Monday, August 27, 2012

My collection is growing (and matching grant update)

Four-year-olds are like potato chips--you can't have just one. I would like to introduce you to Gertie, my second prayer warrior child.
Isn't she beautiful? Gertie has a heart condition (I think, based on someone else's experience translating the translationese on her page, that it's an atrial septal defect with pulmonary hypertension), a gall bladder problem (no idea what), and a kidney infection. All of these, as far as I know, are or can be fairly dangerous if not treated. She needs a family fast! Please share her around, and please join me in praying for her as well.

Gertie's smile spoke to me at once, and I knew I wouldn't be able to stop thinking about her, so I figured why not make it official. Then I noticed that she is in the same country as Kurt and was born in the same month of the same year. Wouldn't they make great adopted almost-twins?

Matching grant update: Kurt met his matching grant because of the generosity of the community. Thank you to everyone who donated! The check with matching funds has been mailed and should be posted within a week or two.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Matching grant for Kurt!

My precious Kurt has a matching grant! With a matching grant, someone has promised to donate a certain amount of money once that amount of money has already been donated. Kurt's is for $50, which is not huge, but every little bit helps! Once $50 has been donated to his fund, another $50 will be added. He needs to hit $111. After matching funds have been added, he will be at $161! When I first started praying for Kurt in early February, his grant fund was EMPTY. Let's not miss this chance for Kurt.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Teamwork Tuesday: Kurt!

Yes, today's Teamwork Tuesday child is my precious Kurt. Those of you who know me know that this child is the Reece's Rainbow child that I love most. If I were eligible to adopt right now, I'd be in process for this child. (Yes, in between classes and homework, and yes, in the knowledge that he would be home before I graduate.)

So, little Kurt. He is almost five years old (his birthday is in September), and he has "very mild" cerebral palsy. CP is a non-progressive condition, and Kurt appears to be in great shape. He can stand up by himself, and he doesn't seem to have problems with his arms. (Maybe his left arm is a little pulled up, but from what I know of CP, this is a problem that physical therapy/stretching can greatly improve or even get rid of.)

Kurt's legs don't seem to be greatly affected either. Here's a photo that shows him either jumping or running, I'm not sure which. He's unlikely to be getting good medical care in his baby house, so with the care that he could get in the US, I wouldn't be surprised if he presented as a physically typical child.

Kurt's Reece's Rainbow profile is here. I've blogged about Kurt before here, and you can find posts from my blog that mention him here. Other people are writing about Kurt for Teamwork Tuesday, and here are their blogs:

Love Leaving Legacy
You Will Go Out With Joy
Tripping Differently
Saving Emmitt and Victoria
Imagery of My Heart
Wyatt's Warriors
One Child One Voice

Leave your link in the comments if I haven't linked to you yet!

Please consider whether you are Kurt's family. Please donate to his fund. Share posts about him on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest board, or social medium of choice. And, most importantly, pray for him. Pray that he finds a family soon. I would love to adopt Kurt, but I pray that I don't get the chance to try. I would hate it if he had to wait 2-4 years for me. Please help me keep him from waiting that long.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

An open letter to summer camp parents

(I work at a chess camp, but most of this letter is probably relevant to other summer camps as well.)

Dear Parents,

Hi, I'm one of the coaches at your son's/daughter's chess camp. Your child is not causing any problems. However, there are a few things you could do that would make my life much easier.

Please don't bring your child too early. I know you have two jobs and six other children in twelve different camps (eleven across the continental US and one in Hawaii). I'm expecting kids to come before camp starts. But bringing your child by at 12:20 when camp starts at 1 is excessive. And if you bring your child early and I'm not there, don't sigh at me and say that you were wondering if you were in the right place when I come in at 12:45. Yes, the room with the chess boards and the sign on the door that says CHESS CAMP is the chess camp. Sorry that I'm eating lunch. Wait, no I'm not. And trust me, your child doesn't want me to take care of him all afternoon without my having eaten.

Don't try to have an important conversation with me when I'm clearly doing something else. See all those kids with their hands up? I have to do something about them. See that girl clutching her crotch? I have to take her to the bathroom. See that little boy taking off before his mother arrives? Gotta fix that too. "Hi, how are you" is great. "Jimmy just loves chess camp" is fine too. "Kevin has been coming home in tears because Stephanie makes fun of him for losing" is not a conversation that I can have in between checking checkmates and making sure that everyone is signed out. If it's more than chit-chat, either ask to talk to me for a minute, at which point I'll get another coach to cover for me and we can step out in the hall, or send me an email, or call me in the evening. (I once had a parent send a letter with her child in the morning. She then sent the father to pick the child up, and the father had no idea of the issue that led to the letter, so we couldn't talk about it. This is unnecessarily silly and non-confrontational. Just talk to us.)

Don't expect me to know who your kid is. There are 35 kids registered for this camp. Each of them has two parents, a grandparent, a friend's mom, and two different babysitters. I don't have a great memory, and I simply can't keep track of who belongs to whom like that. So if you walk in on Monday afternoon and say, "How's he doing?", don't expect me to immediately have an answer full of details on your child's skill and improvement. I don't know who your child is!

Trust me that I have at least some idea of what I'm doing. If you tell me your child is a very advanced player, and I put him in the intermediate group, I'm probably right. I actually do know how to play chess. That's why I work here, not at McDonald's. If you think that your child's placement is wrong, we can discuss this. Key word: discuss. Don't just inform me that I'm incompetent. Yes, I might have made a mistake, or I might have decided to place a borderline child down with the intent to move him up later in the week. But your child may just not be as advanced as you think.

Don't blame me when things are your fault. I've had a parent angry because no one told her that the location of the camp was changed. We apologized, explaining that we had sent an email. She snapped, "Oh, well I got an email, but I didn't bother to READ IT." I'm sorry that you came to the wrong building, but at this point, it's really not my fault anymore.

Don't be late. If you remember only one rule, remember this one. I understand that traffic jams happen, I understand that Google maps can send you through gated neighborhoods and streets that don't exist. Please leave a little early if you don't know where you're going. I do it. So can you. And if you can't make it on time, pull over and call me. 9 times out of 10, your child is worried about you, and informing us that you're stuck in traffic means he knows you're safe. (If you are late, apologize when you show up. If you aren't sorry, just fake it. You should be.)

Lastly, talk to me. I'm fairly reasonable, and I am willing to work with you. If your child absolutely needs to get here at 12:20, I can bring the sign in sheet to lunch and she can join us in the cafeteria. If you have a chronic problem with an aspect of the camp, tell me that on Tuesday, not on Friday. I actually have had parents say on Friday, "He liked the games, but I wish the lessons had been harder. He told me every day that he was bored." If you had told me that on Tuesday, we could have done something about us. He never told us he was bored.

Anyway, I want to reiterate that your child is (usually) a joy to have in class.

Sincerely, Your Child's Chess Coach