Saturday, January 30, 2010
Another amazing man, and his lovely wife, helped us to locate our Haitian family as well. They live right here in Winterport, Maine. This man, Sheldon, spoke to Isaac's biofamily, and told us that their home is in ruins. He came home from Haiti yesterday and wishes to speak to us after he settles in. I am very much looking forward to what he has to say. We are hoping to learn of their needs, and any other needs we can help to meet in their village ... as Halis is still planning his trip there for February.
Now that we have 100% confirmation that the Metellus family is alive and well, we have removed their information and pictures from this site in an effort to try to keep Isaac's adoption story as private as possible. Thank goodness we took a chance and put their info out into the world as that is how we were able to locate them.
Thank you all ... for your love, prayers, thoughts ... and for your continued support of Haiti.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
January 27, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
128 Hammond Street
Bangor, Maine 04401
Contact: Jodi Renshaw (207)385-3940
Silent Auction Fundraiser has Local Ties to Haitian Victims
Saturday, February 6th, 2010, Bangor, Maine – Studio 36 announces a Silent Auction Fundraiser to help support the victims of the devastating Haitian earthquake. The public is invited to gather at 128 Hammond Street in downtown Bangor to view a wide array of interesting and artistic items donated by local artisans and businesses. The Silent Auction includes photography, paintings, hand sewn items and handcrafted Native American jewelry, sculpture and basketry. You will also have a chance to bid on a digital camera donated by Bangor Photo, gift certificates from local businesses, and a variety of celebrity signed items highlighted by a signed copy of a Stephen King novel. Bidding will start at 4:00 and close at 8:00pm and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to Haitian Roots, Hearts with Haiti and Yele, which are all Haitian run organizations.
For event coordinator Jodi Renshaw, the events in Haiti have hit very close to home. Her son Issac was born in Haiti. Jodi and her Husband Halis adopted Issac in 2006 at which time they made a vow to help support Issac’s birth family and to maintain a relationship with them in every way they could. Jodi owns and operates Studio 36 and recognized the opportunity to leverage her business and connections to the local art community to help raise much needed relief funds for the Haitian victims. Bring your loose change to the auction as Issac, who is four years old, has started his own fundraising effort by collection coins. So far he has raise about $200 and has a goal to reach $1,000.
During the Silent Auction Fundraiser the Ipanema Bar & Grill on 10 Broad Street in Downtown Bangor will host an authentic Haitian Dinner. Proceeds from the dinner will be added to the funds raised by the Silent Auction. Diners are encouraged to take their evening meal at Ipanema Bar & Grill which is within walking distance of Studio 36 and the Silent Auction.
For more information on this event please contact Jodi Renshaw at 207-385-3940 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leaky Faucet: An example of some of the artwork that has been submitted to the silent auction. Photograph by JLR Photography.
Isaac: Isaac Renshaw-Sirimoglu of Bangor, was born in Haiti and is holding a coin drive to support Haitian relief efforts.
Isaac and Daddy: Isaac Renshaw-Sirimoglu and his Dad, Halis Sirimoglu of Bangor. Isaac was born in Haiti and is holding a coin drive to support Haitian earthquake relief efforts. Halis will be flying to Haiti in February in order to assist loved ones in the rebuilding of their homes.
This press release was written and donated by Jason Brown ... a friend to us and to the people of Haiti. Thank you Jason. xo
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
However, though I am hopeful that Ashly is alive and well after Haiti's recent earthquakes ... I honestly do not know her fate. Nor does Haitian Roots at this point --- though I absolutely know that they are working feverishly to find all the children that are sponsored by their organization.
Here is yet another way in which the tragedy in Haiti hits home. So many of you helped to sponsor this sweet little girl ... now I also ask you to pray for her and her family ... along with prayers for all the children of Haiti.
And please - help us to help Haitian Roots to continue their amazing work in Haiti. Please consider contributing an item to our upcoming silent auction ... to be held from 4pm - 8pm on Sat, February 6th at Studio 36 in downtown Bangor. We have collected some amazing artwork, local gift certificates, fun items, etc. for the event. And the The Ipanema Bar & Grill will be serving a Haitian dinner at the same time as our event ... with all proceeds from both events to benefit various Haitian relief organizations (Haitian Roots, Hearts with Haiti & Yele).
And perhaps more importantly - please attend! And tell all your friends to attend! Not only will you be able to bid on some gorgeous artwork and handiwork from various local artists (as well as signed books, cameras, services, etc) ... but you can also enjoy a wonderful Haitian meal ... and support fundraising that will go straight to Haiti (100%). That will be a Saturday well spent!
We hope to see you there. This - as I have stated before - is personal. We are ONE. Just look at little Miss Ashly. She went to school because of some of YOU. Now please help her people to rebuild those schools, among so many other things that need to be done.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I need to make an apology here, and hope that I do it justice. I received an e-mail from a woman the other day that struck a very tender nerve in me. She was questioning my adoption story ... and to my mind was seriously overstepping her bounds. Her questioning suggested that Halis and I are not Isaac's "real" family ... among other things. When I "googled" her name, I found that she writes some very anti-adoption blog posts and poetry. So, I lashed out at her - in what I thought was a well-reasoned and fairly respectful response. However, good friends ... and my own aversion to conflict ... has me rethinking the delivery of my response.
I posted my response, and her name, on this blog. Not for long ... as I thought better of it very quickly ... but for long enough. It was a classless move that stemmed from a "Mother-Bear" reaction. I will not make excuses for it, but I will share what was my intent.
As many blog readers know, I have recently put some very sensitive information regarding our son's adoption out into the Universe in the hopes of finding his Haitian biofamily in the aftermath of their terrible earthquake. It was a gut-wrenching decision for me, because I believe that adoption stories should only be shared by the children involved - at their own will & in their own time. I made the decision to share some of his story - here on this blog & by speaking to a Bangor Daily News reporter in hopes that it would help us to find his biofamily. And it all did bear fruit ... as through sharing our story, we have found two leads in Petit-Goave who believe they know our family and believe them to be alright. (This is VERY exciting news to be sure and would not have happened were it not for this blog & for the newspaper article). So, I do not regret my decision to do so. But I honestly did not expect the backlash of negative and ignorant comments and questions I would receive by making our story public (however, please note that the positive help and comments have far outweighed the negative). Most people completely understood the sensitivity of our story ... but some seemingly did not. My response to the aforementioned woman was a gut reaction to protecting our family from further questioning ... that is why I made it public.
I apologize for posting my response here. I apologize for sharing her name. And I apologize for turning anyone off with my anger. To know me is to know that I am not at all quick to anger. But in this incredibly sensitive time for our family, I spoke out in anger before I thought deeply on how to respond to the questioner. When I first clicked the "Publish Post" button, I truly thought I was acting reasonably. I now know I was acting in anger & fear. And anything done in fear and anger is not good. Period.
It appears that several people do have some questions about our story now that it has been made public ... as there are many parts of it that they don't understand ... yet would like to. So, in a future post, I will take the time to address those questions that are respectful and within the boundaries that I have set for our family.
Many of you sent me e-mails in encouragement of my response to that woman. And I don't negate your feelings on the subject at all. The content and intention of the e-mail is not what I am apologizing for. I think it is very important to protect adoption, share info on it, and enlighten some folks regarding their false ideas of adoption, etc. But I could have done it better. And I cetainly should not have called her out publicly. I would be mortified if the roles were reversed.
I ask anyone who read that post to please forgive me for it. I also seek forgiveness from the woman involved. Perhaps a better dialogue on the subject would help her to understand the beauty of adoption. I would be open for such a dialogue.
Also - once our Haitian family is found, I will be deleting all of Isaac's adoption info from this blog - as was always my intention.
NOW - Let us ALL PLEASE move on to doing EVERYTHING we can to HELP THE HAITIAN PEOPLE IN THEIR GREATEST TIME OF NEED.
So much GOOD is happening ... and I would like to focus on that from here on ...
We have some new & exciting contributions to our charity fundraiser for our favorite Haitian charities. I look forward to posting about them asap. Meanwhile, thank you for all your support, love and understanding.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Thank you so very much to all of you who are doing what you can for Haiti at this time. This earthquake ... and all the subsequent aftershocks are causing unimaginable suffering in the lives of people who already were struggling to survive.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I am so very happy and humbled by the outpouring of support for our upcoming charity auction to benefit various Haitian relief organizations. Here are a list of contributions made thus far (in no particular order):
* Signed copy of Small Worlds: Adopted Sons, Pet Piranhas, And Other Mortal Concerns donated by the author.
* $25 Gift Certificate to Pro Libris Bookstore donated by Eric Furry.
* Handmade Waldorf doll featured in Meg McElwee's upcoming book created and donated by Meg McElwee of Sew Liberated.
* Signed photographs of "Crazy James" and other Big Brother 10 stars donated by James Zinkand.
* An Elephant Sanctuary t-shirt donated by The Elephant Sanctuary.
* A handmade necklace by nationally renowned native artist Jason Brown donated by Jason himself.
* A handmade sweet grass sewing basket created by Donna Brown (an amazing native artist in her own right / also the wife of Jason Brown) donated by Donna herself.
* A photographic art piece by Liz Grandmaison donated by Liz herself.
* A photographic art piece by Jessie Fields donated by Jessie herself.
* A portrait session for one by JLR Photography of Studio 36 donated by me.
* 2 full Preschool curriculum guides on CD-Rom by Itty Bitty Bookworms donated by Tara Rison.
* A gift certificate to Eat More Kale.com donated by Bo - the Eat More Kale guy.
* A handmade "Party in a Bag" created and donated by Kelly of Wood Sprite Hollow.
* The Ipanema Bar & Grill is going to be hosting an event for our fundrasier on Feb 7th. Details to follow.
And oh so much more is in the works. Our friends at Bangor Photo are going to help ... as well as some amazing local artists who are making pieces specifically for this effort. I have also put in word with some Maine "celebs" and am awaiting confirmation of some interesting goodies to add to our auction. In the words of Liz Grandmaison, "Let's Rock This Thing!".
I have yet to go knocking on the doors of area businesses --- but that will happen asap. If you have offered an item/service and do not see it on this list, please let me know. AND/OR if you know of anyone who may be interested in donating an item, please let me know asap.
All items can be sent to:
Jodi Renshaw / 1746 Stillwater Ave / Bangor ME 04401
Auction will be held at Studio 36, 128 Hammond Street, Bangor on Feb 6th. Time as yet to be decided. Absentee bids will be accepted via this blog (details to follow).
Thank you all so very much for your support of this country that is in such dire need.
In Love & Peace,
Monday, January 18, 2010
There is so much to say about this man, but I feel at a loss for words. I ask you to please watch this short video to get an idea of who he is --- and to see the amazing rescue he received by one of his friends --- as Bill was severely hurt in the recent earthquake in Haiti.
Friends tell me that he is doing very well now in the U.S. We are so very thankful. Our upcoming fundraising event will benefit Bill's organization as well as Haitian Roots. If you would like to make a donation straight to Bill's orphanage, please go to www.heartswithhaiti.org.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
... but I am SO very thankful they did.
If you would like to help them rebuild and/or learn of the wonderful things that have happened within those walls, please visit http://www.heartswithhaiti.org/.
To all the St Joseph's family ... we love you so very much. And we are so very thankful that you are alive and well. Help is on the way.
UPDATE: Sadly, I just learned that an American guest who was staying at the St Josephs Home for Boys (pictured above) was killed during the quake. I am very sorry to report this and will update as I can.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
More details will follow. For now, we are asking anyone and everyone to consider donating an item of significant value to the cause. Artists, businesses, photographers, people with treasures in their attics, and maybe a bestselling author or two (hmmm... perhaps our own Stephen King?) ... all are invited to contribute to the effort in any way possible.
We are hoping to host the event on Saturday, February 6, 2009 (tentative date), so please keep that in mind if you are wanting to contribute and/or attend.
I (JLR Photography) will be contributing some fine art photography prints. I have also received word that one of my favorite local photographers, Liz Grandmaison, will be contributing some of her prints as well (gorgeous to be sure!). Another friend, Rebekkah Martin, will be contributing some handmade goods. And Samuel Kuykudall will contribute a piece of artwork he is making specifically for this event. Oh .... and so much more is already in the works! Whether you are contributing or not, you will want to attend this event!
I will keep you posted on all efforts for this event here on this blog and on Facebook. Please contact me with any suggestions, ideas, offerings, etc. at email@example.com.
All donation items can be mailed to:
Jodi Renshaw, 1746 Stillwater Ave, Bangor, ME 04401 USA
Let's Make a REALLY BIG Impact on the lives of our Caribbean neighbors. Let's make it personal --- because it truly is.
UPDATE: If you have rec'd a link to this post - in request of your help with this project - please note that all monies are going directly to HeartsWithHaiti (see here), Yele Haiti, and Haitian Roots. These are all organizations that my husband and I have personal connection to as well as direct contact with.
Also - all contributors will receive publicity for their contributions via local media. I KNOW this is not why you are assisting, but please accept is as our way of saying THANKS. When sending us a package, please include any promotional materials you wish for us to display.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Last night, unimaginable horrors took place in Haiti ... and our hearts are so heavy for all involved. By now - most of you know of the devastating earthquake that took place there. Perhaps you have seen footage that has brought you to tears, or seen pictures that you wish you had never seen. Or maybe you read about it and did not quite relate to it. In any case, surviving in Haiti is near impossible for some even on the best of days. Some of the things I had witnessed there will forever push me toward doing all I can to help the Haitian people to help themselves (i.e. HaitianRoots.org, HeartsWithHaiti.org, Yele.org, etc). Haitians are amazing, resilient people with a fascinating culture worthy of much respect. I have always maintained a high level of hope for Haiti --- but now --- now I am so scared.
I worry most for my son's birth family. I know nothing of their fate at this point. They are our family. And my heart bleeds for them as I beg God to keep them safe ... wondering if prayers are really worth anything. I mean, does "God" only spare those who have people praying for them? Does "God" pick and choose which babies will live through this devastation, which will suffer for a while, and which have already died. I don't write this here to have a religious debate with anyone (in fact - please don't go there). I write this because I am tired of hearing, "Oh, thank God my ________ was spared. Praise be to Him who has spared my _________." That kind of talk confuses me ... as what is the parent who lost a child supposed to think? That her baby wasn't worthy of God's special grace? That her prayers weren't enough? It does not make sense to me to praise God for saving a life ... and not to curse him for taking one. There are hundreds and hundreds of children under rubble tonight. Some crying out still ... while others are silenced. What of these children?
Wow - I had no idea that when I began this post, I was going to veer off in that sort of "Where-is-God-in-this" type of talk. I have faith. I do. And I have seen amazing miracles in my life. But I get so frustrated with those who talk as though their 'righteous' God has spared their loved ones of some horrific fate ... and praise be to Him ... while others are seemingly forsaken. If my child were lost in an orphanage crash in Haiti right now --- I would want to smack the people who are "praising God for sparing their children" --- and would be shouting out --- "What about MY child?!".
I am very thankful to hear that all of the children in Isaac's former orphanage are alive and well. This brings great comfort ... as I know several people who are waiting for these children to come home to them. And I am so happy that their worries have been replaced by joy. At the same time though, I am reading (on various Haitian adoption forums I belong to) about orphanages that crashed to the ground --- leaving little, if any, survivors. And then my relief turns to utter dismay. I cannot imagine the heartbreak of these parents ... not to mention the Haitian Mamas & Papas who will soon bury their children ... or the countless children who are now orphaned, etc, etc. It is all too much to bear.
Some have mentioned to me that they are thankful my little man is here - safe with me - during this awful time. And I understand that thought, I do. I have held him and cried. Yes, I am thankful he is here, safe, warm, fed, loved, etc. But I cannot begin to tell you the immense pain I feel that his three biological sisters are out there somewhere in this chaos ... that his bio-Parents, Aunties, Uncles, and Grandparents are unaccounted for. Isaac is clueless to this. But Halis and I are not. We want so desperately to keep this family safe. First, because we love them. They have created the most amazing human being I will ever know ... and they handed him over to us to love and care for. But almost equally, I want to keep them safe because I love my son enough to want him to know them. I do not want him to miss out on an opportunity to hug Marjorie and to thank her for his life. I do not want Isaac to miss out on having some laughs with two older sisters who look exactly like him. But I have little control over any of this. Every hurricane and flood has shown me that I have no control over their fate ... and limited ways in which to learn of their safety. But this --- oh this --- is so much bigger. This earthquake is going to devastate for a long time. Medical care, food, water, shelter, communication ... all these things have been horribly compromised. We thought Hurricane Katrina was bad ... well, I must tell you that on a good day in Haiti ... it looks like Hurricane Katrina has paid a visit.
Ugh ... I am so far off track now. I began writing this message to tell you all where I believe are the best places for folks to donate to. Prayers are great --- but money is necessary too. And here is my list of reputable organizations that I hope you all can give at least $5 to.
* http://www.yele.org/ - they are already on the ground and getting things done to rescue people. Your money will go directly to earthquake rescue &response. No "middle man".
* http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/ - I have a friend who was involved in these missions --- and wow, let me tell you - these people get stuff done!
* http://www.heartswithhaiti.org/ - operated by my good friend Father Michael --- the St Josephs Home for Boys is a refuge for street children and ex-slaves --- the work done here is amazing. We have seen it first hand. Sadly, their building has collapsed and they will need to rebuild from the bottom up (it was a 4 or 5 floor building).
* http://www.haitianroots.com/ - this organization is very dear to me --- please check it out. I am not sure how they are going to assist with any earthquake relief efforts, but I assume they will need some funding to fly out to Haiti to check on all the children in their programs.
Thank you for anything you can do for the people of Haiti. I promise you - that whatever you can do might literally SAVE LIVES.
And although I spoke cynically about the benefits of prayer ... I will continue to pray earnestly. I will send heaps of positive thoughts ... and hopes for more miracles. I beg you to do the same.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
So here goes ... please enjoy (at my expense) this blast from the past (Dec. 1997) ...
MY FIRST SNOWMAN.
As a New Englander and as a lover of nature and whimsy, I am fully embarrassed to admit that I have never --- in my 34 years of life --- created or participated in the creation of a snowman or snow-woman. Apparently, this is a fact that I have never shared with my husband --- of 13 years --- until this weekend. I think that he is now wrestling with shock and pity. Apparently, he had a dad that thoroughly enjoyed making a snowman after each snowfall. I, on the other hand, had Bob (some of you know exactly what that means and know that I still love him dearly despite his lack of parenting skills).
Monday, January 11, 2010
We thought we followed all the instructions necessary to make some 'killer' cookies. We waited anxiously by the oven ... eating leftover chocolate chips ... and licking spoons (when the eggs come from my hens, we lick the batter with wild abandon - salmonella be damned).
... because this is what we were faced with ...
I am thinking that if this ever happened to Amy - she would mold the moist cookie crumbles in to some fantastic sculpture --- likely that of a squirrel or rabbit (read the book). But I felt so defeated by my lack of acing the most basic of baking recipes ... that I could not conjure up any humor in it. Amy would have though. I know it.
I know now that I will need to return to this recipe again soon. I feel the need to master it before heading on to such lofty goals as Mr. Mace's Mushroom Casserole.
So, if you are following this "Amy Sedaris: I Like You. Blog Series" in order to gain some serious Martha Stewart type cooking & entertaining tips ... I have nothing for you. Apparently, at the age of 36, I can't even get cookies right. But if you would like to follow me on this journey of self-discovery through baking/cooking/entertaining ... then by all means come along for the ride. It seems as though it is going to be an interesting one.
Friday, January 8, 2010
All my journals, pins, magnets and handsewn goodies have been reduced by $1-$5 each. Sort of an end-of-the-year sale.
It is not too late to grab some goodies though. I especially love the Darth Vader pouch I made with my own fabric design! There are 2 left if you want to grab one :)
Grab one or grab them all :)
Thursday, January 7, 2010
One night, I picked up my copy of "I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence" by Amy Sedaris ... and a lightbulb went off in my brain. YES! (I said to self..) YES! I WILL COOK, AND ENTERTAIN MY WAY THROUGH THIS ENTIRE BOOK OVER 2010. AND I WILL BLOG ABOUT IT. GENIUS!
So, I made the Chocolate Cake recipe on page 58. Then I called my friend Missy to tell her about it. I was so excited. Her response was that she figured my energy for this idea would last about a month. (Aren't friends great?). And then she told me about Julia & Julia. I was deflated. Apparently my idea has all been done before. Of course I know that there is rarely anything new under the sun ... so I was fine with this all being done before ... however, I was deflated by hearing that a major motion picture had been made about the true story of a woman who blogged her way through a Julia Child cookbook ... and that nearly everyone in America has heard about it. This would mean, that if I went ahead with my idea, I would seem to be riding on the coat tails of someone else's idea ... and not my own. I hate that. I am ORIGINAL, DAMN IT! I can't help it if my genius was stolen even before I got to it! (breathe, Jodi, breathe).
Anywhoo --- To heck with it --- I am doing it anyway. I think Amy Sedaris would approve. In fact, I think she would be proud that someone took on this pop culture "cook & blog" idea with a bit of sass and a bottle of whiskey (she highly recommends drinking while cooking. I agree. Cooking sucks without it).
And if anyone else out there has decided to blog their way through Amy's book --- I SO thought of it first. And my Dad is bigger than your Dad. So there.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
A reminder to us all ... especially to myself ...
I know Halis and I have more children out there in this world. I may need to replay this video over and over to remind myself to take the time to go out there and find them.
What about you? Is there room in your heart and home to give a child a forever family? You might be surprised at what your heart tells you ... if you reach in far enough. Love is all that truly matters in this world. Love - so simple - so powerful - so complete.
I thank God for adoption every day. Maybe you can too.