Callie Girl

Her name is Callie.

callieShe’s cuter than any button that you ever could buy. She’s quite possibly in an orphanage, signed by her biological mother to be available for international adoption because of a deep rooted superstition that Down Syndrome is a sign of the parents confirmation of a place reserved in perpetual darkness in the afterlife. Can you imagine? Yes. You can. You’ve experienced devastating fear, gripping pain and complete aloneness over something. It doesn’t have to be over a child. It could be over a part lost in a play because you got food poisoning and can’t be there for the audition that you believe might turn your life around, thus giving that chance to someone who you believe absolutely doesn’t deserve it. Maybe the favorite color of lipstick you’ve always worn has been discontinued or a finals test that makes or breaks your desired career doesn’t work out, missing by just one question that you think of the moment after you have no second chance. That’s devastation. That’s the moment that you’ll cry inside, at least a part of, for what in that moment seems like a forever.

Callie’s birth mom? She may have dreamed of a, “perfect child” endured a hard delivery, bordered on the brink of death, carried through only by the love of a child that she’d bonded with over nine months of inside butterflies that turned to little kicks and caused her uterus to swell and that magic moment of delivery. After painful moments that turned into hours she held what initially appeared to be a perfect baby, perhaps she was told by her grandmother standing nearby that this baby looked like a family.

Very little information is given about “Callie” but easily we can imagine that isn’t wasn’t long after bringing this little girl home, her mother began to notice that her baby was unique in some incredibly undesirable ways. Perhaps it was that she was floppy, or maybe it was her flatter facial features as she progressed through that six week period in which babies begin to really look as they will as children and adults. Callie’s mother would doubtlessly been taught that Down Syndrome would shame her family. Her daughter either could be hidden forever, or institutionalized before word even got out that a child had been born. Judging by Callie’s young age, it looks like the second option was taken.

If you’ve read articles of advocating for fundraising of adoption from other countries you’ll hear about heartless abandonment. As a mother of four young children I refuse to write with that tone unless I explicitly read in a government document file translated into English by a social worker in that country that the child was found in a plastic bag near a drainage pipe or obvious form of disregard for life. Look at our society. Woman of all ages and across all levels of society and education are scared out of going full term in their pregnancy finding birth defect in their child in utero. While their child probably is not based on a fear of their place in the afterlife, it’s a life changing choice. Some of these woman come forward to write their story of guilt–of how they wish a million times over that they could take that moment back.

This is a post of hope.

Coming, baby girl.

Callie's familyThere is a family in Washington state that sees perfection. They’ve prayed and looked to the Lord for guidance. They believe that they’ve heard a resounding, “Yes” from the Lord and savior who says of Callie, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” Wonderfully made. This beautiful girl is gorgeous in the eye of GOD.

She’s made in perfection, she’s strong, she’s a testimony of his magnificent will and her life is a gift.

When Callie’s mom signed a form saying that this precious girl could travel overseas she granted the Henry family a chance to know and raise this precious child of God to His glory for as long as she shall live. I plan to continue to write about her story as it develops, bringing you the opportunity to help bring her home.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psa 139:14

This family is Jacqueline and Michael Henry along with their children Rhianon (16 and born in Ukraine), Tyler age 10 and sweet little Pyper is 3 who is soon to be a big sister.

Adoption from Callie’s country where soon-to-be big sister Rhianon was also born and grew up for a number of years, can easily be under a year from beginning to completion of process to the USA. Which means, if all goes smoothly, this baby could be celebrating her birthday a little late as a Henry in Washington state. Can you imagine? Yes, you can, because at some point in your life you had an opportunity that blew you away. A chance that changed your life, that came so unexpectedly that could have been yesterday or many years back that just turned everything around. Maybe, maybe even adoption.

Here is a little more about the Henry family.

Mama and Daddy:

They were first loves. Jaqueline attests to loving Michael from age 14. The two love birds have been married since 1983, considering themselves together for 37 years. How magnificent!

Michael is manager at a Napa store, while Jaqueline stays at home with their children as a full time mother, feeling that there is room in her heart and home for little Callie who they will give a new name upon her arrival.

Fundraisers tentatively planned.
An auction to launch in October. It will have teas from my online store that I already have in stalk at home and will personally ship. The auction will also have Pampered Chef products from Jaqueline’s direct sales line. We’ll have coats and baby hats available as well. Everything will have a base bid that includes shipping costs and run for two weeks.

We also want to have a shoe fundraiser and have details forth coming.

For Callie, being a child with special needs we’d like to honor her in a Super Hero Cape Fundraiser. Please click those words to learn about how that works. A date has yet to be picked, we’re open to the idea of having it open through the whole of this process as it’s a wonderful way to bring awareness.

Current financial needs. There is no mercy with adoption waiting periods. When it’s time to pay, it’s time to pay. Good intentions don’t win the race. Here’s what the Henry family is up against right now: The complete charge for commitment, $500, which will closely be followed by the $1500 for the homestudy, which is a social worker coming in to check out the Henry’s home for safety and preparedness to give proper care for a baby, showing that they have space and facilities to have a child of Callie’s age. If you’re interested in contributing the beginning of this journey, please visit Gofundme through this link: Adopting Down Syndrome Pureness

As I’ve been writing this piece I’ve been in conversation with the wonderful woman who God has give then heart to be Callie’s mother. She welcomes questions from you as well, my reader. Please reach Jacqueline through her email: jlovesdownsyndrome@gmail.com
or the regularly checked address: jacki1224@aol.com

Again, congratulations to the Henry family and many blessings as they follow God’s bidding to travel overseas to gain a daughter.

Knowing the Story, Seeing the Faces

40804201205-Romeo-225x300

Romeo’s is going home!

It’s personal when there’s a face to the name and even just a few words to describe that face. It’s this connection that makes families born not of blood but or what seems somehow to be much more, it’s a spirit that is magic to watch unfold though at times seems one sided as the child may have grown up in an environment with instability not knowing who to trust. This morning I included the picture of a girl full body embracing a woman who was at the young girl’s orphanage in Eastern Europe to adopt another child. The photo of this connection was so powerful that it had to be kept and made public for those who might come by Greta’s publically available profile. I’m sure that I am not the only advocate who has watched her grow up in pictures sporting boys clothes, underweight, with a shaved head and despite that just has the biggest smile in so many of her pictures that have come through the adoption boards as individuals spend time with her appreciating her friendly welcoming attitude and wishing her all the best.

Greta-193x300

Greta’s 16 and finally going home!

While Greta has spent so very many years waiting her heart is prepared for a family, a wonderful family that God has prepared to receive her. In only a matter of weeks they’ll be together.

Felix is 11 and going home!

Felix is 11 and going home!

On January 19th Stephanie Barnett will be leaving to adopt Greta, Felix and little Romeo from Eastern Europe. Orphans no more, in such a short while!

Stephanie is not new to adoption, in fact she’s brought home other children from overseas who were also listed on Reece’s Rainbow. In 2011 the Barnett family brought home 3 children who were listed as Trenton, Leeza and Igor. They’re thriving and loving life with their Texas born siblings and are so excited for the arrival of Greta, Felix and Romeo. Felix has been listed a while, but not quite as long as Greta. He also has a winner of a smile, at 11 years old, it’s about time this guy start his adventures as a son and beloved brother that he’s always meant to be. All happens in God’s perfect family, and I just so rejoice that this family is coming together.

CLarice-260x300

Clarice needs a family, soon!

This morning I wrote focusing on the advocating programs that Reece’s Rainbow has to organize adoption enthusiasts who cannot for personal reasons step forward in adoption personally. I said that all sorts of people apply to be Prayer Warriors, Guardian Angels, Family Warriors, and Angel Tree Warriors. The Barnett family have Carol Miller as their Family Warrior, and express their deep gratitude for her participation in moving along efforts to organize matching grants and fundraisers along the way.

Her day job is special education teacher at a community school in North Carolina. A beautiful part of this adoption community is that there are no bounds. Sometimes as I’m telling my husband stories of different families he’ll ask what state, and I’ll stop and realize that I don’t even know. Everyone is a dear friend when caring for orphans is what we have in common. When I wrote this morning I was having a momentary confusion between Greta and her age-mate Clarice. Stephanie Barnett brought to my attention an important detail that I did not know about Clarice’s story: A donor has stepped up and said that she will fully fund Clarice’s adoption, if this girl is found by adoption before she ages out of eligibility for international adoption from her country which she is quickly approaching.

If Clarice does age out, the $15,378.80 in her adoption fund will be gifted to another child.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16)

familywarriorpage22

Your Prints were found at the Scene

fingerprint-tattoo-designs-i18My husband and I gave talked about foster care on and off through the years. Last winter I went took the required 90hrs of training with my mom. It was fortunate that she was willing to go because the classes were only available at a time that my husband works. Being in public school education a lot of the information was not new to my mom, and for me having gone through school for Early Childhood Education and graduating with my Associates in Arts in Early Childhood Education in 2005, I wasn’t entirely outdated on information.

I’m not the only one to go through a process with my mother. That’s just what Anita Vantrease is up to right now. Since her mom lives with their family who is adopting Ian (Keegan) the same need for background checks are required as if she were the parent, being an adult over 18 living in the home. This has actually turned out to be quite a hassle in their particular story.

If you’re brought in to even a county jail on suspicion of committing a crime you are not charged a penny for digital fingerprinting. In fact, you’re forced to comply and dare not resist! Guess what?! Your prints are forever in the system. Stay out of trouble, dude, or your minor or major slip up will hold you down forever.

Keegan/IanHowever! If you’re a perfectly law abiding citizen wanting to apply for International adoption, printing will cost you about $25-30 for homestudy each. Then can be $50-100 for background checks each. Then $700 something for USCIS approval and prints. Sometimes, depending on where you go for it, they will do this expensive for you procedure with ink how it was done many years ago when the technology was first discovered.

It doesn’t come out clearly? You pay have to fight the system a little to get the digital prints without additional charge depending on how grouchy the clerk is. If you knew it was  going to be this expensive, why not just rob a bank on your way over to the court house.

1521930_10152095192948618_1220277243_nWith foster care printing I had to call ahead and go in on a Tuesday or Thursday between 9:30 and 11 and bring $12. I will have to renew my prints in three years when I reapply to be a foster parent. Obviously, that’s nothing compared to International adoption. But my prints expire?  For those of you who know my personal life, you know that I am not a foster parent. My paperwork is neatly in the envelope, my prints and my husbands prints perfectly enclosed with the extensive questionnaires answered diplomatically. Each page is signed by both of us, the signatures are all dated “May 2013”  As we were instructed, the paperwork is a copy and the prints are originals. Everything is there, the prepaid package is perfect but as unsent as ever it could be. The children enjoyed their babysitter (I probably should have paid her more) and I really believe my mom and I are closer having done this together.

+++++++We also took out a whole Saturday to do the First Aid/CPR that comes free for Foster Parents. I hadn’t been through one since my job at the YMCA ten years ago and she isn’t required to have it as a para-educator. I can’t really explain why God took it out of my husband and my hearts to do Foster Care. He wanted to do Respite care and I wanted to do Infant foster care which I knew would pacify my empty nest feeling for a baby although if you were to suggest that as a reason I would deny it.

A mom and daughter team who is driving forward is Anita and her beautiful mama who are stuck in the finger printing office.

On April 15 Keegan’s soon-to-be grandma was in for the offices third attempt at getting readable prints from her. While this has got to be quite frustrating for her, this wonderful woman whose husband was adopted as a child hasn’t given up and continues to come back with hopes that she will be accepted–that her prints will be found at the scene which is part of bringing the boy that she will know as Ian home where he belongs. A reschedule is made for Tuesday, the drive takes thirty minutes so they will leave at ten in the morning.

While these repeated activities that are so exhausting to live through trudge on, papers are being exchanged between Anita and the family’s social worker, each piece valuable as missing it would be like dropping a stitch in an intricate needlework.  Following the directions and having no deviations from the plan given by those who are set in authority over the process is crucial as the Vantreases know with this not being a first adoption for them. They move forward with determination, coveting your prayers knowing first hand the indescribable joy of bringing home and redeeming an orphan.

In an April 24 update Anita writes, “Update on our progress!!! We are just waiting on Mike’s fingerprint results. I also had a reference letter that was still out and really hoping that our homestudy agency has received it. I left our sw an e-mail to find out those results and just waiting on her response. Oh goodness, we are sooooooooo close to sending in the I-800A.” it’s not just remembering the satisfaction of bring home a child from over seas that keeps them going and a heart of constant prayer, it’s also the gift of new photographs of their son who unknowingly waits for them. With their permission I am honored to share those on my blog as their official Family Warrior.

Keegan-1-274x300Oh hey, it’s not just foster parents who have to put in hours of training before having children in their home. International adopting parents do too. Ahead of this family are a general Hague adoption required 10 hours and 12 for adoption from Keegan’s country. It isn’t a surprise to hear that this is not free of charge. This $200 piece will come in the home study phase of adoption which means that if Keegan’s family is not already signed up for these classes they will be soon, the good news is that these hours can be filled through an online course and only required by the parents, Mike and Anita.

Thanks for reading today. I hope you take a moment to pray for the Vantrease family, and if you are on Facebook, go ahead and like their adoption page. It is called, “Indescribable, On Our Way to Ian” another place to visit is the family blog: Adopt, Miles of the Heart, One Less where you can learn how to make a direct donation and buy items for which proceeds will go in full to the adoption.

link to children from Ian's country

link to children from Ian’s country

In each post I want to include information about another child from the same country. Today I have chosen a little girl named Gwynne who is two years and one month older than the boy who will be named Ian Michael. She has a beautiful smile and bright eyes and just such a need for a family. It’s not just her sweet face and aloneness in the world for which I want you to see her, it’s also that there is only $5.00 to her future adoption which would in full be approximately $25-30K.

I have had the objection to donating that, “The money just sits there and doesn’t do anything.” Yes, that $5 wont buy her a new tooth brush, and if you donate $30, you’re not getting her a fresh outfit. That money is, “Just sitting there” waiting for a family to use to bring this child home so that they can buy those things for her. There are such a bounty of programs that you can tap into to get donations of clothing and other life necessities sent to orphanages, this is not one of them.

This is a unique adoption advocacy and fundraising organization that has been utilized to save thousands of dollars and bring exposure to the faces and names of just a fraction of the orphans abroad who need you. It is not a waste!

Gwynne-277x300When you donate to Gwynne, that money is for her future adoption, it only leaves her if she dies or is adopted outside of Reece’s Rainbow, in either or those cases, that money would go to another waiting child’s grant.

This blog is not for the purpose of begging for money, only educating and advocating. I want you to know what’s going on with children, have you see their faces and rejoice in God’s watching over their lives just as he does for the child that you have at home, or if you do not have a child, your neighbors child, or the child that you were once. Click here to visit the list of countries that Reece’s Rainbow works with. Keep scrolling till you reach Chin@ and there you can read what is required to adopt from these two specific children’s countries.

Standards that Keegan’s family meets and yours might too. There is a waiver available for everything except the age limit which is 30 years old for adopting parents. Click here for a current complete list of children from that country who are waiting for families. I’ll come back with the name of the coordinator for this countries program to whom you would direct any questions.

Linking last of all to Adopt, Miles of the Heart, One Less.

“You are the helpers of the fatherless.” (Psalm 10:14)

All of the photos and images on my blog entries are linkable to somewhere special. Feel free to click and connect somewhere relevant. I want your time here to be worth your while!

Happy birthday, Mommy!

946402_241348532687674_1813481383_nThere are a number of moments in motherhood that say, “It’s OK, you’re doing OK.” I get those when my kids give me a fist full of dandelions and tell me that it’s a gift or make me a drawing at school. Mothering is a sacrifice, it’s humbling and just the most incredible thing that ever you could be gifted with here on Earth. If you’re a mama you know that your birthday is one of those incredible times to get buried in kisses and snuggles and I’d just love for that to happen for a dear mother today…Her turn will come.

I remember in New Moms Network we had a discussion question back in 2005 when my oldest was 3 months old that will never leave me, “When was the first moment that you really felt mother to your child?”

I went home so depressed because I didn’t know. It actually has nothing to do with giving birth, some say it does and you can convince yourself of anything but that wasn’t it for me. Yes, lots of pain. But my bond was much more of a still small voice as is my whole relationship with this particular son. Stephani, the mom who celebrates her birthday today is dreaming of what her relationship will be like with her daughter who has no idea that there is a mom for her. Jesus knows, but this child does not. We’re talking about the miracle of adoption for Zola.

But the truth is, you do not need to give birth to a child for that child to be your daughter or your son. After all, we are adopted into Christ’s family.

When my newborn infants eyes are for my breast and their need is for me, I know who I am, but if I were to die, someone else could feed and clothe them. The hours that I spend with that child, nurturing and learning together those times bring us close and our bond has become incorrigible.

I would not exchange any one of my children for anything in the world. My days after my second child were so busy. Pulling fights apart, balancing wills and attentions. But through thie tense moments that siblings have, there has always been love and that goes back to mom. It begins with her and proceeds through to the children who live with each other and make up the family.

As my children come to me to share with me their achievements and desire my appreciation for the growth that they have made as individuals and as respond to that is the fulfillment and continuation of my necessary role life goes on and we grow together that’s just the way time slips by and the reason mama’s take pictures–to save those moments!

Saturday April 4th, 2014 a very special mama turns 28. Her name is Stephani Obenauf.

I only know her through the adoption community, but hope that if it weren’t through that we would have met otherwise since she seems like a really cool person. The first line of her bio is, “Stephani always wanted to be a mother.” Me too! Whatever it took, I actually really hoped adoption would be a part of God’s journey for me and have that yet to be revealed. Continuing into Stephani’s story beyond the desire to be a mom is a terrible loss that is the deepest fear of all moms who have one on the way, “stillborn” This mom’s little one missed knowing her mom here on Earth. I’ve lost a baby too, mine in 2006. Stephani’s daughter Emma would be the same age now as my son Willie who is such a treasure to my life. Zola, Stephani’s daughter who is in Eastern Europe right now is two years younger than the baby that went on ahead–both little girls born years that I had children.

My world is all about my children and I have a pretty good idea that the same is true for Stephani’s heart which is why as Stephani is turning 28 on Saturday I’m talking motherhood because birthdays are about celebrating yourself and what God’s given you and motherhood is a very special gift that he has given Stephani. While neither of her daughter’s are here to write her notes in crayon, as I have and you may also, I know all this mom wants right now is to have Zola where she belongs, which is home in Michigan.Zola-Photo-2-Apr-2013-267x300

Truly the best way that you can help is to give financially and to offer up to heaven a happy prayer of thanks. Thanks for another year and a spirit to press forward. Cheers to adventures and not too many disappointments. This mama knows that the road to a child through adoption is not perfectly clear and has to have a heart strong for whatever may come. Love from your daughter no doubt. She has no idea that you’re coming for or the fun that she has in store! I’m so excited for your future together.

By the way, I lost sleep over that question in New Moms Network and stick with my thought then these years later as I’m coming up on my son’s eight birthday as we’re working through epilepsy together. I had to share with the group on the next meeting a whole week later even though they were on another topic. My answer was I know my belonging when I feed my child. When I’m OK being soaked with over lactating for that newborn baby, fine living without sleep for my child, that’s how I knew that I was Mother.

While Stephani does not get that with Zola’s infancy, she gets the lifetime ahead of them together to learn to feed and dress to comfort and love.

Just because the infancy is not there to share, there is so much more to be mother over and it is there and beyond that she will feel and be mom. I am so excited for Stephani and for her darling daughter to become a Obenauf in God’s time. If you want to help Stephani celebrate 28, please click on one of her pictures and give to her adoption fund. Stephani writes regularly and throws her heart into fundraising with not much response. Please do visit her blog for updates and consider celebrating her birthday with a donation today. Faith, Hope, Love

 

Fearfully and Wonderfully

1453507_10151714032586650_458559343_n Yesterday Jamie Vanchura wrote a wonderful blog entry for the family that she is participating in the Family Warrior Program for. The reason that she chose the Goochers is that they are adopting a girl that Jamie met and spent time with while adopting her own daughter from the same orphanage.seattle13 050

If you’re a lover of children you will appreciate this writing, but be captured in the beginning sentences where this could only come from a mother, perhaps only one who has given birth physically to her children.

When you read, you glean and add on to your personal experience for me, from this writing I follow in kind with the emotion of uncertainty when I head into an exam or decline to participate in fetal testing saying that I will love my child however they are.

Our medical world teaches women to fear imperfection, to be frightened of the pain of labor and delivery to accept drugs than we know little to nothing about to evade natural signals that our body gives during pregnancy and delivery. I believe in God.

In fact, my whole world from moment one has been 100% wrapped in a protective blanket of faith, and yet the medical world picks at the threads metaphorically speaking of the grace that I have been given through Christ Jesus to proceed through any circumstance with God on my side.
Imagine being a young woman in what we would call a 3rd world country, virtually alone in her time of pain with extremely minimal supplies for delivery of her child, perhaps she is even unattended.

When that baby is born with something not there or perhaps not breathing. The panic that must set upon her. If anyone comes to her attendance, the promise 148650_10152457178990425_1588433065_nmay be given that if she gives up the child the child will be better cared for than ever she could. She is made to sign a document that she is not read and she may or may not ever see that baby again. Some cultures teacher in deep superstition that a child born with Down Syndrome is an omen of a family’s ill fate in the afterlife, in which case they of course would want to get that child as far from them as possible. The orphanages are understaffed, ill stalked and overfilled in a number of provinces and countries all over Eastern Europe and across the world.

Children are found abandoned who have abnormalities in their health as their parents are desperate just to save their own lives in battle against hunger or other domestic circumstances. Some mothers already have children and make that heart wrenching choice to leave one behind, abandoning them at the hospital after they go in for doctors visit for testing. I have read of that in some children’s files and just want to hop on a plane and pick the child up who is worlds away. I’ve linked the image above to “Waiting Children” so that if my reader follows it they may find the categories of children who have yet to be ransomed.

This isn’t a sorrow for poor people who give up over there post. It’s a confession.

I’ve. Been. Scared. Too.

Doctors here flag me as “High Risk” before they even give me a pelvic exam. They taunt me with warnings of what anti epileptic medications could (gasp) give my child palate. Hearing the words, “is it worth your comfort over the baby’s well being” that cut at my moral core.

park13 017Each of my four pregnancies I have evened out the hurt full opinions well into the pregnancy. Then I get crazy people telling me at the birthing center that by nursing I’m continuing a drug addiction in my child’s newborn body.
My babies have all been over 6lbs, all over 35wks gestation and all under 8 hour all natural labor and delivery. Each one, two boys and two girls I breast fed until they were 12 months old and only one still needs the medication. They’re happy and as healthy as your kids. Guess what. I have a wonderful, educated nurse by my side as a husband and a mother who never stopped advocating for me since years before I was diagnosed.

My story is by God’s grace what it is. The thing is, God has ordained those other mama’s labor and deliveries also. He knows their children who are abandoned and the ones that are loved but placed in orphanages at the hands of deceitful state workers who lie to ill educated mothers. In our country we beg women who have, “unwanted pregnancies” that adoption is an option. We offer to pay for their prenatal care and housing if only they will allow their child to live and be adopted. Couples pay $35K for newborn babies right here in the USA while millions overseas die alone.

KThere is no justice in children being left without a voice. A child with special needs is a life too. There are horrible people and doctors who want to have mothers believe that these children are to be ashamed of. Yes, you will lead a different lifestyle than other mothers if you bring a child with extensive needs into your home. But if God give you the call, who is there to stand against that.

I had two children born in Vermont, a boy and a girl in a two year span (they are 22 months apart), then 17 months later I had another son after a move across the country in Washington. When he was 2 1/2 I have a 4th child (5th pregnancy) a daughter. Two of each. How perfect. I hate when people smile and say, “So she’s 4th and final” it’s my love for those who have stood up and said, “Yes, this child can be someone” that I have been blessed to meet here and there in my almost 30 years of life that keep me coming back to follow in families journeys to their children who are abroad. OK. It’s more than that.

It’s a deep spirituality, a sense of meaning beyond the laundry and dishes that I care about and take pleasure in knowing that some are able to act upon. Will there ever be an end to the orphan crisis? No. Well, yes, when Christ comes again at the last day. He says that for thus is the kingdom of Heaven.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16)

The little health trouble that our family is working with right now is really pretty invisible. When people think seizure they are thinking what we call grand-mal. We are speaking for our child of absence spells and perhaps juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. Look those up if you want. This post is full of images of my kids, but I want you to look at sweet 2 1/2 year old Susie.Susie-272x300 She looks perfect, right? All there, and all. Fearfully and wonderfully made.
Susie has epilepsy, is blind, has no head control, and has significant developmental delays. She has been diagnosed with multiple malformations of the brain and a catheter and shunt have been placed to allow fluids to drain from Susie’s brain. I just realized that I mentioned Susie already in my entry about blindness. I guess she must really be on my heart. her fund has $0.00 It wouldn’t hurt for her to be on someone else’s heart too who perhaps could donate and get the ball rolling on a fund and a piece of awareness.
Tonight I’d also love to celebrate a Fully Funded and Almost there status for a family that I haven’t mentioned on here or on my Facebook before. They live in Texas and are bringing home Zach a boy who is HIV+ and have added a girl to their adoption named Pippa. The Haydon family I appreciate for their son specifically as we got his ornament for Angel Tree 2013 season. We are thrilled that this boy is going home–his mom to be is a nurse like our dad is. Pippa is a beautiful girl and her having a family is a tremendous blessing! They are both considered “older” children which lessens the likelihood of an adoption. Once again, as so many times over in the past, God shows himself to be above what look to be serious obstacles. Please visit the family’s blog here.

Editors note: All the thumbnail size photos are my children. The children in the collage are available for international adoption or already home through this means and the facilitation of Reece’s Rainbow. The little girl in this lower picture is one of them although not pictured there. Contact heather(at)hopscotchadoptions(dot)org for further information.

Much More for Mikey (and Olen)

31021225321-Mikey-214x300The little boy who I committed to raise $1K in October through Dec 31, 2013 has finally been found by an adoptive family. My facebook group to catalog the fundraising events that I had for Mikey was called, “More for Mikey” which is why I have titled tonight’s post as I have. The family’s Facebook page is called Powell family Adoption Auction which I have just visited to give a like.

He’ll be going with another little boy who was listed the same day and also included in Angel Tree. I have no idea how Mikey made his way to $1,000. I actually begged my husband that we make up the missing $600 that was not there the week before the conclusion of the challenge. The amount lacking and some exceeding the goal came from one anonymous donor–corrections welcome! Whatever the details, all around Mikey’s making it was much a miracle as those things go.

The family that is adopting Mikey and Olen is listed in the Almost There point of closeness to having their children in their home. The journey is so many pieces of paper and people met, signatures acquired and such things. There’s more to the story here than picking a sweet face and deciding that he’s the one to bring home. For the Powell family Mikey and Olen were not who God brought their eyes to first. They had not thought that the plan was two boys, rather this time they imagined it was one girl. Her file is suddenly not available. There is not a blog post written on their emotions following learning of Maci’s sudden unavailability, but I can suppose that there was upheaval and questions on whether they were meant to proceed with another child. Perhaps they prayed and found guidance in that way. At any rate, it’s the guys now and how excited I am for that as I do sorrow too in their loss.

31021075254-Olen-2-300x296Mikey’s birthday is July 2013, and Olen is May 2013 (their mama will spend the rest of her life being asked if her boys are twins!) Back to numbers, $1919.35 from Olen’s fund, and Mikey’s has 1250.07.

 

Since the Powell’s are significantly into the process they have already covered fees that they expected to be bringing them closer to a daughter.

Please do visit the family blog as I ought to in order to get to know their story a little more closely.

If you have considered participating in the Family Warrior program, this would be a terrific choice. It wouldn’t be a very long commitment and would doubtlessly be a wonderful learning experience. Searching their last name on Reece’s Rainbow right now I see that this in not the first adoption experience for the Powell’s from VA. They have been to this country before and were home safely with “Misty” in 2012. How fun to be back for more! Those stories are just great.

I’m going to go ahead and stick my favorite adoption related Bible verse in tonight on this post as the Powell’s have been abroad, safely returned, committed again, were declined after anticipating a new member to their family and are even yet staying with the plan and preserving not for one but for two. There is no knowledge of the condition of these boys hearts or any other issues that may be common to children who have Down Syndrome. This here is a classic case of stepping out in faith and looking to the Lord for guidance.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, “Give them up!” and to the south, “Do not hold them back.” Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth”  Isaiah 43:5-6

 This is Maci, a sweet baby girl who to the Powell’s is their daughter and may some day come home. She’s 7 months old. Each child is a precious gift, wherever they are in the world and she’s no exception. Much loved!31111225341-Maci-300x258

Following Families

So Chelsea Claus reached her matching grant which I wrote about a few weeks back. She in now in country to meet her son–they will meet for the first time tomorrow morning.
Rebecca Jenks has met three matching grants and also had quite a few of successful fundraisers each bringing her a little closer to funded, she travels in less than a week–4 days actually, to rescue two older girls who have down syndrome from a country that she has never been. Both are experiencing an act of faith directly ordained of God. Seeing Him work through them and their families is amazing and awe-inspiring to all such as myself who have not made that stride and an witness to those are trekking along to keep on seeing that light at the end of another friend’s journey. These women, along with the others that I have written about drive me back to my blog hungry to write more to hold more for myself of their experience.

I’ve written too about 21 Days of Hope. Yesterday was March 21, 2014 and guess what. We made it. 23 children in 21 days! More than $23k raised for Voice of Hope and almost $50k gifted for these chosen children!

The Anita Vantrease family who I am family Warrior for currently have a Scentsy party in progress which I welcome you to purchase from if this is something that you like having in your home or work place. I always say that the time to buy is when the proceeds go to a cause. There is no better cause than to bring a child home which is your opportunity today. Please think of Keegan (Ian when he’s home) if you’re in the market for Scentsy, I enjoy their fragrance assortments but certainly caution you to keep their warmer out of reach of children! I used to use these products so much more when I did not have children. If you do have children, they do have their liquid wax covered for ya in a new innovative child friendly and oh-so-cute Scentsy Buddies.

Kree-2013-200x300Rachelle Feinland was my first (and only) guest blogger has some incredible news. So not only is she bringing home Della, they will also bring a second daughter home from Eastern Europe. She is 5 years old, and known on Reece’s Rainbow as Kree.  This family is up to the task on bringing their girls home, but it doesn’t come easy as they make it look! While keeping up with their two sons health needs already home from Eastern Europe, Rachelle and her husband Stephan have schedules to coordinate, planning to be done and in the meanwhile to stay alive and remember to sleep now and again. Go, Feinlands!

Why a second child? In their home study, Rachelle and Stephan were told that they were approved to have, “up to two children” in their international adoption, which is what they were approved for last time also.  On current events for the adoption there will be an auction page on Facebook soon and the sale of a few large items locally. What in my estimation would be a time consuming and hopefully well worth it project right now is a Family Fun Day at the local Lions Club. What beautiful weather, and the perfect time of year for that! I hope that they get a good amount of participation for this. They are also hopeful, but still waiting for approval on hosting a breakfast at church for the adoption, or maybe a lunch after church. On the local front, they are doing a yard sale the weekend after next. Mainly in the next couple weeks, be hanging out Louisiana so you wont miss out on anything for the Feinlands! OR! You could just donate online and send an encouraging note via her blog or on Facebook.

Missing a couple families from the group in Messing with your Mind: A Five Family Update? I’ll come back. I love them and have to keep up! I’m asking Stephani for an update with Zola, I know she is looking forward to a potential video update on her daughter and covets a new photo.

The Green Mountains Await You!

vt_barn_allHey, I got to take on a second warrior family. I know the rule book says just one, but I had to beg Laurie to bend the rules for me. How could I not for this one? A family who lives in Vermont who is adopting twins? YES! I’m a twin and started my family in Vermont. I must claim them before someone else does and soak up all the awesomeness of their journey.

I want to introduce to you first Simon and Samuel. They are twin baby boys in Eastern Europe–identical both with Down Syndrome. Like all kids in their country little information at all is given, the richest pieces are from families who have met the young people. For leap of faith individuals, sketchy details are enough. The details on these babies are as follows:

baby2-225x300baby1-225x300

Boys, born Dec 2013
Down syndrome

We added, “These precious, beautiful, twin baby boys both have Down syndrome. What a gift to have them listed so young — they can be home easily by their first birthday!” And indeed they could be home by their first birthday.

This country has a very quick adoption process. Some families just remain in country rather than taking two trips as is done commonly in other Eastern European countries. There is currently over $100 in the little boys adoption fund, money that was dumped in by us members of the adoption community in the first matter of moments that the boys were listed as we wooed and awweed over the preciousness of these sweet faces. I’m sure I was not the only who found myself closing my eyes and saying, “Sweet Jesus, lead a family to these babies. In your name, amen.” Was it even a whole month before the twins were on My Family Found Me? It was so fast! The Lord sees these kids. I could type that so many times, and I plan to, in every opportunity that I have to speak of orphans I want to shout forth praises and thankfulness that although I cannot see these children, Jesus does. These photos of Simon and Samuel were taken March 2014. I wonder if by thanksgiving when they may be home, they’ll be sitting perhaps toddling around and have grown in some hair.

The family that I am thrilled for and thankful to be getting to know are Theresa Cianciolo and her husband. The little boys will be children 5 and 6 for them. OK. I’m busting to tell you that my Angel Tree child Mikey has been committed to and am excited to learn who is bringing him home–but to stay focused here!!

There has been an unfair ratio of girls adopted over baby boys going home, or so it appeared til recently! We’ve had so many commitments to young guys and older also. It’s thrilling to see this gap coming even. There’s also families who are picking up a second child into adoptions, that’s wonderful to see happening.

No knowledge of the state of the boys hearts or any other potential points of keen awareness that ought to be had for being prepared for welcoming home a child who has Down Syndrome. The future family of these babies sees just what you do: two sleeping children in gender neutral sleepers peacefully oblivious in their moment of restfulness. They appear healthy and are available for international adoption and as of this week (!!!) committed to for coming home.

What’s taking me so long to admit that I’m giddy to see someone from Vermont adopting? No wait, I went back and edited that into the first line or so. I am psyched.
I’ll have even that much more reason to go back and visit, if saying hello to good times again isn’t going to be enough one day. In my time in Vermont I made some wonderful friends and got the best medical care that I have had.

My life has been a struggle with epilepsy, and through the depression and failure, through the side effects of meds and insomnia and head aches through the embarrassment and exasperation I have always had my identical twin who has the same problem by my side to prop my body against. We have been each others strong hold and scratching post through the years and I think she too would have to confess that she wouldn’t know what to do without me. We would have had so much of a harder go at life without each other, and I imagine that as life goes on we will continue to need each other.

Children with Down Syndrome are often transferred at age 4 to mental institutions to live out the rest of their lives. If the boys aged to that point in their country there is far from guarantee that they would stay together. Twins have a way of knowing that there is another one of them, there have been so many studies done. Praise be! They’re going home for mama snuggles, and for Daddy to wrestle with them in the living room and take them on fun outdoor ventures. These kids will know the freedoms of creativity, nurturing and holistic living.
There are so many hopes and dreams that I have for these little guys. My children’s lives started out in Vermont where these boys lives beyond bars will begin also. It’s a wonderful place to be. Fresh air, green trees and rolling mountains. The autumn, or foliage season as we call it, is the most gorgeous collection of colors that you could ever ask for in nature. There are all sorts of fun activities and places to be for families and room to run, horses to ride and adventures to be had.

Your new world can hardly wait to meet you, Simon and Samuel. May God keep and protect you where you were born and took your first breaths until your mama and papa come for you.

Where will the fund raising begin? I want to have fun with this!
My family bringing home preschooler Keegan has an upcoming art work sale and a Scentsy candle event. They are in their first stages of adoption also and have two adoptions already. I love the adoption community and treasure everyone’s journey to their precious children.

Theresa, the twin’s future mama, has shared with me that their family Bible verse is James 1:27

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

I love this family already! Be it serving those who are bringing home children, or helping in the community to ease the suffering of women and children I believe that not only is there opportunity to help, but command to do it.
Roll up your sleeves, put on your thinking cap and make some time to helping. My husband say to focus on the word “help” in this verse and to always come back to my family!

Join the Family Warrior program and lend a little help to someone in need of a prayer buddy along their adoption journey and get as excited as I am to live vicariously through someone else.

Messing with your Mind: A Five Family Update

 Where’s your best place to write? I’d love to know where you crank your creativity and how you make it pour out through your fingertips on demand. I think best while going through my day, I especially love being out with my kids. A favorite past time for me has always been going to anywhere in walking distance, for my two year old and I yesterday that was to the park.

A.J (pictured here at 2 months old) went the whole block without taking a break. From time to time she’d slow her pace to look up at me, only to keep on a little quicker as so much as her little legs would allow.

We’re for sure putting up fences this year. This one would walk and walk without worrying where her people are. Though this blog post I’m using pictures of my own kids, as they are my motivation for the love that I extend to other families and their ministry to extend their lives and hearts abroad to grow their families through adoption. These are my little monsters, I love them more than life!

OK. I have to get down to it. Usually when I ask where you write I’m actually wondering why the heck I can’t turn on exactly what I want to say in this time limited segment that I have available.  Today I don’t think it’s going to happen for me, as it didn’t yesterday or the week before that.

Credit for the Claus Clan was my last blog post. The fundraiser that I mentioned for them brought in $65. They have a grant or something going on right now also to get friends to pour as much money as possible into the Claus adoption fund as big exciting times are coming up. Chelsea is traveling to meet her son in seven days. It will be a number of months before he is a USA citizen, but this is tremendous. At this point in my life I absolutely cannot imagine getting to live the incredible emotions that must whirl around as a mom counts down and fumbles to pack for what certainly may feel like the biggest trip of her life. Months of paperwork, social works telling you what you can handle and how your house should look, organization to be done and maintained through the process that feels like infinity.

IMG_0694Then finally that plane ride! It’ll feel like forever, and Chelsea’s time with her son will be over before she knows it. She’ll treasure every second and relive the moments of their time together of the next matter of months lapsing between this trip and the second during which Chelsea and her husband Josh will take Levi away from his orphanage forever.

For the Claus family March 21 is a very special day–the day Chelsea and her dad leave to meet Levi, who will join the family later this year. Chelsea will travel with her dad for the first trip, then for the final trip in a few months she and her husband will go together. Right now a $500 matching grant is being held–when their fund reaches “8040” every donation after that point for $500 is doubled. This family also has some puzzle pieces yet for purchase for Levi’s adoption. Families often have keep puzzle piece fundraisers in action through the entire duration of their adoption as a fun way of remembering the names of people who have contributed financially through their adoption journey. The Claus’s have some pieces left, for $5 one can have your name on it. This makes a great keepsake for the child’s room or to be displayed anywhere around the house.

IMG_0700Keegan’s family finished their fingerprinting  and has almost finished collecting their primary paperwork for this adoption homestudy. Anita’s 81 year old mom lives with their family so she gets to go through all of the background check series of events also. This week she got to go to the police station and have her finger prints taken for her grandson who on the other side of the world. Best grandma ever! Up next for this family is wellness checks at the doctors office. Smooth sailing so far for Ian (Keegan)’s family. Very cool surprise of earlier today is that someone dropped a good portion of money into this adoption fund bringing the number from $52 to $106. This is a sweet surprise!

Obenauf family! Stephani is bringing home Zola  from a country that is a new addition to the international programs that Reece’s Rainbow works with in bringing home kids internationally. Stephani has recently learned that it will be 12 months before her Dossier is to be submitted to the country, what a hard waiting game knowing that her daughter is doing just that…waiting. After it is finally submitted, she will get an invitation to travel in six months then can return to pick up her daughter in the time lapse of six more months.

IMG_0037When I asked Zola’s mama-to-be if she, knowing how slow this process is compared to other countries, would recommend it she said Absolutely yes and went on to suggest that I should adopt one of the little girls who is my daughter’s favorite in that country. Currently the Obenauf family have a clothing auction happening. For $5, you’re helping decorate Zola’s bedroom with your name in the color of your choice written on her wall. The infant clothes in Zola’s clothing sale are brand new, or are in very good condition and have me wanting to have another infant in the house! Visit Faith Hope Love to learn about the ongoing “Hearts for Zola” event to celebrate this sweet child and her journey home.

Jenks are keeping on. They have another matching grant in the works and a Norwex fundraiser is currently active for bringing home their girls, Veronika and Emilija. Shop Norwex Products Online and select Rebecca Jenks at check out. Find the catalog here. Glancing through the catalog I see that these are super quality of the microfiber products that we’ve become accustomed to seeing in the grocery store cleaning isle and elsewhere. The website is easy to navigate. Lots of great stuff, value over the long haul and for a good cause. Mrs. Jenks says that a couple of her favorite items are the Window Cloth and the Envirotowel.

IMG_0664The Feinland family has been visited by the FSP fairy recently! The anonymous large donation to their adoption fund and an approval to add a second child to the plan has us all holding our breath, waiting to learn who the lucky kid is going to be. I want to make the statement here, that through adoption parents are being blessed as much as the kids are! I am allowed to be excited for the suspense of looking forward learning who is coming home for who.  Rachelle has recently put in a new entry on her blog, “Piecing Our Puzzle Together” which you should stop in and read, because I haven’t. Tell me what it says, if you make it there before I do. My computer time isn’t until 10pm which is not for a number of hours. That FSP fairy? He or she is welcome to visit me if I ever get a turn to adopt. Della’s family got $2500! Know what? God provides! Each and every one of these families knows that and somehow he carries them through. It’s amazing, and I hang around to watch. Simply brilliant.

Editors note: As of 9:20pm, the Claus family have $140 to go in order to get that $500 matching grant. FSP needs to read $15,541 ($8,040 for Matching a Grant!) FSP: http://reecesrainbow.org/?s=Claus Blog: http://insearchofpearls.blogspot.com

This is an amazing family who has come so far.

My Child

Rainbow ChildWhen you love a child you will do anything for that one. Or that four, as it is for me. When there is a little one in your life, that feeling is yours and it will never go away. Your care and compassion, your interest in their safety is a top priority explainable and comparable against nothing else.

God says bone of my bone flesh of my flesh about husband and wife, not of children.

Over the past two years since I have fallen into (completely without my permission) into a wonderful culture of women and men who adopt, I have learned that you can love a child like this who you have never met before–love is not born of blood, but born in the spirit. Sometimes a child is into adolescence when they come home to you, not understanding or having possibly ever heard your language. Yet from all eternity that life is your life. My child is my rainbow, my ray of light, even in the darkest storms.

I want to let you know today that you don’t have to adopt to help a family bring their ray of light home. Reece’s Rainbow has developed a simple system called The Family Warrior Program where you can sign up to follow a family through their adoption process from commitment to their child, through the day that their child is home at last. Sometimes that process is under a year, sometimes it extends well beyond 12 months.

You do not have to be an adoption expert–you don’t have to be anything other than an encouraging voice and a friend to talk to. Many of these families would love to know you as an advocate and coordinator, a person who takes the time to pray for their child and this process. My children mean more to me than anything in the world, I would go to measureless lengths for their safety. These moms and dads feel the same way about their children abroad. Please click on the image to learn about the Family Warrior Program and sign up with a family!

Editors note: I’m picking up this blog entry from yesterday to add some names of people going abroad to bring home their kids who would like to put their names out as specifically wanting to be involved in this program.

Pretty much, when you tell me you want a Family Warrior you are putting yourself out there as someone who doesn’t mind having a complete stranger quite potentially breath deeply down the back of your neck. That might sound inappropriate, but the fact is that the whole purpose is to get a second set of feelers in the finagelings of this process. Keep that Warrior at arms length, throw some fundraisers their way and say, “Here, coordinate this!” and hopefully they will bring in smashing revenue for free! Right?!

Click the link below will send you to my family’s blog. They’re nearly done compiling the documents required for their home study to be sent in. My knowledge of homestudies is limited to my training, which is education on the Washington state foster care requirements for home safety. If I wanted to know more about this I could talk to the family that I am sponsoring. This can be a learning experience for everyone!

fwbutton

Xavier’s family in Georgia would like a family warrior. Once he’s home, he will have two brothers and a sister who was also adopted, actually from the same country where he is now. They’re “Traveling Soon” which means that this young boy will be united with his family soon. Visit Miracles and Mudpies to get to know the Gilreath’s story.

Kelly and Paul have been married 17 years and are bringing home their daughter Rita from Eastern Europe very shortly. The Mayr’s are awesome! I’ve gotten to know Kelly a bit over Facebook through the time that they have been moving through this adoption as they have stayed active in the foster system. She’s a hard working, creative and open minded woman who is always ready to help others. This would be a wonderful opportunity for you to learn, if you are the one looking to go a warrioring and for her, someone to talk to as she takes the last few leaps getting her girl home. “Court Passed” means that Rita is legally the Mayr’s daughter. Kelly is the one to tell you what’s next. All I know is that they have to go get her. Visit Welcome to the Mayr Madness! for more.

The dear Thorp family lost one of their daughters from a two girl sibling group to cancer which they were entirely unaware of even being part of the picture. This news came on February 13th, 2014 with an early morning photo call to their Texas home. If you are a pro-homeschooling, Christian individual who keeps a cluster of mustard seed with an apetite for adventure, this family is a fit for you, potential Family Warrior pal.