Thursday, May 31, 2007

Something simple

Ever had something that you needed to say, and didn’t or show someone how much you love them and didn’t? I’ve been avoiding writing this post for some time now and finally, I think now is the time.

A close friend and relative passed away Sunday morning. Mike Patterson (aka Big P) was 37. He had cancer. He left behind an amazing wife and 2 beautiful daughters. Now we are all struggling to figure out why things like this happen.

I know, you’re thinking…another sappy lecture from Melissa. Well, you might be right. But, if I inspire one person to think about what I’ve said, then I’ve done my job.

I’ve watched family members be born and die. The circle of life is never ending and it’s in constant motion. People come into our lives and leave us at times when we may need them most. I’ve lost grandparents, uncles, aunts, friends and a very special father-in-law. I know the pain and hurt of death. I know the ache that resonates in my heart day after day each time I think of that special person. We all do. I’ve watched Wayne lose both of his parents. To see the pain in his eyes was almost unbearable. Life isn’t fair when it comes to death.

These past few days I’ve watched many family members struggle with the passing of Mike. We’ve all asked God the same question. WHY? Why Mike, why now, why cancer, why…… As of this morning, we still don’t have an answer, nor do I think we will get one. That’s part of life. Sometimes it’s just plain shitty. But there is a little thing we can do before…..

I love you.

Simple as that. Telling someone that I love you can mean so much. After this week, I have vowed to tell my kids, Wayne, my family and friends how much their love and friendship means to me. Sure we say I love you when we hang up the phone or when we hug someone goodbye, but I want you all to really mean it. Take the time; share your feelings with your family and friends. We never know what God’s plan is for our lives. I don’t want to live thinking, “Man, I should have told that person that I loved them or what they meant to my life.”

So this is my cyber “I love you!” to all my friends and family that read our blog. I love you all and can’t thank you for your support and love. We have been so blessed that I just can’t tell you what your following has meant to us. We are grateful to have friends from around the world check in on our little family and keep up with what we are doing.

None of us are ever really alone, for there is always someone, somewhere wishing they were with us again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


As most of you know, my family does a lot together. Any time that we aren't doing with someone else, we're together. Tyler (Theresa's fiance) took this picture us at my grandparents' house this last weekend. Sorry Treepah, I forgot to crop the picture!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Anna's picture

Anna made this picture today at school. It's a drawing of our truck and the camper. Now, our camper isn't orange, but it has some orange and brown stripes on it. Wayne's truck IS red and it has an extended cab. I love how you added 2nd floor windows (our camper does have upper bunks, so it would appear to people on the outside that we have 2 floors!). Anna also drew the antenna on the top of the camper. We are headed to Benzie this weekend for our 14 year of camping at Timberline. I'll post pictures of the trip next week. :-)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Water bugs/Scooters

Here is a little video of some water scooters that we saw. I thought it was cool, bu they don't show up that well. Bummer!

1st graders and the Ludington State Park

Here are some random pictures that I took while out to the State Park with Anna's class. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ambassador for International Adoptions: China Division

Interesting conversations…

While at that eye doctor today, I had 3 conversations about Julia and adoption. The first was with a girl that knew me from the hotel and she was a former tanner (the hotel where I used to work has a tanning salon). She asked very pleasantly about Julia and I had no troubles sharing with her about adoption. I guess part of me has become an “ambassador” for international adoption.

The second people I spoke with about Julia were an older couple who has grandkids that were adopted from the Marshall Islands. First, I had no idea that the Marshall Islands were involved with international adoption and second, I felt bad as I had no idea where it is! Either way, they were very nice.

Finally, I spoke with my optometrist and she mentioned having read Karin Evans’ book, “The lost daughters of China”. So, again…I retold Julia’s story. Dr. Lang spoke of her desire to adopt from either China or Africa. We shared some of the same views and I can’t wait to hear what her and her husband decide to do.

There are some very common threads with all three of these discussions. They all started with, “She’s just beautiful!” Why yes, we think she is, but she’s our daughter. Do they think that Julia is cute because she really is cute or because she’s Chinese? Part of me is torn when it comes to this question. I dunno, I guess I just smile and say thank you. Although, I did nothing to contribute to her looks. LOL!

I think part of how people view adoptive families and just adoption in general could be based on these limited conversations. This is where I try to educate and provide an inside to peak to others who might be considering adoption. Now, were the older folks going to adopt? No. But their lives had been touch by their grandchildren from the Marshall Islands. Was the former tanner going to adopt? I don’t have the slightest, but I used my “mom intuition” to judge where she was coming from in her line of questions. I felt that she was genuine and sincere. No need to shut down and not share our experiences. Same with Dr. Lang, I felt that she was truly interested and wanted to hear about our adoption journey and how things went for us.

All 3 people had no idea that Julia was “special needs”. Did I point it out? No, however, I made mention of it when they commented on how quickly we had made it through the maze of paperwork and red tape. (FYI: We started in April 19th of 2005 with no paperwork done and completed Julia's adoption on December 1st 2005. The average wait time from LID {log in date} to referral in the traditional program now is 18-24 MONTHS!) I think it’s important to share that the Waiting Child program is typically a shorter waiting time than the traditional program; if you are open to some unknowns (nonetheless there are some unknowns with ANY adoption whether domestically or internationally…or in my opinion, when you give birth too).

2 years ago I would have had no idea that having Julia in our family would bring me to being an educator of others. Even today, people still think of adoption as out of the norm. Why would we want to adopt when we could have had more biological kids? Some people are just fascinated with what drives people to adopt. I was one of those people 2 years ago too. I wish I could recall the people were so nice to share their stories with me. I truly wish to thank them for being open and welcoming to the “newbie”. :-)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pictures as promised!

Here are the pictures that I said I would post later today. :-)

Here is Anna and her teacher, Mrs. Smith

Here are Anna and Julia with friends from school.

Cam and his teacher, Mrs. Dahringer.

Cam and Johnny waiting for the 2nd half to start

Cam heading off the field

These are some tulips that came up this spring

Here's Anna with Ryan and Alexis

Julia at the music program

Cam driving the lawn mover

Julia looking too cute as she helps pick up rocks

Anna and her daddy

Anna and Andres during the game

The Orange Lightning in action!

I'm on the speaker/presenter page and Fam updates

I checked the HLA-NC (those are the super cool people that invited me to present) and I'm on their list of speakers and presenters! Ok..not a big deal, but this sort of thing still excites me. Especially, when you look at who the other presenters are. Here's the link if you want to see who will be at the conference. (I'm at the bottom!)

Oh my goodness!! We have been so busy. Cameron and Anna are playing AYSO soccer this year (practices are Tues. and Weds. with games on Sat.), we started baseball this week (practices for Cam are on Mon. and Weds. nights), along with the Spring Music program (which happened to be on 2 separate nights). UGH! I also went to Lansing on Tuesday to accept an award for PAC (Parent Advisory Committee). We submitted our Parent DVD project and won and award with the MASB (Michigan Association of School Boards). That was so cool! The ISD gets a road sign for out front of the school and also a trophy for inside! Wayne is headed to St. Ives today to play his first round of golf of the season.

Ok...well, I need to get ready for the day. We are heading in early today because we have Anna's IEP. For those that don't know, an IEP is an Individual Education Plan. Because of Anna's hearing, we have this plan in place to set goals for the school year. Anna works with an HI (hearing impaired) consultant outside of just having a general ed. teacher. We no longer have a speech therapist. I wondering, how can a child with moderate hearing loss not need a speech therapist? Well, in my was the early intervention that made a difference. We started speech with Anna when she was 6 months old.

Anyways...Life continues to rumble along at a fairly fast pace. I'll post some pictures later today.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

*Warning* Contains content that may be frustrating to some readers!

As you can tell, I’m a bit cynical today. LOL! Sorry!

Anyways, I had to pass along my good news. I was selected to present at the “Focus on Hearing” conference that is being put on by the Hearing Loss Association of North Carolina. I submitted a proposal and it got accepted! YAY! Here’s the link to the website: I’m really excited about this.

I got a really nice email from a woman named Joan who told me that I had been selected. I had to write this really formal proposal and it’s a bit nerve wracking trying to figure out how to make my family story seem interesting. Apparently, I did an ok job! The conference isn’t till September so I have a little time to work on my PowerPoint.

I’ll have to look at the presentation that I put together for the 2004 National EHDI conference and see if I can add to it or if I just need to start over. Plus, if we want Anna to present next year at the EHDI I might want to make this PowerPoint similar to what we’ll need for that.

Sooo….Sorry to toot my own horn, but I’m really thrilled to be selected for this. Hearing the parent perspective is so important and I’m glad that Joan thinks that my family story would make nice addition to their conference.

(Does this fall under the category of using my children's special needs to promote myself or point out their differences? I'm still waiting to hear from the person who posted the nice comment a few days ago...No such luck so far!)

Many hugs!

Melissa (The self promoting monster...Muuahahahaaa...)

P.S.--I love being sarcastic if you hadn't noticed. :-)