Friday, August 31, 2007

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Last night I was rereading a book I picked up somewhere while I was in college. It’s a collection of essays called “Paper Trail” by Michael Dorris. I stumbled upon the book in college, but it stuck with me because several of the essays were about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). The author, Michael Dorris, adopted 3 children who were all, to greater and lesser degrees, affected by this syndrome. His is a sorrowful and almost hopeless story of life with these three children whom he loves deeply, yet can do so little to help.

For those who don’t know, FAS is the result of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. It is unknown how much alcohol must be consumed in order to injure the fetus, but no amount of alcohol during pregnancy is considered safe. FAS children can have an array of physical impairments, but the most alarming aspect of FAS is how it affects the ability to reason and make choices. Dorris explains it this way:

My grown son has a full range of physical disorders: seizures; curvature of the spine; poor coordination; sight and hearing. But his most disabling legacy has to do with his impaired ability to reason. FAS victims are known for their poor judgment, their impulsiveness, their persistent confusions over handling money, telling time, and in distinguishing right from wrong.

While it is estimated that 8000 babies are born each year with FAS, another 65000 are estimated to be born with Fetal Alcohol Effect (FAE). (These stats are from Dorris’ book.) Though FAE children are not as severely affected as those with FAS, they can still exhibit many of the mental symptoms that make good decision making almost impossible. Dorris says,

Our older children, now all adults or nearly so, often cannot function independently, cannot hold jobs, tell the truth, manage money, plan a future. They have all at one time or another been arrested or otherwise detained for shoplifting, inappropriate sexual conduct, and violent behavior. Despite all our efforts to protect them, they have periodically come under the influence of people who, for instance, worship Satan or take advantage of them physically, mentally, and/or financially. They maintain no enduring friendships, set for themselves no realistic goals, can call upon no bedrock inner voice to distinguish moral from amoral, safe from dangerous.

Why write about this here? Because it struck me in rereading this essay that some of the children and teens (and adults, for that matter) we know at Contact have likely been exposed to prenatal alcohol. How much of their poor decision making skills and impulsivity is the result of normal childish behavior, and how much is linked to the alcohol? We’ll never know. But it made me wonder… and it made me sad. They probably wouldn't be diagnosed with FAS or FAE, but still, it seems logical to me that there could be consequences to the drinking, or smoking or drugs their mamas did while pregnant. Our kids seem to have so much in life already stacked against them – dysfunctional families, low-performing schools, lack of good healthcare – and now this – alcohol in the womb before their first breath. It is a discouraging thought, to say the least! Yet when we look at this, Bob and I, all we know to do is try to keep fighting the odds. Some days it seems we’re pouring water into a bucket full of holes. Though I know and believe that God can heal the most wounded of souls, the most dysfunctional of families, it all too often seems only a miracle akin to the parting of the Red Sea will cause these kids lives to really change. I have to remind myself that faith moves mountains. (But why oh, why does it seem like we have such big mountains here in Tulsa?!) So we, like each of you in your neighborhoods, continue going about the business of not losing faith. We keep praying for these children and teens, keep trying to help them make better choices, keep teaching them about God’s love, keep giving them second chances, keep having faith that something we’re doing is making a difference. Please pray for these children and all children in the world who start out life with so many disadvantages. And pray for us too, that we will not lose heart in a world that tries to steal our faith.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Summer family photos

Here are few family pictures from the summer. It has been pretty busy around the Logsdon household. God has been good to us though and kept us going even on these hot summer days. Miriam has been a wonderfully flexible toddler. She seems to really enjoy all the activity around here.

Miriam had her first experience with paint this summer. As you can see, it was pretty messy business!

Miriam recently discovered stickers. She loves them!

Miriam enjoys playing in the laundry while I'm trying to fold it. Here she is wearing one of my shirts. :)

Here we are - just relaxing. (Check out those stickers!)

Here's a picture from our Memphis trip. Miriam Loved the bball hoop in the pool.

Another thing Miriam loves is shoes. She got around surprisingly well in this one with a heel. "Shoes" was one of her first words, and it remains one of her favorites. I'm a little afraid of what this might mean for the future!

Miriam is getting really good at putting the shapes in the shape sorter. I know every child goes through these same developemental stages - walking, talking, learning words etc.. - but to see my own child grow and learn seems like a small miracle everytime.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Walking in Memphis

Our much-anticipated trip to Memphis is over… After months of car washes, bake sales, and thrift sales, the money is spent, the pictures have been taken, and Elvis is just a memory. But what a memory!

Friday night, July 27th, we arrived in Memphis. We crossed the mighty Mississippi and were welcomed to the city I called home for four years. Although it no longer feels like home to me, it was good to be back in the land of sweet tea and barbecue! After a meal at “Hard Rock Café” the girls headed to Linda Bateman’s house to get settled in for the night. Linda is a dear friend who opened her home to us. She fed the girls breakfast every day and dinner two nights, as well as providing late night snacks for hungry teenagers. She was a blessing.

Saturday we began our adventure as tourists. The girls took in Graceland and the Pink Palace museum. They loved seeing Elvis’ home, despite the somewhat dated décor. Saturday night we took the girls downtown to “Rendezvous” and introduced them to real barbecue, Memphis style. Sunday morning we went to church at the Downtown church of Christ where Bob and I used to go (where we met, in fact). It was wonderful to be there again and see many familiar faces. After church, the girls headed to the Stax Museum and then Sun Studio, where they saw the microphone Elvis sang into when he was just starting out as a young, unknown singer.
We had a relaxing evening swimming at Dr. and Mrs. Bland’s pool. Dr. Bland is a former professor of Bob’s from Harding Grad. They were so gracious in allowing us to swim in their pool. On our last day of sightseeing, we headed to the zoo. There was a slight glitch in our plans when we got a flat tire on the van. God was watching out for us though. We were right next to a tire shop where the mechanic kindly repaired the tire for free! We did finally make it to the zoo where we enjoyed the pandas and the polar bears and all the other animals. That afternoon we went downtown to the National Civil Rights Museum. I think seeing the struggle for equal rights in our country and how far we’ve come touched us all. It was a good way to end our time in Memphis. Tuesday morning we packed up and let the girls hit the mall for a few hours. Then we headed home to Tulsa.

Miriam and I missed out on at least half of the sightseeing adventures due to the many needs of a growing toddler. Timilyn Towers, one of our other chaperones, was tour guide extraordinaire. She took over the responsibilities of keeping up with everyone, as well as keeping everyone laughing and having fun. Thanks, Timilyn! We were also blessed to have Larita, a grandma of one of the girls, along with us. She was a trooper, keeping up with all that walking we did!

In reflecting on the trip I’ve tried to think of one story that highlights what this experience meant to the girls. I don’t think I have one, probably because Miriam and I were having a somewhat different travel experience (those of you with toddlers will understand!). I do know though that the girls benefited from seeing the world is bigger than their neighborhood, bigger than Tulsa. This was the farthest from home most of them have ever been, and there is no way it could have happened without the help of many people.
I know the girls felt the love of D who arranged spending money for each of them, of Linda who let them sleep all over her living room, of Dr. Bland who let them use his pool, of “Miss T.” who drove them all around Memphis in the van and led them in devos every night, of everyone who helped us with fundraising or who prayed for this trip to be possible. To each of you we say, “thank you”.

Monday, August 6, 2007


The #1 hit song in the church van this summer is...Rescue by Acappella. We have the old Acappella album (the tape version!!) in our van, and during hours of driving around town, we don't listen to the radio (my choice), but Rescue..over and over and over. Not a bad song to put into the hearts and minds of teens. There is nothing like hearing teens ask,"Can you rewind that song (Rescue) again?" Sure beats hearing "Bay Bay Bay" (a popular rap song). Grace and peace on the road.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Muscles and Clay Dyer

A couple weeks ago a few of my Contact Church brothers went to a conference in which they saw a video clip made by ESPN. They profiled a man named Clay Dyer, a Bass Pro fisherman. Doesn't sound too interesting until you see that he has no legs and no arms, except for a short stump on his right shoulder. He ties the lures using his mouth.

I was talking with our teen boys recently about what they would give up if they had to lose either their vision or hearing. One guy chimed in with an eye-opening statement (pardon the pun): I would kill myself if I went blind. Sitting in the room with us was Muscles. He is an adult member at Contact. He has one arm that functions right, the other arm can be used sometimes. His eyes squint most of the time, making it hard to see. He never complains. He spoke up about how he felt like dying a few years ago as he faced this new disability. Since he has come to Contact, he helps around the building and keeps the grounds looking good. He has found a true niche.

I was so thankful for his words. Clay Dyer was asked in the clip if he would change anything if he could about his life. He said "no." He does everything that any other professional fisherman does. He realizes that his life reveals the miracle of living in the midst of our pain and brokenness. I am so thankful for my brother, Muscles. He inspires us to live for the LORD and wait on the LORD during the rough moments. That clip can be found at