On This World AIDS Day, Fight to End Pediatric AIDS

actaware-logo-colourIn honor of World AIDS Day (Saturday, December 1,) I’ve been very busy advocating for the tiniest victims of the AIDS epidemic–the children.  This is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart.  I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to use my voice to inform, educate and empower others about this important cause.  Just today, I have had two articles published.

So now I’ll direct you to my article published in my local paper– Let’s Help Prevent HIV Transmission

And also to my post on World Moms Blog– AIDS: The End Is In Sight

If you’d like to do something….I mean really do something, I’m going to give you an easy way to get involved. Go to A Mother’s Fight to help end pediatric AIDS.  90% of child infections are due to transmission from mother to child. Let’s end pediatric AIDS in our generation by donating to help mothers receive testing and treatment. Your donation WILL save lives.  Join the fight today.

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globalteamI wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

My Babies, My Life

I’ll admit it.  My blog has been quite boring lately.  I’ve been trying to squeeze out posts that are important to me, but then everything else gets left sitting around in my head, destined to be forgotten in the shuffle of life.  And reading other blogs?  Oh I’m so very, very behind.  I love reading and commenting on other blogs but I’m afraid all of that has taken a back seat to the happenings in my “real life.”

So what exactly have I been doing lately?  Well, I  have begun leading an advocacy group in my community that will work to create social change through interactions with members of congress and the media.  It’s a lot of work, but something I am deeply passionate about.  I’ll have some more exciting details to share about that soon.

But we’re also knee-deep in trauma/adoption/autism issues with Big Brother.  We are finally, however, finding the light at the end of the tunnel and are finally in a good place.  For the last couple of months, things were pretty rough.  Flashbacks, regression and constant violent outbursts dominated our days and nights. I’m not in a place right now to even begin to put my thoughts into words about all that has transpired, but I will at some point in time.

It’s just part of the job.  In fact, here’s a great post by another adoptive mother that sums up my thoughts exactly and might give you some insight into why we keep marching happily along in times of great darkness.

So what exactly am I rambling about today?  Well, I guess I just wanted to a chance to show off my babies.  After all, they are the reason I awake each morning with a smile on my face and the reason I advocate for those around the globe who have no voice.  They put the passion in my heart.  So excuse me while I do the mom thing and drown my blog with their cuteness 🙂

Giving Tuesday: A National Day of Giving

In America,  you would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t know what the words Black Friday and Cyber Monday mean.  These words are now infused into our cultural identity and  have become the official  kickoff to the holiday shopping season.  Now don’t get me wrong, giving can be nice (and if you would like to give gifts that do good–then it’s twice as nice!)  But a new campaign to urge Americans to not only give, but give back, is launching on a grand scale this year.

It’s called Giving Tuesday.  And you can be a part of it!

“The goal is to launch a day of giving at the start of the annual holiday shopping season and to show that holiday shopping can be about both giving and giving back.

People everywhere,including retailers, charities, online organizations, community centers, individuals, families and more, will come together with one common purpose ‐‐ to help others and incentivize ways to give more, give smarter, and celebrate the great American spirit of contribution.

Giving Tuesday is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.”

Sounds pretty good, huh?  So let’s spread the word and add one more day to our holiday vocabulary.  Go to http://givingtuesday.org/ to learn more.

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So how are we going to recognize Giving Tuesday around here?  I’m not really sure yet.  I’m going to call a family meeting tonight and see what we can do.  Although we have many charities and organizations that we like to support, I think we will focus on our local community this Giving Tuesday.  Here are some ideas I’m brewing in my head at the moment:

  • donate some of our children’s books to the local library
  • collect food donations to take to our local animal shelter
  • collect food and clothing donations for our local organization that helps families in need
  • donate toys to local families in need this Christmas

What ideas do you have?  Will you celebrate Giving Tuesday along with me?!  Please help by spreading the word and let’s make this a yearly tradition. I’ll report back later this week and let you know how we did!  I also want to share some holiday pictures of the family, so stay tuned….

 

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

Malala Day: Education for All

Today, November 10th, is a global day of action for Malala and the millions of girls around the globe who are denied an education because of their gender.

As you may recall, Malala is the 14-year old girl in Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban for promoting the education of girls in her nation.   She is now recovering and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education wants to make sure her message is heard loud and clear throughout the world.  On this day, we stand with Malala and fight for the right of every child to receive an education.

So can the voice of one young girl in Pakistan really change the world?  It certainly has already for millions of children around the globe:

“Today I met with the President of Pakistan one month after the terrible shooting of Malala Yousafzai to discuss Malala’s dream of education for all.

On the eve of Malala Day, I presented petitions already signed by over 1 million people in the international community in honor of Malala and her cause.

These signatures were joined with another one million signatures collected by Pakistani civil society’s One Million Signature Campaign to demand free and compulsory education and another 100,000 signatures from out-of-school Pakistani children.

The President and I agreed on a series of deadlines for finance and delivery to make ensure all of Pakistan’s five million out of school children have the opportunity to go to school.”  -Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education

The staggering statistics for children around the globe are discouraging…

  • 115 million child laborers are involved in hazardous work.
  • 61 million children are shut out of primary school.
  • 34 million adolescent girls are not in school.
  • 16 million children with disabilities not in school; 1/4 of these children are blind.

But Malala has taught us all to stand up and fight–that our voices do make a difference.  You can learn more, join the campaign and sign the petition by going here:  http://educationenvoy.org/

Let’s stand united today for all children around the globe who are denied the right to an education.  Your voice matters….won’t you join us?

 

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

Make Your Halloween Even Sweeter by Trick or Treating for UNICEF

I have a secret, a confession really, that I need to share with all of you.  On Halloween night, after the kids crash from their sugar highs and all is quiet throughout the house, I rummage through the mounds of candy and devour some of my favorite pieces.

I can’t be the only one, please tell me I’m not the only one……

It’s a sinfully delicious guilt that I carry around all year long.  But hey, a mom’s got to do what a mom’s got to do.  Besides, the kids won’t miss those few pieces of candy.

Now that you all know my little secret, here’s something else that  definitely needs to be shared.  You can make Halloween even sweeter this year by joining UNICEF’s Trick or Treat fundraising program.

For 62 years, UNICEF has been motivating children to become global citizens through this festive fundraising program.  It’s a great way to provide the entire family with an easy and fun way to help others.

  • Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF encourages kids of all ages to help raise funds for their peers in developing countries by going door-to-door on Halloween night or participating in other festive fundraising activities.
  • Through Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, more than $167 million has been raised, providing children in 190 countries and territories with much-needed health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.

Ready to get started??  It’s easy! You can order your free collection boxes today!  Click on the image below to find out how….

You can get creative with your fundraising efforts and you can even enter the Create a Character contest for a chance to design your very own collection box for next year.

Make Halloween a little bit sweeter this year with UNICEF, and let’s keep the candy stealing just between us, mkay?

 

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

The Power of We

Today is Blog Action Day, a time for bloggers from around the globe to unite and join a global discussion about one important topic.

“The purpose of Blog Action Day is to create a positive discussion that enables social good about an important topic. We ask bloggers to take a single day out of their schedule and focus it on an important issue.

By blogging about the same issue, on the same day, from their own perspectives, the blogging community focuses discussion and give their audiences the opportunities to take part in a global conversation, raise awareness or even funds for not-for-profits.”

The topic for today is The Power of We.  I love this topic so much and was really excited to write about it.

the reason I started blogging in the first place…..Little Man and I meeting at the orphanage in Vietnam for the first time

I started blogging in 2007 as a way to chronicle our adoption journey.  At the time, it was just a way for us to keep family and friends updated on the long, complicated journey.  Over time, my blog changed a lot.  I wasn’t sure what to write about or how to use my online presence.  But then slowly, after the adoption of our second child (a special needs, older child adoption) I knew what purpose I wanted my blog to serve.

My blog, you see, became my voice.  A voice to raise awareness on the issues that had affected my life personally: autism, special needs adoption, older child adoption, HIV adoption and the HIV/AIDS orphan crisis and non-profits providing aid to orphanages and children around the world.  I  even found my voice in encouraging others that adventure and the outdooors are for everyone–especially for children and those with special needs.

In 2009, through the power of blogging, I was able to team up with some other adoptive mama’s to start a series of campaigns to raise funds for children and families in Vietnam.  We had never even met in real life, but we had forged a connection through our sons’ shared heritages and our online voices.  We took a small idea and using he Power of We, were able to give life-saving surgeries, meals and other resources to people in need.

In 2012, again through blogging, I was able to connect and meet with the moms involved in the World Moms Blog and was able to spread my voice even further by becoming a contributor to their social good column.

And again in 2012, I was able to join a coalition of moms called the Global Team of 200 in an effort to spread my message of social good far and wide.

I am just beginning to harness the Power of We.  I don’t know where I’m heading, but I know it’s right where I’m supposed to be.  Blogging has not only let me find my voice, but has let me truly discover the amazing Power of We. I am so excited to see where this journey takes me.

Together, our voices united, we can bring about the changes we seek.  I have seen it happen before and I am honored to be a part of the Power of We.

Won’t you join me?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Mead 

Love and Hunger: Oxfam USA and World Food Day

Last night as I laid my five year-old son down to sleep, he hugged me and said the following…

“Mommy love you.  Mommy give you food.”

[by “you” he means “me.” ]  Although my son has special needs and cannot speak like a typical 5 year-old child, the above comments still serve as a stark reminder that so many people–so many children–around the globe go to bed hungry each night.

My son spent his first four years of life in an orphanage where going to bed hungry was not an isolated event.  When he came home nearly 2 years ago, he was clearly malnourished and would gorge and hoard food constantly.  His brother, who also spent time in an orphanage, was born malnourished as well.

Hunger is not a new topic in our house.  Our boys associate food with love and it’s kind of a big deal around here. But now that both boys are home and thriving and food is abundant, it is easy to overlook and forget about the fact that hunger is a global reality for so many.

That’s why I support Oxfam America and encourage you to join them on World Food Day (Tuesday, October 16) to get the conversation started about helping people make everyday choices that can improve our global food system.  They have outlined some  principles to help you do it, called the GROW METHOD.

Make sure to visit the link above to download a toolkit to use in your home.

On World Food Day, the boys and I will be visiting a farm as part of a class field trip.  I’m using this perfect opportunity to start the conversation about where our food comes from and how it gets to our table.  For dinner we will talk about the GROW METHOD and what we can do to ensure that no person on this planet has to go to bed hungry.

Startling stats and more info:

•    Our planet produces enough food for everyone, yet nearly one billion of us (1 in every 7 people) still go to bed hungry.

•    About a third of the food produced for our plates ends up lost or wasted between farm and fork.

•    One pound of ground beef for your family uses more than 28,000 cups of water to produce—that’s enough to fill 20 bathtubs to the brim, and then some!

While this may seem overwhelming, there are many ways that we, as individuals, can make simple changes in the way we grow, cook, eat and store our food to be more sustainable.  So, as a special way to celebrate World Food Day, we’re asking people to:

•     Sign up to host a World Food Day dinner discussion. Oxfam has tons of free materials including a discussion guide, placemats, and recipe ideas from acclaimed chefs Jamie Oliver, Mary Sue Milliken, and others. Everything can be found at www.oxfamamerica.org/worldfoodday

•   Share GROW method recipes on Pinterest and we’ll add them to our GROW Method Cook Book (http://pinterest.com/oxfamgrowmethod)! Just tag your pin with #GROWmethod to add it.

•    Snap photos of your World Food Day meal on Instagram and tag them with #WFD2012, then check out our site (www.oxfamamerica.org/worldfoodday) to see photos from all over the world.

So tell me, are you and your family going to participate?  Share your thoughts please!!

 

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.