His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis

Faith

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wisdom From Anna

 Complaining about heat in Texas is like complaining about water because it is wet.  Wisdom from a 13 year old. LOL

Our Olympic Champion

Sarah, watching the Olympics. :)  She is our champion!

Lady Bella

Yes, my family is very happy. I have learned to sit!  I will be 7 weeks old tomorrow. :)

THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE

Yes, There can only be ONE!!!

FRITO BANDITO!!!

"Your Perfect Will, Your Perfect Way"

I am really going to love this song...

The Perfect Wisdom of Our God
 Words & Music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
 © 2011 Thankyou Music and Gettymusic

The perfect wisdom of our God,

Revealed in all the universe:
All things created by His hand,
And held together at His command.
He knows the mysteries of the seas,
The secrets of the stars are His;
He guides the planets on their way,
And turns the earth through another day.

The matchless wisdom of His ways,

That mark the path of righteousness;
His word a lamp unto my feet,
His Spirit teaching and guiding me.
And oh, the mystery of the cross,
That God should suffer for the lost
So that the fool might shame the wise,
And all the glory might go to Christ!

Oh grant me wisdom from above,

To pray for peace and cling to love,
And teach me humbly to receive
The sun and rain of Your sovereignty.
Each strand of sorrow has a place
Within this tapestry of grace;
So through the trials I choose to say:
“Your perfect will in your perfect way.”




That last verse rings such a chord with my heart.  God's perfect will and perfect way, many times I do not comprehend or understand, but I know that I KNOW, there is a perfect will and a perfect plan.  And I rest in it. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

FINALLY

We have been looking for a dog that will work out for our family for quite some time.  Today, that happened.  Anna has been VERY patient waiting and WAITING.  But the wait was well worth it.
We brought home a 6 1/2 week old Labrador Retriever.  Now for a name!  We are leaning towards Bella.

 She is little enough to like the chickens! :)
Let the training begin!

UMMM.... ALLI! I don't think so! LOL

Olympic Funny

Miss Alli is totally convinced that the Queen of England parachuted from that helicopter! LOL

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sarah Dancing....

I was watching this again.  It brings tears of joy to my eyes..... :)

Musings For The Day


I took all 4 girls shopping to look for clothes and I am just SURE the sun, moon and stars aligned themselves!  All 4 girls happily found 2 items to pick out in the same store!  WOW! That has NEVER happened.  To top it off, the prices were really great!

Today we were checking out at the local Walmart.  I had some odds and ends to pick up.  One of those items was colored Sharpie Markers.  I was in the self check out and it said, "approval needed".
I told the guy, that must be a mistake.  He said, "Oh no ma'am, you have to get approval for these!"
I asked ummm "Why?"  He said, because kids "sniff them".
 And then I proceeded to buy Nail polish with no problem at all!  I asked, "What about the nail polish?"  He said cheerily, "Don't say anything and maybe they won't notice!"  Whoever "they are." LOL
A kid can walk into any Walmart and by a gallon of BLEACH! No problem! :?

Did you know 4 teenage girls can out eat 4 teenage boys? 
I DO.

My WORDS those girls can pack it away!  I'm starting to have that feeling I had a long time ago where I was competing for food. I did that when the guys were home and gained weight.  I need to remember that I will not have to compete for a plum or the last of the cereal forever. I think I need to pack myself a small lunch box of non perishables and put it under my bed like I did for them a long time ago.  :)  LOL

I talked to my Lilly Bean on the phone the other day.  She is such a sweet heart and laughs at all my jokes. "Oh Ya-Ya!"  :)

My mom is in the hospital.  She is doing well, but I think just got a bit dehydrated and had a bladder infection.  It is really important for older people to drink lots of water, especially on hot days. My mom forgets these things.  I believe she is going home today. 

Erika and I stopped in and visited for a while on the way home from Erika's Dr. Appt.  We talked for about 15 minutes and then the phone rang. It was my sister calling.  My mom said, "Guess Who's here!"  And then she said, "What is your name?"  I think she knew me, but forgot my name. :/
She asked me how old I was and then said, "Wow, I can't believe I have kids as old as you!" :)
She has 2 older than me!

I have been looking at this small flower bed by the back porch that has been in GREAT need of weeding and beautifying.  My back is bad enough at this point that I have no garden this year and could not plant flowers. :(   
So today when Alli and Sarah were looking for something to do, I suggested to them...."Would you two like your own little plot of land for a flower garden?  It will be ALL YOURS and you can decorate it with flowers and more.  You have to keep it weeded and looking beautiful.  You should have heard the squeals of delight!  Now, had I said, "Girls, can you go pull those weeds, I may would  have heard groans... 
I told them if they can be faithful with a flower garden, then maybe we can give them more for next year! 
Alli knows quite a bit about planting, as she must have planted food in Russia with her family.  She answered all Sarah's questions correctly.  So, I just turned them loose. :) 
So far, they have worked all day long staying busy on a fun summer project that I only WISH I could do once again. 
I guess I'll live vicariously through them. :)

School starts up again on August 15th.  I need to start cracking the books and getting lessons organized. I cannot believe Summer is almost over.  Wow! 

Tonight it is my turn to pick the movie.  I still haven't decided,
 which is driving Sarah's curiosity crazy. :)
Happy Friday Everybody!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Anna

Anna is rather shy but not quiet.   She has distinct likes and dislikes and is more comfortable in her skin as she has crossed the threshold into teendom.  She loves country music, and dare I say it..... Justin Bieber.  But I am proud of her, because she is not ashamed to say it. :)  I know many girls her age who just try to fit in and would never admit to friends they liked something their friends didn't.  Not Anna. :)
Another thing about Anna is she loves her sisters.  She is a good big sister and a good little sister. :)
9 years ago, at this time we had applied to bring Anna into our home.  9 years ago nearly to the day, I got a speeding ticket for rushing paper work to the post office too fast! :)  It was my first and only speeding ticket. I don't know why I thought going faster would bring her home faster.  I was just caught up in the bring Anna home moment.  And it cost a LOT!

Anna has joined me in being gluten free all the way, and she is also dairy free.  She has ALSO decided she doesn't want to eat anything that used to be alive, which is a bit of a challenge for me in the kitchen.  But so far we have managed to keep her fed. :)
I should jump on the not eating any living thing bandwagon, but so far, I am not there. 

Anna has been such a great sister for Alli. She understands Alli very well.  I think she could see a lot of herself in Alli and that helped her process her own thoughts.
She has REALLY grown up!

 And she found a new favorite clothing store.

 And she dreams of owning her own pickup truck some day. :)
 Hey, how did Sarah get in here?? :) 

 Anna is a true cat person. :)

It Is HOT!

Too hot to hunt, too hot to play... and if you are Mr. Kittie Winkle, you just stretch out on the porch and sleep the day away. :)  LOL

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Short Sighted Chaos VS. Eternal Wisdom

I am the first to admit, that the palpable existence of EVIL in this world bothers me greatly. The suffering in the world seems to be growing at alarming rates.  Evil begets Chaos and it seems that Chaos is reigning in so many different locations, including right here in America.

Suffering, especially the suffering of innocent people is so troubling.  Sometimes I have to stop reading because I start to feel so small, so overcome with sadness and I feel so powerless to change anything.

Information about world events is pressed upon us  giving us knowledge of so much more than any of the previous generations on earth.   Honestly, I don't think we were meant to take in so much.

That brings me to wonder how in the WORLD GOD, can handle so much and bear so much.  He bears our burdens and feels our sorrows, AND.... He allows it!  But why?  God is LOVING and KIND,  He is LONG SUFFERING and PATIENT, and I do not believe that ONE thing happens on this Earth that HE does not know about.  

Yet, that Loving God, allowed my daughters to suffer horrendously.  He allowed me to suffer. He has allowed hardship to come to nearly every person I know.  There are people that suffer tremendously all over this world. Yet God says , "Follow Me.  Trust Me."

It is a puzzle when I think without eternity in mind.  When I am short sighted and filled with my self, NONE of it makes any sense.  It is sort of like this riddle:

"What has four letters, yet has three. But used in a sentence brings happiness and glee.
Therefore has nine, but there has just five.  What in the world?  If it has two, that is ok."
This is what it is like to think in the flesh, without the eyes of eternity.  This is what it is like to not have faith, to not trust in the infinite wisdom of a loving and heavenly father. 

But when the riddle is solved.... (if you can't solve it, let me know and I'll give a clue) all of the sudden, what seemed chaotic and made ZERO sense, is put in  proper perspective.   And we can say "Ahhh!" Now I understand. 
That time for us will not come for a long time.  And that is where faith comes in.  I choose to put my faith in the ONE who knows all things and rest in Him, even when I do not understand.    He knit me in my mother's womb, he knows the number of days that I will live, and he knows the future. 

Things are much less chaotic in my heart when I think about world affairs, or the affairs within my own family when I stop being short sighted and look at circumstances in light of eternity, and I trust that He who began a good work, will be faithful to complete it.




Monday, July 23, 2012

EVIL VS. MENTAL ILLNESS : Thoughts About The Aurora Colorado Massacre And James Holmes

I guess nearly the entire world knows about the awful massacre in Theatre 9, in Aurora Colorado.  James Holmes is now a well known name.  He was the fellow who dyed his hair orange, booby trapped his apartment, put on super loud music leaving his door unlocked;  then going to the theater, buying a ticket, walking to the exit door, propping it open,  going out, getting his deadly gear on, coming back in  and mowing down scores of people.  WHY? Nobody really knows. But oh, what a recipe for disaster for the next person who wants to make a statement!

What we have been told is that he was highly intelligent, a bit of a loner, and "easy going".
He actually volunteered at a children's camp as a counselor.  YIKES!

The media has picked up on the fact that Mr. Holmes was not outgoing. Just because somebody is quiet, or keeps to themselves does not mean they are going to become a mass murderer. There are MANY people who can be described as being like James Holmes, and they are harmless and remain harmless their entire lives!

Some people are saying he is crazy or has a mental illness.  I would like to complain about that.
It seems to be assumed that you MUST be mentally ill to be violent.  That is just hog wash and a slap in the face to those who suffer with mental illness.   I have family members who have suffered with mental illness, including schizophrenia.... they were NOT / ARE NOT violent!  Many times in our "enlightened society", we try to explain away EVIL, with "mental illness".  WHY?  Because we don't like to think there is REAL EVIL.

But what if, he just simply gave himself over to pure unadulterated EVIL? Pure unadulterated SIN?
The character he picked drove Heath Ledger to his death!  The JOKER is definitely the impersonation of Evil.  The gun range owner definitely didn't get a good vibe from his growling phone message machine, and one of the men who was shot said that as the shooter was standing six inches from his face, he felt a terrible presence of PURE EVIL!

I do believe that people can give themselves over to such darkness, and that they can in turn do exactly what Mr. Holmes did.   And it is AWFUL.
Does he regret his actions?  Nobody will know for a very long time.   He certainly looked confused and dazed at his hearing.  Maybe the taste of 2 days of solitary confinement gave him some reality of what his future will be like until, IF he is sentenced to death,  death takes his life, in a much more humane way than he took the lives of those in that theater.

I am sad for his parents. I am sad for his friends and colleagues.  I am sad for him.  But mostly, I am sad for the victims.

And you know what? In all this awfulness, there are glimmers of light.  Here is one of them. :)




A Conversation With Miss Alli

Today, I had to run some errands after dropping Anna off at the library for her volunteer job.  Alli asked to come with me so we could spend some time together.

So while we were out driving from place to place, we had a conversation that really to me is rather Miraculous.  That word gets thrown around here on this blog a lot, but truly , we live a miracle every day.  
The fact that our girls live with us, in our home, HERE in Texas, that they are alive and thriving.... I am always reminded of God's mercy and grace and the miraculous work He has done and continues to do  in their lives.

Let me back up..... Alli has been home for 16, almost 17 months.  She was 11 years old when she came, after being removed from her biological parents at 7, put in an orphanage, adopted into the United States, disrupted, adopted again, disrupted, throw in some respite care and some hospitalization  and , well, you get the idea.  All that was BEFORE we brought her home.

She was convinced for months that we would not keep her or love her.  She would start to get close and then run the other way emotionally.  But God's Grace and Mercy in her life began to show, and we saw little blossoms of love begin to form and take ROOT.

So, back to today....

We were driving in the car and she was asking all about college and what different careers require for college degrees.  She asked about incomes of various careers including, dentist, hygenist, fast food worker, police officer and nurse.  I told her all I could about each of those and how much school they would take.  She recoiled at the thought of how long it would take to be a dentist, claiming she would be OLD by the time she finished school. LOL (Not as old as me! but I didn't offer that ditty of info.)

She then began to ask about lifestyles of each of these jobs. What type of home could this kind of job offer?  And she was neatly putting together a little life lesson that we usually put together in high school for economics!

She listed out some of her desires for when she is older, including owning a horse or two.  She carefully asked about working hours for those jobs and weighed out if she would have time to care for a horse and work too. 

Wow! I was pretty blown away at this conversation, considering last year, she couldn't have held that type of conversation at all! Not at this level.

It is sorta funny.  Yesterday she said she didn't want to be 13 because people will expect so much out of you and you can't be rocked anymore.  When I explained she could be rocked no matter how old she gets and that one of the girls at church who is in her 20's sits in her daddy's lap all the time, she seemed to not be so anxious about being 13. :) 
And now, she seems to be sliding right into those years where you begin to think about all the exciting plans for a real future!  She is looking forward and not in the rear view mirror. :)



Way to go Miss Alli! :)


Randomness

We had a busy weekend.... so much so that we didn't even take the boat out on the lake.  We settled in last night and watched the DVD Babies that was recommended by r.   Thank you r.  We really enjoyed it. :)


On Saturday, we had so many cars to work on it was a parking lot out there!  One of our customers also attends our church.  Her little girl came in to play.  I had to leave and take Anna to the library to volunteer and while I was gone, Miss Alli decided to take a self portrait with her friend. :)

I also had to take a different car which I am SO THANKFUL that we have! My van broke down right in the drive way.  Mike will get to it when he can, but not today.
I decided to BBQ for dinner and the chicken I just bought was ROTTEN...... so we had to go to plan B... Fish.    Glad we had some fish.

On Sunday morning, Sarah was excited that she "finally found her stubbies!"  I asked her, "what are "stubbies?"  (that is a term used for prosthetics without the foot part)
She was talking about STUD earrings! :)
The 3 older girls attended a party for VBS volunteers yesterday afternoon so Mike and I took Alli  out to eat.  I think she enjoyed having alone time with mama and papa! :)

Soooo, time to tackle this week.  Preparing for school, laundry to fold, dishes to do,  working in the shoppe,  and 3 Scottish Rite appts. between 2 girls.

Yes, I will forge on!  What do I WANT to do?  Go back to sleep! :/

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Preparing for SCHOOL!


Tomorrow, I will begin to prepare for "School days School Days, Good Ole' golden rule days, Reading and Writing and Rithmatic!" 
We have less than a month before school starts.
Anna has announced she needs a new wardrobe.
Sarah has asked to volunteer at the library.
Alli is excited for what we are going to study.
Erika is ready to work hard to get ahead!
This year, we will start a new Geography and History Program.  I am really excited to get it going.
We will continue with Apologia Science, and Algebra 1/2 for 3 of the girls. Alli  will be doing 7th grade math. 
We are planning to try a sports team with a different home school association.  I need to make those calls this week to make sure Anna and Alli  can get in.
We will continue Friday Soccer for all of the girls.

It has been a really good summer.  I'm glad we took the time off.  It is the longest summer we have EVER taken!  But it was necessary.  I needed to really have a break, and Mike has needed me to do extra things in the shoppe with him.  I am hoping to continue to help him... but I'll have to be SUPER organized!  (not my forte')

So the countdown begins! We start school August 15th! :)

I am starting to get excited to get back on a REAL schedule!  I am also excited that our chickens will start to lay eggs soon!  I can't wait to STOP buying eggs once again, and get REAL eggs!

Love how the girls have handled summer.  We are jelling.... :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hershey's Cocoa

Guess who just discovered "Hershey's Cocoa"?  :)

LOL..... I don't think she likes it!   She said, "Mama, is this what real cocoa tastes like?" 
Yes dear.   
"And All this Time I was hoping we could buy a cocoa tree!"  LOL

Fear and Relationship

For those of you who have children who came to you with MULTIPLE, OVERSTUFFED Trauma bags, I pray this post can bring you hope.
 I have written much over the years about Trauma and FEAR and how our children, because of literally living day in and day out in a state of trauma,  their brains have learned to interpret trauma as normal every day life, and a life that is not full of trauma,  as something to be TERRIBLY feared. 
The truth is that FEAR is their familiar, and in a strange way, something they embrace.  Why? Because they know nothing different, and they are too afraid of the change.

So, if you are living with a child who's behaviors are over the top FEAR.... which can come out in many ways, INCLUDING: defiance, control, anger, frustration, hyperactive behaviors, hypervigilance, withdrawl, disassociation, depression, anxiety, PTSD, RAD, etc.  there is an answer.
There IS healing, but it will take a HUGE commitment to learning how to reach them AND it will take TIME. 

Just as much as our kids need to change behaviors, WE DO TOO!.   I wrote a post earlier about "When We Need to Change", this is a part 2 for that post. :)

I think that the very hardest things for we parents to get, is that when what LOOKS LIKE outright rebellion and defiance are staring us in the face, what we are REALLY facing is a STRONG reaction to FEAR. 
Many MANY times our kids may not recognize it themselves, because THEY don't know anything BUT fear.  It is, and has been a HUGE part of their lives. It is that strong survival instinct that has become their accomplice in life.  I won't call it their friend, but it is certainly their familiar companion.
I use the word accomplice, because an accomplice is NOT a good person to be with.  FEAR, CAN be a healthy thing in appropriate situations, but for our children who have suffered so much, it is an accomplice for them, an albatross about their necks, holding them in a prison of torment and despair, refusing to let them go.

We have some of the BRAVEST of children. :)   I say this very seriously.  It is a BRAVE and STRONG child that learns to overcome.  And it does NOT happen overnight.  IN FACT, it cannot happen, until our children take the plunge of TRUSTING us.  That bridge of trust is a FEARFUL bridge to cross.  Imagine yourself walking over  a shaky bridge with  pieces missing, over a burning hot fire down below, where one misstep will cost you your very life.  Imagine that you are so terrified that just trying to make that step forward is so daunting, that every fiber of your being holds back.
That is what it is like for some of our children.

Now, imagine yourself, as a parent on the other side of that bridge.  Are you the parent holding your hands out, encouraging your child to come and trust you with warmness and acceptance?  Or are you the parent who is standing on the other side saying, "Why Don't You Just Get Over Here?  What Is Wrong With You?  Hasn't It Been Long Enough? Why Don't You TRUST US???"

Our children will not get there on their own.  They NEED us to disarm that fear mechanism and take the plunge of trust.  But WE MUST be that instrument they can TRUST!

This brings me to the Amygdala.  This is the part of the brain that processes emotion.  There is no logic here, just interpretation of data with emotion.  There is no reasoning here.  And for kids with TRAUMA backgrounds, it is MESSED up! It takes over and causes the thinking part of the brain to not be able to reason.  It interprets the unknown with fear and our children will go into a fight or flight mode, or they will regress into themselves and shut us out. 
Our children's brains became wired this way in order to survive.  It took time for this connection to take place.....circumventing the reasoning part of the brain,  but the GOOD NEWS IS, IT CAN BE CHANGED! It is NOT a forever thing, if we can learn to reach our children.

I received a letter from a reader not too long ago who's new son had severe RAD.  She said nobody in their state would even take him for fostering,  and now, just 6 months later, he is connecting to them.  She was SOOO HAPPY! And I am thrilled for her. :) 

Miss Alli is another one who continues to make huge steps of progress in adjustment and trust. 
I too have learned myself, to REMEMBER what I am truly dealing with, if FEAR shows itself.
It is awesome to see how quickly something can be resolved that would have taken HOURS or days just over a year ago! 

Our children all were functioning in FEAR mode when we first brought them home, and FEAR IS NOT LOGICAL! That is why LOGIC does not work.  There is no reasoning in fear.  FEAR is a raw emotion, not based upon logic.
I believe one of the reasons that I understand how paralyzing fear is, is that as a child, I was TERRIBLY fearful.
I was so full of fear, (much of which nobody knew, because I chose not to share it) that it was paralyzing. I was the child who withdrew and shut down.  I turned my fear of a person, into an unreasonable fear of the dark, and being alone. It  carried into my adult life until 2 of my boys were already born.   I had to learn to identify why it was there, and conquer it!  It was HARD!

I know there are those that do not believe that defiance  or control is a fear mechanism.  They don't believe that a child who is disrespectful is fearful.  I cannot do anything about that but I DO know that as a child I felt RAGE and DEFIANCE.  I didn't act out on it, but it was there, brewing.
I almost feel like the child who actually expresses how they feel, is a little healthier and stronger!

I continue to write about our very real experiences with TRAUMA and how we have been able to help our children overcome, in hopes that it may be of help to somebody out there who is really struggling.  In the process of understanding my own children,  I personally have been able to unpack many more of my own personal traumas of the past, and lay them to rest. :)

Now back to the amygdala.  Did you know that it can be REWIRED to CALM down and not over react!  It CAN!  A  long time ago I used the term "rebooting", but a counselor friend of mine said, rebooting gives the idea of something happening right away, like flipping a switch.  He said "rewiring", is more like it.  That gives the concept of time.  Because it DOES take time.

We REWIRE the amygdala and give our children something new to hang onto.  Instead of FEAR, we offer them TRUST.  We offer them TRUE LOVE, which is an action on our part.  And the result of this rewiring, will be a mutual, REASONING,trusting, relationship. The defiance and rebellion will begin to disappear and a true relationship based upon mutual respect and affection will begin to take shape.

RELATIONSHIP is of UTMOST importance.  If you have no relationship, you will have no trust.
It must be NURTURED and PROTECTED....  Things that destroy relationships with our children, OR PREVENT THEM FROM FORMING IN THE FIRST PLACE are judgmentalism, harshness, unfair treatment, being controlling, anger, condemnation, shortness, over reacting,  bitterness, self pity, non acceptance.  Parents, these behaviors need to be FAR from us.  Yes, I'm talking about US, not our children.   HOW will they learn to trust us or WANT to trust us, if we give them nothing to hold onto for safety.

ACTIONS THAT BUILD RELATIONSHIP AND TRUST ARE:
Love, understanding, patience, kindness, gentleness, acceptance, Peacefulness, honesty, affection, laughter, humor, conversation, LISTENING, taking interest....

I am so glad that when we come to Christ, He accepts us with open arms of Love.  There is no condemnation for those in Christ.   I cannot imagine that GOD would save the sinner and then turn around and condemn him when he fails.  Instead, he love us, patiently guides us and corrects us in full acceptance with GREAT mercy and GRACE..... and yes, it is UNDESERVED.

God calls us onto a journey in our lives and causes us to grow in our Spirits over time.  He doesn't expect a baby in Christ to suddenly stand before a pulpit and parse verbs in Hebrew and Greek! 
Sometimes, I think that however is how we treat our newly adopted children.
They have NO IDEA what a family is, how it operates, how to interpret all the rules and nuances that each family has, let alone understand in many cases the new language they have had to learn!
And if there is continued tension, there is also no relationship. 
We need to remove the LOG from our own eye before we try to remove the speck from our children's eye so that a true relationship can begin!

We need to be a rope of SAFETY in our OWN behavior,  so they can DARE to TRUST.  By   going over and over and over and over again the process of offering LOVE and TRUST and NOT a reason to fear, .... Through that repeat process, the brain will be rewired. 
And that is SO SATISFYING! It makes me just so excited!  Especially when I get encouraging  letters of success. :)


Baby steps..... in the beginning and then..... a wonderful bouquet of wonder! 
Our children are complex blossoms waiting to be discovered.






Thursday, July 19, 2012

NOT AGAIN!!!! Another Russian Child Abuse Case!

I cannot believe it! Once again.... another child, adopted from Russia is abused!

From Julie Carey at NBC Washington:
A Bristow, Va., couple is charged with child abuse after their badly-bruised 8-year-old son fled from their home in the middle of the night and sought refuge at a stranger’s home about three blocks away.
Ron Kramer and his wife were watching television when they heard the doorbell ring at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday.
"I opened the door and I asked, 'Can I help you, son?'" Kramer said. "He said, 'I'm lost.' I asked, ‘Where did you come from?’ He said, 'I don't know.'"
As his wife made the boy a sandwich, Kramer called 911. Police and the Kramers noticed many deep, dark bruises on the boy's body.
Police took the boy with them to continue their questioning, and then about 5:30 a.m., 41-year-old Amy Sweeney called police to report that her son was missing. Police then questioned Sweeney and her husband, 39-year-old Matthew Sweeney, and charged both with felony child abuse.
A police spokesman said it appears the physical abuse had gone on for some time.
Kramer said it was troubling to learn of the allegations by police.
"It just floors me,” he said. “I have three children of my own and they now have their own children. We’re very aghast at the thought of someone treating a child like that."
The Sweeneys did not answer their door today. The van in their driveway displays decals showing a family of eight. There is also a "Choose LIfe" sticker and another promoting home schooling.
Neighbors said the family moved into the rental home about a year ago. They said Matthew Sweeney is active duty in the Navy and Amy Sweeney home schools the children. The Sweeneys rarely interacted with others on Ness Hollow Court, neighbors said, and some were unaware the couple even had an 8-year-old boy. Other neighbors told News4 the boy was adopted, originally from Russia.
The boy is now in the custody of Child Protective Services. The younger Sweeney children are also in protective custody for now, although police said none of them appeared to have suffered the same kind of abuse as their brother.
As for Kramer, he's just glad the 8-year-old found his way to his doorstep.
"I was just glad the circumstances provided for us to let him find us," he said. "He was an adorable young man, and we wish him well wherever he is."I am so sad. :(  I am sad for all of them.  I hope and pray that this will not effect those who are ready to adopt in Russia.  This family lives in the same area as the Peggy Hilt case. :(  
I do not know the answer to what is wrong.... but I DO KNOW, that people need to understand what they are taking on in International Adoption. 
And then, there is another KICK IN THE TEETH for those of us who educate our children at home. :(
If ANYBODY from RUSSIA IS READING THIS.... PLEASE KNOW, that Americans who adopt LOVE their children, and home schoolers LOVE their children and are successful and happy.  The instance of abuse is very small.... It is sad that it happens at all. :( 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vacation Bible School


 Nathaniel
 Beginning our day.  I taught "The Parable of the Sower."
From Luke 8: 4-15
 Are you awake Erika??  :)
 Alli and Caitlyn making picture frames.
 Caitlyn
 Erika and Taylor
 I think Sarah was just having a good time. :)
 Anna helped this year with the nursery.  This was during snack time.

 Finding the hidden plant in the good soil was fun..  It came out and kept on coming! The kids were pretty excited.
When your heart (good soil) is ready to receive  the word, (seed) you grow Spiritually!  And when the winds (troubles) come, you won't be blown down as in the rocky soil,  because you have roots!  And you won't be choked by the weeds (cares of this world)...... and the seed won't fall away as on the path that is hard as rock.  You will produce FRUIT as in the fruit of the Spirit...Your branches will raise their hands and praise the Lord. :)

What in the World??

 I think our chickens are part Ostridge!
Surely this doesn't make them any cooler! LOL

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

HOPE!

If you haven't read Catherine's post, it is a must read.  I am so full of joy for Francesca and Victoria.
There is always HOPE.   And NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER give up!

"hint hint.... VICTORIA is saying words!" :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Attachment and Babies and Adoption and Connection



Over the weekend, our son Marcus and Ivy came over with our grandsons Will and Charlie and our grand daughter Olivia.   As I was watching Olivia, aka... "Miss Butter".... I was once again struck by how INTENSE the mother-baby connection is... and in  her case, the Father-baby connection... :)  She so intently looked at them with the most ADORING expressions.  Everytime she heard her mama's voice, her eyes were searching for her, and when she saw her, there was this look of pure BLISS!  Miss Olivia, is 3 months old, and has had NUMEROUS connections with her mama and daddy these 3 months.
They coo at her and adore her and laugh with her and try to get her to interact and smile, and she responds with total and complete trust!
(I could kick myself for not getting a video of what I am trying to describe)

As Ivy and I were talking, I mentioned, "Look how intent she looks at you!"  And then I told her how it made me think of the girls, and how ALL THOSE YEARS  passed, and they had NOBODY to coo at them and love on them.
Ivy's reply was, "I know!"  "I think about that too!"
And then we told Olivia what a fortunate baby she was to have such loving parents to dote on her. :)

Today, as I was driving with Anna to the grocery store, there was a service type announcement on the news radio.  They were encouraging parents to read to their babies, talk to them in full sentences and sing to them. :)  I thought, "That is a good announcement!"  But they went further:
"This is the sound of a baby's brain wave who does not have a parent read to them, or sing to them..... and it was one of those flat notes..... that you might think of when a signal goes out.    And then they said, "this is the sound of a baby's brain wave who has parent's who sing and read and talk to them. The signal was making all sorts of sounds and bouncing around.....

I felt tears well up in my eyes. I know it sounds silly , as this was a simple commercial announcement. But in our home, and family, we have 4 little girls who had that flat brain wave for YEARS!     And it makes me rejoice in AWE that they are doing so wonderfully after YEARS of neglect and abuse.
I also felt tears of joy for Miss Butter, and all of my other grand children and my boys who DIDN'T suffer that type of abuse or neglect.  I am thankful for each of my adult children and their wonderful wives; my other adult children who are WONDERFUL parents!

And finally, I felt a sense of gratitude that I get to be mom to such wonderful girls.  I am so thankful that I can love on them and coo at them and make them smile, even at the ages they are now.  I am thankful that they have each been placed into our home to be LOVED, unconditionally, and forever. :)
There is hope to recoup the lost time that our children endured.  Those years of silence, rocking in cribs, being neglected and hungry; there is hope for connection, healing and LOVE. RAD can HEAL. PTSD can HEAL.... FEAR can HEAL.  YES IT CAN!
OH YES THERE IS HOPE! DON'T DOUBT IT FOR ONE MINUTE.... :)

It is REAL.





Oh my beautiful, wonderful girls..... You are precious not only to us, but to GOD.  HIS heart broke when your hearts broke.  But OH the JOY that has come.......  WE LOVE YOU!


 Jeremiah 29:11   For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 
Amen!

Fear Not! For I have redeemed you
I have called you by your name, you are mine
When thou pass through the water, I will be with you
And through rivers they shall not overflow
When you pass through the fire you shall not be burned
 Neither shall the flame kindle upon thee
For I am the Lord thy God!
Isaiah 43


Saturday, July 14, 2012

PROUD~!

I am so proud of the girlies; EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM! :)
This month has been HARD! We have worked very hard to get our old house leased. It took a LOT of effort and time. The girlies helped, and then in the end, I kept them at home, while Mike and I finished getting the house ready for leasers. :) 
The lease was signed today and family life will be back to normal!

I am so thankful that the girls helped and then were able to really be helpful by being responsible at home! :)

I know that the last couple of weeks have been INSANE! But, Thank you girls for hanging in there and being a TEAM! YES! The Lake is coming, and we will have a wonderful time once again! :)

You Are Still Holy

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