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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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Erika's Walking Journey

It is important to see this.  Erika had ZERO hope in Ukraine. The situation in Russia is pretty much the same.  Erika was ready to be sent to a mental institution on the very DAY our paperwork arrived at the orphanage.... that "Intent to adopt" paperwork.  The orphanage director emailed us.... "ARE YOU SURE YOU ARE GOING TO ADOPT HER?" "HER JOINT DON'T WORK!"
We assured him as soon as we could get there, we would be there for her. We had never met her. She was Sarah's best friend, left behind. :(

7 months later. SEVEN LONG MONTHS.... not NEARLY as long as many have to wait, we went to get our daughter.  She was already ours, we knew it. A love for her grew in our hearts as we gazed at the few pictures of her that we had.
That day came..... she came and sat between us, "My Matchika, My Papitchka".... the translator had tears. She said that had never happened.
Erika was nearly 8 years old, HIDDEN in the baby house because of compassion by the director. He didn't want her to go to that awful institution. His institution was bad enough!
Two days later, Erika had a terrible black eye. She was tripped by a worker; the same worker who cursed in our faces because she knew she could.  Erika told us through the translator.
We saw Erika struggle down stairs in ICE, barely being able to scoot in her famous "bricks". :)
She called her red shoes that, I'm sure that is how they felt. They were also about 3 sizes too small, as were her braces, and when we tried to help her, the orphanage workers scolded us and yelled NYET!
She had tears as she struggled to get around.
She was our baby and was being abused in front of our eyes. She had bruises on her wrists and arms from being grabbed roughly and yanked around. 
The worker who cared for her black eye mocked us saying, "Your mama is fussing over your eye!"
We could not WAIT to get her out of there.
But we had to be careful. We didn't want to make anybody mad. But inside, my mama heart was burning.
When we were finally able to spring her from her prison, the first thing we wanted to do was give her a nice warm bath.  She was terrified to have her braces removed. Her stocking were stuck to her legs, feet at toes, where there were DEEP wounds on top of wounds. IT WAS AWFUL.  Poor baby was in terrible pain.  Once we got her in that bath, she was in heaven. She had never had a real bath.
She rocked back and forth at night to begin her sleep routine. My tears could not be contained.
The depths of abuse and neglect were so raw and real.
Children do NOT just rock back and forth because they like it. They have been neglected since BIRTH.
(Alli, as bad as her past was, does not rock, because she had a mother and father, brother and sister for her first 7 years)

My father in law Ed, put this video together of Erika. I am so thankful he did. :)  I miss him so much.
He died of complications of cancer treatment 3 years ago.
Ed LOVED Erika. :) He loved all the girls.  I wish he could have met Alli. He would have loved her too. :)
Erika has her own blog, you can see it from my side bar, or HERE.http://theadventuresoferikaminich.blogspot.com/

As you think about it... Pray for the children left in orphanages all over Eastern Europe who are without hope.  There is rumor that there is a bill before the DUMA that will allow for the adoption of Special Needs children.  Please pray this goes through.  Pray for those who voted for this bill, that hearts of compassion will prevail. 
We adopted Erika in Ukraine during a ban on adoptions. BECAUSE she had special needs, we were allowed to go and get her.

Backgammon Tournament and More...

 Anna bought a new work out outfit with her gift card.
 Backgammon is a favorite family game. The girls are getting really good at it!
I think Uncle Bob had some challenges this year. :)
So did Mom and Dad!
 Bob won his fair share of games, so did everybody else. :)



 Anna cleaning Uncle Bob's clock! :)



Alli holding Erika's helicopter.....
video

Friday, December 28, 2012

Russian Adoptions No More.... :(


I do not know how to express the deep sorrow that I feel for the children who are cruelly being used as political pawns by Vladimir Putin.  The words, evil and cruel come to mind. 

Things are BAD ENOUGH for Orphans who live there, but to add to that HOPELESSNESS of ever having a family?  Oh wow! That is just beyond conscience.

I have read and been SICKENED by the people who have commented online on various sites saying, "Good, Americans should adopt AMERICAN anyway!" "Or, people only go to Europe because they don't want a black child"..... I even read one that said, "They go there because it is cheaper!"
ALL OF THOSE COMMENTS were mean spirited and FRANKLY, IGNORANT!

I can't bear to think of the children, who's faces I have seen, being lost into a system that will render them USELESS, IMBICILE, and relegate them to a dying room or mental institution for the rest of their lives. I can't bear to think of the children systematically tortured, with NO HOPE.

The insidiousness of this law goes BEYOND adoption. It goes to ANY AMERICAN organization. That means, any group wishing to help.  I need to research this part more, but if the implications are what I think they are, then they are headed back to Old Soviet Russia and things will be even worse.

I just went to see Les Miserables 2 days ago and  I couldn't help but think of the poverty stricken scenes that were so real, the girl who had nobody and was caught into despair and then selling her body.  She became less than human and full of shame.  


THIS IS THE PLIGHT OF THE CHILDREN WITHOUT THE HOPE OF ADOPTION!
 I do not know how Putin can sleep, or those who voted for this.  I DO know that this is NOT the will of so many of the Russian Citizens who live there. You can read this opinion from Moscow Times titled "An Adoption Law Only King Herod Would Sign".  I thank Victor Davidoff for bravely writing it.

I look at my beautiful daughters, who were without hope and now SHINE.... and I hug them closer and thank the Lord for their precious lives.I mourn with my friends who have lost sweet loved ones that they were never given the opportunity to parent. :(  Some have made more than one trip already and hugged their child, giving that child hope of a family, only for that hope to be crushed under the hammer and sickle.

For the Torry Hansens, Peggy Hilts, and others who brought wrath to America by their deplorable actions..... they have a heavy burden of responsibility to bear. I pray that they will come to a place of taking that  responsibility, and then to a place of  life and forgiveness.

Russian Church, RUSSIAN CHRISTIANS.... Russian Citizens, it is time to take care of the children.
GO into the dark places and see for yourselves. Seek them out. They are there, right under your noses, down the streets from you, and at the ends of the roads, deep in the country. They are also hiding in the subways, on the streets, cold and poor! These are the throwaway children who have nowhere to go at 16!  DO SOMETHING about it! Help save the children!  Go into the laying rooms! Hold the babies, comfort the handicapped children, help to feed them, Help them! Give them simple, human touch. GIVE THEM DIGNITY!  
ADOPT THEM!
LOVE THEM!
MIRACLES CAN HAPPEN!
I am praying for a miracle. I am praying that Putin and the Duma will have a change of heart, and the laws will change. 
It is so very heartbreaking. :(
THIS is the TRUE PLIGHT of the Russian Orphan with Special Needs like our daughters.

In addition: 
There are other countries that adopt from Russia and other Eastern European Countries. But MANY, who are from  those countries are NOT ALLOWED to adopt children with special needs like Erika or Sarah.  Governments with Socialized medicine prevent them from adopting children who will be a "burden" on the country. :( 
One of the  ONLY HOPES of children with special needs is American parents called to adopt them.
This is a DEATH SENTENCE for them. :(
I am heartbroken.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Day After...

We are toasty inside and it is FREEZING COLD outside!  I went and took care of chickens this a.m. and collected a few eggs that were missed yesterday.  They were frozen!

We had to break through the water for the chickens and goats.  All of the goats were toasty warm laying, in the straw inside of their shelter. 

Today the sun is shining. The reflection of the snow and ice makes it very bright outside!
The girls received a CD/Cassette player for each of the two bedrooms.  This a.m. I heard Anna and Erika happily cleaning and decorating in their room listening to Anna's newest C.D.  :)
Looking forward to the day Sarah and Alli do that without being told. LOL

All those weeks of pecan cracking payed off. We still have pecans to eat and bake with. :)
There are still more falling from the trees!

I'll be making Split Pea Soup for lunch.  It seems like a nice thick soup is what is needed on a cold winter day!

I did really well staying on my diet, with regards to nightshades and gluten and caffiene.  But I did make this wonderful  Raspberry Soup from Sally's blog.  I had a small bowl of it, and a few small pieces of home made fudge.  

Tomorrow, back to no sugar again.  I really enjoyed having a treat, but don't feel like I "need" the treat to be satisfied.  The stuffed mushrooms were my favorite, and there is no sugar in those.

I asked the girls what their favorite gift was:
Erika said the CD player.  Anna: Camouflage PJ's and ski pylon. Sarah- Clue game. Alli- Roller Blades.
Mike gave the Ski Pylon to all of us because it will raise the ski rope out of the water and way above the boat. It has been a problem with the rope dragging in the water. 
That means everybody is looking forwards to summer. :)

My favorite gift, was the gift of Love.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What A Wonderful Day


We are having such a peaceful, wonderful day!  AND.... it is SNOWING!  WE always wish for snow on Christmas, and today, it happened! It is just beautiful!
A few of our guests had to cancel, because in Texas, many don't feel comfortable driving in snow. However, our Russian friends came on over right in the middle of blowing snow! LOL

We started our morning with a snuggle so Uncle Bob could sleep a little longer, with the emphasis on "little". :)
Sarah made coffee and Alli and Erika went out to care for animals.  And then, we were all up.
I made our gluten free crepes with Lingonberries.  They were WONDERFUL!

The girls opened gifts and it was just so sweet to see their creativity. 
I received 2 coupon books this year to use for extra foot rubs, spa days and chores. :)
I LOVE getting those coupon books. :)
Sarah was so thoughtful with a gift she gave her daddy...
Anna put together a rock collection for me. She knows that a long time ago I had one and it was lost.

We had some wonderful and  silly times too. :)


 I think Alli likes Erika and Anna's gift as much as they do! LOL
 Sarah was very thankful!
We had a very special treasure chest this a.m.....
One of our customers was getting rid of what was left  from a sale of  "Charming Charlies" costume jewelry.  He and his wife gave it to the girls. We figured this would be a huge hit, so we put the gift in this treasure box.  It was a mass of tangled jewelry, but some really great stuff. They were so excited and spent hours untangling jewelry!


They are planning to give some to friends, wear some and especially use it in props for movies. :)

  It is still snowing! :)


I Wish ALL of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Merry Christmas!


"For Unto You Is Born This Day, In the City of David, A Savior, Christ the Lord...And You Shall Find the Babe Wrapped in Swaddling Cloths, Lying in a Manger." 
From The Gospel Of Luke

Simeon's Lullaby:

Monday, December 24, 2012

It's A Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

It is always fun when friends visit. :)

 Mike and I on our way to go shopping.... without girls!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Such A Sweet Talk

I had such a sweet talk with My Anna. 
For those who have followed this blog the last 5 years.... I have mentioned numerous times how difficult Christmas is for Miss Anna.
She was moved more than two times at Christmas time.  Of course, the most memorable time was the time she came home to us! She was so worried that Santa wouldn't know where she lived!
Of course, that was NOT the time to say, "There is No Santa"..... :)  We let her go and visit Santa and tell him her new address.
Tonight, we had a PREPARATORY talk about what to expect the next few days.
She is doing WONDERFUL!  We talked about the past and some of the reasons Christmas might be hard for her. 
She said, "Mama You know me too well!" :)

We snuggled and talked about the future.
One thing she said was that she did not realize how many times she had been moved at Christmas. Now that she is older, we can discuss these things! I LOVE the teenage years!

So, as we talked and snuggled, we discussed ways to keep ourselves  comfortable, including alone time, and visiting time. 
I LOVE my Anna! She is a wonderful girl!
As we were talking about that feeling of being moved, I reassured her once again, as I have done for 9 years, "You Ain't Going ANYWHERE!" 
And we snuggled some more. :)
I think THIS CHRISTMAS is going to be her BEST CHRISTMAS EVER! :)

OH! YOU BETTER WATCH OUT!


YOU BETTER NOT POUT! YOU BETTER NOT CRY, I'M TELLING YOU WHY.....

UNCLE BOB IS COMING TO TOWN! :)
video
Can't wait to see him! :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Do You Go Into Your Child's World?

One of the best ways to understand a child, is to go into their world of imagination and experience and look at things from their perspective. 
If we don't see things how they perceive or view them, we will have difficulty trying to draw them out into a more accurate picture of reality.  Once you have gone into THEIR WORLD, YOU CAN PULL THEM OUT INTO A MORE HEALTHY PLACE....  A place of Innocence and Imagination!
It happens slowly for many children who are very, very hurt. 
Connecting with them can be as simple as studying what their favorite subject is and then doing something together.  It could be taking them to the dog pound to pet and walk dogs, because they are worried about the "dogs" who have no owners.
This might give you a clue about something else they are too afraid to tell you about; being worried about children who have no parents. 
After a light hearted time of walking dogs or petting them over asking about how they got there, you can then take opportunity on the way home, or while eating ice cream or going for a walk to transfer those feelings to caring about humans, and how many children do not have parents. 

"I am so glad that you are a part of family now!  I am so glad you don't have to be alone anymore!"

And then, you can help them pray for the children that we are all haunted by; left behind in orphanages and alone.

I remember working so hard to try and get into Anna's world.  She had imaginary friends, "Holly and Sister Nothing."  I remember one of the first times it happened, she had been home just weeks and we were in the van.  She didn't like the radio station so we turned it off.  I have learned that Anna MUCH PREFERS calm and quiet to busy noise, and that is ok. 
But I decided to turn it into a game for her. 
"Well, what do you want to listen to?  And I pretended to turn the radio on and started singing. 
She wanted it turned down, so I told her to turn it down.  She caught on, and turned my volume down, then up then down.... and then she switched channels.  We had so much fun being silly and switching channels and volume, I think I even tried my hand at Spanish.  She let her guarded little heart down and her childhood innocence and joy popped out. 
That defining time gave me hope that there was a little child in there wanting to pop out and be vulnerable once again!

Don't forget in all the craziness of parenting children who have trauma backgrounds to remember,they are children, and children love to imagine and play.  If they have forgotten how, or never learned, one of the best things you can do is teach them to play.

But when you teach them, gently introduce parameters. "Oh sweetie, we only speak nicely to our dollies.  We wouldn't want anybody to say something like that to us! So we shouldn't say it to our dollie. " 
(Watching and listening is vital to catch windows into their little hearts, but do not let their hearts go unchecked)
If they are pretending, do not allow them to pretend to be a bad guy. "Good guys only! You live in a good guy zone!" 
Don't allow them to pretend to shoot a person EVER, and NEVER EVER in a video game!
"We only pretend to shoot at targets like tin cans."
If they are playing with blocks and only know how to throw them, teach them to build, stack, make a truck, make a house... "What would you like your house to look like?" 
The children may only throw them because they don't know what to do with them!
FINGER PAINTS are GREAT for kids to use eyes and hands and design things. If you mess up, you just smear it over and start again!
We have parented all of our children in this way.

One thing that has brought  me such joy over the years has been watching my children play. 
Each of our girls had to learn how to play and use their imaginations.  We started with games like Anna and I did, and then gave them dollies and blocks.   We kept their toys basic and simple, and made sure they would cause them to have to use their imaginations. 
I remember Anna had no idea how to take care of a baby doll. :(  She carried it by the foot and looked at me like "What do I do with this?" 
That was my opportunity to play with her and teach her to play.
"What is your baby's name?"  "Oh, I think she is hungry, can you feed her?"  "Watch her head, she is very tender and tiny!"  "I think she might be cold!" "Your baby is crying, you need to go and pick her up, we mustn't let babies cry!"
And then we would PLAY together.  She picked up on playing pretty quickly.
Our newest daughter Alli, who came home at 11, also did not know how to play.  Her sisters and I were able to draw her into a world of imaginary play and that healing play has been vital for her.
She was finally allowed to be a little girl.  She didn't know who she was when she came. She was lost in a sea of grief, tragedy and confusion.
When she first came home, she was talking about vampires and music groups. 
She had been told she was too old for the very first Easter Egg Hunt she had ever seen and was not allowed to participate. 
(Something she remembered when we gave her a doll that was not a barbie doll)
We made SURE she had an Easter Egg Hunt, and let her know that even Mom likes finding Easter Eggs.

She makes everybody laugh with her play now. She is VERY GOOD at creating and being in the "Olden Days", her favorite period of time.  
"Hey, let's pretend we are sisters and that we home school and we live in the country!"  LOL
But then, she adds, and everybody has to do school by oil lamp, or wear long dresses and get the eggs. She and Sarah have made paper monies and they buy and sell at a market they created on the front porch. 
All of them make movies now, and write scripts for them.  Sarah has been working on a HUGE mystery from when her friends come over. They all have clues with ribbons tied around them for a big interactive game.
It is so important for our children, who have missed much of childhood to have the opportunity to BE CHILDREN before they enter the next stage of life. 
It is a vital part of healing. 
If the idea of Playing with your child exhausts you.... think of it as cheap therapy. :)  Eventually, once they learn to play, you can be more of an observer, and they wind up playing with each other.  And then you get to joyously sit back and watch the magic of childhood.

This is one of Mike's favorite scenes from Martian Child.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's Vacation Time!

Everybody was so excited to start vacation!  Last night it began with a Christmas Party for our church youth.  The girls had a great time.  Today, Alli slept in!  Everybody else was up and working on various projects or playing games.
Alli wasted no time starting a new project once she was up.
 Today, Alli was a dear heart and entertained a dear friend's little grand daughter for a few hours while they had their car worked on.  I was checking on her through the screen when they were outside on the porch. She was being so attentive and sweet;  entertaining little Kiera. 



Anna started the first snow flake today to send to Sandy Hook Elementary.


 Sarah tried her leg on for the first time today. She isn't quite ready, but SOON! :)  She and Erika watched a VERY OLD version of "Little Women".... I still think the best one ever done was the one from the 1990's with Susan Sarandon. 

And today I cleaned out my personal drawers! This has been a much needed thing to do for a very long time!  AND.... it didn't take that long.  I was able to donate some things to "Goodwill". 

We received a very precious letter today from our dear friend Chris Jacobsen who is no longer about to travel to bible study.  That was the highlight of my day. :)

Tonight, Erika and Daddy have a special night out.... I think the others will work on snow flakes.

I have been given a book recommendation for reading that is now on my list.
My friend said it is a MUST READ....
"Creature of the Word" the Jesus Centered Church.... by Matt Chandler.
More Snow Flakes:




If you would like to join in and send Snow Flakes to Sandy Hook Elementary School, send them here:
Here is a LINK to the details.


Carthage Flower Shop
107 N Saint Mary St
, Carthage, Texas 75633





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