Monday, December 26, 2011

'20 20' ABC News.on Gendercide in India

I watched this episode a couple Friday night ago and the images and stories that I heard and saw are still haunting me. So many emotions well up within me when I consider the fact that 50,000 female unborn children are being aborted EVERY month in India.  It is estimated that since 1980 approx. 40 million girls are missing in India due to sex selected abortions, neglect, or murder.  To kill a baby because she is a girl is mind boggling to me and makes me irate, disgusted, sad, and broken hearted to name a few.  What happened to God created ALL people equal?

What is shocking to me is that this is such a common practice in India and is widely accepted.  There seems to be NO enforcement of the current laws to prevent the abortion of a baby simply because it is a girl.  It breaks my heart to see the look on the face of the relative who holds the baby who was just born after she discovers it is a girl.  She doesn't have to say a word, her face says it all....disappointment, sadness, etc.  I understand that girls cost a family a lot of money when it comes time to marry, but to have money (the dowry) be the motivation to kill that child is up hauling.  So sad that money has taken a higher place than a human life that God created!

In part 2 of the video below I was shocked as I watched the undercover sting happen and the doctor reports with great sadness that the baby is a girl and that the best option would be to abort the baby. Since the mother is so far along they will not be able to perform an abortion, but for more money he will give her drugs to induce a miscarriage.  To kill this baby girl it will cost between 60,000 to 70,000 rupees ($1,114 to 1,300 US dollars).   The entire scene plays out as such a common practice, which it is, and no emotion attached to what is being kill a precious baby!  Thankfully these two doctors faced charges, but this appears to be a rare occurrence.

In the second video I was encouraged to see so many happy little girls safe in the Unique Home.  I am so thankful for homes and orphanages in India that give a mother who makes the choice to carry her baby girl to term the option of having a safe and loving place for that baby to go if they are not able to care for her.  I find it inspiring how as an orphan herself she established this home to love and protect these girls.  She knows all too well what each of these girls have faced.  To think that most of these children arrive "half dead" because of the drugs the mother has been given to try to kill them is heart crushing.  What a blessing it is to have a women who lives her life bringing these girls back to life and giving them the love and respect they deserve.  It is understandable why she doesn't allow the children to be adopted out, because she doesn't want the possibility of anything more harmful to happen to these girls.  It thrills me that she teaches the girl their value and that they have a choice.  It is sickening to think that thousands of girls in India are shown from birth (if they even make it that far) and throughout their life that they have no value and are only good for producing a boy child for a man. It is so easy living in America to take for granted all the rights women have compared to our fellow women around the world.

This episode really touched my heart, because we have adopted a baby girl from India.   I am so thankful  to our daughter's birth mother and father.  They chose LIFE for their baby!  I don't have all the details or if they knew they were having a girl prior to birth, but I know that this beautiful women carried her baby to term and then after delivery made the decision to relinquish her rights to her precious baby for whatever reason.  This speaks volumes to me!  Whether gender played a role in her decision I do not know, but she chose life for her baby and as a result I have been blessed with a beautiful, joyful, and full of life baby girl.  For this I will be forever grateful.

After seeing a 20/20 episode like this, reading articles and books, and hearing testimony from workers in country who face this epidemic daily, it makes me want to adopt all the little girls from India. Since this is impossible, I pray for their safety and that some how they can hear of God's love for them and how valued and important they truly are.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Adoption Today Magazine

Look who made it on the front cover of the December issue of Adoption Today Magazine. A few months back our adoption agency sent out an email asking for photos for the magazine. We decided to send in a few and next thing we know Alesha is selected for the front cover. We are excited that the magazine and our agency gave us this opportunity. Alesha's daddy took the photo, too. He has a gift of caputuring emotion and personality.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

Let the Christmas Season Begin.

It is tradition at our home to put up the Christmas tree and decorate the day after Thanksgiving.  The boys were SO excited to decorate this year.  As they went to sleep on Thanksgiving night they confirmed that we were indeed putting the tree up the  next day :-)  Since we have allergies to fresh cut Christmas trees we invested in a fake tree a number of years ago and this helps in making sure that putting the Christmas tree up on a specific day happens without an issue.

Since the boys were little they have helped me put up the tree and all the decoration.  Every year they have taken on more of the set-up on their own.  The last 2 years they have completely set up the tree, put on the lights, decorations, and decorated the inside and outside of our home.  I am impressed to say the least.  The only sad part is that I miss going through each decoration one by one and remembering where it came from and what the significance is.  Now I just travel down memory lane as I gaze upon the beautiful tree my boys set up and when it comes time to pack the tree away.

Two things that are amazing to me -

1.  My boys clean up their mess when they are done decorating.  They put everything back where it goes and all that is left is a home transformed into a beautiful Christmas scene.

2.  Alesha, does not touch the tree or anything on it.  She loves to gaze at the lights and I find her standing looking at all the decorations, but she never touches them.  When my boys were little, this was NOT the case :-)

*apparently I forgot to turn these pics before I saved them and blogger won't post them the correct way.  Sorry you will just have to tilt your head for most of these :-)
Tree already assembled.  This didn't take long!

Now onto the lights and decorations

The finished product.  I did not lift a finger!

 When I was younger a friend of our family gave me the stocking below.  I thought it was cute so when I got married I made one for Darin, too.  As you can see I have added one with every child.  Last year I didn't get Alesha's stocking done before Christmas.  I was determined this year to have it completed and I finally did it.  Each of the kid's stockings represent what they they liked when they were young.  Since Alesha listens to music all day every day and sings constantly I thought this would be a good fit for her.

Looks better when it is really dark.  They have added some lights since this photos was taken.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

We have a TEENAGER in the house!!!

Our oldest son, Martin, turned 13 years old on November 6th!  I am still coming to grips with having a TEENAGER in the house!  Still not sure how this happened so quickly.  It seems like yesterday I was in the hospital holding him right after delivery.  Martin we are proud of the young man you have become.  You are a passionate, kind, talented, creative, and loving person who is a follower of Christ.  We love you very much!  Happy Birthday, son.

 Martin, decided to have his party at SkyHigh Sports this year.  The boys jumped for an hour after school then we came home for pizza, pop, ice cream cake, and more games.  It is crazy how much energy 6 middle school boys have and how much noise they can produce.  LOL.
Exhausted after jumping for a solid hour!
Playing dodge ball for an hour straight.

The pizza feast.  These boys can sure eat!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

October Update

We took our annual trip to our local pumpkin patch.  It was a beautiful day to take the tractor ride down to the patch to find the perfect pumpkin.

 Alesha, was a lady bug this year for Halloween.  Daddy took some fantastic pictures of her in his new photo studio!

We visited Alesha's great grandma at her assisted living home.  She sure brought a lot of smiles to the faces of the elderly living there.
The pumpkins - Alesha liked to just carry her around, so we didn't carve it this year.
 Alesha just finished a tumble class at the local recreation center.  She really enjoyed it.

I looked high and low for a Diwali festival in our area to attend, but could not find one.  So I decided to cook a bunch of Indian food and invite our neighbors over to share in the feast.  Our neighbors are from Tibet and lived in India for several years so they are familiar with the holiday and gave us some interesting background and information.  As you can see I did not decorate with lights or even a festive table cloth for that matter.  Maybe next year I will be more on the ball.  Alesha still seems to be oblivious to holidays at this point, so I guess I am not leaving any major scars :-)

Sunday, September 25, 2011


We all have "triggers" or flashbacks of some sort or the other.  I will hear a song or eat a certain food and it reminds me of my dad who passed away many years ago and those emotions come to the surface in a hurry.  I hear the songs that were played at my wedding and the memories of that day flash before me in an instant.  There are various reminders of my childhood, pregnancy, work, friends, etc.  It seems to be easy to connect the dots on what memory is caused by the trigger.  I can seem to identify the emotions or reactions, because I have previous knowledge of those events.  The problem for me is that even though I can seem to identify my own triggers, it seems difficult to determine what other people's triggers are, especially my daughters.
After leaving Alesha in the church nursery for the first time a couple weeks ago and experiencing the regression in the following weeks, it got me to thinking about "triggers".  Today marks 2 weeks since I left her in the nursery.  She played happily for 1/2 hour and then they called me because she was crying.  As I ran through the church to the nursery a flood of emotions hit me.  I shouldn't have left her, is this going to cause regression?, what caused her to suddenly begin crying?   As I rushed to the top of the two flights of stairs I could her her screams.  As I ran for the door to comfort my sweet girl, I was stunned that she didn't even run to me.  When I opened the gate and walked towards her she just stood there not moving an inch and screaming.  Her eyes were fixed straight ahead.  It was as if she totally checked out.  I called her name as I walked towards her scooping her up in my arms.  She was shaking and screaming as she buried her face in my shoulder.  It took a long time to calm her down. :-(  I asked the workers what happened and they said that she was playing so happily and then all of the sudden she just started crying.  She said it was as if she got bored and realized that I was not there.  This might have been the case, but I think there was a lot more to it with the reaction I saw from my precious girl. I finally got her calmed down and we had a snack together and then we left for home.  I knew she might have a little difficulty with the nursery, but I didn't expect this.

I had tried several times before to leave her in the nursery and it was clear to me that she was not ready.  The week prior to leaving her, I stayed with her the entire time and observed from a distance to see how she would do.  She did fantastic, so I thought it was the perfect time to give it a try.  Clearly this time there was something that triggered inside of her mind and heart to cause such a reaction.  It was not a reaction of, I don't want to be here and I want my mom.  Her reaction was that of  terror.  It took me only a few minutes to reach her, but by that time trauma had occurred.

These last two weeks have been very emotionally draining for me.  To see her become so clingy and not wanting anybody to hold her, but me, brings me back to when we first arrived home from India.  I feel sad and broken hearted that Alesha experienced such trauma.  I try not to second guess my choice in putting her in the nursery.  These events have me praying to God for guidance and insight on what to do in the weeks to come.  I pray that God will comfort her precious mind and heart and help her to feel secure again.  All I know to do is hold her, love her, reassure her, comfort her and pray for her. 

This is the biggest trigger I have seen to date, but there are have been a number of triggers along the way that I have not been able to identify. I am puzzled when we are going about our day and out of the blue I sense her becoming very uncomfortable and she wants to be held immediately as she begins to whine or cry. One example of this is when we walk down long corridors. All is well until we get about half way down and then she begins to panic and wants to be picked up immediately.  I always pick her up and reassure her that everything is okay, but wonder what it is that is causing this reaction. When she becomes hysterical when she sees a balloon floating in the sky (whether it is her balloon or not), it makes me wonder what is the event or memory that triggers such a reaction. At times like these it becomes clear to me that there is a 15 month gap of information that I simply do not have access to. What is going through her mind at these moments of panic? What is the flashback or memory that is causing her to feel so uneasy and scared?
These experiences make me very aware that triggers, flashbacks, and regression can occur at any time for any reason, even after being home for 15 months.  I am aware that I have limited answers for times like these and that I need to rely on God for his comfort and wisdom.  Triggers are a part of life.  Figuring out how to handle them as they arise appears to be the great challenge.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Annual Oak's Park Trip - August 31, 2011

For as long as I can remember my kids have participated in the summer read program at our local library.  You are required to read (or be read to) 15 hours.  Once your tally sheet is completed, you turn it in for your prizes.  There are gift certificates to a couple restaurants, local attractions, discounted tickets to a sporting event, and you get to pick out a new book to keep as your very own.  

Our family loves to read so completing the 15 hours is not a problem.  The prizes are more of perk than an incentive.  This year Alesha, participated as well as both boys.  It did take longer to complete those 15 hours for her as sitting still is not her strong suit :-)

The day finally arrived for our annual visit to the local amusement park.  I knew it wouldn't be as "cool" this year since we had been to Great America, but it was still a fun thing to do on a cool summer day.  

Waiting for the ticket counter to open

Chilling out while we wait for the boys to get off the scary ride.

This was the first time she had been on this ride so Luke went with her.  I love how they are holding hands.

I love the smiles on their faces in this shot!

I'm a big girl.  I can go all by myself.  I love how she crosses her feet.

The car ride.  At one point she bumped her head on the steering wheel.  She didn't cry or anything, but then I looked at her forehead and saw this.........

a huge bump starting to swell in the perfect shape of a circle.  It didn't take long to fade away.

Luke took Alesha down this huge slide.  They were both laughing by the time they reached the bottom.

My three sailors.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beach trip to Gearhart Condo - August 25-26, 2011

We had planned to go tent camping again up around Mt. Hood.  The problem, a major thunderstorm with hail and lightening was headed in that direction the day we planned to leave.  We decided to wait a day and see if things improved, but they did not.  So onto "plan B".  The Oregon coast looked like it had nice weather so we headed out to Darin's condo in Gearhart.  This was quite a luxury compared to camping in a tent :-)  The weather was really nice and we actually had a chance to play on the beach and get in the water.  It was Alesha's first experience with ocean water and she had a BLAST!  I thought she would be too cold, but she was having so much fun jumping and running around the cold water didn't seem to bother her.

Darin took advantage of the overcast skies in the early morning  and did a mini photo shoot of the kids.  I LOVE these photos!!!!!  Thank you honey! 

These were taken on the balcony of the condo.

Martin (will be 13 in November)

Luke, 11 years old

Alesha, 2 1/2 years old

Then we headed down towards the beach.  These were taken on the hillside right before you drop down onto the beach.

I decided to put some flowers in Alesha's hair and I was surprised at what a difference a few flowers can make :-)

Finally onto the sandy beach!  The clouds started to burn off, the sun came out, and playing in the ocean came quickly thereafter.

Alesha, was hysterically laughing as the water would swirl around her feet as it went back out.  It  was so fun to see her face and hear her laugh with delight!

I love how Luke isn't even touching the ground in this picture.

This last wave got us really wet......... 

so wet, that the pants needed to come off.

My boys decided that rolling in the sand soaking wet would be a great idea.  I believe I heard the words  "Sand Angels"  

We had a fantastic couple of days at the coast.  Thanks mom and dad for letting us use the condo. We have lots of great memories and photos to remember this trip.