Thursday, March 25, 2010

Is This How the World Feels?

Anybody who is a Facebook friend of mine probably realizes what a rough week this has been for me. God must be trying to teach me something ... again... or still.

I got my teeth cleaned this week. I hate going to the dentist even though my mouth is healthy. I do like the music there. It's the people who usually annoy me! The hygienists seem to want my teeth to have something wrong with them because I am honest and tell them that I only floss 3 times a week rather than everyday. It really bugs them that I can have clean teeth without flossing every, single day!

The hygienist asked if my necklace was Texas. Nope.

The hygienist mentioned something about kids who come in with their new teeth growing in before their baby teeth fall out, so I thought that being in the dental field and being a human being, that she would be interested and concerned for some children that I had learned about through Drawn From Water.

Me: "Did you know that there are some tribes in Ethiopia who think that children who have two sets of teeth like that are bad luck, so they kill them."

Hygienist: "Ha ha!"

(She must not understand what I just said.)

Me: "They're doing it now, it isn't just something that happened a long time ago."

Hygienist: "Well, I guess that keeps the population under control. Ha ha."

(Are you serious?)

Me: "It's NEVER OK to kill children."

(My blood is boiling now. There are tools in my mouth, and I am at a loss for words anyway.)

Hygienist: "Different strokes for different folks.... I could kill my kids sometimes. Ha ha!"

Is this how the rest of the world feels about people in Africa? That they're not really children of God like you and me?

This breaks my heart for her -that she is so ignorant and empty. It breaks my heart for the people in other countries that are not seen by many as the *real* people that they are who love their children just like you and I do.

To learn more about this practice and how to help save these children who are being drowned in the river because their teeth come in "wrong," they are born out of wedlock, are twins, or they chipped a tooth please, visit the Drawn From Water blog.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

2010 Census Race Questions

About a week or so after we received our letter from the U.S. Census Bureau warning us that we were going to get our census forms, we got it. Thanks for the warning and for wasting all of that money our government doesn't have to send something saying that you were going to send me something.

Although, everyone is only required by law to write in the number of people living in their dwelling, we thought it would be fun to fill it out for all 6 of us. For Benaiah, we proudly checked the box indicating that he was our adopted son. Then, we got down to race...

Race. What is race? I checked Merriam-Webster and Wikipedia trying to make sense of the census form.

The first question having to do with race asked if one was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin, and if so, from where did his or her heritage originate. At the time, it seemed reasonable that the census bureau wanted to collect some extra information about Hispanics/Latino/Spanish folks for whatever reason. Strange, just the same that that people group was singled out from the rest of the races.

Here are the choices from the 2010 U.S. Census for everyone else:

  • white
  • black, African Am., negro
  • American Indian or Alaska Native (has space for principal tribe)
  • Asian Indian
  • Chinese
  • Filipino
  • Other Asian -Print race, for example, Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian, and so on.
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese
  • Native Hawaiian
  • Guamanian or Chamorro
  • Samoan
  • Other Pacific Islander -Print race, for example, Fijian, Tongan, and so on.
  • Some other race -Print race.
Where do I begin? Notice that the U.S. Census Bureau is interested more in nationalities of people if you are Hispanic, Asian, Native American, or from the South Pacific, but if we have WHITE or BLACK skin, we are all the same as all the other people who have the same skin color. Seriously?

It appears that the census bureau thinks that if you are of African decent, you are "black, African Am., or negro." First, I have always thought that the term "African American" specifically refers to an American-born person who is of brown-skinned African descent. (Merriam-Webster agrees.) NEGRO? Really? "Black" and then, "African American" have replaced that term in the years since the civil rights movement!

According to the U.S. Census Bureau:

Black or African American. A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as "Black, African Am., or Negro," or provide written entries such as African American, Afro American, Kenyan, Nigerian, or Haitian. (http:/
So, how did we answer the question of Benaiah's race? We checked "Other" and printed "Ethiopian" knowing that they will lump him in the "black, African Am., negro" category, and I'm fine with that. We are proud of his ethnicity, race, nationality, and whatever!

The problem that I have is that some races are so sub-divided into different people groups based on nationality, and others are just all lumped together. Just lump us all together into the 4-5 groups that are needed and used for funding and dividing out representatives. Collecting information that reflects our actual heritage would be interesting if it were for ALL races, but not really necessary for anything.

Needless to say, I was totally weirded-out by this stupid form, and it has hurt my little Pooh brain thinking about it!

Be proud of whatever you have been labeled! God loves us all!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Annika's Story

The Peppermint Puppy
by Annika Schmidt
Rivendell Academy

ONCE, there was a little puppy named “Peppermint Puppy.” She was so small that when she sat on a leaf one windy day, the wind blew her away to the end of the world!

When she finally landed, she turned into a blue peppermint puppy! “Oh no! I'm a peppermint!”

Then a green peppermint baby said, “Who are you?

My name is “Peppermint Puppy. What is your name?”

The baby said, “My name is Michael, and this is Peppermint Land. This is my sister Natalie and my other sister Lia.”

“Will you stay for my birthday?” said Michael.

Natalie said, “Would you like to help me bake the cake?”

Lia said, “Will you help me clean the dishes?”

“Yes, yes, and yes. I will.”

“Good! We like you to be here with us.”

The cake is done. The dishes are done. It is time to eat!

They ate and ate and ate.

Michael, Natalie, and Lia put Peppermint Puppy back on the leaf and shouted “Good-bye!” as she floated away.

When she made it home, her dinner was waiting for her, and a mint was in her bowl!


Marissa's Story

A Princess Named Marissa

by Marissa Schmidt

Rivendell Academy

Grade 3

Once upon a time, there was a princess named Marissa and a pirate who was a bully named Blacktooth.

One day, Blacktooth kidnapped the princess! She said, “I am doomed!” Blacktooth had taken her to a big tower in his castle that was surrounded with mean dogs.

Blacktooth gave Princess Marissa bread and water every day, and she wasn't allowed to take a bath or brush her hair.

After three days, Super Miriam popped out of nowhere with cats to scare the dogs.

"Stop right there Blacktooth!” said Super Miriam. Blacktooth put his hands up, and said, “I surrender.”

Super Miriam called the police and freed princess Marissa, and they lived happily ever after.


Epilogue: Blacktooth got a job at the police because he was so good at trapping people.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

PBS Young Writers and Illustrators Contest

Marissa and Annika have written, illustrated, and sent in their entries for the PBS Young Writers and Illustrators contest! They had so much fun writing their stories and drawing pictures!

Annika was first to write her story. Since she has the limited writing abilities of most kindergartners, she told me the story, and I typed it. Kindergartners are limited to no more than 200 words. Well, that girl has A LOT of words!! Her first draft was 430 words!! We had to edit that thing WAY DOWN!

On the other hand, Marissa's first draft was 84 words. Third-graders have to have between 100-350 words! I asked her for details, it made more story, and she finally ended up with 140 or so words. Whew. It seems that Annika had Marissa's helping of words!

I hope to post the girls' stories and drawings in the next couple of days, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Marissa's First Awana Bible Quiz

After being snowed out in late January, and then again in mid February, we finally had nice weather for Bible quiz! There were 12 multiple choice questions, and then there were 12 speed round questions.

All of the kids learned quite a lot and did a great job!

Marissa & her partner Audie placed 2nd! YEAH!

Thank-you for coaching again, William! This was his 4th year of coaching. Benaiah spotted his daddy on the stage keeping score for the multiple choice and repeatedly said, "Hi, Daddy!" "Hi, Daddy!" "Hi, Daddy!" "Hi, Daddy!" It was funny the first few times.

Way to go, Marissa! We know you worked hard!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Made to Be a Schmidt!

This morning at the gym, I don't know why, I just wondered when Benaiah had been conceived and what our family may have been doing at that time.

Benaiah's birth date is the day after Annika's due date, so I knew that Benaiah had been conceived in April because Annika was. I also remembered that we had applied to adopt sometime at the end of April.

So I pulled up a due date calculator online, and it allowed me to plug in Benaiah's birth date, and it calculated his "estimated date of conception." Then, I went to our AWAA folder in my inbox of my email, and looked at the first email that they sent us saying that we had been accepted into their Ethiopia program...

You've guess it! They were the EXACT SAME DATES! April 29, 2007! Is that cool or what?

God is so awesome to reveal these little details of his plans for our lives!