Sunday, April 28, 2013

"You'll Be in My Heart"

Jessamyn is  in a dance performance in a local show of Tarzan (the Disney musical with songs by Phil Collins).  Today is the last show and I am looking forward to finally seeing it this afternoon. She's been singing the songs a lot and we watched the movie, which the kids liked when they were little. There's one song that I also heard on the radio a few months ago and I get tears every time I hear it now.

When Tarzan's parents are killed and he's adopted by apes, his ape mother sings him this song. Hearing it reminds me of by boy, who came to us through adoption. He's small but strong and our bond is stronger than our differences. I can't imagine life with out him and I love him so much.

 You'll Be In My Heart Lyrics

Come stop your crying 
It will be all right 
Just take my hand 
Hold it tight 

I will protect you 
From all around you 
I will be here 
Don't you cry 

For one so small, 
You seem so strong 
My arms will hold you 
Keep you safe and warm 
This bond between us 
Can't be broken 
I will be here 
Don't you cry 

'Cause you'll be in my heart 
Yes, you'll be in my heart 
From this day on 
Now and forever more 

You'll be in my heart 
No matter what they say 
You'll be here in my heart, always 

Why can't they understand 
The way we feel? 
They just don't trust 
What they can't explain 
I know we're different but, 
Deep inside us 
We're not that different at all 

[Repeat Chorus] 

Don't listen to them 
'Cause what do they know? 
We need each other 
To have, to hold 
They'll see in time 
I know 

When destiny calls you 
You must be strong 
I may not be with you 
But you've got to hold on 
They'll see in time 
I know 
We'll show them together 

[Repeat Chorus] 

Oh, you'll be in my heart (You'll be here in my heart) 
No matter what they say (I'll be with you) 
You'll be here in my heart, 
I'll be there always 

I'll be with you 
I'll be there for you always 
Always and always 
Just look over your shoulder 
Just look over your shoulder 
Just look over your shoulder 
I'll be there always

Friday, November 09, 2012

Gratitude Day 9-- Adoption!

The first picture we saw of Ryland, when we met him he had lost his front teeth!
The process of adoption was such a big part of our lives for a couple years, both before and after Ryland being with us. There was so much paperwork and so many appointments. I kept looking forward to when we could simply focus on being a family and be done all the "outside" stuff. And I am thankful to say we are finally there.

I don't think a whole lot about Ryland being adopted anymore. I just think of him as my child. I can't imagine life without him and it  feels like he's always been part of our family.  There are many challenges and ways in which parenting him has been so different than with the first kids, but so many of those things are being resolved with time and patience. I don't feel like I'm guessing all the time like I did at first because I know him now. I am so thankful for his brave and loving heart!          

When I was looking for this picture, I found the "bulletin" we received along with it. It was interesting to go back and read with the viewpoint I have now. Here are a few excerpts:         

     Ryland is a handsome young man with beautiful brown eyes. He is very much a boy and loves all
kinds of outdoor activities. Ryland loves to go camping, biking and swimming. He truly enjoys being
outdoors as often as the weather permits. Ryland loves Spiderman and other action figures.
Ryland is an excellent eater. Some of his favorite foods include cheeseburgers and pizza. He is not
a picky eater but could live without meatloaf.

    Ryland enjoys playing with the dogs that live with the foster parents. He is good with them and likes

different animals.

Ryland loves to show affection regularly and is constantly looking for reassurance. He is very sincere
when he expresses his thoughts and feelings.

Ryland is very excitable. He loves to just be
silly sometimes.    (they got that right!)

Ryland would do well with a family who has some older children that could be role models for him.

Ryland is excited to find stability in his life and have a home and family to call his own.

So thankful we were given this amazing gift!!! 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Gratitude Day 6-- Big Bird's Banana Bread

This is about as political as I'm going to get for my readers. I am thankful to live in a free country and can  participate in a peaceful process of voting. I think we need to show kindness and respect even to people we disagree with or didn't vote for. It breaks my heart that 2.6 billion dollars was spent on campaigning when there are children starving in this world. That when my daughter was in Haiti during Hurricane Issac, most of the headlines were concern on how the storm would affect a political convention in Florida, when there were 400,000 people living in tents in Port-Au-Prince, in the storms path. I think we all need to find ways to "love our neighbors as ourselves" as Jesus told us to, and this county and world would be a better place.

I don't watch TV, but I did hear a lot of buzz at some point about Big Bird, so it reminded me to share a little story and recipe, so in honor of Election Day....

When the kids were little, we made a recipe called Big Bird's Banana Bread for a book they had. It was easy and healthy and they liked it even though they had all quit liking bananas. One day, I was resting and 3 year old Gabriel asked if we could make it. I must have said something to indicate yes, meaning yes, sometime. The next thing I knew I went into the kitchen and he had got out his step stool, and laid 3 bananas, a bowl and a wooden spoon on the counter. It was so cute, of course we had to stop and bake the bread right then!

Here's the recipe:


3 ripe bananas
3/4 c. honey or sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. wheat flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour) 
1/4 c. melted butter or corn oil

Mash bananas with a fork. Add melted butter, flour, and honey. Stir until all ingredients are blended. Pour the mixture into a greased and floured bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (or a little less).

Here a link I came across showing the book this came from and how it's fun to make with kids.

I can't find a picture of Gabriel quite that little on my computer- I need to scan some-- but here's one-- just to show how irresistibly cute he was!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Gratitude Day 5-- Speech Therapy

Just a quick post tonight to say that I'm very thankful for Ryland's speech therapists. This was a world I knew nothing about and it has been fascinating to see how they evaluate and teach him.  I really like how they design a unique plan just for his needs and include us in it. Both last year's teacher and his new one this year have been so patient with him and found ways to make it fun for him, while still pushing him to work hard.

I went in for a meeting today as they are writing up his IEP (Individual Educational Plan) for the next year. The first thing the teacher asked Ryland and I was, "What are his strengths?" How encouraging to start by recognizing the things he's gifted  at and build his confidence.

Both as teachers and also moms to adopted or special needs children, both of these ladies have been so supportive of us as we give Ryland the time he needs to trust us, to sit still with us and listen to a book, and to be able to respond well to a gentle correction.

Ryland's speech has come a long way, as has his attention span and his interest in reading. Every week, we take his papers from speech and make game out of practicing the sounds and words. It's been great to be a part helping him grow and I'm really thankful for the expertise and kindness of his teachers-- part of our "village it takes to raise a child"!  

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Gratitude Day 4 -- Games

One of Ryland's favorite things to do is play games. We usually play a game in the morning before we do anything else, and more throughout the day with Scott, me or any combination of the older kids he can convince to play. He's very competitive and I love to sit across from him and watch his face as he plays. It's also been a fun way for the older kids to connect with him, a good way to sneak in some educational stuff and make it fun, and provides lots of practice with things like honesty and being a good sport.

Some of our favorites have been Uno, Skipbo, Go Fish, Monopoly Junior, Sorry, Crazy Eights or Memory Match. We have also played Life, Star Wars Life, Pit, and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? We just got 3 new ones that Ryland  really likes-- Fruit Ninja card game, Farkle (dice game) and a Where's Waldo board game (none of these really require much reading). The one we're playing the most right now is Dutch Blitz and it's fast and fierce and fun!

When the older kid were much younger, I was often frustrated when Family Game Night didn't turn out like I planned-- because of fighting or cheating, or age differences,  or even agreeing on a game. It's nice that now everyone's able to participate and have it actually be fun for all of us.

Dutch Blitz

                       Does any one have any good recommendations on games they like?

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Gratitude Day 3-- Our Church

This month a whole bunch of babies were born to families in our church and blessings were prayed for them. A family is flying in a few days to bring home the daughter they are adopting for Eastern Europe with strong support behind them . Yesterday, one of our greatly loved pastors passed away after being diagnosed with a brain tumor just a couple months ago and the church is gathering around his  family. Birth, death and everything in between.. the church should be a family and these are the times we come together in the ways we were meant to.

The things I am grateful for about our church are my group of Wednesday night ladies who are really sweet and really real. The teachers who have loved and gone out of their way to meet Ryland's needs. The other adoptive moms who have simply said, "I've been there" and the grace and patience shown to us during some hard days early on. The college students who Ryland has made friends with who always take a little time with him. The volunteers who show up early and work hard to get everything ready.

 As we remember our pastor and friend, Kambiz, I know I'm not the only one who would say that his greeting on Sunday mornings made us all feel genuinely welcome, and that his generous and kind spirit is an inspiration to all of us. His life story encourages me to reach outside myself more to show care and love to everyone.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Gratitude Day 2-- Big Kids

I was telling someone the other day how much I love having teenagers. I remember being in line at the store and mentioning I was buying things for my oldest's 13th birthday party and how everyone around had something discouraging and negative to say about teenagers. Like all you can expect from them is arguing and laziness. Not saying there are no challenges, but I actually think with each of the older ones that ages 10-12 were the hardest.

 I really like the independent people they are becoming as they get older. I like that they can drive. I like when they fill the house with their friends. I like to see their unique personalities and opinions and dreams. I like how they know about all kinds of things I don't have any idea about. I like how every night is a dish washing dance party in the kitchen.

I'm really thankful and proud of how the big kids have been with Ryland. We knew we were asking them to make a huge adjustment in their lives and they have shown so much patience with him. I was saying to one of them the other day that I knew they had had to make some sacrifices and their response was, " I love Ryland so much. I could never imagine a better little brother!"

I commented to Scott the other day that we currently have kids in the stages of adult, young adult, teenager and kid-- no wonder I feel like my attention is pulled in so many directions! But right now, I am trying to make the most of each moment when they are all living here and filling the house with energy and noise and laughter and love.