Tuesday, February 28, 2012


We have fought many battles over the course of our adoption of our sibling group.  The pressure has been great and the stress overwhelming at times.  Some of it we have written about and some we have not.  There is so much that our children have endured and the result of their struggles often presents as a quite self-centered and egocentric existence in this world.  Sometimes even narcissistic in nature.  But we have come to understand their little struggles over the past year in a different way.  As a rule, life always seems to offer judgment as the first response when others aren't what we think they should be.  It is only when we bring the judgmental thinking to the obedience of Christ (see Phillippians 2) that we understand there is more to behavior than meets the eye.

Some of the lessons that Karen & I have learned over the past year begins with the basic tenet that to find a way to laugh is probably your best option in terms of guarding your heart and soul against callous, harsh and judgmental build-up that absolutely clogs up the joy, peace and love pipes in your soul.  So, in the spirit of "laughter really is the best medicine" we share with you our laugh of the day.

Our recently turned 5-year-old-but-I-know-everything-well-beyond-my-years son, who is known for his egocentric manner of being in this world came flying out of his room fully equipped in superhero garments, i.e., cape, t-shirt with the "S" on the front, and mask, yelling "Ego-Man, Ego-Man!"  While I [Russell] thought the identity sure fit, I queried him in order to understand this "Ego Man" superhero.  Again, the little fellow , put his hands on hips, 
stuck his chest out proudly and shouted "Ego Man!  Ego Man!"  I just shook my head, bowed and prayed that somehow God in His infinite power would deliver him from such an identity!  So I gathered myself to ask one final time, "Ego Man?" to which he became indignant with me.  "No!  No!" "Ego Man!", as he held out his shirt.  I now noticed that it was not an "S" on the t-shirt, but rather an eagle!  ...he was "Eagle Man!" and he could fly like a bird! 

I again lowered my head and this time thanked God for answered prayer

Until we talk again, weird is the new norm!

Russell & Karen Thomas

Weird Is The New Norm

As months have now given way to over a year with our new children, we have come to understand that things are different than we expected and parenting these children is much different than our natural children. While there has been all the "big stuff" that we've worked on, i.e., things that are just common sense right that you would think every human being understands, there are also these other things that we have just come to understand as weird. Things that just come from a different place within....things that are just weird! These "weird" moments seem to come from a thinking process unlike other earthlings and represent the difficulty of Martian Children trying to adapt to their new environments. Now don't get us wrong. Weird is not implying "badness". It is simply calling out and labeling the out-of-the-ordinary, didn't-see-that-coming, behavior that is driven by a thinking process unfamiliar to us. We have actually gotten to the place where much of it generates humor in our hearts and home in a way that enhances the whole bonding thing. Let me try to explain.

 Early in our adoption, the little guy, just over 2 years old at the time, was found one cold, winter morning around 6:00 am on the back porch, barefoot and in PJs, feeding the cats...weird! What 2 year old gets up at 6 o'clock (or adult for that matter) and feeds the cats?! It was one of those, "ain't he just the cutiest thing!" moments that later sunk in as, "wow, that was different!". No, that's just weird!

 Another time, the middle boy, age 4 at the time, was found mid-morning playing in his room naked as a jay bird! While admittedly modesty is not the most striking characteristic of a 4 year old male child, most reserve such exhibitions of their birthday suites to streaking thru the house after bath time. Its a little more unusual to simply create their own little naked world while sitting around on the floor playing with their legos. And to further illustrate our point, when asked why he had not dressed the little fellow's response was "Oh! I forgot!" It was 10:30 in the morning, everyone has eaten breakfast, watched a Veggie Tales episode, gotten dressed and are playing like they are supposed to do except for this little fellow who forgot to put his clothes on and turned his play room into a nudist colony!

 And the eldest boy, well, he has redefined the standard for weird. One time I (Russell) played a bedtime game with him where I pretended to crack a fake egg on his forehead and then ran my fingers down his face lightly as if the egg was slimming down his face. Several days later, the entire family ventured to the barn and gathered eggs. On the walk back from the barn, for some unknown reason, the little fellow decided he would repeat my game from the night before. The only thing was that he used a real egg that we just retrieved from the barn! Whap! Egg on forehead...egg broken...egg running down face! His response? He laughed and thought it was a wonderful game! We, on the other hand, laughed on the outside but on the inside we're thinking "What?!!! This is weird!"

 We've spent the past 15 months trying to help our little Martian Children learn the rules here on earth. We've fretted, fasted, prayed and pouted wondering if we would be able to help them understand the concept of "normal". We have decided that it is us, the parents, who will make the changes. Instead of being in a rush to fix all of this stuff, we've decided its in our best interest and the kids to exercise a little acceptance and start with weird being our new norm!

 ...until we write again, have a weirdly blessed day!

 derived from an excerpt of Dr. Russell & Karen Thomas' new book, Raising Martian Children.