No Good (News) Deed Goes Unpunished

(Reprinted from July, 2013)
As I wrote in this blog last month, there are people out there who complain loudly that we media types don’t report any good news.  Many of these folks are the ones who fill Facebook pages and message boards with hateful comments on any issue, whether it affects them or not.  So if you’re one of the venom-spreaders, stop here, and go to the website or wacko cable channel of your choice.

All right, now that I’ve cleared the room and set the table, I will proceed with the latest developments in a “good news” story.  That family I’ve been telling you about, the Reynolds family of Chattanooga is back from Ukraine.  Ezra and Kelly, who adopted two beautiful special needs girls in 2011, returned to Ukraine in May and have now brought home two more children:  a six year old girl, also with special needs (Katerina) and an 18-month old boy (Andrew) who was born with no hands and no feet.  Let’s celebrate together with their new family portrait, freshly photographed this week in Chattanooga:

reynoldsfam

That’s little Andrew with dad Ezra on the left, with Juliana, Katerina and Elena being held by mom Kelly.  This is a family.  I am in love with them.

If you know me, you know that I’m generally positive and peaceful.  However,  I’ve also been known to whine and complain if I have to wait in line more than five minutes at Wendy’s.  What have I done for my family?  Well, I’ve gone to work each day, and I’ve tried to help them with homework and sports, through about sixth grade anyway, when both their homework and sports exceeded my abilities.  Now that my sons are in their twenties, I can honestly say that they were pretty easy to raise.  In the big picture of life, I rarely broke a sweat.

On the other hand, here’s what Ezra and Kelly have done for their kids:  traveled thousands of miles from home (repeatedly), endured Ukranian orphanages, institutions, and government offices that are to say the least, inefficient, and ingested food and water that would be condemned here. That’s just skimming the surface.  These children have learning disabilities, vision problems, hearing deficiencies, mobility limitations and a very short waiting list of potential parents.  In some cases, there is no list.  Most people see children like these and say, “Awww, aren’t they precious,” and then hurry to walk away.

Ezra and Kelly will not walk away.  They go out of their way to give these kids a chance, a home, a life.  They deal with the naysayers, like many of the online snipers who write judgmental insults.  When the Reynolds were stuck in Ukraine for several weeks due to a government passport snafu that stranded thousands, some of the comments included, “Serves ‘em right, they ought to be arrested….we have plenty of kids in the US they could adopt.”  These people could have written more, I guess, but they probably powered down their laptop and started visiting US adoption agencies.  Right.

The Reynolds’ intentions are pure.  They’re not begging for my money, your money or government money.  They have jobs, thankfully answering to people who allow them to take time off to change the world.  They’re the first to give credit to family members who have been incredibly patient babysitters, friends and church members who have helped with basic needs, and even total strangers who have offered meals, shelter, diapers, or just a pat on the back. When I asked them what to tell people who want to help them, they said, “Just tell them there are still a lot of children who need good homes, in this country, and all over the world.  If your family is able to help, you don’t have to look far.”

reynoldsandrew

Another recent online comment went like this:  “Can you support these or will they be on welfare?”  These what?  I’m sure the author of this question is genuinely concerned, and only wants to offer his help in case this working family is unable to meet their children’s needs.  (It’s always good to see a person’s true colors.  Plus, it gives me a chance to clean out my Facebook page of people who claim to be a friend).

Thankfully, the huge majority of responses to my series of stories has been positive.  Perhaps I shouldn’t let the bottom feeders get on my nerves so much.  The Reynolds family is not related to me, and frankly had their story not been so unique, I might never have heard about them, written about them, or met them.  But I have, and I did.  Again, there’s a lot to love.  There’s a little girl who loves my Channel 3 microphone, not unlike my younger self, all those decades ago.  There’s another little girl who sat on my lap and rested her head on my chest the entire time I interviewed her daddy.  There’s still another one who gives her mom and dad a little break each evening while camped out in front of the TV, watching the letters and numbers on that spinning “Wheel of Fortune.”  And there’s that cute little boy who has no hands to catch a ball, no feet to walk or run, but does have the will and ability to throw you a kiss.  Thanks to his energetic, inventive parents, he will have prosthetic limbs some day and will surely accomplish great things.

I’ve enjoyed following their story, and now I’ve met them and grown to love them.  I hope you love them too.  They are angels among us.

I’ll close with a song.  Elena is the 4-year-old who loves to sing into the microphone and “interview” people.  She’ll stick it right in your face, like Ryan Seacrest does.  While my news photographer was capturing video of the family at play, Elena just wanted the microphone.  I sat down with her, and while I knew we were being photographed by a friend, I thought it was only still pictures.  Imagine my delight when I found this 30-second video on my camera:

 

About David Carroll

David Carroll grew up surrounded by the sights and sounds of broadcasting. As a teenager, David began his radio career in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee before making it to the “Great Jet-Fli,” WFLI, the 50,000 watt rock ‘n roll voice of Chattanooga. David was the first voice on the city’s powerful KZ-106 rock station before switching to TV. Since 1987 he has anchored the evening news on WRCB Channel 3, the NBC affiliate. Since April 2013, he has blogged purely for his own amusement, but hopes others enjoy it as well. To contact David, Email: 3dc@comcast.net

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