Five years ago tonight was the last night my daughter had to sleep in a baby house with 90 other unclaimed souls - all under 5 years old. You can pretty it up all you want but the truth is, those 90 babies were orphans, living out a life sentence in a state run institution. And yes, they were feed and clothed and housed but they were still in prison....that's right - prison. Baby house is a nice term for orphanage and orphanage is a nice term for a children's prison. After all, these children can't just leave and must do what they are told without question or suffer the consequences, are feed whatever is put in front of them and won't get any more no matter how hungry they are, must wear whatever is sent to their room that day and never have anything that belongs only to them. And the longer they are in these institutions the better they learn their lesson. And they really only learn one lesson - that is to fight - fight for everything. Fight for the larger slice of bread (or take it from the weaker kid's plate sitting next to them,) the best toy (and I'm not talking about electronics or educational toys but blocks or stacking rings) or the warmest coat (passed from child to child year after year until you can't tell what color it was originally.) Sounds worse than any prison I've ever read about here in America. But prison is for adults who did something wrong, were found guilty in a court of law after having someone represent their case to a jury of their peers and can appeal their sentence or get out early for good behavior. The only thing good behavior will get you in an orphanage is the smaller piece of bread, the cot in the coldest corner of the room and when you are older.....abuse I don't even want to think about. All of this simply because these children where born...to parents that couldn't care for them or would have been turned out themselves or were not wanted for a million other excuses in a country that sees these orphans as blights on society. One parent was recently told by the judge while she was adopting a teenager that the boy she wanted "would not amount to anything and that he isn't a normal boy." So when they can finally leave when they turn 17, these orphans are literally put out on the streets with the used clothes on their backs. No social services waiting to give them a hand or hardship scholarship or any support system. Nothing. The boys can join the army but the girls....oh the girls really break my heart. And by the way, those 90 babies I had to leave behind in that institution 5 years ago where just 90 of the more than 147,000,000 orphans in this world today. Yes that is 147 million children, today, without a parent to care for them, fight for them as any parent would. So tonight on the eve of Lexie and my adoption day, I thank God for adoption - domestic, international, open, closed....however these children come to their forever families. I will always be grateful to God for His gift of adoption and especially my adoption of this amazing little soul I traveled around the world to find and cherish and nurture and love as my own because she is my own, now and forever....my sweet Lexie Lou.
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Five years ago almost to the minute I walked down a long, dark hallway into a very small, very crowed, extremely hot room to see the face of my baby girl for the first time. When she was placed in my arms she looked at me and I looked at her....and she burst into tears just like any other birth. Of course my pregnancy was over 12 months long, I had false labors (I had three other travel dates before I finally got on the plane) and 116 long hours of labor (from the time I boarded the plane to Kazakhstan until I saw her face.) And it was all worth it. Adoption is an amazing way God creates a family. Thank you God for walking with me on this wonderful path of life to my baby girl. Here she is - the tiny (only 16 lbs at 1 year, 1 week and 1 day) scared baby girl in pink I fell in love with 5 years ago today.
And here is Lexie today. Healthy, happy and she can light up a room with her smile. This child is loved by me and everyone she meets.
Happy "Born To Me" Day Lexie Lou!
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May 17th Lexie turned 6!! Her birthday was on Thursday so she had a nice little party at school and then another at home with Mom and me (more on that another time.) The big party was yesterday, Sunday May 20th and what a special celebration it was. Here's the birthday girl ready to leave for her party. Can you guess what kind it was?
Nope! No dance party for Lexie this year. As much fun as she had at her previous parties this year she went for a Fantasy Pony Party and it was truly magical. We had to keep the numbers down this year so there was only 15 kids:-) We started with rain (it was more upsetting to the adults then the kids but what are you going to do?) and face painting....
Can you guess what Lexie is?
Yup a peacock! It seems to be the creature of the year. I loved everything except the blue lips but Lexie loved it all!!
We also had a unicorn and a heart mask...
and Kelsey was lovely with the full on Unicorn mask.
Here's the Wilson girls looking smashing as a butterfly and a dragon. Now my personal favorite was...
the doggy! What's funny is the dog's expression changes as she talks or smiles. Too cute Olivia!!
While all this adorable faces where being painted on the real event was going on....the horse back riding. Yeah haa!
Lexie got the first ride . Yes she's under the helmet (with a crown naturally), face paint and coat!
Since there were 3 horse to ride all the kids took turns riding all the horses.
Adorable little Mathew and big bro Justin got into the swing of it too.
Luckily between rides Sir Mathew was there to save the day!
Prince Zachary wasn't far behind.
A prince and his 4 princesses waiting for their turns.
Olivia the pink cat was always on a horse!
And some of the moms even gave it a try.
Nice technique Michelle!
In between rain showers I got a few shots of pretty shots of Princess Peacock.
She was feeling so pretty and having a ball riding the horses.
But she looked pretty cute even ready for the rain.
After about an hour and a half it was time for the last ride so the tuckered out horses could hit the hay. Here are some of them waiting...what a colorful and well mannered group!
Here are some of my favorite princesses waiting for the next part of the event.
Then the whole crowd gathered around. A little wet but ready for the next adventure.
The fairy godmother read to them about the mini royal pony. On no, he's lost!!
They must go through the enchanted forest to find him so they can return him to the royal palace! Of course the birthday princess must lead the way.
Here band of trusty.....enchanted creatures will help her on this quest.
Oh look! Chest of treasures are found along the path. The smallest prince Andrew has found a hidden pot of gold!
Hark! I think they hear something. Could it be the missing mini royal pony?
Yeah, they found him!
The children lead the way back to the royal palace as Princess Lexie leads the sweet mini pony home.
They even go back down the musical path of magical bubbles.
Now for some much deserved pink tea at the top of the castle tower!
Naturally the tea was served in real china.
And of course you can't have a birthday party without cake.
Happy Birthday Lexie Lou! There were some happy faces around the table.
And some lovely tea drinkers!
Finally some presents and thank yous all around!
They were all so good and sweet!
Thanks to all her buddies who came to celebrate with her. And best of all....
Grandma was there!! Lexie loved having her and so did I. More on her visit in another post but for now
Happy Birthday my big 6 year old!!
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Anyone that knows me, knows that sports aren't my thing. So when the "opportunity" came along to take Lexie to a Mariners game with her school, I passed....twice. But then Lexie said "Mommy can we PLEASE go to the baseball game for Grandpa Jake?" Well of course the answer was yes. See Grandpa Jake is my decease grandfather, Lexie's Great Grandfather. A few months ago, Lexie had seen a picture of him with his simi-pro baseball team and asked about him. I told her how Grandpa Jake had played a game a few hours after he married Grandma Speed and how he'd hit a home run for her that day. Well naturally my very romantic daughter loved hearing that story and wanted to go to a game.
So that is how Lexie and I ended up joining a lot of her schoolmates, teachers and their families at the opening weekend of the Mariners game. Luckily I went with Angela and her three boys. Angela and I were of the same minds regarding the event. We had a game plan and it had nothing to do with baseball. Step 1 - don't rush to get there. Whenever all the kids were ready to go we'd head out. Honestly it's a miracle we left at all since her boys are 5 1/2, just turned 3 and 10 months old.
The beauty of our plan work because we drove up to the stadium with no traffic and found a FREE parking space just a few steps from the stadium. We both looked at each other and were almost afraid to pull in because it was too easy. Did I mention it was free? All the lots we had driven past were between $10 and $20 and a real hike too. Lucky us! So we pulled in, got out and loaded the kids stuff into her stroller along with baby Tyler. We walked the 20 feet to the steps and we were getting ready to take the baby back out so I could haul the stroller up to street level and these wonderful gentlemen walked up and offered to carry it up the stairs for us. We just laughed and said thanks. We were beginning to think it was our lucky day.
We got in the stadium and I have to say the staff went out of their way to make sure we had a good time and that everything was very easy for us. We were escorted through the VIP area to the elevator and stroller storage.
While there, they gave all the kids (including baby Tyler) a personalized certificate and baseball card in memory of their first game visit.
Then when we got to our seats we had barely sat down and the Mariners hit a home run with one man on base (do I sound like a real fan or what?) Go team!
It was a little colder than we'd hoped for but Tyler didn't seem to mind and the other kids didn't notice so it was all going as planned. Here's Mathew chatting up Lexie. Did I mention he has a little cruse on her? Too cute.
Step 2 - Relax until someone is unhappy or it rains or it's too boring - then go home. Step 2 was easier than we thought especially when we looked around and saw all kinds of delicious looking goodies. So a couple of innings later we head down to the amazing variety of food vendors.
Lexie and Mathew shared chocolate cover strawberries on a stick. You have to admire their choice. No hot dogs for our crew and this was way better for them....kinda. As we took the elevator back up, who do we run into but the Moose. How cool was that?
We didn't even have to go down to the field and stand in line. Sweet! Angela and I just laughed at this point. Of course we run into the moose (does he have a name?)
On our way back the kids talked me into some Dippin' Dots. Why not - right? That seems to be the real sport at the game - eating.
Then we headed back to our seats to watch some more baseball....naturally they hit another home run for us. Then what seemed like a few minutes later, they won the game and it was time to go home. And for all you Doubting Tomas' here is the final scoreboard.
See Dave. I told you we'd last more than 2 innings.
Of course, more nice men stop to help us get the storler down the steps and no traffic on the way home.
I am sure Grandpa Jake was paving the way for us to have a great day at the ballpark with the hopes of turning one of us into a fan. I wouldn't go that far but I can say
I didn't hate it!
Thanks for a fun afternoon Grandpa!!