Saturday, October 30, 2010

Red Thread

My learning journey has diverged.  It has a little to do with technology, some to do with reading and writing.  Mostly, it's about something that has changed my family's lives, my perspective, my writing and musings, celebrating the small moments, and making a difference.

I have big news...we will soon be a family of FIVE!!!  No, I'm not pregnant.  We are adopting an Eastern European princess.  She has chestnut hair, chocolate eyes, she turned 3 this month,  and is chromosomally enhanced.  She has Down syndrome and was most likely given up at birth because of her diagnosis.

On the last day of school  my RED THREAD journey began and would continue over the summer months until we committed to adoption the day before school began:)  Before I began writing our story, I found this quote:  "An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break." - Chinese proverb.  Then, I learned that it was a book, and immediately bought it as a keepsake for our journey.  I've used this book many times when I've been asked to speak about our story.  It's touching, the illustrations breathtaking, and every soul, young and old, can understand the message.  Even if you are not adopting, the Red Thread message is for all life experiences.  We are all connected some way, somehow.
 I've read  many books on adoption, orphans, and Down syndrome.  Mostly, my heart has been captivated by the community of bloggers advocating, celebrating, and sharing their world through a different "lens" than you or I.  Because so many stepped out of their comfort zone to write, other lives are being changed.  More and more are learning about Down syndrome and stepping out in faith to adopt a special needs child.   This network has reached out to us across the globe.  Once the beginning of our story was written, we've received an outpouring of thoughts, kind words, promises of conversations to come, and the knowledge that all we need to do is send out an SOS email, and we'll have a plethora of responses.  So much love, so much joy, so much celebration!!

I've learned more about Facebook, but needed to stop Twitter.  My focus has mostly been writing our story on our family blog, continually tracking down important papers, and preparing our home for our new arrival, all the while continuing with my "school" work.  We've been busy, blessed, and these last two months have gone by in a blur. 

We are all on learning journeys.  Some continue on a straight path. Some diverge.  Some take on a whole different journey.  Our mission is to  travel a path, one foot in front of the other, going forward.  We all have the need to learn something.

Our threads may stretch, tangle, weave, but they will never, ever break.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Broken Shells

My time to read is limited, so I grab non-fiction books as my genre of choice during the school year.  I picked up at copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Children with Special Needs at the library and have enjoyed reading some short excerpts through the family's lenses about their children.

    A mother and her 4-year old were collecting shells one summer at the beach.  She was meticulously searching out whole, complete shells to place in her bucket, while her son was picking up many broken ones so his bucket was starting to fill up.  When she looked in the bucket, all she saw were bits, pieces, and fragments of broken shells.    She stopped him and said, "Will, all your shells are broken and no good.  You need to find shells like this," and showed him a complete, whole shell.  Will looked, but continue to pick up one broken shell after another. 

    She stopped him again, with a frustrated tone in her voice.  "Why are you picking up shells that are broken?"  Will replied the only, honest way he could, "Mom, there are way more broken ones on the beach than perfect ones.  We'll fill up our bucket faster with the broken shells."  His mom thought, Okay but who wants a bucket of broken shells?  "Mom, these shells are broken, but they are still beautiful," and proceeded to point out something beautiful on each broken shell in his bucket.  His mother was taught the most valuable lesson that sunny, afternoon.

    We are all broken in some way, but possess beauty and uniqueness beyond belief.  If we take time to look closely at the broken shells, we can see beauty in their imperfections. 
    Debbie Jaskot

Monday, October 11, 2010

Writing In The Outdoors

During an informal conversation with a parent, I learned that she and her friend began a writing workshop event for kids 2-5th grade at her farm on the weekends.  Off the fly, I asked her if she'd like to come and do a mini-workshop for our class before the cold, long, dark winter!!:(  Of course, she said.  So, we worked out logistics, what was needed, and we anticipated for the day.  (So thankful it was today and not last weekend, when we got a taste of the winter to come!!)

We made nature journals and fabulatized them, had conversations of descriptive words and adjectives, and finally today was the day.  I was so thankful for the 80 degree weather!!:)  The ladies created 9 different stations outside to use our senses when we thought about fictional and personal narratives.  The kids had soooo much fun.  There was sand and shells, tasting table, caterpillars, mud pies, woods and many opportunities to explore, write, and sketch.

After exploring, we all found a spot on the grass and wrote.  We wrote poems, thoughts, feelings...the point is we wrote.  Then, we explored, and we wrote.   What a fabulous day!!!  They offered to come back and create another day in winter.  What a blessing to have parents willing to share their passions.  
We are all one with nature!!  

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I have a Voice...

My family walked in our first Buddy Walk, promoting acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.  Throughout the walk around Crew Stadium, this gallery was played on the big screen.  We all have a voice...Celebrating Down syndrome Awareness Month!!!