Hello Friends!!! As I do every Wednesday, I went in search of good people who are doing good things, and I think your hearts will go out to these people … I know mine certainly did.
Meet Ben Carpenter. Ben, age 33, is a single gay man living in Shepley, West Yorkshire. What makes Ben unique? He has adopted four very special children, children with special needs, and provides them with a wonderfully loving home.
Ben began his journey some eleven years ago, in 2006, but it took him four years before he was able to convince the authorities that he was serious about adopting and could be a good dad. “I only ever wanted one child when I started on the process of adoption,” says Ben. But fate had other ideas …
Each of the children has special needs: 10-year-old Jack is autistic and has autism-related OCD. Ruby, 7, has Pierre Robin syndrome, a visual impairment, scoliosis and limited use of her arms as a result of missing radius bones. Lily, Ruby’s 5-year-old biological half-sister, is deaf and uses British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate. The most recently adopted, 2-year-old Joseph, has Down syndrome and uses a colostomy bag.
“All my children have the, ‘I have a disability. So what?’ attitude,” he says. They enjoy what he feels is a normal family life on the Huddersfield, United Kingdom, farm they share with resident rabbits, chickens, geese, ducks and peacocks.
“As of yesterday, the weather was lovely. They were playing in the garden from morning ’till night,” he says. “Our life is so complete. They’re complete with me and I’m complete with them, really,” he says. While he fields the question “How do you manage?” quite often, Benjamin says it’s just what he’s meant to do — and so far, the kids have been relatively easy.
“I’ve been very lucky. I may get it when they become teenagers. Obviously they will have their own demons when they get older with their adoption.”
All the kids are learning to communicate with Ruby. Benjamin is teaching them Makaton, a simplified form of sign language, in lieu of BSL. Ruby’s difficulty moving her arms prevents her from forming the signs, so the sisters have learned to communicate in other ways.
“They do it through facial gestures and body language. It’s quite fascinating to see, really, when they’re together,” Benjamin says.
In fact, Ruby has learned to do many things independently without the use of her arms. Whatever the challenge, Benjamin resists the urge to do it for her, instead talking her through doing it on her own.
“She’s learned to adapt, so she’ll use her legs or she’ll use her mouth or chin to do it,” he says.
Ben works part-time as a teacher of British Sign Language, and also volunteers his time working to educate other would-be adoptive parents.
Recently Ben and the kids appeared on a morning show in the UK … watch this short (37 seconds) heartwarming clip
My hat is off to Ben Carpenter for having the courage, the heart, and the compassion to take in these very special children and give them every bit of his love. Isn’t it wonderful to find people like him in this world?
I am tired of hearing the criticism of NFL players who are using their broad platforms to make a statement about racial injustice. I fully support those players and find it a shame that they are being attacked, even by the leader of the nation. As with any group of people, there are some good individuals and some not-so-good. But today I would like to highlight one who is beyond just good. Allow me, please, to introduce Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long.
I will let Chris tell you in his own words what he is doing …
“I’m playing the entire 2017 NFL season without collecting income because I believe that education is the best gateway to a better tomorrow for EVERYONE in America,” Long wrote on Pledge It. “I’m encouraging fans, businesses and every person with a desire to join in my pursuit of equal education opportunities for all students to make their own pledge. My goal is that through this campaign my donation will be doubled by those inspired to join the effort — because together we can accomplish more.”
Yep, you heard the man. He has already given up his first six game checks to provide two scholarships for students in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. He will be using his next ten to launch the “Pledge 10 for Tomorrow” campaign. On the Pledge 10 website, Long has written …
“CALLING ALL EAGLES FANS
I have had an amazing opportunity to play 10 years of NFL football. I want to give back to the communities who were part of that journey. The city of Philadelphia and Eagles fans have taken me in, supported me and made me and my family feel at home, now I am excited to invest back in the community with you.”
Giving isn’t new to Long. Six years ago, while playing for the St. Louis Rams, Long and then-teammate William Hayes founded the Waterboys initiative for building clean water wells in African communities, which earned him the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
“My wife and I have been passionate about education being a gateway for upward mobility and equality. I think we can all agree that equity in education can help affect change that we all want to see in this country.”
Two thumbs up to this very giving, very caring NFL player. He, like so many others, is using his voice, his platform and his hard-earned money to do good things in this world. Thank you, Chris Long!
And now, while I usually try to do three or more, I must cut this short, as I got a late start and am hoping to get in bed before 5:00 a.m. this morning. Take heart, dear friends, for whatever bad news we see this week, we must remember that there are still a lot of good people doing good things out there.