Friday, July 26, 2013

Light A White Candle.. Hanson and the Lost Boys are Remembered


Today there will be white candles bringing a glow to a sad situation. 

This child, Hanson, died alone in Eastern Europe in an orphanage. He died waiting. And his life and death went seemingly unnoticed by all around him.  But, that is not true! Hanson was loved!

He was loved by those who advocated for him. He was loved by those who yelled for him and prayed or him and raised funds for him. His face was known, and he was called by name, and he was LOVED!

No , unfortunately Hanson never knew who loved him.  He never got to feel real unconditional love while he was here on earth. And that's the saddest part of this story.

But Hanson's death will not go unnoticed any longer.  There was a special young man who really loved Hanson. A man who has the same challenges that Hanson had, and who could put himself in Hanson's shoes.  He wrote to a friend and said this "I don't think he should stay in an orphanage.  A family is a better thing.  I think I would have been a Lost Boy.  It would be scary.  I don't think I should think about it."

This young man was so moved to do something special for Hanson, that today at 3:00 in Canada there will be a  Full High Requiem Eucharist Mass for Hanson.

Since most of us won't be able to go to the Mass our part in remembering Hanson will be in the candle lighting. 

  A white candle for Hanson and the other boys who died waiting. Please join in.  And for the full story please go to Julia Nalle's blog and read her post!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Heather Von St. James, Beating The Odds

I was contacted  about a week or so ago by Heather Von St. James. She is a  cancer survivor.  She asked me if I would help spread awareness and tell her story on my blog. We don't know each other, so she had no way of knowing how many times I've seen cancer wreak havoc on a life I care about.  She has no idea how many times I've read the words "it's back" on blogs. And she has no idea how many times I've prayed for friends taking their littles in for their routine blood work to make sure "it's " still gone. And she would never know how many times I've asked God "Why did you have to take that one"?  So I welcomed the chance to have her story here on my blog. It's scary as hell, and Heather is one tough chick. I was incredibly moved by her story, as I'm sure you will be too.  Please read on, share and learn!   

Beating the Odds, Heather Von St. James

I always knew that if I was lucky enough to become a mother, I wanted to do everything the right way. When I actually became pregnant, I scoured pregnancy books and sought out expert advice. Those nine months were the happiest of my life as I spent my time daydreaming about motherhood. That day I saw my beautiful daughter Lily for the first time, I knew how blessed I was.

I could never have imagined the devastating news I would receive just 3 ½ months after Lily was born. Unfortunately, I found out I had a life-threatening form of cancer known as pleural mesothelioma, and that without treatment I would have only 15 months to live. Dying before my daughter’s 2nd birthday was not an option. I was determined to do anything they asked if it would give me a shot of surviving so I could raise Lily.

When I was pregnant and envisioning life as a mother, I thought this time in my life would be spent caring for Lily. Instead, my husband and I decided that I should receive mesothelioma treatment 1200 miles away in Boston, Massachusetts. As difficult as this surgery was, which involved removing the lining of my heart and diaphragm as well as my left lung, it was more difficult losing precious moments with Lily. I was in Boston for a month, and then spent the remainder of my daughter’s first year undergoing treatment (radiation and chemotherapy). I am grateful I had so many people in my life, including my wonderful husband and parents, who offered their support.

For the most part, life resumed as I had hoped when we finally got home. Lily and I were able to spend time playing, going to the park, and having play dates with friends. There were times that I physically didn’t feel up to being active, but I still loved every single minute spent with Lily. I wanted her to know how much I cherished and loved her, and how grateful I was for this second chance.

Eight years later, my husband Cam and I are able to cherish a bright, positive, beautiful little girl. 

We know how blessed we are to have her, and she knows why we feel this way; she understands how precious life is. We experienced this ordeal together and I will never forget what it took to get here today.

Fortunately, a lot of positive things happened as a result of this horrific cancer. My family we are grateful for every minute we have together. I tell my story, hoping that it offers comfort to anyone who might be going through a similar situation – you are not alone. I’m living proof that it is possible to overcome anything.

I've listed a couple of links if you'd like to continue to read about Heather and her story. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Before and After/Then and Now

I was going through some photos and I came across one from the winter. Then I got this brilliant idea to do a before and after// then and now post. I may keep this up if i can gather enough pictures. 

 So, here is the "then"

And here is the "now"

Ahhh, much better.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Little Garden Statue

Em had no problem entertaining herself one day in the yard, when the others were busy. I turned the sprinkler on low and she loved it!

Look at the pictures and see what she does when she decides she needs a friend to play with.

Being cautious at first.

Getting closer...

Little feet in!

Love this one! Full face in the water!

Now, she's thinking... this would be fun with a friend. But who??

The little garden statue isn't busy. 

Come on little statue, lets go cool off.

Stand right there.

The water may be cold at first but it feels so good!

Together in the sprinkler! Best friends..

Thanks for playing , Little garden statue. See you later.

Monday, July 22, 2013


A couple of days ago, A FB friend posted a picture of her with her son. This picture had a profound affect on me. Photographs can move you at times. You all know the saying , "A picture is worth 1000 words." Well, this photo spoke volumes to me.  And the words added by Dawn describing the picture really hit me.

This wasn't an ordinary picture of a mother and son. You see Kolya, Dawn's son was just adopted from Eastern Europe.Kolya and Dawn's husband Rich were unexpectedly detained in country due to a problem with the passport for Kolya, making the wait for Dawn even longer.

And as with any adoption there were the mountains to move and stress, and the  hard work of fund raising. But that's not what hit me when I saw the photo of them together. It was something I didn't expect.

So without further ado here is the picture.

It's a great pic right? Mother and son. This picture alone made me cry. You can just see all the love Dawn has for Kolya and look at Sweet Kolya, so comfortable in his mama's arms.

But here are the words that went along with the photo.

"This was the moment I first saw him and his knees buckled he just collapsed in my arms. We held on to each other for a few mins before we moved."

When I read those words, and the tears started to fall... and fall. And it hit me point blank. 



Friends, these beautiful children, children with special needs, children most think don't understand, Children society thinks won't amount to anything..they KNOW!! They can feel that the life they have in the orphanage, the only life they know, is not right. Even if they are blessed to be in a decent orphanage, they KNOW it's not how life is supposed to be.

They can sense there is something more! There is something missing! And when they (the lucky ones who get families) feel love , true unconditional love for the very first time, they KNOW!

 No one tells them they are unloved. There caregivers don't sit and converse with them about it. But in their hearts these children KNOW

And they wait, silently...

Holding hope in their hearts. 

..." his knees buckled he just collapsed in my arms. We held on to each other for a few mins before we moved."


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Thankful Sunday , With a Twist

As I sat to write this Thankful Sunday post, all I could think of were negative things. And obviously I'm not really thankful for things gone wrong. 

So I was thinking, there must be something to be thankful for... right?

So I decided to take all the negatives and turn them into positives.

Here I go.


1.The AC broke in the back seats of the big green Suburban
2.The tires are all shot.
3.The weather stinks!
4.The kids are definitely trying to break me, and are doing a great job, as my sanity is withering.
5.Emmie is constantly nakie( her own doing) and not potty trained.Which is even worse than having a puppy in the house!
6.Our beaches have been invaded with crustacean isopods!
7.Money is tighter than tight.


1. Ac is not broken in the front seat, where I sit (hehe)
2. Peter has finally decided to buy new tires, even if it's one at a time! Thank you God!
3. The weather stinks, Can't do much with this one!  LOL
4. My skin is growing tougher and I'm taking less and less from the kids. My house my rules!No discussions!
5. While potty training seems to be going nowhere fast, Em did show signs of promise when she pooped in her pull up and immediately took it off and FLUNG it across the room. A sign that she clearly did not want to stay in a soiled pull up. God give me strength.
6. Eventually the little suckers will be pushed back out to sea and the humans can go swimming again! 
7.Even though money is tight, my husband has a good job where he is appreciated and in a wonderful atmosphere. He comes home happy and is without stress!!!! 

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone. Try to take a negative and turn it into a positive. 
Keeping the faith and having a sense of humor can only help!

And BTW, if you didn't have a chance to read my last post. Please do. And please share this one!!! Ally needs a family now. It's urgent!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ally On My Mind

There's this girl, named Ally. And she has been on my mind a lot lately. You see Ally is turning 16 on August 25th. 

Now let me tell ,Ally is gorgeous! Big blue eyes, blond hair and a smile that will melt your heart. 

She must be thinking about her birthday.  What girl doesn't think about her 16th birthday. Sweet 16!!!
It's so special! I have a daughter turning sixteen in September and I'm thinking of something special to do for her so she always remembers her sixteenth birthday.

I'm sure Ally is wondering what her day will be like. But I'm thinking she is wondering more about her night. Like where will she sleep. And the next day, how will she eat. Ally will need to get a job. Not to save for a car, but to survive. On August 25th when Ally turns "Sweet 16" she will have only herself to depend on. There will be no party. There is no family to give her one. She will be on the streets. 

Ally is an orphan, and when she turns 16, she ages out. She will become unadoptable.

One day after her 16th birthday will be too late for her to be adopted. 

Ally is in a mess. And she knows it. She also knows that for 16 years no one has wanted her. No one has taken her home to be there daughter. She has grown up unloved, yet still says, YES! I want a family!

So where are they?

Maybe you?

Maybe someone you know?

Maybe a stranger who will see her face after you repost this??  (hint hint)

This is Ally, and she needs a family, NOW!


 I've seen it happen before. I've seen families come forward just days before a child ages out. I've seen it and I believe it can happen again. 

Girl, born Aug 25, 1997
HIV, non rheumatic carditis

She is aging out but says, “YES, I want to be adopted!”

A family will need to have paperwork filed PRIOR to her birthday in August; otherwise she will not be able to be adopted.
Ally is in the same orphanage with several other available children. Interested and approved families could adopt multiple children together.
$976.10 is available towards the cost of my adoption!


The Shining Light Called Down Syndrome

This kid ROCKS!

I don't think I will EVER get over the fact that I have a Dumpling with Down syndrome.

I mean I go through my days and hardly think about it, but every once in a  while I look at Em and think, "How the heck did we score her"

Sure she's a royal pain in the bottom some days... BUT, I think my other children, you know the perfect , typical kids, everyone desires... yeah those Guys, are bigger pains..hehe

Em has taught me patience, and determination. She's taught me to laugh more and scream like a nut is you feel like it. She has taught me that you don't need music to dance and  that sometimes a good belly laugh fixes everything.

She has taught me to be proud of the fact that she has Down syndrome. When I first found out, I was embarrassed. I felt like people would blame me.  Point a finger at me, for wanting one more baby.  

I look at Em and I think of all the babies that never made it, because of their diagnosis. I think of the aborted babies the abandoned ones, the orphans. And I think of their families, that will never know the joy they discarded.  The beauty they were afraid to hold on to. And it makes me so, so sad. 

I was afraid too. 


I didn't know what to expect, or what to think, or even if I could love this child. I had the worst thoughts come to mind when I was pregnant. Thoughts like , I wouldn't want to hold her. Or I wouldn't bond with her. I feared our whole family would fall apart due to the stress of a special needs child.   

I'm not saying it's easy. No child is easy. And some days leave us both frustrated and a little POed.

But  I would NEVER change a thing. She has blessed us in ways I cannot even put into words. 

In a  nutshell, the world needs people like Em.   They are the shining light in a world which is growing darker by the minute. And if you are one of the lucky ones to receive a light like Em. Hold on to it! Don't let it go out!  This gentle, loving light will guide you on days when you can't see anything else. This light will give you strength when you are weak, and more love than your heart can hold. 

If you are carrying a child with Down syndrome, consider yourself blessed. And protect that light growing within you with everything you've got ! Listen to no one who speaks with any negativity! You've been given a treasure!

Friday, July 19, 2013

How Old are You?

Em is pushing five! I know right!!!!!

Super crazy! And I really can't believe it myself. But one of the most wonderful perks of DS is being able to keep your baby a little longer. Don't all moms say it? Oh, I wish you'd stay little longer...

Yay for us, cause our kids do!

Em is about the size of a three year old and still has a baby face, tiny hand and LITTLE feet.

But once in a while someone will catch a picture of her and I get a glimpse into the future. I found this on  my camera. I believe the photographer was Bella. 

Em looks like a tween! I think it's the hair. It's usually up out of her way. No more pics of Em with her hair down!! Mama can't take it!  But on the other hand , I think she'll make a lovely tween... She has the attitude down pat already.   

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Naked and Afraid!

Naked and Afraid. New reality show and quite possibly one of the strangest things I've ever encountered on the tube. I mean they are dropping these people off in dangerous and remote places. Places like the plains of Africa where you can be eaten by ...everything! Do you really have to be naked too? I mean if that lion is going to eat you, would jeans and a T -shirt make it less painful for you? Or give you some sort of strange advantage? No, I believe that lion would eat your jeans and t-shirt too. So what's up with the naked nonsense?

Meanwhile back at the ranch, we have our own version of Naked and Afraid going on. Only we call it, She's naked again, don't let her pee on the new carpet!!!  (and we're the ones afraid)

I think it's much more fun to watch than the original show. Our show features a crazy mother running around trying to catch a naked toddler who can run at speeds of a cheetah.  All the little bear cubs laughing (not helping) the mama  catch the nakie baby.

Standing watch at all times because you just never know when she will reappear, completely nude yet again. 

She tried to pull a fast one on me the other day and strip in her crib!  Luckily I forgot something in her room and discovered her before it turned ugly. 

Hopefully by the time school starts up she will have gotten over being without clothes "thing".  Until then we continue being Naked( her), and Afraid (me)!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm Melting, melting....

I know it hasn't been reported, but I'm sure the sun is moving closer and closer to Rhode Island every day, and will soon just eat us up!

IT'S HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND HUMID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Looking slightly wilted, but still enjoying her PBand J sandwich. 

Feeling very blessed for our little pool that keeps us cool!

And what are those little bugs that sing in the trees when it's going to be hot??Anyone know?  Poor things haven't stopped for a minute! I remember my Grandmother used to hate to hear them because she knew they were a hot weather warning. I love the sound they make. Probably would be freaked if I actually saw them though. 

So all you people who don't suffer from extreme humidity, think of us as the sun moves closer and closer and we melt into the Atlantic.

Keep cool Friends!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Em's newest trick, accomplishment or entertaining talent. Call it what you will, it makes us laugh and Em knows it. And I love that belly! 

Notice the pants.

Now, she walks around like this, "pretending " she can't see where she's going.  And since she had decided clothing is optional , she's completely mastered getting undressed!Now if only she'd cooperate with potty training!!!  Also something she thinks is optional ... sigh

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Matching Grant , And Painted Clams. Come on Village You're Needed!

Ok, I'm getting off my butt and I need some company. Enough wallowing in sadness. I miss screaming for Carina. I even miss fund raising for her, but there are others I can help right now!

Angela and Jon are taking these two Dumplings home! 


And they are literally within spitting distance of doing the fully funded dance!  

I want to help! No more watching from afar. It's time for me to jump back in where I belong. 

So, anyone who donates $10 or more to their FSP will be in the running to win a painted shell. 

This one! It's a clam shell . I pick them from the beaches in RI and they are about 7 inches long. They look pretty displayed in a  small easel or hanging on the wall. They have a natural hook in the back already.

 Just  a small donation will help. If I get enough entries I will add another shell! And if you really hate this one, I'll let you choose another!!

Let me know in the comments when you donate!  I'll offer this until tomorrow night at 10:00pm EST


Friday, July 12, 2013

Speaking with Faces, Em Style

Em's spoken words may be scarce but we always know what she is thinking.

This is her "Yo" look. It means, I'm the leader in this crib.  You got somthin  to say bout that?

This face is one you need to learn. This face is saying, " you think I'm not looking but if you come near me or my ice cream I will eat you!"

And this face, the taunting face...Here she is saying "look mom I've climbed to the top of this deadly playground equipment , (most likely designed by a man with no children ) that has an 8 foot drop on two out of three sides and no protective bars, and I'm laying right out of your reach. What are you going to do now?"
Here's the "okay, one more cheesy  smile and I'm done for the day" look.

And then this look that says, "I can see heaven , but you can't"  ;)

And this sweet look that screams, "rest now mom, because I will wake up fully charged"

Oh and this cute one that says" What do you mean stop eating the candy? I'm gonna finish this bag no matter what. "

Don't let this face fool you. This is the no remorse face. It's saying" Why yes I made this mess and I'm proud of it."

This is a great one.I actually learned this face as I was writing this post. This face is saying " I just threw my freaking yogurt all over the carpet table and chairs".  Someone should have taken a picture of my face to see what I might be trying to say!

 And this adorable mug is saying without a doubt, "I am loved and happy and have one heck of a life!

So there you have it. Until her words come.. and they will, we have the faces.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Something Wonderful!

I came across this on FB today and thought I needed to share it. Please watch. This video has been put together beautifully, and spoken with so much eloquence.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Not A Good Day...

Feeling like a bit of a time bomb today. So I figure the best way to keep from taking my anger out on others is to sit down and write. Write what?  Honestly, I don't know. I haven't got a game plan here. All I know is that almost seven months ago my heart was shredded when Russia closed it's doors to  Americans adopting.

My heart belongs to a little one named Carina and always will.  Forget her? Move on? Suck it up? NEVER!

(If you're not in the mood to hear about Carina or Russia or adoption than opt out now. No feelings hurt here. )

We wanted her. We were trying to figure out how we could possibly qualify to adopt. We were so close. We were checking things off left and right. Private insurance, income qualifications, even the amount of children at home (we have one too many) looked promising as the guidelines changed slightly. Allowing for up to 7 at home including the child being adopted if some were teenagers. That would be us! 

Everything was coming together.   But all the while I just prayed that if it wasn't us than someone would come forward for Carina. I just wanted her out of there. She was at the age that transfer to an institution was inevitable
My husband was getting a sizable Christmas bonus and I was planing on gently persuading him to use it for a home study. 

Then everything came tumbling down. My husband lost his job in October, and we lost everything...including any chance of Carina being ours. 

We clung to our faith, picked ourselves up once again, and planned to start ,yet again.

I kept thinking the New Year will bring us a new beginning. I had such hope!
I was fund raising as much as I could and her account was growing. All the while , I secretly prayed we were raising the funds for ourselves. How I loved her! More and more each day.

Then came Christmas Day, and then the day after... The news... Russia is closed to Americans Adopting

And it was over. She was lost, gone, unreachable. Just like that. Putin ended our dream. Cut our ties, and left me literally gasping for air.
  And not just me, but hundreds of families,and advocates. 

I swear if you listened with your heart you could hear the cries of mothers mourning the loss of children they had already held, and promised to return for. 

And me? How could I compare my pain to theirs? 

I never held Carina. I never even saw her from afar. She has no idea I exist. 

So, how dare I have pain?

I don't know. But I do. And some days it's paralyzing. Today is not a good day.

Today I wonder if she is hot. Wouldn't a cool bath feel good to her right now. To sit under a tree and feel a cool breeze. Today I couldn't hold back the tears as I drove and some song reminded me of her. today I don't dare look at her little face that I have in almost every room of my house. And as I type the tears flow. 

There are days I wonder if she is still alive. And there are days I ask God to rescue her. Just take her to heaven if there's no hope left, please just take her to heaven. I can't bear the thought of her suffering in an institution.

Today, I'm not comparing myself to the mothers who met their children. I am just me.The only mom she has. Self appointed , yes, I guess so. But I know my heart couldn't love her anymore if I was a court approved parent. And I've held her in my heart and in my dreams for two years now. 

I promised to get her out of there, and I failed. I will never let her be forgotten. 

Today stinks!
Trying to act like I'm okay, stinks!
No one freaking gets it! WTF!  A country has closed it's doors! Families are devastated! Families I know! And still it's like you get  this dazed and glazed look from people when you talk about it. 
 I mean seriously you didn't have to be in the middle of an adoption or heavily advocating for a child to see the severity of this situation.. or do you?  Is this just a problem within that small community of people adopting? Is this something they will just have to get over on their own? 

Do people really not see what's happening? 



The Russian government  won't take care of the children, unless you call digging a shallow grave taking care of things.

Today stinks!
Worrying constantly and being unable to do anything to help stinks!
Not knowing stinks, and knowing stinks!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

One in a Million

And this is it...  Love this photo!

Monday, July 8, 2013

I Don't Think...

I tend to over think things. I can dwell on something until it's too late to do it. Or I can procrastinate, and call it discernment for a lifetime. But there are some things I really don't have to think about at all. 

I don't think little girls can have too many bows or pretty dresses. I don't think hugs and kisses should be rationed. I don't think empty bellies are acceptable. I don't think boo boos go away by themselves. I don't think boys need to be tough. I don't think it's okay for a child to cry it out. I don't think laughter should be learned. I don't think children should know they are not love. I don't think one child is better than another. I don't think one need is greater than another. I don't think of children only in America as "our own". I don't think in terms of boundaries. I don't believe in boundaries. I don't think everyone should adopt internationally. I don't think everyone should adopt domestically. I don't think either kind of adoption should be discouraged by anyone. I don't think that saving the life of a child, be it here or in the far corners of the world should warrant anything but praise and support. I don't think tying a child to a bed is humane. I don't think mental institutions for orphans should be legal.  I don't think abuse should be tolerated in any country. I don't think a child should suffer, period.

Adopting a child is a great thing. I really don't think it matters if it's from the orphanage next door to you, across the State, on the other side of the country or in another country. A child is a child is a child!

They are all deserving of love and a family. 

 Look at the photos below.  Can you honestly tell me that one of these beauties deserved a family over the other? Can you even tell which child was adopted domestically, and which child was adopted internationally( no cheating if you recognize the Lovies here). I don't see labels or countries or boundaries. All I see are  very blessed children. Children that all came from the SAME list of worldwide orphans. And are now NOT among the almost 200 million orphans that are still waiting. 


We need to support all families that step forward in faith to save a child. Not criticize them for their decision. Because in the end a life has been spared. A child has
been given the greatest gift of all... LOVE!   

Does it really matter where they come from? Really?