Friday, June 24, 2011

Adding Leif to the chore chart

 Leif is not quite a year old yet, but he had decided that he is Daddy's little helper.  It is a good thing, too, because on Wednesday Alexander is heading off to be a Junior Counselor at Camp Good News in New Hampshire.  Leif is ready to step into big brother's spot on the chore chart.
He even helped put the groceries away.  
In Proverbs it says to "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."  I know that verse is not technically referring to the chores, but forming the habit of being helpful now will go a long way in the future.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Leif Eats! And Feeds...

 Tonight at dinner I suggested to Jamie that he hand Leif his bowl and spoon, instead of feeding him. Leif took the spoon, scooped up some rice, and ate it!  He just takes in everything and had figured it out from watching us eat.
 He also figured out that we take care of each other.  We know this because he began feeding Dante when he saw him looking at the rice in the bowl.  Dante let his baby brother take care of him.  It was one of the sweetest moments ever.

If you would like to help us as we try to adopt a little girl in West Africa, please see the chip-in on the side bar.  Every day I see Leif loving his brothers and sisters, and I cannot wait to see him with a new little sister.  Leif loves so unconditionally, and we can all learn from him.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Special Olympics 2011

 Sunny is so proud of her landing!
 Amelia doing her balance beam routine.
 Sunny finishing her floor routine.
 Leif is their biggest fan!
 Amelia and her medals.
Those girls had a blast!!
 Loving the bus ride!
 Micah is incredibly strong for his age and weight.

Micah was  AWESOME!!!!
2 Gold
3 Silver
All Around Silver

Friday, June 17, 2011

Time to Redefine?

I told Jamie today that maybe we should not raise money for our adoption of an orphan in West Africa.  After all, it does not really seem to be working.  Yes, we have had $240 gifted to us for the adoption expenses...5 donors in 12 days.  And we are thankful!!

And we still need a lot more.  There are lots of adoptive families who also need a lot more.  I see blogs of fellow adoptive families pursuing the "ransom" for an orphan, and struggling to raise the money.  Struggling to find the support of their fellow Christians in the pursuit of obeying God's command to "look after the widows and orphans in their distress".  We are just one of many families trying to find the resources and the help to bring an orphan into our lives so that we can be blessed by his/her presence and be a part of God's purpose for that child.

Very few churches have an orphan ministry, a plan to help families in their congregation with the costs of adoption.  Yet most churches have a missions budget.  Most Christians are very aware of the need to support missionaries.

So maybe we should call our journey a short-term missions trip to West Africa.  After all, we do need to take donations over with us.  And we will be a witness to those who see our love for the orphans there and our desire to share God's love with a little girl.  Our agency uses a portion of the adoption costs to have programs that help families stay intact...more mission work. The fact that our "missions trip" will have the incredible bonus of bringing home a child?  Maybe we should not mention that too loudly, because it seems that adoption is looked on more as a personal decision, as opposed to a command from God...

There is an African proverb made very well known by a former First Lady.  "It takes a village."  I thought most villages have a church?  A body of Believers?

Please, support our mission.  Even $5 or $10 when given by everyone who visits will soon become the amount we need.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Fruits of Their Labor

Sunshine and Strawberries

 Today was beautiful, so six of the kids and I headed out for some strawberry picking.

 Amelia was a hard worker, and was able to pick only the red ones.
 Micah was also a hard worker, and even chastised his big brother when he saw a strawberry not quite up to his standards.  He then threw the strawberry to the ground, to make his displeasure crystal clear.
 Sunny and Nikita filled their container twice as fast as the rest of us.
 Leif decided he was inspector #8.  You cannot see it, but there is strawberry juice on his chin.
 The hardest part was the long walk back to the van.  Micah was dragging and begging Zachary to carry him.  When we said "no" he stopped and decided not to move.  Without saying a word, I signed "french fries" to him, and suddenly he was jogging past us to the van.  (Nikita did end up carrying him partway.)
 We went to Howard's Drive-In for some of their awesome fries, and a few cokes.
Dante was at school while we were picking, but wow did he spy the strawberries on the table and start munching when he got home.  I'll be making some strawberry shortcake, and freezing most of the berries.

It was a wonderful day, and we are thankful!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Nikita!

 Nikita took the above photo of Leif gazing adoringly at her.
She is 15 today!!

 Nik with her peeps.
Leif thinks she is so comfy for sleeping.
Um, despite the face, Micah adores big sister too!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Getting Away

Tonight Jamie, Nikita, Leif and I are driving out to Edmeston, NY.  Tomorrow Jamie and I will be attending a conference at Pathfinder Village.  Dr. George Capone of the Kennedy Krieger Institute will be speaking on Medical and Behavioral Issues in Down Syndrome.  Given Dante's dual diagnosis I am particularly interested in the behavioral issues aspect.

We are actually staying tonight at the Inn at Pathfinder Village, which is pretty neat.  Tomorrow Nikita will babysit Leif while Jamie and I are at the conference.  It will be nice to get away for an overnight, even if we are taking two of the kids along. You can visit their website at and see why I am so excited to be going on this trip!


I received an email yesterday that our home study should be done early next week.  This is great news, and I am grateful....BUT....we cannot do anything with our home study until we have the $3000 to pay the placing agency, and also the $3000 for our paperwork to be sent to West Africa for the referral.  Then we will get a photo of our daughter-to-be!  While we are extremely grateful for the donation chip-ins so far, it is going slowly.

Don't forget when you give it benefits more than just one orphan and one family-- the goat that will be donated through Heifer Project will have a positive impact on a family and their entire village!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lessons from the Baseball Field

The triplets had a baseball game yesterday.  I was unable to go, but Jamie and Alexander report that a good time was had by all:

~~ Micah professionally stepped up to the pitcher's mound and used his foot to wipe the dirt off "the rubber".  Once the game started though the seriousness was done and it was time to have fun.

~~"Fun" as defined by Sunny means throwing your hat around while in the infield.   If it stays on too long she might get hat hair, and no self-respecting female wants that.

~~The outfield has no use since no ball is hit that far, but the grass is amazingly soft to sit upon.  Occasionally a ball does roll that way, and then it is fun to chase.

~~Even though the best way to get a triple is to run straight to third base after hitting the ball, the kids did eventually agree to run to first, first.

~~It did take a while, though, for Amelia to leave her bat behind when running to first.  Jamie reports she took her bat all the way to second yesterday.

~~Every game should be only 3 innings.  That is when the triplet's sit down strike begins.  It ends when hot dogs, chips, and soda are offered.  "They suddenly got a spring in their step."

They did have a wonderful time yesterday, and the people at the Millbury Little League field were wonderful, even providing play by play announcing.  Now that must have taken a lot of filling in and imagination!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I left the stool out...

...And Leif found it.
  He likes to play with the plastic lids and containers in the kitchen, and I can often hear him but not see him.  So it was a little shocking to look over and see him at eye level looking back at me!  He can climb lickety split, and has great balance.  He was not happy when I put the stool away.


Our tag sale raised $115 today.  I was also given 3 huge bags of beautiful baby girl's clothing sized 6 months- 3T to be either taken to West Africa or donated to a pregnancy center/mom in need here.  Nikita sorted them all out and it was a very generous donation.  I am not planning to do another tag sale fundraiser, but we are doing the chip-in for a Heifer Project goat and our adoption.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Whom Shall I Send?

"We see the people going to market for provisions, eating by day, sleeping by night, talking their silly nonsense, getting married, growing old, serenely escorting their dead to the cemetery; but we do not see and we do not hear those who suffer, and what is terrible in life goes on somewhere behind the scenes."
-Anton Chekhov

"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." - James 1:27

     The Bible states in many places the need to help those who cannot help themselves. If this is true, why is it that the church as a whole seems unwilling to consider the plight of orphans all across this globe?  We have our Sunday services, Bible studies, and self help Christian literature.  We live and go on our way, and meanwhile just over the horizon, there are children who have no hope.  What does the Church do about it?  Are there widespread adoption related ministries to help those who seek to take on this need?  Generally speaking, the answer seems to be no.  Why is this need neglected?  I wish I knew.  There is a clear need and a clear command to fill that need, yet it is neglected.  In Isaiah 6:8, the prophet Isaiah hears the Lord call, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" This is the question that the Lord asks all Christians.  We all have a task from God.  One of those tasks is surely the orphans of the world.  We all should answer with the prophet:  "Here am I! Send me."


The above portion of this post was written by Jamie.  This is my part.  I'm not nearly so eloquent.

I want to say "Here am I, send me."  I am simply at a loss as to how we can say that to the Lord, when we simply do not have the money for this adoption.  Grants take a long time and there are hundreds of applicants for each one, because there are so few to go around.  Fundraising is difficult and time consuming, and I find it difficult to ask people for help. I am not a charismatic outgoing person, I am not an  extrovert, and I do not have a lot of connections.

Where does that leave us?  I don't know. Where does that leave a little girl who has Down Syndrome and is living in an orphanage in West Africa?   I don't know.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What is she doing?

This morning the five youngest kids and I had oatmeal for breakfast, like we do every weekday.
I wonder what my daughter in West Africa had for breakfast, and was it enough?

Later I was rolling around on the floor with Leif, listening to his giggles.   Alexander recently taught him the joy of rough housing, and he loves a good romp.
I wonder if anyone tickles my daughter in West Africa while she waits for Jamie and I to get her?

Tonight Jamie will help the kids brush their teeth and tuck them into bed with a prayer and a kiss.
I wonder....

When will we have the money to bring her home? 
We need help.
Please pray for my daughter in West Africa, as she wonders what is beyond her orphanage walls.