Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kentuckiana Pals

We had a wonderful Saturday this weekend.  We spent the day with the Terry's.   They have recently brought home Miles from the D.R.C.  He is right in between my boys as far as age goes.  They also have Livia's little girlfriend Sadie and Parker's buddy Noah.  It was considered a play date for the children.  The first of many to come.  But really, I think it was a play date for me and Megan!  I really love this girl!  I am so glad that God has brought us together through adoption.  

I read her blog daily and I suggest you do to!  She is giving the Blind Side DVD away.  One of our favorite movies!  But besides the cool giveaways, she has a gift for writing.  She has wonderful topics of adoption, D.R.C. , stay at home mommies, and just life.  There are so many days I read her blog and I think that it came right out of my brain.  Just so much more organized than what pops out of mine!  Other days, she posts something I had never thought of, but agree with 100%.  So, there are many days that I am tempted to just simply post on my blog:

Please see the TERRY'S blog.

And guess what, today I am doing that.  Not only can you win an awesome movie, but you can see pictures of our kiddos together.  (You see, I told you she was much more organized, she actually new where her camera was!)

So, Please go visit the TERRY'S blog and stay awhile!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Yes, Something is VERY WRONG!!!!!

I have had many people ask me how things are going with our newly enlarged family. Some people have told me that they have heard that I didn't appear to be as happy as I used to be. Or that something appeared wrong with me. That I have a sad look in my eyes.

Well, there is something wrong, something VERY WRONG! (No, it has nothing to do with the two little joyful additions! We really couldn't be happier!) I have seen many things that I can not and will not forget. When you have to put a baby back down in a bed in an orphanage, knowing that it will die if you don't take it with you, there is something VERY WRONG! Part of my heart is in the Congo still. And it is very sad. I am glad I will never forget. As I do not want to ever stop wanting to help the beautiful Congolese people.

One of the wonderful things about Our Family Adoptions (the nonprofit organization that helped us bring Chad and Ian home) is they want you to travel to the D.R.C. to bring your child home. Other agencies recommend you use an escort to bring your child back to you in the safe USA. OFA wants you to see everything first hand. Because no matter how many pictures you see, nothing compares to seeing a breathing child hundreds of breathing children smile at you with helpless starving eyes. It's indescribable. OFA wants you to never forget the other millions (5 million) orphans in the Congo that you left behind. OFA wants you to help change the lives of these people.

I must address something that really gets under my skin. When people hear about all of the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, many wonder what makes the Congolese so violent. I actually had someone ask, "Are they wired wrong?" ( I did hold in my anger at this comment). It is NOT the Congolese people that are violent. They are innocent victims. I know many are just ignorant to the facts of what is happening there. Because let's face it the Congo rarely makes the news.

So, today I thought maybe I would share some information about where this violence is coming from. I must first say that I am in no way an expert on this subject. And I am only giving a lesson on the most recent violence. These people were being mistreated way before this time. But I am going to focus on the last decade or so.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has suffered two wars since 1996. According to the International Rescue Committee, an estimated 5.4 million people died between 1998 and 2008, most from preventable diseases, lack of food security, displacement, and destroyed health-care systems. The war supposedly ended in 2003 this did NOT bring an end to conflict in the D.R.C.

The jungles of eastern Congo remain a hiding ground to numerous rebel organizations all of which have horrific histories and agendas. Responsible for mass atrocities against civilians, including massacres, rapes, and abductions, three rebel groups the FDLR, CNDP, and LRA have caused the greatest destruction and suffering in recent years. These rebels have profited generously (major $,$$$,$$$) from the continually stealing the DRC of it's many natural resources. These monsters prey on the civilian population. Actually, I believe prey is way too nice of a word!

And yes, all of those metals that make our cell phones and computers work, are supporting these groups! I've posted on this before and asked for help, but I am doing it again. Just incase you didn't have the few minutes that day and might find the time today. I am asking you to take a minute to email major electronics producers and ask them to use conflict free minerals. A pre-written letter to these companies is available by clicking HERE. All you have to do is put in your email address and the rest is taken care of. Please also click HERE to urge your Senators to cosponsor the Congo Conflict Minerals Act. Again, all you have to do is put your email address and the rest is taken care of.
The largest UN peacekeeping force in the world (MONUC) is largely unable to halt these attacks. They have recently announced that they will be removing themselves by 2011! WHY!?! The Congolese Armed Forces are not strong enough or ethical enough to achieve peace and security in the region.

Here are what the Congolese people are up against:

Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) is a rebel group that operates slaughters in the eastern Congo, where it has simply murdered slaughtered the innocent Congolese people.  They don't just execute people, they make them suffer, they kill them slowly, they make them watch rapes, and beatings of their loved ones.  Although members of the FDLR are often identified with the 1994 genocide in Rwanda (where they killed 800,000 people), the majority of FDLR rebels are recruits drawn from the eastern Congo. They kidnap children and force them to do the unthinkable. They become trained children soldiers.

Many (over 1,000,000!) people have fled their homes to try and find safety. This is one reason the city of Kinshasa is so heavily populated with many homeless people and homeless orphaned children.

This is only one of the three strong rebel groups the Congolese must fear. One of the other three is the LDR. The LDR was hidden deep in the news yesterday. I found a CNN report of the attack. According to the report children were forced to circle other children and throw rocks at them until they died. Seriously, can you imagine your kids being forced to do this? A three-year-old was burned to death. Imagine having to watch your child be caught on fire. Hundreds of women and children were kidnapped. The LDR sent a statement back to the villagers that were left behind. The message was sent by some of the kidnapped villagers who had their ears, lips, and other body parts missing.

Please click HERE and read the whole story I am sure you will find something is VERY WRONG too!

The only front page type press the D.R.C. has gotten is when Hilary Clinton visited the country. After seeing the pain the Congolese people must endure, she vowed to help the people of the D.R.C.

This was eight months ago.

Nothing has been done yet.

Maybe if actions had been taken that little girl wouldn't have burned to death.

Maybe those children would happily be playing in a field.

You can simply text something like- HELP CONGO to 90822. To let Hilary know that the United States citizens believe this is VERY WRONG! Please take just a few minutes of your time. Please put yourself in their shoes. All I am asking is a few clicks of your mouse and a simple text message. Together we can stop the VERY WRONG!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Faces

Are you looking at me? 

Three of my boys.

Livia posing with another birthday cake she made for Ian.

Ian is showing off those two new teeth!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdoms - Eagle, Cheese and a Crazy Mama!

As we were driving down the road yesterday afernoon, Livia and Parker learned that our national bird lives very close by.  Yes, we saw a Bald Eagle!  I would say it was a beautiful sight, but it was eating a dead deer.  We got a few pictures for our neighbors, who doubted me. I may be blonde, but I do know what a bald eagle looks like!

Earlier in the day, Chad and Ian were eating lunch and I was folding laundry.  Chad started yelling in a very proud voice, "Mama! Mama! Lookey!"  Chad learned he could stack cheese into a tall tower!  He was quite excited about it!

While Chad finished his cheese master piece.  I started my daily dance and song.  I have no idea why, but when both of the boys are in their chairs and looking at me across the bar.  I feel the need to break out in dance and song.  I sing Pink, Mama Mia, Aerosmith, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, and for some odd reason Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus is on the top ten list.  But the performance is just whatever happens to pop in my head.  And of course I have the moves to go with my wonderful voice (yes that would be the sound of sarcasm if you could hear me now).  I've even found myself doing a weird moonwalk with my feet and a hula dance all at the same time!  Well, anyway, usually the boys love it and join in nodding there head and waving their hands.  But on this particular day, Chad just looks at me straight faced and said, "Mama, you're CRAZY!"  My original thought was "What did he just say!?!"  But then I thought to myself, "Yeah, he is a pretty smart little cookie!"  Sorry.... no pictures of this one!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Faces

Livia and Parker made and decorated Ian's first birthday cake.  As you can see by Parker's chin they had to taste test the icing!

After looking at it and squeezing it, Ian finally decided to taste it!

All Smiles!


He decided he would rather paint with it!


Now, what do we do with this mess?  Looks like bath time!


Chad is thinking, "It's about time someone is giving ME some attention!"  He is the ham of the family!


Chocolate and Mommy's full attention makes Chad HAPPY!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Today is Ian’s FIRST birthday! It is a very strange day for me. I know this is not the day he was born. I am guessing he is really more like 10 months old today. And even if it was the day he was born, I have no memories of his birth to share. This is a first for me.

Because we were obviously not there for his birth this is the FIRST birthday we will have with him, which makes it even more special! Somehow, I feel the pressure to make this day really magical, so I have future stories to tell of his first birthday with us. But let’s face it nothing is going to compare to a birth story. I have come to realize the only “birth story” I will have for him will be told over and over again. It is the story of his “Gotcha Day”. Every October 27th I will be able to celebrate and tell the story of how wonderful it felt to finally have them in my arms!

Despite his real age, today is a celebration of Ian! We are so blessed to have this little guy in our lives! Today we will celebrate with just the six of us. We will eat his favorite meal, chicken potpie! Lucky for me I made a double batch last time and I froze it. So, I have even more time to spend with this little man! Oh, and of course, we will have cake, chocolate cake!

This weekend we will have a bigger celebration with Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and our wonderful neighbors. We are going to have Mwanga Stew a Congolese dish that we all love!

Today, I think even more of the boy’s birth mother. I have no idea if she is even alive. But how I wish she could be here to see how happy her babies are with their family. I wish she could know that they have food, medicine, clean water, and a nice comfy bed to sleep in. I wish she knew how much they are loved……loved by so very many people. Today we will light a candle for her and say a prayer for her and all of the other Congolese Women who are unable to see their children grow up.

So, I tried to take some pictures of him today. It was almost impossible. He was in a snuggly mood and well…it’s pretty hard to take a picture of someone who is attatched to you like a leech! But here are my attempts of Ian on the morning of his 1st Birthday! (Cake pictures will be posted tomorrow!)

Yum!  Yum!

Playing on Mommy's lap.

Ian can crawl, but this is favorite way to get around, scooting on one knee.

Sucking on his thumb and loving on Mama.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Faces

Ian and I had some one on one time yesterday.  We went for a walk and visited the playground.  It was so very nice to be outside in the sun!


and more swinging......

wears me out! 

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I forgot to thank my husband on my last post!  I am so blessed to have a husband whom I can trust our boys with.  Someone who will change diapers and cook supper.  He can really do it all (well, except for.....let's just hope no one gets a stomach bug).  I am so lucky to have a husband that has offered and encouraged me to go on this trip with Livia.  How many men right now would be freaking out if they knew they had a whole weekend alone with three boys two being under the age of two?  Or would have just said, "No, you can not go."  Not my Jamey, he has told me over and over he has everything covered and I know he does.  There is no one else on this earth that could take care of them the way he does.  Thank you sweetie!  I love you,  I love you more.

Chicago Here We Come!........I think.

Ok, here's the deal.  For Livia's 10th birthday gift we gave her a card that said she could pick a Mommy and Liva trip (within driving distance).  She picked the windy city of Chicago.  This was no big suprise she has wanted to go there for years.

I was really excited when we decided this would be her gift!  We needed some girl time together.  And I really needed a break from the boys.  As the time for departure comes closer I am starting to think a 3-4 hour breaks is all I really needed.  I am a nervous wreck about leaving them!  I am actually starting to feel very nauseous.  And if I didn't have a little girl so excited about the trip, I would be cancelling it today! 

I can easily count the hours I have been away from Ian and Chad.  Two dates - 6 hours,  Mommy and me dates with my biggies - 12 hours, Livia's surgery - 9 hours, two trips to Walmart - 2 hours, Doctor's appt -2 hours, hair appt - 1.5 hours = less than 40 hours in over 4 months!  Yes, I know I need to get away more (and have my hair done again!).  This weekend I will be away from them for 48 hours all at once!  I am not for sure how me and the boys are going to handle that. 

I know all the boys will be fine without me.  Jamey has some girls in our youth coming over to help him out.  (That cracks me up, I somehow manage to do it all by myself everyday!)  I am glad he will have the help, because I know it will be less stressful for him.  Of course, he will also have Paker who is a wonderful helper!  He was asked to stay all night with a close friend.  He had told the friend "yes."  Then changed his mind when he realized Daddy would be alone with the boys that night.  He wanted to be there too!  

I just worry what will be going through their little minds.  Will they be worrying that I will never return, like so many people have already in their short little lives?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdoms

My two besties and their children spent the night with us on Saturday.  We had sooo much fun!  The older kids ran up and down and up and down the steps over and over again.  We talked about everything under the moon.  We spent hours looking at those old yearbooks!  Yes, we were making fun of big bangs!  Next thing we know it is 2:30 AM!!!  Time really does fly when you are having fun!  Well, I learned that I am not to old to have a very fun slumber party. But, the next day I also learned I might be to old to operate well the day after a slumber party, because yes my youngest still got up at 6:00 AM!

Ian is learning to quickly go up the steps!  This makes Mommy really nervous!
Chad chasing Ian up the steps!

This past week I was telling Ian that  Livia had a hurt throat.  A little light bulb went off in his head and his eyes got really big (yes, even bigger than they normally are!).  He pointed one finger and then the other and touched them together, making the sign for hurt!   I was so amazed!  It was his first sign!  He now signs dog, all done, more and grandad!  He is getting so big!

Ian signing "more".
Chad has learned to count to 9!  I just can't get him to make it to 10!  He counts, "1...2...3....4...5...6...7...8...9......9!"  I am still very impressed!
Chad counting his goldfish.  He has a really hard time not eating them first!

Parker learned how to make a really cool fort!  He so loves the outdoors!  Our house is smack dab in the middle of his own paradise (mine too!).

Livia has finally recovered from her surgery!  First day back she learned it was ISTEP test week : (  Poor kid!

Jamey learned the best news of the week.  He took our youth group to snow camp.  On the way back home they stopped and visited the twins.  Yes, the twins we had when we were in Kinshasa!  Those of you who had followed our journey know these twins were teeny tiny, maybe 3 pounds!  I had my doubts that we could keep them alive when I first saw them in the orphanage.  But now they are in the US with their new family and doing great!

Jamey holding Desmond who weighs in at 20#!  Yes, he weighs more than Ian!