The Crew

The Crew
Christina, Matthew, Joshua and Katie Grace XiHua

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I have been so busy working extra hours in rehearsals over the past 4 weeks, so I haven't any time to get on here! Anyway, since I had to work so much, Joshua had the opportunity to go to Mobile, AL and visit his grandparents, "Lolli and Pops", for 2 weeks. Well, it actually snowed on the day they were driving back to meet us and they found a place to pull over and go out into the snow and play! Lolli snapped a few shots for me. This was Joshie's first experience in the snow! My 2 older kids have had a few chances to enjoy the snow on our trips home to Colorado and to Minnesota in the past. Living here in Florida, I sometimes miss the snow. I guess I would like it if it just snowed for a few days, but I don't miss scraping my car and shoveling it out every morning in the freezing temps! I know some of my fellow Floridians are over the "cold" temps we've been having (30's-40's), but I am loving the cool weather. It is soooo hot here in the loooong hot season, I'm not in a hurry to get to it!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

HERE IS AN ARTICLE BY JACKIE SEMAR OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD FOUNDATION-I wanted to write about this situation, but this article is perfect!

Dear Families & Friends,
Much has happened over the past week, and most importantly, orphans are yet again at risk due to very poor judgement on the part of advocates, in this case, a group of missionaries in Haiti. You have all no doubt read the news -- 10 US citizens were arrested and remain in custody in Haiti for allegedly attempting to take 33 Haitian children into the Dominican Republic, without Haitian permission. There are back stories and side stories and front stories surrounding this event. Safe to sum it up by saying that it was poor judgement to try to circumvent authorities. 10 adults were involved, they each share the responsibility. But that is where it ends. I say this because I am sure all of you as well as adoption advocates are very sick and tired of being lumping into "child traffickers" by the media or UNICEF. There are some people who have little sense or respond to a state of chaos by deciding all rules are suspended. Or they envision themselves as saviors and above the law. They are few and far between. Just as having a registered child molester living in your neighborhood does NOT mean you are a child molester, too, neither does having a small band of missionaries or adoption facilitators taking a group of children into the DR without proper authority mean that all missionaries or adoption workers or adoptive parents are child traffickers. The US is the place where everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Please do not fall into the abyss of jumping to conclusions based on, God forbid, the media. Unless, of course, you want your actions to be defined by the presumptions of strangers.
Innocent until proven guilty. Say that aloud a few times. This is part of what it is to be an American, a very important part. An inestimably important part -- because failure to honor this creed and value has closed too many adoption programs. Children in need of families have found the door shut in their face, because the many have been punished for the crimes of the few. Let's not let this happen again.
What we focus on expands.
Jackie Semar

Monday, February 1, 2010


I have posted about this in the past, but I will do it again as I often get asked this question! As far as choosing domestic adoption first for us here in the US, there are many reasons why it isn't always the best or easiest choice for some families. Although it is an excellent option for the right families! We have already tried the domestic foster care adoption route before, which did not work out due to the child's past abuse and us having children already. If you are interested in adopting a non special needs child under the age of 5 here in the US, you would have to go the private adoption route, adopting a newborn, which is VERY expensive process- $30,000 - $40,000. There are also thousands of families waiting to do that already. Foster care adoption can bee a great option. You can check the foster care photolisings, but I have rarely ever seen any children under 5 available for adoption who are not considerable special needs or who are not a part of a sibling group which must be adopted together. So that narrows options if you are not prepared for the medical and therapy costs and time commitment of a special needs child, or if you don't have room for a sibling group. You can get a foster license with the hope to adopt, should your child become available. If you are a family who has children already, you have to be prepared that adopting from foster care is taking in a child who has been abused physically or sexually- or has been severely neglected. Social services won't place many of them, with families that have young children, for that reason. Now, there ARE many children available in foster care who are 7- 16 years. Many of these children are developing well and have caregivers who are helping them to be healthy. These children deserve a home and a family. For our family situation in particular, we have 3 school age children. It is not recommended in adoption to disrupt the sibling age order, so I makes our choices very difficult! We would definitely still consider adopting from the foster care system, if our current international adoption did not work out for some reason. All children deserve a family. At least here in the US, the orphans have a government support system, albeit not the most ideal situation, to carry the children through to adulthood. In many countries world wide, the children's future is very bleak. This is not an easy choice, and again, there are no easy or "right" answers.
Every adoptive family wants to adopt for various reasons. All are valid. There are choices in adoption and it is wonderful to make those choices that are best for your family. Adoption is beautiful.


Why should we adopt internationally and remove children from their home culture? In an ideal world, we wouldn't need to, or have the opportunity to do this. There are millions of orphans world wide. All children deserve a home and a loving family. The children in Haiti who have just recently been orphaned due to the earthquake, should definitely NOT be adopted out, nor will they be, it is impossible, and unethical, to adopt a child who is not legally orphaned. The huge portion of the 380,000 children in Haiti who were ALREADY LEGALLY orphans before the earthquake should be given the chance to find homes in order for the orphanages to rebuild and make room for the THOUSANDS of new orphans. This is just my personal opinion, but I also believe by each orphanage directors discretion, we should give the children humanitarian refuge until their orphanages are rebuilt and their paperwork is sorted out over the next couple years. Within the orphanage walls and gates, everyday, all day, the children are not getting the opportunity to enjoy their "culture". Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. The orphanage directors are doing everything they can to get a meal into the children before they starve to death, (this was already the case before the earthquake this was happening). Yes, It would be ideal for every country to have a domestic adoption option for the local orphans to find homes. Most countries, such as Haiti and many others, do not have a good (or any) domestic adoption programs because their are no families who can afford to feed another mouth. In fact with Haiti in particular, the government does not run or support any orphanages, they are all run by philanthropic organizations who function only on donations given. Each orphanage director is literally "parents" to these abandoned and lost children. Also, in many countries, domestic adoption is looked down upon for social reasons. Families are ashamed and keep it hidden if they have to adopt. So, in a perfect world, yes, a child would do best to be adopted into their own culture. It isn't happening. These children are sent out of the orphanages and into the streets on their own at 12-14 years old if they are not adopted, to face a very bleak, or perhaps even horrific future. Starvation, trafficking, prostitution, slave labor and death are the common options at that point. I am not being dramatic, this is truth. There is no perfect answer. They can remain in their culture and face an impossible future, or they can be adopted internationally and begin a difficult adjustment process, but have a chance for education and a future, and perhaps someday they can return to their country and be a help for their future.
I do feel that families who adopt internationally should include culture of their heritage in their children's lives and make it a part of their growing experience.

Many hungry children near the boarder of Myanmar and Thailand-click on photo