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Showing posts from May, 2011

Memorializing What's Best Forgotten

I desperately searched for something to focus my Memorial Daythoughts on and no matter how I thought, my focus continued to drop back to none other than Bethany’s birth mother.Bethany had a rough day and for some reason, the country of Korea kept taking an emotional center stage.
If you study the history of Korea over the last three generations, you see a country that has been traded, fought over, ravaged, and literally - offered as a sacrificial lamb to the empire of Japan.That last offering resulted in what can only be known as the rape of Korea and that’s perhaps why historically and metaphorically, Bethany’s mom captured my heart on this day.
I’ve often wondered what ever became of her.She was a thirteen-year-old rape victim in a small South Korean village.This, made worse in a culture that struggles to balance the horror of such an act with the importance of honor.In our Western culture we can’t even begin to wrap our head around such a construct, but there – maintaining honor, it…

Welcome Home, I Missed You

According to the little note in the bag, she had a pretty good weekend.The bruises on her legs and arms tell me otherwise.Black and purple marks running the circumference of her legs I assume came from the bus ride.The big ones on the back of her arms came from elbowing the table and walls – I don’t even need to be there to tell the action.I’ve become the family medical examiner, reviewing the evidence, determining the cause, levying the blame.Clearly, while I was on the back porch enjoying a late evening symphony of frogs and crickets – she was struggling with some other demon.My gentle wrap of a warm summer breeze was child’s play in comparison to her wrap of pain and abuse, aimed at removing an annoyance that I’ll likely never discover.
She was excited about being home, I could tell by the anxious breathing, the pacing, the deep, furrowed brow.Her quick reaction to my first words followed by a two-fisted punch to the chest; later, a quick blow to the jaw; “welcome home, I missed you…

Respite Weekends

Occasionally we have what’s known as a “respite weekend”.There’s a few days where Bethany goes and stays the weekend at “Miss Kim and Mr. Terry’s house”.
It’s a chance for us to live a normal life.No need to chain the refrigerator door, no need to lock the window locks I’ve installed on the cupboard doors, no need to deadbolt ourselves into the house.For a while there I had the dead-bolt locks installed backwards so we’d use the key to lock ourselves in the house.We were never robbed and I can only assume its because even would-be criminals were puzzled by a home with the locks installed backwards.
Its amazing how quick and easy lunch is when you don’t have to eye four corners of a room and you have two hands and a relaxed attitude with which to make a sandwich.No floaters in your soda, no one stealing your chips, no half-eaten pickles left on your plate.
She loves the outdoors at her weekend respite and finds life on an Alpaca ranch to her liking.Something interesting happens when she n…

I Know "Desperate"

My wife spent nearly the entire day trying to keep Bethany from beating herself and from the looks of it, had little luck to show for it.I put her to bed with two black eyes, a large cut over her bruised nose, swollen and bleeding knuckles.Even as we say prayers she takes a swing at her forehead.“Dear Jesus, “ I prayed out loud, “thanks for the love you’ve shown us today – I want ask that you be with Bethany tonight and guard…”Ka-whump! Goes a fist to the head.I’ve not figured out if this means I need to pray more, pray harder, pray differently, stop praying and start intervening… I’m not really trained in this sort of thing you know.Even now I can hear her upstairs, crying – no, more like a wail of a mother who’s lost a child to a tragic death.I can hear the fists pummeling and the crying and there’s nothing I can do.
And Sherry, she’s emotionally exhausted, broken-hearted, and nearly without hope.I don’t even have to see her to know this, having put B in bed; I came down the stairs t…

Five Minute's Peace

I was riding back from respite with Bethany in the car last night; it was just the two of us.The evening was warm and the car windows were down, the sunroof open and there was soft music playing on the radio.She laid her head on the door padding and simply let the wind blow through her hair.
We had five wonderful miles, that mop of black hair floating in and out of the open window, her gaze – straight forward, her hands neatly folded in her lap.
I’m always amazed at how such a simple moment can hold such beauty, how five quiet miles in a car can hold more promise than a day full of mindless chatter.“Be still and know that I am God”.That Yahweh, he sure knew what he was talking about.

b Harmony - A New Way To Make Friends

Bethany has this uncanny ability to make new acquaintances.  She simply targets a new individual, walks right up to them, grabs their hand and goes nose-to-nose with them.  Her only utterance is a gentle yet guttural “AHH”. 
These introductions happen so fast that it’s usually done before I even know to respond.  Typically, as I peel her off the unsuspecting subject there’s this awkward moment where I have to decide if I want to explain, apologize, divert, or simply run away.  Many people are so shocked that they themselves don’t even know how to respond and honestly, we’ve learned how to read the signs and choose our responses “on-the-fly”. 
There’s the day she squeezed the stranger’s boobs, I mean – heck, what could you possibly say?  And even if you said it, whom are you targeting the response for?  Bethany certainly won’t hear the statement “honey, that’s inappropriate”, and the offended stranger - she may take some satisfaction in hearing it but it does nothing to ensure that B d…

And This Was A Good Weekend

I was driving with Bethany in the convertible today, holding her shoulder with my right hand and trying to drive with the left.She seemed intent on slamming her head through the passenger side window and to be honest, I was silently hoping that she’d succeed.In the depths of my frustration I was secretly hoping she’d just get it over with; a simple injury delivered to just the right part of the brain, and a quiet end to her constant self-abuse.
That may seem callous of me, perhaps even uncaring and sinister and it’s the type of thinking that evil monsters who harm children think.But frankly, its what went through my mind.I start out with a compassionate redirect and end up screaming on the inside and occasionally on the outside as well.I’ve tried outsmarting her by rolling the window down or pulling her closer to me, even tried hold both hands while driving – all to no avail.If I roll the window down, she tries to rip the side view mirror off.If I pull her closer, she tries to rip the …

The Backstory of Bethany

Corrie Ten Boom, in her book “The Hiding Place” recalled a time where she and her sister were suffering from an infestation of fleas and lice.As prisoners, it was not an uncommon affliction but for Corrie the question of “why God would have them suffer this plague” was a fair question.Her sister casually reminded her that because of the fleas, the prison guards were leaving them alone.Those fleas had, in fact, saved their lives – not a guard in the camp was willing to risk contracting such misery and as such kept their distance.
The idea that something so repulsive could actually be a gift was running through my mind as I sat in the kitchen, listening for the familiar “clickity-clack” as Bethany’s roller skates crossed the loose metal threshold between the wooden floors of the kitchen and the living room. As long as I heard that sound in a consistent rhythm, I knew I was safe.
When we adopted Bethany, she was just shy of a year old.Born premature at 27 weeks to a very young girl in a re…

A New "Auto-Start" Feature

I found it interesting that when I went to turn on the headlights in the MGB, the ignition engaged and the car started.No need for the key, just make sure she’s in neutral, flip the switch and she growls to life.
At first I thought this was happening because Bethany was in the car – not that her wiring isn’t as screwey as the car’s is, but rather that she’d reached under the dash again and pulled herself a handful of wires.She’d done that before you know…I thought she was reaching for the warm air coming from the heater but no, she was ripping wires out from under the dash.Suddenly I couldn’t use the turn signals and the dash lights went dark.In true Fik fashion, rather than just patching the ripped wires I had to go and repaint the entire car, overhaul the interior vinyl and carpet, rebuild the windshield and buy a new canvas top.Hey, if a little’s good, a lot…is a lot.Funny thing; after all that I still had to fix the broken wires.
Now, having the engine start by simply flipping a lig…