Saturday, April 24, 2010

El ir a Perú

El ir a Perú, amigos. Going to Peru, friends.

That's right. I get to spend a week and a half this summer helping and serving the people of Comas, Peru (a city 30 miles north of Lima).

Of all the things we get to do including leadership training, evangelistic outreach, and technical work on the school, the thing I look forward to most is the 5-day clubs we will put on for the children of the area.

I love children, and getting to serve the children of Comas, Peru is a blessing beyond comparison to me. This is what I've been dreaming of for years - getting to teach children, love children, in third-world countries. I can't explain how excited and blessed I am!

The trip will be in late July/early August, so I've got quite a bit of time to prepare. But, to me, it's never to early. I've already started writing support letters, and thinking of ways to raise the needed money for the trip. I'm also memorizing John 3:16 in Spanish (which I cannot speak at all). And, yesterday to top it off, I bought an album off of iTunes called "Viva la Musica Peruana" (The Music of Peru Alive).

I would ask that you all pray for the unity of our team, that we will hear and follow what God's will is for us, and that we will bless the people of Comas as I'm sure they will bless us!

Gracias por sus oraciones!

Porque tanto amo Dios al mundo que dio a su hijo unigentio, para que todo el que cree en el no se piedra sino que tenga la vida eterna.
- Juan 3:16

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Obama Care

You all know that I have nothing against President Obama as a person, but I have plenty against him as a president. For the longest time, the health care bill was just a little bug flying around my ear - irritating, but not hurting me in any way. But, now it's gone too far. They've passed it - and we don't have much time to stop it.

In a nutshell, this healthcare plan says that you will receive top-notch healthcare between the ages of 15 and 59.5, if you are healthy and functioning. But, you're health care will decrease as your "value to society" decreases. They're not going to pay to "fix" people that are "unfixable."

Do you all know what that means? That means the elderly, who need the services of healthcare more than most, will have to wait for the young, healthy people to get their surgeries first before they get any treatment. And do you know who they'll come for first? Levi. Evan. People like them. In the government's eyes, special needs people are not "contributing to society," they're not worth the money for their healthcare. Apart from being astoundingly morally wrong, I believe this should be repealed on grounds of unconstitutionality.

Section I of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states the following:

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Do you see that? It's written in the constitution. This states that anyone born in the U.S. is a U.S. citizen, and has the equal rights of a U.S. citizen. The government is not allowed to make or enforce any laws that decrease the privileges of any U.S. citizen, no matter their condition or their age. And, technically, the U.S. would be depriving a person of life if they refused to let a child with a heart defect receive life-saving surgery. They are not supposed to be allowed to deny "any person" (special needs, old, young, etc.) the equal protection of the laws (including health care).

Although they've already passed the bill, we still have a chance to stop it before it begins. The processes will not start for another four years. Therefore, we need to elect people who are against it into Congress. All branches of the government are supposed to be equal, but the real power can lie with Congress, if we are careful who we elect.

I believe that President Obama's health care is not equal health care, or health care for everyone. It's healthcare for the healthy. Selective healthcare that is given to those who don't need it and denied of people who do. And, Lord knows, we need to stop it in its tracks or we may never be able to go back to how it was.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We're On News Channel 5!!!

That's right, folks! We, the Hooks, were on News Channel 5 last night! With all the stuff that's been going on with adoption between Russia and America at the moment, they thought it appropriate to interview a family that's in the process of adopting from Russia. Along with sharing our views on adoption, our small area of the world got to see a sliver of what special needs kids go through in Eastern European countries!

Oh, and just to set the record straight, I am NOT, repeat NOT, one of the Hook's two adopted children. I just happen to be in the shot when they're saying that. I am the only biological child. I decided to clear that up, as I had a friend come up to me today and shout, "Tori, why didn't you tell me you were adopted!?!?" Because I'm not.

Here's the video! Hope you enjoy if you missed seeing it!

Oh, and also notice that they got Evan's name wrong. It's EvangelinE, not EvangelinA. Just thought to let you know.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Reactive Attachment Disorder

I had never heard of Reactive attachment disorder, or RAD, before my mom told me about it.

Children form their attachments in the first months of their lives. If a child is neglected and abandoned those first crucial months, they learn that for the rest of their lives, they can't depend on anyone but themselves. This results in reluctance to bond, or even outright distrust of adoptive families.

It had never occurred to me that Evan might not like me. I had always pictured me giving her a smothering hug when we first met, and her sitting on my lap and watching princess movies with me, having tea parties together. All the things that sisters normally do. I never once thought that Evan might not like me at first.

I have to admit that when this thought first occurred to me, it felt like someone had just kicked me in the stomach. Evan might not like me. My sister might not like me at first. I felt tears come to my eyes as I thought of her refusing to talk to me, refusing to hug me, afraid to trust her big sister.

So I pray now that Evan will know without a shadow of a doubt that her big sister loves her. Her big sister would die for her. Her big sister would do anything to make her happy. Her big sister would beat the crap out of anyone who messed with her. Her big sister is here to love her and protect her, and won't ever let anything happen to her.

I hope that Evan knows that. I picture her going to sleep in a cold, orphanage crib, shivering without any blankets. Lonely, and not understanding why no one comes to take her home like the other children. I pray that God would send an angel to her from me. An angel that will lay a blanket over her little shivering body, and stroke her hair, and give her a kiss, and tell her "I love you, Я люблю тебя". From your big sister.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I watched the new BBC version of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility last night.

For those who haven't read it and/or seen it, the story encompasses the paths of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as they go from being a rich and well-respected family, to a poor one, dependent upon the charity of their relations.

Elinor, the eldest daughter, is very reserved and keeps her feelings to herself. She is mature and responsible and, more often than not, has to take care of her younger sisters and even her mother.

Marianne, the middle daughter, is the exact opposite of Marianne. A true romantic, she loves poetry and music, and is not afraid to speak her mind.

While the story was absolutely phenomenal, what stood out to me was the unfailing love the two elder sisters had for each other. Elinor and Marianne, though as different as possible, each cared deeply for the other, and would do almost anything for their happiness.

Each showed an undying devotion to the other, and would defend them even if others spurned them for it. One of my favorite sisterly scenes is when (CAUTION: CONTAINS SPOILERS) Willoughby comes back after breaking Marianne's heart and begs for Elinor's forgiveness. At this time, Marianne was still at bed, recovering from a fever. Elinor quickly snuffs him out, and sends him away, saying:

"You had my sister's love, and now you have lost it forever. And I am glad of it. She can never be more lost to you than she is now. You are not welcome here."

I almost started cheering. Yes! Go Elinor! You tell him! That is what sisters do for each other.

And at another point, when Marianne is happily marrying another suitor, but Elinor's is lost to hers forever, she says to Elinor as she relays the news first to her sister:

"Don't be angry with me."
"Why should I be angry with you?"
"Because I thought myself so much in love with Willoughby, because I have given you so much grief and trouble, because I shall be happy when you are unhappy."
"I am very happy for you."

As I watched this movie, I couldn't help wishing that I could have that relationship too, that unbreakable bond between sisters. I wondered if I would ever be able to attain that with Evan. Because she has Down syndrome, she will never have the mental capacity or understanding that I do.

But, looking back at my thoughts, I was ashamed of them. That was the world speaking into me. Who says that I can't share all of my secret dreams and desires with my sister? Who cares that she has Down syndrome, and that she doesn't have the same mental capacity as me? She has a greater capacity that I do for unconditional love, and steadfast loyalty. I couldn't believe myself. I was doubting the love and understanding that Evan could relay to me, while I should've been thinking of what I could give to her.

I hope that one day, I will have that sisterly bond with Evan. I hope that one day I'll be as accepting and loving as she is. Her "disability" will only increase her sisterly affection - she will love without holding back, without caring what anyone else thinks, without caring if I've done something wrong. She'll comfort me whether I'm crying over a failed permit test, or I'm devastated over a lost love. Evan will be the sister of all sisters, and I only hope that I can be as good for her as she will be for me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fitting In

Everybody wants to fit in. Everyone wants to be wanted, included, appreciated by others.

But there's a problem with this. While we may desire to be just like everyone else, our goal here on earth is not to fit in. We aren't supposed to be like everyone else. In fact, the rest of the world is supposed to hate us.

Now, just because you're a Christian, it doesn't mean you can't desire to fit in. I don't know anyone who doesn't. While many of my friends may joke around, saying that I have no desire to be like everyone else. And while that may truly be what they see in me, it's all a screen.

Everybody puts up screens to hide their insecurities. For some people, it's being so much like someone else that you're too busy being them to be yourself. Others put other people down to make themselves feel "cooler". My screen is different, and I would argue that it's not an average one. I put up the screen of carelessness. I couldn't care less what people think about me. And, while that's true to a certain extent, there are times in my life when I wish I could be just like everyone else, and that I didn't have to act like a Little Christ.

But, see, the blessing about this being my screen, is that, as much as I want to fit in, it will never be enough to change who I am. I will not change the way I am, the way I act, or what I believe for someone else. Whether it be the president, a little kid, or Lady Gaga, I would be the same Tori with all of them.

What's your screen? You'll be surprised at how much truth you're confronted with when you discover it. While you may not be able to completely eliminate it, try to start slowly chipping away at it. After a while, it will be nothing but a tattered old mosquito net, blowing in front of you. And, trust me, it's worth it to get rid of it.