Thursday, November 6, 2014

Here I Am!


I’ve had several people get on my case about not writing in this blog for an unreasonable amount of time. So here I am!  Where have I been?  I’ve been off thinking (always dangerous) and making some changes (scary) in our lives and now we are finally getting into the swing of things.

A few months ago I read a book called The World Book of Happiness by Leo Bormans.  There is no shortage of books or blogs out there on the topic of happiness as most people are constantly trying to seek happiness.  Most authors conclude the same things and give a lot of the same advice. As turbulent as my life has been the last 3 years, I figured it was fine time I research bringing more happiness back into my life.  Obviously I look at things from a biblical worldview and alter concepts to fit into my biblical worldview, but here are a few things that stood out from Bormans’ book.

  1.  Accept what you have if you can’t change it.
  2. Change what you don’t like if you can.
  3. Cherish the ones you love and cut out the ones who drag you down.
  4. Don’t compare.
  5. Stop worrying what other people think.
  6. Always be positive.
  7. Live like there is no tomorrow.

I began to look at these ideas one by one and there are certainly areas I need to work harder.  Some things in my life needed change and over the course of several months I changed several things that just were a constant burden on my heart. 

I’ve written months ago about our move from the hectic world of the dreaded commute to homeschooling.  Homeschooling worked for a season of time and now our kids all attend public school.  For the most part, public school is going well.  It has really opened our eyes regarding having our children in the same Christian bubble all their lives.  They have grown so much in the last few months.  I must say I am SO proud of them!  God has truly blessed us with amazing children!

We also have chosen to attend a different church.  There was no one thing about our former church that made us leave and we harbor no ill will.  There are just times in life when it’s best to pack up and move to further His Kingdom in other places.  If you think about the early churches in the New Testament, moving around and ministering in different areas expanded the gospel so much better than if, say, the Apostle Paul had driven down roots in just one church for his entire adult life.  In my opinion the church is not a building any way.  The church is the body of Christ and those relationships never go away.  My brothers and sisters in Christ are always going to be my friends and brothers and sisters in Christ.  Attending a church in a new location doesn’t change that.  We continue to be sensitive to God’s leading and where He wants us to serve and be served.

I’ve found that it’s in silence most times that we hear from the Lord the most.  In silence rest occurs.  When we hear from the Lord and are rested, healing can begin.  Happiness is the Lord.

I’ll talk more about these things in the future, I’m sure.  But for now, I better make this post so it doesn’t get too long.  And I’ll ask you to consider if any of these points stand out to you in your own life?  What is sucking the happiness out of your life?

Friday, September 19, 2014

It Takes A Village


It takes a whole village to raise kids.  It truly does.  I believe it takes even more than that when you are raising an adopted older child.  I think most adoptive parents could agree with that.  I am thankful for my village.  My village includes neighbors, friends, teachers, family, doctors, and so many others.

A few days ago, I contacted our friends who adopted the same time as us from the same orphanage and their child is the same age as Matthew.  They expressed that their child also struggles with basic math such as 5+5 and 2x4.  They expressed that their child also cannot read well in English even after 7 months of daily tutoring.  They also have an older child that they adopted from Ukraine many years ago who said this new child can’t even read or write well in Ukrainian.  So it looks like both children did not get much of ANY education EVER.  I’m still trying to grasp this concept.  We are starting with a 12-year-old from ABSOLUTE scratch.

This week while working on 2x4=8 for the 7th month in a row, I finally asked Matthew, “What did you ever learn in Ukraine in school?”  His answer was a defensive, “Nothing!  I learned nothing.  My mama and pop had no money and they say I know nothing and they not spend money on a boy (who knows) nothing. They say I stupid.”  I held back my saddened emotions and continued, “Well, if you learned nothing, then what did you do all day long, every single day?”  He answered, “My mama and pop, they leave early when it still dark, they lock me the door, I stay home alone, one piece of bread and some water. They come home after dark, maybe 12 hours.”  So if I understood him correctly, he was left alone from the ages of 4-7 all day, every day while both his parents worked. I recall the apartments in Ukraine had these old-fashioned shaped keys that you had to turn to open the door and turn to lock the door.  They don’t have latches like there are here in America.  You have to have a key to open and close the doors.

 Keeping in mind that these people are actually his adoptive father, and a step mother, I continued.  “When did you go to school?”  He said, “I went to school maybe 7 (years old), then mama said (that) I know nothing and (that) she did not want me. I too stupid.  She want (her) own babies, not me. I go to (orphanage) and they teach me, (but) I still know nothing.” 

I really had to choke back the tears.  Someone called MY little boy STUPID and it’s hurtful!  He was crying at this point in our talk.  I am actually the THIRD MOM in his life.  His bio-mom is elsewhere.  According to him and the director his step mom didn’t want him because she wanted babies of her own, not an older boy.  So this really makes sense why he is so guarded with me while very open with Tim. 

I assured him that he is NOT stupid and he DOES know things and that I LOVE HIM and I WANT HIM.  Then I asked him, “Well, do you want ME to teach you to read and me to teach you math?” 

He nodded. 

“Will you promise to try to learn?” 

He nodded. 

“I honestly don’t know HOW to teach you, but I promise to TRY to teach you if you TRY to learn, okay?”

He nodded and more tears flowed.  He wiped them away like a tough guy and we got busy with more times tables and reading.  When we finished he gave me a GIANT hug and said, “Mom, thanks for teaching me to read and math.”  It was such a great feeling!

I’m excited that it’s been a great couple of days as he gets home from school and grabs his book and ASKS ME to read.  It’s not like it’s been the last 7 months where I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall, and he feels like learning is some kind of punishment.  He’s open and he’s actually REALLY improving quickly. And it’s neat because reading time together every day is kind of our “thing” now.  It’s our special time of laughing, snuggling on his bed and reading together.

I’m thankful for our adoptive friends who gave us that encouragement that this is NORMAL.  These kids are not taught anything in some of the orphanages in Ukraine. 

I’m thankful for our neighbors….A few weeks ago the boys were getting a little wild with their air soft guns.  I’m doing the best that I can to balance not being the hover-helicopter-mom trying to protect my baby boy because of what happened to Brandon, while letting “boys be boys” while being realistically SAFE.  

One of the boys got hit in the inside of the nose, right by the eye.  Since Matthew didn’t do it, we gave him a verbal warning to ONLY SHOOT at the designated targets that we bought from Dick’s Sporting Goods.  A few days after the eye incident, Matthew came inside sheepishly.  I’m finally picking up on his facial expressions.  I guess one of the neighborhood girls was struck in the ear by a bee bee that had ricochet off of a light post.  The father of this girl disarmed ALL THE BOYS in the neighborhood.  Again, Matthew was NOT to blame for that misfire, but I was OH SO GLAD this dad stepped up and took away all their guns and said, “Have your mom or dad come get your guns from me.”  This held these boys accountable to either tell their parents what happened or not get their expensive guns back.  I appreciate their wisdom when our backs are turned.

Wednesday Matthew came home from school looking highly stressed out and frankly a little sheepish.  He wasn’t open to talking when I asked him what was up.  A half hour later the doorbell rang.  Outside there stood an upset AA mother with her son in an orange shirt.  She explained that “orange shirt” had been bullied by our Matthew and that there were several boys bullied by Matthew and they are all afraid of him.  She mentioned on Monday there was an incident that had happened where Matthew knocked down “orange shirt.” He then looked me in the eye and said to me, “I just want peace.  I just want to go to school and come home in peace.  I don’t want none of dat.”  I quickly apologized for the incident, thanked her and “orange shirt” for letting me know of the incident and assured her that we’d try to resolve the situation.  We exchanged phone numbers.  My heart sank.  I really did not want to hear that MY son is being a bully. 

After she left I went into Matthew’s room and asked him what happened because I wanted his side of the story.  He said that orange shirt pushed HIM first and so he retaliated.  Of course that’s what happened.  That’s what any boy would say that didn’t want to be in trouble. At this point, I wasn’t sure what story to believe because it’s one boy’s word against the other.   I called Tim and he got off work immediately to “handle things.” 

Tim ended up spending the next 2 hours walking with Matthew down to 5 different boys’ homes around our neighborhood and speaking with both the boys and the parents of the boys.  As it turns out, Matthew was telling the truth.  This group of boys was goofing around knocking back packs, pushing and shoving in a playful way at first and then things escalated.  “Orange shirt” pushed Matthew down first.  Matthew lost his balance because he wasn’t expecting the push, and the backpack was quite heavy.  “Orange shirt’s” friends started laughing at Matthew, so Matthew gave him a solid push back knocking “orange shirt” down and walked away.  At the end of this investigation the boys apologized and the mother apologized for blaming Matthew and it all worked out.

We were proud of Matthew for telling the truth and I was thankful Tim was able to get to the bottom of things before it got any worse.  I was SO relieved that Matthew is not a bully.  He does have a history of fighting in our neighborhood, but thankfully his fighting is generally more self-defense than instigation.  If someone throws a punch he has no problem defending himself so kids don’t usually mess with him a whole lot.  I will admit Matthew can be obnoxious with his “talking smack” around peers, especially if girls his age are around.  Oh, yes, we are at that wonderful age in a boy’s life.  God help us and the world!!!

Anyway, Matthew seemed happy to know that Dad had his back.  It was fun to look out the window and see Matthew happily skipping alongside of Tim yapping a mile a minute as they walked home after things had been resolved.  He came home from school the following day all smiles and said, “(Orange shirt) said he (is) sorry and he like(s) me. We (are) friends.”

Again, I am so thankful for “the Village.” It is NOT easy being parents in the 21st Century.  It is not always a walk in the park for raising older adoptive kids with language barriers either.   I was glad Orange Shirt’s mom came to let us know that something had been happening.  I’m thankful for the boys that are Matthew’s friends and walking buddies.  I’m thankful for the neighbors. Any and all help we can get from others is greatly appreciated. It definitely takes a village! 


My village will definitely be extra useful as these kids inch closer toward adulthood with driving right around the corner.  What about you?  What do you like about your "village?" Comment below or send me a message at followingclosely@gmail.com.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

7 Months Home!


Today marks the time when seven months ago we set foot on American soil together!  This boy has grown 3 inches in such a short time! He's looking pretty tall these days!  I wonder what his director would think of all his long HAIR!  She only ever saw him with all his hair shaved off.

This has been a transitional month for Matthew.  Prior to this month he was at home and basically playing all day.  This is the first month where he has had to get up every morning and spend 7 hours at school each day.  He actually seems to thoroughly enjoy school.  He doesn't come home exhausted like Brandon used to back when he attended private school.  I swear Matthew has an eternal dose of energy and is rarely tired out.

I'm not sure what all the school is working on as far as ESL.  We try to ask Matthew, but he jabbers on and on about anything and everything except what he's learning at school.  I have yet to receive an email from any of the teachers of his latest team working with him in 6th grade.  I assume if there was a problem, someone would be contacting us.

When he gets home every afternoon, I have him listen to some phonics pronunciation cds and then I have him read to me for about an hour.  He can read maybe 3 pages in a full hour in a 1st grade reader.  He's being tested now at school to see if he has a learning disability or if it's more behavioral, but he's not improving with his reading much at all.  He still struggles with what sounds each letter makes.  His orphanage director told us over and over how smart he was so maybe the public school is correct that it is behavioral.  Maybe it is a different cultural opinion of what "smart" is.  I know a lot of the work in the orphanage was just copying word for word what was written on the black board.  There wasn't a whole lot of memorization.  I've read a lengthy thread in an adoption forum that said, "Until you can convince an older Ukrainian boy that an education will benefit HIM, you will be hard pressed to get him to do anything."  Probably 20 or 30 families agreed with that statement and elaborated that culturally Ukraine boys do not see a value in education.

This is just one of those things that a lot of adoptive parents struggle with regarding their older adopted children.  We don't know how hard to push him, but he needs to be pushed.  Matthew has high hopes of being a sniper in the US Air Force when he turns 18.  The problem is, he HAS to graduate high school in order to enlist in the Air Force.  They no longer accept the GED for the US Air Force.  However, if he is 12 now and not even able to read, he is really going to have to work hard in the next 5.5 years to fit everything he needs to in order to graduate.  So, dear friends and family, if you could pray that a light bulb goes off soon that would be wonderful!

In the meantime, we are enjoying this spark of energy!  This past weekend I went on a date with just him to go see a movie.  It was the first time I got to go out with just him so it was special.  He was dying to see the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie.  He absolutely loved that movie.  I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed the movie as well. We had popcorn and slushies.  Afterward we went to a restaurant to have delicious sub sandwhiches, which was what he requested.  It was so much fun and a great time of bonding.

If any of my fellow adoptive parents have an creative ideas for us to help him learn his phonics or any parents of boys who have ideas on how to motivate a 12-year-old boy to learn, we are open to suggestions.  Feel free to comment below or email me at followingclosely@gmail.com.






Thursday, September 4, 2014

These Kids!

 Things are going really well so far this year with homeschooling the girls.  The girls do their video courses for 4 of their online classes and then I teach them individually English, Literature/Reading, Spelling and Poetry.  They all have said they enjoy the one-on-one time I give them as a teacher.  So far we have straight A's and wonderful attitudes!  The above picture is Haley reading with wonderful expression and clarity POOLSIDE!!! 
 The other day Haley was sitting in her bedroom "listening to her video lecture" while gazing outside and somehow she spotted a lizard swimming in the pool.  She is SO easily distracted from school and I swear she has freekishly good vision to be able to see from her bedroom window such a small critter in the pool!
 Oh, how this child loves her critters!
 The poor lizard died later that day because I don't think the pool chemicals were good for it.  Matthew thought he'd be funny and throw a lizard at me and I screamed and jumped so high I almost landed in the pool fully dressed....Thankfully the lizard he threw was a rubber one, but he got a good laugh out of scaring the absolute daylights out of me.

 I've been teaching the girls a little each day how to cook in kind of a hands-on cooking class.  One day for lunch Kylie chose to make Velveeta Mac and Cheese.  I had her read the instructions herself to make her meal.  She accidentally mis-read the instructions and added the packet of liquid cheese to the boiling water along with the noodles.  She somehow missed the steps that said to boil the noodles first for 10 minutes, then drain them, THEN add the packet of liquid cheese.  She was so unbelievably and uncharacteristically angry that she screamed, "Ohhhh!!  I HATE HATE HATE cooking!  I hate it! AHHHHH!!!!" She wasn't screaming AT me.  She was just screaming into thin air. I went in my bedroom and closed the door to answer a phone call.  I guess she assumed I was upset at her outburst, so she slid the following note under the door:

"Dear Mom, Sorry I yelled @ you.  It's just that cooking frosterates me.  Remind me not 2 cook again.  Sorry if I spelt wrong.  I love you. Love Kylie."

I love her tender heart to apologize over becoming "frosterated."  She is always so quick to apologize.  She's a precious girlie!  She has since successfully cooked Velveeta Mac and Cheese!!!  If at first you don't succeed, try, try again! 
 Bella, in her old age, has discovered how to jump over the baby gate to get out of the kitchen.  I came out one morning and she was not in her kitchen, but comfy sleeping on the couch.  Thankfully she didn't go through all the garbage cans and shred everything like she normally does! 

 Kylie is in the midst of her very first volleyball season.  She is improving every day.  She has made new friends and I'm so thankful she is dedicated to practice.  Tim usually works with her a little each day on how to hit or serve the ball correctly.  Volleyball is one game I never learned well.  I just play sand volleyball whenever for fun, but I'm sure I don't hit the thing correctly.  I'm just glad when I get the ball over the net! Anyway, it seems all Kylie does is practice, practice, practice!!  She's amazingly disciplined in that way!



Fall is always such a busy time of year.  We love it though! We are anxious for the weather to cool off a bit!  This week has been in the 90's every day.  Every weekend in September is full of something.  We have Tim's birthday coming up.  Next weekend is Kylie first volleyball tournament and Katie's first all-day craft fair of the season.  The following week Katie has a youth group trip out of town to a theme park and Christian music concert.  It's a good thing iPhone has a calendar so I can keep everything straight for these kids!  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Church @ the Lake

Yesterday our family had a blast at the lake!  All of our kids are truly water babies and LOVE the lake.  Our girlies have been in water since a week after they were born.  Kylie even started swimming when she was 2!! Katie and Haley swam well by 3.  Matthew just learned to swim since he came to America, but he's just about keeping up with the girls.

We enjoyed the tubing, kayaking, swimming, dinner, brownies & ice cream, rock climbing, roller blading, arcade games and so much more.  The kids played HARD the whole time.  It was nice just getting away from town and relaxing at the lake with our friends.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous, though it was a little nicer later on because it was cooler once the sun went down.

We all came home with bruises, scraped elbows, sore muscles and exhaustion, but we could not have asked for a better time!

The guys at the lake



Sweet teen girlies

My best friend and I

The gorgeous lake...my friend took this pic and she was kind enough to let me use it

One tired boy!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Money and Priorities

The other day I read a quote by Dave Ramsey that reads, "How a family spends money represents its value system.  What you do with money shows who you really are."  That really jumped out at me because it's Scriptural.  The Bible teaches "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  (Matthew 6:20, 21).


I was curious what our value system is in our home so I took a photo of my checkbook to evaluate. As an accountant I love looking at this type of stuff! 






The top entry was a purchase of tickets for Church @ the Lake for our family.  Every Labor Day our church has morning service at the church, then goes down to the lake for an afternoon and evening of fellowship together as a church family.  This photo also shows gas, a check reorder and some food purchases. We had Hungry Howies Pizza at the beach on our family getaway.  The Red Box movie was the "God's Not Dead" movie we watched on Friday night.  Our family really enjoyed that movie and the message it gave.  GNC, this was to purchase women's mufti-vitamins for me.  Tim and Matthew had Vanilla Frosties together at Wendy's.  We contributed to savings accounts, gave BBC and Score International charitable contributions and finally, we paid our car insurance.  

This is a decent usage of money.  Most of these purchases have to do with our family, church and simply paying our bills on time.  That is basically our life!

One thing I'd like to encourage others to do is give.  The Bible says to "Lay yourselves treasures in Heaven."  This is the idea of giving to others because it honors God and cheerfully donating makes people joyful. Material items may bring joy momentarily, but those that focus on eternal things will bring even greater joy in Heaven.  

Most of the time people do not give because with so many charities out there, they don't know which charities are authentic and which ones are shady with the resources they've collected.  One recent example is the ALS research.  Some of you may have done the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness of the disease.  I read a few articles online that said that ALS research money was not going to be used for as much research as you might think and also some of the research is done on unborn babies scientists have murdered.  I know there are several adoption charities that are more likely child trafficking businesses than legitimate orphan care organizations.

It's best to first give to your local church and then give to a well-researched organization in which you are passionate about.  I wanted to list 3 great charities that I love.

1.  Score International (www.scoreinternational.org).  We fell in love with this organization when we went on a short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  We support and have kept in touch with our missionaries from that trip.  Score International specializes in sports mission outreach, short-term missions, orphanage ministries, and Spanish language studies.  They hold sports camps for sports such as soccer and baseball and spread the love of Christ to the children.  When we were in the Dominican we shopped for and donated cleaning supplies, diapers, food and clothing to the orphanages and the poor families in the outer villages through Score.  I love this ministry and they stretch every dollar given to meet the needs of the people and evangelize the lost!

2.  Show Hope (http://showhope.org/sponsor).  Show Hope is an organization founded by Steven Curtis Chapman and his family in honor their adoptive Chinese daughter.  This organization provides grants to adoptive families, provides funds for life-saving medical care and cares for older orphans with various special needs.  While our family never was awarded a grant from them for our adoptions, we have friends whose adopted daughter had a cleft lip repair paid for by this organization, and other friends who did receive an adoption grant.  This non-profit is close to my heart because they experienced a similar accident and death of a child as our family.  The book they wrote "Choosing to See" ministered to my grieving heart in the months following Brandon's unexpected death.  

3.  Little Flower Projects (info@chunmiaolittleflower.org).  This non-profit provides specialized care of abandoned infants, nurturing love to orphans and education for older, disabled orphans in Beijing, China.  I follow their work and the progress of several little ones online.  It is absolutely amazing to see the life-changing medical care and love this organization provides.

I could go on and on with legitimate organizations, but these three are the first ones that came to mind as I began to write this post.  Feel free to write to me at followingclosely@gmail.com or visit their website if you'd like more information on donating to these companies.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Post About Trolls


The very reliable, professor approved and endorsed website called Wikipedia (sarcasm--as a college professor myself, I say professors actually hate Wikipedia) defines “trolling” as “the practice of behaving in a deceptive, destructive, or disruptive manner in a social setting on the Internet with no apparent instrumental purpose.”  It would seem that I have a group of trolls who regularly visit my blog with no “apparent purpose” other than to mock and criticize me and my family.  This blog is not for trolls.  It is designed to keep family, friends and other adoptive families all over the globe abreast on the happenings of our family.  It is designed to give a clear picture of any difficulties of life after adoption and to show our family and friends how best to pray for us.  I am very candid on this blog while trying not to embarrass any of my children or publicly ridicule them.  It is so other parents going through similar situations know it’s normal to feel this way or that.  The behavior of adopted children and how we must respond to adoptive children is sometimes completely different than bio-children.  Ultimately I hope this blog challenges and encourages its readers.

These trolls and websites have somehow tagged our family as evil child abusers who do every, single thing wrong as parents.  After a little digging I found out that my trolls go by the fake online names like “Astrin” and “Amom” and "Christie M" and a few other names.  They have a reputation of criticizing not only me, but lots of people to include the Duggar Family and several other adoptive families.  I’m actually a bit flattered by the fact that I’m placed in the same category as the Duggar family.  Thank you for that.  I happen to think that the Duggars are an exceptional family with wonderful, respectful and beautiful children and an awesome marriage.  Rather than accusing of them of “breeding like rats,” perhaps we should thank them for raising their children in such a way that they love God and other human beings.  The Duggars and their children are generous and kind in every action.  They are wonderful contributors in society and I doubt you will find any of their children doing drugs, getting in trouble with police or murdering mankind.  Trolls, I’m humbled that not only do you trolls take the time to read every post of this blog, but also critique it when you could easily be doing other things with your time such as working a real job, or taking care of your own family because obviously you are the best father or mother in the whole wide world.  The fact that my blog is worthy of your scarce time is truly humbling. 

These particular trolls find it emotionally abusive if adoptive parents laugh or joke with their adopted children, even though they have no clue that these adoptive children thrive with laughter.  It’s amazing that these cowards think that with 2 master’s degrees under our belts and 13+ years of parental experience that we do not have enough common sense or “emotional maturity” to tell if a child is emotionally ready for teasing.  The idea of picking on a child with alleged no understanding of humor is ridiculous, but thank you for caring for our children’s emotions.  

The trolls and gossips criticize adoptive parents with “child collection” for the sake of winning praise or favor from onlookers.  They feel adoptive parents get some kind of rush.  I can see how someone with a misconstrued worldview would draw that kind of conclusion of an ulterior motive of joy because children really are a blessing and a lot of fun.  However, most of the families being criticized are not caring for orphans in this world for a rush.  They are serving these children because they love the Lord and they love other human beings on the planet and they genuinely want to change the world, one life at a time.  Every orphaned child deserves a family.  Not only are these adoptive families doing the best they can, but the majority of the ones I’ve seen you trolls criticize are actually exceptionally elite families, gifted in love and compassion which is so rare in our world today.  They are precious and some of the most generous families in our entire country.  I appreciate being compared to these fine folks.  I have no doubt when they get to heaven if they are born-again believers, God will tell them, “Well done, you good and faithful servants.” Adoptive families, keep up the good work!  Trolls, what will God say to you about vicious hateful words online?  Don’t believe in God?  I will tell you what you’ll hear: “Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity.” 

My lovely trolls are convinced that we are going to disrupt or “re-home” Matthew.  I am absolutely 100% against disrupting and rehoming thriving adoptive kids, so thank you for that concern, but you can stop spreading that lie now: We will not be disrupting Matthew. 

I will say, though, there are many adoptive parents with very unique situations where the child is not thriving.  This idea of disruption in unique situations is NOT my own opinion or idea based on emotions or your perceived stupidity on my part.  It is a viewpoint based on many books I’ve read and it has been formed only after speaking with child counselors, therapists, case workers and other experts who deal with adopted kids and those children with any kind of trauma.  If a child is posing a DANGER to a family such as sexually abusing other bio or adopted children in the home, if a child is setting the house on fire or trying to kill others in the home, if a child is obsessed with knives and threatening to murder themselves or other individuals in the home, if the child has raped another member of the family, if a child is psychologically tormenting other children in the home or anything along these lines, and the child is not responding to professional help, the child needs to go—according to the expert advice of adoption therapists and case workers.  

It is about setting down pride and doing what is best and safest for ALL THE MEMBERS of the family.  Obviously it is NOT IDEAL for a family to rehome an adopted child.  It is definitely NOT a first choice the minute an adopted child has a bad day.  However, when a case worker says to a family, “Either this ONE dangerous child goes, or I am removing ALL of your children from the home because it is not safe due to this one child,” that advice MUST be heeded.  Along those lines, if a choice given by a case worker is “Either this child can go into foster care with complete strangers, he/she can go to a group home or you can try to find another family willing to adopt this child,” the obvious choice is to find another family willing and able to adopt and handle the child.  It is not best for the child to be passed around in foster care.  Stability is best.  It is best to screen out new families very well to see if they can meet that child’s needs.  Perhaps a child is sexually abusive to younger children.  That child needs to be placed in a home with NO SMALL children on which they can prey upon.  Finding a new home for a child like this is not “flippantly passing around a child like a pet.”  It is a decision bathed in prayer and it is genuinely seeking to care for a child with unique needs while not harming other children in the process.  A new environment with a fresh new slate in many cases will cause most children like this thrive. 

I personally know two children who did not do well in the first adoptive home for one reason or another and both of these had legitimate safety concerns as mentioned above.  Every single day was a battle in these families for protection and healing.  The entire families were headed off a cliff.  These two families finally came to the conclusion after professional counsel that they should set aside their pride of thinking they can fix this child, and rather try to find another family where the children could thrive.  Both children found another family and have absolutely thrived in the second home.  Love is not clinging to a child with a death grip thinking you are some sort of awesome savior who can just love a child enough.  Love is about doing what is best for that child, even when the decision is not one you would prefer. Trolls, what makes you think that you know better than professionals or those families actually living out the circumstances?  Trolls, what makes you think you know more than God?  You are out of line and exceptionally arrogant. 

As far as abuse, I cannot find any reason any troll would think we beat or otherwise abuse our children.  No child has ever been beaten in our home with rods.  I have not read any book called “To Train Up a Child” and certainly do not endorse any anger-based, barbaric behavior described on your troll sites.  We do not believe in beating children.  They are not cattle. They are little human beings with very tender feelings.  We have never bruised our children, ever.  We do not verbally abuse our children. We do not call our children names.  We do not tell our children they are stupid or otherwise ridicule their persons.  We do our best to model in our marriage respect for one another and do not call each other names.  We do not tell our children to “shut up.”  We do not neglect our kids.  We treat our children how we would like to be treated. We do not curse.  We do not drink or smoke.  We make these choices intentionally because we believe our home should be a haven from the outside world seeking to destroy them.  We are not perfect parents, but we do our best to love each of them individually and how they prefer to be loved.  We hug on them and praise them far more than we discipline them. By they way, in our home discipline does NOT equal barbaric beating.  We lead by example and direct with love. We meet them where they are emotionally and physically.  We help them in the areas they need help. We will stop at nothing to bend over backwards to place any and every resource we can in their hands if we feel it will help them.  We encourage them in the areas they are strong and we challenge them where they are weaker.  We pray for them every day.  We provide every basic need and even go above that to give them things they want as the budget allows.  These kids, who have been through a lot in their young lives, are happy and thriving and we owe that to the Lord.  Anyone that knows our family personally would agree.  We are doing the best we can with the children God has given us and I don't mean to brag, but our kids are pretty amazing people!  

So trolls, thank you for your time and concern, but really you can let it go now.  Anger, bitterness and destructive criticism is not good for your health, so maybe you could use your spare time more effectively dealing with your own emotional issues for your own sake.  Again, this blog is not for trolls, or usually written to trolls, but if you have a problem with me and would like to speak with me directly, followingclosely@gmail.com is where you can find me.  Blogspot does not have a way for me to answer Anonymous comments.  Fake screen names and deceptive gossip for the purpose of making our family look bad is really cowardly and disrespectful.  Good luck with giving up the gossip.  Bad habits are sometimes hard to break.  I'm sure deep down somewhere you legitimately care about orphans and mankind, but you're going about it all wrong.  Speaking positively and encouraging people will make you feel better about yourself.  Try it, you may just smile and find a sense of humor along the way.