Hello, friends! Things have been very busy around TWOB Central. My work schedule changed, hockey season (for the kids) started, the kids' Halloween costumes have been planned and assembled, and we've been re-arranging our house. Lots to do and, of course, never enough time to do it!
But some exciting developments have occurred on the advocacy front! First, we have exceeded the goal of our birthday fundraiser for Jack! This fundraiser has raised enough money to pay for his passport and visa! A huge thank-you to everyone who donated! I still have slots left in the video, however, and I would really like to fill the whole thing up, so if you haven't donated yet, please don't hesitate to do so now! Since we've met our fundraising goal, I'm going to go ahead and open up the opportunity to submit a picture for a donation of just $2. I'll accept photos for as long as I have spaces left in the video. I'm very excited about this video--proof for Jack that he was never really alone--and I know his mom is, too! So if you're so inclined to help, please make a donation to Jack's grant fund at Project Hopeful (left sidebar of my blog) or Reece's Rainbow, drop me a line (through the Contact Me button on the right sidebar of my blog or via firstname.lastname@example.org), and send me picture of you, your child, or your pet holding a sign that says, "I (or We) Helped Bring Jack Home!" Thanks so much for your help!
Other excellent news is that Elliot is enrolled in a hosting program for the winter! I was told last week that there are several families interested in hosting him, so hopefully soon he will be assigned to a family. This is an outstanding opportunity for Elliot. Not only will he get to experience the joy of the holiday season within a family and get a chance to see more of the world than just his small corner of it, but also his chances of being adopted increase quite a bit if he gets to spend time in a family's home! Kids who are hosted often end up being adopted by either their host family or someone who met them while they were being hosted. I'm anxiously waiting to see who Elliot's lucky host family will be! Also, his grant has risen to $198! If anyone wants to tip him over the $200 mark, that would be amazing!
And more exciting news on the Jason front! I recently found a picture of Jason with a British volunteer that was taken in August. A group called Future Youth Project, working with the Ukrainian charity Happy Child, sent a group of volunteers to Jason's institution for four days. From what I understand, the young man pictured worked with Jason and another child who also self-harms to increase their stimulation and reduce the self-harming behaviors. I found out quite a bit about Jason from this young man, and I am just awaiting his ok to share this info with Reece's Rainbow. Additionally, I was able to get an occupational therapist to look at Jason's video. From just the short 15-second clip, this professional was able to glean quite a bit about Jason's development and capabilities, and she feels he has much potential. She is planning to write up her remarks to share with potential adoptive families. Keep in mind that none of this information, from volunteers or medical professionals who have not evaluated him in person, can be construed as definitive diagnoses. But for a little boy living in a remote institution whose only doctor is a retired dentist, every small piece of the puzzle helps a potential adoptive family in their decision whether to commit. I am hoping to receive even more video of Jason.
Also, I issued a challenge for five $10 donations to Jason's grant. In two days, Jason's fund increased by ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! Thank you to those who donated, those who see this amazing child for what he is: an incredible gift to the world. Jason's grant fund now stands at $270.67. I'm still offering $5 Amazon gift cards to anyone who makes a donation of $10 or more to Jason's grant. My goal is to get him over $300 within the next two weeks. Can you help me reach that goal?
And ... I was able to send Jason a gift! Because of his self-harming behaviors, I wanted to make sure I sent something that was both soft and stimulating. I settled on some brightly colored, collapsible plastic balls and some soft rubber stacking blocks with embossed pictures. I packed them with a picture of Jason (so they knew to whom the toys should be given) and a picture of me (so they knew from whom the toys came). I am so excited for him to receive them. I hope that he knows how to play with toys, and I hope that they help brighten his days.
And ... I was able to meet a friend of mine at the airport as she arrived home from Lithuania with her new son, Eli! The kids were thrilled to get to meet the child they had heard so much about, and he was every bit as adorable as I knew he would be. We carried homemade signs that said, "Welcome Home Eli!" and took lots of pictures. It was a great honor to be included in such a momentous occasion!
Due to my crazy-busy schedule, I have been unable to blog about boys other than "my" three boys. I am hoping that as things settle into a new rhythm over the next few weeks, I can get back to doing that. In the meantime, feel free to head over to Reece's Rainbow to check out the many waiting children who need your help, or check out the blogs on the right sidebar of my blog that are written by adoptive parents and advocates. There is so much good information out there about life as an adoptive family and ways to help the orphaned children of the world. Together, we can make a difference for these precious children.
To close out today's post, I would like to relate a comment my 10-year-old daughter made to me last week. We were discussing what life at Jason's institution is like and why people allow children to live this way. I was explaining to my kids about attitudes toward disabled people that don't acknowledge their worth as beings capable of joy as well as sorrow, pleasure as well as pain, and precious treasures by reason of their very existence. My daughter told me, indignantly, "I think that people with disabilities are even MORE valuable than the rest of us because they can't care for themselves and they need us to help them. People should understand how important it is to help people who can't help themselves."
I wish the powers that be were as wise as my child.
Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your support of orphaned boys worldwide.