Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Life of Servitude

Trail-blazing feminist and author Alice Walker deceived a generation of women. A champion of women's rights, she has always argued that motherhood is a form of servitude. But one woman didn't buy in to Alice's beliefs - her daughter, Rebecca, 38.

Here the writer describes what it was like to grow up as the daughter of a cultural icon, and why she feels so blessed to be the sort of woman 64-year-old Alice despises - a mother.

And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your servant-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:27-29

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Babies

A couple of days ago, I decided to take the kids to a nearby waterfall for some pictures. I really just wanted some shots of the girls, so I could blow one up, frame it, and put it in the girls' room. Well, I didn't check the weather before going, since it was a spontaneous decision to go. That was a big mistake. Since it had rained the day before, it was really humid and everything was muddy. What was I thinking??

To make matters worse, it was sunny. Outdoor pictures need to be taken on overcast days, especially when you're doing transracial photography. So almost none of the pics looked good. Either everyone was squinting because I had them in the sun, or you couldn't see Maya at all because the sun was behind her.

As we were leaving the park, I decided to get a quick shot of the babies. I told them to hold hands and realizing how bored they looked, asked them to look at each other. As soon as Liddy looked at Daniel, he started dancing for her. It was so funny! This picture really shows their personalities- Lydia is standing still, looking very demure, and Daniel's dancing around crazy-like.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pedro's Back!

Pedro recently got home from his annual trip to
New York City to visit his best buddy, Carlos, who attends the Art Institute of New York.
He was there for a whole 10 days, so everyone was so thrilled to see him again. He arrived home at lunchtime, so all the kids were squealing and yelling when he walked in the door.
Pedro said that every third person in New York wore these silly "glasses". He thought they were so hilarious, he just had to buy a pair. According to him, everyone looked this ridiculous in them.
Well, except for Liddy Bitty of course, who looks cute in everything! We're all so glad Pedro's home again! We missed his laughter and jokes, not to mention his trash-taking-out abilities.

Popularity Now *Required* at School

Alex Barton

— Melissa Barton said she is considering legal action after her son's kindergarten teacher led his classmates to vote him out of class.

After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn't like about Barton's 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morningside Elementary teacher Wendy Portillo said they were going to take a vote, Barton said.

Read the rest of the story here.

Morals of the story: No one cares about your child the way you do. Therefore, you are your child's best teacher.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Subway Snubs Home Sctoolers!

Subway, the sandwich restaurant, wants to hear your child’s story – unless he or she is homeschooled.

The national chain’s "Every Sandwich Tells a Story Contest" offers prizes and a chance to be published on the Subway website and in Scholastic’s "Parent & Child" magazine but specifically excludes homeschoolers:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Contest is open only to legal residents of the Untied (sic) States who are currently over the age of 18 and have children who attend elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted.

Subway’s website promotion not only misspells "United" States, but offers the grand prize winner a "Scholastic Gift Bastket for your home."

Genius! Perhaps they should have hired a homeschooler as their editor. Homeschooled students have a long history of winning the national spelling bee.

(And yes, the typo in the title was intentional.)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Out of the Mouths. . .

The other day I asked Daniel what he remembered about Liberia. He said, "My mom and dad were there." I asked him what his mom looked like. He cocked his head to the side and looked at me very carefully before answering, "She looked like you, except she had green eyes." So I ask the obvious, "She was white?"
Each night at dinner, one of the kids prays before we eat. They take turns, one each night. Tonight as they were arguing over who got to pray, Kyle announced: "Ginger, you pray," so I did.
When I finished, Lydia looked at me with a very sweet smile and said: "That was a good one, Mama."
(This picture taken when she wasn't feeling great, thus the warm clothes.)

As I was carrying Liddy upstairs for bed (her request), she turned my face to hers and said: "I like you Mom." As I was relishing this compliment of compliments, she went on: ". . . and I like my Daddy, and my Elena, and my Maya, and my Chloe, and my brothers."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Art Appreciation

We've just started studying the art of Norman Rockwell. This painting, "Triple Self-Portrait" elicited some self-portraits among my budding artists. Check it out:

Elena, whose nostrils aren't nearly that big and who really only has 5 fingers on each hand.

Maya, who apparently is a fan of Picasso's style. lol

Chloe, who seemingly has some unvoiced desire for pierced ears and a pet monkey (in her left hand (which is on the right side) above).

And finally: Isaac, with the big muscles and t-shirt that says "STRONG" (spelled SHCHG). This one is quite appropriate actually.

I thought you'd enjoy this psychological view into the psyche of the Clark kids. They think very highly of themselves.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Last Weekend, Part 3

Last Thursday, Kyle took the day off, so we went to the zoo. (Thanks again, Dad & Shannon, for the zoo membership. We're making very good use of it!) There were at least 9 school buses in the parking lot when we arrived. Grrrr. And wouldn't you know it, on the day we decide to wear our red shirts so we can keep track of everyone, so did three of those public school groups. Sheesh!

I love this carousel. The kids really just like the spinning bird's nest. Chloe kept her arms around both Daniel and Lydia, who wanted to be with the big kids, but didn't really want to spin. Chloe's a very good comforter. She's gonna make a great mother.
This is how we travel, for those who've asked. The big kids chant a little song to help them remember the rule: "Put your hands on the stroller and stay close to your mother."

Oh and we did see some live animals too, like this cute meerkat.And the stingrays. Maya is the most unafraid of these graceful gliders. She was feeding him a shrimp.
Some are trying to pet the ray, others just want to get their hands wet. Nothing more fun than water. At least, it's not in my bathroom! Don't ask.
The babies love their little monkey backpacks, which are also harnesses. Don't tell them I'm keeping them safe. They just think they're cool!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

URGENT: Please Pray!

Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest adoptee, Maria (5) was hit by a car and died today. Detailed story here. Please pray for the Chapman family.

Three at Once??

I recently got this email:
We are in the process of adopting three girls from Ethiopia. I was wondering if you could tell me more about how your kids' adjustment went and some of the things you've encountered in adopting older kids and three at once. I totally feel this is what God called us to do, but sometimes I get so overwhelmed thinking about the logistics of it. Right now, I'm stressing thinking about homeschooling and how I'm going to handle it all. . .
First of all, I know EXACTLY how you are feeling! You have strong opposing emotions and it makes you feel a little crazy. I remember that feeling! You are so excited to have your long-awaited kids home, but you're also really nervous about how it's going to all work. I'll be honest: I don't miss those emotions.
Adopting three at once was hard! I've heard many adoptive families say it's like an invading army. I didn't really get that until recently. They didn't feel like an army at all, they seemed like kids. But I did make a very concerted effort to avoid the us vs. them scenario. That part of the "invasion" I understand.
What made the adjustment go smoothly in the beginning, and this is very simple- we spent a TON of time outside. I mean, we'd eat breakfast, get dressed and go outside for a couple of hours. Then we'd eat lunch, take naps (everyone!) and go back outside almost until dinner time. That kept us sane and helped us develop camaraderie. We kept up that routine for the first month and slowly weaned off of it. I didn't school anyone that first month and then we started in slowly after that, just focusing on the three Rs.
For the first couple months, your only focus should be on feeding them, bathing them, and loving them. All the rest is gravy until you settle into a routine of your own. Don't rush it! These kids need your love more than anything else. If they get that and only that, they're way ahead of where they were before. Stay focused on your goal.

Many blessings,

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Last Weekend, Part 2

Last Friday night, we were invited to have dinner at our friends'/neighbors' house. We spent almost the entire time outside in their backyard, the weather was so nice!
The kids played in the treehouse most of the time, and ate their dinner up there too.
Elena's being a servant to her sister, putting her shoes back on for the umpteenth time.
Isn't she sweet?? And she's cute too!
Chloe and Johanne get along great together. They're the same size, although Jo is a year and half younger! Heather & Andrew breed tall babies, while we Clarks make little ones.
Here's the littlest Clark now. I just wanna kiss her! Look at that cute face! That face is so manipulative, though. Don't be fooled! She's charming for her own benefit.

Men at the Grill.
Makes you want to grunt, just looking at them, doesn't it? Andrew, you make mean burger. They were delicious!
Now this was the most entertaining part of the whole visit- the Wii - and not just for the guys. If you've never watched two grown men air boxing with all their might, you've never lived! It is truly the most hilarious thing I've seen in a long time.

See? We've still got a lot of laugh in us. Thanks so much Heather, for a very fun evening! We all had a great time! Our place next time!

Monday, May 19, 2008

She Laughed At Me!

Sunday, we visited the church where Kyle and I met. We ran into several couples that we had known back in our College & Career days, one of whom we hadn't seen since that time. A lot has changed in 12 years. The mom, my old friend Sandra, introduced me to their 8 year old son and asked which kids were ours. I looked at the kids and said: "All these," with a big smile.
She started laughing and said, "You're funny. No really, all these?" and she's laughing like it's the funniest joke anyone's ever pulled on her. I smiled and said: "Well no, we have one more, but he's 20 and in New York right now." She starts laughing again and then very suddenly, stops.

Her expression turns deadpan.

"Are you guys doing foster care?"


Then she gets it. You could actually see her brain switch gears. "Oh my goodness, Ginger, that's exactly what you always said you wanted to do. You really adopted!"

That's the first time we've ever gotten that response and it was pretty entertaining. Wish you could've been there.

I Needed This Today


People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Be good anyway.

Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People need help but will attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

~ Kent Keith

Sunday, May 18, 2008

This Weekend, Part 1

It may just take all this week to tell you what all we did this weekend. Oh my! I took a lot of pictures! I'll use my scrapbooking rule and start with the most current and work my way backwards.
Saturday, Kyle's parents were supposed to come down for the day to help us with landscaping. You see, Kyle and I both have black thumbs. I'll just leave it at that. Anyway, long story short, Kyle's parents came down WITH a truck full of shrubs and plants! Woo-Hoo!!
Considering that my mom had already given us a lot of flowers, we were completely overwhelmed by the generosity shown to us!

Maya was very eager to plant the begonias.
Chloe did what she is very good at: watching other people work.
Of course, the hardest work was done by the men. Male bonding at its finest.
Isaac also helped with the begonias. Hey Maya, get your hand out of the pic!
Daniel pretty much just carried that stick around, occasionally hitting things with it, while we dug and planted.
In a few weeks you'll be able to see the impatiens we planted in that big terra cotta pot. Be patient! (pun intended)

After the hard work was done, Shirley and I took the kids to the ice cream shop. Isaac stayed to help the men install a new sprinkler system, so that the new plants will have a chance at life.
Look at this girl with her chocolate stained shirt! Geesh. I need to figure out a way to get paid for all my stain treatment wisdom. (Wisdom comes from experience, you know.)
Any ideas??