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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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31 Miracles (And Counting)! (The Adoption Chronicles)
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Sunday, January 06, 2008

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A very big hearted couple in Maine takes in unwanted children, most with special needs.

My name is Hannah Grace Rolands. I am married to my husband, Keith; we've been  married fiteen years now.

We live in Lewiston, Maine, with our children. We have thirty-one children now; they range in age from eight months on up to 20 years.

They come from places like Russia, Korea, Vietnam, Greece, Africa, Iraq, China, the United States, Mexico, South America (Argentina, Guatemala, Chile), Canada, and Turkey.

Most are also disabled or older than the age of two.

The youngest (Ripley Michael) is healthy (thank God); however, his older brother (Ryan Mitchell), aged three, is not. He has autism spectrum disorder and learning/developmental disabilities; yet he is still a great kid with a gigantic personality. Even with his health issues, he is a very happy little guy, and we can't imagine our world without them.

Next comes Rosita Elena (five), Serephina Maria (seven), and Tyree' Danielle (seven), who come from Mexico (Rosita), Chile (Serephina), and Guatemala (Tyree'). All three girls were horribly abused sexually and physically; all three exhibit serious behavioral issues and are currently undergoing treatment to deal with the pain. They are right now at a local institution for abused kids; they will probably be there several months until the worst of their symptoms/behaviors have passed. We miss them.

We put them there because all three were violent, angry children; we were worried that they may try to hurt the younger children, plus we wanted them to get help for their problems.

The girls will probably be there until the summer; then they will come back to us. Hopefully they will be calmer, more outgoing than they have been.

After Rosita, Tyree', and Serephina comes Ekaterina (Katie) Raisa, who is eight. She has cerebral palsy and is blind; yet she is one of the most indeptendent little girls around. She wants to do everything herself; she has a stubborn nature about her; yet she is still a delightful child who really knows how to turn on the charm.

Next in line is our five nine-year-olds (all quintuplets) from Missouri: Thaddeus Malachi, Tyrone Moses, Thibodeaux Grant, Timothy Christian, and Timon Matthias. They are all healthy; yet three of the boys (Thad, Ty, and Teebo) all have asthma/allergies.

Ten year old Hamish Daniel from Turkey and 11-year-old Leillah Adeh from Iraq come after the quints. Hamish is deaf/mute (he communicates via sign language), and Leillah has JRA and is often in/out of the  hospital due to flares that leave her in great pain and sick to her stomach.

Leillah can walk, but with great difficulty. Sometimes if she is really hurting she opts for a wheelchair. It's easier for her.

Our three Oriental princesses come next. Their names are Isadora Grace (12, Korea), thirteen-year-old Nancy Sue (China), Trunh Hoa (thirteen, from Vietnam). All three girls are deaf, but two can read lips; the other relies solely on sign language, just like her adopted brother Hamish.

 Then come fourteen-year-olds Antonia Athena (Greece) and Ayala Grace from Kenya. Antonia is deaf/mute (another one who uses sign language), and Ayala has cerebral palsy (she can walk with braces and crutches); otherwise, the two girls are very healthy, probably two of the healthiest ones around.

To see them sick is a very rare thing.

Yolande Michaela, aged 15, comes to us from Argentina. She has Down's syndrome and heart issues. She's been in and out of the hospital for surgeries or illnesses. She's probably one of the biggest reasons why both Keith's and my hair have turned prematurely grey.

Sixteen-year-old Sikik Julienne comes to us from Inuit Country, in northern most Canada, in Nunavut. She has spina bifida and exclusively uses a wheelchair for mobility. In addition to the SB, she also has learning difficulties and is in special-needs classes.

She is very shy and introverted; all the kids tease her, whch breaks our hearts. No child has the right to go through such abuse from other kids who don't know any better!

Seventeen-year-old Douglas James (D.J. to his pals) came to us from Turkey. He is the cousin to Hamish. Incredibly, he is also deaf/mute, communicates well with sign languages. Hamish and D.J. are extremely close; it's as though they have always been brothers instead of natural cousins. They are now brothers through the miracle of international adoption.

Our two other seventeen-year-olds Jil! Sunshine and Grady Nesbitt come to us from Korea. They both have asthma, and the one (Grady) has serious food allergies that have put him into the hospital. That he's survived some of his attacks is nothing but a miracle. He wasn't expected to pull through some of them; yet God had other plans for our boy.

Eighteen year olds Uniqua Welcome, Hoover Elias, and Olivia Elizabeth (both have Down's syndreme) live at a group home for mentally disabled teenagers; both are doing very well; both are learning skills that will get them jobs and living out on their own.

Prior to their going to the facility, both were extremely depressed, withdrawn, and unable to take care of themselves. Now it's as though their world has turned for the better.

Nineteen year old Todd Patrick has spina bifida, and he is out on his own. He lives in an apartment complex for disabled adults about ten minutes from us; he is often over, with his girlfriend, Tina. He misses our home cookin', he says. He is extremely outgoing, extremely independent. We are extremely proud of him.

Our other nineteen year old child, Queenie Esther, lives with her grandfather. She has emotional problems; she was having problems getting along with some of her younger sisters and brothers, so she decided to stay with PaPaw instead. She is happier there, and since being with my father, she's opened up more. We are proud of her for wanting to try to change her life.

Queenie is involved in church activities and is involved in a Big  Sister program, where she is being mentored by a loving woman named Susan.

The change in her has been nothing short of extraordinary.

Uniqua, Hoover, Olivia, Todd, and Queenie all came to us from New York City.

Lastly, our twenty-year-olds Tine (Christine) Luellen, Jack Thomas,  and Honore' Renee' live in Connecticut, where they are all attending college. Tine wants to be a teacher, work with handicapped children; Honore' wants to be a lawyer. Very lofty goals, considering that Honore is blind and Tine is deaf.

As for Jack, he wants to have a scolarship in art. He has mild cerebral palsy, but is otherwise healthy. He has nothing more than a slight speech impediment and a limp when he walks.

Now you have met all thirty-one children. The youngest to the oldest.

As you can imagine, we have a very full house. Even with Tine, Jack, Honore', Rosita, Tyree', Serephina, Queenie, Patrick, Uniqua, Hoover, and Olivia being gone, the house is still very crowded. We often have to jockey for position at the kitchen table, often have to wait in long lines to use the restrooms. It is very interesting at times. 

Yet even with all the challenges we face with all these children, our lives are enriched by these miraculous children. They have been through so much; yet all face life with nothing but smiles on their faces. They are all living testimonials to the power of the human spirit to overcome the greatest of odds.

Now you have met our famiily. I will be writing more about them in future stories; you haven't heard the last from me, SuperMom to thirty-one miracles--and counting!

Yes, we are thinking of adding to the family. We can never have enough love in our hearts for hurting children who are truly in need!




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Reviewed by Dawn Anderson 1/11/2008
A beautiful and touching write, Karen. It's so amazing how unselfish and giving some people are...angels among us.
Reviewed by Poetess of The Soul Sheila G 1/7/2008
It is said, God gives to those he trusts! He knows who should have who, amazing huh!
my heart goes out to them all and my prayers!
This couple was talked about on T.V. too, I remember!
Financially they should be getting state help too!
It amazes me as I get migraine headaches from stress, too much- I wonder if these parents ever do, there too busy to think of keeping a headache around...
Warmed in the Spirit! Love, Warrior Purple Lady Sweet Sheooxooo

STay POsitive!
Warmest Strongest Blessings to them all!
Reviewed by Carole Mathys 1/7/2008
Another large, beautiful and unique family...hope things get easier for them..

love, Carole~
Reviewed by Felix Perry 1/7/2008
Beautiful story and in cases like this the govenrment should be able to step in by invite and give them a home status to allow more financial help and tax concessions to at least make that side of life easier for them.

Reviewed by Georg Mateos 1/7/2008
One becomes dizzy just to follow the quantity of children in need.
You are putting a spot-light over the dark corners where society tries to hide them from be seen.
That someone have the courage to burn the ships and embrace the unfortunates are a miracle itself.
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 1/6/2008
A big family but only about half the size of the Sandusky's Kendra has over thirty one children in her family now, hard to believe
God Bless
Reviewed by Mary Coe 1/6/2008
Karen this is so touching. What a beautiful write. What a big heart this couple have caring for thirty one special need children.
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 1/6/2008
Wheeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww...this is a big family. How you keep all the characters straight is beyond me!! Excellent write; look forward to reading more of this village in one house! Well done, Karen.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.

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