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With A Little More I’d…

Money is a hang-up for me. I’m given to obsessing over it, fearing it, wanting it and downright loving it! Fathering a dozen or so kids should get that out of my system and it does. Every once in a while though, the root of all evil rears its ugly head. Ask a man who’s more satisfied: The one with six kids or the man with six million dollars. He’ll answer, “The man with six kids”, Why? Because that guy doesn’t want for anymore!

True Dat!

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Money gets a lot of people stuck from doing, and from living; I think this is particularly true for husbands/dads. We find ourselves working harder and longer hours in the name of bettering our households. The American Dream we once chased soon becomes a nightmare from which we run.

and not to get off on tangent but what is it about “dreams”?  “My dream job” or “She’s dreamy” or “Follow your dreams“. I mean most of the time when I wake up I say to myself, “What was that about?” or, more often, “What is wrong with you?”. The things my mind creates are scary and I have no desire to work them, meet them or be them!

Anyway, one of the best things that ever happened to me involved giving up “my dreams” Namely, the ones that revolved around money – bigger, better, best. What opened my eyes? Amy, my wife. Like many, I picked-up the overtime, worked the second job and pursued the promotions because I assumed (I know, I know, don’t say it!) Amy’s dream aligned with mine. All of these activities did cost something – my time away from her – but, this seemed a small price to pay. You’ve got to invest to reap reward, right? I thought Amy saw me as provider over a confider.

I was dead wrong! The attention needed for my marriage and family became occupied by things related to making money. I spent way more time and effort at work, even when I was physically home.  A distance started to grow between us, other things started to creep in and suddenly, Amy and I were just (a)partners not whole, not one. I made more money than ever and yet, I’d never felt worse.

Valentine’s Day, during this time, I found myself looking for some trinket for Amy; I had no clue what to get her. Pajamas, candy, roses — been there! I wandered into a bookstore thinking maybe a hobby book or just a good novel might fit the bill. That’s when I found myself in the Relationship section (after Self-Help, there wasn’t a bigger selection of books.) That’s when I spotted these:

These books on what women think men think and vice versa reveal findings from rigorous research done by the authors. I, of course, read For Women Only first and thought to myself, “Uh Huh, there’s a lot of good stuff in here for Amy”. My pre-buy perusal of For Men Only might have had a thing or two for me as well. I got a gift bag, dropped both in and added a card. The card invited Amy on a reading date at a local cafe. My plan – let’s read a chapter in our respective books then compare notes.

The gift was a hit with Amy and, in hindsight, more valuable than her engagement ring. The dividends stated paying off following date one and grew from there. We would get hysterical sitting in the middle of that cafe. For example, if a survey of men revealed 97% of men feel this way about sex, Amy would guess me to be in the 3% minority. Likewise, if 91% of women desired this specific trait in their husbands, I’d always guess Amy to be somewhere in the other 9%. Turns out we were wrong about each other more than we were right! We learned deep things about each other through the 10 dates that followed and our marriage rose to a whole new level.

It also turns out that investing time, presence and love pays off big. This knowledge led to action – I quit climbing the corporate ladder and returned to bedside nursing. A 30% cut in pay gave me 50% more time at home. More time with each other led to more intimacy, deeper love and stronger commitment — it also led to more children!

The more children part is where the money-thing came into perspective. The big Aha? — money is not that important! God led us to adopt (to date) five children since our renewal. The price tag would have stopped the old me, the wealthier me, in my tracks. But God’s economy works differently — He places the desire first and the funds later (at least for us). This method allows many to participate, instead of just Amy and I. He uses $10 to $20 donations to combine into thousands. The Result: New children with forever parents that claim the name Boroughs!

And guess what?

It’s happening again!

I announced last week that we’re adopting a little girl. I asked for help and now, seven days later, over half of the funds are donated!!!

Isn’t that amazing? Maybe even miraculous?

Praise God!

Our application and prior home study arrived at the placing adoption agency today. Adoption physicals are scheduled and start next week (x 14). A new home study by our agency is underway. Security clearances will follow and we hope our new daughter is home by late spring! All of this made possible because we didn’t have the money but…

You did and…

…so did you and…

…you did too!

Thank you seems feeble and not enough. Hopefully the insight into our family from this blog expresses our gratitude.

Thank You!  Thank You!! Thank You!!!


 Thank you for making Dad Just Happened happen! Amazon is running a giveaway to allow me to say thanks to my readers. I’ve chosen For Women Only & For Men Only books as my prize! Simply click the link below and follow the instructions to enter. Contest Rules are available at the site. Winner will via random draw and will be announced next week Good Luck!!!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/c85728b4972926a5

The Make Dad Just Happened Happen Again Adoption fund is over 50% funded but it’s not to late for you. Please consider contributing to our fund to bring our daughter home. Click the Pic below to go to our YouCaring site!

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2

How Do You Know?

One of the common questions about adoption asked of us is, “How do you choose your kids, um like, how do you know?” The simple answer is that we don’t, we just do! It started like this:

“Hey Amy, what do you think of adopting a kid with Down Syndrome?”

Her response: “I don’t think about adopting a kid with Down Syndrome!” Mike drop – DONE!

Several weeks later, something moves in her and she hands me this picture:

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“His name is Ivan, he’s seven years old and I love him”, Amy says to me. I look at her and see this isn’t the kind of love like my, “I love creme filled donuts”. Instead, this expression is like the moment a mother’s just-born child gets placed upon her chest. Her passion transforms a two-dimensional picture into love with length, breadth, depth and height in my own heart. It is the kind of fatherly love that moves me into action. The kind of love that becomes this:

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Our family grows in the years following as this scenario repeats itself.

Sometimes it’s seeing adorable pictures of kids like Luke, Blair and Maddie:


It’s a slam dunk in saying “YES” to being their mom and dad.


Other times, desperate, pathetic pictures present themselves. The kind where you know an invisible but ominous clock is ticking. The kind where delay is not an option. Pictures of Albie and Irina came to our attention in this manner:


A daily existence of trauma and neglect were the thousand words these pictures yelled at us. Sure, saying yes to these two was scary but, the consequences of failing to respond outweighed our fear. Many of our fears were realized in the process of healing through love. This side of it, though, is worth the blood, sweat and tears.

Can you see this in these pictures?


Sammy is the only kid not to come to us in a picture — he came in person! The “danger” in adopting “at risk kids” is exposure to more and many of them. We saw Sammy in the play yard of the Ukrainian orphanage incarcerating (their word, not mine) Luke & Irina. Stuck in a baby stroller due to Spina Bifida, he did everything possible to get our attention. His confinement did not limit his authority over the other inmates (again, theirs not mine) and I soon recognized he was the orphanage godfather. He’d signal to the other kids and they’d come, get their orders and do Sam’s bidding. His command and control at age three impressed me!

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Sam tried to get my attention and compliance as well. Every time our eyes connected, he’d give me a little wave and try to get me to come talk to him. The orphanage matrons would bark at him in Russian each time he did. At one point, I attempted to take his picture and caught the full wrath of a senior matron. (I’m convinced she was a USSR Shot Putter Gold Medalist -Men’s Division in the 1980 Moscow Olympics!). Something about Sammy broke our hearts and we left that first trip intending to find him a home — it turned out to be ours. In the end, the circumstances that made Irina and Sammy orphanage roommates united them as brother and sister.

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Then when we thought we were done, that guy sitting next to Sam in the picture above came into our life via this picture:

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He definitely fell into the “slam dunk” category in our hearts but in the mindset of his country there were several checks against Yul being ours. First, they didn’t like the size of our family. Second, they didn’t like all the “disability” of our family. Third, an unspoken but evident taboo regarding intellectual disability existed that made Yul a less valuable citizen in his homeland. His value to us, by their understanding, was near incomprehensible and raised suspicion to our intent. Nothing short of God’s intervention slayed these Goliath barriers. Our purpose was to give this boy a family but more than that happened — his unconditional love gave us the joy of a son.

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Now for the big news! The second most asked adoption question of us is, “Are you done?”. The answer is we’ve learned not to answer. To this end, a new picture, the desperate kind, presented itself to our family last week — I’m excited to announce we are expecting!

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A nine-year old girl needs a permanent home; ours will be her fourth. She is medically and emotionally fragile — her situation is dire but nowhere near impossible. I’m very limited in the specifics I can provide about our daughter until she is ours. We’ve examined her records and prayed. Our conclusion, God provided Amy and I with gifts that mirror this child’s needs and so now, we must act…

…but I’m going to ask you to act as well! The costs associated with rescuing this child are sizable — I’ll need you to trust me on this instead of asking the “Why?” question (the third most asked!) — It just does. Additionally, quicker action will lead to better outcomes for our new daughter.

Four Ways You Can Help

First, please keep us in your prayers specifically for wisdom, endurance and patience. We cannot get through this without being lifted up by others!

Second, I’ve set-up a YouCaring fund –  Make Dad Just Happened Again Fund to help us fund our adoption. Click here to go to the site and donate. Any donation is greatly appreciated! If you have a blog you can “grab” our widget and post it to your site!

Third, this blog is monetized which means the ads above and below generate revenue by simply clicking on the links. Just click each time you visit Dad Just Happened and it’s money in our bank. We’ll use 100% of proceeds from WordAd revenue towards adoption expenses!

Fourth, please share this post — many hands make light work! It is always amazing to see $5 to $25 donations become $10,000. We saw this happen with Yul’s adoption and, it happened in 72 hours!

We’ll keep you up-to-date as things progress via this site and the DadJustHappened FaceBook page.

Blessings!!!

Adam and Amy

PS: The Philadelphia Inquirer just published a piece on our family. Click here to see the article and feel free to share it (like 2000+ Inquirer readers have already done)!

2

The Gift of Mom

Groundhog Day is always a special day no matter what Phil prognosticates. Why? Because it’s my Mom’s birthday. I may look like my Dad but my mind can be primarily credgroundhog-dayited to my mother. I think like her, compete like her (particularly when it comes to Scrabble) and laugh like her!  She is a superstar in the world of parenting and so much of what I do (the good stuff at least) is due to her influence.

I offer a Top Five Lessons Learned list in tribute to my Mom!

5. Family is More Than Blood 

My parents brought my brother Chris home from the hospital when he was just under one year of age. Chris needed a loving home in which to die. Four months prior to his homecoming, Chris became a pawn in a domestic dispute between his biological parents. The man (only by genetics, not in definition) picked up Chris and threw him down a flight of stairs. The resulting head injury left this sweet, innocent baby paralyzed, blind and fighting for his life. Experimental hypothermia induction and brain surgery shortly after the injury saved his life but, his prognosis meant he wouldn’t see his 2nd birthday.

Chris became the featured “Friday’s Child” in our local newspaper. A loving home for pediatric hospice was needed. My mom read the story and immediately felt drawn to him. Innocent, rejected, alone — this boy needed a mother — she answered the call. I was six at the time and had three siblings. My Mom’s enthusiasm for taking on the challenges of Chris infected us all. We loved him and rallied around him to provide this guy the best life possible. Before you knew it, his second birthday arrived. Four or so additional brain surgeries and shunt revisions followed in the early years of his life but despite this Chris thrived. The reason, I believe, is his love of and devotion for the woman he called “Ma”.

Chris turned 40 last year and that boy loves his Mom more than ever. We all hold our breath when my mother takes any extended time away from Chris (>24 hours) — he becomes miserable until she returns. It’s like a reset button gets pushed when she walks back through the door. He knows what she is – she did not give birth to him but she did give him life!

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4. Momma Don’t Like Drama

Self-pity does not exist in my mother’s world. She doesn’t tolerate it in herself and doesn’t tolerate it in others. This may sound harsh but, I’ve learned through this that looking inward tends to costs those on the outward. Inversely, a focus on meeting the needs of others, typically feeds the soul.

Additionally, her attitude on this subject builds resilience and enables one to endure. She taught me that having diabetes (or any “disability”) is something that can make one stronger not weaker, that badness can be turned to goodness and that life’s tougher experiences lead one to greater compassion and empathy.

3. If Mom Ain’t Happy…

I don’t want to elaborate greatly on this point — I’m afraid I’ll get in trouble! Just let me say that many of the lessons I shared in FOR MEN ONLY: Keeping Her Satisfied started in my childhood. I’ll leave it at that!

2. There’s Points for Creativity in Discipline

My mother says one day she’ll right a book — I’d recommend one on discipline! Knowing I could be beaten within an inch of my life and not learn anything, my mother took a more creative approach to discipline: THE OBJECT LESSON!

An Example: Growing up, I had a beloved Golden Retriever mix dog named Daisy. Daisy’s coat was thick and beautiful but a burden during the hot months of Summer. She’d drink like horse to counteract the fluid loss from “wearing” her fur. It was my job to make sure her bowl was filled with fresh, cold H2O but I’d often forget. I’d be busy playing outside, getting into trouble and just “not remember”. This was nothing short of unacceptable to my mother!

“Adam”, I hear Mom melodically sing out the window “could you come inside?” A cool shiver runs down my spine (despite the 100 degree July heat) as I respond, “Coming!”. I know from the tone I’m caught. At what? The possibilities are endless. The answer lies in my father’s bearskin coat now held in my mother’s grasp. “What did you forget to do?”, she asks. Frantically, racking my brain (and not wanting to confess to the wrong sin) I reply, “I don’t know.” She points towards Daisy’s water bowl and my knees buckle — bone dry! Slowly, I turn my gaze back to Mom and she gives the coat a shake. She wants me to put it on. I attempt to resist but as they say — that’s futile  — the coat is going on! I slip into the coat, which weighs a third of my total body weight and hear my mother say “Run!”. She doesn’t mean walk and she doesn’t mean jog. She means full out Usain Bolt it around the house until she says stop! I comply but slow as I round the corner. “RUNNNNN!” she shouts from the corner window — Good Lord she following me around from inside the house. Window to window this continues for 15 minutes. The bear fur causes me to lose as much fluid from sweat, as I do tears. Daisy never goes thirsty for the remainder of that summer.

Touché Mom, Touché!

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1. Parenting is Sacrifice

My Mom gave up a lot to raise eight kids. She put off her college education until I was almost done mine. She spent long nights at our hospital bedsides praying and caring for us. She lost countless hours of sleep helping us with homework, sewing clothes and working thankless jobs. She made holidays special with gifts that she couldn’t afford and meals fit for royalty. She pioneered special needs adoption (Read WHY GOD? from apatientnurse.com some insight) never saying no to the most vulnerable and needy within our world.


So today, I don’t care if Phil thinks it’s six more weeks of winter. My heart is warmed celebrating a hero — Happy Birthday Mom!!!

 

 

5

Idle Hands are Indeed the Devil’s Playground

Many look forward to upcoming school holidays as times of relaxation and recuperation. I, on the other hand, dread them like a pending root canal. Kids with ASD and Down Syndrome love routine and when the routine of going to school is canceled, you’re going to pay. I awoke last night in a cool sweat just thinking about it!

Typically, I fail miserably in meeting the kids needs on these days. There is just not enough Barney, KidzBop Kids or Avengers to satisfy the savage souls I usually refer to as my children. Add Winter to the equation and there’s no going outside to run off the pent up energy!

Today though, I might be winning. Amy uses an online company called Boxed (boxed.com) for bulk item supplies. These supplies include paper products, cereal and school snack items. Thank goodness my brilliant wife put in an order last week and included the 45 snack pack of Goldfish. I’m not sure what Pepperidge Farms puts in these nuggets of gold but Irina will do anything for a mere five fish bribe. A one fish penalty is applied for each instance of non-compliance per directive given. Rarely does Irina need to pay more than a two fish deduction.

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So that’s one kid solved leaving me six others to entertain. Just as I start to wonder if I’ll make it to bedtime, Amy calls me to the kitchen for a little surprise. Here’s what she shows me:

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The folks at Boxed are marketing geniuses – they’ve included this “Reveal Your Treasure” kit for kids to make a faux aquarium from the empty box. Fish stencils, markers, paint and even googly eyes are included with directions (they obviously don’t realize I’m a man and have no need for this last item!). This is something I know my guys are going to enjoy. Let me show you how we did it!

STEP ONE: Got Fish, You’ll Need an Aquarium

You need a suitable box to start this project and what better one for a faux aquarium then:

Bam!!!

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STEP TWO: Cut a Window and Side Portholes
STEP THREE: Make the “Fish Net”

I punched five small holes using a small Phillips head screwdriver across the top of the window. Blair strings decorative pipe cleaners to corresponding holes on the back wall.
Two lengthwise pipe cleaner are then woven through the widthwise ones.

Your Fish Net looks like this when you are done:

STEP FOUR: Put them Kids to work! (SlideShow)

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We backed the stencils with 3×5 index cards to give a firmer “fish”. The younger kids used markers and crayons instead of the supplied glitter paint (because this ain’t our first rodeo!)

STEP FIVE: “Fill” Your Aquarium

Ivan’s my big guy and more than responsible when it comes to painting with blue glitter. He coats the four sides and ocean bottom like a pro!

STEP SIX: Hook ’em and Hang ’em!

I staple the fish to the pipe cleaner, cut pipe cleaner to length and make a “hook” at the top. My guys then hang their catch from the fish net!

STEP SEVEN: Add a Bottom Dweller and Some Flora (Added Bonus Dad Joke If You “Click the Pic”)
STEP EIGHT: Enjoy the Catch of the Day!

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A great little project to keep in mind as President’s Day and probably some snow days lie ahead. Have Fin Fun with your own little project!!!


Special Shout Out!!!

Special Thanks to Dana T. for her generous donation of Arts & Crafts supplies. We hit the jackpot on this one and couldn’t have gotten this done without you!!!

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3

For Men Only: Keeping Her Satisfied!

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Amy and I celebrated 23 years of marriage yesterday! We got married the day after an ice storm, in a church with no power, no heat and a stretch limo that did a donut in the church parking lot. I ran into a TV news crew at a local convenience store and they followed me to our wedding — we were Live @ Five and it really added something special to the day. Reminiscing on the lessons I’ve learned from that start to where I’ve come, I offer a Top Ten List on Satisfying Your Wife!

10. Learn How to Cook Something, Anything!

One day early in our marriage, I found myself in the bathroom after forgetting to bring reading material with me. The only thing available — Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I flipped through the pages and stumbled upon a delicious recipe for chicken pot pie. I read through the instructions and thought I can do this…             … and do this I did! The response I got when Amy arrived home from work told me I was on to something special. The waves of euphoria she experienced with each bite told me “dessert” was going to be on her! I’ve been cooking at least one meal every week since!

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9. Learn How to Fix Things

Things are going to break and they break at the worst times – Holidays, middle of the night, birthdays etc! Invest in a good handyman book and keep it handy for these moments. Men no longer get to ride off on trusted steeds to slay the dragons in the Black Woods but this ability comes close. Added tip: try to get yourself as filthy as possible in these moments as it adds to the reward you’re likely to receive!

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8. Handle the Boy Stuff…

Those of you men with sons need to handle the things that come with fathering boys. The “private” body talks, the mad attempts to unwittingly kill themselves, the creatures they claim as pets all need your intervention and guidance. You’ve thought like them, you’ve acted like them, you’ve been (are) them so don’t leave this task to the amateurs!

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7. …but be Man Enough to Handle the Girl Stuff

Those of you men blessed with daughters need to prepare for every stage of their lives. Pre-planning allows you to be a partner with your partner when it comes to the complex task of raising girls to womanhood. Relationships, menstruation, fashion, boys, empowerment, emotions, social media are just a few of the topics in which to hone one’s knowledge (sometimes those subjects might come up in one conversation). You may also need to use words you never thought you would like hizzy, totes, legit and feels.  NOTE: I’m some what of an expert in employing such phrases and I am happy to help other men less skilled than I; just e-mail me and I’ll translate for you!

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6. Don’t Attempt to Solve Every Problem

As a young husband I assumed everything my wife presented to me  as a worry was done so that I might provide my Solomonic advice. WRONG!!! Sometimes your spouse just needs a pop-off, a release or a sounding board. Keep quiet, maintain appropriate eye contact and nod appropriately (i.e. agreeing with your beloved). If you hear the phrase, “What do you think?” at the end of a rant then pause, think (>15 seconds) then respond. If you disagree with your wife’s opinion then, in this moment, you are 100% wrong. You do not possess the cogent ability to match your wife’s need. It will take hours, and probably days, to begin broaching a valid response! Young men please take this advice!

5. Make Her Laugh

A sense of humor covers a multitude of sins. Amy and I share about 1001 inside jokes mostly created by me. This intimate Ultimate Joke Book is a place I turn to often in the more stressful times. I’d tell you one but you’re not on the inside — you wouldn’t understand so come up with your own! They’re worth their weight in gold!

4. Do Small Things that Say Big Things

Remember the adventure of winning your wife’s heart? You were a total geek, awkward as an aardvark with the grooming habits of a chimp. She, on the other hand, glowed rainbows, made you breathless and spoke with the wisdom of Athena. Brother, some how you upped your game and got this goddess to marry you — Don’t blow it! Opening a door, leaving a Lindt chocolate truffle on her pillow or putting together a playlist of songs that remind you of her are little efforts that confirm:

  1. I think about you
  2. I love you
  3. I want to ensure you know 1 & 2
3. Presence Always Beats Presents

Buying things is overrated — it’s just stuff! Giving the gift of your time and attention is always more valuable. This takes discipline and commitment (which is what gives it value!) — Do it! Put that smartphone down, turn off the game and, for your wife’s sake, stop playing those video games and spoon into the one you love. You’ll get something way more rewarding than high score brags! I guarantee it!

2. Know Who IS the Most Important Member of Your Family

Hints: It is not your future Hall of Fame son Johnny. It is not your little princess daughter Chloe and it IS certainly NOT your Mommy!!!!

IT IS YOUR WIFE you big dummy!

Failing to grasp this is detrimental to your life. No wife = No family, No wife = No love, No wife = No you because let’s face it guys, we weren’t much until that piece of total fineness said “I DO”.

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1. The Best Position for Scoring Big

Get your mind out of the gutter and get your knees on the ground — I’m talking about praying! Like I’ve already pointed out, something Divine happened to get you your bride. Prayer is an essential need. You cannot do all that is asked of you – Husband, father, son, friend, worker etc. without some heavenly guidance. The sooner you cry “Uncle” on this point the sooner your wife will have the husband she deserves!

I’d be remiss, in closing, not to mention how much I love, appreciate, desire and adore my Amy. The 25 years of knowing her provide me with the most unexpected and undeserved life. She is truly worth every endeavor to continually win. My only hope is that I’m only  about a third of the way into our years together.

10

What’s in a Name?

I’ve taken a bit of heat since starting Dad Just Happened related to the nicknames we use to describe our kids. “It sounds like you’re making fun of your kids” is what we hear. This made me realize not everyone knows us as well as others and I thought a post to clarify some of this might help (and entertain).

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The HKBs

img_1074The Hong Kong Boys, are Ivan, Blair and Yul. Blair and Ivan were born in Hong Kong (yes, they were Made in Hong Kong!); Yul is an honorary member since he exited China via Hong Kong. These boys have most held true to their Chinese heritage (particularly when it comes to food) and we’ve incorporated aspects of their culture into our family. Additionally, it is amazing to take these three strangers and turn them into brothers. Their bond is inseparable and touching. The Hong Kong Boys is a term of endearment, a recognition of these three amazing guys.

 

The UTTs

d65d584a-f18f-4841-9f6f-cf3d7f28a8e2The Ukrainian Twins of Terror, while subtle, is also term of endearment. Amy and I possessed no foreknowledge of what we were getting ourselves into with the adoption of Luke & Irina. Yes, some clues existed on our first visits to meet the UTTs – Luke taking off his baseball hat, urinating into it, then returning it to his head. Irina scooping up and eating handfuls of dirt. They really earned the nickname, though, flying home from Ukraine. The 17 hours of hell (note: I was at home with the other guys while Amy and my mom endured this peril) included two Russian-speaking children who did not sleep a second of the 17 hours of travel. Irina opted to bomb dinner rolls and other food items at fellow passengers instead of eating. Restless and rammy Luke continually kicked the seats in front of him and barked like a seal for the entire flight over the Atlantic. Things got much worse on their arrival home including attempts to escape the house, sleeping 1-2 hours at a time followed by a minimal 8 hour period of wakefulness. Not to mention, both of them applying the non-stop torture of banshee screaming through all hours of the day and night.. The relief we experienced from professional diagnoses of autism and ADHD, in addition to Down Syndrome, enabled us to seek appropriate resources to help. The Ukrainian Twins of Terror earned their nickname; Amy and I earned the right to give it!

 

The Eastern European Front

96537324-48be-4e93-96fc-aa2711816816The UTTs plus Sammy and Maddie, represent Ukraine and Bulgaria; they make up “The Front”. Divided they are easily conquered, but as a bloc they are a formidable force! It takes the skills of a secretary of state, cold war spy and Jeff Probst of Survivor to parent these guys. The Front unites Amy and I in a way that draws us closer together as wife and husband. The Front strengthens the vows we took at marriage and makes us “The Unified Front”! Additionally, we faced many barriers, prejudices and evils through their adoptions. This animosity fueled purpose to our mission – every child deserves a family! The Front’s existence is a testament to this!

 

The Downy Gang

IMG_6191.jpgSix of our 12 children have Down Syndrome. We often take heat for using this moniker, primarily from parents of other children with Downs. Instead, we apply this nickname as a badge of honor. Their kindness, positive attitude and fulfillment from life’s smallest pleasures (butterflies, Barney, ice cream, hugs, etc.) make our guys an indescribable joy! We’ve experienced many dark times in our history as a family but there is a place we can always turn to for unconditional love — The Downy Gang. The number of pregnancies terminated due to the diagnosis of Trisomy 21 breaks our hearts. I believe our world is so much better, kinder and loving when it is blessed with those with an extra 21st chromosome; celebration, instead, is what they deserve!


Laughing is always better than tears. A sense of humor is essential to taking on hard things. We are certainly serious in the situations that call for it. We are also able to not take ourselves too seriously. I hope this gives a little insight to the critics!


Live
Love
Laugh

 

4

Say What? A Research Study

Objective: Many sayings are stated as fact and yet these have never been placed under the rigor of the scientific process. It is not clear whether certain phrases merely add to the senseless dribble that is American dialogue i.e. “It just entered my brain. I must say it”. Or, does actual harm occur in the receiver(s) of said logorrhea (verbal diarrhea). To this end, our research seeks to prove or disprove the idiom “There are no stupid questions!”

Methods: Data are obtained in random encounters with known and unknown subjects happening upon a given family. This family is composed of 12 kids from 4 continents, one deaf dog, seven chickens and two exhausted parents all living under one roof. We record questions asked of and replies given by this family over a 20-year period.

Results: Bivariate illogical regression models confirm that there are indeed stupid questions!

Conclusions: The idiom “Think before you speak” is a statement that is both valid and reliable in not cramming ones metatarsals deep into ones oropharyngeal cavity!

I present a top 10 list of questions asked by various subject matters. Random answers by the study family members are expressed following each inquiry.

  1. “Are they all yours?”

“No, they just keep following as I play my magic pipe. There seems to be a new one following me each time I turn around. I’m not sure why they keep saying ‘Dad, Dad, Dad’. Can you help me?”

zerotipSpecial Mention: The waitress whose follow up question was “Even the black ones?” soared to new heights of offense!

 

  1. “Are they adopted?”

No, every other child born in the world is Asian, every third child is African. You’re looking at child #2, #3 and #4”

  1. “They from a group home?”

“No, I enjoy the lost talent of cat herding. I am practicing this art by bringing children with sensory disorders, intellectual disabilities and those needing wheelchairs to my local grocery store. I’ve randomly collected these children to show off my skills.”

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This sign is from our home

  1. “Which kids are your real ones!”

“Which ones appear fake?” (Sometimes a question to a question is the only option.) The questioners statement “You know what I mean” is said 87% of the time in response.

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Maybe this wasn’t the best example of fake vs real

  1. “How much do you get paid for them?”

“Hold on! You can get paid for being a parent?”

  1. “Does your wife work?”

“Not at all, unless you consider making 42 meals/day, laundering clothes for 14 people, vacuuming 4000 square feet, grocery shopping for an army, scheduling over 100 physician/dentist/therapist appointments annually, etc. work. Then no I cannot say she works.”

  1. “Do you have to pay full price to adopt a handicap kid”

SPECIAL NEEDS!!! And no, there is no Scratch & Dent when it comes to adoption!”img_0139

  1. “Do you drive a bus?”
    “No, we drive an airport shuttle.”

 

  1. “Are you getting a Reality TV show?”

“I really hope so! Seeing the triumph of the Jon & Kate, the Duggars, the Big World, Little People families, why wouldn’t I want that “success” for myself?”

  1. “Are you like, um, really religious?”

“Oh you bet I am. There’s no atheists in foxholes and there ain’t none parenting a large family.”

The fact is, I love talking about my family and how they have changed my life. I never mind answering well-intended questions and inquiries. Our skin is thicker now than at the start; I now consider myself more of an educator than someone easily offended.

I hope you take this post for the fun that’s intended.

Be warned though, you never know when Dad Just Happened – you might end up on this page!

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