Archives for category: Adoption

Kids love seeing the fire truck up close.

Fire hats

Here they were told what to do in the event of an earthquake

Little kids are so enthusiastic. I got to help with Safety Fair at the Elwha Head Start this week and it was such fun to see the little guys. Police, firemen, and emergency preparedness folks were there to talk with the kids and show them their equipment.   I talked with the children about using 911, what constitutes an emergency and how to actually dial 911 on the phone.   Fifty-six kids were amazingly attentive and should all have a better idea of how to respond to an emergency.

Later in the day I went with the grade school children from the Lower Elwha After School Program on a field trip to the museum maintained by the local Historian Society. These kids are a little harder to impress, or so I thought, but in teams they searched for items on a list, which gave an incentive to see everything. A favorite thing the wooden school desks bolted to the floor, with flop up seats and ink wells, just like what we used as kids.  They also liked the phone booth with an early phone, and a Victrola which was demonstrated with a flourish and played “Ciribiribin.” Check this link to hear Harry James!


The demonstration of a wind-up Victrola held the kids attention



wooden school desk

Old wooden school desk

Raven played in the All City Orchestra performance this week. This orchestra included all 600 strings students in the district playing the same song at the same time. Raven’s favorite was, “That ‘William’ song” otherwise known as the William Tell Overture.

Raven bass

Raven plays in the all city orchestra

Last night our family attended the annual meeting of the Dungeness River Audubon Center at the charming park facility located beside the Dungeness River. We are members and the mission is to inspire understanding, enjoyment and stewardship of the Olympic Peninsula’s unique natural and cultural resources… Our kids have gone to science camps and field trips sponsored by this organization and they emphasize learning while enjoying the beauty and learning about human responsibility for our environment.
dungeness audubon society

Of course the kids came home with wet feet and I won the door prize, a lovely salad bowl painted with Native designs.


salad bowl

I love the door prize I won

So, it has been a busy week and while exposing our kids we get exposed too, aren’t we lucky!!


Washing hands

Washing his hands at Head Start

Friday night Larry went to visit a new family with the hope that it would be a good fit and he would be able to stay. It is hard to know just what he understands of all of this, he will be four this month but has very little language. Still he must know that he has been moved from home to home many times in his short life. He is a friendly outgoing guy, who has never met a stranger, lucky for him, as the cast of adults around him has been constantly changing.
He made amazing progress during the six weeks he spent with us and it was tempting to ask if he could stay but he needs younger parents who can be more actively involved with him and who can keep up with his energy level.

breakfast 2

Breakfast at Head Start, he is learning to serve himself


Breakfast at Head Start, he loves to eat–

His vocabulary increased at an amazing rate while he was here. The kids and I had him repeat words after we said them and the last day instead of simply pointing when he was ready for breakfast he said, clearly, “cereal,” “cheerios,” and “mMilk.” I felt like cheering.
He played well with our grandson Adam who is the same age. They loved playing “chase.” They also built with blocks, side by side, then laughed when their structures fell down.
It is quieter here now, Larry was always talking to himself or making noises of one kind or another, which made it easy for me to know just where he was at the moment. But he was active and sure footed. One of my favorite memories of him is when we were camping. He climbed on moss covered logs, as large in diameter as he was tall, and ran their length as fast as he could go. He never fell.
We are cheering for you Larry!

building blocks

Playing with blocks in our kitchen

Today I received the foster parent newsletter with the following message:

Washington has a critical need for more quality, safe and loving foster parents in your community. Do you have friends or family interested in learning more about becoming a foster family? The state foster parent recruitment phone line: 1-888-KIDS-414, gives information and answers questions for interested families. Information is also available at our website:

Anyone wanting to know more about foster parenting is welcome to contact me!!

Hoping for a family

Hoping for an adoptive family

Interviewing an older girl

Interviewing an older girl

Girls with new dresses

Girls at Layla House with new dresses made by my doll club

Girl, Adopted is the name of a film being shown this month of October on PBS.  The link is below for on-line viewing.  If you have in any way been touched by the adoption of an older child, I would encourage you to take the time to watch it.

sister and brother

Older sister and brother waiting for a family

The adoption of older children, especially those from another culture, is a mixed blessing.  Children who have no family or no one to help them reach adulthood,  are vulnerable.  But is it fair to remove a child from his culture and language to move to a family in another country?  Here is a description of the film:

An irrepressible adolescent, Weynsht searches for identity in an effort to find out who she is in the aftermath of her adoption. The film follows her struggle for love among strangers and to understand what to make of this love on an unexpected return trip to Ethiopia. 

Weynsht’s story offers a rare, child’s-eye view of being adopted across race and culture. Taking neither a pro- or anti-adoption stance, the film acknowledges the complexities involved and gives a real voice to the experience. The central question that Girl, Adopted asks is, “What is it like to get everything you need but to lose everything you know?”

Weynsht was in the care of Adoption Advocates International, the agency that I founded and lead for 28 years.  I first met the film makers, Susan Motamed and Melanie Judd 8 years ago, we met in an Ethiopian restaurant in Philadelphia.  They were asking for permission to create a film following the adoptions of several older children.  I had a very positive reaction to their proposal.  I regularly saw older children asking to be admitted into the adoption program.  Could their story be told in an honest way that would help develop  understanding regarding both the joy and the challenge of adopting older children?  I wanted the need to be known but I wanted it to be presented realistically.

Meal time at Layla photo by EDH

Meal time at Layla House, photo by Emma Dodge Hanson

Melanie and Susan started filming the stories of four children and finally to present Weynsht’s story.  The filming began at the height of the HIV/AIDs crisis.   HIV was a death sentence and many older children were raising themselves because their parents were dead.  By the time filming was complete, drugs that greatly reduced the effect of AIDS were widely available.

The film makers traveled to Ethiopia several times and I met with them there.  They came to Port Angeles to film at an adoptive family gathering as well as filming Weynsht with her new family in Arkansas.


Older kids playing soccer at Layla House

I was thrilled to see that the film had been chosen to be presented on PBS.  I am guessing that the film will be receiving awards as it is viewed elsewhere, these film makers have won numerous awards for their previous films.

This is a beautiful story of a determined child and an equally determined pair of adoptive parents, working together to become a family.  You can watch it at

Click on the arrow to get to the next screen where the film  begins.

kids in a line

Younger children in the adoption process

New Babies arriving

Babies too need families too