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


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.

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