Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Same age as Hannah

Gaia is the same age as my daughter, born in the same month of the same year. Sweet, sweet little girl. She is HIV+, and orphanage life has led to a speech delay. She will blossom in a family.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A precious girl who needs a family

Marcia has spina bifida. She is 4.

She is delayed in many areas, but makes progress when she is given an opportunity. When she got speech therapy, the therapist was happy with her progress. Doctors feel she will one day walk unassisted. She's had surgery that has gone well.

But Marcia is not thriving in an orphanage. She needs a family to give her that stimulation and opportunity to thrive every day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Every child deserves a family

Doesn't Diane look like a sweet girl?
She probably has Angelman Syndrome ("Babydoll Syndrome" in her profile is probably a poor translation).

She is just 2 years old and deserves a family of her own.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A sweet girl who needs a family

Kacey will turn 3 this month. She has Apert Syndrome. Kids with Apert Syndrome have fused fingers and toes and problems with the way their skull grows. Kacey will need craniofacial surgery as she grows, and surgery on her hands as well. She may need surgery on her feet.

She is a beautiful little girl made in the image of God, and she would make you so proud to be her mom.

Little boy with Down Syndrome

Elijah is only 3. He has a heart defect and struggles with chronic bronchitis (but lots of kids have respiratory problems in EE that get better in the US--there are many more smokers in Eastern Europe, and the areas it is done are not restricted, so chronic smoke exposure causes respiratory problems for some kids). He also has Down Syndrome.

He needs a family.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

7-year-old boy in China

Zane is estimated to be 7 1/2.

From his Reece's Rainbow profile:
He is reported to have adapted will to life at the orphanage and has made many friends. He is very helpful to the teachers and care givers. He is able to take care of his daily needs, and speaks a few words. His caregivers find him to be loving, humorous, very adorable and having a kind heart. This lovable boy needs a family that is experienced with childhood delays and can be strong advocates for him.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Older boy with Down Syndrome

Michael is active, loving, affectionate, and well-adjusted.

He is almost 11, and his adoption will cost "only" $20,000. Michael lives in Latin America.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

another older boy

I think the next couple posts I do probably aren't going to have a whole lot of commentary... not much emotional energy right now.

This is Patrick:

Patrick is 8. He has CP and possibly FAS. He is very high-functioning, and he wants a family and fears transfer.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Praying for a sign

We got some more information on M. Saturday. It was kind of a shock.

I've posted a bit on what you can't see on a photolisting. What happens when you see a child and a list of her weaknesses with none of her strengths. This was a whole lot more of weaknesses than strengths.

She does not walk. She does not talk. She is not potty trained. She is of an age where one would expect a child to walk and talk and use the bathroom independently. (If she were two, all that wouldn't be a huge concern).

She is described as severely mentally retarded.

She has an additional physical disability which greatly impacts how she perceives and interacts with the world... in addition to the one we knew about. This would make communicating with her very, very hard, unless one of these disabilities can be corrected (possible with the new disability we just learned about). The combination of these difficulties could be part or all of why she does not have the affected physical, verbal, and self-care skills. Her difficulties in perceiving and interacting with the world around her could also have resulted in the diagnosis of mental retardation, even if her disabilities did not affect her cognitively. So there could definitely be an element of once we can get through to this little girl, she will blossom.

She does not have a special attachment to any caregiver--but due to other circumstances (recent moves before the information I received was written) this may not be indicative of a problem.

She is smaller than I expected--the height of my three-year-old and barely heavier than the weight of my 21-month-old. I do have reason to believe this was also due to a move, and she's put on some more weight since then. It is hard to tell whether she may have regressed in other areas since her move.

There is a little good news, if I read between the lines. She is comforted by physical contact. That means she is not afraid of touch! She shows affection with smiles and laughter. She shows affection! This also makes me a little less worried about RAD, despite the information that she doesn't have a special attachment right now. She has a short attention span and doesn't show much interest in her lessons--Praise God! A caregiver is getting through to this little girl somehow. A short attention span is miles from so disconnected from the world she can't be reached. Still....

Unless we get more information on her--which might itself be a miracle--we have no idea what her future looks like. We have no idea what she is capable of. We have no idea how intense the care she will require would be.

Our family could probably handle a child who would require the level of care a 7 to 10 year old would require throughout her life. I could handle it if she were never really independent but could be semi-independent most of the time. What I'm not sure we could handle is a child who will require the level of care a two-year-old needs all her life. Constant supervision and help. Constant redirection to keep her out of trouble. All of that compounded by the size of an adult, who could reach anywhere, open gates and locks, and has the physical strength to get into bigger trouble.

Unless she made big improvements since this report--which is a possibility due to changes which happened a short time before this report was written--we would have no clue what sort of prognosis M. would have until months, possibly more than a year, after she came home. If the new disability we learned about were corrected, would she blossom? Or is the diagnosis that she is severely cognitively affected correct, so that even if her other difficulties were taken away, she would still function at a toddler level all her life?

If she were born to me, I would never doubt M. were my daughter. I would do whatever I could to give her the best quality of life I could.

On the other hand, if all I know now had been available to me initially, I never would have thought she might be the little girl God had for us.

Is He giving us this information now, rather than before, so we had a chance to bond to this little girl and hope she might be part of our family? Or is He giving us this information now, rather than later, so that we will pursue the adoption of a different child? Is M. the little girl He wants in our family? Or... not?

We are still processing all the new information. We honestly don't know how to proceed.

I am asking God for a sign. Please pray that for us.

At this point, I was just starting to see this little girl as my daughter. I was thinking about bringing her home, teaching her, finding her the resources she needed. I had started to find clothes and toys I thought she would enjoy. I have named her in my heart.

But to bring home a child with such severe multiple impairments, whose prognosis is a complete unknown--is that really what's best for our family?

At this point I would need a sign to give her up. And I would need a sign to bring her home. So I ask that you would pray with me for a sign. Pray that God would grant it to my husband as well as myself. Pray that He would speak wisdom to our hearts--He gives wisdom to all who ask. Pray that He would prepare our hearts for whatever child He has for us, and heal our hearts--especially my daughter Hannah's heart, who so wants M. to be her sister--if we are not supposed to bring M. home. Please pray for M. too! Pray that she is learning and growing as much as possible. Pray that she is loved. Pray that her family is being prepared for her, whether or not it's us. Pray that if we are not her family, her family will step forward as soon as we step back (and pray that we know when to step back, if that's His will). Pray that M.'s family--us, or not--will love her forever, stand by her through every difficulty and all of her needs, and help her to become all that she has the potential to be. Whatever God's plan for M., may she be richly blessed, and be a blessing to all who know her. Father, protect her and guide us. Give us the courage to follow you, no matter what your answer.

In the name of Christ Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Because Reece's Rainbow allows families to "commit" to an orphan on their site very early in the process--before their home study is complete--families have more time to raise funds. Sometimes, though, a family cannot complete the adoption process who thought they could, and then the little girl or boy they thought they would be bringing home becomes available in.

Because M. is in an institution, we will not be able to commit to her until we finish our home study. I hope that will be soon, but our education phase is taking a long time--we have so much going on with just our two kids at home that my husband especially does not have much time for reading. But I am hoping that soon we will have our homestudy finished, and then we can get those formal commitment documents done up, and then we can tell you who M. really is.

Another family had hoped to adopt a little boy who had just turned 6. However, they were not able to complete the process.

This is Preston.

Preston is still waiting for a family, and now he has a $10,000.00+ grant. That's around a third of what his adoption will cost. He's worth every penny!

Do you think you could be the one to bring him home?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Children with HIV

I read a great article on adopting a child with HIV on Friday, from a family who were in process to adopt an Indian infant when they discovered she had HIV. They didn't have up-to-date information on children living with HIV at first; I remember that long night of internet searching myself.... I was willing to adopt these three little children, one of whom had HIV, even not knowing the life expectancy of that youngest child, who looked so much like my Peter. But I cried tears of joy when I found out how GOOD things were for people with HIV, how much things have changed. The little boy will likely live a long, healthy life and grow up to do whatever he wants with his life.

By the time we called to inquire about these three siblings, however, they were no longer available. Lots of people who are adopting know that HIV is just not a big deal.

(For the record, M. does not have HIV. But it is a special need we are open to.)

Here are three children who are living with HIV and doing really well:

I am always struck by how Marjorie, Christian, and Octavia look like they could be siblings, but all three were born in different months of 2002. They are nine years old, born in April, June, and September. It's quite possible they could all be adopted together; they are in the same orphanage, and have likely known each other quite a while if not all of their lives. Their country allows the adoption of unrelated children. Of course, it's also possible to adopt any one of them separately. There's not a whole lot of information on what they are like. Marjorie is smart and wants a family. Christian is well-liked. Octavia has ADHD (and possibly fetal alcohol syndrome too, or instead). She is noted to have a mild delay.

These kids are likely in a very good home--children with HIV go to school and sometimes are adopted in their country. They would probably do very well in a family. Is one of these three your son or daughter?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sweet girl in China

This is Tara. Doesn't she look like a sweetie? Sounds like she is adorable--expresses emotions well, developing physically, loves to dance.

Tara is nine years old. But that's not too old to need a mommy and daddy. It's not too old to need a family who will take care of her and teach her and love her all of her life. It's not too old if you're her mommy. And she needs a mommy.

Update on one of my favorite little girls

Can you tell who this is? It's Xenia!

Xenia's doctor is not worried about her vision--so while there may still be some issue, it seems likely to me now that it was just the way the light/camera caught her eyes before that had people worried.

Here's hoping that this will lead to her getting a family soon!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sweet 4-month-old boy

Justin is just 4 months old. If you started the process to bring him home today, you could have him in your arms before his first birthday.

Justin has Down Syndrome. So many therapies and treatments are available today that there's less and less difference between kids with Down Syndrome and their typical peers.

Adopting a young baby is not without challenges but most say it's a lot easier than adopting an older child or toddler... and kids like Justin need families too. He doesn't ever need to be transferred, or malnourished, or watch mommies and daddies coming for younger kids... but if no one goes for him, it will happen. It's great to help a kid who was in an institution bloom, but it's great to keep a kid from ending up there too.

And don't forget my Hannah's favorite sweet baby Juliet, who is still only nine months old.

Juliet and Justin are both in Russia waiting for their families to find them.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is he yours?

Mickey is musical and cooperative, kind and loved. He will be a great son. Do you think he might be yours? He is six and it sounds like he's doing great. He looks so happy... wouldn't you just love having this guy around?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What is the difference?

These two boys are Keith and Steven.

These two boys are Mark and Jonathan:

How are Mark and Jonathan different from Keith and Steven?

They aren't. All four boys have Down Syndrome. All four boys are precious to God. All four boys need families.

But Keith and Steven have families coming for them, and Mark and Jonathan do not.

Mark is in Latin America and has a $3000 grant. He's five.
Jonathan is in Russia and will turn 3 in February. Reece's Rainbow does not have his complete medical information.

Someone thinks that Keith is worth taking a chance. Mark is too.
Someone thinks that Steven is worth all the money international adoption takes. Jonathan is too.

But there just aren't as many families stepping out as there are children who need families. God wants these little boys to have mommies and daddies, maybe brothers and sisters. He has a plan for Mark and for Jonathan. You just might be part of it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

another blind girl

Wendy is 5 years old and blind. She was born quite prematurely. She also has CP. She is a beautiful little girl. She is facing transfer very soon--she may have been transferred already. Wendy deserves a family.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A little boy who has a family

This is Andriy.

Andriy is blind. However, he does not need a family. His family, the Burlinghams, are planning to go and bring him home soon. But Andriy's needs didn't end when he found a family, as great as that is. Andriy's mom and dad, like most of us, didn't have $25,000 or more in the bank account when they committed to adopting their son. Andriy's family needs a lot of money so that they can go get their boy.

Maybe you aren't called to adopt or advocate. But if you are reading this, you are reading because you care about these kids who don't have families. So I challenge you to examine if perhaps you are called to give something--anything--to help Andriy come home. Twenty dollars. Ten. Five. No commitment; no monthly donation; no guilt-inducing letters later pleading for more. Andriy's mom helped me decide I wanted to commit to my daughter M. If you've been reading hoping to donate to me, don't. Just give it to Andriy. He needs it more. M. is getting home. There really is a chance Andriy won't. Unless my situation changes drastically, I will never be on here begging you to donate to M.'s adoption fund. But I am asking you today to send what you can to Andriy's family.

They have a giveaway too. And pie.

If you do want to adopt a little one who is blind yourself... this is Jeanne:

Jeanne has a birth defect of her eyes. She is definitely vision impaired; right now RR does not know what the nature of her disability is or how much vision (if any) she has. More information could be obtained if a family had a complete homestudy. Jeanne is 5 and has a $3000 grant. She lives in Russia.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Older kids need families too

Jack is 11.
He still needs and wants a family. The fact that he wants a family could make a huge difference in how he adjusts to a new family. It's not "easy" to adopt an 11-year-old, but lots of these kids grow up dreaming of families... families that will never come.

Here's what Jack asked one visitor to his orphanage:
"Do you know anyone who would like to take a boy like me. I would really like for a visitor at least, because I am all alone and I have no one."

All his life he has watched mommies and daddies come... for younger children. Crying, he asked one adoptive family:
"What do I need to do for a Mom to come? Do you know where she is? Is she looking for me?"

Are you looking to adopt an older child? This boy needs you. HIV is a very manageable need (comment if you want to know more). He IS NOT likely to die young or pass the infection to other family members.

Friday, October 7, 2011


This is Sasha:

He is 7 years old. Seven! His profile says 6, so the picture may be a little older, but this little boy is badly malnourished. He needs a family to save his life. You shouldn't adopt a child just to save a life. You have to want that little boy or girl to be part of your family. But sometimes, these kids do need their lives saved. Sasha might just be strong enough to hang on another year, maybe even another decade in whatever institution he's in. But sooner or later he will die alone and hungry and bedbound. Love won't take away Down Syndrome, or cerebral palsy, or autism (at least not on its own, and maybe at all). Love can't erase all the effects of seven years of institutionalization. Love will never make Sasha's first 7 years go away. But only love can save his life.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A short trip and some pocket change

I have apparently already used "Another sweet little boy" and "A little boy who needs a family".... suggestions for future posts?

This is "Chandler." God planned his birth from the very foundations of the Universe. He loved Chandler so much that He sent Jesus, His only Son, to die on the cross so that this little boy could know God's grace and eternal life in heaven. Think about what Jesus did for Chandler--and for you. Almost makes 2 trips to Eastern Europe and twenty-five thousand dollars seem inconsequential. Almost.

But if God is for it, who could stand against it?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Look beyond the picture

Look beyond this picture.

He has crossed eyes. Probably that will need correction.

He has Down Syndrome.

He isn't smiling.

Dmitry is a five-year-old boy who desperately needs a loving family. He needs someone like you--not a perfect mom (or dad), but ANY mom or dad. He needs a chance. Could you give him that?

Because I guarantee you, whatever little you could give him here, he's not getting there.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sweet girl in a Minnie Mouse shirt

Brittany is 6 years old. She is able to walk and speak at least some, but she is quite delayed due to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. My daughter Hannah has the same shirt she is wearing (and loves it). A family would make a huge difference to Brittany. Are you that family?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Two kids you won't see on Reece's Rainbow (and one you will)

This little girl, Anja, is actually 3. Her picture is clearly out of date.

Her records list enuresis and vesicoureteral reflux (I don't know much about this condition--it can require surgery but she might have outgrown it by now). She is also expected to need corrective lenses.

And this is Pyotr:

Pyotr will turn 2 in December. He is lactose intolerant and has a posterior tongue tie which was repaired but then grew back--the condition should not require medical treatment. He exhibits some pica (eating non-food objects). The records say Pyotr has some words but is hard to understand. He is not toilet trained.

Here's another picture:

Anja and Pyotr are actually siblings. And they don't look miserable or asleep all the time.

They can walk. They can play creatively.

And they are actually brilliant. Pyotr has a vocabulary of over 20 words. So what if he's hard to understand? So what if he's not potty trained? So what if he eats dirt? He's not even two yet.

If you haven't figured it out yet, Anja and Pyotr are my biological kids, Hannah and Peter. Everything I wrote about them is true (Hannah has outgrown her vesicoureteral reflux). Enuresis--bedwetting--is common up until kindergarten at least. Posterior tongue tie is pretty much irrelevant once the child is no longer nursing--well, maybe it would affect French kissing, but not a big deal. Lactose intolerance is an issue, but not as big of an issue as I might have thought.

The fact that I can make my fairly typical kids (who, of course, are brilliant and a joy) sound like risky, medically needy kids can tell you a few things. It tells you that some diagnoses aren't as scary as they sound. It tells you that a bad picture can make a big difference in how you perceive a child. If the first picture you saw was 1 1/2 year old Pyotr playing ring-around-the-rosies, or 3-year-old Anja tracing the alphabet, you would have had a totally different impression of them. I see the first picture of my daughter and I know that's Hannah when she's unhappy; you might look at it and assume Hannah is an unhappy girl. I look at the picture of Peter and remember him falling asleep in the playpen when I gave him a timeout; you might think he lives in that playpen and his legs are stuck in that position.

Now, you also might realize that having children by birth can give you something you didn't expect too. I never would have chosen a child with lactose intolerance. Can you believe that? I would not have picked my own son. That's painful to think about. But now that I understand it (and am dealing with it anyway) it's a non-issue to me.

I've been wanting to do this post for a while but hadn't found time to do it; I hope it helps bring home what a picture and a description of a child's challenges (rather than strengths) can't tell you.

One more picture.

This is Amie. She has Down Syndrome.
She doesn't look very happy. Maybe she doesn't have a reason to be very happy--or maybe this picture doesn't show how happy she is. There isn't any medical information about Amie. If a family adopted her they could end up with just about anything.

And they would end up with a daughter.