Adoption, AJ, Ally, Out of Africa 2010

I Blinked.

I blinked and, suddenly, it has been four years since I brought Giggles and ShyGuy home from what was an adoption trip that changed me heart and soul.  I learned a ton about ethical adoptions.  Their journey to our family was like a guide on how NOT to adopt.  It turned out great, with an ongoing relationship with a birth mother we now consider part of our extended family, but it could have been SO bad.  I could have ended up taking a child from a mother who didn’t really understand what she was giving up.  I could have unknowingly pulled apart a family.

Adoption is tough.  The ethics, motivations and money that come behind it are even tougher.  There are so many shades of grey in the adoption world, that it is a minefield to navigate.  I’m so proud of where Giggles and ShyGuy came from, but at the same time, that place scarred me.

Adoption isn’t for the faint of heart.

Coming to America




Coming to America-3


Adoption is beautiful, but it’s broken.  I didn’t realize that until I was in the middle of the adoption of these two.  People lied to us, hearts were broken.  There was a chance, a good chance, for many weeks, that we were never going to get to call them ours.  I had to rely on complete strangers to help us.  The world, at that moment, seemed completely out of control.  It was like living a nightmare.

Then, all of the sudden, that out of control world came alive to help us.

Getting these two here was an honest to goodness miracle.  We were granted such a gift.

I came home bruised, battered, really pissed off, but so, so grateful.  There is another family, on the other side of the world, living a similar nightmare right now.  While they have great on the ground support in their child’s homeland, their U.S. adoption agency has closed its doors in the middle of their adoption.  They’re left with no stateside help to finish their adoption.  Instead of leaving, they’ve chosen to stay and fight.

In honor of Giggles and ShyGuy and the miracle we were granted four years ago today, I’m asking you to help this family with their miracle.  Here is a link to their fundraising page.  I don’t know them personally.  I just know their story, just like so many people knew ours.  Let’s come alive and help them get their son home.

–FullPlateMom, who once said seven children was enough.  She was a liar.



When you’re from a place where it’s not okay to be gay.

Giggles is a girl who watches, learns and takes in everything she sees.  She was aware of the idea of same sex couples before she came to the U.S.  When she arrived, she was introduced to some of these couples in real life.  She wasn’t very tolerant.  It was embarrassing.    

It’s not that she was outwardly rude.  She was shy, and had A LOT of questions later.  The questions involved whether or not the two people in the relationship would spend eternity ‘burning’.  
She meant…in hell.  Oh man.  
So, we explained to Giggles what we believe about hell (not a whole lot) and how we don’t believe that someone would ‘burn’ just because they love what society views as the “wrong person”.  I know, I know.  We’re Evangelical Christian.  Well, we’re not that kind of Evangelical Christian.  We’re the kind that doesn’t spread hatred.  Believe what you want, but I won’t teach my children to shun anyone.  The bible is open to all kinds of whacky interpretations.  There are some people who believe the bible tells them that black people are automatically less than white people.  Hmmm…can’t say I buy into that garbage either.
I’m rarely critical of my children’s homeland.  I can see the beauty, and the tragedy, in the country they came from.  THIS is too much though.  This is what the government of my children’s former homeland is spending their time on…
To be fair, the article says that no one is quite sure how President Mills feels about homosexuality, because he won’t come out and say.  He won’t discuss whether he made these comments or not.  I also have to say that journalism in Ghana is largely unregulated and you can pay a Ghanaian journalist a little bit of money to write a lot of garbage.  So, who knows?  
I do know that this is unacceptable.
The above article is from the BBC, probably a little more reliable, but still, British Journalism isn’t without bias either.  Take from it what you will, believe what you want, but I really don’t like the direction this is headed.  Ghana has always been a leader in Africa, on the forefront of better things; a stronger economy, promoting education, helping the underserved….
Now this?
Are you really going to start a witch hunt, Ghana?  Really?  Because you don’t have any other problems to deal with?  Let me tell you…you do.  Sexual abuse of young children is RAMPANT in your country, and usually occurs at the hands of STRAIGHT men.  Deal with that first.  While you are improving your educational system in your country, you have a long way to go.  Deal with that too.  And, many, many people still rely on foreign aid just to eat.  This needs to be dealt with as well.  All these things should rank well above the need to flush out your ‘underground gay community’.
Let’s pretend for one second that the figure in the article is correct, and 8000 gay people really did register with AIDS charities in Ghana.  8000 gay people?  As compared to how many straight people?  I would be willing to bet my last charitable contribution to your country that there are far more NOT GAY people with HIV/AIDS in your country than gay people.  Gay people are not spreading AIDS in your country.  AIDS is NOT a gay disease.  We figured that out in the 1980s.  It was a lesson learned the hard way, at the expense of an innocent boy.  Don’t make the same mistake, Ghana.    
Giggles obviously doesn’t surf the internet, so we won’t be discussing this with her.  I’ll wait until she is old enough that she can see the parallel between what Ghana is supposedly doing right now (accusing people of being gay and then attempting to prosecute them) and another important event in U.S. history
who REALLY hopes this is all a mistake.   
AJ, Ally, Ghana

One Year–When God Hands You Plan B.

A good friend and I were talking today.  This week marks one year since I returned to the U.S. accompanied by my two newest children, after a four week ordeal that was like something that one could only find in a major motion picture.  My kids were here, and they’re great.  For others, a whole different kind of ordeal was beginning.  There are some people that are still picking up the pieces of what was lost when we all discovered just how badly we had been lied to.

For a year, we’ve all prayed, watched and hoped that miracles would happen.  As I sat here, getting ready to type about the miracle that is the one year anniversary of bringing home Giggles and ShyGuy, I got a call that we’ve been praying for  It doesn’t matter how many ups and downs we’ve had.  It doesn’t matter that the three that came from the orphanage that is no more have a long way to go to heal.  None of it matters.  They’re here, and on the one year anniversary of their miracle, someone else finally has theirs.  Is it appropriate to go into a giant Oprah-style ugly cry?  I’m already there.

I’ve often wondered why God allows suffering.  How did my kids get here when so many others didn’t?  How do I have SEVEN adopted children when some people struggle to adopt one?  My good friend, who will forever be bonded to me by what we all endured over there, reminded me that God can’t fix all the world’s evil.  People have free will, some people choose to use it to tear others down.  We can only pray to the God who waits in the wings, with a plan B that will be the answer to everything you’ve ever wanted, because He knows what is right.

For the families that have been devastated by what happened in Ghana, God has handed out plan Bs like they’re going out of style.  Words can’t express how grateful I am for being allowed to witness it.  After all the horror, the abuse and the lies we all had to endure, there is hope.

who can’t think of a better way to celebrate one year with her miracles.  

Adoption, Ghana, Juliana

Dual Purpose.

This blog has just become dual purpose.  I have given the name and address of it to Bubbly’s family in Ghana.  Not my intention for it, but a useful purpose.  Sadly, some of Bubbly’s family was told that she died recently.  I don’t really understand how, or why, this happened.  I can hazard a guess, since there is a man in Ghana who used to facilitate adoptions that seems to like to tell this to adoptive and birth families alike.

FPD and I have been in contact with Bubbly’s family many times over the last 48 hours.  The trust that is destroyed by a lie like this is unreal, and it hurts our daughter’s relationship with a family she might want to have a relationship in the future.  For real, hasn’t she been through enough?  I have photographed Bubbly many times since she arrived home and have chronicled her little journey here.  Hopefully, her family will be able to get to an internet cafe and take a peek.

For any of you who have children from Bubbly’s former orphanage, and haven’t heard from your children’s birth families in awhile or even ever, it might be time to check in.  You might be surprised at what they have been told.  Bubbly’s adoption is not in jeopardy.  Bubbly is a legal citizen of the United States.  Bubbly’s adoption does NOT need fixing.  I have told Bubbly’s family many times that they don’t need to pay money to correct any of her documents.  Bubbly was readopted many months ago.  A judge in the United States decided everything in Ghana was done correctly.  It is finished.  I am finished with it, and all of this, as well.

I am not finished with our Bubbly though.  She is happy.  She is healthy.  She wants to tell her birth family…”I am fine.”

Bubbly chose this picture herself.
who is sad that she even has to write this post.
Ghana, Juliana

Long Time No See.

I have been absent from blogging for a long while.  The Christmas season is upon us, my house is under construction, and the kids are just plain busy.  But, they’re doing great.  Bubbly is LOVING the structure of public school.  She’s really excelling.  I guess my free wheeling child-led preschool just wasn’t doing it for her.  Makes sense when you think about it.  She was never given any structure at the orphanage, she made very poor choices.  If she’s not given structure, she reverts to those poor choices.  So, we’re taking it back to the beginning, she doesn’t get any choices for awhile until we work on making better ones.  Public school doesn’t offer a lot of choices.  The kids are given an art project to do.  They do it.  They’re told to go to gym.  They do it.  There’s no room for poor choices.  It sounds like the wrong way to learn, but it works for her.

I waited so long to say anything about her success because I was afraid to jinx it.  I feel confident in saying, we’ve found what works for our daughter.  Do I expect backslides?  Heck yeah.  But, she can do it.  I know that now.  We can have school success, which will hopefully lead to a happy life for our little Bubbly.  I’m so proud of her.  Here’s what she’s been up to…

She’s a total snow bunny.  And, it’s snowy up here, so she’s happy.
I have one more update to give.  Those of you who know where Giggles, ShyGuy and Bubbly came from will know that there was a news story in Utah about the fall out from the not so ethical adoptions that were done there.  I’m not going link it.  If you’ve followed this blog, then you were probably involved with the orphanage and you can google to find it.  
It’s important that the truth was told.  I think it was.  While I wasn’t involved with the news report, I won’t lie and say I didn’t know about it.  I didn’t have anything to do with bringing this story to the media.  I wasn’t asked for information and I wasn’t interviewed.  A lot of families lost so much more than I did.  This is their story now.  I have my kids.  I’m grateful for that.  I also want them left out of it.  I want ALL the children that came from that orphanage left out of it, those that came last year and those that came over a decade ago.  The children who are left behind, and the families who were forced to leave them there, need justice.  But, the ones who are here need to be left alone to heal from the hell they came out of.  I would never comment about children’s personal stories online.  Never.  I hope the same respect can be shown for my children.  
who wants everyone to think about the kids.