Monday, December 31, 2012

Dear President Putin...

There was a time when Jamie and Henry were our sons in every sense, except officially and I have two favorite ornaments on our tree that are a reminder of those not quite complete Christmases.

When we were first matched with Jamie in 2002, we were told by our agency that while it was likely that this little guy would become our son, there are always unknowns in the process and there was a chance that he might not. However, with each successful step of the process completed, we grew more confident that he would soon be ours. When December arrived we were far along enough in the process to believe that his homecoming was only a matter of time, and besides he had become such a part of us that it seemed strange NOT to include him in our Christmas this is the announcement we included with our card.
And here is that same adorable little fellow today, Christmas ten years later.
Two years later, as we were waiting for Henry's adoption to be finalized, we included a photo that was taken and sent to us of our new little son in foster care along with our Christmas card. 
He was even dressed for the occasion in a Christmas motif...just as though we arranged for him to wear a cute picture day outfit.
Only he was not officially ours...yet. 
And here is dear Henry today, Christmas 8 years later.
We can't imagine our family without him.

Three weeks ago, a Cincinnati couple visited a 4 year old little boy in an orphanage in St. Petersburg Russia. The child's name is Constantin and Mike Sweeney and his wife Natalia Zimina are in the process of adopting him and adding him to their family.
On Friday afternoon, a bill was signed by Russian President Putin banning Americans from adopting children in Russian orphanages. This means that Constantin, who was so close to being a part of a family, will instead grow up in an orphanage.
I can only imagine the heartache of those families...both the parents who won't be able to bring home the children who they have already begun to bond with and the children who will languish in an orphanage instead of learning to love and trust a family of their own.

Please sign this petition begun by Alexander D'Jamoos asking President Putin to allow the 46 children who are already matched and in the process of being adopted, to join their future families.

Alexander is a 21 year old college student at the University of Texas at Austin who was adopted six years ago from an orphanage in Russia. Like little Constantin, he was living in an orphanage for children with disabilities in St. Petersburg, perhaps the very same place where little Constantin now waits, and hopes for his adoption to be finalized so that he can have a family of his own.

Read his letter, grab a hanky, and be inspired. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Hoggy-days from the Big Pig!

Can you believe that our beloved big cement pig received her very own Christmas cards this year?
I sure couldn't believe it, but she did.
We received some lovely and thoughtful messages addressed to"Big Pig," wishing her a Merry Christmas and thanking her for her fun presence in our community
They were all anonymous-
(very mysterious) 
and signed from "a neighbor," or "a friend."  
Some were signed and sent from a "Hyde Park Runner."
 I am certain that we live in a neighborhood full of the most thoughtful folks ever to take the time to write a kind note to a big cement pig during the such a busy time of year. 
Here reads her latest signage...
The Big Pig
 and the 
Big Pig Little Free Library
would like to sincerely thank 
all of her friends
for their support

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Press Send.

Here is Mary early Monday morning...beaming with happiness and excitement.
She has just hit the send buttons and sent her applications on to the college admissions powers that be.
Boom... she has officially applied.
Mary has been sweating out these applications for months and months... writing and rewriting essays and supplements until she was certain that they were her very best work.
 And they were. 
But she was still nervous to "press send." 
So she called in her applying to college support team... the dear counselors in the high school admissions office, who stood by her as she pressed those buttons and then kindly photo documented the experience to send to mom. 
After those buttons were pressed,  Mary and her super supportive team, celebrated with an orange juice toast.
While only time will tell of Mary's future (she has windy city aspirations, while I lean more Buckeye) I am proud of my dear daughter for working so diligently on something that was difficult but important.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fierce Teachers

Some of my nearest and dearest friends are teachers of the very young, and there is something about them that I know for certain.
Elementary school teachers are fierce when it comes to protecting their students.
They will lay down their own life to keep them safe from harm and evil.
It's what they do and it's why they are teachers.
I know that many children's lives were saved in Connecticut because their teacher protected their lives and futures as only a teacher could.

Fred Rogers was also a teacher of the very young and here is what he had to say about times of heartache and disaster. 
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."
There is so much in this world that is beyond comprehension. 
 It's a huge comfort to me to take measured notice of the many caring people... "the helpers" in times of sadness and loss.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NFL Go Go Boots.

 Henry has effectively turned his little sister into a huge Bengals fan through the magic of go go boots.
He returned from a home game with big news for Rosie... "the Bengal cheerleaders wear white go go boots that are EXACTLY LIKE YOURS!!!"
Rosie adores her big brother, but they don't often have similar interests... the gap between 4 year old girly-girl and 8 year old sporty dude can be wide.
 While it might be a stretch to find something Rosie friendly in the NFL, Henry did so when he slapped his game day program in front of her and pointed out those shiny white booted Ben-gals.

She agreed that they were full of awesome and ran to put on her cool tiger t-shirt.
Her friend and partner in go go boots fashion happened to be over and the two junior Ben-gal cheerios struck a pose with their sporty cool boots.
Henry is very proud of his little sister's Bengal fan-ship, he pointed out
"Maybe if I grow up and play for the Bengals... you can wear your boots and yell for me!"
In the mean time... they both continue to practice their respective future careers.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I didn't realize how closely Rosie and Cocoa Puff resembled each other until I took this photo.
And here is how Websters defines attitude...
Attitude-(noun)  position or posture of the body appropriate to or expressive of an action, emotion, etc.
So the question remains...
How on earth is it that girl and pony could have the exact same countenance at the exact same moment in time?
It seems that an aged pony and a four year girl old can eerily sync when it comes to important things like feisty girl attitude.
Who knew?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cincinnati- Our City, Our Story

 Jamie is published!
Jamie's drawing of a shark at the Newport Aquarium was chosen to be one of the illustrations in a book called Cincinnati- Our City, Our Story, that was done as a benefit for Every Child Succeeds. His drawing was picked after being submitted by his art teacher to and organization called Storytellers Project. The Storytellers Project was designed to create a children's book by bringing together the hipster YP's of the C-Change leadership development program with children's book author Louise Borden along with support from many others who agreed that this was a fantastic project. 
  Jamie at the book release party with author Louise Borden.

Cincinnati Our City, Our Story, was written to express civic pride in our dear city and highlights local landmarks with illustrations drawn by young Cincinnatians, ages 7-13. 
Author and illustrator happily review the finished, published book.
I think that Jamie was correct in wanting to look stylish for the book release party, his signature bow tie works well for all literary occasions.
 As you can imagine, most of you will be receiving the book as a Christmas gift from Karl and I, but if you would like to purchase one before the holidays, please visit the very best children's bookstore ever...Blue Manatee Booksellers in Oakley.