I Wonder Where Rosalie Is Today?

She was such a cute little girl.  A little afraid, but very curious, of the Americans who had moved into her neighborhood.

She began by peeping around the corner of the wall of our compound, trying to sneak a look at us while remaining hidden herself.



Slowly she came out of hiding and let us see her pretty face.


For several days she played this peek-a-boo game with us until finally she came with a friend and sat down outside our gate.


My husband, our youngest daughter and I had moved into her neighborhood where we lived as we taught in a local Bible school and also in local churches throughout Iloilo City on the island of Panay in the Philippines.

Having white Americans as neighbors was quite a novelty.  Children in the neighborhood came to the gate every day to get a look at us.  We began talking to them and before long we developed friendships with all the children on our street.


At first when we walked down our street, the little boys would call out to my husband, “Hello GI Joe.”   After repeating each day that his name was Paul, they finally called him by his name – but it came out with two syllables – Pa -ul.

Our daughter started a Kids Klub for the neighborhood children.  Saturday mornings our living room would turn into a classroom.  Jessica taught them songs, Bible stories and always had games and snacks for them.  They called her “Tita” or aunt and followed her each time she left our home.


Rosalie was the youngest of five siblings.  Their mother was a widow and made her living by selling food in a makeshift hut on the side of the road.


While we fell in love with all the children, we took a special interest in this family.

When it was time for us to return home, Rosalie’s mother wanted us to take Rosalie with us.  She envisioned a much better life for her youngest if she came to the United States with us.

We struggled with what would be the right decision.  It sounded good to provide this little girl with all the luxuries she would never have in Iloilo City.  Things like clean water, plenty of food, shoes and the many things we take for granted but would not be available to her in the Philippines.

But what would it do to her emotionally to be ripped from her home, her siblings and especially her mother?

Was it arrogance on our part to think that all the material things we could give her was worth more than family?

Yet how could we say no to giving her a life that would be much easier than the life she would have here in Iloilo City?

In the end, the legal requirements and the cost of adopting her and all the red tape involved proved more than we could do.

The day we left our neighborhood was very traumatic.  The children gathered early at our home and hung on to the jeepney as we drove slowly away.  They cried out, “Don’t go, don’t go.”

As I reflect back on that time, I do believe it would have been wrong to take her from her family – but I still wonder.

Did we do the right thing?

I wonder where she is today?

With today’s technological advances of Facebook and the internet we might have been able to maintain some contact.  But that was not possible then.

Still, I think of her and wonder if she remembers us.









Memories of Days Past With Grandchildren and Puff the Magic Dragon!

Twenty Beautiful Grandchildren and Puff!


Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee.  Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff, and brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff.

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail.  Jackie kept a lookout perched on Puff’s gigantic tail.  Noble kings and princes would bow whene’er they came, pirate ships would lower their flag when Puff roared out his name.

I have been blessed with twenty grandchildren – seventeen still living.  What joys they have all brought to my life!  I became an instant grandmother when I married my husband, Paul.  He was the proud grandfather of a little boy (4 years old) and a little girl (2 years old).

I remember the first time I met them.  Nervous about being a grandmother and not sure how they would receive me, I held out my arms to them and they thrilled me by quickly coming into my arms for a big hug.  Cheryl sat on my lap most of the evening and played with my pearl necklace.  By the time the evening was over, it was love for all three of us.  And a wonderful beginning to the role of grandmother!

Over the years my husband and I have celebrated the births of 18 more grandchildren.  Sadly, three of them did not live beyond the first couple years of life – but I treasure their memory in my heart.  I have shared the story of one of my granddaughters in my post – I Never Thought It Would Hurt This Much.

Each one has a unique personality.  Some are my biological grandchildren born to my own two daughters.  Others, while not my biological grandchildren, are still mine.  Born to my stepchildren (although we don’t use the word “step” to describe our relationship) they are mine by love.  Then there are my grandchildren who became part of our family by adoption.  While they carry none of my DNA and are even a different color than me, I fell in love with them and dare anyone to say they are not my grandchildren.  Some are tall (one grandson is 6′ 5″ and seems to never stop growing) and others are short.  They range in color from one granddaughter who is almost snow-white to a grandson that is as black as black can be.  But I love them all and thank God for the laughter and joy they have brought to us.

How I treasure those days when they were little and we played games on the floor, took walks through the park examining every flower and tree, sang silly songs, read books and played with imaginary characters.  Through their young eyes, I saw the magic of the world again.  The beauty of the snow, the thrill of a rainbow in the sky after a storm, the joy of feeling the soft spring rain on my face.  Through their imagination, I hid from the ghost, fought with the Ninja turtles, tossed food to Bernard the alligator that lived in our basement.

But grandchildren don’t stay little forever!


A dragon lives forever but not so little boys.  Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.  One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more.  And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain.  Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.  Without his life-long friend, Puff could not be brave, so Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave.

While the last verse of the song sounds so sad, I still enjoy my grandchildren who are now almost all young adults.  Our relationship is different, of course, but I enjoy hearing about their studies, their new careers, their hopes and dreams.  It is neat to relate to them more as adult to adult than adult to child.  What a joy to see them becoming strong, compassionate adults!  Now our games are scrabble, gin rummy and other card games and they enjoy trying to beat their grandparents.  Now we have serious discussions about politics and theology – but we still love to giggle at a crazy joke, a silly movie or a favorite comedian.

Still, I miss those times with Puff!

While most of the grand kids are young adults or fast becoming one, I’m so thankful for the little granddaughter I call the “grandchild of my old age.”  Zoe will be four years old very soon and these past four years have been such a joy as I have been able once more to visit that land of imagination and see the world anew through her eyes.

While I enjoy her for herself alone, I also relive the past years with my other grandchildren as I watch her explore and discover the world all around her just as they did.  Sometimes when she says or does something funny, my mind races back to another time, another grandchild.

I sometimes wish I could “freeze” her and hold her at this age a little longer, but she too is growing up.  Before I know it, it will be time for Puff to slip into his cave again.  But somehow realizing that these moments will not last forever, I enjoy them all the more.

So – for now – it’s Zoe and me and Puff the Magic Dragon

Long live Puff!

Remembering Jacobi Israel

Jacobi Israel – 10/18/12 – 1/10/13

He was born in a West African country.  His mother died shortly after his birth.  Grandmother brought him and his twin sister to an orphanage seeking help when she could no longer take care of them.

That is how he came into our lives.  What hopes and dreams we had as we began to support our daughter and her husband as they took the long road to adoption.

But it was not to be.  Before adoption could be completed, little Jacobi died.

How we hate the word “died.”  Even writing this, I tried to think of a better way to say it.  Being a Christian, I know all the answers we give.

  • He went to be with the Lord
  • He is in a better place
  • He is at rest

But the truth is, he died.

I never got to hold him in my arms, or even see him.  Still, somehow I miss him!

Being a Christian, I do have the hope that one day I will be able to hold him in my arms.

Until then, I remember you Jacobi Israel with love!

I Never Thought It Would Hurt This Much!

Precious Hope

Precious Hope





I never thought it would hurt this much!

Almost two years ago my daughter and son-in-law began a journey to adopt twins.  Their mother had died shortly after giving birth.  Since there was no father in the picture, these little babies needed help if they were to survive.  My daughter and son-in-law reached out in love to provide that help.

As I looked forward to being a grandmother again, I imagined that when I first saw the twins my feelings would be those of any one who sees precious little babies.  I would feel compassion and warmth, even affection.  As the days and weeks passed, I envisioned that as I helped give them a bath, sang to them, rocked them to sleep, that warmth and affection would grow to be the love of a grandmother.

Then tragedy struck! 

Less than 3 months their birth, little Jacobi Israel died.  I was heart-broken then.  But my pain was for my daughter.  As I saw the sorrow and pain in her eyes, my heart ached for her.  As for me, I only felt regret for what would not be.

Then my daughter went to West Africa and actually spent time getting to know Precious Hope.  As I saw the pictures and the videos of Precious taking her first steps and heard her little voice making those first baby sounds, something happened that I did not expect.  I fell in love with that little girl – without ever singing to her, rocking her to sleep, holding her close to me.  She was my granddaughter!  There was not compassion and warmth in my heart – there was a grandmother’s love.  I could hardly wait until my daughter and son-in-law could bring her home to us.

Then tragedy struck! 

Almost a year from the death of Jacobi, little Precious died also.

I never thought it would hurt this much!

While I felt such sorrow for my daughter and son-in-law, my grief was for myself – for the granddaughter I almost had.  For all the dreams I had for her and me – dreams that would not happen now.

I suppose no one who has not walked down that scary, unpredictable road of adoption can understand my feelings.

Today Precious would have been two years old.  I thought today we would be celebrating her birthday.

I never thought it would hurt this much!

Although I will never hold her in my arms in this life – I still count her and Jacobi as my grandchildren and I look forward to the day I can embrace them and tell them how much I love


I never thought it would hurt this much!