Posts tagged ‘Facebook’

Losing Myself

Been feeling kinda lost lately.  Not because I’m forty…I’m over that for the time being…or at least until I hit fifty.  When I say lost, maybe what I mean is–overwhelmed.  Life can do that.  You get all geeked up over small, trivial things until they take over your mind creating a reactionary robot instead of a present being of thought and action.  I hate that this world wires us to live like scurrying mice, running through our hectic days as though every conceivable ounce of time should be efficiently spent. And what are we doing during those “efficient” moments?

Finding pictures of cross dressing cats on bing images, apparently.

We really over-estimate our importance don’t we?  When I think of all the time I spend updating Facebook, looking through my emails, checking voicemail and even writing in this blog it makes my head spin.  When did this happen?  When did our lives become hyper driven?  Better yet…how do we stop?

I have tried putting away my smart phone, turning off the laptop, forgetting about my profile on Linkedin, but a few days, hours or even seconds later I’m at it again–checking Facebook or answering the buzzing phone.  It’s beyond choice now. This world has conditioned me to do idiotic things like text while I’m driving (yeah, I hate to admit it but I do it), check the I-net during commercials and message friends during play time with my kids. 

That last part really stings.  I don’t want my kids seeing a father who appears absent, uncaring, distracted, aloof.  What message is that sending them?  That they aren’t important?  This sudden awareness of my habits comes during a busy time in my life.  To be fair, there are times when I need to multi-task and when the kids need to take a back seat, but those times are far and few between and I need to start thinking of how to be present with my family…but how?

I need to start asking myself: “What is really important here?” Is texting back a friend really worth plowing into a telephone pole at eighty miles an hour? Is deleting all of those voice mails or emails more important than playing with my son?

It’s simple, really.  But like most simple things, putting it into practice is not so simple.  Eckhart Tolle has made a career on this advice: Be present and in the moment, always.  I admit that such a mantra doesn’t make much sense when you’re charging through a day of work schedules, dropping kids at school, managing a budget, working out, supporting your spouse…add to this the adoption process and organizing a large party and you have a sure recipe for chaos.  But there is an eye to every hurricane.  and I am gonna try my best to find it each day and every moment.

What are the storms that keep you from being present?  What are you gonna do about them? 

Here’s one idea:

Good luck!

Unethical?

Do you think fundraising for an adoption is unethical?

What?

When I hear something totally against what I believe, my initial reaction is to get angry so when I read a post on Facebook about this topic, it fired me up.  After venting for an hour or so, I took ten slow breaths and read the post again. The words “appalling” and “embarrassing” were used to communicate the person’s viewpoint (i.e. fundraising for adoption is wrong.) The source was someone with several adopted kiddos from around the world.

So what?  This group (adopting parents) takes all kinds—right? What I didn’t realize was that the original thread came from an adoptee.  The general gist (in my opinion) was that anyone raising funds to adopt is treating their future child like a commodity–something sold to the highest bidder.  The idea sickened me, because it came from someone who lives that life…a life under the stigma of being adopted.

My mind flashed forward fifteen years.  Little Panda is now an adult and besides hating being called Little Panda, she has many opinions.  Will she be embarrassed…appalled that we asked for money to help bring her from China? Will she see herself as property rather than my daughter?

Complex–this whole deal is so complex. At face value you see a child in need so you follow your heart and do what you think is right.  Then you begin researching and peeling back all the layers involved and see things you never thought you would. For one moment I tried seeing this adoption through my future daughter’s eyes and…I couldn’t do it.  The paradigm shift was just too difficult.

But then I thought of the spark God put in our hearts for this little girl and guess what?….all of my worries vanished.  It’s a recurring theme in this blog (I know so sue me!) but I can’t help it.  God put His desire in our hearts and for some reason he wants the Danner family to include a little girl from China.  I realize this is difficult to understand.  I realize there are children in America…in my town that need love…need a home, but God wants it this way.  He wants us to take this leap and go the distance, all the way to China. So that’s what we are going to do and if people want to help us along the way, I aint stoppin em.

Would I ever have a fundraiser for my biological child?  No. But aren’t baby showers (sort of) the same thing?  This fundraiser/party is a wonderful opportunity for us to receive support from those we love.  As Reece said to me, besides a wedding, there aren’t many opportunities to share your life with so many family and friends.  We are going to enjoy the heck out of it!

Little P. is not a charity case and doesn’t need us to save her.  She is our daughter and our job is to bring her home.  Period.

One Step Closer to the Rising Sun

We received this glorious email the other day….
 
 
Just got the approval for your home study from the Dossier Dept. so I’ll be printing all the hard copies and sending everything to Julie.  She will forward the appropriate copies to USCIS and you for your dossier. Congratulations, you are one step closer!

Amy Kinnell

Adoption Caseworker
CCAI
 
Yes one step closer. 
 
We also secured a place for the party/silent auction with my parents offering to pay for it. Pretty awesome!  Things are falling into place, just like I knew they would.  Now that we know this silent auction will happen the task comes down to finding donations.  There’s many, many options of course.  Family, friends and friends of friends have already come forth with ideas and items.  Also, there’s several companies who provide items (such as sports memorabilia) and will split the proceeds, but how far to take this? immediately my mind begins to say–
 
We don’t know what we’re doing.  What if we don’t have enough items to auction or what if nobody shows? 
 
Worried thoughts  of a busy brain.  But it really doesn’t matter.  I know things will work out. 
 
Just keep telling yourself that Billy boy.  
 
For the first time in this process, I posted on Facebook.  Within seconds (22 to be exact) I had friends reaching out from cyberspace. Most of these friends, I rarely talk to and some I haven’t  seen in years, but there they were, reaching out to help my family. 
 
Amazing. 
 
I don’t care what anyone says (and I know I have said this before) people are naturally good.  I always knew this.  That’s why I chose to work with people on a daily basis.  But sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of our inherent nature. 
 
Not to sound cheesy but I was pleasantly surprised.
 
One of first suggestions from Facebook was to use Gofundme.com.  Theresa and I discussed using another website for donations, but once I poked around Gofundme, it became the easiest course of action.  And you know what?  Those wonderful people I was just talking about have already raised nearly $1200.00 for our adoption!  One guy pledged $500!  This isn’t some independently wealthy business mogul either.  The man has his own family (two kids) and was someone I hung out with during my Roger Bacon (high school) days. To say I’m humbled by this experience would be putting it lightly. Perhaps the most amazing thing about this is that Reece (who swore off Facebook from the beginning) now has her own FB page. Will miracles never cease?  For anyone interested, here’s a link to our Gofundme page http://www.gofundme.com/65meho
 
Like I said, it’s all coming together.  Each experience, each donation, each generous heart brings us one step closer to the land of the rising sun….one step closer to meeting our precious little girl. 
 

The Space Between

We’re still waiting for this home study to be complete and I’m feeling discouraged. There’s still many hurdles to overcome.  Why does the system have to make this so difficult?  I understand we’re dealing with children and it’s best to error on the side of caution in regards to background checks and the like, but the longer this takes, the longer some little one goes without a loving home.  It’s one thing when it’s your child, but we’re talking millions of kids here.  The orphanages in China are literally bursting with abandoned children. Why isn’t a better system in place?    

abandoned

Nobody wants to hear me whine so I’ll stop and instead fill you in on what else is going on (numbered in no order of importance).

1) Finding a place for our party:  We need a spacious venue for my 40th birthday party/silent auction. We investigated a few grade schools, churches, colleges and our neighborhood club but all are out of our price range.  Any ideas? If we can’t find an affordable place, then the auction will not be possible. (Insert frowny emoticon here)

2) Set up donations: We decided to get all our funding options in line before asking for donations. Services will include the chrome buffalo T-shirt drive, silent auction and a website for tax-free donations.  The idea is to get our party set up (sometime in February), then launch everything at once.  It’s a cool idea since the alternative is chaotic emails, letters, Facebook prompts, etc.   This way you get one letter explaining it all.

3) Ordering buttons or a red wrist band: This idea came from Geoffrey Shaw, former CEO of the Asian Bridge http://theasianbridge.org   Shaw discussed his journey (adopting a daughter from China) with me and mentioned an old Chinese legend called “The Red Thread of Destiny.” 

An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.

This proverb is commonly used for passionate love (like the Westerners idea of soul mates) however the thread may also symbolize a connection between parent and child.  When a baby is born, he or she is already connected to the important people in their life.  As each year passes, the thread tightens, bringing each destined soul closer to this child.  The Red Thread is popular among families adopting from China with red bands or bracelets worn to symbolize the eternal bond between child and parent. Here’s one good example of the idea that I found online.

http://www.deerpathtrail.com/china/redthread.htm

Rather than red bands, Geoffrey’s idea was to create buttons symbolizing your adoption journey. 

logo-w-ribbon-small

He suggested distributing the buttons to family and friends and saw it as a simple way of sharing your story with others.  “You’ll be amazed at how quickly the word spreads,” he said. “It’s the best fund-raising strategy that I know.”   

4) Opening up: When it comes to our personal lives, Reece and I are not very open. Being therapists, we are better at asking questions and listening than sharing our views with others.  But the truth is, we need to share this story. Not to boast or try to convince others that adoption is the way to go, but to fulfill a basic human need…the need for reassurance.  When you look at adoption stories online you see friends and family rally around the cause, giving their support.  Reece and I plan to build this support by reaching out more in 2014. 

So when we start talking about this scary, life changing process…ask questions, look in our eyes and tell us it will be okay.  We need that more than you’ll ever know.

Who is this Child?

I’m amazed at my laziness.  I’m not talking about the laying-around-watching-TV-with cheetos-stuck-to your-fingers kind of lazy…when I say lazy I really mean apathy. Flash back to numerous times in my life were I could have helped someone in need:

lost

Flood of 1997

 

9-11

 

Tsunami of 2004

 

A lonely patient yearning for company

 

A friend picked on by bullies

 

A child needing a father figure

 

Apathy

In these situations, I wasn’t concerned because I felt someone else was going to pick up my slack. The Red Cross would sort things out…they have enough volunteers already…how is ten bucks going to help rebuild a city?…that guy has a daughter to watch after him…he’s a big boy, he’ll figure it out…I don’t have time in my schedule for a lost kid…

Apathy.

Basically, I felt small.  I believed that I couldn’t make a difference.

I was wrong.

Before launching our T-shirt drive through Chrome Buffalo (CB), Reece and I read some”Tips” provided by the company.  I was ready to post a few blurbs on Facebook and let God do the rest, but the makers of CB had other ideas.

“It would seem like this (posting on Facebook) should work, right? Not so fast…There’s something that happens to all of us when we see a post like that. We assume that someone else will help, right? When we don’t respond to posts, we tend to think that “it’s no big deal if I don’t help because there are so many others who will help.” Well, if everyone thinks that way (and they do), what does that mean for you?”

That made sense to me, because I am one of those who”look the other way.”

To further drive this message home, God showed up today. I know, I know…He’s always there, but most days I’m too busy living my life to notice.  Today the Big Guy made an appearance as I listened to Transiberian Orchestra. You read that right.  For some people, eating a blessed wafer brings them closer to the Divine…for me it’s music.  Go figure.

The song (Who is this Child?) is about a man struggling with his decision to help a little girl. The lyrics hit my soul like a jack hammer.

WHO IS THIS CHILD
THAT I’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE
WHO IS THIS CHILD
THAT I’VE NOT SEEN TILL THIS DAY

WHO DARES TO FALL ASLEEP
OUTSIDE MY DOOR
IF WE SHOULD WAIT AWHILE

I’M SURE SHE’LL GO AWAY

TO BE INVOLVED WITH THIS
WOULD SURELY NOT BE WISE
FOR IN THE FINAL WORD
SHE MEANS NOTHING TO ME

I LEARNED THE TRICK IS
THAT WE JUST AVOID HER EYES
AND THE QUESTION
WHAT SHE MEANS TO …

WHAT IS THIS LIFE
THERE WILL BE OTHER LIVES
SOON TO ARRIVE
SURELY SOME WILL SURVIVE
SHE IS BUT ONE
AND THERE ARE MANY MORE
EACH THE SAME AS ANY OTHER

WHO IS THIS CHILD
WHAT DOES SHE MEAN TO ME
I CLOSE MY EYES
AND STILL HER FACE I SEE
SHE IS BUT ONE
HER KIND IS EVERYWHERE
CAN’T YOU SEE THERE’S NO WAY I SHOULD CARE

I NEED A MOMENT NOW
I HAVE TO CLEAR MY MIND
THERE IS A LIMIT LORD
JUST TO BEING KIND

THERE IS NO WAY IN LIFE
THAT EACH CHILD CAN BE SAVED
SHOULD I BE LOOKING WITH REGRET
AT EVERY GRAVE

THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES
IN LIFE SHE SHOULD BE WARNED
I’M NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR
THIS CHILD BEING BORN

I’M NOT RESPONSIBLE
IN ANY KIND OF WAY
FOR EVERY CHILD THAT LIFE CAN GATHER

WHAT IS THIS LIFE
THERE WILL BE OTHER LIVES
SOON TO ARRIVE
SURELY SOME WILL SURVIVE

SHE IS BUT ONE
AND THERE ARE MANY MORE
COULD THIS ONE LIFE REALLY MATTER

WHO IS THIS CHILD
WHAT DOES SHE MEAN TO ME
I CLOSE MY EYES
AND STILL HER FACE I SEE
SHE IS BUT ONE
HER KIND IS EVERYWHERE
CAN’T YOU SEE THERE’S NO WAY I SHOULD CARE

CAN YOU SEE IT IN THE NIGHT
CAN YOU FEEL THAT IT’S OUT THERE
IT’S THE ARCING OF A LIFE
AND IT’S HANGING IN THE AIR

THOUGH I TRY TO CLOSE MY EYES
AND PRETEND THAT I DON’T KNOW
IN MY HEART
I JUST CAN’T LET IT GO

THERE HAS TO BE ANOTHER WAY FOR ME
A WAY THAT LEADS FROM THIS INSANITY
A WAY THAT LEADS FROM MY DESTRUCTION IN THIS WAY

CAN YOU SEE IT IN THE NIGHT
CAN YOU FEEL THAT IT’S OUT THERE
IT’S THE ARCING OF A LIFE
AND IT’S HANGING IN THE AIR

THOUGH I TRY TO CLOSE MY EYES
AND PRETEND THAT I DON’T KNOW
IN MY HEART
I JUST CAN’T LET IT GO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sVrVXbOiZ8

This song symbolizes the tendency in us all to look away rather than help solve a problem. There is needless suffering because of this human trait. How do we make a difference?  By doing little things with great love.

So true…yet so easy to forget.

What’s in a name?

So here we are…waiting on a few documents (our homestudy report and child abuse clearance form) before the mass notarizing process begins. Although I’m anxious about getting through all of this, the waiting is easier than expected.  Why?  Because we haven’t been matched yet.  Once that happens, this waiting-around becomes much more difficult.

As soon as we’re matched (and I hope it’s soon) CCAI  http://www.ccaifamily.org/ will call us to share our child’s medical history.  At that time we have the option to accept the proposed match, or wait for another alternative. It’s a good process since it enables the adoptive parents to make an educated decision rather than keeping it purely emotional. Obviously, there is no guarantee your kid will be an exact match, but gathering evidence is the best defense against future strife.  As much as I hate to say this, some kids don’t belong with certain families and vice versa.

During this waiting time, Reece and I continue to knock around names for Little Panda.  Here’s a short list of our favorites:

Whats-In-A-Name1Aliviababy girl

Madoline

Grace

Izzy

Zoey

Lu Lu

 

 

Okay the last three are my idea and have zero possibility of being Panda’s name but I still love em.  Alivia looks like the real deal but the rest are still contenders.  I’m sure once we meet our little one, her name will naturally fall into place.  Whatever we call her, Panda’s middle name will remain Chinese.  Since China is her birth place, Reece and I feel this will keep our youngest daughter close to her roots. 

Now that the dossier is in motion and there’s time to breathe, we are seriously brainstorming ways to fund this adoption.  Reece and I agree that asking for donations is difficult. Nobody was holding a gun to our head when we made the decision to adopt internationally.  As Theresa said, “Couples go through all sorts of expensive procedures (i.e. in vitro fertilization)  in order to have kids and you don’t see them asking for donations.”  So how do you ask friends, family and others to give their hard-earned money to such a cause?  There’s no easy answer here, but we both agree that whoever gives, should get something in return.

The question is what?  What would be a good thing for people to get back for helping Reece and I out with this adoption?  One idea came from this website: http://chromebuffalo.com/pages/how-it-works  Basically, Chrome Buffalo allows us (or anyone) to sell designer T-shirts with part of the proceeds going directly to the adoption.  Once in place, we will have eleven days to get as many sponsors as possible with each sold T-shirt providing eleven bucks towards our cause.  I think it’s a cool idea, especially since sponsors get something in return other than just gushy feelings. Since I’m writing this blog and have a Facebook account we figured, “why not reach out into cyberspace for help?”

Another idea we’re kicking around is using my birthday to help springboard donations.  Since I’m turning forty this year, why not bring Little P into the celebration? There’s a couple ways we could tackle this (simple party, silent auction, clown rodeo, etc.) Silent auctions are great, but for that to happen, we would need to find a lot of cool stuff to bid on. 

Nick LacheyDid I mention I know Nick Lachey?  No kidding.  The only problem is…I haven’t seen or talked to him in over thirty years. If I could somehow remind Nick of our friendship, then perhaps a silent auction would work.  Heck—one pair of his boxer-briefs alone would bankroll our fare to China!

Speaking of fundraising, one heart-warming donation occurred this week…

Our kiddos attend Immaculate Heart of Mary http://ihm-ky.org/ where fundraising is commonplace.  This week the entire school took part in Tag Day where kids can spend a day out of uniform for twenty-five cents.  All the money from Tag Day went straight  towards our adoption. 

How awesome is that?

 

 

Whenever I hear “this world is full of evil,” humans are parasites,” “people aren’t like they used to be,”  I’m reminded of things like Tag Day, and guess what?  All of those negative, miserable voices lose their power.  I believe that people are generally good.  Do you agree?  If not, take a look here: (Be patient—it takes awhile to load)

http://www.wlwt.com/news/local-news/cincinnati/Volunteers-distribute-86-000-Thanksgiving-meals/-/13549970/23137764/-/x465xr/-/index.html

Amazing what one group can do when joined by a common purpose!

We all have the ability to change lives. Some (like Gandi or Nelson Manela) change nations while others provide hope in the little things.

Nelson-Mandela

In my humble opinion (IMHO for those who text) the meaning of life is to use your gifts for the benefit of others.  Even one pair of undies can make a difference.

You getting this Nick?

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