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Archive for the ‘adoption’ Category

          I read today that the family of Steven Curtis Chapman lost a daughter to a tragic accident yesterday.  The Chapman family’s youngest daughter 5 year old Maria was hit by a car driven by her brother.  It happened at their home in Nashville.  Worse still, it was witnessed by other family members.  What a horrible thing to see.  Maria’s brother needs alot of prayer.  It is a heavy burden to be in the position of being the driver who didn’t see the child.   May God bless this whole family during this time. 

           Their daughter Maria was adopted from China.  The Chapman’s have three children born to them and three others who they adopted.  I remember reading in an adoption magazine a few months ago, how the family felt called to adopt a child from China.  The family’s oldest daugther encouraged her parents to do so.  The Chapman’s committed to missionary work in China a couple of years ago.  I am sure with the recent tragedy that China has been going through has affected them greatly. 

           Steven Curtis Chapman is a gifted Christian singer.  He has been a huge force in ministering through music.  The family also has created a ministry foundation for those wishing to adopt called Shaohannah’s Hope; it helps the families to be able to afford to adopt.  I am sure the whole family’s heart is heavy.  For a child makes a huge impact on a family whether they are adopted or birthed into the family.  A child’s death leaves a huge empty spot.  Please pray for healing during their time of grief.  You can learn a bit more here:  http://www.stevencurtischapman.com/

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       Raising children is one of the most important things a person can do.  It not only impacts a family; it impacts communities, businesses, organizations and individuals.  Raising children well; it is an art form.  In our world today, there are many things pulling at a family unit trying to divide it and conquor it.  It’s become the norm to expect families to break up; it is almost extra-ordinary to see a family survive all that life throws at it.

       There are those around us who struggle in ways that we cannot see.  There are stresses that are normal; and then, there are those which have the ability to wreak havoc on our inter-personal relationships. 

        Un-expected pregnancies are one such stressor.  Un-planned pregnancies, no matter the age or marital status of the parents, can overload those involved; due to financial pressures, health issues, as well as, the emotional well-being of the parents. 

        Making a choice to become a parent is an important step; whether you become a parent biologically, or through the adoption process.  Each life that is conceived is precious and full of promise.  A pregnancy should be cause for celebration; however, sometimes circumstances can complicate the miracle of life.  Those type of situations are when the adoption option becomes a lifeline for those affected.

         Organizations such as Bethany Christian Services are just, such a lifeline.  Of course, they offer more than just adoption services; there is counseling, foster care, estate planning, pregnancy counseling, post adoption care, orphan care, infertility ministry and embryo services.  They are all about building, healing, and restoring families here in the United States and around the world.

        If your heart if full of blessings…or if you have a need…go to this link and check them out.  If your heart has been burdened by the complications of life; and, you have been touched by something greater than yourself…can you find a way to give back?  Support Bethany Christian Services either through a financial donation or maybe just by volunteering your time.  Check them out here:  www.bethany.org.  

          Do you see the suffering of those all around the world and feel helpless to do anything about it?  Those who are lonely, without the basic necessities of life, poor, starving, homeless or just without someone to love them; they need help.   Many of us do see the conditions of the world and suffer a sense of guilt at our own good fortune.  Do you feel something within your heart calling you to make a difference?  We all do…don’t turn off that sensitivity to the hurts in the world.  You can make an impact!

          Maybe you already have the gift of making an impact; but, you wish to find ways of increasing that skill…may i suggest a book that will open windows into the system or skill set that will broaden your abilities to impact the world in a positive way?  It was written by Ken McArthur…a man who has felt the need from childhood to impact the world in a positive way.    The world is a big place with lots of needs.   You have a lot to offer, even if you don’t think that you do.  Find out what it is that you were created to do and be.  Read the book, make a commitment to channel positive energy into some kind of a lasting legacy…and make it happen!

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       Here is a story i could sink my teeth into since i am the parent of several special needs children.  A young boy, by the name of Adam Race, has been banned from the church that he has attended since 1996.  He has been banned because he is autistic, and is very large.   He has several behavioral challenges that the church is suggesting endangers other attendees.

        Adam’s priest by the name of Daniel Walz has filed a restraining order against the 13 year old’s parents; which the mother has violated.  Understand that Adam is only 13; however, he is six feet tall and weighs somewhere around 225 pounds.  The sheer size of the young man is definately something to consider. 

       The priest alledges that Adam has struck another child during services and that in his zeal to leave the building, has at times almost knocked over elderly parishioners.  Adam has also run out of the building and, started a couple of vehicles to hear the “calming roar of the engines”.  This is another danger concern.   Adam sometimes has a problem holding his urine; and, if he needs to be restrained during difficult behaviors, he fights it.  The mother and father, do at times, have to restrain him.  This can all be quite disruptive; and that, plus the concerns for safety, has led the priest to file the restraining order.  The priest felt they had no other choice.

        It seems that before that filing, the priest and a church trustee attempted to discuss their concerns with Adam’s parents.  They offered the family other options and accomodations to deal with the behavioral issues.  The family refused.  It hasn’t been revealed what those other accomodations were.  The family has defied the restraining order and continued to attend church with their son.  By the way, this is a family of seven.

       I have special needs children as i said before.  I have also been a foster parent to many special needs children who were behaviorally challenged.  I know the stress of that.  I know the need of sitting in church to receive peace and a strengthening of my faith.  I also, am well aware that most of the time…it is much more stressful trying to achieve that goal of peace and strength in a very public setting with others who have no idea of the daily struggles living and providing for special needs young people requires.

        You see, you need special training to deal with some of the behaviors and special requirements.  So you can’t just happily send a special needs child off to a sunday school classroom with people who are unprepared or untrained in those skills. 

        My husband and I have been teachers in several church settings.  We know what it is like to be the teachers or instructors in charge .  We have had to teach and sometimes handle special needs children or teens in that environment as well. 

          One time, we did have a young man who was also very large for his age and autistic.  It was a child that did not attend regularily, this program was a vaction bible school event.  The platform was a raised one.  All of the children were encouraged to stand in front of the platform during praise and worship.  Then, when that was done, they were encouraged to sit down in the rows of pews.  The young man in question, at one point, ran to the front while the puppets were performing.  My brother- in- law, who was a weight lifter, was operating a large puppet that included having his arm encased in a fur lined sleeve.

       The young man ran up on stage and grabbed my brother-in-laws arm and pulled it down over the front of the puppet stage and almost broke my brother-in-laws arm.  It took several people to disengage him.  It was something we were un-prepared for.  The parents had dropped him off during the services and left.  This was unusual…because the other days of that week, they had stayed with him and helped to keep him under control when he would get overly excited.  Communication is key in these situations.  Educate the workers or volunteers to the special skill sets that they will need to work with special needs youths successfully!

        Most of the time, having special needs children in church is workable.  You discuss with the family members or care givers what works for each child as an individual.   Maybe you can even get the parents to help volunteer in the children’s program to help out. You do your best so that the caregiver can get a couple of hours of peace and “down time” from the strains of 24/7 caregiving, if possible.   Raising awareness about those who live with special needs children and providing support is the goal of this website:  http://www.growingupspecial.com/  (more…)

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          In a publicity promo for her new movie…Angelina and her co-star Jack Black were sitting side by side when Jack let it slip out that Angelina is pregnant with twins.  Angelina confirmed this impromptu announcement. 

           Angelina and Brad have been under a close eye by the media about this pregnancy.  It was never formally announced; but, in a public appearance in January for the Screen Actor’s Guild she wore an outfit that caused speculation about her being pregnant.

         She has been hounded by media over time about pregnancies and suspected pregnancies…but as in most things…time reveals what is true.  It has been rumoured that she has been having a difficult or uncomfortable pregnancy.  Leave her in peace…pregnancy is often difficult…so, to those who set about making it more difficult for her…leave her be.  It is taxing to bring new life into the world; even more so when you are carrying twins.  That doesn’t even take into account caring for the rest of her children, doing her work as an ambassador and filming as well as promoting her films.

         In any case, this pregnancy is a two-fer for Angelina and Brad.  Since they both have confessed to wanting a large family; it should come as no surprise.  They have the money to care for all of their children.  They spend alot of time with their children and they certainly are wanted. If every parent gave the amount of love and attention their children needed; it would be a better world. Let’s hope that as a family they will be allowed to live in peace and love.

        

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         With all of the hoopla surrounding the publication of Barbara Walter’s book called, “Audition” i have to wonder; where is her dignity?  i think she lost it somewhere between bragging on her affair with a married man approximately 20-30 years ago and dishing on the ongoing public tongue lashing of her former co-hosts Rosie O’Donnell and Star Jones.  There is so much more, i am sure, in Barbara’s memoirs but i have to wonder…with all of the truly outstanding news stories she has brought to our attention over the years…why resort to digging dirt?

        After all, the book would have been interesting enough because of some of the all time history making interviews such as Fidel Castro, Monica Lewinski, President Gerald Ford, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, Rudy Giuliani former mayor of NYC  and the list goes on.  Then there are all of the famous celebrities she has interviewed over the years as well.  Some celebrities doing a PR spin on whatever scandal they were going through at the time…there would have been enough sex, drugs, violence to attract the gossipmongers to the book strickly because of some of those interviews.

        Barbara’s book would not have been short on excitement, intrigue, or interest had she concentrated strickly on those interviews and all of the behind the scenes regarding them.  I fail to see the need to tell us of her sex life and such. She is interesting in her own right just because of her childhood, her professional life, her adoption of her daughter Jackie and the famous people in and out of her life. 

          I wonder if this type of publicity buzz will have a disasterous backlash when it comes to the sale of the book; or, whether it will bring publishing to a whole new level of indigity itself.  The business of publishing has been going through it’s own destructive roller coaster over the last decade or so; regarding making a profit, plagerism, fictionalized memoirs, editors who publisher hop from one company to another; and then, the spector of how digital publishing is affecting printed publishing financially.  When dignity is for sale we all lose out. 

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        Well, i have to admit…i will be reading Barbara Walters’ book that was recently published.  She has done much over the years to further women in the media.   She has been at the forefront of many standout interviews, of the movers and shakers, in our country’s history; not to mention other countries who’s actions have impacted ours.  She is one of those people who mingles with celebrities, politicians, financiers, royalty, muscians and everyday people; and she does it well.

        Not only that; but, as an adoptive parent…i am interested in hearing the background of the adoption of her daughter Jackie.  I think that there is probably an interesting story behind it; as there is with most adoptions.  Barbara has led an interesting life.

        I will also say, that over the last two years i have lost alot of respect for Barbara.  This is just a personal observation; but, i’ve disliked the way that she handled the personal/professional conflicts; in the eye of the public. 

        I felt the issues she had with Star and Rosie could have been handled in a much better way.  Also, since the release of Barbara’s book; i’ve disliked the fact that for the publicity hype of her book; she has brandished her past affair with a married man not to mention riding on the emotion of her handicapped sister’s memory.  Those issues are at conflict with the woman that I have admired over the years for all that she has brought to our culture of working women in the media. 

        So, i will have to read the book to reconcile the two women in my mind; i must do this to understand her, or i won’t be able to watch her with any semblence of respect.  However, i won’t be buying Ms. Walter’s book…she appears to have more than enough money; so, i will hang on to mine.  I will borrow the book from the local library like the good library patron that i am.

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         If you are alive and reading this….take your finger and point it towards your middle…feel that indentation?  You are the proud owner of a belly button.  Do you know where your got your very own personalized lint collector?  From your mom…your belly button was a gift.

           Did you know that your belly button gift could actually have the ability to save a life?   When you were born; if the technology would have been available (who knows when you were born 🙂 ), you could have donated the blood from your umblical cord.   Science in this area has discovered something great and powerful.   Blood from umbilical cords has stem cells in it.  I know , I know…some people do not agree with stem cell research. 

          However, MOST people who object to stem cell research, object because some people were lobbying the government about using stem cells from aborted fetuses.  Life is precious.  It should be treated with respect.  I personally don’t agree with using stem cells from aborted fetuses…i don’t agree with abortions.  However, i have nothing against using stem cells from umbilical cords.

         In cases where a woman is going to give her child up for adoption…how great would it be if she could also send along information to the adoption agency that as a gift to that child…she also was having the child’s cord blood stored in case of medical need?  How loved would a child feel knowing that his or her birth mother cared enough about them to give them that?  What an amazing thing!

         Everytime a human being is born; there is an umbilical cord that nourished that baby while it was in it’s mother’s womb.    In the past that cord and it’s blood was tossed away for lack of knowledge.  We have options these days.  We are just, within the last few decades, realizing how important those life giving umblical cords are to our well being, even after birth. 

         There are over 70 diseases being treated from umbilical cord blood.  People who suffer from debilitating diseases that compromise their immune systems could benefit from the gift that the umbilical cord blood provides.   

           Many mothers today, are now choosing to either put their child’s umbilical cord blood into a blood bank or donating it to help others.  It is almost like an insurance policy in case that child or a close family member should suffer a life altering disease, in the future.  The blood would be a “match” so that person would not have to wait months or years; trying to find someone who “matched” them close enough to save their lives.

          If a child has relatives who have a disease in their family that could potentially harm them in the future…the precious stem cells, that would be stored from their own umbilical cord blood, could save their lives.  It could help to potentially save the life of their siblings; or, even a stranger if that very same cord blood was donated. 

            All an expectant mother has to do is, discuss it with her OB/GYN before delivering her child.  Motherhood is a wonderful thing…Fatherhood is no less wonderful…it is time that we realize how precious life is and honor the creator of all life.  What a miracle this type of donation is…tell others about this belly button gift that can save lives.  After all, Mother’s Day is sneaking up on us…if you are expecting…donating or saving that umbilical cord blood is a wonderful way of honoring all mothers.

         

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        This is a sad day.  It seems that Vietnam adoptions have been stopped.  Corruption seems to be at the basis of the concerns.  Vietnam is not going to accept adoption applications from American families after July 1st.

         Adoptions with other countries will not be affected from what i understand.  Adoptions applications that have already been in progress, where young children have been matched with families, will continue to proceed.  There is not time to get new applications processed before the time runs out.  That is sort of sad for those who have already adopted a Vietnamese child and wanted to add other children with the same ethnic background. 

       Around the world there are so many children who need homes.  Adoption is a wonderful thing…but, like anything else, it can be corrupted.  Poor families can be pressured to put children up for adoption because of financial pressures.  Because of that fact as well as people who operate out of greed; many families will not have the option of adopting a child from Vietnam, at the moment.  Still, if you have a heart to adopt and love a child giving it a happy, healthy home life…continue to pursue your dream of adoption.

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         There are alot of things in life that are disappointing.  Parenting is one of those areas in life where we really desire and expect to excell.  I don’t know why we expect things to turn out well when there is no exact parenting plan to follow.  When a child is full grown and turns out well; meaning that they are productive, respectful, well- educated, and, showing caring and concern for others…it is no small feat.

           In today’s society, in America, it seems successful parenting is almost a rarity.  If you can get a child through elementary school without being expelled for violence, sexual harrassment, bullying, profanity, drug/alcohol use; well then, you are considered a paragon of virtue.

         You see we allow our kids to be exposed to violence on television 4 or 5 hours a day, we dont filter what they see in between shows regarding commercials with more skin than a newborn baby exposes, sexual innuendo’s on “family entertainment shows”, magazines with suggestive pictures and titles, we have lowered the bar on the level of respect that is reflected in their conversations, and their behaviors are over the top because consequences are not consistent. 

           Let me tell you, stepping into the schools today is a bit like stepping into another world…even children as young as elementary school aged children are not immune from these types of issues.  The lack of discipline, manners, respect and appropriate behaviors is staggering. Teachers have a thankless job.  Chaos reins in the classroom because the teachers have to spend so much time dealing with behaviors that educating the children often comes in second place to discipline. 

           Moving on to middle school is no less disallusioning.  The negative attitudes and behaviors have only amplified into open contempt.  By this age, many students have been led to believe that they are their own person and as such really do not have to listen to their parents.  Rebellion has taken on a life of it’s own.  Even students who wish to learn in school have trouble doing so because of the chaos going on around them in school. 

           Schools officials try to have more influence on the kids as many households have no control over their children whatsoever.   When they can’t control the kids…they call in law enforcement.   Some schools even  hand out condoms and medical advice, refusing to inform the parents because of privacy issues!!!  Say what?  Who’s child is this?  Who is legally responsible for providing for that child…not the school, surely.

           When the troubles come…and they do…then the system pulls in the parents and expects them to correct the situation or control the child.  The parental authority has been diminished by each and every person who trys to chip away at that God given authority….whether it be a school counselor, sports coach, the students very own peers, organizational leaders or whomever it may be.  It can’t be both ways…others can’t be in control of the students and still expect the parents to have the same influential authority that they should have had from the beginning.

         High School…now here is the real breakdown.  Parents are a killjoy.  They are always telling their children no.  They are trying to control their teens.  Rules are meant to be broken; right?  Yet when it comes right down to it…who is left with the responsibility when the teens have crossed the line…and entered into something illegal, immoral, or something self-destructive?  It is the parents.    Is it any wonder that many families are broken beyond repair?  We need to get back to having appropriate boundaries and expectations; so that our children know that they are loved and that they have someone close to them who cares what happens to them.

              It should be the most natural thing in the world, to turn to your parents when a kid finds themselves in trouble.  Often they are not the first person that a kid turns to.   Many times, it is a misquided, ill-informed, or rebellious peer; or, another enabling adult who wants to befriend the teen in some ignorant attempt to feel better about themselves.  This is the environment we are raising our children in today. 

         So, when a teen or preteen comes into your presence and complains about the evil parent they have at home…listen to the complaints carefully before you are pulled in.  It could just be a venting session like every other teen in the history of time.  If it is a genuine situation that needs intervention, such as real abuse or neglect, then by all means…recommend they talk to a professional. 

          Parenting isn’t easy; parenting when you are a teen is even more difficult.  When people decide to have children…they don’t think of all of the problems to come their way in the future.  When starting a family…you dream of the good things to come your way; and that is how it should be.  Parenting shouldn’t be mainly about disappointments…it should be about successes.

        

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        Wow, who knew that it mattered, when you were born, which side of the blanket you were born on when it comes to getting your birthright inheritence or whether your rights will be denied?

         Is a child’s birthright not automatic when that birthparent gives the child up for adoption?  No, it can be denied in the state of New York, anyway. 

          Today, i read in the news that a woman born over 50 years ago to a direct descendent of the jello fortune was denied by the highest court in New York the right to a portion of that said fortune. 

           It seems that the estate of the woman’s birthmother denied that she was entitled to a third of the estate; because, she had been put up for adoption and, because the laws of the state said that a child put up for adoption wasn’t considered a child of the person for whom the trust was established.

        The mother of the “child” went on to get married later after putting up the infant for adoption and went on to have two additional children who were entitled to their portion of the estate because they were born during her marriage.

         Does that seem fair?  The child did not have a say about when she was conceived or to whom she was born; she was born to the woman and allegedly, to a man who was married to someone else.  Is it her fault about the circumstances of her birth?  No.  Was it her choice to be adopted?  No.  Still, i guess legally…the decision has been made.

         My question is…morally is it a correct decision?  I wonder how the birth, half- siblings feel?  I mean, obviously the estate felt that they had a right to fight paying a portion of the trust fund to this woman; but, personally, if it were me….i would feel that she was entitled to a sum of money. 

         The woman started searching for her birthparents when she was 19.  She spent lots of money and time searching.  She didn’t start her search thinking that she was going to discover she was born to a family with incredible riches that she could inherit.  I am sure that she began searching strictly for the purpose of finding out more about herself personally. 

           Whatever her personal reasons for searching; I hope she found some kind of answers to her questions when she met her mother.  She did get to meet her and find out about her birth circumstances.  Hopefully she was able to heal those parts of herself that were filled with questions when she discovered she had a NEED to know about her beginnings. 

           It seems that these questions about the trust fund came up after the birth mother died.  Who knows what the birth mother’s feelings were on the subject.  That wasn’t reported in anything i have heard about this trust fund issue with the courts.  Was the woman and her siblings able to develop any type of postitive relationship?  If so, why the issue of money went before the court is curious. 

            If the half siblings contested sharing the money…i then wonder, what makes them in their own minds feel more entitled?  It is kind of sad.  Who knows how much richer their lives could have been otherwise.  I mean, i wonder if they would find joy in knowing their sister had there not been money involved?   Maybe it isn’t just an issue of money; could it be some other reason that they feel she is not entitled to a share of the wealth?   I wonder is the sister the kind of person that would not be welcome in a family whether they had money or not?  Is she a good, friendly, moral person?

             Some how, it feels like an injustice.  I mean, the half siblings got to grow up with their mother.  The woman did not.  They were born to a comfortable lifestyle; did the woman live in comfort?  Should she be compensated for being rejected at her birth?  I don’t know.  But regardless, it just feels a little unfair to me. 

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