Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sunitha Krishnan fights sex slavery | Video on

Warning! Graphic video about the reality of human trafficking sex trade slavery. If you thought this kind of things doesn't happen in this day and age, YOU ARE WRONG, VERY WRONG!

Sunitha Krishnan fights sex slavery | Video on

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


My dad used to tell us a story of his college days back in Boston. It was a lesson learned the hard way.

One of his roommates, Chuck, thoroughly enjoyed chocolate and had stashes of the confection everywhere. My father and another roomate had discovered most of the hiding places and would routinely sneak a bite (or mouthful) at will. After Chuck would replenish a stash, my father and his cohort in crime would ransack the goods. This went on for some time before Chuck would take his revenge. Chuck wanted them to get good and comfortable helping themselves before he would make his move.

The day had come. My father entered their room after class. He was alone and seized the opportunity to help himself to a chocolaty afternoon snack.

An hour or two past and my father was feeling less and less well. He could take it no more. He rushed down the hall to the facilities where he spent a good portion of the afternoon.

When my dad returned to the room he was greeted by Chuck, who explained he had not eaten chocolate, but instead had indulged in a sizable helping of Ex-lax.

My dad was a little lighter, but had learned an important lesson; looks can be very deceiving (and … don’t steal.) Now, if my dad had carefully inspected what he had been so quick to pop in his mouth, he would have noticed these were not your typical pieces of chocolate. At which point, I think he would have passed on the indulgence.

It’s the same with an organization’s message. It can’t just appear to look good. IT MUST BE GOOD! It must be consistent, truthful and explanatory. The last thing you want is for a customer, client or donor to start seeing inconsistencies and holes in your message. You lose people’s trust and confidence when you are not clear, concise and consistent.

Whether you’ve been in business 50 years or are just putting an organization together, you must have a consistent message. This is how you brand your organization. Don’t water it down! Make it strong but not over bearing, clear but simple and lastly, make it compelling!


Monday, July 27, 2009

They Are My Own!!!

Warner Bros. new movie Orphan goes over the top to fuel a stigma that has long plagued orphans. In the trailer, a nine year old girl named Esther is adopted by a couple who recently lost an unborn child. As the story unfolds, Esther is shown to be a very disturbed little girl, full of deceit, violence and hatred.

One part of the trailer shows Esther saying, “It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own.” When I heard this, I had to remind myself that this is true ignorance speaking and not reality, because reality knows no difference.

I’d like to share two stories of my involvement with orphans. I have numerous experiences I can share, but for the sake of not writing a lengthy novel, I will keep it to only two.

The first experience I can share is the adoption of both our children. My wife and I have adopted a boy and a girl. Our son was a domestic adoption and our daughter, from China. They are the pride and joy our lives. There is not a difference in the world between a child who is born to you and a child which is “chosen.” However, as we tell our kids, most parents don’t get to choose their children, but we got to choose them and that makes them all the more special. Adoptive children offer all the same joys, happiness and trials biological children offer. After experiencing about seven years of infertility, my wife and I decided to adopt rather than gamble a lot of money on a “chance” of a child. We moved forward into the process of adopting from China, during that time, God presented us with another adoption opportunity, to adopt a child of a single mom unable to keep her baby. Since this situation presented itself to us at a time when we were clearly not looking, we both knew this was God saying this was our son and that we needed to move forward.

A year after our son’s entrance into our family our China adoption was beginning to come to realization. We left for China less than three weeks after our son’s first birthday and met our daughter five days before her first birthday. Their birthdays are 20 days apart, but our “twins” are as different as night and day.

As we went from one child to two, we knew that if we were to grow our family larger that we only wanted to do this through adoption. We know many families who even though they had adopted still had the longing to have a biological child. Moira and I were, and are completely contrary to this. From our first adoption on we always were thankful when we knew another month had passed and Moira was not pregnant. This was because of the overwhelming joy and satisfaction of knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that God’s children are no different whether they carry our DNA or not. If our family is to ever grow again, adoption has always been our choice.

Another experience I had was just a little over five years ago. God made it very clear to me that I was to join our church on a trip and go to two Russian orphanages. At the time both my kids were 2 ½ years old, so I assumed I would spend much of my time in Russia with children of a similar age. I was wrong!!!

After arriving at an orphanage in Ivanova, Russia about three months later, I awkwardly stepped off the bus and stood dazed and confused. Standing with me were eight others in my group and about 20 beautiful boys and girls from the orphanage, ranging in age from 5 to 15. I stood looking around, trying to imagine how these kids felt, wondering why they were there and how was I going to make their lives any better. Maybe five minutes went by until one of the children said something. Our interpreter translated the request, “Does anyone want to play a game?” It took one of these kids to break the ice, not one of the nine adults! All of us nodded our heads as it was the only way for us to communicate our agreement with the idea. Not two seconds later, a young lady of 12 came and took my hand. She claimed me as her partner in the game. It was at this point I knew I was not there to play with 2 ½ year olds, but I was there to spend time with this girl, her sister and three of their friends.

The following six days proved to be some of the best six days of my life. I built solid relationships with each of them. We talked about why some of them were there, how they were coping with being there and what their dreams and aspirations were. I did not see resentment or bitterness in these girls. I saw hope, love and lots of determination to make it.

Not one child was there because of anything they did, and I can assure you none of them chose to be there. Every child in an orphanage has been traumatized at least twice. First, because of the event which made them “eligible” to be in an orphanage and second, the day they were place in the orphanage and all the security they knew had been stripped from them.

They day we left the orphanage was the single worst day of my life. I have never been so sad about anything in my life. At that point I didn’t know what would happen to them, or if I’d get to see them ever again. Those five girls have so much to give, and I only hope every one of them has a chance to use their talents and make the difference each of them is capable of making. Through them, I learned some painful hard truths about myself too.

Fortunately, that was not the last time I saw them. I went back two more times in the next 13 months. The 12 year old who took my hand on that first day now lives in the United States with her sister. I still keep in touch with them and am glad for the happiness they’ve have in their new found family.

With that said, I wish I could say to Esther, my two kids and the kids in Ivanova are my own. I love them all very much, just as I know they love me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Remember The "Jello Story"

When my father-in-law was a kid he stopped at a friend's house to play. They had just finished dinner and were moving on to dessert. Dessert that night was Jello, something my father-in-law very much liked. When asked by his friend's mother if he would like some, he politely replied, "no thank you." Knowing full well she would ask him again, at which time he would act as though their persistance had convinced him to accept the bowl of Jello, and he would say yes. However, this didn't happen. She never asked him again. The last helping of Jello sat on the counter until everyone had finished and it was then eaten as a second dessert by someone in his friend's family.

My father-in-law tells the "Jello story" with both humor and a little regret. I've heard the story numerous times over the last 18 years, and it always produces a grin, or at least a smirk. When he tells it, he reminds us to be honest with ourselves and others because sometimes you don't get asked a second time.

I realized this story applies to how I've been feeling lately, how I feel about getting my hands dirty and doing whats right. You see, my father-in-law was asked if he wanted the Jello only once, and he missed his chance. Somtimes we are only asked once or given one chance to step up and do the right thing. I've missed oportunities to do the right thing because I though I'd be asked again or thought the situation would present itself again and didn't.

Don't let an oportunity pass you by. Don't wait for a more convenient time. Remember this may be the only time you'll be asked, and remember the "Jello story."

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Almost 20 years ago I was invited to go to Mexico to help with a construction project at an orphanage on the Baja, Los Para Niños. My task was to help lead a crew in putting an addition on to the kitchen. We added roughly 250 SqFt to the orphanage’s kitchen pantry. All our work definitely helped the greater cause. At the time it felt good. In fact, up until recently it felt really good.

Five years ago I went on my first of three trips to Russia where we spent time in two orphanages getting to know the kids and develop relationships with them. One orphanage was in a large city, Pokrov and the other in a small city, Ivanovo. We weren't able to spend much time in Pokrov, but still we were did develope many lasting relationships there. It wasn't until Ivanovo however, that I "got it."

We were the first group of many to go to Ivanovo (and Pokrov.) We spent the better part of a week in Ivanovo and really got to know the kids. We heard about their struggles and the obstacles they encounter, some of which they may never overcome. This certainly wasn’t like the Mexico trip. It was this time with the kids, talking, playing and just being with them that made me realize I didn’t get it in Mexico. I had the chance to be there for those kids, but missed the boat. I blew it!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful to have gone to Mexico, and I know we did much good. I just wish I had taken time away from the construction and spent it with the Niños. If I had, who knows, maybe I would have “gotten it” then?

My point, in short, is I want to be part of a tangible solution regarding orphan & widow care and world hunger. I want to be in a position where I can take the time to volunteer or better yet, work fulltime helping those less fortunate.

Get your hands dirty…now!