Monday, December 24, 2012

Attention Elliot's Family!


Somehow, Elliot's grant jumped to over $5,000 in one day! And it's still growing. Whoever did this, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love this boy, and I am confident that with the exposure he's gotten from Angel Tree, the hard work of his Guardian Angel, and the blessing of being hosted, his family will find him very, very soon.

Merry Christmas, Elliot. You are loved more than you know.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Many Updates, Much News

Where to start? I don't even know. So much has been going on in my world of orphan advocacy, I often am not sure what my next post should be about. I like to have a theme to my posts, but I believe that today will be just a random listing of the main points of news from the past week.


1. Jason is learning to walk! The latest report from his institution, which is available here, mentions that he is learning to walk with support. Can you imagine being nine years old and unable to walk, and how frustrating that would be? This is fantastic news for Jason not only because it is good that he is learning to walk but also because it indicates that he is being given more time outside the crib, which is crucial to his mental development and stimulation.

I have also received even more video of Jason. This is the first time I have been able to see him outside the crib. He is a very active little boy! I'm glad to see that he is so curious and determined! Even though he is quite delayed, he has such a spark about him, and he has such potential that could be reached with the proper environment, education, and therapy.



Jason's grant has increased to $327.82. Please don't forget that I am offering a $5 Amazon gift card to anyone who donates $15 or more to his grant fund.



2. Please don't forget about Elliot! He is on the Angel Tree, and there is a goal of raising $1,000 for his grant! I am so excited that Elliot will be hosted in the United States starting this week. I'm sure that someone will meet him and realize what a great kid he is and decide that he is their son. You can help by ensuring that he has a substantial grant to defray adoption costs! Elliot still needs $677.50 to meet his Angel Tree goal!



3. Jack's family is still working hard to complete his adoption! They have raised nearly half the amount needed. You can earn a place on Jack's List of 1,000, a list of all the people who have helped to bring Jack home, by donating $25 or more to his grant fund

Also, I am still accepting photos for Jack's Birthday Fundraiser. We exceeded our goal for the fundraiser, which raised the funds to pay for Jack's visa and passport, but I still have space left in the video. This is a wonderful chance to show a child who has spent his life feeling alone that he always had people pulling for him. Jack lives in a very expensive region to adopt from, with adoption expenses totaling $40,000. For just $5, you can show Jack how precious he has always been.

4. There has been much news from Kalinovka recently. Maya from Maya's Hope spent a wonderful week with the children and was even able to have a Thanksgiving dinner with the children residing in the Happy Home. Maya took pictures and video of many children and is hard at work on a video and photo project to bring these lovely children and their stories to the world.

Happy Child, a Ukrainian charity that has been working since 2007 to improve the lives of the children of Kalinovka, has also been active in documenting the lives of the children there. Thanks to information they have shared, more of the Kalinovka children are being listed on Reece's Rainbow. There is a lot of work to be done, as nearly sixty of the approximately 120 children residing in the institution are available for adoption.

To learn more about what these two amazing organizations, which work in collaboration, have accomplished for the beautiful children of Kalinovka, please visit their websites or follow them on Facebook.

You can also view many videos of the Kalinovka cuties on YouTube by visiting the following channels:

Maya's Hope Foundation

Maya's Hope Channel

Happy Child Channel

Zhenya
Nastya
















There is also some very sad news from Kalinovka. Within the past several weeks, two of Kalinovka's children have passed away. Eleven-year-old Zhenya and ten-year-old Nastya both succumbed to complications of their disabilities. Although both of these children lived in a very remote region and were forgotten by much of society, they will be remembered with love by those who knew them, those who advocated for them, and those whose lives were touched by their stories.

I would like to leave you with on a happy note, though. Although most of the children at Kalinovka live very grim lives, there are nine lucky boys who live together in a family-style residence called the Happy Home. Although it is on the grounds of the institution, it is worlds away from the institutional life of the rest of the facility. The lucky nine boys living in the Happy Home attend school, are doted on by loving caregivers, and live a much more normal life. All nine of the boys used to live in a closed mental ward that was rather a free-for-all in terms of structure and supervision. Now the boys have boundaries and stability, expectations that they will behave appropriately and learn, and, most importantly, love. See for yourself the difference it has made for them.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

How Can I Find the Words?

I have been trying for over a week to write this post. I think about it when I am going about my day, I think about it when I look at the Reece's Rainbow website, I think about it whenever I open my phone, which has a picture of a certain child as the lock screen background.

I have not, however, sat down at the computer to try to write because, honestly, I knew I did not know what to say. That's unusual for me. I'm a very verbal person, and I'm not often at a loss for words.

I am now, however. What can you say about such a beautiful child when you know the horror of what his life is?

I guess the only thing that I can say is that these videos, made for me, were the greatest gift I could receive this holiday season, short of news that someone has found him. I'm still waiting for that gift.

This is my love receiving the presents that I sent him.


And more ... it breaks my heart that some people would only touch him if wearing rubber gloves.


Jack's family is moving ever closer to bringing him home. Elliot is being hosted and has an Angel Tree Warrior and a Guardian Angel. Only sweet Jason is still overlooked. If Jason is your son, please contact Reece's Rainbow. He has so much potential for improvement if given love, attention, and the proper therapy.

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your support of orphaned boys worldwide.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Good News Today!


I awoke to some wonderful news today. Carlton will not be transferred to a mental institution. His situation is complicated and may take some time to unsnarl, which is why he is not currently listed on Reece's Rainbow, but at least we know that this sweet, beautiful, bright young boy will NOT spend his days languishing in a crib in an institution.


Please say a prayer for Carlton!


Monday, December 3, 2012

World AIDS Day


December 1st is World AIDS Day.


You can visit Project Hopeful to find out more about raising kids with HIV and learn the facts about treatment and transmission.


People with HIV/AIDS are not scary, and you will not contract HIV through casual contact. 


There are thousands of HIV+ children around the world in need of loving adoptive families. You can visit Reece's Rainbow, Project Hopeful, or Adoption-Link to learn more about adopting an HIV+ child. You can also visit Positively Adopted to read about families who have adopted children with HIV. Additionally, you may join the HIV Adoption Yahoo group that I started nearly 7 years ago. We have grown from five members to more than 700!
I do not identify on this blog which of my children has HIV. But we have been raising an HIV+ child for almost seven years now. I have seen people describe HIV as "an easy need." I think this can be both true and misleading. If you have a healthy child who is not seriously impacted emotionally by HIV, then yes, raising a child with HIV can be almost like raising an HIV- child. Most children with HIV who receive proper treatment do live healthy lives. However, it is important to remember that there are no guarantees, and even a relatively healthy child can have health issues that will impact him or her physically and emotionally. Additionally, as a child with HIV grows into the teen years and early adulthood, the emotional impact of HIV can become greater. I do not say this to discourage people from adopting a child with HIV; indeed, I am all for it! It's just a reminder that HIV is still a serious (if no longer imminently deadly) disease that can have long-term impacts on the children who grow up with it.

Did you know that people with HIV can play sports, hold jobs, attend college, get married, have children, and live long, healthy lives? Advances in treatment have changed the diagnosis of HIV from a "death sentence" to a chronic, manageable condition. Additionally, HIV has never been transmitted through the course of normal household contact. It's just not risky to have an HIV+ person in your family!

If your child's school has an HIV education unit, consider asking to preview the materials. Sadly, not all schools have current, unbiased information on HIV. You can help by making sure that the HIV education your community's children receive is accurate. If you find inaccuracies in the school's material, or even if you aren't sure of what you read, you can always contact your local AIDS service organization for assistance. Many ASO's have an education department or speaker's bureau that can connect you and the school to accurate information.

I will close by stating that, although we encountered some resistance by some family members when we announced our intention to adopt a child with HIV, it didn't take much time at all for even the most reluctant family member to come around after meeting our child. In the nearly seven years our child has been with us, we have had only one instance of discrimination, and that was by a relative-by-marriage and it was swiftly dealt with. Our family and our friends have been overwhelmingly supportive.

As always, if you have any questions about adopting or raising a child with HIV, please do not hesitate to contact me via the Email Me button in the upper right sidebar of my blog.

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your support of orphaned boys worldwide.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

22 for the 22nd

Today, more than any of my other blessings, I am thankful for these precious boys who have blessed the world with their presence. They are 22 points of light in an oft dark world. They are 22 inspirations. They are 22 children who make the world a better place.























And mine ...









Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving at Kalinovka!


The super-amazing Wonder Woman who is known by day as Maya from Maya's Hope has made it to Kalinovka!

She gave the gifts from my daughter and me to my little love, took pictures and video, and reported back to me on how he is doing.

I have to say it made. my. day. Knowing that my boy had a bright spot in his day, knowing that he mattered to someone today, knowing that my gifts brought him some respite from his self-harming, knowing that he received some love and some hugs and that someone noticed him today, knowing that he is relatively healthy ... that's what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. I have a beautiful family. I have a loving and supportive husband. I have a safe and comfortable house. I have a job I enjoy. Of course I am thankful for all of these things, but right now what I am most thankful for is that I have been able to make a difference, regardless of how small, in the life of one forgotten boy who languishes in a crib 5,250 miles away. I am thankful that my sweet boy exists in this world and makes it a better place just by being in it. I am thankful that his world grew bigger today. I am thankful that Maya has allowed me into her family and into her hope for the children of Kalinovka. I am thankful that she has dedicated her life, tirelessly and unselfishly, to the children who need her most. My heart is full today.

Maya's Hope has reached 50% of their goal for the video project fundraiser. There is still time for you to help out! The goal of the fundraiser is $2500, but Maya said today that any funds raised in excess of that amount will go to providing a Thanksgiving dinner to the children who reside in Kalinovka's family-style Happy Home.

Can you spare a little bit so that the children of Kalinovka can enjoy Thanksgiving with a hero who is walking among them right now?

Thanks for stopping by, and may your holiday be filled with blessings!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Beautiful Children of Kalinovka

In just two days, Maya from Maya's Hope leaves to bring love, squishy hugs, and supplies to the beautiful children of Kalinovka. Don't forget that you can help fund the video project she will be undertaking so that she can bring these children, their lives, and their need to the wider world. They are currently at 24% of their goal.












Best wishes for a happy and healthy week from our family to yours!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

You Can Help The Children of Kalinovka!


Hello, friends! Today I would like to tell you about a very special trip and a very special project and some very special people.


I have talked before about Maya's Hope, a wonderful charity that is dedicated to helping needy children in Ukraine and the Philippines.


After visiting the Kalinovka orphanage (the same orphanage that is profiled in Ukraine's Forgotten Children) in 2011, Maya knew that she needed to act to help these children. She responded by creating a caregiver program that currently funds three caregivers to work with and love the children at Kalinovka. She also has a formula sponsorship program to provide specialized formula for some of the sickest and most malnourished children. She also sends additional supplies as needed. Maya, her organization, and the dedicated sponsors are doing great things for Kalinovka!


And now it's time for Maya to go back. She has missed her children over the last year, and she will be leaving in slightly less than two weeks to visit Kalinovka again.


This time, she is planning a very special project. I'll let Maya tell you about it.




Maya plans to produce a video about the most forgotten children of Kalinovka, an already-forgotten place full of already-forgotten children. But the bedfast children, the children in the "laying rooms," are the ones who are almost never seen. Little is known about their lives. They are the children whose stories most need to be told.


And you can help Maya fund this venture! You can visit CrowdRise to donate for this project. 


This trip and this project are very personally meaningful to me for two reasons. One is that, when Maya travels to Kalinovka, she will be taking with her a gift for one of my boys. In fact, she will be taking two gifts. My daughter outgrew a sweatshirt she loved, and she knew that Maya was taking warm clothing to the children of Kalinovka, so she asked to send her sweatshirt along with my gift. 

Also, my boy is one of the bedfast kids whom Maya will be filming. His face, his life, and his story will become visible to many who have never before known the plight of these children.  

(You may notice that I haven't shown a photo of my boy. That's because I am not allowed to publicly identify where he lives.)


Maya leaves in less than two weeks. Her fundraising goal is $2,500. Please help the children of Kalinovka! They are truly some of the most forgotten, and most wonderful, children.