Tag Archives: Family Life

Famous people who were adopted

November 19, 2012


Licensed under Creative Commons by Paul Stein

When it is the birthday of my friends and family members who are adopted, I make sure to tell them, “I’m so glad you were born!” Not every child is given the chance to live. Thankfully, some women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy do allow their babies to exist in God’s creation.  Perhaps they have turned their backs on abortion. Maybe they made an unselfish decision years later, that their child would fare better if placed with other parents through adoption. And how glorious it is when couples open their homes to children in need of a family.

Imagine the babies who were not allowed to live. Imagine all the little ones, across the world, awaiting a new home. (Click here for information on international adoption.)

My friend Tina and her husband Dave adopted a 9-year-old from Ethiopia two years ago. Eli has blessed them in numerous ways, and they have been a blessing to him. Below is a humerous conversation they had about Thanksgiving, which is a new experience for him:

Tina: Sadly, the longer Eli is with us, the less I will have these conversations…but it’s not over yet!

Eli: So is beef made from turkey?
Tina: What? (chuckling) No honey, beef is from cows.
Eli: Why do they call it beef turkey then?
Tina: It’s beef JERKY, not turkey! (ok I had to laugh)

November is the month to celebrate the gift of adoption. Did you know the people in this video were adopted?

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Irish Photographer Captures Images of Down Syndrome

March 8, 2012

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Photo by Richard Bailey

When Irish photographer, Richard Bailey, had a daughter born with Down syndrome, he started to research. He discovered that the images available to people were misleading and negative. He wanted to show the lovely side of family life for those with Downs. He states, “They can do all sorts of things if they have the proper support.”

His goal was to create hope and showcase the individual—not the condition. And he did this through his traveling exhibition. Get a taste of his work by viewing this video:

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13 Reasons to have a Large Family

February 26, 2012


“Lo, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth.

Licensed under Creative Commons

Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” (Ps 126:3-5)

Today I wanted to speak to couples who are preparing for marriage and to those who are of child-bearing age:

Have babies. Have lots of babies! Why not be open to the gift of many children and really embrace life to its fullest? Our God is an awesome family planner. Let Him work His miracles–again, again and again.

Sure, it requires enormous sacrifice, but it’s the very best investment you can make. Of course it is costly to raise a large brood, and I don’t mean to understate that fact. It demands a high price in financial, emotional and sweat equity. But as my parents-in-law are fond of stating, “It all works itself out.” They sent seven kids through Catholic schools all the way through Notre Dame and St. Mary’s Notre Dame, and they were able to make ends meet. Each holiday, I witness my father-in-law get teary-eyed when he counts his blessings during Grace. With 41 grandkids and a handful of great-grandchildren, my in-laws are literally surrounded by family, and for this they are truly grateful.

My grandmother also raised seven kids (on a very thin income), and when she was in her 90s she had more visitors than anyone else in the nursing home.  On one of our visits she was laughing because, “All those people who used to tell me how CRAZY I was to have all those babies are now telling me how LUCKY I am!”

But in today’s society?  Even Pope Benedict XVI recognizes that it’s a timeless truth being played out on a different playing field.  He recently said, “Without children there is no future. Families are a witness to faith, courage and optimism when they welcome many children even amid today’s social environment.”  (Remarks directed towards members of the Italian National Association of Large Families on Feb. 15.)

Now, of course there are some couples that are not able to conceive, and there are couples who are blessed with one, two or three bundles of joy, but cannot have more. Perhaps they are being called to build their family through the miracle of adoption. I know people who have  built their families through the gift of a local adoption, or by using an agency from Ethiopia and the Ukraine. Sibling groups in these countries are waiting for a new home.

My husband and I have a ‘quiver full.’ Nine children to be exact. Almost daily we reflect on how happy we are to have a large family. My spouse, like his father, will get emotional talking about how great it is having not only a whole clan of kids, but also a pair of “cabooses” at the end to keep us young. (When I was almost 43 we had twins–eight years behind their seven siblings.) My husband recently told me, “I do not regret having a big family–it’s what I cherish! Sure, we will have to live with old carpet…but it’s all worth it!” We compiled the following list of why the sacrifice was worthwhile:

13 reasons to have a large family

  • You are giving your children the single dearest gift a parent can provide:  SIBLINGS — and only siblings can teach a child early on to identify his/her strengths and weaknesses
  • Members of a large family help eachother learn to be greater. It builds leadership qualities in the siblings
  • A little chaos is good for everybody–it builds character
  • No time for worldly temptations that come between husband and wife
  • All family members in a big clan really appreciate the quiet time they have, even if it comes in minutes (You wont catch me complaining about a delay at the airport–I just get my book out!)
  • In years to come, family crises will be tackled by a whole team, (ask an only child who has to find living arrangements for elderly parents) and family joys will be multiplied.
  • It helps the marriage–couples learn to appreciate the simple things (where happiness dwells)
  • Large families are admired–especially if the kids turned out well!
  • Kids who grow up in big families learn at a young age the art of negotiating for scarce resources
  • Children who come from large families will not be perfect, but they are almost guaranteed not to be spoiled – self-centeredness will be suffocated
  • You will never run out of humorous stories or priceless artwork. The children will never run out of fodder for their speeches and essays
  • After you’ve spent the best years of your life watching band concerts, football games, swim meets, school plays and dance recitals, you can spend your golden years watching more of the same.
  • Empty Nest Syndrome? What the heck is that?

(Thanks again to my mom, Cecelia Mac Donald, for her editing skills!)

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It’s 3:00 AM and you’re wide awake–is God calling you to pray?

January 30, 2012

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Years ago, when Bishop Lee Piche was the pastor at St. Joseph’s in West St. Paul, he gave a homily that I think about often: “When you lie awake at night it could be that God is calling you to pray.”

It's 3:00 AM...Is God calling you to pray?

Used with permission from marysaggies.blogspot.com

Parents always have a lot on their minds when it comes to their children. I picture Mary’s tender heart which was pierced seven times according to Simeon’s prophecy. I’m sure she spent a lot of sleepless nights in prayer. Thankfully, I have not experienced the same sorrows that the Blessed Mother has; not many of us will, but we still have a myriad of concerns for our children.

As a mother of nine, I have said many prayers when the moon is up…and so were our babies. Our youngest are twins, and they will turn three soon. Unfortunately, they don’t know what the word SLEEP means. By eight weeks all of our other babies slept through the night, but since our identical boys were born, they get up anywhere from 1-12 times most nights. I’m praying on overdrive these years! Sometimes I begin with the best intentions, the people closest to my heart, but often I find myself in the middle of the night saying (Er…begging!) “Please God, don’t let the twins wake up screaming…please, please, please!” And mercifully, a few times my prayers were answered, and then each twin was rewarded with a chocolate from an Advent calendar. (Okay, I’ll admit, I resort to bribery some days.)

On the nights when I find myself awake with the coyotes and owls, and I’m not so desperate, I  remember to pray for the needs outside my family and loved ones. Namely, I pray that we all feel called to build a culture of life by using our God-given talents. My New Year’s resolution is to pray more often for this–day and night. And yes…I’m still going to pray that the twins sleep until their night light changes from the moon to the sun.

As people who embrace life, we have a lot for which to pray:

  • For an end to the courge of abortion as we usher in the 40th year of Roe V. Wade
  • That mothers choose life for their unborn and find the help and support they need
  • For those who are at death’s door–that St. Joseph guide them toward a peaceful death
  • That the sick will be comforted, and that those who take care of them will have the help, strength, faith and perseverance needed
  • That traditional marriage will be upheld
  • That our country will be protected, and for the military men and women who defend our freedom
  • For those who wear a badge and risk their lives for our safety
  • That respect for all human life will increase
  • That all children–before and after birth–will be protected and loved
  • That those with disabilities–including the pre-born–will be shown respect
  • That those who work in the medical and legislative fields will be guided by the Holy Spirit

We must also remember our prayers of thanksgiving for:

  • A surge of youth who are  determined to turn the tide
  • Clergy who speak beautifully about building a culture of life
  • Pregnancy help centers which assist mothers and babies in need–sidewalk counselors who save lives–Safe Place for Newborns
  • Hospice caregivers and medical staff who lovingly work with families at the end of life
  • People with disabilities or illnesses, and their families and caretakers, who teach us about the beauty of life by their example
  • Birthmothers who choose life and make a selfless decision to place the child for adoption
  • Adoptive families and the agencies who assist them

Readers: If you think of any other prayers to add to the list, please write them in the comments box. Thank you!

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