "homeschooling" and/or "adoption". One of the things that our children have struggled with is that the education they received is primarily an education based on memorizing facts. Therefore, our children came to us with the ability to read; yet they didn't comprehend much of the vocabulary of what they were reading. Our children came to us with basic math facts memorized; yet they didn't understand the concepts behind those math facts. Our children came to us with the ability to look at a clock at tell us what time it was; but they didn't understand the concept of time.
As Jim and I spent many hours pondering the intricacies of our children's education, we realized that rather than missing such and such grade levels in school, actually the most important part of our children's "education" that was missing ... was the preschool years ... the years where we didn't even consider ourselves as giving our bio. children a formal education.
Before our bio. children ever understood letters on a page, they had huge vocabularies and understood amazing amounts of information. Our African children learned to read and write, without the benefit of the large vocabularies that our bio. children just picked up at home through everyday conversations.
Before our bio. children ever knew what numbers were on a page, they understood the concept of numbers. They knew how to count the napkins and the silverware when they set the table. They knew how to count how many brothers and sisters they had (which became higher level math as the family grew). They knew how to count their toys and their shoes. They understood the concepts of basic math before they ever saw 2 + 2 on a piece of paper.
Before our bio. children ever knew how to tell time on a clock, they understood the concept of time. They knew what it meant when I said, "We need to leave in 5 minutes." They understood the concept of driving 5 hours to our favorite Family Camp. They understood the concepts of days, weeks, months, seasons, years.
When bringing home adopted children ... don't expect them to learn and understand in the same ways that your bio. children may learn and understand. Be ready to research every kind of educational opportunity.
Some adopted children will do best in a homeschool setting, while others will thrive in a public or private school. Some adopted children will just need a little extra one-on-one with mom or dad, while others will need intervention from your local Special Education department. Some adopted children will catch up quickly, and excel in their schoolwork. Others may never be able to earn a high school diploma, or graduate from college.
Whether bio. children or adopted, our job as parents is to help them do their very best ... to give them the best education we can possibly give ... to guide them into a college or career path that can use their talents and develop their skills. Our job as parents is to help our children to seek after God ... and to follow His lead as He shows them where He wants them.
There are so many Unloved Children in this world ... waiting to find out what the love of a family is.
A close friend of mine brought her first adopted child home at age 5 ... and it was the child's 4th or 5th "home". She had been bounced around for so long, that she had no idea of what love, security, or stability were. When she came into their home she was one angry little girl. She didn't respond to their love, because she was just waiting for them to send her on to her next "family". But ... our friends were committed. They knew going into it that things would not be easy. And, they weren't. It was a very difficult year. It took a full year (or more) for this scared little girl to understand that her mommy and daddy weren't going to give her away again.
Another family I know also brought a scared little girl into their home. During the adoption process, this family knew by her pictures that this precious little one wasn't very happy. They could only guess at all of the trauma that had already shaped her little life. On the day that they went to bring their new little girl home, the orphanage director told them that she had already experienced a failed adoption ... that another family had "returned her" because of her bad behavior. Oh how it broke this mama's heart. (Why hadn't she been told earlier?) This little girl also took over a year to truly open her heart to her mama. She had a brick wall put up, to protect herself. But, the Lord helped her to tear down that wall ... and let her new family in.
It takes time for these precious children to understand the love of a mother and a father ... when they've never experienced it before. We want them to fall into our arms. We want them to return our hugs and kisses. We think that our love can heal any wound ... and patch an aching heart. But, it might not. We might not be able to tear down the walls that they've erected around their hearts. We might have to learn to love them unconditionally ... even if it takes a very long time for them to return, or even respond to, our love.
No ... again, this is not every adopted child. You may have children that jump into your arms, that return your love immediately, and that don't have a wall to tear down. If so ... Praise the Lord! But, don't expect it to be so.
The neglected child has been given neither love nor material provision. They have often had to fend for themselves (and even care for younger siblings). They are fiercely independent. They are street smart. They have mastered their survival skills.
We American adoptive parents think that all these children need are love and a few material possessions and they will be happy. We bring them home and take them to the toy store to buy whatever they want. We fill their toy boxes and their closets, in hopes of filling the holes in their hearts. We give them the biggest birthday parties, and fill the living room with Christmas presents.
Yet ... they aren't thankful. They only want more. They came into our homes expecting to get everything they want. Yet ... nothing we give them really makes them happy.
An anonymous commenter (who deleted her comment after posting) had this to say ...
"They come here being told it's the "land of the rich". They want anything and everything. They become spoiled, proud, arrogant ... because they now have everything. Coming from nothing to everything can be so hard on them, that it's almost impossible for their minds to comprehend ... and they can't handle it. So, they act out."
Our hearts want to give them all that they have never had. Yet, is that really best? How do we find the right balance? Their needs are so much greater than filling the toy boxes and the closets.
This is an area that I am just now learning about, as I meet other parents who have done the research before me.
Bringing home a malnourished child means much more than bringing home a child who is small for their size. Malnourishment affects more than just the physical stature of a child; malnourishment affects their brain development also.
When dealing with a child who appears to be an Uneducated Child, you will also need to look into the malnourishment aspect of the problem. Sometimes, no matter how many educational opportunities you give a child ... their brain is just not developed enough to connect the subject matter. Malnourishment can be the cause of significant educational delays and learning disabilities.
If any of you who have done research in this area, would like to write a Guest Blog Post for me on what you have found ... I would love to hear from you.
(Word revisions used here, because I don't want "google" to find my blog when people look up "s*x".)
Oh dear ... here is another one of those "Ouch!" posts ... another of those "hush-hush" topics.
When I wrote my "To Tell Or Not To Tell ... " post on Tuesday, a woman left a very long comment (which sent itself to my home email). After obviously venting about a variety of adoption challenges ... she then chose to delete the comment (which I totally respect).
This, however, was one of her Hot Buttons, and I think you need to hear a bit of what she had to say. It's not pretty. It might scare some of you. But ... it's truth.
"These children may have major s*xual issues because their lives are completely different than here in North America. Just think about it, these children share a tiny room/hut with their parents. They witness their parents having s*x and it's normal for them. Their fathers may have more than one wife (or their mothers more than one husband). They see nothing wrong with that. "
The s*xual lives of people in other countries may be vastly different than what we see as "normal" here in America. In many countries, children are having s*x at young ages ... especially children that don't have families ... children that don't know what true love is ... children on the streets ... children in the orphanages. Yes ... you may adopt children from a "wonderful, Christian orphanage" only to find out that they have been s*xually active while there. It may have been s*xual abuse from the staff of the orphanage; or it may have been "consensual" s*x with their peers. It may just be a "normal" way of life for them.
And, it is not only the internationally adopted children that are at risk. I know two families who have been in the foster/adopt program here in the U.S., who have had to disrupt their adoptions (find other homes for their children) because the older adopted sibling (bio. siblings of each other) was s*xually molesting a younger sibling. Ouch! Ugly! But ... true!!! And, these children were YOUNG. One of the children I know was a 5 year old boy, molesting his 3 year old sister. Another child I know was a 6 year old girl, assaulting multiple younger siblings. Can you even imagine what horrors these young children must have experienced themselves, in order to be acting out as the abuser at such young ages? Unimaginable!
Now ... the saddest part of these two families ... the State decided to remove the children from the homes ... and the State decided to keep the sibling groups together. What?! Why on earth would "The Professionals" keep siblings together that are abusing and being abused by each other???!!!
Often times, whether it is the State system, or an international orphanage ... it is seen as "in the children's best interest" to keep siblings together. And, I would usually agree. However, can't "The Professionals" see the harm in these types of situations. The family of the 6 year old girl wanted to keep the younger children in their family ... but they lost all of the adopted siblings because it wasn't safe for them to keep the one. Heart breaking!
What can be done about the s*xual activity taking place in the international orphanages? How can we know if our future children are safe? What questions should we ask? I know that one orphanage doesn't take children over 8, for this primary reason. But ... what will happen to the "older children", if the orphanages won't take them in? And ... what happens to the child that turns 9 while living in the orphanage?
What about the s*xual activity that took place prior to the child's placement in the orphanage? How can we know if this is something that we might have to face? How can we protect our younger children at home (either other adopted children, or bio.)? And, what do we do if/when we do find ourselves in the midst of that challenging situation?
I do NOT want this to scare off potential adoptive families. However, we also can't pretend that it might not be an issue. Older children need families. Older sibling groups need families. We can't just close our eyes to these children, and choose only the babies because they aren't s*xually active yet. Yet, at the same time, we can't risk the safety of our own younger children (whether adopted or bio.).
This is one of those questions that potential adoptive parents often have ...
"What are the risks of s*xual abuse having already taken place in a child's life and/or being something to be concerned about once I bring the child into my home?"
This is one of those questions, that I don't have an answer for.
I am looking for some Guest Columnists.
I would LOVE to share your story ...
If you have successfully walked through (or are in the process of successfully walking through) an adoption challenge ... I'd love to hear from you.
If you have done research in a specific area of adoption challenges ... I'd love to hear from you.
If you are a "Professional" with experience or training in an area of adoption challenges ... I'd love to hear from you.
If you would like to be a Guest Columnist ...
... write up your blog post in a Word document
... send it to me at my email address (in sidebar)
If your post is published ... please link my blog to yours on the day of publication (if you have a blog).
I can't promise that everyone's story will be shared; but I would like this to be a place that a variety of experiences are shared, and a variety of adoption challenges looked at in an honest way (even if it looks ugly).
If you have a story to share that you would like to keep anonymous ... just let me know. This could be a way for you to share your story, if you have been afraid to share details on your own blog. You could help others to learn from your situation, without risking your family's privacy.
Hoping to hear from you .....
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
this blog is NOT going to become
... a Gossip Column
... a Tabloid Blog
"Details of the Big D Family's
Deepest Darkest Secrets"
I really appreciate all of the comments left on yesterday's post about "To Tell or Not To Tell ..." I appreciate that most of you fully trust me to speak the truth, yet with grace and mercy for those involved.
I have no intention of sharing the deepest personal details, yet at the same time I want to be honest about some of the great challenges that may present themselves when adopting older children.
Several of you, in your comments, have opened the door for some of those deep discussions, without anyone needing to know what exactly The Crisis is that we are walking through. Therefore, I am planning a series of posts about those specific challenges, without having to say exactly which ones our family is personally dealing with. How's that sound?
I know many adoptive families personally, and many more through the blogging network. I know personal stories and situations, that I believe would be good to share, without any personalized details. This way, we as an adoptive blogging community can look openly at some of the issues that seem to often be kept at a distance; and we can share openly, with those that are considering the journey of adoption, some of the pitfalls that they may encounter on their journey.
I in no way want to scare people off from adoption, if that is a direction that the Lord is calling their hearts. Yet, at the same time, I never want to present adoption as a fairy tale way to build a family.
One further note, on the Gossip Column issue ... I am deeply saddened by the gossip that has already been generated by my honesty about our family walking through The Crisis. The airways have already been abuzz with the question of "What's going on at the Big D house?" Much speculation has taken place; yet those of you involved in the gossip have not had the courtesy to pick up the phone and call us to say, "How are you? Can we help?"
Thank you ...
... to those of you who have phoned.
... to those of you who have emailed your concern.
... to the bloggy friend that brought dinner.
... to the bloggy friend that sent flowers.
... to those of you that continue to pray for us.
Shame on you ...
... to those who have used our circumstance to judge us.
... to those who have spoken poorly of us behind our backs.
... to those that claim to be concerned,
yet continue the gossip.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Just pondering some things today, and would love to hear your thoughts.
I get emails quite often, asking for advice/insight about adoption. I get questions about independent adoption vs. using an agency. I get questions about adopting out of birth order. I get questions about adopting older children. And, I enjoy those emails. I like to share my experiences in order to help others navigate a journey that can often times be difficult.
Today I got an email that I didn't quite know how to answer. This woman is just starting the adoption process and she is concerned about whatever it may be that has caused us such a crisis. She's not at all digging for details, and completely acknowledges and understands why I haven't shared everything on the blog. Yet, it leaves her with questions. Here is a short excerpt from her note to me ...
"... is there a way to prepare myself and my husband in case we run into something similar? ... I don't want to go into International adoption blind. I suppose that some things can't be prepared for, they just happen and then we deal with them. Do you have advice you could share as we are just starting this process and your crisis makes me nervous."
First of all ... I would love to throw those questions out to you, my readers. If you are an adoptive parent, could you share your answers with this precious mom who is just stepping into the journey (and desires to adopt 2-4 children from Ghana). What advice would you give?
However, the big question for me today is not a question of what to say to this mom ... the big question is, when does the need for privacy for a child, over rule the desire to help others not be blind-sided by the same issues after bringing their children home? What if our crisis situation (by being told honestly) could help other families to know what questions to ask? What if hearing our story could help others to deal honestly with the nightmares they are currently living? I KNOW that our situation is not an isolated situation ... it's just one that isn't talked about.
I'm tired of being told to keep things "hush-hush". I don't want to hide the fact that there is trouble in paradise. I don't want to pretend that adopting older children might not bring about unimaginable situations. (At the same time, however, I don't want to scare people away from adoption, because it can be wonderful and amazing, too.)
As the mother of 10 biological children, we have faced a LOT of difficult situations. We have taken children to counseling ... we have had to kick a child out of our home ... we have had to call on our pastor for intervention ... and we have even spoken with the police about a child. Therefore, we didn't go into this adoption with any type of fairytale images in our heads. However, we also could not have imagined the situation that we now find ourselves in ... a situation where counselors don't know what to say ... a situation where our pastor doesn't have any answers ... a situation where even the police are speechless ...
To tell ... or not to tell ... that is the question ...
We missed about 4 weeks of summer track meets (due to The Crisis and The Roadtrip). So, tonight we headed out to the track again.
None of the big kids wanted to run the mile with little Elijah (7), but we just told him to run his best. We thought that when he ran with the big kids he would run faster, with their continual encouragement.
As he was about to run, Cassie looked around and told him to "keep up with that kid" ... a child of about 11-12 that looked like he was probably a pretty good athlete. The kid looked down at Elijah; Elijah looked up at him; they both shrugged, and took off running.
After the first lap, a few of the older siblings said, "He's going to die at that pace."
After the second lap, it was, "He's still with the big kid, and in front of those men."
After the third lap, it became, "Look at him go."
By the fourth lap, he had older siblings running alongside and cheering him on ... as he left the big kid and the men in the dust.
Without anyone setting a pace for him (except this random big kid, whom he beat in the end), Elijah ran a 7:22 mile. Wow! That certainly topped his 7:54 last month, and his 8:20 last summer. I guess we don't need to ask any of our big kid runners to help him set his pace ... he just goes out and runs. And, at the end of the race, he was smiling and laughing and wasn't the least bit tired.
Josiah wasn't too far behind this week, as he ran the mile in 8:26. He laughed when he finished, though, and said, "Elijah dominated me."
Sarah and Rachel are still our amazing little sprinters. Sarah got one 1st place and two 2nd places, while Rachel got three 2nd places and a 3rd place finish. Sarah was way out in front in the 100m this week.
They also love to try the field events. Josiah threw the javelin today, and tried the triple jump. Hosanna triple jumped along with running a few sprints. And, I think all 4 younger ones also ran the hurdles today.
They all enjoyed running for Cassie, as she hadn't been to any of our meets before. Cassie, too, enjoyed it ... as she was our first family track runner.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Obviously, we haven't had enough adventures lately ... so we set off for one more. This one, however, got to include LOTS of big kids. Not only did we get to include Gregg, Jeremiah, Lindsey, and Josh (who all stayed home while we were in California) ... but we also got to include Ashleigh (Jeremiah's friend that we met in Santa Barbara a week ago) ... and, Cassie and Taylor (a friend of Cassie's from Oregon). Therefore, we filled up the Big Red Van for the first time in a long time.
Classic Quote: After everyone piled into the van at 6:00a.m., Gregg said, "This van sure seems a lot smaller than it used to." No, the van did not shrink. But, filling the van with 10 adults and teens, plus 5 younger kids, takes up a bit more space than when we filled it with 2 adults, 10 little kids, and their friends.
First, let me tell you about a few of the things that I love ...
So ... put them all together and I am a Happy Mama!
Today, we got up at 5:00 ...
loaded up the van at 6:00 ...
drove to Anacortes to catch the ferry at 7:30 ...
and, ate breakfast on the ferry to Lopez Island ...
We explored the Island ...
Had a picnic at a park for lunch ...
Caught the 3:35 ferry back to the mainland ...
Home at 6:00 p.m. (just a quick 12 hour adventure) ...
Chat time with Papa (crisis evaluation) ...
Prayer time with Cassie & Taylor ...
Out to dinner with Gregg, Cassie, Jeremiah,
Ashleigh, and Taylor at 10:00 p.m. ...
(after realizing that we hadn't eaten since the picnic)
(yes, we had fed the younger children dinner)
Today ... a BLESSING from the LORD!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
While we thoroughly enjoyed our vacation ...
I knew that The Crisis would find us
as soon as we got home.
(If you aren't familiar with The Crisis,
you may want to read the posts from
June 16 - July 2nd.)
While I put The Crisis on the back burner for 12 days ...
I knew that it would rear it's ugly head again.
While we only talked about The Crisis a few times ...
it was always hanging over our heads.
While I knew we had to come home and face The Crisis ...
I didn't know how difficult that drive home would be.
As the miles flew by ...
as we headed North ...
the pain in my gut ...
grew deeper and deeper.
While we were gone ...
several new parts to The Crisis reared their ugly heads.
A few hours after getting up ...
I crawled back into bed ...
and pulled the covers over my head ...
I just didn't have the energy to face The Crisis.
Friday, July 17, 2009
After two LOOOOONG days of driving ... we are home.
We had FUN ... but we are TIRED!
Wednesday afternoon we said our good-byes to Eldon & Tanya and girls. We had so much fun swimming and horseback riding with them for 4 days. Thanks Tanya, for an AWESOME time at your place!
Then, we headed out of the desert, with a quick drive up to Arcadia, and spent Wednesday night at my cousin Linda's house. THANKS Linda ... for the wonderful hospitality. Hosanna spent hours talking to Linda (and reading her scrapbooks) about our family heritage. Linda has done amazing genealogy research. She has framed pictures of my children's great-great-great-great-grandparents ... and family trees that reach all the way back to my children's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents. Way cool! It was very fun to see Hosanna's excitement ... as I clearly remember being just a bit older than Hosanna when I had long talks with Linda all about our family history. Not only does Linda have names and birth dates of family members, but many stories as well. The "6th great" grandfather was even at Valley Forge with George Washington. And, Linda has a sword from the Civil War. Hmmm... maybe we could write off this trip as an "educational expense"??? (just kidding!)
Up early, and on the road by 6:00 a.m. yesterday, as we had 700 hot miles to drive. The kids continued to be WONDERFUL travelers. Seriously, no bickering, no fighting, no asking, "when will we be there?" ... just laughing, chatting, reading, listening to Odyssey, napping, and having FUN! Last night, we got to spend another night with bloggy friend, Donna and family ... and they treated us to banana splits upon our arrival. Yummm !!! Thanks Donna! (I'm sure she'll have pictures posted soon ... as she took some fun ones this morning.)
We let the kids play, and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and visiting this morning, as we wanted to avoid Seattle rush hour (by leaving later in the morning). However, after an hour lunch stop (because we weren't in a hurry) we realized that we had not thought about Portland rush hour. Oops! We hit Portland right at 4:00, and spent an hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Besides that, however, our last stretch home was smooth. Another long day, with 575 miles, but we are HOME and I am ready to sleep in my own bed. Ahhhh .....
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Elijah's First Ride
Josiah & Elijah have always loved their canvas
"cowboy hats" (from Mexico), and
now they are enjoying being cowboys.
Tanya says that Sarah is a natural on the horses.
Hosanna has always loved horses.
Tanya ... a true friend.
Only a true friend would spend hours
outside in the 100+ degree heat to give
our kids the chance to ride her horses.
How many hours per day ...
can you spend in the swimming pool ...
when it's 100+ degrees outside ???
A LOT !!!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Our kids really enjoyed meeting their cousins.
(The children of my cousin, Devi, who lives in San Diego.)
Spencer, Vance, Elijah, Josiah, Rachel, Annika, Sarah