Photo by Shanna Hullender Photography

"Adopting one child won't change the world; but for that child, the world will change."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Becoming a Statistic

I know I'm completely biased but I think my kids are the prettiest, funniest, smartest and most athletic kids on the planet. I guess it is a lot easier for me to say all that knowing that I didn't give birth to them and contributed absolutely nothing to their genetic make-up. I know some of their traits are unique to them as individuals but then I also know how so much of that stuff is passed on through the genes. I often find myself thinking about their biological parents and wondering what traits they may have possibly got from which parent. It also makes me sad because my little kids are so special in so many ways. Once their biological parents were special little kids too but somewhere a lot of wrong choices were made at very young ages. Now, they will forever live with those consequences. It makes me wonder what their parents lives would have been like had they grown up with different circumstances. In Michael Oher's book, he talked frequently about growing up in the ghetto and the challenges he faced just trying to avoid getting sucked into that life forever. A lot of what he said made me stop and think about how I cannot judge them and their mistakes. Of course, I KNOW that GOD doesn't want me to judge others but sometimes I find it hard to understand how people could make choices that would jeopardize them losing their children. It had never occured to me that it is just that, I DON'T KNOW because I have never lived a life of oppression and poverty. I know their parents loved them very much but they were not equipped with the skills to be successful parents. They also had hard childhoods that lacked proper role models and structure. I pray for them frequently as I cannot imagine what the pain feels like to have lost your children to the state. I know "rescuing" or "saving" a child is often debated among adoption groups. However, I do feel like we rescued them from the vicious cycle of poverty. We are giving them the tools and resources to become successful and contributing members of society. What they decide to make out of their lives is up to them. However, I know in the depths of my heart they will become a statistic...a good one!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

'I Beat The Odds"

With the all the cold winter weather we have had this season, I have found myself not wanting to venture very far from our little nest. While at Wal-Mart a couple of weeks ago, I purchased the movie 'The Blind Side.'

Billy and I went to see the 'The Blind Side' when it first came out in theaters. I clearly remember it being one of very first few evenings away from the children. I had never heard of Michael Oher until then. I only liked the movie when everyone else seemed to love it. I found it to be a great story with both great and terrible acting. I thought Sandra Bullock did an excellent job while Tim McGraw, well let me put it this way, needs to stick to country music. Furthermore, I was hardly impressed with the big ole guy that played Michael.

Rarely have I ever watched a movie more than once. But this one was different because it talked about foster care adoptions which as you all know is very near and dear to my heart. Let me put it this way, there were ulterior motives. I know adoption is serious business but I'm just keeping it honest, people!

I asked my mom and step-dad to come over and watch the movie with us. They agreed but I didn't realize that Billy already had intentions of watching his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers play. So Billy watched his game downstairs while my parents piled up on the sofa in my bedroom and watched the movie. The kids had gone to spend the night with Billy's parents. It was kind of fun getting to watch a movie with my Mom and Step-dad because it sort of made me feel like a little kid again!

Anyway, after the movie I told my parents about how I really had adoption on the brain again. No, not little kids like we have but an older kid like the movie we had just watched. I figured they would think I was crazy but they didn't. Mom has always been a big old softy but I figured she may have thought that I already had my hands full.

I also became a fan of Michael Oher on Facebook. There I saw that he was releasing a biography, 'I Beat The Odds,' about his life without the Hollywood spins on everything like the movie. I went out to pre-order it at Amazon. At that time, I saw that Sean and Leigh Ann Tuohy had put out a book last year, 'In A Heart Beat.' I bought both. While I was waiting on Oher's bio to arrive, I read the Tuohy book. It was an easy and entertaining read. However mostly, the book is about generosity and giving. After I told Billy about how Sean Tuohy owned 80 fast food restaurants, I soon found him picking it up to read! I will say this: Women sure do have their ways!

My Michael Oher book came in the mail the day that it was released. I finished reading it this afternoon. I must say it is one of the best pieces I have read on someone's foster care/adoption experiences. It truly was not what I was expecting to find but it was the most pleasant surprise. If you are considering becoming a foster parent or adopting from foster care, I would highly encourage you to read this book. 'I Beat The Odds' is real call to action. I pray for all the children in the foster care system that his book is a wild success like the movie, 'The Blind Side.'

So this morning at the breakfast table, I asked Billy if he would ever let me adopt again. He said "We will see." I told him, "Thank you, Honey, because I know that means 'YES!'" He knows that I have a one track mind and he was adamant that it was just a "maybe." I was able to put his fears at ease by telling him that I know right now is NOT the time for a various reasons. However, I now know he is on board!