Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Reviews: Wait No More

Today I received the book Wait No More by Kelly & John Rosati.  It chronicles their adoption journey from the domestic foster care system; the ups and downs.  The reality of heeding God's call to care for orphans.  Focus on the Family has given me this opportunity to review this book and I am thrilled that this fine ministry is so supportive of adoption and foster parenting.  I know that over the past 10 years Focus on the Family has abundantly blessed our family, especially with Dr. James Dobson's Bringing Up Boys.  

I love to read and I especially love to read books that highlight fellow Christians walking in obedience to the Lord.  Books about missionaries, books about the disciples, books about people that do something radical for the Lord.  And yes, one of my favorite books just happens to be Radical by David Platt.  So another dimension that I would like to add to this blog is book reviews.  I look forward to sharing some excellent books with you all and will also incorporate giveaways with them.  So stay tuned!  

And thank you to Focus on the Family for giving me the opportunity to review Wait No More!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The End of Down Syndrome? *Edited for Additional Link*

Yesterday the New York Post had an article titled "The End of Down Syndrome".  It was one of the most disturbing articles I have ever read.  It sent chills down my spin and caused my stomach to turn.  Here is an excerpt from the article:


"Last month, San Diego-based Sequenom released a test that allows doctors to screen for the most prevalent type of Down syndrome with only a blood test from the mother. The screening is available in 20 cities and is expected to hit New York soon. Two other companies have plans to release similar tests next year.  “What you end up having is a world without people with Down syndrome,” says Paul Root Wolpe, director of the center for ethics at Emory University. “And the question becomes is that a good thing or bad thing?”


Humans now have the ability to screen for Down Syndrome and then abort a baby should the test show that the baby has Down Syndrome.  That is a very scary prospect as it also opens up a whole other can of worms.  But allow me to digress a moment.  After I read the article in the New York Post, I scrolled down to the comment section to see the reaction of other readers.  It seemed that a majority of the readers were appalled by the mere idea of aborting a baby solely because of Down Syndrome.  There were, however, some that were vehemently in favor of aborting babies with Down Syndrome.  That, my friends, is a very sad commentary on our society.  Basically this test promotes eugenics.  Do you know who else was a big promoter of Eugenics?  Hitler.  Yep.  Hitler.  He killed millions and millions of people for reasons such as: ethnicity, Cerebral Palsy, DOWN SYNDROME, missing limbs, etc...  Have we as the human race not learned from our previous egregious mistake?

Further, in reading these comments in favor of aborting babies with Down Syndrome, one of the most common arguments in favor of this were, "They will have a miserable existence".  Really?  As the mother of a lively little boy with Down Syndrome I am a little stumped on that one.  Dima is so happy and LOVES life!  Everything is in his words, "AWESOME!".  My dear friend, Cindy, who is 43 and has Down Syndrome and is also a very happy woman.  If anything that dear woman is proud of her Down Syndrome.

Another argument in favor of aborting babies with Down Syndrome was that they would be a burden on the parents and society.  That comment is just flat out ignorant.  Obviously these individuals have not met families that have children with Down Syndrome.  Dima is not at all a burden on our family!  He brings us joy, happiness, love, and a wonderful perspective on life.  Sure, he will eventually grow up and be an adult, but if Eric and I train him right and give him all of the opportunities possible, he will be able to live a productive adult life.  He has so much to offer this world.  As for being a burden on society, Dima at this time receives no government assistance.  We pay for everything (including medical at this time) out of pocket.  So I am a little confused as to how Dima is a burden on society.

As for parents not wanting to raise a child with Down Syndrome, what about adoption?  Why abort your baby and waste a precious human life when you can take a less than desirable situation for yourselves and bless a family that wants a child with Down Syndrome?  Did you know that there is a 2 year waiting list to domestically adopt a child or baby with Down Syndrome?  There are many, many families more than willing to accept a child with Down Syndrome.

Bottom line this test is eugenics at its finest and it is a foul, disgusting, and dirty act on humanity.  It is sad that not even 100 years have passed since World War II and we are already back in the saddle of creating the master race.  But if that is what humanity wants, why stop at Down Syndrome?  Why not abort children who will have HIV, Cerebal Palsy, missing limbs, etc...  I fear that if we start with the Down Syndrome it will only spread into those areas and more.

How does this tie into being a Monday morning Christian?  Brothers and sisters we need to take a stand against such atrocities as eugenics.  It is a sin to take a human life.  We need to open our homes to orphans with special needs and love them for who they are.  We need to encourage and support families that are doing so.  Families that CHOOSE to adopt a child with special needs does not need to hear negativity and discouraging words.  And we must have our Father's heart for humanity in general.  We must have the love, compassion, and mercy that our Father has for us.  We must care for the least of these and be a voice for those that cannot speak for themselves.

Finally, I would like to add that while I do not support abortion in any way or for any reason I do love and have compassion for those that have walked down that road.  As Eric says, "Dislike the sin, love the sinner".  Without naming names or going into detail, I know someone in my life who is near and dear who was the participant in an abortion (not me).  That person regrets it to this day but also knows the forgiveness of our Lord and Savior.  That gives the individual hope.  So please know that what I am sharing here in my blog is not hellfire and brimstone.  I share with love and pray that the human race stops destroying itself.  I pray that this is not the end of Down Syndrome due to abortion.  Dima and many others like him would agree with me.

*****Edit*****

I would also like to share a link to an article written by Dr. Brian Skokto.  He is a champion for children with Down Syndrome and many of us appreciate all of the work that he does.  Please take a moment to read this positive article that he recently published in the USA Today.  Click HERE.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Two Months

Dima has now been home for 2 months.  It is amazing.  I know I've said this many times before but it seems like he has been here forever and then at times it seems as though just yesterday I was meeting him for the first time.  God sure knew what He was doing when he chose Dima for our family.

In just two month's time Dima has grown comfortable in his new surroundings.  He owns the place!  He has also just really started to pick up English and I am so tickled with each new phrase that he learns.  His latest phrase is, "I love you, too!"  I've recently read that the sixth month mark is when Internationally adopted children loose their native language and are not quiet able to speak their new language.  It is different for each family as I really do not see how that will be much of a problem (though I could be wrong).  Dima seems pretty comfortable with English and rarely gets upset when trying to communicate with us. That has been a huge blessing.

What makes me sad, however, is learning more about Dima's background.  Over the past two months we learned about how his birthmother abused him with fire.  It made Eric and I just sick at our stomachs.  But Dima has bounced back from his fear of fire and now asks Eric to make a "camel" (that is what Dima calls fire right now- not sure why).  We have a  lovely fireplace in our great room and when Eric lights a fire Dima will sit on the sofa with a book for an hour and just enjoy it.  Again, he is so strong and bounces back from his past seemingly with ease.

I also learned yesterday afternoon that Dima knows how to fold laundry.  Sure, that may seem like a wonderful thing since I could certainly use the help, but he is only 7 and he folds as though he has been doing it for a long time.  Dima had to grow up very quickly in order to survive.  How sad is that?  We already knew that he was a pro at vacuuming since we saw him get the vacuum out in our apartment in Kremenchuk.  On Dima's Gotcha Day all he wanted to do was clean.  We took video of it and Carol and I laughed and laughed, but really, it was very sad.  Dima needs to learn how to be a kid.

Dima has also had to sooth himself throughout his life.  Unfortunately he has a nasty habit of picking at his thumbs when he is upset and I've been trying to break him of this habit.  It gets to where his thumbs bleed and are very sore and then Dim cries.  Rather than asking Mommy to kiss his boo boos he resorts to kissing his own boo boos.  For 7 1/2 years he has had no one to kiss his boo boos or owies.  When he coughs he pats himself on the back again, out of necessity.  When I offer to help he he says, "I do!".  He sometimes refuses my help or affection when he needs it most.  But slowly, slowly he is realizing that I am here to love him when he has a boo boo or a cough.  That also turns into drama at times and then he has me kiss ever little boo boo and owie and he will also cough just for the attention.  Can you imagine?

Life with 4 boys has been wonderful and challenging.  There are absolutely days where I want to lock myself in a bathroom with a nice, hot, bath and a good book.  More often than not, however, I relish every moment and thank the Lord that He blessed us with 4 wonderful little men.  I can only imagine with the next 2 months will bring for Dima and our family.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ineducable

That was the word used to describe my son, Dima.  Someone who thought that Dima was not going to be able to learn and become a productive member of society.  I know that there are still people, fellow Christians whom I count as friends, that think Dima is ineducable.

Well, I am the kind of person who loves to prove people wrong.  I love to do the impossible because ALL things are possible through Jesus Christ.  Jesus loves the underdog, too.

So I dedicate this entry to anyone and everyone who thought or even still thinks that Dima is ineducable. Yes, this is going to be one big thumbing my nose at the world entry!  I also want to challenge you.

Dima's capacity to understand spoken English:  That boy understands so much more than what anyone would give him credit for.  I've tested him.  For instance, he will ask for a bath and I will answer, "Do you want to roll in the mud?".  His eyes bug out and he shakes his head no and crinkles his nose then giggles.  He knows that his Mama is testing him and asking him a ridiculous question.  If I quietly ask him to pick up his toys in his room, he will go directly to his room and pick up his toys.  No question he understands what I am saying to him.

Dima is speaking English more and more each day:  Today, in fact, I noticed that he is blurting out full sentences in English.  Now can he always speak clearly?  No.  But that is common with anyone who has Down Syndrome.  But think about it.  Dima has not even been home for two full months and he is blurting out full English sentences!  I was in the Ukraine for almost 6 weeks and could not speak a full sentence.  My Russian was broken and I embarrassed myself more than once.  I am 34 and have no disability!  Dima is only 7, has Down Syndrome, and had a traumatic start to life.  Who is the ineducable one?

Dima printed the letters 'A' and 'B' yesterday!  Were they perfect?  Hardly, but it was a fantastic first try.  He also traced those letters and did a fantastic job even at that.  Still a huge triumph for Dima.  He can hold a pencil and try!

Dima has an amazing capacity to love.  Despite the neglect and abuse he endured for the first 4 years of his life he was able to trust Eric and I from the start.  He has loved us and our family without question.  How many of us can trust and love so easily?  I confess that I personally would have had trouble with that.

Finally, Dima has affected people all over the world and has been a witness for Jesus without even really trying too hard.  God has an amazing plan for that little boy's life and some people were wanting him to be left where he was.  He was ineducable.  I am now going to directly ask this question:  Do you truly doubt God that much?  Do you not trust His plans for Dima?  Are you missing out on blessings because you thought you knew better than God?

I know that for our family, if we had doubted God's call to rescue Dima we would be missing out on so much.  That boy brings so much joy and laughter to our family.  He teaches us to be patient and to love unconditionally.  We were also the ones called to pull Dima from a hopeless future; one that most certainly would have brought death.

Eric recently had the opportunity to preach on Sunday morning and he talked about forgetting our first love.  He talked about how we need to fan the flames of our faith or we will become cold and complacent.  Eric also shared a story about a little girl in China who had been run over by a truck and 15 people walked by her as she bled out.  It was all captured on video.  Sadly, that little girl passed away.  Eric then said that he doubted that anyone in our church would have walked by that little girl, that every one of us would have stopped to rescue her.  While I'm sure that most of us would have stopped to help her there are little ones being left for dead every day and not many people are doing much about it.  In fact, when Eric and I committed Dima some people couldn't understand why.  Why?  He is ineducable.  He is retarded. Is this any different than that little girl in China?  No.  No different.  Dima's future was also death.  A slow, painful, and lonely death.  He now has hope.  He has a future.  He is learning about Jesus.  Jeremiah 29:11 applies to Dima's life, too.

I am no scholar, just a house wife, but I love Jesus and will stand up for the least of these because that is what Jesus commands us to do.  As Christians we are all commanded to care for the least of these.  It does not matter wether or not someone has a disability or a disease.  It does not matter if they live next-door or across the ocean.  It is not a choice.

Dima, in many ways, is more intelligent than any of us.  He sees things in a purer light.  He loves without prejudice.  He trusts despite his dark past.

Do we?

Maybe it is you and I that are ineducable.  We can learn so much from someone who was deemed ineducable.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Question #1

"Hey Moniers!

I don't know if you remember us, but we used to teach your boys in one of the children's church classes at MBC. Anyway, Jimmy and I have been talking to an agency about adopting from Russia and have two questions for you. Did you use a specific program to learn Russian and who did your homestudy? We are having a hard time finding someone locally. Also, thank you for blogging your adoption process! It's been helpful and encouraging to us. :)"

So great to hear from you Angie.  Congrats to you and Jimmy as you walk in obedience to God's call!

First, Eric and I did not use any program to learn Russian.  We had a phrase book that we would use but then after being in the Ukraine for so many weeks we just kind of picked up on it.  But if you are interested in using a program I hear Rosetta Stone is excellent.

Second, we had a social worker from Tampa do our home study.  I will contact you privately with her information.  It is difficult to find a good social worker and it is best to really do your research and ask lots of questions before you commit to a specific social worker.  I've seen instances where halfway through the process the home study agency or social worker 
decides that they are unable to handle your adoption due to Hague laws or what have you.

Finally, stay focused on Jesus as you walk this path.  Adoption is not always easy, but if you keep focused on Him, He will lead you as you take each step.  Pray for your future son or daughter, that their hearts would be prepared to be a part of your family.  We prayed for Dima every time we thought about him (which was A LOT!) and one of our biggest petitions to our Father was that Dima's heart would be prepared for us.  Sure enough the day we met him he gave us a big thumb's up and said, "O.K.!" when he was told that we were his family. He fits right into our family and I give the glory to God!

Take care and I would love to follow your journey.  Do you and Jimmy have an adoption blog?  Are you fundraising?  I would love to publicize for you.

On that note, I would love to have more questions!!  This was a great way to kick off Adoption Awareness!!




Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adoption Awareness Month: Questions?

Last month was Down Syndrome Awareness, this month is Adoption Awareness Month.  As a result I would like to interact with my readers.  For those of you considering adoption or are just curious, I would like for you to ask any question about our adoption of Dima.  No question too personal (within reason, of course), there are no dumb questions, and there are no questions too difficult to answer (I hope!).  I am by no means an expert, but I can certainly share first-hand experience and encourage anyone looking for encouragement.  just leave a note on this entry and I will answer them in tomorrow's entry.

Enjoy and ask away!