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Friday, May 31, 2013

How wonderful it is....."I have to share"

I have to share. Today was one of our home school field trips. Seven of us went mini-golfing. Mini-golfing to most is a easy event. Even if it takes us 3-6 times to dunk our golf ball into the hole, it's not that difficult. For our littlest daughter, just holding the club is a task, let alone swinging it and managing to hit the ball. We make sure she gets the opportunity to try anything at least once. She enjoyed herself for the first few holes then it was a game over. She was more interested in the atmosphere around her. You're probably wondering why I've decided to share this.......I've been on this kick lately that all of us, it doesn't matter who we are, we can experience, we can challenge ourselves and we can live. If our daughter can, I can and we all can. My other point that I would like to share is, individuals with special needs are amazingly beautiful and determined! Our daughter has enhanced all our lives and our mission is to enhance hers. Many children waiting to be adopted have special needs. Again, it's not for everyone although if you're interested, we're here with our open home to visit first hand and to answer any questions you might have. There was a time for us that we were apprehensive to adopt children with more needs, we weren't educated and experienced. Now we wouldn't have it any other way. Our children with special needs taught us. Especially our littlest daughter, (without her knowledge) she taught the rest of her siblings compassion for difference. Most children these days don't develop these characteristics until well into adulthood. I wanted to share, how wonderful it is witnessing our children who are compromised challenging themselves, how wonderful it is on how all our lives have been enhanced accepting each other.

"Roses are red, vioets are blue, you the best parents, I sure do love you"
(As written on the below gift)

I have to share.....because it's moments like these that really define on the "why" we adopt.

"And....."Kids can't wait to have a family"
It helps them grow & spread their wings in the most amazing ways....
"We've witnessed it!"

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Swing the bat!

When life throws curve balls at you, I believe to swing the bat. I know many families with different scenarios in their life. Every day can look like a new day, some days are upside down and some days are more predictable. Taking one day at a time should be the only tactic while believing that your future goals will exist with determination and the positive will to succeed. I have to remind myself that stress and worry is a waste of time, there is no point until there is a point. Throughout our lives we are constantly making decisions, all over the spectrum of decision making. Lately for myself I'm feeling like there's a huge decision to make coming in our future and I really need to question our lives, my life and what's the right decision for everyone. Our life for over twenty three years has been huge decision making. From my first born, to leaving my first husband, to marrying again, risking my own life to birth our third birth child to adoption has been huge life changing decisions. We don't take decisions lightly. We've made a few errors a long our way but leaving us with lessons learned. Sometimes the hard way. (For example, selling our dream home was a huge mistake) Becoming a large family wasn't an easy decision. We knew we wanted to adopt many children but we didn't think we would have sixteen. For us now, it's not really hard to make a decision to adopt a child, I find adding is easier then taking away but there is a limit. Our life is wrapped around our children. I honestly can't say where our limit is. We have legally sixteen children but we're only actively parenting twelve. We now have four young adults. So our capabilities, our experience and our developed resources could suggest we could adopt one more if the Ministry allows. The stigma still lurks in the air around large families. The how, why and the unexplainable questions that arise and the outside worries of our capabilities will always remain. Not just ours, it surrounds all large families. How can you manage that many children and their needs?'s a 24/7 parenting dedication. It's not for everyone. It is for us. Do we have curve balls? You bet we do. We have our challenges and when I write that we swing the bat, I mean we face our challenges head on hoping with a positive outcome - always moving forward, hitting that curve ball out into left field! My thoughts today I wanted to share.......I know some special friends that need to hit that ball out of their way. We're never alone. Leaving with this conclusion, life is meant to be challenging. We need to experience, learn and not to just follow our hearts, to follow our gut feelings and seek support when needed from positive people. We all will move forward regardless.....and for our life changing decisions within our future - we already know our answers, it's just fine tuning them.

"There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. That little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative." - Robert Collier.

"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing" - Theodore Roosevelt.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Sacred Waterfall

On the weekend I went and re-certed my first aid tickets. OEC, CPR C & AED as well as challenged the OFA 3 course. The group I always re-cert with is the National Ski Patrol Association and Victoria Justice Institute. It's a great group of dedicated first aiders and examiners that go out into the wilderness and hike. During the hikes we train and are surprised with different scenarios from minor to code 3's with full packaging. When we're not training and being tested, we are extreme hiking through muck, tree roots with up and down inclines. I love everything about how we train, and where we hike. We hiked over 40 km this past weekend, 21 kilometers I carried approximately 150 lbs of collected rocks. I am that crazy. There was warning signs all over about bear and cougar sightings. A funny story....I was in the lead and the only wild animal I encountered was a squirrel running straight for me. I don't think the squirrel saw me, but I screamed, "SQUIRREL" While everyone else laughed..... All I thought about was the Christmas Vacation movie with Chevy Chase where the squirrel jumped out of their Christmas tree. I thought I was going to be attacked by a squirrel! Our group had another laugh on me while I fell down a bank getting away with only a skinned elbow. It was funny. Not very often do I fall with a backpack full of rocks! Below is a few pictures of many that I took during the weekend. Our Island is amazingly beautiful.

The swinging bridges
This mama swinging
 This mama found a great tree to rest under
And a tree to balance on
More swings
The Sacred Waterfall hidden in a cave
Finding this sacred waterfall was amazing. This waterfall is located off of Sombrio Beach on the Pacific Marine Circle Route. One of the beaches off of the Juan De Fuca hiking trail. We learned something from another first aider about this area. Years ago, people lived on this beach. In 1997 the Government served eviction notices because the trail became the new Juan De Fuca trail and they were cleaning up. I thought how amazing living in hand sewn homes built along the shores. See, we need to get out, experience and educate ourselves. If we don't, we're missing out completely on what's just around the next corner, just waiting to be discovered. I hiked many kilometers. Although there is points along any hiking trail to get in and out. For Sombrio Beach there is a long road access in with another approximate 4 km to walk. My mission is bringing my family, yes - all my children including our daughter in a wheelchair to this waterfall. If I can haul rocks, I can haul all our children too. My belief is nothing is impossible. Stay positive, focus your mind and reach for it. I personally love my life because not a day will go by without experiencing and education. Don't waste your life not trying because it's better to try and fail then not trying at all. Like the rocks I collected and some were very large.....I had one first aider say to me, "Put some back, you're going to hurt yourself" I managed and in the lead with all my rocks. After that I was given a tough mudder bandanna. My point is live; teach your children to live experiencing the great outdoors, and that they can do anything. That waterfall is touching distance away!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My wish remains possible.....

Our week was busy with medical appointments and multiple hospital visits. You will never know what one day will bring. The above picture is our second oldest son signing his younger brother's cast. During basketball he fell with a out-stretched arm and broke his radius bone in his wrist that required realignment and casting for 6-8 weeks. This adds x-ray imaging during the healing process. Right now, we are sleep depriving our littlest daughter for her EEG to end our week. Another early morning and a hospital visit. Funny.........we know some of the nurses, a few doctors and we now joke that we're building our own little professional community for the "Hohnstein's" I personally know one emerg nurse, we used to work with each other on our local mountain's first aid room while another emerg doctor is our neighbor. Small world and an interesting week we've had.

Tonight (Thursday night) we had all our children home for dinner. All 16. This hasn't happened in years. It was peaceful, socially engaging and while standing back witnessing our whole family together - I was proud. It reminded me about my one wish. A family portrait with all of us. This would be the best gift my children can provide me, a family portrait for our living room. I wrote about how important, how significant this portrait would be in a past post and I still look at our empty fire place mantle hoping that one day it will hang. I never thought all 18 of us would be together again..........and I think it's about time my wish is hung by the fireplace "hopefully" soon. For now, some rest before an early morning and a busy weekend.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Goals are registered!

It's official. I registered for the Victoria Good life Fitness half marathon on October 13, 2013. A total of 21.0975 km! 

After that.....Tough Mudder for 2014! 

Also remember, "The Island Team" is on June 22nd, a run, walk or roll for adoption. 1-5 km. If you're interested in supporting AFABC and/or participating please contact me, or Donna Falconer at The run is located at the Maffeo Sutton Park in Nanaimo starting at 1:30-3:30 with snacks and drinks provided afterwords. Come out and meet other adoptive families.

Also, December 14th is our annual Christmas party, mark it on your calendars! It's a event not to be missed! Details will be posted in the fall.

"You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give" - E.O Wilson.

Our children need all we can give - as they follow in our footsteps.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

One day at a time

In a few weeks I'm heading over to Children's hospital for a sleep study on our littlest daughter who was recently there for other testing. Before that, this week she's having an EEG. Which is a electroencephalogram to detect abnormalities of the brain. (Detecting seizures) We are 100% sure she's having seizures that effect her daily living. The sleep study is interesting. For the next couple of weeks I'm documenting her sleeping, her awake periods, down times extra. At first I thought I can do this while remembering getting up at night. By the next morning I have no idea when I awoke during the night, let alone to document. So now my best friend is next to my pillow. Take your eyes off of pooh bear, it's my little pad of paper and marker. Funny, I came out with my written times from last night - it was a understandable scribble. The purpose of the sleep study and the EEG is to hopefully detect when the seizures are happening, how it's affecting our daughter and coming to a conclusion on how it will be addressed. Is there a pattern? During a sleep study they monitor brain activity, eye movement, muscle tone, and heart rhythm. As her mother I know when she's had a significant seizure where it affects her week. It's like stepping back 3-4 steps, starting over in a glaze of unknowns. Raising a child with complex needs isn't easy although you start to adapt, seizures becomes a just moves on accordingly and you never know one day to the next how it's going to be but you accept nonetheless. (It's life as we know it) It becomes "ok" I was talking recently with another parent that is worried about feeding tubes. I know how they feel. When you're approached and told that your child needs to be on a feeding tube, it's disheartening because you feel like you've failed. You didn't meet your child's needs. Everyone goes through a grieving process. I know when our daughter eventually is on a feeding tube, it's going to relieve most of our stress. 24/7 we maintain her diet. That is not only stressful and frustrating, it's time consuming. With a feeding tube, at least you know your child is getting all the nutrients daily that they need. I know this is in our future too, when is the question. Another woman mentioned something to me the other day.....she said, "Your daughter's life will be shorter then most" I was silent. I didn't know how to respond at that exact moment. The conversation was left at that - silence. When I gave myself sometime to think about it - I understand where she was coming from. My daughter with a compromised immune system, seizures, eating difficulties extra.....of course her life could be compromised too. It could. Should I be thinking this way? NO. This is where some peoples' minds are very narrow. I don't believe in limiting a persons ability to live and to experience. I do not believe in believing that life can not survive any challenge because we all have will. We can live, and at least to our fullest potential. I'm a mother that isn't naive although I'm a mother that wants quality and has hope that we all live to the best of our abilities for as long as possible. And our daughter will while happily experiencing absolutely everything. During our documentation and testing hopefully revealing some answers, we are having good times. There is no stopping our family, there is no stopping our daughter because she has the will to "Go go go" as she yells it! And that's exactly what shes going to get. A life of mobility, quality and full of endless experiences. When the bumps in the road arise, we will keep moving forward taking one day at a time. For now, my pooh bear, pad of paper and my daughter is my company at night while remembering, "Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself" And remember to just take one day at a time.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Out of the blue"

Johnny Reid is my favorite singer. Today in a drive thru, a lady purchased my coffee. It wasn't the purchase that touched me, it was the thoughtful gesture. This is something everyone should do for each other every day. Ironically I was listening to this song called "Out of the blue" by Johnny Reid when she bought my coffee. This stranger made my day. This song can mean anything, listening to the lyrics can lift your spirits. A pot of gold can be a waiting child adopted, when no one ever thought a family was possible. Right out of the blue....don't give up, life can turn on a dime! A bucket of love.....what goes around, comes "Paying it forward" as simple as a cup of coffee to as complex as a forever family. Getting through the highs and lows, learning to just let a life moto to remember. I hope you enjoy this song like I do, and remember, life can turn on a dime!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Just a moment

"Please sit down".............I had a revelation today. It's nothing new. Maybe it was just a moment. People keep asking us if we're done adopting. Our answer is, "Yes we are" Although with our last two we didn't actively search to adopt, it just had to happen. We won't actively search to adopt within our future either although if we were asked to adopt - it will always be considered. While doing multiple errands and appointments today I just felt "in love" thinking about all my children, thinking about my life. As challenging as it can be, and it can be very challenging - this is my path. Our family is complex with several (many) diagnoses, we're multicultural, we're large - we are in and out of teenage hood trials - we are a family that most wouldn't consider raising. We're definitely unique. Is my husband and I crazy? Probably. But if crazy is surrounding us with children, witnessing our young adult children succeed through the years of hopeless challenges, it's worth being crazy. I had a moment today, a revelation that we will "never say never" I've heard these three words said before......I have a little secret. Once in awhile, I still sneak and preview children waiting to be adopted. I have children in my mind that I know are still waiting I often think of. See....the way I look at our life is; we are in it "forever" It's always easy to add children especially once you've experienced mostly everything, you already have a large family, a large accommodating home and have the skills to parent lots of children. Then, when you have young adult children moved and potentially moving out on their own - I start thinking, "Mmmm....we're only actively parenting twelve not sixteen anymore" So our capabilities open up for more. lol I know, I know.....I'm just having a moment today. For us, consideration would be adopting siblings of course, although our hearts belong with the more severe needs children. Funny, at one point in my life I cared what others thought. It hurt inside when people would whisper, "Look.....they have another one" Like I didn't hear, like our children were collectibles. Now we walk with pride. Adoption isn't an addiction. It's truly ones path. I can say I'm selfish. My heart opens up endlessly. (I can not close it) I can't explain nor express how I feel, how I love my family. How I do love adoption. After all, adopting brought me our children and our friends in our life. It has grown us in numbers more then I ever could have imagined. It has brought strangers together as family. Adoption is not only unconditional love, it's completely challenging in many levels, it is life transforming for everyone involved. Every child added the family dynamics change. The most rewarding experience for me is, (as their mother) witnessing our children accept another adopted sibling unconditionally. Our children really have compassion for difference, one key element I love for our children to have is compassion for others. They truly live this way. So my moment makes me proud of our family. Large families work because of their experience, and their skills with organization, routines, structure and endless patience. Next time I hear the whispers, "Look....they have another one" I'm going to stop, smile and say, "It's not the last one either" I'm also not going to paint a pretty picture on our path of adoption, remember it's our path and it's not for everybody. Children aren't collectibles, yes they're cute......but they're also broken, adoption also means there was loss, and a past of unknowns that could define their future with unimaginable challenges. If you're interested in adopting, or in our life - just come talk to me. I am happy to discuss the pros and cons. Within our walls there is lots of moments of both. Today, I just felt like our adoption journey is not over. Who knows what the future holds.......I do know I love my life, my family and I'm very proud of all our children for accepting me and my husband as their parents. For accepting each other as their siblings. For all of us coming together through adoption and rising above most odds. We are a family and I love all sixteen of my children.......and I will continue to write and share our experiences, every family has a story.....welcome to ours.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Productive Tuesday!

Marshmallow chocolate carrot cakes
Almond cinnamon buns
Traditional chocolate chip cookies
Cheese sticks
Homemade Caesar Salad
BBQ Chicken Breasts
Dinner being served for our younger crowd
After 11 hrs in/out of the kitchen making food I don't eat,  I deserve my 8th lemon water!
and to end this awesome productive day, a hardcore run up/down notch hill!
"Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food to the body" - Marcus Tullius Cicero

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Balance your life Moms!

I've been contemplating on what to write regarding Mother's day that I haven't already written before. While at Notch Hill for the fourth time this week, I was thinking about how happy I am. Not only do I have two wonderful Mother's of my own, I am privileged to know many, many other Mother's that deserve recognition more then once a year. I was thinking what that recognition, that appreciation can look like. Just the acknowledgment of love is enough. I know for myself, feeling appreciated is a really good feeling. This is where I again want to write on how appreciative I am, and on how much I love my Mother's in my life. "Happy Mother's Day" to you both! Most of us are hard working parents. So while at Notch Hill I was thinking what message for Mother's Day could I share other then "Happy Mother's Day" If you've been following my blog, you know that I believe in taking one hour a day for myself. I've chosen health and fitness. It really uplifts every day. I also understand it's not for everyone. So whatever it is that fancy's you, it's something you should make a daily routine for yourself. I do hear from some that they don't have time, or "I can't" because they don't have the opportunity too. I don't believe this to be true. Start your day earlier, develop the time. My wish this Mother's Day is to start today developing time for you!. Learn to develop a routine in amongst your routines to make yourself happy. I know I'm crazy and as seen above, working out on train tracks is not only a work out it's a balancing act. That's what life is. Mine and my husband's life is our children but we also need each other and ourselves within it - which should be number one. I've learned that parents need to focus on themselves more then they do. So that's my message. Take care of yourself, so you can take care of your children. And show them on how to take care of their happiness's too. I still believe that the great outdoors, building memories, taking photographs, experiencing life with each other is the best medicine. Moms, Dads, parents - don't stop being a child, in our hearts and minds we're young, keep healthy and happy to be great parents, to be great role models!

"As a parent, I have a job as a role model to my children, and by extension, to other young people" - Kareem Abdul-Jabber.

"Happy Mother's Day" to all the wonderful mothers, you deserve more then one day - at least an hour a day everyday!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

You can do it.... if I can!

Over the past year I've been moving into a complete lifestyle change for myself. I've been a vegetarian for over a year now, and moving into 2013 I stepped up my fitness and started making smoothies, eliminating sugars, whites and all the yummy tempting stuff. Although I do have moments (cheats) where I indulge from time to time. Everything in moderation. If you've been following, I usually hike this little local hill 3-4 times a week. Now I can do Notch hill within 30 minutes, my record time! I went up yesterday (Tuesday) and with the heat it was more challenging. I brought water but not enough. So during that time, I cherished the last drop. When you're hot, feeling challenged with a dry mouth - wow, water is your best friend! That last drop was the best tasting water I've ever had. The water temperature was warm and more likely stale! So now a note to self - you can never have enough water! Bring a backup supply! Then that Tuesday evening I went and attended my sisters boot camp. And guess what?! I brought more water! As everyone knows, water is the best drink for your body. I try to drink water all day long. Did you know water composes approximately 70% of our human body mass? Eight glasses per day is recommended and I've over exceeded that adding lemons or limes. If you're interested in loosing weight, always have a glass of water in your hand.
Also this week I started a body cleanse. I am on my third day of a twelve day herbal d-tox. Honestly the d-tox kits are a waste of money. Juicing would have the same effect. Although it's a simple quick solution to jump start and cleanse your metabolism. This cleanse you can eat certain foods such as fish, vegetables, nuts, berries, lemons, beans, eggs, soya milk and quinoa extra. You can't eat whites, sugars, breads, dairy, pasta's, extra. Right up my alley so it shouldn't be too difficult! If you're interested in starting a d-tox cleanse, read the information booklet provided and dedicate yourself even after the twelve days as it's a start to your new lifestyle change.
I will be completely honest, I feel good. Healthier and I have more energy. It's not easy for me either, it's one day at a time - like raising children. Tonight being "slightly" tender from boot camp (haha) I went walking with my granddaughter. During our 2km walk listening to the birds, I explained grandma's heart. Being one month old, completely sleeping, I was talking to myself and I said, "My little grand baby, here we are together walking this world wondering what the future holds. I've learned to take one day at a time. Sweet baby girl, it's a choice this life. Eventually you will see. I wish that everyday is a day worth reminiscing, a day of productivity, a day of supreme health. I will be here for you sweetheart, like I'm here for my own. Count on Grandma, I love you"
I have to be careful. Not to become too attached. After all I'm "Grandma" The picture above is her little hand on mine. So precious, delicate and innocent. Life is beautiful, and we should always treat it that way, with ourselves and each other. Life took me awhile to learn, to appreciate, and to respect - I don't expect our younger generation to really understand the importance but I truly believe in inspiration.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Where did that weekend go!?

On Friday we enjoyed a picnic down at our local beach. To our surprise the band Kumbana Marimba were playing. We sat, had our picnic, danced and bought their CD.
There was a chalk board down at the beach, "Before I die I want to......"
On Saturday I went with a friend to see Delicious Lies at the Chemainus Theatre. It was good. Deception with a master manipulator! (Very "fitting" for our lives).....In the end with several twists and turns, everyone was happy in love!
Then on Saturday night some of us enjoyed a night at the grand opening of the car races, featuring monster trucks, crash to pass, road runners, hornet cars and fireworks!
On Sunday we celebrated one of our sons 11th Birthday at the bowling alley!
On Monday it was no more playing......we released 22 butterflies after observing them from chrysalis-hood! Some Native cultures believe that the butterfly symbolizes metamorphosis , balance, and grace. The butterfly has the ability to accept change. A great home school experience! Another popular idea for butterfly releases, they're being used at weddings, and other ceremonies. Did you know once a butterfly hatches, its average life span is two weeks and under?

Then.....after a therapy appointment, I was sifting through thirteen dressers. Filling three large garbage bags to go to the sos. Then organizing eight large bins of summer clothes. It was an all day affair. I always pack away the seasons. Fall and winter is now comfortably organized away, then when the end of September comes, all the spring and summer gets nestled away. It's like Christmas re-opening the bins. Especially when I purchase throughout the year on sale with the off season specials! At Old Navy I found winter jackets on sale for $6.99 regular $75.00! That's how I shop!

Now after cuddling my granddaughter - I'm ready for bed.

"Time is what we want most, but what we use worst" - William Penn - When I read this quote, I's true. We all want more time. So how might we better manage the time we have? I push until things are accomplished but today with the beautiful weather I was left thinking....."Agh, only if I organized clothing while it's raining!" Next time! Now to enjoy the sunshine and pack our camping trailer!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Island Team

June 22nd a run, walk or roll for adoption. I'm currently asking for donations, and PARTICIPANTS to join us on a 1 km or 5 km run. The goal is $750.00 for the "Island Team" If you're interested in supporting AFABC (Adoption Federation Association of BC) please contact me or Donna Falconer at There is also a "Team Adopt" website that you can log into to make online contributions at Then find the "Island Team" and donate. I will have pledge forms soon too! (Disregard the conflicting date and time on the website, it will be corrected soon - June 22 it is!) This is for a great cause, it raises funds for AFABC's integral programs and services. It's for kids! The run is located at the Maffeo Sutton Park in Nanaimo from 1:30-3:30pm on June 22nd! Please join us, meet other adoptive families, and get outdoors! If you can't, donating will be much appreciated! Hope to see you there!


The outdoors makes me happy. I still continue to dedicate one hour a day for myself. It costs nothing. I go outside. I haven't been writing about my fitness goals lately although I can guarantee you that I'm outdoors for that one hour hiking. Do you take the time to listen to silence daily? Our life consists of noise. No doubt about that. True silence is amazing. It's a stillness, it's peaceful and it calms everything inside you. I love the outdoors for several reasons, not only for its beauty, for its serenity of silence, it's for my own piece of mind. It's probably the best spa I can find that is priceless. This morning I took pictures of what I see almost daily. I know the hardest part of being active is putting on your running shoes, heading out that front door. But once outside, you don't want to turn back. Beauty is right in our own back yard. We're spoiled and it's there for us to enjoy! Sharing through my eyes.

Relaxation bench

      The naughty tree

A section of the trail

The swamp my dog loves to roll in!

The views

Enjoy our world!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

# 42 still inspires....

On Tuesday night I went and watched the movie called, "42" A true story about the first African American to play baseball. It was really good. (Although at some moments I wanted to jump through the television screen and attack some racist characters) My older children who watched (ages 17 & up) were also feeling angry. They didn't realize that back in the 1940's and earlier and beyond that there was separate washrooms. One for the "whites" and none for the "blacks" On how racism divided everyone by color. The 1930's especially in the South was enforced with violence, discrimination with housing, public services and segregated schools. Acceptance didn't start changing (slowly) until 1954. Which brings me to write about discrimination today. As a large family with different cultures and special needs I've noticed that racism still exists. I always educate in hopes that with education it would result in compassion and understanding for differences. I find some individuals aren't interested looking outside their box. That's completely acceptable but those people aren't in our lives. We're at a point now - we stick out like a sore thumb. We don't even notice being stared at, and whispered upon. We walk proud. Although sometimes I will have a child say, "Mom someone said.....or they're talking about us" Some of my comments have been, "We are popular" or "They don't understand so they're interested in us" "Smile" I have explained that we aren't the "norm" within today's typical society of 2.6 children. When families are raising their 2-3 children, they can't comprehend 16 let alone with such diversity. We must not be a family.......we're always questioned, "Are you a group home?" Funny........many times I'm asked, "Which ones are yours?" I will respond, "They all are" "No, no....which ones are yours?" they will proceed to question. Sometimes it's very frustrating answering the same questions over and over again within the same conversation. For example, "So you're a foster home?" "No, we are an adoptive family", I will respond. "So you're a foster home?" again questioned.......Not sure why people don't have the common sense to distinguish between foster and adoption. I think having a large family in today's society isn't about racism, it's about not understanding onto why and how. Some people will never grasp the concept and those people won't be adopting several children either. And to note; our children's behaviors do not exist because we're a large family. (There is other reasons) Racism does exist today.....I've seen it, or felt it. It's as close as in every community. In the States, especially down South, it is still huge. Even in the Oregon state, I was in the presence of some white supremacy people. It was disgusting. They basically believe that they are superior to other racial backgrounds. There is organized groups all over our world today. Some target landed immigrants. In Canada there is the Aryan Guard, the Heritage Alliance, Heritage front, National Socialist Party of Canada, Tri-city skins, Western Canada for Us and the Western Guard Party is just a few. So yes we have evolved since the 1940's but we're only 80% there believing or treating everyone is equal. Besides race, there is individuals with all levels of special needs. I know there is people that are completely racist against others with disabilities. I also know some don't know how to interact with a special needs person. That's why it is so important not to limit a special needs individual and to integrate! Educate. Here we are in 2013 and most think we have rised above racism. It's better - but it still exists, it's now called, "Bullying" and it still creates feelings of isolation, difference, and segregation. The word "racism" people don't like to use.......that doesn't mean another word hasn't replaced it. As parents, we need to teach our children from home the importance of equality. Honestly, it stops at home.