I like to believe that I am in some small way an activist for the Sudanese people, and the people of Darfur. I try to educate people of the genocide going on there, of the terrible living conditions the refugees must face to try as they might to protect their families, and of the fear in which the people live and why.
I also speak out against the diamond trade and I advocate for the victims of that trade. I tell people of the atrocities taking place each day so that rich Americans can have diamond rings and other jewelry. I don't wear ANY kind of fake diamonds...on necklaces, earrings, bracelets, headbands, etc. because I don't want to perpetuate the idea that diamonds are desired, that they are beautiful. It sickens me to see people wearing them. It sickens me that people use another peron's death or pain or fear or suffering to show their love in a wedding ring. There is nothing okay about wearing a diamond, real or fake. Wearing one advertises to the world that you are okay with hurting other people so you can look pretty.
I have recently learned of the holocaust in the Congo. I am trying to educate myself further about what is happening there. It sickens me that people are using rape as a weapon of war. I don't know much about what is going on in the Congo, but I will learn more.
These are things about which I feel very strongly. I want to let others know of the horrible things taking place in Africa, because I don't think many people know at all! I didn't for a LONG time, and look now, I didn't even know about what was going on in the Congo! I just wanted to blog about these things to put it out there...to give a voice to the voiceless, to speak out for those who have no way to speak for themselves.
There are horrible things going on all over the world, even right here in the US. I don't want to be on a soap-box here, but I was thinking a good idea would be for everyone (myself mostly!) to think of one thing happening in the world that they don't think is fair or just or right, and learn more about it. Even if you can't DO anything about it, being educated is half the battle, I think. KNOWING about it at least shows you CARE. Also, if you know about something, you can better advocate for those victims.
I think it would be amazing if everyone reading this blog posted something they feel strongly about! I, as well as everyone else, could learn about what YOU feel strongly about. Maybe my list of things for which I advocate would grow! I would LOVE that!!!!!
We have not heard back from the Utah Foster Care office. I am sad about this because it indicates they do NOT, in fact, have a programme for fostering a child just for Christmas. I was so looking forward to doing this service for a child in foster care. My heart aches for those children.
So I wanted to be sure and let everyone know about an exhibit coming to The Utah Museum of Fine Arts! This exhibit will explore the traditions of Kente cloth, woven in Ghana. This cloth is a symbol of African pride, culture and identity. It will be on display from December 16-January 4. I am SO excited to see this exhibit!! I know there is a FREE MUSEUM DAY on Saturday, November 20, and that day at 2:00 there is a free craft project, I think. Anyway, on DECEMBER 27 there is a KWANZAA CELEBRATION from 12:00 (noon)-4:00. The celebration is FREE, but a canned food donation is appreciated. Also, I am not sure if regular admission into the museum applies, but then the celebration itself is free, or if it is all free.
ADMISSION: **University of Utah students are FREE
**Children under the age of three are FREE
6-18 is only three dollars
18 and over is only five dollars
I woke up and could not go back to sleep. I am thinking so much about what I am supposed to do to serve others. I know I must sound CRAZY...
I found online this AMAZING group of people doing wonderful things to help others. Check out theworldrace.org. I feel inspired to do more. The small things I want to do to help others are are so...small...there is SO MUCH MORE to be done. Children to hold. Widows to touch. Men, broken and tired, to uplift. Tears to wipe away. Prayers to offer. I want to jump up and go NOW, although to where I don't know! I am excited and anxious to get to Ghana and serve the children at Lucky Hill. I feel there is all this compassion boiling inside of me, pushing to be let out.
I believe the more service one does, the more one desires to serve. I hope and pray our journy to Africa will give my son the desire to serve. I pray that, despite his young age, we will be able to serve side by side. That his innocence and youth will touch the hearts of the adults I wish to serve, and that his pure spirit and happiness will reach out to the children whose pure spirits may better understand him than they may me. I pray that because of his youth he will be able to bless those with whom we come in contact, perhaps better than I. I pray that for the time we are in Africa he will be wise and mature beyond his years. I believe God works through children, and I pray that God will work though him. Taiger has only been away from Heaven for three short years. Many of those we are going to serve have also just recently come from the realms of Heaven. They are all so pure. I am so blessed to be able to be with Taiger every day and feel of his strong spirit. I am so thankful he will be with me on this journy to Africa. I am sure he will be able to serve better than I. I am sure he will be more open to the promptings of The Spirit, although I pray I will also be able to feel the Holy Ghost and be led in our service in Africa.
So, my Mom had a wonderful idea! Tonight, just as I was dozing off, she came into my room and told me that she had heard on the news something about helping a child in foster care during Christmas. I looked it up, and it wasn't what she thought. However, she said she had heard of families hosting a foster child over Christmas, and she thought our family should do that! She said it was my "job" to find out more information and see how we could go about doing that. I was suddenly wide awake and googling away on my computer, looking for information. It took some time to find the right thing, but I think I got some phone numbers to call tomorrow and get more information. I think if the numbers I found prove to be of no help, I will just call the Department of Child Services (is that what they are called? I don't know, but you know what I mean) and just ask them if they have such a program. I told my Mom, if Utah does not have a program for that, I will start one!!
Anyway, I will keep you posted. I will be sure and post the information I find so others reading this blog can have the information readily available if they wish to host a child as well. (And so others searching for that information online can find it more easily than I did!)
NOTE: I DID find quite a bit of information on hosting Russian/Ukrainian orphans, not necessarily over Christmas. A GREAT experience, I am sure, but not quite what I was looking for. Anyway, if anyone is interested in doing that, there is a lot of information on it if you just google something like "host an orphan". You KNOW if I had my own house, I would do that in a heartbeat!!!! :) Of course, then I would not want to "send back" the child I hosted and I would "HAVE" to adopt a little Russian child.... :). Along that same line, I have heard of hosting international orphans coming to America for medical treatments. That would be another "fun"/rewarding experience!!
My goal is to have this blog show up when someone is searching online for ways to help orphans in China or Africa, or to learn more about someone else who is trying to help orphaned or exploited children. Unfortunately, when I search google, my own blog doesn't show up! My OTHER blog does (manygrandadventures.blogspot.com), but not this one...huh.
Anyway, I am going to see if using some key words in this text will make it show up on google. Here is a list of words that I hope if someone types in on google will bring them here.
Luckyhill orphan home
Lucky Hill orphan home
Volunteer in Africa
Volunteer in China
Orphans in Africa
Orphans in Ghana
Orphans in China
Orphans in JingMen
Sixteen Small Stones Orphan Home
For some time I have wanted to blog about Nebraska's "Safe Haven" law, but I have not known exactly what to say. Today, my Mom needed to take my sister back to Idaho and offered for Taiger to ride along. He loves car rides, and I was thankful for a break. So, I find myself with some free time to blog and the Safe Haven topic is nagging at me. I must first apologize, because my thoughts are all over the place with this! This blog, I am sure, will be scattered and very LONG!
First of all, I was so thrilled when Nebraska's "Safe Haven" law took effect! That a child of any age could be "dropped off" (that sounds so harsh!) seemed a good thing to me! It broke my heart to hear of the children from all over America being brought to the hospitals in Nebraska. However, I was so grateful that those parents had a place to bring their children. I also felt so proud of and grateful for those parents who travelled so far to abandon their children in a safe place rather than just turn them out on the streets, leave them somewhere unsafe or harm their children. I think of the older children who were brought to Nebraska. My heart goes out to them as they deal with the many issues and hurt of abandonment, but I am so thankful that their parents chose to give them safety and life rather than abusing or even killing them. If their parents did not have the tools to love or care for their children, I am so thankful that they were brave enough to do what was right for their child.
With that all said, I was shocked, angry and hurt when I heard that Nebraska had changed the Safe Haven law to only cover infants younger than one month old. What will happen to the older children? Changing the law doesn't make their parents care for them better. Changing the law has only condemned many older children to a life of misery, either as abused children or homeless children. Parents of older children who wish to no longer parent their children will not, because of the changed law, suddenly say, "Oh, okay. Never mind. I was going to take you to Nebraska, but the law has changed, so hey! Let's be a happy family! I decided that since the law has changed I will take care of you and love you again." Certainly not. Now, those parents have no way "out". It is a sad, sad thing that parents, for whatever reason, feel compelled to abandon their children, but changing the law does not change their feelings. Rather, it traps them and takes away the option of doing what is best for their child.
I would like to take a moment to say something about parents who have abandoned their children, or wish to do so. I do not judge them at all. My heart goes out to them, and I am thankful to them for doing what is best for their child(ren). My sister is adopted from China. Her mother abandoned her when she was three days old. I have every confidence that her biological mother loved her very, very much. I believe her mother abandoned her because that was what she felt was best for her baby. I believe she wonders if her daughter is safe, happy and well. I wish there were some way to contact her and tell her what a beautiful and wonderful young woman her daughter has become. I wish I could thank her for doing what was best for her baby, and thank her for the sister with whom I have been blessed because of her selfless sacrifice.
I also have a sister with Reactive Attachment Disorder. If anyone reading this blog also has a sibling or child with RAD, you probably have a flood of emotions when I speak of my sister with RAD. We all love my sister so much! However, she has been very, very difficult to live with. Fortunately for all of us, we have parents who are patient and kind and loving. They have truly been blessed with the ability to raise my sister with RAD. For many, many years they did not know what was "wrong" with her, and had to simply guess at how to raise her. It was only when looking into adoption that they learned of Reactive Attachment Disorder and my sister was diagnosed with RAD. In the years prior to her diagnosis, I have no doubt that there were times when my parents wondered if they were "good" parents because of their inability to parent my sister with RAD. I would not be shocked if someday I found out that they even considered putting her up for adoption because they didn't feel they were doing what was right for her. I think of other parents who have children with RAD. If they have not learned about Reactive Attachment Disorder, I believe many parents with RAD children would indeed consider either a behavioral center or adoption for their child. Either that, or their child with RAD may fall victim to child abuse.
I wonder if some of the older children brought to Nebraska were RAD children.
Anyway, now that I have expressed my feelings about the Safe Haven law and its changed restrictions I would like to say something that has been weighing on my mind.
I plan to work with orphans in Africa. I plan to open an orphanage in China. Yet, I still wonder about the abandoned children here in America. I wonder about opening an orphanage here in America. I don't know ANYTHING about orphanages in America!! Until recently, I didn't think America still HAD orphanages! I though orphaned children were placed in foster care. Anyway, with the changing of Nebraska's Safe Haven law, my thoughts have turned more strongly to America's children. What will happen to those older children whose parent's "can't" abandon them? Could I open a home where their parents could "abandon" them safely and without question? Who could I talk to about this? How would I go about opening an orphanage in America, and would I only be able to take in children from the foster care system? Or could I have my OWN "Safe Haven" where I could take children of any age being initially abandoned?
It is something to think about...and, more importantly, to PRAY about.
If anybody reading this blog has any thoughts or insights, please share!!
I am sacrificing a lot to go to Africa this summer. Some members of my family are really having a difficult time accepting the idea of my son and I both leaving. Some people are really hurt that I would leave them to go to Africa, others are just sad and are going to miss us terribly. I understand their feelings completely, and I do feel sad that we are leaving. At the same time, I know this is where God wants us, and I am at peace with our plan to go to Africa this summer.
As I go throughout the day and live my life, I sometimes have "moments" with my son where I wonder, "Can I do this alone with a three year old child?" My son is a wonderful little boy, well behaved and very mature. His language skills are amazing, and he acts older and smarter than other children his age. However, he does not act 21, and traveling with any child can be rather difficult. Being that he only turned three on Sunday, he still has tendencies towards the "Terrible Twos", which means once in a while he gets moody, pout, and may even through a bit of a tantrum. Now, I know these emotional displays are very normal, and I can see that he gets this way because he does not have the vocabulary to express what he wants or needs. However, I also know that when he tantrums, I sometimes feel like I want to lay on the ground beside him and kick and scream right along with him!
From reading books on parenting, and from my own experience (my Mom and I used to run a daycare and preschool at our home, I have taught English in China, I volunteered with children at a child abuse prevention center...the list goes on!) I know there are certain things that can be done to help alleviate the frustrations in a child that lead to tantrums or whining. I have taught my son sign language to use to express himself, as well as Chinese, so he can have the tools to communicate his wants and needs. Another thing I have done in the past that helps a LOT, but I have not done lately because of my erratic work and school schedule, is to have a daily schedule for your child. I know, I really, really KNOW that having my child on a schedule was the best thing I could have done for his whining and pouting. When he was on a good schedule, he knew what to expect each day, he could predict his day. This gave him a sense of control as well as the assurance that his needs would be met each day.
So, I KNOW my son and I must go to Africa this summer. I also know that we must NOT be
"crazy" while we are there! So, I have a few things that must be accomplished before we leave for Africa:
1.) Taiger must be on a schedule (even if it changes when we get there, at least he will be used to a schedule and will trust the new one we live by in Africa).
2.) Taiger must have his tantrums and pouting under control. (Although I said "Taiger must...", because I know it is something only he can control in the end, I realize that it will be my responsibility to provide him with the tools to accomplish this goal. Although it is a goal for Taiger in writing, it is a goal for ME in practice!)
3.) The binkie needs to only be used at bedtime and nap time. Although him having a binkie doesn't bother me a whit, having him lose it so often during the day, having to go look for it, him worrying where it is, him worrying that it has a hole in it...this is all more trouble than it is worth! Here in America, I can just run to the store and grab a new one if the old one is lost or has a hole in it. In Africa, I won't be able to do that, so he must leave it home by his bed while we are out so it is still nice and is not lost by the time it is bedtime, which is when he REALLY needs it!
4.) I must be financially able to go. This one is rather self explanatory.
I am so glad you found my blog! I started this blog to post about the work my son and I will be doing in Ghana, Africa, and, later, in JingMen, China. I wanted to write all about Small Stones in my profile but, needless to say, there just wasn't room! So, thank you for reading this post so you can know all about Small Stones.
I am currently working towards gaining status as a "Non-Profit Organization." This summer, my son and I will be moving to Ghana, Africa to volunteer at the school and orphan home, Luckyhill. PLEASE visit their website at luckyhillorphanage.org. In the future, my son and I plan to open an orphanage in JingMen, China, where I lived for a year.
The name Sixteen Small Stones comes from a book of scripture read and followed by those of the Latter Day Saint faith...MY RELIGION! The book is called The Book of Mormon. In this book, there is a story of a man who is commanded by God to bring a group of people across a great sea. God tells the man how to build vessels that will be water tight. However, once they are built, the man realizes the vessels are also void of light. The man climbs to the top of a mountain and, “…did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones…” The man brings these stones before God. He tells God that he knows that if God would touch the stones they would, “…shine forth in darkness…”, and the man could put them in the boats to light them. God touches the stones and they produce light.
I would recommend this story to EVERYONE! It is a testament of the power of God, and the power of humility and faith. When I first felt called to build an orphan home in China, I didn't know how I would do it! It seemed so impossible. However, I remembered this story, and that the man had followed God's command and had come to God with nothing more than sixteen stones and all of his faith. God touched the stones and they produced light. I bring all I have and all of my faith to God. I know if it is God's will, I will build an orphan home in China. In the meantime, through much prayer, I have felt called to serve at Lucky Hill in Ghana, Africa. I don't know why, but I don't need to know. God has asked me to go, so I will go.
I hope that you will check back and follow the progress of Small Stones! If you want to leave any suggestions or comments, please do! I would love to hear them! THANKS AGAIN!