Saturday, July 07, 2007
Happy Birthday America!
We celebrated the 4th of July by attending an old fashioned afternoon get-together at the home of some dear friends of ours. We always have a blast with this large family, and they go all out when planning an event...there were water balloon tosses, BB gun target shooting and pie eating contests. Kenny got a real taste of what America's birthday is all about! We laughed more than we had in a long time (and for our family, that takes a lot as we laugh constantly!), were wet repeatedly due to water fights with Super Soakers, and had our tummies filled with all the soda and BBQ pork we could consume.
A chord was struck deep in my heart as I looked around at this gathering of friends...of Americans and Kazakhs and Kyrgyz and South Africans...this is what our country is all about. Our best friends hale from South Africa, immigrants 6 years ago and we often joke that when our families are all together Dominick and I are the minorities, being the only 2 of the 10 of us who are American's by birth! All of these ethnicities and backgrounds and cultures that are put into the melting pot that is America and out comes this glorious mixture of freedom loving people, a more diverse population was never found anywhere else on earth. I love my country, I love all that it stands for. It is not a blind love, her faults are evident but so are her gifts to all of us. There isn't another country on earth where people die on a daily basis trying to reach it's soil as they do trying to get to America. For all that is wrong, there is so much else that is right, that works.
I often joke with people who ask us about how we are going to manage to pay for college for our kids, knowing the overwhelming cost of adopting them in the first place. I always respond, in half jest "We got them to the land of opportunity with their college funds, they can figure out college for themselves!!". The truth of it is, this IS the land of opportunity, a place where any immigrant family from China or Vietnam can find itself within one generation owning a business and a home, their children getting a free public education and headed for a University. This is a place that welcomes those who are downtrodden and persecuted in their land of origin, who come to a place where they are relatively safe and secure. This is a home for thousands and thousands of children who could find no home in their birth country, who are in the loving arms of American families who will nurture them into adulthood. Sure, we have crime, problems with access to health care, political discord, disagreements on immigration and much more that needs to be improved upon. But when one looks at the greater picture, it is a place I am proud to call "home".
I hope you all had a wonderful 4th, and that you took a moment to reflect on all that is right with our country, for just one day, rather than focusing on what is wrong. We are a very blessed nation.
We have a busy week ahead of us with a week long church summer camp that Matthew and Kenny are attending along with me as chaperon for Kenny! I will be hauling 5 kids to and from camp, and am looking forward to the chance to be with all of these outstanding young people. Actually, it will be my own first experience with summer camp, having never gone to one when I was a child. I am looking forward to it with anticipation and, if being honest, a bit of dread as well. It might be very challenging being in this setting with Kenny for a full week with no break offered by Dominick. I am sure we will have a great time, but no doubt there will be some very tough moments as well. Please keep us in your thoughts as we embark on this little adventure!!!