Why we do what we do

“Mama, I just saw the world light up!”- an excited little boy texting me via i-translate to convey his thrill over a huge lightening flash he saw during a thunderstorm we were watching together.

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It hurts too much? You did not just say that.

While at the splash park a few days ago, two ladies watching  the boys and I interact asked me some questions about them- polite, reasonable questions.  I don’t mind.  It is a chance to advocate for orphans and for orphan hosting, causes my readers had no idea I cared much about, right?

Who are they, and what language are they speaking? How did they come to be here in our tiny midwestern hamlet?  Do you speak their language?  How do you communicate (it’s mostly really not that hard).

As I explained about orphan hosting, they asked that one question, and said that one thing that drives me nuts.  I know, I really do, that not everybody is built to handle this.  I know that often you are not in the right season for one reason or another.  I have been there.  I do get it.  But this?  I don’t understand:

“Do you have to send them back?  Oh, well I could never do that, it would hurt too much.”

“Yes,” I said.  “You do, even if you are planning to adopt, you have to return them and pursue adoption while separated, and we are not in a place to adopt.”

So then I heard again how they could never do that because of how much it would just kill them to give the kids back.  And to my horror, I began to cry.  “Yes,” I said, as I choked back the tears.  “It hurts. I’m not going to lie, it hurts like you would not believe.  Like nothing else.  But I have a choice, and they don’t.  And they already hurt all the time.  We decided it was worth the pain we’ll experience to do this for the kids, because otherwise, they may never live in a home instead of an institution for the rest of their lives.  So it hurts like no other pain, but we think it’s important.”

I believe that with all my heart, but the boys had not been here 2 days before I was crying over the idea of having to say good-bye again in 8 weeks.

As we were talking the boys had been playing.  I am not sure if they noticed my agitation and tears, but they suddenly decided it was time to leave, so they gathered our things and headed to the car.  I stood up to go, wiping away my tears and she again assured me, as I walked away, that she just wouldn’t want to send them back, so she couldn’t do it.

Good Lord.  I don’t want to send them back, either.  I know there are good reasons not to orphan host.  I don’t consider that to be one of them.

If not me, than who?

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Culture of Discontent

Ads work by:
convincing us we have a problem which must be solved, usually by:
making us feel somehow insecure or discontented
then supplying the means to solve the problem, usually by convincing us they are the experts. Here’s a lovely example:

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Nature study, poetry, and art

nature study quote poety art and business“In nature-study, however, the emotional senses are cultivated
incidentally with those powers of observation upon which the work
of the poet and artist depends, no less than the success of the man
of business, the farmer, and the scientific investigator.

Furthermore, it must not be forgotten that nature-study adds greatly
to the pleasure of life, rendering intelligible what is going on in forest
and stream, in hedgerow and in garden, that it is part and parcel of
all true sport, and paves the way to any number of fascinating hobbies.”


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Of Food and Wonder


I keep this, one of two containers I use for the purpose, full of food  and on the counter all day, along with unlimited seaweed, bananas, and trail mix.  It doesn’t always have deviled eggs. Sometimes it has sausage, radishes, berries, carrots, breads, other kinds of cheeses, braunschweiger (some know it as liverwurst,  very popular w/our boys), and various other odds and ends.

Some things are unlimited only in the sense that as long as I have them, the kids can eat, but it’s gone when it’s gone- the big bowl of trail mix, for instance, will not be replaced by more of the same.  Cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, yogurt, and bananas I replace constantly, everything else depends on what is for sale.

By 11:00: 12 pancakes, four yogurts, 8 bananas, four popsicles, nearly two pints of cherry tomatoes, six cucumbers, 8 croissants, 11 Hawaiian rolls, 3/4 lb of braunschweiger, 8 deviled eggs, a few slices provolone, a few handfuls of trail mix, and 8 radishes. And around 11:00 one asked when we could eat. He saw somebody at the park with food.

By bedtime- in the same day-  they had consumed more braunschweiger sandwiches, more tomatoes, cucumbers and radishes, slim jims (2 or 3 each), a capris sun juice pack, yogurts, pizza, fried chicken, a cutie each (*yes, yes they are!), more trail mix, grapes, bananas, a couple yogurt drinks, and I think that may have been it- oh, and a couple mugs of milk for the baby of the group, and day lilies because I showed  the lads day lilies are edible.  Yes, we are going to be asking for the grocery store to give us a discount.

For some kids, regular meals and no snacking is important.  For these kids, it is important for them to be convinced that their food supply is safe. Orphans from hard places (and being an orphan is itself a hard place) nearly always have some food issues related to scarcity and the horrible experience of genuine, real, gnawing hunger and the knowledge that you do not know when you will eat again.  And that is why we always have at least cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and bananas freely available.

It was a beautiful and also a hard day.  We had some melt downs.  there was a moment of panic and terror that I didn’t recognize as such when it was happening and I was not really there for the child as I would wish- I was focused on parking, he was ordering me to not park and just drive away.  You see, the splash pad we visited the day before, when it had 2 children, was now full of children, and that child was intimidated.  He  handled it well, but was more standoffish afterward.

On our way home from the splash park, down country roads, we passed a doe in a creek running right along the side of the road. Stopped and watched her until the 11 y.o. couldn’t hold back any longer and shouted at her. Drove no more than a quarter of a mile later and saw a turkey vulture right by the side of the road. Pulled up and opened the van doors so they could really see. It flew away, but must have had something tasty there, because it circled and returned 3 more times, and the boys were gasping in awe and delight at its graceful flight and wide wingspan.

Because we had a too long and too busy day,  child 2 and 4 were definitely not on their best behavior. However, while we were out I took the 3 oldest into Aldi’s with me, leaving child 4 in the van with my husband,  a better arrangement for everybody.

In the store I was seriously showered with compliments on my wonderfully handsome and eager helpers. One lady said they were the best behaved boys she had ever seen. I literally did nothing but point at what I wanted- they handled it all otherwise. I asked them a few times if they wanted something, and their oldest brother told them if they did or not.=) But they did not really ask for anything. When I pointed at something, they just asked how many (one? two?)
I don’t think we went down a single aisle without somebody telling me how amazingly helpful the boys were, and everybody was correct.

We had an epic meltdown on the drive home, and we had one again over supper (same child both times).

After supper the boys went out to put their bikes up and came racing back in screaming for us to come look, come, come- understand this is mainly communicated via gestures and full body charades.  What we heard was “мама, тато!!” WOW!!” and what we saw is the three youngest boys waving their hands at us and dancing in excitement for us to hurry and look.  What they wanted us to see:  the fields around our house and our yard itself were glittering with fireflies. Bedtime was extended 20 minutes for firefly catching (for the younger 2, the older 2 used their time to kick a soccer ball).

It was beautiful.

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