Wednesday, August 31, 2011

cute little girl



This sweet girl is one-year-old Josie. She has her whole life ahead of her, probably including those beautiful milestones like walking and talking....

Down Syndrome is a condition that affects many families. People with Down Syndrome go to school, make friends, fall in love, work, live in the same world we do. Their lives are worthwhile. God created them.

Was he thinking of your family when He created Josie?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

three brothers




Bradley, Brooks, and Bryant are three brothers from the country we hope to adopt from who just were listed on Reece's Rainbow. They are 6, 5, and 4 years old. The oldest boy is deaf but is expected to be able to hear with cochlear implants. They sound like they'd be great additions to a family!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Another little girl who needs a family



God loves Mirabelle so much. She is two years old, but he has been planning for her a long time. You see, before the world began, he was thinking about her. When he created Adam and Eve, he gave them all the genetic material Mirabelle would need--he planned her dark hair, her calm demeanor, and even her extra chromosome. He mapped out the generations that would lead to this one little girl. And because He knew that Adam and Eve would fall into sin, He made a plan for Mirabelle's salvation. He sent his only begotten son from Heaven to Hell to save Mirabelle's eternal soul. The price of her redemption far outweighs the price that her parents will pay to adopt her. God has a plan for her life, and I trust His plan because He is good. I trust that He will touch the hearts of a very special family and tell them, "This is My daughter, whom I love; go and bring her home, give her clothes and food and drink and love and family in My Name. Be My Arms, My Feet, and My Voice to this sweet, tiny girl. Teach her to follow Me. I promise you, it will be a blessing like none you have ever received. You can't come to me sitting there and holding that oar. If you fall I will be here to lift you up. I want you to have her, because she is important to Me. Take good care of her."

It is a hard thing to step out and adopt a little one, even if you did get such a plain, literal calling. But He will be beside you every step of the way, and He loves you and He loves that child and He wants what is best for each of you. Not always what's easy, but what is best.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

a four-year-old boy

Thad is four years old. He has Down Syndrome. And he could not be any cuter. That boy is just full of cute!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Joy



This little boy looks so full of joy, doesn't he? Can't you just imagine the joy he'd bring into your life? He needs a mommy and daddy! He is four years old. RR calls him Ralph. Do you want to call him "son"?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Precious little boy

Nicholas is a precious gift of God. He was a gift to his parents, but they did not choose to keep him--I don't know why.



Nicholas loves music and loves to dance. He also loves to play with adults. He turns 6 this month and thus is probably in danger of transfer. His grant is at nearly $4000. Sometimes he cries in his sleep.

How can this little boy not melt your heart?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Big brown eyes



This sweet boy is Denis. Look at those big brown eyes... please consider bringing him home and meeting his biggest need: for a family who loves him. He has a lot of needs--I recognize epilepsy and cerebral palsy (spastic tetraparesis) and reflux, and there's other stuff that I don't know what it means (but might be related to the others).

Sometimes I worry that this little girl we want to commit to will have needs we won't be able to handle. Sometimes I wonder why there's anything we are willing to say no to. God didn't look at me and say He couldn't handle my needs. My husband didn't either (and I'll tell you, he has to handle a lot....) And if she is my daughter, nothing else matters. But it's not quite like pregnancy, where you know that baby is a real person who is in your womb because God chose to put her there. She is a real person, she does need a family, but there is the possibility our family isn't the one; nothing is sure in her country until we bring her home.

Denis has a lot of needs, but with good medical care, good therapy, and a family, he may be able to overcome some of that. Or he may not. His family will need to accept him where he is and love him as he is while working towards all he can be. Like Jesus does for us.

(I am adding the tag M. for my little girl. This is not her real initial. I will not use her real initial for privacy reasons; I will not use her RR initials because we aren't officially "committed" yet; but this is the initial for the middle name I would give her.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sweet baby


This is Maeve. Doesn't she look like a sweetheart? She is 1 1/2 and has Down Syndrome. She also has an extra finger. She needs a mommy and daddy. Don't you wish you could bring her home? There's a $2500 grant to help you out.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Precious child of God


Victoria is four years old. She is beautiful. She has Down Syndrome. She needs a family.

Smiley face



Look at that smiley face!

Vitaliy is 2 and will turn 3 next month.
He has Down Syndrome.
He is precious in the sight of God.
He needs a mommy and daddy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

There are good orphanages

Not all orphanages are bad. In many, many orphanages, children are loved and taken care of. They are allowed to grow their hair out. They have relationships with each other and their caregivers. They have their diapers changed and they are certainly well fed, even if the diet is not always diverse. Please don't think all children in Eastern European orphanages have to live in poor conditions. Some do. Processes are in place to report and correct poor conditions when they are discovered, and hopefully this will help end them.

This is Heaven. She probably lives in a "good orphanage."



Heaven probably plays with toys. She is probably held sometimes. She probably is changed several times a day. She is certainly fed.

But she still doesn't have a family. Heaven doesn't know what "mommy" or "daddy" really means. She doesn't know what it's like to have a family. She doesn't know what it's like to be held whenever she's scared, to have her needs met when she cries out, or to make choices about her day. She doesn't know what it's like to have someone she can rely on every day to meet her needs, without vacations or employment changes--and even if she does, all that will be torn away when she's transferred. She was born the same year as my son, so she's one or two. A good orphanage is so much better than a bad orphanage... but it's still an orphanage, and Heaven needs a home.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

More children from the institution Katie, Liliana, and Steven are in.

Reece's Rainbow has posted info on 3 more children with Down Syndrome in the same institution where Katerina, Liliana, Steven, and many others have been badly neglected.

At this institution, which houses 250 children, the top floor is where children with more challenges, like Down Syndrome, are kept. The caretakers visit only to feed and change them. These processes involves little to no interaction and neither is done frequently enough. Of the 17 children with Down Syndrome, 6 have committed families (Liliana now not only has a family but a full grant fund!) There is also a 16-year-old young woman who is too old to be adopted. Word is that 4 more families want to adopt one of these severely neglected children. There are also 40-odd more children on the top floor living under the same conditions, presumably kids with other special needs. Ideally families already approved to adopt for Bulgaria will step up to adopt each of these precious little ones. In addition, 200 more children live on the lower levels of the institution. Conditions seem to be better for these higher-functioning kids, and they even participate in programs outside the orphanage. But I certainly wouldn't want anyone responsible for Liliana's condition in charge of any child.

Tony:


Tony is another severely malnourished little boy who appears far younger than he actually is (almost 12). He doesn't look as bad as Liliana, but he has definitely been through a lot and needs a family who can help him start to regain as much as possible of what he has been denied.

Kami:


Kami is 5 or 6. She needs a mommy to come and take her away from the awful conditions she is kept in.

Keith:


Here's another young boy who desperately needs a family, a healthy diet, and medical care. Keith is painfully skinny.

Don't forget that Steven is still waiting too.

Nailan

Nailan is four and is at the same institution, but clearly gets more opportunities and better care than those on the top floor. He has some sort of problem that results in vomiting, but no specific diagnosis. He needs a family, a real home, and good medical care to diagnose and treat his condition.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kids in China with Down Syndrome

China is not an option for us--we are too young--but for those of you who might feel called to China, here are two adorable two-year-olds, Erika and Doug.

Erika looks so sweet, doesn't she? She likes to dance and is very opinionated. She has a heart murmur. She loves to play. She can walk, wave, and follow directions. She knows her name.

Doug is said to be doing well, and is expected to thrive in a family environment. More photos and information would be available for an interested family.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

another from the very bad institution


This is Steven. He's in the same institution as Katerina and Liliana, only 3 or 4 years old--still too small, but probably hasn't been there as long.

Unbelievable suffering


This is another hard post.
But I am not going to ask you to adopt this little girl.
I am going to ask you to look at her.
She's called Liliana on RR, and she should have a family coming for her soon. She may not be on MFFM yet, but she will be.
Take a guess how old this little girl is.

Unless you've read about her elsewhere, you're wrong. This little girl is 11 years old and weighs only 10 pounds. The workers in her orphanage just do not care about the condition or fate of the children they "care" for. The horrible condition of Liliana and other children in her orphanage was discovered when a mother arrived to adopt her daughter Katerina. Katerina was not listed on Reece's Rainbow, when her mommy found her.

Katerina is nine.

There are 17 orphans with Down Syndrome (and many without it) in Katerina and Liliana's orphanage. Katerina, now Liliana, and four others already have families coming for them. Four families have stepped into the unknown to commit to adopting one of these severely malnourished children with Down Syndrome. Katerina's mommy is praying for 7 more families to step forward--families willing to accept the unknown and rescue children with a completely unknown prognosis, sight unseen. Families willing to show the orphanage director what kind of God we serve. Families willing to be Christ to some very needy boys and girls, who if they are anything like Liliana and Katerina it is beyond belief they are alive at all.

This is urgent. This is life and death. This shouldn't be what adoption is about--but today it is.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

They all need families


Isn't he adorable? This is Jamison. He is 4--almost exactly a year older than my daughter. He needs a family.


They all need families.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Two children who can be adopted together

Adopting two children on the same trip is an option for some families. These two kids can be adopted at the same time with no additional fees or travel time at all--you would just need one more ticket back home. Presumably they're at the same orphanage.

Kole is 2 or 3 years old and has delays, but sounds like a lot of fun. He loves places to crawl through and watching cars... sounds a little like my boy :)



Ria has arthrogryposis, which is a connective tissue disorder resulting in tight joints. It can vary greatly in severity and which joints are affected, but surgery and physical therapy can improve the prognosis. Ria is receiving care for her condition in the orphanage she lives in. She is six.



Isn't Ria gorgeous? You can learn more about Ria and Kole from their Reece's Rainbow profiles, and interested families can see new photos and videos of these two taken this month.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sweet little girl

Mandy laughs, plays, and is starting to walk. She's two months younger than my son, who at 20 months is still not steady on his feet, so it sounds like she's not all that far behind. She has a "positive prognosis regarding her mental development" but is also recorded as having a psychological delay. She does have a craniofacial difference, a difference of her hands, and a heart defect. She also has a motor delay. Her delays could be only due to the orphanage setting and her physical disabilities. It sounds like little Mandy is bright and learning. She's another that has a picture which won't tell her whole story:

Because she's laying down and refusing to look at the camera--her profile says she was in a bad mood--she looks like she has more profound disabilities than is probably the case. She looks so cute, though--so imagine her smiling and playing with toys. At only 1 1/2 she has so much time to make up for those delays, and she will probably do really great with a family.

Could Mandy be your daughter?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Kids with cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a very common special need, especially when a birth was traumatic or premature, or there was a multiple pregnancy. In the developing world, where medical care may not be as good as in the US (and other countries), many children with cerebral palsy are released for adoption by their families. The disability has a wide range of effects--some kids are only mildly affected and can walk well; some may walk only with assistance or need wheelchairs. Although CP results from a brain injury, very often this only affects mobility and children with CP are often not intellectually affected by their special needs.



Brett is a sweet little boy who has cerebral palsy. He is three years old and lives in the country I hope to be adopting from--somewhere in Eastern Europe. He is so young still--he will be four soon. It is difficult to know what a child's true abilities are when he has been raised in an orphanage, but right now Brett is able to stand with support, and his caregivers are working with him on learning to walk.

I don't know what kind of training his caregivers have, and whether Brett receives physical therapy. But with a family, physical/occupational therapy, and good medical care, children do much better than they do in an institution. I've read several stories about kids who never walked a step in their life walking once they got home and had the love and support of a family, and appropriate therapy--sometimes within months of coming home. It's great that Brett's caretakers are at least working with him, but he could probably do even better with the help of a family. You shouldn't adopt a child with cerebral palsy unless you are comfortable with the idea that they won't be able to increase their physical abilities--Brett may always need a wheelchair, even if he does learn to walk--but there is so much potential for these kids once they are in families and have therapy.

If Brett stays in Eastern Europe, however, even though it seems like he is getting a chance to progress now, in a few short years he will end up in an institution. If he doesn't walk by then, he will not walk there. He will be put in a "lying down" room. The staff will not be available to work with him individually, so he might never get out of his bed again. He might be tied to his bed. He will lose the ability to stand up he has worked for so hard. He will probably lose the will to live. If he cannot feed himself effectively--maybe even if he can--he will probably suffer from malnutrition. Some of these kids get impossibly thin. Some come home to the US and are immediately taken to the hospital to be treated for severe malnutrition.

Brett doesn't deserve that. No child deserves that. You can help his family adopt him by donating to his fund. You could be the family that brings him home. You can support charities which help little boys and girls in his country.

And you could do nothing. But if you ignore Brett, he will still be a three-year-old boy who can't walk. Ignoring the situation won't mean he doesn't end up tied to a bed for the rest of his life once he turns five. Ignoring him won't mean he gets enough to eat. It might make your life easier. But Brett will still be a little boy in Eastern Europe who needs a family.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Seeing past a picture

Having pictures of these children who need to be adopted is a wonderful thing. A happy, smiling little face helps to emphasize that there is a real little girl or boy beyond a description who needs a family. And up-to-date, happy, cute pictures make it more likely that the little girl or boy will be chosen. But sometimes, all that one has to go on is a picture that is hopelessly out of date, or one of a child who is crying or sullen. Sometimes the picture may be out of focus or grainy so it's hard to see what the little girl or boy looks like. And of course, sometimes there still is no photo at all.

It's harder to fall in love with a little one who is crying, glaring at you, or hard to see, let alone one you can't see at all. It's a good thing that people have photographs, so that they can fall in love with a little boy or girl and then advocate for that child, or even bring him or her home. Even the grainy or sullen photographs help to drive home that there really is a little boy or girl waiting for a family. But in large photolistings, the unhappy photos are more likely to get passed by.



This is Lucy. She doesn't look real happy about having her picture taken. Maybe she just woke up. I'm sure most of us have some pretty miserable pictures of our kids. But they aren't like that all the time, are they? And when we think of them, we usually don't think of them at their most miserable--most days. But imagine if someone were to know your child only through an out-of-focus, whiny, or sullen picture. If the only picture someone saw of your daughter or son showed them at their worst, it probably wouldn't make them realize what a delightful personality your little one had, and how he or she is really smart and so helpful and has a beautiful smile. But all of that would still be true.

I bet little Lucy has a beautiful smile. I bet she just loves playing with new toys. And I bet she would fall in love with parents who gave her lots of cuddles and attention. It doesn't show in her picture--but she is still a two-year-old little girl, made in the image of the God who loves us, delights in us, and created her and us. And when her family brings her home, they will capture her delightful smile and you will see how beautiful she really is.

I noticed Lucy because of her pretty name, but she has a lot going for her. She is loved and cared for right now. The region she's in requires 3 trips, but adoptive families have had great experiences with her orphanage and the workers there really want the kids to find families. You could get contact information to talk to other adoptive families about what it would be like to adopt Lucy. Please consider more than one picture; Lucy needs a family too.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Rough start, bright future


Lianne was born with Down Syndrome. She was also born to a mom who was HIV+. All children born to moms who are HIV+ have antibodies for the virus in the blood, and looking for these antibodies is how doctors determine whether a person has HIV. But after 18 months or so, babies of HIV+ mothers will usually stop testing positive unless their mother passed the infection to them (which is rare with proper medical treatment to prevent transmission at birth). Lianne now tests negative for HIV--lucky for her! She will not need any medication to control HIV now, and it will be one less thing for her family to worry about. Lianne is probably between 18 months and 2 years old--still very young.

Do you have a place in your heart for a sweet little girl with a rough start and a bright future if you adopt her? She has so much learning and growing ahead of her. Wouldn't you like to be a part of that? She doesn't ever need to be transferred to an institution.

Being abandoned by your parents, raised in an orphanage by hired workers, and sometimes transferred to a mental institution is a rough start to life. But if you adopt Lianne--or any of these kids--they have such a bright future. Will you give this little girl the family and the hope she deserves?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So many are still waiting.

So many little boys and girls are still waiting for their families.

This is Dana. She is just the same age as my daughter, so she probably likes playing with dolls, friends, and books. She would probably love to have a pretend kitchen and a menagerie of stuffed animals and lots of bright, noisy electronic things. And I know she needs her own mommy and daddy.

I wish there weren't little girls and boys who didn't have mommies and daddies. I wish we lived in a world where every child was loved and valued as a child of God, regardless of his or her challenges. I am going to adopt a child so that there is one less orphan in this world of ours. So that one little girl doesn't go to bed without hugs and kisses. So that one little girl will always have enough to eat, her own bed to sleep in, and a family all her own. Maybe you can't do that--and that's okay. But please, do something! Even if it's just adding a couple dollars to a fund for one of these sweet little ones, like Valentin or Dana.

Two happy things

Sorry I missed yesterday! I have two pieces of very happy news.


Valentin, one of the first little boys I featured on this blog, has a family now! I don't know who they are yet, but he's on the "My family found me" page!

My other news is that we are now ready to start a home study! We are in the process of setting a date for our first visit, which could be next week. Please pray that everything will go smoothly and we can have our house a little more organized by then (we've been making progress, but I want the shelves a little neater, the bathroom a little cleaner, the pile off the stairs. That sort of thing).

Here's hoping that before too long, it will be my little girl on the MFFM page :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

(Not) In The Know



This is Victoria. There aren't as many little girls who look like my daughter as little boys who look like my son, but little Victoria is closest.

Victoria is another "additional child" at the bottom of the Reece's Rainbow list for Russia Region 6. So there's not much I can tell you about her. I can tell you that she's four and will be five soon. It looks like she likes dolls. She's clearly beautiful. Since RR doesn't say otherwise, presumably she is listed because she has Down Syndrome.

I don't know what medical issues she has, what she's been through in her life, what kind of orphanage she's in, or if she has been transferred. I don't know much about her personality; the site lists her "character" as "contact, calm." I am guessing "contact" means she interacts well with others, as opposed to avoiding or ignoring attempts at contact with her.

I know that Victoria needs a mommy and daddy and doesn't have them. I know that she has brown hair and brown eyes.

Not knowing anything about the child who will one day be your son or daughter is a big thing. But maybe you saw Victoria's picture and knew she was your daughter, and none of that really seems to matter. If that's true, you can commit to her on Reece's Rainbow.

I didn't know that much about my kids when I got them, after all. No one offered me the choice of a little boy who didn't have food allergies and slept through the night starting at 2 months when I found out I was 12 days pregnant with my son. I'm glad they didn't, because I am so thankful to have my little boy in my life. I didn't get to pick what color hair and eyes my little girl had, and decide whether she had unusually shaped feet and a condition that would leave her susceptible to urinary tract infections until she outgrew it. Where does one draw the line between the "perfect" child and the child with "special needs"? How many of us have no medical, emotional, or social "special needs"? Would you adopt a little girl who had vision problems, emotional health issues, needed a low-carb diet, and had poor impulse control? That was me as a teenager. I'm willing to bet all of us have problems that our parents never signed up for.

I remember that when I held my daughter in my arms the first time, I had expected to know her and did not. For 8 monts I had this little one inside me, knowing I was her mom and she was my daughter, but I didn't recognize her from the pictures I had seen or what I had read about what she might be like. What did I say when I had her? "My little girl!"

Kind of like adoption, isn't it? I never expected perfection. I didn't know whether she would be "normal" or what health concerns she might have. But I knew God had given me this daughter, and I did my best to take care of her, learn about her, and fall in love with her now that she was a baby in my arms that I could see and hear and feel in a new and different way.

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Older" kids need to be adopted too


Someone requested a post on an older girl with HIV, and this sweet girl showed up on the Reece's Rainbow boards recently because she may be transferred soon.

Alicia is 6 or 7 years old. (Where else but adoption does that make her "old"?)

Alicia loves attention. She wants lots of hugs and kisses. Somewhere I bet there is a mommy who can give her those! She has fetal alcohol syndrome and is HIV+. She is in the same country as the little girl I hope will be my daughter. You could bring her home next year and start learning about her needs, her personality, and how to love her. She needs someone. She is loved at her orphanage--which is a privilege not every orphan has--but she needs a family. And love may be in short supply where she is sent next.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kids are dying.

This is