Thursday, January 31, 2013

Meet Edith

In a previous post I shared 2 videos from Dima's orphanage.  In one of those videos you briefly saw a little girl attempt to share her chocolate with me.  That sweet little girl haunts my mind almost on a daily basis.  She was a little girl who longed to have a mama and papa.  She would call out to me, "Mama!  Mama!" and lift her arms up for me to hold her.  The very first time I picked her up I could tell that she did not know how to be held.  I loved on her every day, twice a day, for 4 weeks.  I would feel sorry for her because she wanted so much attention and yet I was there to spend time with Dima.

For the past 16 months I would scan the Ukrainian orphan database to look for this little girl's photo.  Finally, this past weekend, I found her.  As soon as I saw her face I emailed Reece's Rainbow and asked if they could list her.  Today her listing has appeared.  The name under which she is listed is a name that I got to choose.  It is after my Grandma Allerton and I secretly always wanted to have a little girl so I could name her Edith.  So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the newest listing on Reece's Rainbow, Edith!

Girl, born 2006
Diagnoses:  depression, impulsive, attention deficit disorder.
It is suspected she has FAS; she suffered meningitis in past.
Look at sweet Edith, all dolled up for the New Year’s party at her orphanage!She has had a broken nose because when she lived in the family her mother’s boyfriend pushed her and she fell and broke the nose. Two foreign families have visited her but did not end up adopting her.  
One of our adoptive families has met her, and has video of her for inquiring families. They said she was begging for attention, desperately needing love.

My family is the adoptive family who met her.  I have quite a number of videos to share that shows Edith in action.  As it states in her little blurb from Reece's Rainbow, yes, she suffers from depression and is impulsive.  But I personally believe that if she was found by the right family her life would change dramatically.  I believe she could find joy and happiness.  Will you pray for her?  She will turn 7 this year and age out of the orphanage that she is currently in.  I fear that if she were to be transferred her depression would only deepen making it all the more difficult to transition into a loving family.Her grant is resting at a measly $15.00 ten of which is from my family.  If you would like to see more video of Edith let's get her grant to $50.00!  For every $50.00 I will happily share a video if this beautiful little love.  And maybe, just maybe her mama will see her and know that this is her daughter.  Are YOU her mother?  Are you the one that is going to rescue this little one out of a life of hopelessness?

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I want to veer back to the topic of orphan advocacy for an entry or so.  After all, this began as an adoption blog, right?

As stated in my previous entry our son, Dima, has been home for 16 months now.  I'm not going to lie, there have been some super tough days with that monkey.  But every painstaking moment has been more than worth it.  This time last year we were still homeschooling and Dima was merely learning how to be part of a family.  He is now in a public mainstream school learning how to read, write, add, subtract, make good choices, and he is so independent.  He is blessed to have so many in his life willing to help him learn and grow.  I especially want to give a thumb's up to his amazing teacher who visits this blog from time to time.  Thank you Mrs. Ca*****s!!!

I want to share two videos with you that show some wonderful progress that we have made with Dima.  One shows him learning how to read via pictures and the other is of he and our dog, Caleb, shaking paws.  One year ago this was not possible.  One year ago Eric and I were undoing so much damage we could not even imagine him in school or playing nicely with a dog.  We are so proud of how far Dima has come in a mere 16 months!

I am not sure if you can tell, but Dima is speaking full sentences in English!  It really feels as though he has been with us forever.  So what does this have to do with orphan advocacy?  Everything.  Dima is living proof that International adoption can be successful.  That children with special needs can be adopted and flourish in their new culture and family.  Again, it takes a lot of hard work, patience, and love, but it can happen.

So I bring before you yet again, Yasmine.  

This beautiful, precious girl used to reside in the same place of residence as Dima.  She has since been moved to a different place, but as far as we know via the Ukrainian adoption database she is still available for adoption.  She, too, has special needs and will require a family committed to doing everything they can to properly care for her.  If our family was able I would be doing the paperwork necessary to complete that adoption but we are unable to adopt again at this time.  Does Yasmine not deserve all of the opportunities and love that Dima has experienced?  Please consider adding her to your family.  Pray for her.  Contribute to her grant so a family can commit to her with less of a financial burden.  Dima remembers her and he would love for her to have a family of her very own.  All he wanted for Christmas this past year was Yasmine.  Oh how I wish we could have humored his rather large request.  But I will do the next best thing.  I will advocate for her, pray for her, and donate to her grant as I can.  How can YOU help?  How will you be part of Yasmine's redemption?

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  John 14:18

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Even After 16 Months

Dima has been home with us for a little over 16 months now.  It was this time two years ago that Eric and I were scrapping together money to commit to our son.  It was this time last year that Dima was really just beginning to come into his own within the inner workings of our family.  And now, today, he is at school learning to read, write, add, make good choices, and he rides the school bus like a rock star.  So much has changed for that precious little boy.  Then my mind wanders back to a place where time seems to stand still for little people.  A place where there is not much hope or happiness.  A place where many children, especially those like Dima, do not stand much of a chance at a life like Dima now has.

The orphanage.  Dima's former residence.  The place where time seems to stand still.

Yesterday afternoon I found Dima's Signing Time DVDs and he was so happy.  I seriously think that Dima thinks that Rachel, Alex, and Leah are his real friends.  That and I suspect that he has a little crush on Rachel.  Anyway, Dima was happily singing, signing, and dancing along to a song and I stood in the kitchen watching him through the window (Dima was in our enclosed Florida room watching on the old school big screen).  I suddenly focused in on the lyrics of the song.  It hit me.  Those over whelming emotions.  The deep seeded sobs that seem to come up without warning.  The memories of the little faces who called out to me every day, twice a day, for 3 weeks, "Mama!  Mama!".  Oh the pain in my heart...

Family.  Love.  Security.  All feelings that Dima has experienced in the past 16 months.

The little faces.  While it appears that these children are happy and having fun (and I am sure that to a certain degree they were having fun) they did not get to go home at the end of the day to mom and dad.  They were wearing clothing that was too small, playing on playground equipment that was in disrepair, and did not have the opportunity to attend school.  Some of these children had teeth rotting right out of their mouths.  The one little boy, Vlad, has been there for more than a few years.  He was there three years ago when a lovely Italian family was at Dima's orphanage to adopt their little one.  As far as I know, Vlad is still there.  My heart aches for that little boy.

It is sometimes surprising to me that even after 16 months I can still be caught off guard by such overwhelming emotions.  When I first returned home with Dima I would cry off and on every day for about six or seven months.  I was in no way depressed or upset with our adoption as it brought so much joy to my life.  It was the overwhelming sense of leaving little ones behind who I knew would never have a chance if not adopted.  There was one little girl in particular that had captured my heart and Eric's heart who I would have stuffed in a suitcase and smuggled home if I could have (of course I would not have broken the law, I am merely using a metaphor of how I felt towards these children). I came to learn, however, that this particular little girl was eventually adopted by a Ukrainian family and I was so thrilled for her.  She gets to remain in her home country and have a loving family.

But what about the others?

Adoption has so many facets that I think often times perspective adoptive parents are caught off guard.  As a family climbs the mountain of paper work and jumps through the hoops, they forget to prepare their hearts and minds for what they will actually experience and see.  While I was in Kremenchuk doing the visits and paper work I was focused on getting Dima out and home.  Of course it was emotionally draining every day seeing so many little ones needing love and attention, but while one is in it, there is almost a mental fog.  That and I would think to myself, "I'll see them again tomorrow."  Well, tomorrow has come and gone by over a year.  My heart and mind are haunted.

To be perfectly honest I am not certain what the point of this blog entry is, but I do know that people need to know about the plight of orphans.  People need to understand that it IS our problem.  Fellow Christians I challenge you to seek the Lord on this.  Find out what He wants you to do about it.  Eric and I sought the Lord and we ended up with a wonderful blessing.  Not every family is called to adopt.  But there is always some way that you can help.  Maybe I am merely here to say that I am grateful that my heart and mind remain haunted by little faces.  That is how the Lord allows my heart to break for what breaks His heart.  Maybe I am here to haunt your heart and mind with little faces, too.  Until the Lord calls me back into the adoption trenches I will continue to advocate.  Dima is living proof of the blessing of adoption and redemption.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Update on Sammy & Other Happenings

Just a brief update on Sammy and the happenings of last week.

Unfortunately there was a three month wait to see the neurologist at Shriner's.  As a result we were referred to a pediatric neurologist affiliated with All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL, about two hours south of where we live.  Sammy was able to get an appointment one week from today, January 29th.  This will be a bit more involved as we are to keep Sammy awake the night before for an EEG that is to be done first thing in the morning.  My friend, Carol, who traveled to the Ukraine with us will be accompanying Sammy and I on this adventure.  This appointment will require another overnight stay but Carol and I are determined to make this as fun for Sammy as possible.  I have also been assured by this particular neurologist that we should have a diagnosis by the end of Sammy's evaluation.  It is our family's hope that this will truly be the case.  Our little guy has suffered long enough.

In other news, the FLU hit our house last week and it's worst victim was Elijah.  That boy was SO sick, the sickest I have seen him in a long time.  Elijah's pediatrician was quick to get us some Tamiflu and the rest of us fared better than poor Elijah.  Jeremiah's symptoms were minimal though he did feel lousy.  Sammy was even less severe than Jeremiah and Dima just had to suffer through the side effects of the Tamiflu.  This momma stayed well but was very sleep deprived!  The positive to all of last week was that daddy was home for most of the time which made life more bearable for all.  We were so happy to have daddy keep us company, play board games, jump on the trampoline with those that were able, and of course, do some home improvement projects.  After our brush with the Flu, however, we are all ready for spring and lots of lazy summer days in our new pool.

I now leave you with some pictures from last week.  Enjoy!

Poor Bubba down with the Flu.  Faithful Caleb stayed by his side the entire time.

Look how pitiful.

A game of Clue with daddy!  Poor Dima was in the bathroom getting sick from the Tamiflu thus he was not in this picture.

Daddy making repairs to our 30 some year old fridge.

Dima, our resident jumping bean, wanted to jump with daddy.

Dima was going to show daddy how it is done.

"Good job, daddy!"


Now hopefully the rest of this week will be relatively uneventful.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Shriner's Children's Hospital

Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes for Sammy's appointment at Shriner's this morning.  It was a productive visit and we are one step closer to receiving a diagnosis!

Sammy was evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon(s) and it has been determined that whatever Sammy is dealing with it is neurological.  So the next step is for him to been seen by a neurologist.  Unfortunately the neurologist who holds a clinic at Shriner's was not there today and we were unable to see him or even make an appointment with him.  Our Care Coordinator will be contacting me Monday or Tuesday to set that up.  Please pray that we will be blessed with a speedy appointment, preferably one next week!

As for the time that Sammy and I had together, just the two of us, it was wonderful.  We arrived in Tampa yesterday afternoon so we could get settled into a hotel and see the hospital before his appointment this morning.  Sammy also had the opportunity to choose where to eat supper and his choice was typical:  Mc Donald's!  We then were able to get a really good night's sleep and felt refreshed and ready to take on the world this morning.

Our experience at Shriner's was nothing short of fantastic.  Everyone was so kind, caring, and compassionate.  The volunteers really go out of their way, and I even met two gentlemen who drove a family all the way from Pensacola to Tampa. The doctors are top notch and I felt confident that they were evaluating Sammy to the fullest.  It is such a wonderful facility!

Now for some pictures from our adventure!

At the entrance to the hospital.

I love this picture of Sammy.

Sammy loves Alvin and the Chipmunks :)

My little "fry guy".

Playing with his Star Wars guys.

I let him download Angry Birds Star Wars.  He was in heaven:)

My sleepy little guy.

At the check-in area this morning.

A beautiful atrium.  We did not get to see much of the hospital.  Overall it is a lovely facility.

Thank you once again for your prayers.  Please continue to pray as we slowly navigate these back roads of Holland!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Little Update on Sammy

We interrupt this orphan advocacy to bring you an update on our Sammy.  You know, the cute little guy that just sparkles?

One of my all-time favorites of Sammy.  He was about 3 in this picture.

Sammy has been seen by his new pediatrician and she has referred him to Shriner's hospital in Tampa, FL.  His big day at Shriner's is Friday and we will be seeing an orthopedic surgeon and whole host of other doctors and specialists.  I anticipate a long day so we are actually going to spend the night in Tampa tomorrow.  Sammy has not been sleeping well (nor have I) and his cramping and spasms have been rough.

Please pray for Sammy and the doctors.  Pray for peace, wisdom, and discernment.  I will update sometime after our visit.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Христос родился!

Christ is Born!

That is a traditional Orthdox Christmas greeting.  This evening, on the other side of the world, millions are celebrating Orthdox Christmas Eve.  Families are gather to have their traditional feast and there is love and happiness.  Christmas Eve is a favorite holiday among Ukrainians.

There is a particular little one, however, that I am thinking of who is not in the home of her family celebrating and having fun.  She is in a place where there may be little or no celebration.  I confess, I do not know exactly what it is like where she is, but I've been in similar places and they are not filled with love and happiness.

Last night I was overcome with sadness thinking about so many little ones who I had to leave behind but in my heart, there was one little face in particular.  I never had the honor of meeting her but I tried.  She is the same age as Dima and cannot walk.  She needs a family.  She needs medical care and therapies.  Most importantly she needs a family.

From what Dima has shared with us about his life in the orphanage Christmas was not a happy and jovial time.  I've seen pictures from some "celebrations" in Dima's past and he was never smiling.  None of the kids are smiling.  How sad.  How depressing!  I cannot help but wonder if she is wishing for a family for Christmas.  I wonder if she sits and looks out the window waiting for that family to walk through the door.  Are you that family?  Is there a family in her beautiful country?

While our materialistic and over commercialized American Christmas is already a distant memory, this little love is smack dab in the middle of Christmas.  I am asking today and tomorrow (January 6 and 7) that you prayerfully consider making a donation to Yasmine's grant.  Here grant is so close to being at $500!  Every dollar makes a difference.  It is also my prayer that she is found by her family.  It is my prayer that this time next year I am rejoicing that this little love is home with her family.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dear Yasmine

Dear Yasmine,

You have no idea who I am or why I care, but I want to write this letter to you in hopes that you will soon have a family.  Do you remember Dima from your groupa?  It was a few years ago.  Dima remembers you and loves you very much.  He has asked me over and over to bring you home to our house, but I am not able to do that right now.  I wish I could as I do not have a little girl.  You would make a fantastic daughter and bring so much joy to a mother.  I think about you every day.  We pray for you.  We donate money to your grant in hopes that someone will choose you.  Sometimes I even ask God if I can be your mommy.  I've seen many pictures of you and you are just beautiful.  BEAUTIFUL!  I even see a spark in your eye that tells me that somehow, some way, you will walk.  If only you had a family who could provide all of the medical care that you need.  Again, I wish it was us, but we would not be able to just now.  You need a family sooner rather than later, precious one.

So many people have been praying for you and wondering where you are.  When I was in your beautiful country and at the orphanage where you once lived I looked for you every day.  I asked for you.  Nobody would tell me anything.  After a lot of searching we know where you are now.  It is not a happy place, of that I am certain.  I pray that somehow you know that people are trying to help you.  Trying to help you find happiness.  Even if there was a special family in your own country willing and able to care for you that would bring so many people so much joy!  You deserve to be part of a family!

It is my resolution this year to help you become part of a family.  Some may think that it is wrong of me to share your picture and share your story but I do not care.  No, it is more important that you receive the love and care that you deserve.  Hang on, beautiful princess!  Hang on!  I pray that you also come to know the love of Jesus....the One who loves you more than anyone on this planet.  If you know Him, you know of love and peace.  I can only pray...

Love always,

Dima's momma

Are you her mother?  Are you the woman that will be blessed to tuck this princess in every night?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Success for Camille & New Quest

First, I want to thank each and every one of you who donated to Camille's grant during the 2012 Angel Tree.  Overall the Angel Tree was a huge success for Reece's Rainbow and so many children.  Camille met her goal and then some!  It is now my prayer that Camille will have the opportunity for a family this year.  Please continue to pray for situation with Russia!

But now that the Angel Tree is over I am now going to focus on a little girl who I have shared with you all before.  Yasmine.

Yasmine was born with CP.  She has congeinital hydrocephaly as well.   Her feet/ankles are turned in, but she is able to pull to a stand and tries so hard to get around!   Surgery and therapy can make a world of difference for this darling little girl!

Dima knows this blue-eyed beauty.  More than once he has told me about playing dolls with her and says that he loves her.  Yasmine will be 9 in June and has gone for almost 9 years without proper medical care or therapy.  Yes, adopting her would mean lots of doctor appointments and therapies but she would be worth it to the right family.  My goal this year is to find Yasmine's family.  Her mom and dad.  Brothers and sisters.  Grandparents.  Aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Patience.  Love.  Medical care.  Everything that every child deserves.

Finally, I also want to help fund her grant as much as I can as I can.  Details to follow on that in the coming weeks.  Her grant is resting nicely at $451.61.  Can we get it to an even $500 by midnight Friday?

I will not leave you as orphans;  I will come to you.  John 14:18