Wednesday, September 18, 2013


For one of his homework assignments for school, Cava was asked to brainstorm and list ways he was special. Then he was to take that list and write a paragraph. So I sat down at the kitchen table with him and asked, "Okay, Cava what makes you special?"

He thought for a moment before replying, "Nothing."

My heart sank because I really do think that he sees himself as not being special. Since I wanted to lift him up, I overly exaggerated my response of,  "WHAT??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? YOU, NOT SPECIAL? Cava, are you tricking me?"

He smiled.

"You must be tricking me because you are one super, duper extremely special kid. I think the hardest part of this assignment is narrowing it down to just a few ways that you are special since there are sooooooo many ways that you are. The teacher didn't even give us enough sheets of paper to write all the ways you're special."

Now, when I asked him what made him special, Cava answered, "I'm happy."

"In what way?"

"Before, when I had no family, I was sad, but now I'm here and I'm happy."

"That's an awesome one."

He then began to come up with other ways he was special:
- Being from Ukraine.
- Flying in a plane over the ocean.
- Learning to speak English.
- That he can do puzzles.
- His ability to do flips.
- He has a fish named Marlin and a dog named Chloe.

As he began compiling his list, I encouraged him and kept saying, "And what else?"

Each time, he would give me that Cava smile that I love so much and he would come up with more ways he was special.

After he'd compiled his list, I said, "See, look at all those ways you're special - and that's only just a few of them. We'd never get this homework assignment done if we listed all the ways you're special. But the one thing I want you to always remember is that God made you special and unique and that there is no one else in the world just like my Cava. And I love you very much just the way you are."

This was definitely a homework assignment that Cava needed and continues to need to learn.


  1. Wow oh my goodness, this post had a grip on my heart. Cava is such a special child and so many of us are better people just for knowing about him.

    Kudos to the teacher for making this assignment. Kudos to Dad for always teaching Cava in the best way possible.

  2. wow! that's a good one! it seems as he has a very good teacher this year.
    Eastern Europe and America are very different in many ways, one of them is the perspective on the "yourselves" (self esteem). even not institutional kids there grow up learning that it is wrong to esteem yourself in any ways. it's being confused with the humble, but it's absolutely not the same. in my opinion, this is one of the reasons why most of the people there are angry somewhat and have problems to deal with difficulties. they tend to start drinking instead of dealing with difficulties, so they suppress their feelings with alcohol. they don't feel worthy of anything. they would be proud of their religion (orthodox), their nation, their land, but not of themselves or their achievements. so if everybody is like that, more over children in "internat", where they don't even have any support from their family.

    so, Cava is really blessed to get out of that. it's not easy to build up your self esteem when many years you grow up knowing that your are absolutely not important (I'm talking from a personal and not so successful experience here). he will need lots of help and teaching about what self esteem is. your are doing a great job guys! :)
    you are in my daily prayers.

  3. oh my heart! You have two very special boys! I love following your journey!

  4. He is indeed special! Cava's sweet smiles and hugs just melt my heart. I love that precious boy!