Today is Monday, May 3, 2010. The above picture is no longer current, so I'll put up a more recent one, soon. Right now I need to head off to get some extra hangers at Goodwill, turn in papers at two different places, do some shopping, and try to get done in 2 hours. So, the update on this site will just have to wait some more.
Finally!! A current family picture!! The only one missing is the photographer, my son Erin. Oh yes, and Jay isn't here...he was at a Special Olympics practice that day. This picture actually includes my daughter, K. and my two grandchildren. We had such a great time at the coast. We visited a favorite beach, which has the neatest tide pools, and is reatively easy to get to. We did have to carry Moria down to the beach, but she is pretty light. The sand was great for building sand castles, and there were shells and rocks to collect. The weather was warm enough for the kids to wade in the water, but that did NOT include me!! I get my feet a bit wet, and within about 3 minutes, my toes are numb. I sure don't understand how the kids stay in so long, LOL. This picture was taken in August of 2007.
This is a writing assignment that my daughter, Jessica (21 years old) just wrote for her Gospel Choir class at her Junior College. It is long, but wow, is it inspiring and beautiful.
October 22, 2009
Reflection: "Poem" by Author Langston Hughes
This poem is important to me because the author loved a friend of his. The poet talks about how one of his friends was taken away from him. You can feel the deep love the author had for his friend, and for me, it brings me back to my life and how I love and miss some of my friends. In the poem, one line says, “He went away from me.“ There are three ways to interpret, “went way,” when we talk or refer to our friends. I wonder what the author was thinking when he wrote the poem. Did he mean, “death,” “sickness,” or “moving?”
I had a friend in elementary school. He was in my class for six years in a row. He was the shortest kid in the class, but this was because he had a heart condition. I remember hearing kids make fun of him and call him “shorty.” Even though he was made fun of, he was one of the most popular kids in school. He loved life. He could not play a lot of the typical games kids played on the playground, because of his heart condition. I couldn’t play a lot of the games, because they were often visual, and I am totally blind. Kids laughed at me and called me “flat nose,” because my nose was flat, since birth. The two of us would walk around on the playground and think up our own games. My friend never made fun of my nose. He never laughed at me or called me names. His name was Nathan. He understood me in a way I think few people did.
One of Nathan’s favorite things to do was to go over to this one particular fire hydrant and talk to it. He named it Alberto, and he said Alberto always knew what he was thinking or saying, and Alberto would always talk back to him. I think you might think my friend is weird, but he was a little kid at the time, and little kids can be creative when it comes to recess and fun. Nathan did a lot of the class activities with me, and he really was a wonderful friend. About two months before Jesus decided to take him into His arms and take him home, Nathan had to go to the hospital. His heart condition was getting worse. No one knew how long he would live. He lived longer than everyone expected him to live. I remember his last words to me specifically. “Jessica, I will see you at Sheldon. I will be the president of the senior class and we will graduate together. If I don’t see you at Sheldon, I will catch up with you on the other side and we will be so happy together.” He said this to me in fifth grade. At that time, I did not know what he meant, but I know now. He could not talk for almost two months, but his last words to his family were: “I am breaking down. This is the end. I just can’t do it anymore.” Nathan did not get to go to highschool. He went home to the Lord in 7th grade. I know someday, the Lord will call me home, and I will be reunited with my friend. As Nathan said, “We will be so happy together.” I loved my friend.
Here is another friend, who left through death. I lost my speech teacher from Sheldon. The Friday before she had her heart attack, she was having a party with some of the students in the life skills network at Sheldon. I was in the same room doing some home work before my next class. With tears in a student‘s voice, she asked, “Lynda, what is it like to lose someone you love? What is it like to have a friend die?” Lynda said, “It’s a painful experience to begin with, but later you can smile and have happy memories of that person.“ After the party was over and the students went to class, the teacher asked me if I wanted to have lunch with her next week. She had heard about my love for music and she was going to bring her violin for me. I thought this was going to be a friendship that would last me for many years. The teacher told me that she often saw me in the hallways, and she would see the harassment and discrimination that would happen to me. Lynda died before we had that lunch, and I never got to hear her play the violin. She, too, went “softly” away.
My dad is in residential care because he has dementia. I was very close to him. I would often think his beard was green, because it felt like the grass. Most dads probably would not have let me play with their beards, but my dad did. I would help him make syrup for the pancakes. I would sit with him at church. I would sit on the swing while he would make my birthday dinner on the barbecue. My dad has a love for his children that is wonderful to see. He still feels the need to be the father, but he does not have the physical or mental ability to be the daddy he wants to be. I can see it in his moods and hear it in his words. Even though he cannot live with us, he is still our father and all of us love and miss him. He is the best father anyone could have, and he was a friend.
After Nathan died, I did not think I would find a best friend again. When I went to Sheldon, I honestly thought everyone at that school was a “jerk,” They would not move out of my way, and they would grab my cane and not let me walk down the halls. One day in choir, those feelings changed. We were having donuts and juice for a little snack. One of the girls offered to help me get some of the snack. While we were eating, I accidentally tipped my cup over. Orange juice spilled on the floor, and all over this girl’s clothes. I thought she would be mad, but instead, she was laughing. From then on, we began talking more. This girl became my best friend. We have been friends for about s six years now. Lauren has helped me get through the stress of my dad not being around. I could tell her anything. Sometimes, she gave me advice, or sometimes she would just listen. Now, Lauren goes to Portland State, and I cannot talk to her every day. I miss her. If I really need her, I can talk to her on the phone, but it is not the same as being able to see her or give her a hug.
I love my friends. All of these people I have mentioned are people I wish I could talk with every day. I know that I cannot go up to Heaven and give two of my friends a hug, or go to Portland every week to give Lauren a hug. This thought hurts, but at the same time, I can smile because I have happy memories and I will get to see them again. I still wonder what the author was thinking when he wrote this poem. I chose this poem because I can relate to it. A lot of African American poems touch me. They talk about hope, music, love, and freedom. They also talk of their emotions and struggles. “There’s nothing more to say.”
What is this Website all about?
I am a mom and I will share with you experiences our Christian, family has had, some hilarious, some sad, but all real. Most of our children are adopted, so we hope to inspire others to adopt...a child or two...maybe a child with
handicaps, or older, or just plain unique. Several of our children have handicaps, such as blindness, Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, Amniotic Band Syndrome, Tuberous Sclerosis, etc.
We now have 8 children (under the age of 18) at home. The youngest at home is our 4 year old son, Markeen (he just turned 4 in January 2009). There are also 5 kids over the age of 18. Martha, who is now 26 years old, stopped college for awhile, and has moved out of state to be closer to her...boyfriend. Yes, she now has a boyfriend!!
And...I don't really know how to say this, as it brings pain to my heart, but my beloved husband has Early Onset Dementia. He is now in residential care. We just moved him to a new place last week, and it is wonderful. He has his own, large bedroom, and the rest of the facility is large, bright, has lots of activities, and welcomes our family. I'll go into more of this later, but I now have a new respect for single parents. I am now a married, single mom.
Update: October 27, 2009
I cannot believe I have not updated this site in ages. So much has happened, some good, and some I just ask the Lord, "Why? I really don't need to learn more. Can't I just have a rest from all this learning thing?"
At the beginning of the year, I learned that my grand-daughter, Melissa, developed seizures. After trips to the ER and doctor appointments, they were able to get her on the best meds, and she is doing fine, but it was a scarey experience.
For several months, one of our teen daughters started having more then the usual teen growing up problems. It was intensified about 100 times more then normal...at least that is how it felt to all of us. I think that prenatal drug use by birthmom's just isn't totally understood, or recognized by women who are pregnant. Our daughter was almost an A student, gifted at sports, loving (she would rub my feet in the middle of the night when I was undergoing chemo for breast cancer), she was delightful, full of love and joy. Then, it seemed to be the typical teenager who "wants all the independence, but with none of the responsibility" type of thing.
I didn't recognize that things were going to get very serious until my teen "jumped on the van." Literally, she blew up, yelled, screamed, swore, and as I was trying to get the other kids in the big van to get them away from the "tantrum," she climbed on the van, jumped up and down, yelled, etc. The kids were crying and so scared. She just laughed. The little kids, especially, could not understand how their beloved sister could be so "mean" and angry. They, then had to deal with "I love her" and "I hate what she is doing," to "Why does she do that? I just want to go to sleep in my bed and not have her so mad." That was said by our 4 year old.
Medication was prescribed, counseling started, but things just kept getting worse and worse. I was worried sick about her. Finally, I had to get the police involved. It seemed that there was nothing more we could do. I learned that the saying, "Love is not enough," was completely true. It was extra hard, because my beloved husband, Don, is not able to be here to help. I am now a mom, parenting as a solo parent.
By the way, our daughter is doing much better. The Probation Officer is fantastic, and has worked hard to be firm with our daughter, and help her to see things realistically. The PO has also been firm with me, teaching me that I must become less of a softie parent, LOL. But it is true!!
Then, sometime in May, something happened to me. I say something, because I have no memory, I guess it is called amnesia. It was due to "stress induced seizures." Luckily, medication quickly dealt it, and I haven't had any more for months. But, during that time, I was advised not to drive. That was AWFUL!!! There was so much help from our church, Emerald Bible Fellowship, neighbors, friends, and family, that I made it through. When I found out I could drive (yesterday), I was like a kid who just got their license...I was almost giggly, well, I actually was giggly, LOL.
Okay, that should be enough, but about a month ago our little 8 year old daughter had a seizure. We called an ambulance, and they started her on meds. An EEG was given, and she had a seizure right during the EEG. That was good, because it make the diagnosis much easier. She is now on a higher dose, and hasn't had such a big seizure since then. But, an MRI showed that she has probably had tiny ones since birth...a direct result of prenatal drug abuse by birthmom. A preventable handicap, that will be a part of her forever. It makes me so angry to think that a birth mom could be that hooked on drugs, to knowingly do damage to her precious, unborn child.
Well, everything else is doing fine. I have been able to pay off all bills, including both vans, and all credit cards. There still are a few of Don's medical bills that will take 15 years to pay off, but the billers/doctors, have allowed us to make small payments, so that is good.
We want to thank everyone who has helped us in the past few months. There were meals and rides provided through many people at Emerald Bible Fellowship. A friend, who is an aide at an elementary school, has taken my kids to and from school, Kim, my daughter, has taken time off work to drive me to doctor appointments or babysat kids, my son, Darren, has spent a lot of time doing house work, taking kids to soccer games, cleaned up the yard, etc. My daughter, Misty and her boyfriend spent several weeks, cleaning out rain gutters, going to the dump, doing yard work, etc. My daughter, Jennifer, takes another kid to school each morning. A neighbor literally jumped over our fence, to help babysit the kids while I went in the ambulance with Kyahna (the one who had seizures. Someone just dropped by a couple of boxes of apples yesterday. Another person fixed our van. The list could just go on and on.
Well, I gotta finish this later, as I have to go pick up a child who is having a rough time at school. He has Aspergers Syndrome, and...well, I gotta go. Pray for him, he is a sweetheart, and has deep feelings of love, but also deep feelings of what he feels are injustices.
Financially, How Do We Do It????
Many people have asked how they can donate something, or offer to do something for us. Financially, it is amazing to see how the Lord has provided for all our needs. Maybe we don't have the fancy home like on Extreme HomeMakeover, but our home is large enough for all of us, and even a bedroom to spare. Our yard is much larger then most people's (a little over an acre). Somehow, the Lord has guided me to the point where our only bills are the mortgage, and then the regular electrical, etc. We do owe some medical bills for my husband, but they have allowed us to make payments that fit in with our income. We are truly blessed.
Lately, I have felt a need to start buying up extra food, for those times when an emergency might come up. There are some great websites that can help one to do this. It is actually kind of fun to see the shelves filled with extra cans of food. And, it does come in handy, like this month I had a huge bill for car repairs, and we are having part of our roof re-roofed this coming weekend. I was able to pay for those with cash!!
Our bank statement is quite unique, even the people at the bank say so, LOL. I have separate savings accounts for everything: sports, car repairs, educational, gifts, gas for the car, food, home repairs, newspaper, prescriptions, car registration, medical/dental co-pay, garbage hauling, and clothing. I then have a list of regular payments: mortgage, TV Cable, cell phone, therapist, church, piano lessons, etc. Those are paid through Billpay automatically through our bank.
I also buy most things when they are on sale, or at re-sale places. Just today, I bought some new, cute shirts for my teens, and most were $4.00 to $6.00 a piece. Yesterday, I bought some great kids' books, and jeans at a re-sale store, and a "real" wood book shelf (for only $10.00). Often, I buy the kids clothes, new, at 80% off, at the end of a season, then save the clothes in a locked, unused small bedroom. That way, the kids won't go through the clothes and make a mess or use them early. I do this for gifts, also.
We also take advantage of the various, free activities throughtout our city. I ask for part-scholarships for summer camps, etc. But, I also think it is great for my kids to have time to do the free, totally free, activities in our yard: building a fort, making roads and creeks for their little, toy animals (inside, Markeen uses blankets on the floor for mountains for his many animals. He will bunch up the blankets to make a higher mountain). They also have so much fun watching the osprey, especially when the parents are feeding their young, and keeping track of the bald eagle that visits frequently.
NEW Christmas 2007 Newsletter
I really need to take a website design class. My page looks fine, until I change the size of the page. So, those of you who have different sized monitors will get a page that looks totally different from what I meant it to look like. Anyway, I just put together part of our Christmas Letter for 2007.
Some of it isn't complete yet, but it will give you an idea of what I sent to people.
This is Sandy, who is now 10 years old, and is in the 5th grade. She has grown up way too fast, LOL.
I'M A GRANDMA AGAIN!!! Dorothy and her husband gave birth to an absolutely darling, gorgeous little boy on Sunday, December 30, 2007. His name is Waylon. He weighed 6 pounds 10 ounces, and was 18 1/2 inches long. He is soooo cute, as you can see from these pictures:
I started a journal (personal blog I guess), on April 24, 2007. Most of my website has not been updated in ages. It is fun for me to read back about the kids, but I do need to let you know how they are doing now. I'll start with this journal, and I'll add pictures to the main page later. The first entry will be the latest entry.
June 30, 2007. A brand new clothes washer was given to us, anonymously!!!
On the left is Rita, 13, with her hair O'natural, "big hair." I can't believe how much hair she has, and I wish I had even half of it!!
On the right is the After picture. She loves her hair straight. I think she is absolutely beautiful, either way, but now her hair is so much easier to manage. Rita is in the 7th grade, and is a member of a soccer club & is also in basketball. It is tougher this year, as more is expected, but it is good preparation for highschool. Oh my, did I just say highschool? She is an A student, and is happy most of the time, with some stubborn streaks in between.
EXTREME HOME MAKEOVER-
No, not us, we haven't even applied. But, we were able to see the house of a family in Corvallis, Oregon, as it was being built by Extreme Home Makeover.
Kathy is now 6 years old, and absolutely loves to dress up. She is my girly girl (so fun). She has several princess dresses, and this is one of her favorites (whichever one she is wearing is her favorite one). I shop at places like Value Village and Goodwill, weekly, and find some wonderful dress-up clothes, toys, and school clothes for the kids. She just lost her first front tooth a few minutes before I took this picture. Kathy loves her kindergarten class, and has many friends. She is most excited about learning to read. It is an all day kindergarten class, and she loves going to school with 3 of her other siblings (the school goes from Kindergarten through 8th grade).
These pictures are about 1 1/2 years old. Markeen, is now a delightful, healthy almost 3 year old bundle of joy and curiousity.
Old news, LOL: Introducing our son, Markeen. He is the 1/2 sibling to our 5 little ones (10 sibings all together, and we now have 6...other 4 are adopted by 2 relative families in our area, so they can grow up knowing and loving each other). Markeen is currently on a heart/breathing monitor, for apnea. He stopped breathing and I couldn't hear a heartbeat, so I started infant CPR. He was in the hospital for 2 days, where they found he had bradycardia (low heart rate). He also had some tacycardia (high heart rate), once while I was gone they had to also give him some oxygen. He is doing great, and already, at 2 weeks, weighs slightly more then his birth weight. And, he already smiles!! Then at about 8 weeks he developed RSV, a dangerous respiratory infection, and was in the hospital for 5 days because they couldn't keep his oxygen levels up. They also found he had a heart murmur. About 2 days after coming home, he was diagnosed with Pyloric Stenosis. I feel lots of these "problems" were due to drugs used by the birthmom while pregnant with Markeen...an avoidable handicap for sure!!
Ok, now he is 3 years old!! The picture on the left is Markeen reaching out for our daughter, Bea (28 years old, Down Syndrome). The one on the right is Markeen's version of "Hide & Seek." He was pretty happy with his hiding spot, LOL.
Mostly Markeen's pictures
More pictures, including a picture of our finished addition to our home. You just gotta see the cute smile on Markeen!!!
Left: Kathy was 2 1/2, and loves our dog, Princess.
Right: Joel was 5 years old. His half brother, Roger is 8, and they are so happy to be with each other.
In June 2004, two sibs to our 3 little ones were placed with us for adoption. Joel was 5, autistic, and the cutest thing ever. Kathy was 2 1/2 (now 6 years old) and also a darling. Sometimes, siblings can't be placed together, and it is always sad when this cannot be done. So, we have 6 of the 10 siblings!!
Here We Are!! More Pictures and Stories About Most of Us.
Left: Our three little ones, (2000), Sandy (left, then 2 1/2 years old), Rita (then 5 years old), and Roger (then 4 years old).
Right: This picture of my husband and me was taken during Christmas time, 2003.
Our daughter, Moriah, is now 13 years old. She is delightful, intelligent, beautiful, a bit spoiled, & determined to make a mark on this world in spite of having Cerebral Palsy. She arrived home in June of 2002.
Moriah went with us in a 2 mile race, and "rolled" along, by herself for the last few blocks.
Note: My family pages have a lot of graphics/pictures. If you have a slow computer, it will take awhile to load. The text, loads quickly, so you can read first, then by the time you are done reading, the pictures should be available.
is now 7 years old, and is Rita and Roger's birth sister.
Marcis now 12 years old, born in Korea, and has Tuberous
Sclerosis, and a brain tumor. Read my notes; I share my fears, my frustrations, my anger, my faith, my hope, my joy. It's a long page, though!! Then, please pray for this precious little boy who brightens up everyone's life.
Marc had surgery in April 1999. He had emergency surgery 4 days later, and again in August, 1999. A MRI in 1/2000, showed that the piece of tumor that couldn't be removed had grown, and the small cyst was huge.
April, 2000: Surgery. The tumor had grown twice the size it was in January (about 4 cm), and the cyst was huge...almost 6 cm!!
August, 2000: brain tissue filled in the areas where the cyst & tumor were, but there are still several tiny pieces of the tumor left. He's doing great for now.
This page is about
who is 21 years old, born in Korea and is now a collge Sophomore at a Christian University. She has Cerebral Palsy.
Martha, my husband and I were blessed with a trip to Korea. We met Grandma Holt In Korea also, what a wonderful experience!!
now 16 years old, is
blind and wants to be a singer.
Janice had facial surgery in January, 2000.
NEW!! The Mayor of our town, personally asked Janice to sing and speak at his State of the City Speech. I was so proud of her, so I'm putting Janice's speech on my website.
from the Phillipines, 24 years old, has a shunt for hydrocephalas.
is 23 years old, has Down's Syndrome, and heart surgery.
is 24 years old, has Down's Syndrome and repaired cleft palate & lip.
Some of the Adult Kids who are now "On Their Own":
Journey Home from Viet Nam. She is now 29 years old.
is now 20 years old and was born weighing only 1 pound 4 ounces!! She has a part time job at a jewelry making store, and is living in a wonderful Adult Group Home. She is getting more independent, and even has a boyfriend!!
This page is about
our 17 year old son. We adopted him when he was 3 1/2 years old, and he had many handicaps such as: totally blind and deaf, profoundly retarded, and he had hydrocephalus, seizures and Cerebral Palsy. He had the face of an angel.
I have a page on various subjects,
written by Me/Mom.
Some of the things are: What to do when you have a child in the hospital, How to help the transition from foster home to your home, Experiences with prejudice, etc.
We were awarded the Honorary Child Advocate Award by an adoption agency. I/Mom spoke for a few minutes, and Janice sang a song. I posted my "speech" on my
Award Speech Page.
Disabilities: information on disabilities, such as IEP sites, Medical sites, and Parent Support groups.
Locks of Love Janice, 13, donated 12 inches of her beautiful, blond hair to the Locks of Love organization. They make real hair wigs for children who have long term hair loss. They are located in Palm Springs, Florida. This is the second time Janice has done this. Her sister, Martha, 18, also did a donation. Hair needs to be 10 inches in length (end to end), and in a pony tail or braid.
Please sign my new guestbook. I love to hear how you like my site, and I try to answer any questions you might have about adoption.