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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Dear Chuck And Penny: Louie Responds...
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Saturday, July 02, 2005

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Louisiana Sandusky writes to a couple in Mesa, Arizona, who are inquiring about adoption.

Saturday, July 2, 2005, 12:34 p.m., C.D.T.~

Dear Chuck and Penny Tuttle~

I am very happy to have heard from you; thank you for writing!

I am so glad that you are interested in adoption. Adoption isn't for everyone, but for us, it's what we know, and God has blessed us with an incredible group of boys and girls that I am more than proud to call my children. Sure, a lot of them DO have disabilities or special health needs, but they are CHILDREN first, and to me, their problems, while they ARE there, don't matter AT all. I try to treat them as I would want to be treated, and I try to focus on their ABILITIES, NOT their DISabilities.

My children come from places like Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Japan, China, Vietnam, Korea, and Malaysia), Africa (Kenya), Central and South America (Mexico and Guatemala), Europe (Bosnia-Hergozovina, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands), the Middle East (Iran), Canada, and the United States of America (Louisiana, Ohio, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Indiana, New York, Connecticut); and they now range in age from one year all the way on up to age 23. All but four of my kids (Lightning, Dwerlina, Melizza, and Dianna; soon Steffi will join them; she is going to be going to school at Texas A & M in Austin) live here with my husband, Bill, and myself, and they are all growing up so fast! Now we will be adding another child to our family, a little eight-year-old girl with spina bifida, from Romania, to our family, and she will become our 53rd child! God has been awfully good to us, and it has gotten to the point to where we can't imagine our family without ANY of the kids! :)

Adoption is scary if you aren't familiar with it; but there are plenty of sites available on the Internet, and there are several very good magazines pertaining to adoption out there (Adoptive Families, Adopted Child, Roots & Wings, Exceptional Child, etc.), and there are people you can talk to about adoption so you can get the answers you seek. It was scary for us when we first started it, but once the kids started coming, the joy was unimaginable, and it seemed that once we started, the kids just kept on coming; and the flow of children didn't stop until we got our newest two from Sri Lanka..and now we are fixin' to add yet another child from Romania to our ever-expanding family! LOL

I can give you the addy and number of our attourneys, and they can refer you to an adoption attourney in your state. There are plenty of them out there if you know where to start, and I am sure that they will be more than happy to help guide you on your adoption journey.

No, adoption ISN'T cheap, but somehow God has provided the funds, and we were able to meet the bills that adoption has placed upon us; plus we get "adoption subsidies" every month for the kids, so that is like extra money coming in; and the funds go directly to the kids' medical and personal needs. We have a very good insurance plan, so what we DO pay is very little (and that helps when the bills start piling up!). All you have to do is pray and see if adoption is the right thing for you. As I said earlier, adoption ISN'T for everyone, and there HAVE been horror stories in the news; but we love our kids, and we wouldn't think of even doing ANY harm to them or endanger their lives! They have already been through more than enough than most kids their age; why only add to their misery?

I must say this: there ARE financial aid options available to people interested in adoption; so I think it would be wise of you to apply and look into it. You won't be sorry!

It is better to adopt a child whom you feel is most in need. All too many times people want infants or kids younger than the age of two, but there are plenty of kids over the age of two who don't have families; and the older a child gets, the more difficult it is to place them. There are also those kids who are racially mixed, or those kids who are disabled or deemed "medically fragile", and they are in need of a family as well. There are also sibling groups whom, for one reason or another, CANNOT be separated, and this must be taken into consideration. Now, race shouldn't matter, but it oftentimes does, and so does the age of the child. We took in kids who are "special needs" because if it were not for people LIKE us, these kids would have otherwise never had a future, a home, OR a family. We also took in kids who are disabled because I happen to be a nurse, and I know how to deal with a variety of health challenges that my kids face, and I can care fot them whenever an emergency may arise. I also love the joy in knowing that we are helping enrich their lives, and they, in turn, enrich ours, and the blessings that they bring us is tenfold. When a child smiles for the first time or utters his or her first words after years (or months) of silence, or a child takes his or her first wobbly steps on crutches or a walker, the joy is unspeakable. I have seen my children overcome odds that would break any normal human being, and they have blossomed like flowers after a good, soaking rain; and they are emerging into capable young men and women, even in a world not geared for their particular disabilities or medical conditions.

Unfortunately, we have had people who were less than kind in regards to our kids, but we have since learned to ignore their hateful, hurtful comments (no matter how hard it may be); and we just stick to our guns and raise our kids and love them unconditionally. We have since managed to win over a lot of people who were skeptical at first, and they have learned that even though we ARE bigger than most, we are STILL a family, and all these children are now bound together by the Miracle of adoption; and nothing can ever separate them...EVER. They are now OUR children, LEGALLY and PERMANENTLY. Sure, there IS a stigma attached to caring for kids with special needs, but we just go on loving them and giving them all the opportunities in the world to succeed at life, no matter how great the odds.

There are many successful adoptive families who are like us out there: the DeBolts, the Williamses, the Miglacchios, the Cornwyns, and so many others, families who have been featured in magazines, newspapers, or even on the news or on tv shows; and people have been amazed at these families who have opened their hearts and homes to children in need. We certainly are NOT alone; but we just happen to be one of the biggest ones out there. We didn't plan on adopting so many just sort of--happened. We may be different in our parental skills or our childrearing techniques, but we are bound together by one common thread: ADOPTION. The stories may be different, and the faces may be different, but we are out there, and we are NOT going to be going away any time soon. As long as there are children in need, we will respond and try to make that child's life a whole lot better!

Yes, I DID write a fact, I wrote TWO books about our International Family: "A Family Made out of Miracles and Rainbows: The Sandusky Family Story--A True Story of Love and International Adoption" and its sequel, "...And The Miracles Continue: The Sandusky Family Story, Continued"; and there may be more books in the future, depending on what happens in our family. You can never tell WHAT will happen in a family like ours, but we are more than willing to plunge headlong into the future, to see what adventures it may bring! :) I will be sending you copies of both books (free of charge AND autographed), so that way, you can read about my family and see what "makes us tick". You will also find helpful and valuable information regarding the adoption process, and I have included the websites and addys of several premier adoption agencies as well as several adoption attourneys. I also have included several sites about children with disabilties and you can find a whole plethora of information on these sites. I left nothing out, and I hope that what I provide in my books can be helpful to families just starting out, such as you are. I wish you all the best, and I will be praying for you.

Again, Chuck, thank you for writing, and I will be more than happy to answer any more questions you may have down the road about adoption or raising kids, particularly those with special needs. I will be sending you my email addy and my phone number on a separate sheet of paper, so that way, you can contact me. I am as close to you as the phone or the computer, and I will try to make myself available to you as I see fit. Do write again soon; I will be looking for your reply!

God bless you, Chuck, and good luck as you start your "Adoption Journey"!

(((HUGS))) and love, your new friend in Tennessee, Louisiana (Louie) Mayrah Sandusky (Mama to soon to be 53 Miracles!). :)

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Reviewed by Kate Burnside 7/4/2005
This is an informative and heart-stopping write, Karen. Love applied in faith and action is soooo beautiful and shines as bright as the noon-day sun, glorious to behold. Thank you for this inspiration, which is all the more "pure" because of its lack of self-awareness and which is wonderfully "not preachy" or patronising. It takes a special heart to be able to communicate such compassion and the genuinely giving temperament without it taking on the dimensions of being "charity" - but you have elevated this write with a sincere graciousness that creates a genuine admiration and generates a spirit of warm generosity. Very well done, and thankyou. This gives understanding and respect to a much misunderstood and misrepresented facet of life of which many of us are, to our shame, ignorant. Bless you and thank you. Kate xx
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 7/3/2005
This is great Karen, as only you could write
God Bless
Reviewed by Dave Harm 7/3/2005
Excellent write... sometimes our abilities may never be found if it wasn't for our disabilities...
Reviewed by Susan Barton 7/2/2005
Great answers! I'll bet the daily life of a family that size has a lot of nitty gritty details, and this showed a great overview!
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 7/2/2005
Another great write...Oh my "another one"?

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 7/2/2005

A fantastic write. The only thing is, if Louie is trying to focus on their abilities, she doesn't have to mention the disabilities. :) They'll be seen soon enough, right?? Otherwise, a fantastic, educational, WONDERFUL write!!!!!!!!!!!

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla. :)
Reviewed by E T Waldron 7/2/2005
"I try to focus on their ABILITIES, NOT their DISabilities."
What a great line and attitude!This was some story Karen! You sure do your research, great write!


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