Monday, April 16, 2012


If you are unfamiliar with FAS, please spend some time researching this condition.  Just as with Down syndrome, FAS and FAE have a wide variation of effects on each child, both medically, physically, and cognitively.   This is typically dependent on how long during the pregnancy the mother consumed alcohol, and of course, how much.   There is no way to know this ahead of time.
Regrettably, this orphanage is one of the poorer ones, with very little outside aid and very little hope.    All of the children are tiny and undernourished.  These children are immediately transferred at 4.  All of our waiting children need families, but these have a critical need.  Please consider one of these children soon!!

This is Tina.  She is waiting in the same orphanage in which my sons spent their first four years.  I never met her, but I was so very close to her, standing outside of her orphanage.  It breaks my heart to talk to family after family who have been to this orphanage, and to be told that none of the families have ever seen Tina.  She is most likely left in a crib in a back room.  
Very little is known about her.  No mention of personality, ability, medical needs.  Not the most flattering picture ever taken of a little girl, is it?  Think that's why she's been passed over time and time again?  I look at this tiny girl, with her short hair, teary eyes, and bewildered expression, and I pray.  I pray that somebody can see past all of that, and see the treasure that she is.  I pray that her mama and papa are going to see her and know that she is theirs, that they are going to move mountains to get to her and get her out of that crib, out of that place.  I pray that they will be willing to take a tremendous leap of faith for this beautiful child.  Surely they must be out there somewhere.  Somebody who will love this little girl unconditionally.  
Imagine little Tina with pigtails and a huge grin that lights up her eyes.  Can you see it?  I can.  I know that it is not too late for Tina.  She could be a daughter to cherish and adore.  She could be giggling and hugging baby dolls, fingerpainting and having books read to her.  She could be just the little girl that somebody has been longing for.  She is created in the image of our Lord, and she was created for so much more than sitting in a crib.  Somebody, please, consider Tina.  Look at her photo again.  Look at her as Jesus looks at her.  See her.  She is a precious gem.  
When I first saw Micah's photo
and read his very long, very intimidating list of diagnoses, I felt overwhelmed.  I WANTED to be his mama, but how could I ever care for a child with such a long list of needs?  I didn't think I could do it.  But the Lord kept nudging at my heart, nudging little Micah into my heart more and more, until I could no longer imagine him as anybody except my son.  And the Lord's plan was perfect.  When I look at my son, I no longer see his medical issues and his special needs.  I see a giggling, bright-eyed little boy who does a whole-body happy dance every time I walk into the room, a boy who is learning to trust me more and more every day, 
a boy who is already doing more than 
the doctors told me he would EVER do.  
His medical needs are very real, and yes, we do go to a lot of appointments, and we do a lot of therapy.  And Micah is so, SO worth it!  He is fascinating and challenging.  He can still get so very scared and overwhelmed by life.  But more and more, each day, he is opening up to the world.  Opening up to me.  He is leaning into me instead of pushing me away.  He is reaching out for toys instead of shoving them away.  He is coming alive, before my very eyes, and I am so filled with joy to be a part of his story.  I remember at the passport office, the ladies who took Micah's picture shaking their heads and frowning at the thrashing, squalling, emaciated boy with the huge head, and asking our facilitator, "What are they going to do with a child like this?"  Well, here is what we are doing.  
We are loving him.  And teaching him.  And learning from him.  And delighting in him.  And feeling so very truly blessed to be his family. 

I am praying that somebody will look at sweet Tina 
and choose her.
That they will take a leap of faith.
That somebody will open their hearts to this waiting child,
and open their lives to an unimaginable wealth of blessings.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hope for Heath

He is Risen!
Jesus is alive!
Today is the day we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.
It is a day of hope.
It is also a little boy's birthday today.
Heath turned eleven years old today.
He is in an institution in Eastern Europe.  
Tiny, neglected, lonely little Heath.
Still waiting for his mama and papa to find him.
To bring him into life.
Sitting in that institution, day after day, year after year, 
is no kind of life for Heath.
He is existing.  He is surviving.  But today, on his birthday,
what does he have to celebrate, 
even if he knew it was his birthday?
Where is his hope?
Oh, dear Jesus, how can it be 
that this little treasure still waits to be found?

Boy, Born April 8, 2001
Heath is a sweet little boy who desperately needs a family.    
Heath is a tenyear old boy with Down Syndrome. He is tiny in stature. His feet hardly reach the edge of his shared wheelchair. Because of his age, he has already been transferred from the stimulating environment of his baby house to a dull and underfunded mental institute for boys ages 6-18. He is no longer the youngest boy in his group, but he is certainly among the smallest.
Heath is not a recent transfer. He has lived in the stifling boredom of institution life for a long time. He has lost the vivacity of life at the baby houses. In his three years at the institute, he has been given nothing of his own. He has not seen a book or a toy. He has never been gathered into anyone's loving arms. He is a very lonely little fellow in desperate need of love and comfort.
We have few other details on Heath. He has been seen in a wheelchair, so he may not be able to walk. We don’t know if or how well he talks, or any other details on his medical condition. We do know that he is a cute, chubby-cheeked, dirty and neglected lonely little lost boy who needs a mother more than almost anyone else in the world.
If you would like to learn more about Heath from a family who met him at his present institute, please follow these links:
$6165.94 is available towards the cost of my adoption!

Heath waits.  He does not know about birthday cakes and presents and balloons.  He does not know about family gathered around to sing to him.  He does not know about the feeling of a mommy's hug, or a daddy's strong loving arms carrying him.

He does not know about the Risen Lord.  He does not know about the hope and the joy of Jesus.  He waits, day after day, year after year.

Eleven years.
Oh, Lord, how long must Heath wait?
I am praying desperately that the Lord's rescue plan for Heath is coming soon.  The Lord has not forgotten this precious child, and I hope that we, who know about him, do not forget, either.  He has spent his life hidden away and forgotten.  But the Lord has a better plan!  He is not forgotten any longer!  His grant fund was at zero dollars.  Not anymore!  His grant fund has been steadily growing.  It is growing!  But so much more is needed to ransom him.  Please consider sharing Heath's story.  Please consider donating to his fund.  

He is worth it!
Heath is a sweet little boy, created in the Lord's image, 
worthy of love and hope and a family.  
He is so, so worth it!

And now for our Easter morning:

Every child deserves a family.
Hoping and praying that this will be 
Heath's last birthday without one.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter eggs

Time to color some Easter eggs!  Gideon probably thought we were nuts when we introduced this activity.  We were all sitting around the table, we had eggs, and we had bowls of colorful liquid with spoons in them, and yet we were not eating any of it.  He was a pretty good sport about it, though, and after trying to sneak a few tastes, he agreed with us that this really was just an art project and not a meal.

Gideon loves to smell things

I tried to convince Micah that this was fun,
but he was pretty sure it was not.
Too close to bedtime, I guess?
Right after this picture was taken, Micah
grabbed that egg and tossed it across the room.
Maybe next year . . . 

our amazingly strong Ukrainian egg dye

counting and sorting

I had to include this picture,
just because I love this boy's eyelashes

Isaac, Josiah, Gracie, and Gideon
(Micah and Blessing were too tuckered out
from our day at the lake to join in)

Now that the kids are all tucked into bed, 
I am off to fill some Easter baskets and hide some eggs.  
Wonder what Gideon will think of that?

A Day at the Lake

Some moments from our sunny Saturday at the lake:

Gideon loves dogs, and Grandma's dog is so patient with him

Micah scooted himself right into the sandbox and  seemed thrilled
to be touching it and to watch the sand sift through his fingers

-  brothers  -

Gideon is a very fast crawler

beautiful Blessing watches the other kids play

I remember last year when I brought the kids to this lake I was sitting in the grass, watching them play, and wondering what Gideon and Micah would think of this lovely little play area.  I was trying to imagine two little boys I had never met, laying in cribs on the other side of the world.  And I was trying to imagine them really being here, at this park, in America, finally out of those cribs.  

And today here they are, in the flesh, with sunshine on their faces and sand in their ears.  They are free!  Never again will they spend an entire day doing nothing but staring at the bars of their cribs.  They are living the sort of life that little boys are supposed to live!  My beautiful, silly, grubby, wonderful little boys!