Wednesday, November 12, 2008

changes in landscape

ryan came into paige's life (well, mine too) when she was 3. we married when she was 4...she would ask, 'is my friend ryan coming to play tonight?'...when we got engaged, she said, 'i wanted to marry him, but i think it's okay that you do. i'll just marry papa.'

so that's the story for p...and you can see that love has been there for quite a while...

and there's a few more with us these days...

next came the b-ster...

(and the b-ster now...)

then along came little jk...

(and then there's now...)

finally, little miss was added (not so long ago)...

(and now...)

so you can see why ryan is the THORN among the roses...
(ok...i noticed that since #1 has been a teen, we have tons of fam pics and tons of single pics of her, but only a few with just r or me. i know this is part of the teen thing, but i am giong to make it a mission to get more pics of her alone with us...don't tell her!)

so there are a lot more of us in this fam...the other girls have come and gone, but they forever are part of the clan here.
brit, b's bmom and krystal, added; sofie is in my jelly belly

and before that...this is how the landscape looked (almost)
(marissa, our foster daughter is with us...and kayla, one of our high school students we adore and take on vacation with us)

and before that, there was erika...and the landscape changed again...

so for what it's worth...landscape changes are just fine around these parts. there are many more than i listed here...we have fostered 11 kiddos to date, this is only 3 of them. and well, we define family and "daddy's girls" as those who daddy gives his ears to listen, his heart to love, his eyes to watch and adore...and his bear hug arms to, well, bear hug.

"ohana" is what it's called in hawaii...
ʻohana means family in an extended sense of the term including blood-related, adoptive or intentional. It emphasizes that family and friends are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another.

so remember, family isn't defined by blood...it's defined by those you do life with...and being an adoptive and foster family has just broadened that "family" for us. learn more about fostering a child here.

some very staggering stats to consider...
here are the states with the most children in foster care...
you can make a difference in a child's life:

Ranking

State

# of Children

% of US Foster Children

1

California

107,168

20%

2

New York

43,365

8%

3

Florida

32,477

6%

4

Illinois

28,460

5%

5

Ohio

21,584

4%

6

Pennsylanvia

21,237

4%

7

Michigan

20,896

4%

8

Texas

19,739

4%

Totals

294,926

55%

102 comments:

Simply AnonyMom said...

What a beautiful family. Beautifully written post. Scary statistics though.

Live.Love.Eat said...

I love that - family is who you do life with. Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

hippos toes said...

Very touching. You have a lovely family :) Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my blog today :)

Lindsay said...

I love love love this post! Your family - whoever it includes - is absolutely beautiful.

Oh - and you will have some bloggy luv over at my place, tomorrow. :-)

Jaime said...

Ohana. I love that! You have a beautiful family.

Kameron said...

Wow, I never realized it was so many. I am from california and never knew of the staggerig numbers they have there! I would love to foster in a few years. I will have to look into what I would need to do!

sassy stephanie said...

I've told my hubby since before we married that I feel as though later in life we would be foster parents. Such a blessing.

Sarah said...

Those are some stats.....thanks for sharing your fam.

BoufMom9 said...

Holy cow! Those stats are incredible! Just amazing! I had no idea how many kids were in foster care in just california alone! Very sad!
Beautiful pictures of you family through the years :)

Lori of I'm no super Mom said...

I love all the pics! What a blessing your family is being able to foster children!

Kacey R. said...

I love this post and all of the proud Papa moments. Your family is so beautiful, and I know it will be even if the landscape changes again. I can't believe those statistics.

Meredith said...

Beautiful family... love love love the picture on the beach. I'm loving learning about your family and getting to know you through blogland... thanks so much for all your encouraging words and "been there, done that's!"

Nina said...

Your family is beautiful. Those numbers are so sad to see. How anyone couldn't not want or love any child is beyond me.

Visiting from SITS, your name was above mine on roll call.

Discursivelyhappy said...

What a beautiful family you have. I loved all the pics and the story was very touching.

Susie Harris said...

What a beautiful family you have!!! You are blessed my lady!

Abby said...

What an awesome post. You Rock! I love that you share the beauty that is adoption. We have very similar family story beginnings! We have not ventured the road of foster care though bless you for changing the lives of so many for the better!

Kel said...

So very true...
You have a beautiful family - in every sense of the word!
~K

Tracy said...

you are such an amazing advocate for adoption & foster families - my husband are have talked about it - praying about it - some days I can barely think about taking care of my 5 . . . all in God's time, eh?
thanks for keeping this so in my face - in a wonderful way - I need that.
GREAT pics.
blessings.

Michelle said...

You all are an awesome family! :)

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

Love the photos - that poor thorn!!

we have talked about fostering - but I'm not sure if I am ready . . . I would be crying and my heart would break everyday!

angie said...

I love that even though the "landscape" changes, your family is still a distinct unit that loves one another and all the children that it nurtures. The stats chart is an eye opener too. Great shots of your hubby with the kids.

Megan said...

What a sweet family you have!! Beautiful!

Jen said...

what a beautiful thing that you guys do, it sure makes a for a beautiful family. you are amazing people.

Rachel said...

its nice to know that in a world of scary things, there are nice people like your family, making us believe in the compassion that mankind is capable of.

Carrie said...

What a great post! I love your family and think I should be your next foster child, okay??

It was especially fun seeing your hubby practically as a teenager! He's so young in that first picture!

Octamom said...

So sweet--what an awesome man, fathering and mentoring all those precious girls!

Blessings!

Meaghan said...

love the thorn!!!! what an awesome blog post!!! can't wait for the new design! i bought something else for the lil roses for xmas today ;-)

Liz said...

What a beautiful post....and a beautiful family!!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

So sweet! Family is what you make it.

The Farmer Files said...

Yes! Ohana is very much a way of life here!

April said...

You have such a beautiful family...you must be so proud of all of them! God Bless You for opening your hearts and your home to children who need someone to love. What a great thing...you're an ispiration to us all!!

Robyn said...

Landscapes do change. This time last year we were a simple family of 3, and now...we are a family of 6! (2 adopted from birth and one foster hope to adopt in the spring) My teenager has slipped out of so many photos. I was afraid she felt overwhelmed by the additions, but it is nice to know that it could be her age as well.

Casey's trio said...

What a wonderful post. It is so admirable that you open your hearts and home to children who need love and a home.

Michelle said...

Your family sure has grown and changed through the years - and what a beautiful family it is!

randalswife said...

What a beautiful and loving family! You are a great example!

Leah said...

What a great family you have!

peeking in from SITS

jori-o said...

Wow. You're family is awesome! I want to be like you when I grow up!! =)

Karen said...

I love the idea of ohana, I've never heard the word before but I've been doing life that way for years! What a beautiful post, great pictures.

Creative Junkie said...

I love this post - what a great way to start a Monday. You have a beautiful family!

Shelley said...

I just stumbled over here from somewhere, and I love your family and post. Hope you don't mind if I'll be back.

Mandy said...

What a wonderful thing to do! Wow. You are blessed and have blessed so many others. Have a great FB day!!

HeatherY said...

Such a great post! It's great to see your family's changes and what a beautiful family it is!

Columbia Lily said...

wow, so cool. if my students had more people like you in my life, things would run a lot smoother for them.

Cammie said...

what a beautiful ohana you have!

Jamie said...

You have a very beautiful family! Thank you for sharing them with us!

kalea_kane said...

What a wonderful blessing! You are certainly bringing "family" to many.

Blessings

Kelly

Melodie said...

Wow! I have three girls, and would love to have another one. Have you only fostered girls? If so, was that a special request you made, or did you just luck out that way?

Whitney said...

How wonderful! I went a litle backwards, so this is the 3rd post of yours that I have read. You and your husband have such big hearts! How simply wonderful!!

Tori said...

What a fantastic family! My boyfriend's family does foster care and they just adopted a boy they've been fighting for for four years. It was emotional and soooo good.

Beautiful blog!!

jsprik said...

love the "charlie brown" music!!! you have a great-looking family!! it takes a lot of love and patience to do what you guys do!!!God Bless!!

Brandy said...

Love the pictures! What a loving family you guys are!

thrilled by the thought said...

What a sweet post- and a lovely family. Your heart must be so full!

Ronnica said...

That's neat that you open your family up to those who need family. I want to be a foster parent one day!

Vickie said...

What a beautiful post. I think that is great you open up your family for other children.

You have such a wonderful family.

KC Mom said...

You are such an inspiration! Your family is beautiful! Love your blog.

Oh2122 said...

That was beautiful.

Family is what you make it, and yours is wonderful!

Connie Weiss said...

Such a beautiful family! You are a blessing for taking in children. They are so lucky to have you.

Auds at Barking Mad said...

I had no idea those statistics were as frightening as they are, especially the state I was born and raised in, CA.

I admire you so much. You are so very blessed and such a blessing to your girls and to others considering adoption, or even those who perhaps weren't considering it, but are now, after reading your words.

Amy said...

WHat you have done (and continue to do) is awesome. YOu are truly a blessing for those girls.

Kristy said...

Your family is such an inspiration SITSta! Lovely post! Great Pictures!

Brittany said...

What a beautiful Ohana!

mrsbear said...

You have a precious family and a wonderful heart. Happy SITS day.

Mrs. S said...

what a beautiful blog and a really beautiful family you have. Ohana is my only Hawaiian word (thank you very much Lilo & Stitch). It's a beautiful word.

Melissa Lester said...

What a lovely -- and loving -- family! Blessings to you!

Rhea said...

I love your Motley Crew! Beautiful in so many ways.

Carrie said...

yaaaaaay

Congrats Featured SITSta! Just remember the little people now that you're famous!

mrsmouthy said...

You have the family I dream of! I just don't know if I'm as brave or as selfless as you, but I figure if I keep aiming my life in that direction it might sometime get there. :)

Wendy said...

Happy SITS day! We have fostered and adopted also. Thanks for bringing attention to something so important on your SITS day.

Astrid said...

Happy SITS day!

You have a beautiful family! I really loved reading this post. I'm thankful for kind and caring people (such as yourself!).

Blue Castle said...

Beautiful post. You and your husband are amazing, blessed people.

Katie said...

You have a beautiful family! I have a lot of respect for foster famlies and adoptive families. My brother is adopted...

hellosweetworld said...

What an excellent story! So cute and touching.

Rachel Ann said...

I love your post and the pictures that went along with it...your husband and his girls look precious..you must be very proud of your entire family!

And by one of the pictures...I am going to say you live near a Spaghetti Factory...am i right? The decor looks my SF...and i love eating there (although I don't like spaghetti! LOL).

Merry Christmas!

pumpkinpatches said...

You have such a beautiful family!

Live.Love.Eat said...

I said it back in November and I still love it - family is who you do life with. Love that!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congrats on being FB!!!!!!!!!!

Marrdy said...

Very beautiful family you have!

Erin said...

Your family is so precious. And you said it perfectly, family is who you do life with. I love it. Those numbers are saddening.

Jenna Lewis Cox said...

such a beautiful family! What you are doing is such a blesing to so many people!

Avery Tales said...

What an amazing family! You're an inpiration. Happy SITS Day!!

dddiva said...

You have a lovely family, so glad I met you through SITS. I also believe in choosing/making your family.

Katie said...

I love, love, love this post. Thank you for sharing it. Congratulations on your SITs day too!

Jen said...

Wow...and my hubby feels outnumbered by me, our daughter, and our female dog! I think he's feeling sorry forhimself! :)

Mimi said...

What a beautiful family!

Janna said...

Love this post. You have a beuatiful family.

wendy said...

You have a beautiful family...which I believe comes from your being a beautiful person.

Happy SITS day!

Marshmallow Circus said...

Our landscape has changed too. It's so nice seeing other family's a little like ours. :)

Jerrie said...

Lovely post. Lovely family. My mom married my (step) dad (I hate calling him that because he really is just dad) when I was in 6th grade. Blood does not equal family. Love does.

Andie said...

Love the pictures and the blog! Looks like you have a beautiful family!

Andie said...

Love the pictures and the blog! Looks like you have a beautiful family!

Michele said...

What a heart warming post. You are a very special couple. :-)

Michele said...

What a heart warming post. You are a very special couple. :-)

Michelle said...

What a beautiful family! Hats off to you for having so much love to give. I've thought about fostering, but with me working (and my husband) and Mister Man being special needs, now isn't the right time....

mommytoalot said...

Love the way your describe family, the landscape changes...
As I foster mom I too have often had changes...
xo

lynn said...

Lovely family and post! Happy SITS day!

Becky Fowler said...

I love your colorful blog and fun music! You have a beautiful family!

Blicky Kitty said...

Oh what a amazing post and a gorgeous blog! I would love to have foster children but I can't get my husband on board. I've resolved to try and help families who do.

littleeverydaythings said...

I believe a family is what you make it - it's up to you. Congratulations on having your unique family :) Happy SITS Day!

Elle MD said...

You have a BEAUTIFUL family!

- a SITSta

april kennedy said...

I loved this post! My husband and I have a strong desire to be foster parents {more of an emergency type foster care provided for under one years old...while looking for a permanent foster family}. Not sure if that type of care is needed...but our family would love the opportunity to love many!

Thank you for the beautiful landscape to look at!

Rachael said...

What a wonderful post! You have a beautiful family in every sense of the word!

Judy Haley said...

I love your blog.

My parents took in special needs foster kids while we were growing up. I can't imagine what my childhood would have been like without them. I'd have them myself if we were able to get settled into one location. But unfortunately, when you move out of state, or out of country, you can't take them with you

Tabitha@ichoosebliss said...

I can't believe I've never read this post. I am in awe of you and R even more now!