January 30, 2010

Orphanage 9

My heart has a special place for the precious children who await homes in Orphanage 9.  It just breaks my heart that it says this in the description for each child in that orphanage:

Regrettably, this orphanage is one of the poorer ones, with very little outside aid and very little hope.    All of the children are tiny and undernourished.  These children are immediately transferred at 4, and have little chance of survival where they are sent.  All of our waiting children need families, but these have a critical need.  Please consider one of these children soon!!

January 29, 2010


Earlier this week while looking on Reece's Rainbow, I noticed that Sofia's (Sophia) picture had been moved to the "My Family Found Me" page!  I am now proud to introduce you to her new family!  The Sanchez family lives in Sacramento with their three handsome boys.  (Californians with three boys, sound like someone you know?;-) )  Please continue to pray for them and support them as they take this giant leap of faith!  They need prayers, support - both encouragement and financial.  Check out their blog to read their story.


Thank you to all of you who helped make it possible for Sofia to find her family through your prayers and generous financial gifts!!  Every single dollar truly does make a difference!!

January 27, 2010

Check out this fundraiser!

Shortly after I found out about Reece's Rainbow, I signed up to pray for a specific orphan.  We received a photo of a baby girl named "Kyrah" and put her picture on the fridge.  We prayed for her for months almost every morning at breakfast.  Not too long ago, her family found her!  Not only are they bringing her home (soon to be named Jessa Rae), they are bringing a sister home for her, too! 

As you know, adoption is very expensive and most families work hard to fundraise.  The Whites are no exception.  Please take the time to check out their blog to read more about their family and their amazing love for these little girls who have no idea who they even are yet, and their determination to bring them home to a family and save them from life and death in a mental institution (phew! that's a long sentence).  Also, please check out the amazing fundraiser they are having.  For every $10 donation, you get a ticket for a chance to win:

First :New Stove-Fridge-Microwave set,
Second: John Deere Lawn Tractor
Third: Washer & Dryer
Fourth: $500 Fuel Oil Card
Fifth: Set of 4 New Tires
Sixth: Dishwasher
7th, 8th, 9th, 10th random $50 gift cards

January 21, 2010

Not yet...

As much as I want all of these children to find homes and hope to adopt one ourselves, it's just not our turn YET.   I just want to clarify that in case anyone thought we were in the process right now (first step is committing to a child then getting a homestudy done - we haven't done either yet).  We are still planning to and are committed to doing it.  We are setting aside some funds that will go exclusively to that end as the Lord graciously provides it.  I really WISH we could right now, but can't yet.  I don't know when, but hopefully sooner than later (however long that means I don't know).  We will definitely let everyone know as soon as we do! 

In the meantime I want to continue advocating by raising awareness and even some money for these children so they can find homes!  I will probably do some more cheesy fundraisers in the future for other children so watch out!  And for those of you who donated to the Snuggie raffle - I'll contact you by February 1st!  I'll literally write your names on paper and draw them out of a hat (likely an Anaheim Angels hat) :-)

January 16, 2010

Dennis is desperately seeking a home!

UPDATE: HE NOW HAS $7500 IN HIS GRANT!!  So if you or anyone you know is UCSIS approved please consider saving sweet little Dennis!!!  

Sweet little Dennis desperately needs a family ASAP!  His 4th birthday is weeks away when he will be immediately transferred to an institution where his chance for survival is slim to none.  He will die without a family!  I just look back at my boys' 4th birthdays when it was a time for celebration. Birthdays are supposed to be a happy day for little boys, care free and fun.  Filled with cake, balloons, and friends.  But not for Dennis.  This poor boy has no idea the horror that awaits him on his 4th birthday.  If for any reason you know of someone who may be able to save him, pass this on!

Here is Reece's Rainbow's plea for him:

BOY, Born March 18, 2006

Dennis has lost his family at the 11th hour, and is in crisis need of a paper-ready, USCIS approved family to save him from an institution he can't be adopted out of.   
Dennis is a darling little boy with blonde hair and big blue eyes.   He is not very active, and he struggles with pulmonary artery stenosis and rickets.    He needs to get HOME, so he can have adequate medical care, sunshine, nutrition....so he really has a chance to achieve his true potential.   He is an orphanage favorite, but he won't survive a transfer to the institution.    Please consider rescuing this munchkin!!
Regrettably, this orphanage is one of the poorer ones, with very little outside aid and very little hope.    All of the children are tiny and undernourished.  These children are immediately transferred at 4, and have little chance of survival where they are sent.  All of our waiting children need families, but these have a critical need.  Please consider one of these children soon!! 

HE HAS A $5000 GRANT!!!

January 9, 2010

A New Years Fundraiser for Sophia - win a Snuggie! :-)

Okay, so maybe this isn't the most brilliant of fundraiser ideas, as you all know my natural hair color (at least when I was a kid!), but I have an idea that if all of my Facebook friends (and anyone else who stumbles on this) donated just $12 to Sophia's adoption grant for her New Year fundraiser - that's only like donating $1 a month for 2010 - that she could get $3000 in her grant!  That is not even the cost of giving up one trip to Starbucks a month for 2010 - maybe one item at the Dollar Tree a month for you bargain enthusiasts.  But if everyone donated just $12 (which, by the way is a tax deductible donation) that could mean the difference between a loving forever family or life in an institution!  Please consider donating to her grant! 

Oh, and with this cold weather here in Florida (freezing temperatures, I might add) it got me thinking that someone out there just might enjoy a brand new SNUGGIE!  For all of you who didn't get one for Christmas - now is your chance!  Or if you did get one, doesn't everyone need a spare?  I will randomly draw a name (your name goes in once per $12 donation) and announce the winner at the end of the month.  Then you tell me your color choice and I'll track one down on ebay if I have to.  You want Zebra striped? You got it!  Hot pink?  No problem!

Oh, and when you click on the ChipIn link that takes you to Paypal (to the right or below), the payment goes directly to Reece's Rainbow (the 501c3 non-profit) and 100% of the donations get put in Sophia's grant.  I have no way of knowing who donates, so you will either have to leave me a message here or on FB or by whatever other means of communication suits you. 

So, even if you don't win the much coveted Snuggie, just be proud that you helped save a life and get to claim that $12 as a tax-deductible donation! It's a win-win situation!

Thanks everyone and Happy 2010!


January 6, 2010

Cruelty and neglect in Russian orphanages

This is an excerpt from an article entitled, "Abandoned to the state: cruelty and Neglect in Russian orphanages" by Kathleen Hunt, Human Rights Watch (Organization) published in 1998.  Although it's been over a decade, I don't think conditions have improved or changed much in the past decade:

Update:  In case you don't read the responses, an adoptive mom replied saying that things have improved since this post. That is great news! 

"Once officially labelled as retarded, Russian orphans face another grave and consequential violation of their rights around the age of four, when they are deemed "ineducable," and warehoused for life in psychoneurological internaty.  In addition to receiving little to no education in such internaty, these orphans may be restrained in cloth sacks, tethered by a limb to furniture, denied stimulation, and sometimes left to lie half-naked in their own filth. Bedridden children aged five to seventeen are confined to understaffed lying-down rooms as in the baby houses, and in some cases are neglected to the point of death. Those who grow to adulthood are then interned in another "total institution," where they are permanently denied opportunities to know and enjoy their civil and political rights."

Adoption is Redemption

Two days before Christmas, an amazing man died.  I didn't know Derek Loux, but he will be missed by many.  He was a strong advocate for adoption.  He and his wife also adopted THREE special needs boys at the same time (they were from Reece's Rainbow).  While they were in country working on the adoption, he posted a convicting and enlightening post about adoption and redemption.  Below is his post (if I am violating any copyright laws please let me know!):

Friday, December 12, 2008

Renee' and I are sitting in the office of a telephone company in Novograd
Valenski, Ukraine, using wireless internet. We are in the middle of adopting
three special needs boys from an orphanage here. Two of the boys have Down
Syndrome. Roman is high functioning, energetic and happy. Dimitri has serious
mental retardation, failure to thrive, and though he is five years old, he is
the size of a 1 year old. He has sores on his face, a distinct smell of death
on him, and yells out if we try to do anything with him other than hold him.
Because he has less ability to respond and learn, he naturally gets less
attention and care from the orphanage workers in this world of limited
resources. The harsh reality of the "survival of the fittest" principle is a
life and death struggle that this little boy is losing fast. Our third boy
Sasha, is a brilliant six year old who has Spina Bifida (the condition our son
Josiah died from in 1996). He is like a learning sponge that can't get enough!
He is happy and alert and thirsty for knowledge and experience. So with two of
our boys, we get an immediate return on any investment we make. With Dimitri,
there's not much immediate gratification. In fact, it's unknown when and if
there will be a return at all. This is the kind of situation that makes the
carnal, fallen, human reasoning think, "Why try? What's the point? What will
this produce? What good will this do? Why not select a boy who has more
potential? This looks like a lost cause.

Two days ago we drove for hours into the Ukrainian countryside to the village
where Dimitri was born. We met with officials there and signed papers and
answered their questions. We also went and saw Dimitri's house. The day had been
long, we were still recovering from jet lag, I was beginning to really miss my
six daughters at home and all the familiar things our fragile human hearts
entangle themselves with in feeble attempts to feel secure. Sitting in the dark
on our very long drive back to Novograd that night, the Holy Spirit began to
whisper to my heart, and new understanding about redemption began to take shape.

I was thinking, "Man, adopting this little boy has been so much work. This is
exhausting, expensive, uncomfortable … and it doesn't feel very rewarding right
now." What am I doing in some little Soviet car in the dark, in the middle of
rural Ukraine in frozen December, as the driver dodges cats and potholes? What
if Dimitri doesn't improve at all? What if we get "nothing" out of this? … Ahhh,
there it was; that dark, fallen, unreedemed, selfish human love, rooted in the
tree of the knowledge of "good and evil". The love the Greeks called "erao"
love. The love where we treat someone as precious and treasured for what we can
get out of it. This is unlike "agapeo" love, the God kind of love that treats
someone as treasured and precious for their good, not for my good. It's when I
love a person in order to meet their needs, having no expectation of them
meeting any of my needs. At a whole new level, God is working His kind of love
into my weak heart, and He's using little Dimitri to do it.

On the drive home that night, the Lord whispered in my ear, "This is Redemption.
Derek, do you know how far I travelled to get you and bring you back? I had to
be separated from my Son, in order to get you, just like you are separated from
your children in order to get these boys. Do you know how expensive it was for
Me to purchase you? It cost me everything. Do you know how broken, sick,
damaged, twisted, dirty, smelly, and hopeless you were? And at the end of it
all, you had nothing to give me or add to me. I did it for you. I emptied myself
and became nothing so that you could have it all. This is redemption.

My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and
outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it
killed Him. And when He redeems us, we can't even really appreciate or
comprehend it, just like Dimitri will never comprehend or fully appreciate what
is about to happen to him … but … he will live in the fruit of it. As his Daddy,
I will never expect him to understand all of this or even to thank me. I just
want to watch him live in the benefits of my love and experience the joys of
being an heir in my family. This is how our heavenly "Papa" feels towards us.

Today, settle your busy heart down and rest in the benefits of redemption. Enjoy
the fruits of His goodness, and stop trying to "pay Him back". You'll never get
close you goofy little kid."

My heart hurts

Not literally.  Well, sometimes if feels though it might burst at any moment.  Maybe I obsessively think about the children posted on Reece's Rainbow, but my heart aches thinking about those children.  I pray for them all the time.  Just because they were born with a disability that they could not help, they are treated as outcasts.  If one of my boys had been born with a disability I would love him unconditionally. They are still beautiful children.  Just children who just want to be loved as they are!  I know we can't save all of them, but there is a quote that goes around in the adoption world that goes something like this (I don't know the author):

“Adopting one child won’t change the world, but for that child, the world will change.”

January 3, 2010

Yay! Alyona has a home!

I just found out that Alyona (the cute little munchkin from a few posts ago) has a family committed to adopting her! I get so excited each time I find out that another child from Reece's Rainbow has a family committed to bringing them home.  In 2009 around 100 children found their forever families through RR.  Yay!

January 2, 2010

My sweet boys

This morning as I was busy putting the Christmas decorations away, my 3 boys were off in their bedroom playing. As I listened in, I overheard them playing "orphanage" with their stuffed animals. It was so sweet! They were each using play money to pay for the adoption fees. My 4 year old kept saying he was "buying" a baby, but his brothers promptly corrected him that they are "adopting" - no black market babies in this house! They then feed their babies some food because they were hungry :-) They have grown such genuine compassion in their little hearts for orphans! They are aware how blessed and loved they are and want to all kids to experience that.  I hope and pray they will continue to grow into loving and compassionate men.  Here's a picture I quickly captured on my phone: