Jun 23, 2012

Porter has become a Lost Boy

::Meet Porter::
[from Reece's Rainbow]

BOY, Born August 10, 2005
Don’t mind this pink shirt, Porter is a BOY.    He is HIV+, stage 3.   He is mildly cognitively delayed as well.
From his medical records:   HIV stage 3, without immunosuppression, delay of psychomotor and speech development, bacillosis
For more info and parent support on adopting and raising a child with HIV, please visit http://www.projecthopeful.org/
From someone who observed Porter in February:
"...he is an absolute doll who uses his hands, stands, walks, plays, and feeds himself without difficulty.  I don't know any more than that, but he certainly didn't "act" delayed. "

::Meet the Lost Boys::
[from Julia.]
"Every morning while we visit Aaron, we see the Lost Boys moving around the internat grounds in their groups on their way to and from snack time. A few are in wheelchairs, the older boys pushing the younger ones. The rest all hold hands in pairs so that no one gets lost. The caretakers always keep gentle hold on three or four. Together, they make a strange and awkward procession. At first it was a bit frightening because there are so many of them, and most of them make some strange noise or awkward movement. Now we’re used to them, and we look for the ones we recognize every day: The one who smiles with uncontainable glee every time we look at him. The one who dances with reckless joy whenever the radio plays. The serious one who sometimes says “Mama.” The legless older boy in the wheelchair who never makes a sound, but always grins when we wave. The troublemaker who tore the bed off of Aaron’s dump truck on our first trip. Each of them has his own likes and dislikes, his own personality. Most of them will never know any other life than the one they have now.

It is a harsh life. Some of the older boys have jobs setting tables, carrying laundry or emptying trash bins. These make the most of their bit of freedom. The rest have little to do but sit on benches or on the ground, rocking back and forth hour after hour, day after day. Some wander around within their group’s play area. Those who are able sometimes kick a ball or push a wheelchair around. They have no other toys, nor do they receive any teaching, therapy or stimulation. It is a great honor for us to be allowed to bring Aaron out of such a place.

We have counted over 60 boys marching by for their snacks. Inside the buildings in the back are even more boys, the bedridden ones who seldom see the light of day. We have had only glimpses of one or two of these, but what we have seen we will never forget-- a child with a deathly white face, so stiff that his waist never bent as two nurses carried him to an ambulance, one at his shoulders, the other at his feet.

The internat staff makes the best of its limited resources. For the outdoor boys, there are usually one or two caretakers in charge of 20-25 mentally disabled boys ages 5 to 18. They care for the boys, but they can do little more than keep the peace in such large groups of needy kids. They are overworked and overwhelmed just maintaining cleanliness and order. We admire them for the care they show for the Lost Boys. 

The Lost Boys arrive at this internat when they are five years old, transferred from the baby houses where they have lived since their parents gave them up. Frightened and friendless, they are torn from the only world they have ever known. They have failed the tests that would have entitled them to receive an education. Their mental or physical disabilities mean that they are unqualified to live outside the internat. With no stimulation, there is little chance that they will improve. Unless they die first, they will remain at the internat until they turn 18. Then they will be transferred for the last time, to an adult mental institute where they will live out the rest of their lives. This is their sad reality. Aaron is the first child ever to leave this internat. When he walks out of its gates, he will break its sad cycle for the first time. 
The Lost Boys are a group of boys living in a rural mental institute in Eastern Europe.  And now, Porter has become a Lost Boy.  Sometime in the last few months Porter aged out of his baby orphanage.  And for reasons we do not know, he ended up a Lost Boy, in a mental institute.  Poor boy is only 6 years old!

LOOK at him.  He is a real boy.  He.is.real.

Porter is in the gray shirt.
And yes, some of your may recognize this movie from HERE.  Same orphanage ya'll!!

PLEASE pray for Porter.  PLEASE share his need for a family.  PLEASE consider adopting him.
And if you feel led, you can donate to his adoption grant fund HERE.

If you would like more information on adopting Porter please contact Sarah at:

Jun 20, 2012

Morning's in Ukraine

I miss morning's in Ukraine.  The slot of time we were allowed to visit the orphanage was for two hours in the morning.  Depending on the orphanage you are adopting from you may be allowed to also visit for two hours in the afternoon.  That was not the case with this orphanage.  The parents visited the orphanage everyday and because the drive to the orphanage and back was a bit of a hike, they were gone most of the moring.  Me and the two year old only went with to the orphanage about 2-3 times a week.  The rest of the time we hung out.  In the apartment.  Ukrainian style.
Some of our favorite things to do over the course of that month were...
reading the same 6 books over.and.over.and.over.again.
sitting in the window watching life.
sitting on the balcony watching life.
dancing on the 'dancing mats'.
watching adorable Ukrainian kids shows on tv.
standing on our heads.  Renee's favorite, don't ask.

With some soccer, nest building, little people and tower creating thrown in for good measure.
We hung out.  We played.  We ate.  We laughed.
And basically just hung out in our comfy clothes [Or in Renee's case, her underwear] all morning.
It was simple.  So very simple.  We only had a handful of toys along and our imagination to keep us entertained.  I miss the simpleness of it all.  The fact that my hair could be greasy and my legs a hairy mess didn't matter.  We just played.  Simple right?  I loved the days we went to the orphanage, but the days we stayed back were just as precious.

I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Jun 15, 2012

Mission Accomplished

When we [me and the adoptive family I was going with] boarded the plane headed for Ukraine back in April we only had one mission in going.  Get the baby girl HOME.  That was it.

Earlier in the week the mission was finally accomplished.
The baby and the daddy arrived home to Canada.  HOME.

Please meet...

Ava Tyeesia
["Kelsey" on Reece's Rainbow for anyone who was wondering.]

She was the reason we went.  It was for her, and only her.  She was loved and deeply wanted.  So we went.  We were there for 4 weeks before The Mother, Big Sister, and I had to fly home.  Each to our separate homes in Canada.  The dad stayed on in Ukraine to finish up the adoption.  3 weeks later, they are also home 

Big Sister, The Mom, Ava and The Dad.
These are the people I spent 5 weeks with.  So many memories.

I'm so blessed to have been apart of Ava's story.
Mission Accomplished.
God is good.

Jun 14, 2012

Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome

This is something you are not going to want to miss.  Seriously.  So easy and it makes a difference.

YOU can make a difference by helping this video win and thus...

Bringing tons of awareness for orphans with Down Syndrome waiting over seas.

Orphans like Shannon.

From Brady Murray
"My family and I have loved being able to work on behalf of the children on Reece's Rainbow since finding this great organization.  It's for this reason that I had a hard time sleeping because of the excitement after hearing about this announcement!

Two months ago, Ironman announced a contest called Kona Inspired.  How it works is they have given the general public an opportunity to submit a 90 second video based around the theme, "Anything is Possible".  Winners receive a spot to race in the Ironman World Championship in October, but most importantly, they will race as a media athlete and have the opportunity to share their story on NBC's nationally televised broadcast of the championship this year!  THIS COULD BE OUR OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE THESE PRECIOUS CHILDREN'S STORY WITH THE WORLD!!!

After reading Ironman's press release we immediately went to work.  This is an opportunity to help these children in a way that I never imagined possible!  The video came together with the help of many wonderful people and we submitted it.  105 videos were submitted.  After over a month long preliminary public voting, we just received word that we are one of the top 15 videos and will compete in the final round of voting June 4 - June 18!!!

Please take a moment to WATCHVOTE, and SHARE our video as much as possible throughout the day from your home computer, work computer, laptop, phone, etc!  We need to be in the top 2 videos at the end of the day on June 18.  


Thank you for your time and willingness to make the dream of these orphans of finding their forever family a reality!"

There you go.  No go and vote.  It's easy.  
And doesn't require you to log in, sign up, or verify anything.  
Just click vote, refresh, and vote again!

Jun 13, 2012

Happy 10th Birthday Gergana!

June 13th.  It finally came! Gergana turned TEN!

Because it has been a long and exhausting day [and week!] I am heading to bed.
But here are some pictures and movies from the day.
Gergana's first birthday at home!
And if you haven't noticed, Gergana has a new hair-do!  I'm in love.  
Way to much cute for one child!
These two are 11 months apart in age.
So for the next month we have two ten year old in the house!

[Gergana and her friends got a bunch of toys stuck in the tree.  Many times over.]
[This boy has been apart of our 'family' for a long time now.  He is here most days.  It wasn't until after Gergana was home that we realized that him and G share a birthday!  He stopped by this afternoon and they swapped birthday presents.]


Happy 10th Birthday Gergana!  I love you so very much!!
I'm so thankful I get to be your sister!

Jun 12, 2012

The boy with the million dollar smile

Remember Alex?  If not here are some old posts written about him last year..

We all advocated hard to find a family for Alex last fall as he quickly approached his 5th birthday.  There was a spark about him, and many people were starting to see it and fall in love with his smile.  He was special.  Despite many people fighting for him Alex was not adopted in time and was transferred from his baby house shortly after his 5th birthday.  Thankfully Alex ended up in a wonderful institution.  Not a family by any means, but compared to where other children with special needs end up in his country, it was a very good institution.  Soon after a precious family from the States stepped up to adopt Alex.  It was finally his turn to have a family and be set free from the institution!!  I haven't written about that much on this blog.  It was their story, not mine, to share.  [Check out their blog here.].

But now[!!!] after many months of paperwork and traveling half way around the world....
Alex is an orphan no more!!

Please meet, Alexander Joseph!!
Alex and his sweet mama.

His new parents have been spending the last several weeks visiting Alex in his institution.  I have loved getting to 'know' him through pictures and movies [check it out on their blog!].  Every time I see a new picture of him it confirms what we all already knew, this child has a million dollar smile.  He has a spark.  And now that spark will have a chance to blossom and grow, not be snuffed up in an institution in Eastern Europe.

he is loved. 

Advocating works.  These children are real.  It is worth it.

Thank you to everyone who donated, prayed, and shared about Alex last fall.  
YOU made a difference!!

Jun 10, 2012

She became a Mrs.

This beautiful bride [my Sister!] married her best friend today
love her. love her. love her.

Jun 6, 2012

Six months ago.

Read more about it here, here, and here.

We woke up early.  So very early.  Could not sleep.  Anyone who has known me for a long time will know that adoption is something that has been dear to my heart for...well forever really.  So for me to be actually waking up in a foreign country, about to meet my sister.  It was surreal.  We got ready.  And despite that we were told "Don't come too early!" we arrived at the lawyers office before the actual lawyers.  ::smile::

So we walked around outside and waited.  Did I mention it was a rainy day?

[waiting for Gergana to arrive.]
Finally we figured that enough time has passed that we could head back up.
So we walked back through the little pathway and up those stairs.

I'm not sure how much time passed after that.  We got some paperwork taken care of and [finally] got to hold her passport in her hands.  We actually left Canada not knowing 100% for sure that we would have that passport yet, so we were thrilled to have it.  ::Phew::  We sat and chated for what felt like forever.  And then the phone rang, Gergana was downstairs.  And just like that, she was there...


After everything, she was there.  In front of me.  Real.  It still blows me away sometimes.  We signed some final paperwork.  Spent a few minutes alone.  And had some [painful] goodbyes.

Then we were off.  We took her hand and walked back down those stairs and out the door.  
We were alone in the big city

That day was hard.  The next weeks were hard.  Tons of tears.  Lots of confusion.  So much pain.

I'll get right to the point..  Adoption is hard.  Older child adoption is hard.  
That about sums up the next several months of life together.

When your right in the middle of blending your family through adoption, it's hard to see the the other side.  But believe me, it exists.  We didn't believe it when people told us that things would get better.  but it does.

Six months later...
The pure exhaustion does end. 
Hurt children do heal.
[aka.  less screaming, kicking, throwing etc.]
Life does start to feel normal again.
It is worth it.
[six months ago today]

That day was a big day for all of us.  It was hard.  And we survived.  It will forever be a bitter/sweet day.
God is good.

Some highlights..

So blessed to have Gergana home.  The fun far out weighs the hard.
Six months home baby, here's to another six months!
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