REMEMBERING AFTER EIGHT YEARS!

February 19, 2015

In spite of our grief we can still see God’s faithfulness and goodness.

Although we are still grief stricken, life moves on.  We are thankful for new seasons, new life and new relationships.

I can still see it all (vividly) unfolding in front of me. I feel that helpless feeling. I can hear that moaning… that deep guttural moaning. The screaming and tears are still so real to me.

However, I am now able to see past the profound heartbreak, past the eternal events of that fateful night.  I am able to better (not completely) understand part of His Divine plan for our family.

Here now, eight years later, we still grieve his untimely death. But we celebrate the life he once lived. We celebrate life with those left behind because that is what Buddy would want and expect. He died so that others could live. So live we must. Enjoy life we will. And remember that our American Hero will always be with us in some way or another.

Remembering the husband, the father, the son, the friend.

Saluting the Soldier:

SGT BUDDY JAMES DOC HUGHIE
KIA, FEBRUARY 19, 2007
NURISTAN PROVINCE
AFGHANISTAN, ASIA
TWO BRONZE STAR MEDALS (V)
PURPLE HEART

Always smiling

Buddy and Cooper

Like father, like son

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SOMETHING IS BASS-ACKWARDS!

November 1, 2010

 Egg

                                                            

In the United States of America you can be fined $5K and jailed for tampering with an American Bald Eagle egg.

In the United States of America a female may (under the Obama Health Care Plan) be entitled to receive Federal (tax payer) money to remove the baby growing inside of her.

In other words, it is NOT your right to pluck out a bird but it is your right to pluck out a baby!


Keep The Children – Send The Parents Back

April 13, 2010

I can not begin to tell you the range of emotions I have felt since this sad and tragic story broke.

First of all, we have close personal friends who adopted three children from Russia.  The children were two brothers and a sister ranging in ages from six to eleven.  This was more than a decade ago.  None of the children spoke english and the adoptive family did not speak Russian.  To say it was difficult from the beginning would be accurate but would not really give you any sense of what life was like for the adoptive children or the adoptive family.  I must say that I truly admire the adoptive family.  The children posed more than cultural challenges.  But I think that most people fail to step back and try to look at things through the eyes of adoptive children.  Really think about that for just a minute.  They have hopes and dreams too.  They want to be love and accepted.  They want to be safe and to feel secure.  They want some sense of belonging.  They want to not have to worry about their day-to-day life… where will they live?  Who will they live with?  What will they wear?  What will they eat?  Just imagine not having any control over a single aspect of  your life.   Is it any wonder that many adoptive children are less than what adoptive parents dream of adopting?!

Can I just get real.  When I heard about the mother sending that young Russian boy back to Russia… alone on that long plane flight and then a two-hour ride with a stranger to his final destination it made me so angry that if there were absolutely no consequences what-so-ever (legal or spiritual) I would find that woman and beat the living crap out of her!!  Seriously.  But fortunately for her I am bound by legal restraints and (most importantly) spiritual edict.  And yes I know that since I even had the thought… Forgive me Father.  Thank You.

I think there are a whole lot of adoptive parents who are just selfish, foolhardy individuals.  They have this fantasy dream of what their life would be like if they could just adopt a perfect little “Johnny” or perfect little “Suzy.”  Guess what folks, you are messed up in the head!  What sort of chance do you think your adoptive child stands since your head is messed up beginning this process?!  Properly caring for (adoptive or birth) children takes sacrifice!  When you determine that you are going to raise a child what you really should be saying is, “I hear by give up my rights as an individual.  I will make all future decisions based on what is BEST for my child.  I will be selfless.  I will provide for my child in every way needed.  If my child needs extra help in a certain or specific area that I am unable to understand or provide, I will seek out those who can provide that help.  I will learn what I need to learn to help my child through whatever he/she needs help with.  I will nurture my child and teach he/she discipline.  I will demonstrate to my child how to succeed by helping him/her succeed.  I will be the rock that my child can always count on.  I will not be perfect but I will faithful to him/her.  When I screw up I will tell him/her that I screwed up and I will try to do better.  I WILL BE THE PARENT!!”

Now I would love to say that I have been perfect and true to all of that but that would be a lie.  I have learned most of what I know by not doing it right the first or fourteenth time.  But I know it now.

And if you haven’t read any of my previous Bolg posts our family has also adopted two children.  We know first hand the difficulties.  But we also know first hand, the rewards of staying true to our beliefs and working through the less than perfect scenarios.

Be a blessing to your children.  They need and deserve nothing less!


Some of Our Experiences These Last Four Years

February 5, 2010

My wife and I are each in our early to mid 50s and just adopted a five and seven-year old brother and sister.  We have three bio-daughters.  Our eldest married with a four-year old son and is due to have our third grandchild in four days!   Our middle daughter is widowed (Afghanistan, that’s another story for another day) and they have a three-year old boy.   Our youngest (bio) daughter is working  and going to a local community college (the jobs is in her career field at a local hospital).

We know the family where our “new kids” came from.  Their bio parents just wore their family down with promises of we will quit doing….. we will get our life on track, etc.  The family was so put off by these two (insert negative adjective here) that when it came time for the Department of Social Services to remove the (then) two and four-year olds the maternal grandmother actually said to either put them in Foster Care or in the orphanage up state.  That’s when the mom asked DSS to check with us to see if we would be willing to care for them while they finished getting their act together.  Originally it was only supposed to be for a few months but weeks turned into months and months turned into years.    After more than a year and a half of failed drug tests, court appearances and failures to complete court ordered Anger Management classes my wife and I began to pray about the next step.   Eventually it became clear that the Lord has placed us in relationship with this family as His back-up plan for these innocent children.  So we talked to our girls and we all agreed adoption is what the Lord would have for us to do in this season of our life.   Now keep in mind we received these children under the state’s safety plan.  Which means our home is a safe place and we don’t get any money from anyone.  So automatically we needed to come up with money for pullups, wipes, extra food and all the things young children need.  The big one was the $800 a month in child care!  Ouch! 

We originally got involved with the family when our church called to ask if we would be willing to help out a single father who was raising a four months old infant.  We all talked about it and since my wife is out of school for the summer…  So we would go and pick her up at 6:15sh and bring her back in the evening about the same time.  Some times we would keep her over night and on weekends.  Not only to give him a break but we had come to love the little  baby girl too.   That was the summer of 2002 and we had no idea how providential that summer would be. 

Eventually we learned that the reason the birth father had the baby on his own was because when mom was PREGNANT with the baby she got so drunk that she ran over a guy and killed him!  What a beginning for this little girl!  So mom get’s out of prison when the girl is two, they seem to get their act together, get married, start going to church, start saying all the things people want to hear, she gets pregnant and dang if the little boy isn’t born addicted to drugs!!  Now remember, because she was drinking and doing drugs during her first pregnancy, she killed an innocent pedestrian!  But I guess that’s not a big deal because DSS let her take the baby home under the supervision of the birth-father.  Did I mention that birth-father has already confessed to DSS that he has a cocaine problem?  Unbelievable! What do you think would have happened if these two children were little puppies?  And you know what else?  The birth-mother was still on probation from her previous vehicular homicide conviction!  Why wasn’t she violated and sent back to prison?

Anyway, the birth-father says he didn’t even know the birth-mother was doing drugs (he should make a good supervisor) so he is a bit ticked off.  He won’t have anything to do with the little infant boy and I think he (the baby boy) spent most of the first two years of his life either in his crib or play pen. That is complete speculation on my part.  But I have been around a bunch of two-year olds and when he came to us he was very withdrawn, walked with his head down and barely made any sounds much less speak.

The bio parents did not passed a  drug test in three years and both were convicted (again) of domestic abuse in October of 08.  But if you ask them they will tell you “I love my kids”.  Okay, really?!  I guess I can throw in the reason Social Services finally decided to remove the children is because mom got caught driving drunk with the kids in the car!  Heck, she’s already killed one person driving drunk!  Now she has the kids in the car driving drunk!!!  I mean what does it take?  But she loves her kids?!  Right.

Anyway, I will give the mother a little bit of credit… but just a little.  It took her a few years but  eventually she relinquished her parental rights.  No one has heard from dad for quite some time.  He hasn’t been around much since the judge ordered him to take his pay stub down and sign up for child support.  That was October of 06.   But he loves his kids too!

We went to court on July 31, 2009 for a trial to decide if the dad’s parental rights will be terminated.  Everyone says it looks like a slam dunk, but I guess you never know.

As I looked back over those last twenty-six or so months I can see God’s faithful hand.  As sad as it is, for some reason it’s easier (for me) to recognise His faithfulness when it comes to finances.  How sad is that?  Coming up with the extra eight hundred dollars a month for child care in those early months was a challenge but it was always there.  I remember that first Christmas someone walked up to me at church and handed me a check for four hundred dollars and said they wanted to make sure the kids had a good Christmas.  I knew what he meant so I didn’t go into my spill about what Christmas was all about.  Then some time in 07 the transmission in my wife’s Buick Regal went out.  So since my son-in-law had been killed in action in Afghanistan that same year she began driving his Dodge truck.  It sucked the gas and that was when the gas was over $4 a gallon too!  You will never believe what happened next.  Our “new kids’ maternal aunt and uncle, who by most standards are a bit affluent had an 02 Chrysler Town and Country with AM/FM/CD/DVD/PLAY STATION II/monitors in the head rests, a thirteen inch TV that folds down from the ceiling, leather and wood trim throughout with less than seventy thousand  miles… they gave it to us!!  Well that’s not EXACTLY true.  My dad died about eight years previous to this and we had just gotten back (I mean within two weeks) from the six hundred something miles one way trip to visit my mom.  Since my dad’s estate was in Louisiana and their law is different it took some  time to settle the estate.  I have five siblings so after all was said and done my part of my dad’s estate was eight hundred twenty-four dollars.  Before these people gave us the Chrysler Town and Country they said something like, “We want to give you guys the van but we have had some work done on it at the dealer (they were going to sell it) and if you can come up with the money to pay the dealer we will give you the van.  Guess how much the dealer bill was?  Eight hundred dollars exactly… but it needed gas so we put the other twenty dollars in the tank!

Honestly, at times I do wonder… what do people who retire do with their lives?  There is so much excitement and challenges in raising children.  You have to stay active (both mentally and physically).

After all what did Jesus say, “Let the little ones come unto Me.” (my paraphrase)

I have often heard our pastor say, “God’s will done God’s way has God’s provision.”

The adoption was finalized in December 2009.  We are still waiting on all the necessary paper work for the legal name changes, etc. but life is good.  Our youngest daughter is currently taking dance  and has her first recital in May.  Our son is currently playing flag football in with our local Recreation Department.  I have been the oldest daddy on a few field trips and I look at those 20something year old parents and sort of smile to myself.

We pray that He continues to provide and that we do our best to hear His voice and to be obedient to It.


ADOPTION FINALIZED!!!

November 23, 2009

That was almost fun!  The judge asked the Mrs. which child she wanted to sit
in her lap as she testified so our daughter went up with her.  Now here is our son 
(5 years old) and me sitting at that big table.  He reaches up and grabs the
mic’ and bends it down to his mouth and began answering the questions with
the Mrs.  I thought the judge was going to bust out laughing!  He was
grinning from ear to ear as he motioned for me to let our son be, that it was
okay.  It was hilarious!

Then when our son and I went up to testify, OMG!  The boy has somehow gotten
my DNA ’cause he hasn’t a shy bone in his body.  He answered a few questions
with me.   “Yes sir.”  Then when the judge asked him who his mommy was he
smiled real big and pointed to the Mrs. and then when asked who his daddy was
he smiled real big , turned in my lap and pointed at me.  Finally the judge
thanked him for “testifying” and our son leans into the mic’ and says, “You’re
welcome.”   What a hoot!

We didn’t get into the court room until about eleven and the judge actually
thanked us for bringing some happiness into his courtroom.

Some may think that after over forty-two months of working through this process that this is a “happy ending”  but in all actuality it is truly a happy beginning!”


Why go international when you can stay local?

October 14, 2009

I’ve been wondering lately…  In many cases adoptive parents will spend tens of thousands of dollars to adopt a child from a foreign country.  Now don’t get me wrong I believe that every single child deserves a home where they can be loved and cared for.  What I don’t get is why people will go to such effort to (basically) purchase their child from a foreign government.

If you are a regular reader of this blog then you know that our family is in the final throes of completing the adoption of “our” five year old son and seven year old daughter.  They are biological brother and sister.  I won’t go into the sordid story as too how this all happened.  If you don’t know and want to know you can look back through previous posts.

Here’s one thing I learned while attending our Parenting Class at the local Department of Social Services.  Most people want to adopt an infant child who is perfect in every way (not even the hint of  a single defect).  No physical, psychological or emotional problems.  Well guess what, not even birth parents are guaranteed that!  So why is it that some perspective adoptive parents have this fantasy of a “perfect” infant child?  I know, I know, it’s only human nature to want only the best for your child and family.  Our family are no different in that regard.  With the pregnancy of each of our birth children we dreamt and prayed for a healthy baby.  We have been blessed that the Creator’s plan for us was to honor our prayers.

Perhaps in a later Blog post I will address why it is that the vast majority of people view the perfect infant child as one who has no physical defects and by all scientific terms falls into the proper percentile of the various fields of measurement.

But to get back on topic;  We know first hand how difficult it can be to adopt a child from The State.  God knows it can be exasperating, pre=””>aggrevating, annoying and will just plain ol tick you off at times.  However, it is important to keep the end goal in mind.  We are not doing this for our benefit!  I think that is where the biggest difference lyes.  Some perspective adoptive parents plan to adopt a child for what the child can do for them.  I think that attitude or expectation perverts the relationship from the git-go.  Instead of wanting to provide a nurturing, loving environment for a child in need they want a child for what the child can fulfill for them!!  That is a pretty heavy load to place on a child who, for all intense and purposes, has already had too much trauma in their little life.

One of the exercises we (as a group) had to do during our Parenting Class was;  each couple or individual was given a card.  On this card was the name of a child or siblings, which included their first name and a brief (true) history of the environment they came from.  Also listed were any “issues” the child/children had demonstrated (playing with matches, acting out sexually, aggressive behavior, et .).  Then we went around the table and stated why or why not we would adopt this particular child.   How would we handle the various “issues” each child had.  I was saddened and shocked to find that about 90 percent of the people said they would not adopt a child who had “issues”.  Now keep in mind that each of these people had previously said they wanted to adopt because they love children and want to give them a loving and nurturing home.   LIARS!  I mean, excuse me!?  You mean you want a perfect little child who can fulfill some void you have and one who can fulfill your fantasy of your perfect family with the white picket fence and all.  You disgust me.

So those can be some of the horrors of Adopting Local.  Now for International Adoptions.  We have not done this but have close friends who have.  They adopted three children from Russia.  All three children were under the age of eight at the time of adoption.  They ended up with a “buy two and get the third free” package.  They spent over forty thousand dollars (cash money).  Then of course they had to bring with them anything the child would need.  They get the child (basically) naked.   This particular International Adoption story began as a wonderful story book tale.  However, two of the three children eventually ended up in trouble with the law while the third still struggles to keep it all together.

I have had some people tell me that God placed on their heart to adopt internationally.  Really?  Didn’t God know that there are hundreds or perhaps thousands of needy children right in your own local community?  I wonder why God didn’t place you in that foreign country near those children.  Is it at least possible that YOU saw the need for foreign orphans THEN PRAYED FOR GOD TO BLESS WHAT YOU WANT?!  Of course, I can not see into any person’s heart.

Here are the statistics from the INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION – Office of Children’s Issues, United States Department of State.

2000 – 18,477

2001 – 19,224

2002 – 21,378

2003 – 21,516

2004 – 22,884

2005 – 22,739

2006 – 20,679

2007 – 19,613

2008 – 17,488

Total 191,988 INTERNATIONALLY ADOPTED CHILDREN

I also found that “cash out of pocket” International Adoption can range from $11,325.00 – $20,679.00.  So using my mad math skills if I average those two sums and then multiply that by the number of adoptions for the years 2000 through 2008 I come up with THREE BILLION, SEVENTY-TWO MILLION, THREE HUNDRED FIFTY-ONE THOUSAND, NINE HUNDRED NINETY-SIX DOLLARS ($3,072,351,996)Wow that’s one heck-of-a-lot of money spent to help only 191,998 children.

Can you imagine (with me) what the International Community would look like if more than three billion dollars had been spent on improving the lives of ALL the children in those countries?  How life altering would that be if orphaned children in foreign countries were the benefactors of US dollars?  Instead of seeing US as people who are taking a child here and there, US could be seen as building entire communities where orphaned children could (possibly) receive the best care imaginable.  What would the future of ALL of those children look like?

Now continue to dream with me.  What would our own local communities look like of  those parents who adopted Internationally had adopted the unwanted, unloved, abused and neglected children out of their very own “back yards?”   I dare say the world would look at US in a very different light.  I further dare to say that the Creator of those little lives would look on (not only US) but each of us in a very different light.

Once again, I can not see into the human heart to determine it’s intent.  Whether the intent is to fulfill a personal (aka prideful) dream or to sacrifice their life for that of one who can not defend or provide for themself.  Adoption should be a selfless, sacrificial life style.  If you are not willing to sacrifice YOUR LIFE at least send a check to an orphanage in your local area.

There’s got to be more I can do for these children.


What makes our family so special?

June 30, 2009

Many of you who regularly (or even sporadically) read this Blog know that at the tender ages of 49 and 51 my Mrs. and I took custody of a (then) 2 and 4 year old brother and sister.  We are currently waiting on the final court date so the judge can change the names and finalize the adoption.

My wife and I have been married for a little over 35 years and have three grown biological daughters ages 29, 25 and 20.  We also have two grandchildren ages 3.5 and 2.5.  So now our “new kids” will be Aunt Lindsay (age 7) and Uncle Porter (age 5).   What a hoot!

There have been many challenges with our “new kids”.  Children who are the byproduct of years of neglect and abuse have (I hate this term but…) special needs.  They don’t see the world as children of an intact, healthy “normal” family.  Children who are old enough to remember their biological parents have even more issues.  They have fantasies of a miraculous biological parental healing resulting in some sort of relationship with their biological family.

We, of course, are were clueless as to these issues and how to handle them.  We are still learning and so are the kids.

Our biological daughters, their husbands and children have all been 100% supportive through the entire three year process.  In fact, we talked with them before we agreed to take Lindsay and Porter under the State Emergency Safety Plan.  Then after much prayer and discussion we talked to the girls again concerning their feelings about us adopting.  They were and still are completely supportive.

The thing that I find difficult to understand is:  “Why does everyone think that we are so “wonderful”?  I just don’t get that.  So we are not “traditional” parents at our age.  So what if we are basically giving the next 15 – 20 years of our lives to (intentionally) parent  these remarkable young children.  What else would we do?  Sit around and read books, play games, travel and just have a life of leisure?  Not likely. 

I think everyone’s life is busy.  We have just determined that our life will be busy with doing what God has ordained us to do. Who else would choose differently?