My sons’ 4-year-old betta fish, Tonya (a.k.a. Miss Fishie) finally entered the Heavenly Aquarium (via toilet) on the same day that Fast and Furious star, Paul Walker passed away.
My hubby and older sons enjoy the F&F movies, so they were upset to hear that Walker had died. The boys wanted to get a male betta this time, and thought it would be nice to name the fish after the actor.
So, we shuffled on down to the Petco, got a lovely blue and red crowntail betta, and freshened up the fish bowl with some new turquoise glass gravel.
Meet Paul Walker, Piscine Edition.
He’s a spunky little guy. Shall we say, fast and furious???
I think he’s every bit as pretty as the other Paul. Just in a different way… LOL!
Sometimes I miss writing my newspaper column. It gave me a good reason to put each week’s thoughts on paper and it generated some often-therapeutic conversations with others over current events.
Now, I’m not daft — I understand that’s also the purpose of having a blog! But as you can see, without a deadline looming over me, I’m much less apt to conjure up the time and discipline to write regularly about what’s on my mind. Unless/until something really impacts me, and I have to get my thoughts out before I can move on.
This piece has done that for me:
It’s gone viral, so chances are you’ve heard the story of Davion, a 15-year-old boy who stood up before a church and asked someone to adopt him. If you haven’t, click the link.
Two words: Heart. Breaking!
But what really bothered me were the comments on this and other pieces I read about it. Don’t get me wrong, there were many sweet comments, most praising him for his bravery and offering prayers that he would find a family.
But there were also so, SO many that basically said, “I wish I could adopt, but I can’t because ________.” You could fill in that blank with just about anything — there isn’t enough money, I’m too old, we’re barely making it, my house isn’t big enough, I have too many kids, my husband would never agree, etc. etc.
I’m sure that for some of them, those things are true.
But I’m just going to say it point-blank: there is no way those excuses ring true for everyone who used them.
Adoption is hard. It’s even harder to adopt an older child from a tough background. I don’t believe it’s for everyone. (Not everyone should be biological parents, either.)
But too many — FAR too many, in my opinion — people just dismiss adoption, seeing it as this thing that “other people do.”
Davion spent his entire life in foster care. I believe he could’ve had a home, could’ve been spared a lot of grief and pain if more people were willing to consider that maybe, just maybe, they are one of the people called to adopt.
I hear there’s a list of families now offering to adopt Davion. Praise God for that! But you must understand that this is just ONE child, in one little corner of Florida. Even there in that one little corner, you’ll find dozens, if not hundreds of other children needing families to love them. Just in that one little area of one state.
Multiply that by 50 states, hundreds of cities and we have hundreds of thousands of Davions who really just want somebody to love them.
(And that’s not even venturing out into the rest of the world, where orphans count in the millions.)
Who is going to step up for those kids and say, “Me. I’ll help. I’ll adopt.”
Honestly, I don’t know why it took me 40+ years to get to the point that the orphan crisis disturbed me enough to actually do something about it. Maybe it was a desire to create biological children, the questioning that though I felt drawn to adoption blogs and stories, maybe it wasn’t really meant for me and my family. I worried that my husband wouldn’t be on-board, and felt pretty certain that our extended families would strongly object. I didn’t see how the money would ever be possible. I didn’t think we’d get approved.
But we did. And if we did, I know a lot of other people can be approved, too. Now we are adopting a gorgeous 11-year-old girl from Uganda. And I know that orphan care, in some form or another, will be part of my and Donnie’s life for the remainder of our days on this earth. Beyond this adoption, I don’t know how that’s going to play out. Maybe more adoptions, maybe supporting other people adopting, maybe child sponsorship to keep more families in developing nations together. Maybe foster care here at home, or as our kids begin to leave the nest, providing a bed and family support for college kids who’ve aged out of the system and are seeking a better life through education.
I don’t know what it’s going to look like. But God gave me a mother’s heart for a reason, and I can’t keep living anymore like these orphans don’t exist. I just can’t.
Davion touched many hearts with his bravery and honesty. Thank God for him, for his willingness to be a voice for “the least of these” that so desperately need somebody to love. If, like me, you’re someone who’s often felt drawn to adoption, or any kind of orphan care, will you think and pray about how you can make a difference? There are so many ways that you can make life better for another lonely child. Don’t let the horror stories scare you. Sure, there are bad outcomes from adoption, but they make the news because they’re bad. You don’t hear about all the cases where everything goes well. One thing I’ve learned as I’ve befriended dozens of people in the adoption community is that most of the time, it really does go well.
It’s worth reiterating: I don’t believe adoption is for everyone. But with my whole heart I believe it IS intended for a lot more people than ever consider it.
Three weeks ago, we enrolled Jonah into a two-mornings-a-week preschool program. It gives me several much-needed one-on-one hours with Eli and his schoolwork, plus, I think the peer interactions are good for him, especially since there’s such a big age gap between him and his siblings.
He wasn’t particularly thrilled about this decision, however.
The first day, he screamed bloody murder when I left him. And when I picked him up, he was mad at me. “Don’t ever go away from me again!”
The second day, I got there early and stayed in the classroom with him for about ten minutes before leaving to loud cries of “NO! NO! NO!” But when I picked him up, he was all smiles and said he loved his teacher.
On what should’ve been the third day, he stayed home, due to an urgent situation involving Miralax and a glycerin suppository. We’ll just leave it at that.
On the fourth day, or third, however you’re counting it, he was all happy until I asked him to get out of the car. Then he turned into a leaden noodle and didn’t want to move.
“No….you have to STAY with me…”
I wrangled him out of his car seat and we lumbered to the door. I tried to finally capture the iconic “first” day of school picture complete with backpack, but he refused to put on his backpack — the same one he’d insisted on wearing everywhere since he first laid eyes on it. I guess putting it on felt like giving in to my ridiculous demand that he spend the morning playing, painting, singing and learning with 8 other kids.
I did manage to capture his nervous smile….
And him looking wistfully back at the car….poor baby.
When I picked him up that day, he was rather quiet, though his teacher assured me he’d had a great day and fully participated in all the activities.
I think he might’ve been hungry, though, because I stopped at Walmart on the way home, where he proceeded to have the Mother of All Meltdowns. I think it was from holding himself together all morning at school, then being hungry, then being told “no” when he wanted to steer the cart around and crash into things. I made him sit in the cart and he screamed, thrashed and cried from the middle of the store, through the checkout, through the parking lot, back to the car.
I kind of dreaded telling him the following Tuesday night that he had school the next morning. But he said, “I get to go to school?” and was all happy about it. He woke up in a great mood, ate breakfast, slipped on his backpack.
I tried once more for the iconic school picture complete with backpack, but once again, he was having nothing to do with that kind of nonsense.
“Don’t take my picture, Mom!”
Miracle of miracles — when we pulled up to the school, he simply said, “Bye, Mom!”
No begging me to stay. No limp noodle routine. His face clouded with the slightest wave of apprehension as I leaned over to kiss him goodbye. But I just said, cheerily, “Bye, buddy! Have a great day! I’ll see you in a little bit!”
Picking him up was uneventful, and last night, he kept saying “I get to go to school tomorrow!”
But, alas — he didn’t. He caught a cold and fever from Eli and couldn’t go. And he seemed very disappointed about missing it.
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve turned the corner, and I’m glad. Jonah was also released from speech therapy today. His private therapist can’t see him any longer because insurance won’t pay for any more visits this year, so she suggested having him tested by the school system. I met with the school therapists today to get the results of his testing and they say he’s doing great — they see no need for him to receive services.
My little buddy is almost four and growing up so fast. It’s always bittersweet when these kids have to go and do that!
Today, I’m busy making a batch of Pear Honey from several dozen pears someone gave me from a friend’s pear tree. Eli has been assisting me in the peeling/chopping process.
(P.S. That picture shows only about 1/5th of the total pears I have to peel and chop today…and though the skins look mottled, the insides are perfectly white, firm, sweet and juicy!)
Me: “Eli, you make a great sous chef.”
Eli: “SOUS chef? What does that mean?”
Me: “In France, a chef’s assistant is called a ‘sous chef’.”
Eli: “OH. I thought you meant ‘sue’ chef, as in, ‘I’m going to sue you.’”
Me: “Nah. I could never sue you.”
Eli: “I could never sue you, either.”
Eli: “Except, I could sue you for ONE thing…”
Me: “What’s that?”
Eli: “I could sue you for excessive AWESOMENESS!”
Have I mentioned lately how much I love this kid???
I shared this funny card on Facebook yesterday:
I found it particularly hilarious because just the day before, my sister stood in my living room, saw this:
And asked, “Getting an early start on your Halloween decor?”
I wasn’t offended — I cracked up and said, “Maybe.”
But yes, folks — I have real, gen-u-wine cobwebs in my living room because the only thing I hate more than a messy house is cleaning house.
A couple of friends sent me messages confessing about the dust problem in their homes, and one suggested it would be fun to have a contest to see who has the worst dust build-up. I think it’s a great idea, and welcome you to send me a pic of your worst dusty surface. I’ll do another blog post showcasing them if I get enough responses!
I’m sure that my born-organized, cleaning-addicted friends are mortified at the thought of anyone letting their house get to this state, MUCH LESS post pictures of it online.
I see it as group therapy of sorts; proof that even though many of us struggle to stay on top of the housework, we are NOT alone!
So, who’s brave enough to send me a pic of your dustbunnies? I think I’ll take a pic of my printer for that next post. But I’ll write my name in the dust first.
Kari Apted is a writer and speaker residing in Georgia with her husband, three sons, and an ever-changing menagerie of pets. She writes a humorous weekly parenting column for The Covington News and freelances for various publications.more»