Thursday, November 24, 2011


We have so, so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

I'm thankful for a daddy who took care of a three year old this morning, so that a mommy could sleep in.

I'm thankful for small miracles, like this....

I know it's blurry....but Moses is licking Carter, and Carter doesn't care!!

I'm thankful for happy doctor visits, like this....

As as I look back, I'm thankful for this.... least favorite....

 And this.....
Apostilled paperwork...UGH!

And this....
Scary apartments!

Because it produced this.

And right now, there is nothing better.


The (very, very small!) local newspaper asked our family to write an article about thanksgiving for this week's paper. it is, for you - my sweet blog friends.  I have stopped reading it, because every time I do I wish I had changed this, or rewrote this part, or edited this out.

That's the beauty, though.  Because if I'm really serious about this 'thanksgiving' stuff, then I'll be thankful for an un-cohesive, somewhat sloppy article....because it means that my mind was on things like a toddler crawling around my chair, what I'll make for dinner for my sweet husband, the little onesies and socks that need laundering....

Really, nothing better.


Anyhow...the article....

"Thanksgiving.  It was our goal to be home with our new son by Thanksgiving.  And after 34 long, tiring days in Ukraine – we are home.  Our son, Carter, is home.  He will never spend another lonely night in a crowded orphanage.  He will never be force fed mystery mush.  He will never again wonder why nobody is attending to his cries.  Three year-old Carter was welcomed into his family just a few days ago, never to go back to his old life.  Never, ever again. 

One of the things we love most about Carter, his extra chromosome, is exactly what caused his birth parents to choose an orphanage for their son, instead of their home.  In many countries around the world, Down syndrome is a curse.  It’s shameful.  It’s hidden away in the quiet hallways of dark orphanages all around Eastern Europe.  After the orphanage, these beautiful kids with great potential get sent to mental institutions.  Many of them are tied to beds, rarely changed, even starved. 

Because of Down syndrome. 

But we know something they don’t.  We know that Down syndrome is not a curse, but a blessing.  While many families are ‘surprised’ by Down syndrome, we chose it.  We receive the blessing of special needs adoption with open arms. 

Since we got home on November 15th, things have sometimes been hard.  Carter has had to adjust to different foods, a new timezone, strange surroundings, unfamiliar smells – my husband, Jake, and I have had to adjust to little hands all over everything, crying at 4:00am, and diapers.  Life has been very, very different these last few days. 

And we choose thanksgiving.  No, not the meal.  Not the gathering.  The action.  Thanksgiving is an action.  It’s a choice.  And we choose it.  When things begin to get messy and complicated, we will choose thanksgiving.  When life throws things at us that we never saw coming, we will choose thanksgiving.  And when life is really, really good and we’re feeling so abundantly blessed – we’ll choose thanksgiving then, too. 

We made our goal – home by Thanksgiving.  While we were in Ukraine, our mouths were watering as we anticipated the real, traditional food that we’d be enjoying in a few short weeks at the Thanksgiving table.   And now, Thanksgiving has a whole new meaning.  Yes – we’re still anticipating Grannie’s rolls and Mimi’s stuffing…but it doesn’t end there.  It can’t end there. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of reading that Americans should feel content because they have nicer homes, better food, more stuff than 90% of the rest of the world…or whatever the statistic is now.  So because we have more than everyone else, we should be thankful?  That is so, so backwards.  Forget about what you have!  Forget about what you don’t have.  Forget about what you want.  Or even what you think you need.  It’s not about that. 

It is about waking up in the morning, and thanking God.  Thanking Him for your children – however frustrating they are.  Thanking Him for your family – however dysfunctional they are.  Thanking Him for your home – however unkempt it is.  Thanking Him.  For anything.  For everything. 

That is choosing thanksgiving.  That is the essence of being thankful.  It was never intended to be wrapped up in a box, and only opened one day a year.  It’s a lifestyle. 

We thank God for Down syndrome…because we receive it as a blessing.  We thank God for Carter’s screaming fits before bedtime…because it means that he’s home.  

It’s a choice, and we choose it. 


Praying your Thanksgiving is filled with love from family & friends, and sweet, sweet fellowship.

Nothing better, friends.  Nothing better.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Don't have much to be thankful for?  Be thankful, anyway.


  1. There is nothing un-cohesive or sloppy about this's a heart thing and yours is bursting...always has been and I don't forsee that changing in the future. God is so in love with that heart of yours because it is full of HIM!!! You are so special, and yes your whole family is but you make my heart you all....Meemom

  2. I just wanted to give you another view of the realities of having a special needs child in some Eastern European countries. While it is true that it is considered shameful in some ways, the economic reality many families live in simply does not allow them to keep the child. Unlike in western countries there are no daycare centres or special education classrooms, no IEP's and therapies available for these kids. So with a special needs child, a parent must stay home to look after the child without any financial support. And with people's wages being as low as they are and the prices of rent and food being higher all the time, can mean that the families, especially single parent households already on the brink of poverty can not manage.

  3. That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing. So thankful that you are home with your sweet boy.

    Carlene's soon to be momma :)

  4. 'Anonymous' - yep, fully aware. For the sake of a 600 word article, I narrowed it down. I know full well about all of this. But the bottom line? Anyone who is different - anyone who has special needs - they're considered lower than low. Why doesn't the government have anything available for them? Why aren't they/can't they do something for these kids and families? Because these kids - these special needs kids - are NOTHING. They have NO value.

    I don't know who you are, because you commented 'anonymously' - but I'm guessing that you are European, yourself - your spelling of 'centres' gives me a clue. Please understand, I'm not making a cut on Ukraine or Eastern Europe. Because in Europe - at least these babies have a chance at life...whereas in America, many babies with special needs/Down syndrome are aborted before they are even given a chance. So please, don't get me wrong.

  5. Beautiful words so true! Happy Thanksgiving to your family!

  6. I love the article.... Very well written!!

  7. Love your article! Happy Thanksgiving :)

  8. Ashley,

    There is nothing to change. It is perfect!!!

  9. You did an incredible job on the article! So happy for you that things are going well (mostly) and that Moses is home!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...