Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's All About Jack!


Guess what? Today is the last day of the June Fundraiser for Jack! 


THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who helped out!

I have one last, tiny request ...

To go out with a bang, can I get 5 people to donate $5 each today?

Thank you so much for the love and support you have shown to sweet Jack this month. I've got a feeling ... that good things are going to happen for Jack, a little boy who has been waiting for so, so long.

Even though my June Fundraiser for Jack is drawing to a close, I will be continuing my efforts on his behalf until he is home in his momma's arms. So please check back for more information on how you can continue to help out!

It's all about the kids, folks! Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your support of orphaned boys worldwide.

It's all for him!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Forever Friday: Sergey and the Other Children of Orphanage 9

Just a reminder that my June Fundraiser for Jack wraps up on June 30th! If you haven't yet donated, please consider doing so now. We have reached $487, which is 97% of the way to our goal of $500! Can you be the one who helps us exceed our goal?

Today is a Blog Blitz for the children of Orphanage 9. Last week there were 8 kids from Orphanage 9 listed on Reece's Rainbow. As I mentioned on Wednesday, Lucas' family found him. Seven children remain. Could one of them be your child?

This sweet little boy is Sergey. Sergey will turn 5 in October and, unfortunately, this little guy is not doing well. He suffers from many medical issues, including hydrocephalus, spastic tetraparesis, and a convulsive disorder. If Sergey is not adopted, he will be transferred to a mental institution where he will spend the rest of his (likely very short) life bedridden.

But Sergey is not just a collection of disorders and diagnoses! He is a little boy who has managed to cling to life for nearly five years. He is a little boy who can experience joy and sadness, comfort and pain, love and neglect. He is a little boy who deserves to feel the loving touch of his parents and to receive the proper medical care to let him live a life of happiness and contentment. He deserves the treatment and stimulation that will allow him to reach his full potential. Sergey is more than just a disabled child; he is an individual, a distinct personality, and a waiting son.

Sergey currently has $5028.00 in his adoption grant. You can help Sergey by donating to increase his grant fund, by sharing his information with your friends and acquaintances, and by considering whether Sergey has a place in your own family. Little Sergey deserves a better life than a mental institution!

There are six other children at Orphanage 9 who are listed on Reece's Rainbow. Please click on their names to read more about them.







Also, please visit my post about Edward, a seven year old who still waits for his family.

Forever Friday: Check Back!

Today I am off to take my kids swimming with a friend of mine (who just happens to be adopting a child from Reece's Rainbow!). I do, however, plan to participate in today's blog blitz for the children at Orphanage 9.

In the meantime, my friend Julia has posted this very important post, so I urge you to go see what she has to say.

Check back later! Thanks for visiting, and thanks for your support of orphaned boys worldwide!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Wyatt

Hello, friends! Just two more days left in our June Fundraiser for Jack! We have raised $390, and Jack's adoption grant has exceeded $7000! Thank you to everyone for your generosity!

Another Reece's Rainbow child has found his family! Simeon, a beautiful Roma child who was ignored in his orphanage because of his ethnicity, will soon be joining his family! 

Today, for Thankful Thursday, I am thankful that my sweet son enjoys his Transformers so much. He recently spent his allowance on Bumblebee, the yellow Camaro Transformer. He has literally not been anywhere without Bumblee since Bumblebee joined the family. Bumblebee has traveled to garden club, to the grocery, to the pool, to Grandpa's for a sleepover, to the library, and, yesterday, to the pulmonologist. Bumblebee sleeps with my son in bed, and my son has a running conversation with Bumblebee as he transforms him, repeatedly, from a car to a robot and back again. Bumblebee has become a good friend and a valued family member, and I love watching my son have such a good time!

Today I am also thankful for sweet Wyatt. Look at his cowlick! Wyatt is three years old, and this little guy is not in good shape. Wyatt has hydrocephalus as well as Down syndrome. Not a whole lot is known about Wyatt, but we do know that Wyatt is a "recumbent" patient, meaning he is bedridden. We also know that Wyatt's hydrocephalus has caused him to be unable to move his hands. This poor little guy spends his days lying in a crib, unable to move or do anything. It is also possible that Wyatt has cystic fibrosis, and he is fed through a tube. This sweet boy just can't get a break!

Unfortunately, Wyatt lives in a facility that immediately transfers children who haven't been adopted when they turn four. Wyatt's birthday is in February, meaning he has just 8 short months before he is transferred to a mental institution where he will live out the remainder of his days in a crib. Considering Wyatt's medical difficulties, it it likely that Wyatt will not survive long if he is transferred.

Wyatt really, really needs a family. With proper medical care, love, and stimulation, who knows what this boy's potential is! Certainly it is more than lying in a bed, staring blankly at his surroundings. Wyatt is in desperate need of the love of a mother. Wyatt currently has an adoption grant of $3,815.00. He doesn't have a Guardian Angel, but he does have a dedicated warrior who is doing her best to bring Wyatt to the world's attention so that this precious child has a shot at a family. You can visit Wyatt's Warriors to read more about Wyatt and what his warrior is doing for him.

You can help Wyatt by donating to increase his grant fund, by sharing his photo and information, and by considering whether you are the family that can rescue Wyatt. Little Wyatt's situation truly is desperate, and he needs our help.

Please also visit my previous post about Andrew P., my sweet prayer warrior child. Andrew is still waiting for his family to find him!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting Wednesday: Lance, Steven, and Lucas

Hi there! I'd like to remind you that there are only three more days left in my June Fundraiser for Jack! If you haven't already donated, now would be a great time to do so! If you have already donated, thank you so much!

Today, for Waiting Wednesday, I was planning to bring you a trio of little boys who all live together and who are probably just about the most adorable little boys ever and who need families of their own: Lance, Steven, and Lucas. I was planning to do so, but I can't.

There is a family traveling to Lance, Steven, and Lucas' orphanage right now! I have updated information on all three boys, but I can't present them as a trio of waiting boys.

I can, however, introduce you to Lance. Lance turned 6 years old in May and is living with HIV. I'll let the mama who is in his country, at his orphanage right now, tell you about Lance.

This young man’s smile is a ray of sunshine.  His giggle is infectious.  He is a good helper at the children’s home with his teachers and fellow classmates.  He is the man of the house and takes responsibility for others without complaining.  He does not let his role go to his head and become arrogant and proud.  If he does get upset which is not often he can be easily redirected.  He plays very well with all the other classmates and listens to his teachers.  Whenever we see him we are greeted by him running to us with a BIG smile and a wave.  He showed very clear signs of attaching to a mother and a father.  He loves older children (teenagers) and just longs to belong to a family and have that attachment and affection.

We often see him at the fence at school when other kids his age and older passing by on the trail behind his play area in their karate uniforms and his whole world just stops as he stares and watches them run off with their instructors.  Just breaks your heart.  This young man I believe would flourish in a loving family and would bring so much joy and laughter into it!
The school staff stated that he is a very good boy and does not cause trouble and they are very proud of him because he is such a BIG helper with the little ones.

Doesn't Lance sound amazing? What a fantastic son and brother he would make! Lance currently has $104.80 in his adoption fund, but he has no Guardian Angel. We are hoping that the new information and increased visibility of Lance, due to the efforts of the family who is currently at his orphanage, will quickly result in a family for him! You can help Lance by donating to increase his grant fund and sharing his photos and information as well as considering whether Lance has a place in your family.

I can also introduce you to Steven. Steven just turned five at the end of May, and he lives with Lance. He is also HIV+, and Steven has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It has been stated that the orphanage these boys live at is well run, the children are well cared for, and the staff is very good. Which is great, but no orphanage, no matter how well run, no matter how loving the caregivers, is a family. Once again, I will let the mom who is visiting tell you about Steven.

This little man makes me weak in the knees! This is Steven. Oh how I adore him and want to bring him home and just love and protect him! I cannot say enough wonderful things about this young man. He truly is a little man of character. He sees the needs of others before they do. We walked past a swing that was swinging when he was holding my hand, he knew there were other little ones behind us and he stopped the swing so it didn't hit the others. We go to his children's home early in the morning so I bring my coffee. Gotts have my coffee! The kids light up when they see coffee! LOL! Anyhow my coffee cup was empty but the little ones in his group saw my coffee cup and he ran to my cup first and gave it to me in order to make sure they did not get it when he saw they spotted the cup. Taylor lost her hair ribbon on two occasions and he ran and brought her bow back to her while the others stepped on it. He wants a Mama and Papa so badly. He calls Joe and I Mama and Papa and he lights up when he sees us. Oh how I want to bring him home. Not sure if we are being called to but I do know this this little boy wants and needs a family to love him that he will love back with everything he is. His heart is on his sleeve to serve others. Oh how he deserves the love of a father and mother!

Quite a ringing endorsement of sweet Steven!

Steven does have a Guardian Angel, and he has $112.50 in his adoption grant fund. You can help Steven by donating to increase his grant fund, sharing his photos and information, and considering whether Steven could be your son.

Both Lance and Steven are available for adoption by older parents as well as younger and by larger families as well as smaller. Fees are approximately $25,000 and the adoption can be accomplished in as few as 7 months!

And what of Lucas, the third little boy, the third amazing, wonderful little boy I planned to introduce to you today? Well, I will introduce you to him anyway. 

Isn't he beautiful? Lucas turned five in February and lives, for now, with Lance and Steven. He won't for long, though, because just yesterday, a family committed to to Lucas! Lucas is going to be adopted and raised in his forever family! He will not be left to grow up in an orphanage. Hurray for Lucas!

Please take a moment to re-read my post about Isaac, another HIV+ child who is around the same age as Lance, Steven, and Lucas and who still waits for a family.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Follow-Up to Why I Do What I Do, or FIVE Kids in ONE Day!

You may remember my post about Why I Do What I Do. That was not a fun post to write, and I know it's no fun to read. But it's important to know what the situation is for these orphan children, these most-neglected kids who need our help the most. Even when the news is sad, bad, and depressing, it's important not to turn away. I do what I do because these kids need their stories known.

However ... there is a corollary to why I do what I do ... and right now is a perfect example. As I mentioned in my first post of the day, yesterday, five Reece's Rainbow kids were found by their forever families! Five kids in one day. Five kids in two hours!!

This is why I, and countless other orphan advocates, do what we do. Because we know it makes a difference. Because five kids in two hours is the difference.

Please meet ...





and Beacan!

Congratulations from TWOB to all these beautiful children and their families! Thanks for visiting, and thanks for your support of orphaned boys worldwide!

Teamwork Tuesday: Alexander

I have a bunch of good news today!

First, we are 63% of the way to our goal of $500 in the June Fundraiser for Jack! Even better, Jack's adoption grant fund is now just $70.20 from reaching $7000! That's 21% of the entire cost of his adoption! That's a HUGE grant! Thanks for all your help in making it happen!

Second, Kody has been found by his forever family! You may remember from my post that Reece's Rainbow had Kody's file for only a short amount of time, and many people were pulling for Kody to be found before his file had to be returned to the authorities in his country. Kody is one of an incredible FIVE kids from his country whose families found them yesterday ... five kids in a span of two hours! This is what keeps me going when things seem grim ... there is always HOPE!

And third, Harding from my recent post vanished from Reece's Rainbow. I was concerned, so I inquired about it. It turns out that Harding has been taken into foster care in his home country! Not only is he out of the orphanage, but also there is a chance his foster family could adopt him! This is huge in a culture where adoption and fostering are not as accepted or common as they are in the United States. Slowly, barriers are being broken down.

Now we just need to find that family for Jack!

Teamwork Tuesday is a communal effort by many bloggers to bring attention to a specific child every Tuesday. All Teamwork Tuesday bloggers advocate for the same child on Tuesdays in hopes that increased exposure for that child will help in finding a family.

Today's Teamwork Tuesday child is Alexander! Alexander turned ten years old in April. Doesn't have have just the sweetest smile and the happiest expression? Unfortunately, Alexander's life is not so happy. Not only does he reside in an Eastern European orphanage without a family to love him, but also he suffers from a brain tumor that has caused damage to his vision. It is unlikely that Alexander will survive in his home country, but his chances may be better were he adopted and brought to a country where his tumor could be treated.

Alexander is described as happy, cheerful, and sociable, as well as very lovable and very smart. He loves dancing and one-on-one attention, and he has sensitive feelings. This little boy is concerned about others and is outgoing. He loves to sing songs and recite poems. Interested families would be able to see more photos and even a video of Alexander.

Alexander is available to married couples and single mothers and older parents as well as younger. Unfortunately, Alexander's region requires four trips. This little boy is running out of time. His family needs to find him quickly. Alexander has an adoption grant of $131.00. You can help Alexander by donating to increase his grant fund, sharing his photo and information, and considering whether Alexander has a place in your family. Alexander deserves all the love a family can give!

Please take a moment to revisit my post about Quinten, who is still waiting for a family.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Monday Miracle: Porter and the Lost Boys of Orphanage 47

Hello, friends. Today is the beginning of the last week of my June Fundraiser for Jack. We are 56% of the way to our goal of raising $500 for Jack's adoption grant fund. Please help me make this last week HUGE by helping us reach our goal! Reaching $500 will put Jack's adoption grant over the $7000 mark! We can do this! I'm asking for your help in publicizing this fundraiser. Please share the link on your blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account. If you let me know you've done so, you'll be added to our giveaway!

Today I would like to introduce you to Porter and the other boys of Orphanage 47. The boys of Orphanage 47 are known as the Lost Boys.

Orphanage 47 is an Eastern European mental institution for boys aged 6-18. It is underfunded, very remote, and until recently, completely closed. Children were not adopted from Orphanage 47. Aid groups were not permitted to enter Orphanage 47. Boys who went to Orphanage 47 never left until, at the age of 18, they were transferred again to another mental institution, this one for adults. Going to Orphanage 47 was the end of the road for these boys. Gone forever were their chances of adoption. These boys, the Lost Boys, were lost forever.

Thanks to the amazing efforts of two tireless and pioneering families, two children have been adopted from Orphanage 47. Slowly, very slowly, Orphanage 47 is opening to the outside world and to aid groups who wish to make a difference for the Lost Boys.

Unfortunately, the changes at Orphanage 47 are happening slowly, and, in the meantime, more boys are becoming Lost Boys. This recently happened to Porter.

Porter will turn 7 years old in August. He is living with HIV, and his (not recently updated) medical information states that he has a delay of psychomotor and speech development. Until he was transferred to Orphanage 47, Porter lived in a baby house where he received care and stimulation that are so crucial to the development of a child. Now, he resides in a place where the children do little to nothing other than sit. They sit in their room, they sit in a stifling outdoor shed, they sit in a snack building. They sit, all day, every day. The overwhelmed caretakers are responsible for almost 2 dozen boys each. Although many attempt to show the boys some affection, they are simply overwhelmed by the numbers and the boys don't get anything close to what they need to develop appropriately.

Porter is in grey.

Although an orphanage is not a home, before Porter was transferred and became a Lost Boy, he lived in a place that was much, much better. A family saw Porter in February and took video of him. The family reports he did not seem obviously delayed. This is what his life was like then (Porter is in the grey shirt):

Did you see how happily Porter is dancing? Do you understand how much children need this kind of activity and stimulation? Can you imagine this joyous, dancing little boy doing nothing, all day long, but sitting? Can you imagine your seven year old boy doing nothing but sitting, receiving little to no verbal or physical contact? Porter is not playing soccer or baseball. He is not learning to read. He is not creating art. He is not going swimming. He is not cuddling with his mommy. Porter is sitting, and, unless he is adopted, he will continue to sit for the next 11 years, at which time he will be transferred from Orphanage 47 to an adult mental institution, where he will sit for the rest of his life.

There are over 100 Lost Boys at Orphanage 47. For most of them, adoption is not a possibility. There are only three boys at Orphanage 47 who are listed for adoption. I don't know why these boys are the only ones listed, but I do know that, among some of the unluckiest little boys in the world, these three have at least a small nugget of luck. The orphanage director has agreed to allow them to be listed for adoption. Their photos and descriptions are visible on Reece's Rainbow. There are people advocating for these three Lost Boys, hoping beyond hope that these children escape the fate they were consigned to when they were transferred to Orphanage 47.

The other two little boys are Heath and Hanson. Heath has been a Lost Boy for many years. If you click through to his Reece's Rainbow profile, you will find links to the blog of a family who adopted the very first child ever from Orphanage 47. They speak of Heath and the desperateness of his situation. Neither Heath nor Hanson have Guardian Angels, and they very, very urgently need them. Heath has an adoption grant of nearly $10,000. Hanson's is $2,300. These boys, and Porter, are truly some of the neediest boys in the world.

Heath - 11 years old

Hanson - almost 7
Porter before he became a Lost Boy

Porter has a grant of $2050.60. Porter needs a family. Porter needs a family desperately. Porter needs the world to stand up and shout about him, the situation he is in at Orphanage 47, and the plight of the other boys who live there. No child should be consigned to a life devoid of even the most basic stimulation and human interaction. I urge you to please read the blog links I have provided. They will do a better job than I can of helping you to understand how bleak these children's lives are. It is not easy reading, but it is not something we can turn a blind eye to and ignore. These boys need our help. Please donate to increase their grant funds. Please consider becoming a Guardian Angel to Heath or Hanson. Please share these boys' photos as far and wide as you can. Please consider adopting one of them. Their futures are literally in the hands of those who advocate for them. Without advocacy, they will never escape being Lost Boys.

Today is part of a Blog Blitz about Porter and the other boys at Orphanage 47. Many bloggers are coming together to highlight these children in the hopes that their heightened visibility will find them families. You can read other Blog Blitz entries at the following links:

Please take a moment to revisit my post about Kurt, the very first Monday Miracle post I made. Kurt is still waiting.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Forever Friday: ISO Matching Grant!

This is Jack.

So is this.

And so is this.

This is the boy who has stolen my heart. This is the boy who has kept me awake at night. This is the boy over whom I have cried on more occasions than I care to mention. This is the boy who has caused my husband and I to search our souls and finances, seeking any shred of ability to adopt him and bring him into our family. We simply can't see a way to make it happen. This is Jack, who is still a waiting child.

In the two months that I have known about Jack and been his Guardian Angel, two families have attempted to commit to him. One family encountered unexpected, severe health problems that disqualified them to adopt. The other family discovered the joyous news that they are pregnant; unfortunately, pregnancy also disqualifies them.

Jack is, as one person on the Reece's Rainbow group put it, a "popular" orphan. Lots of people know about him. Lots of people talk about him. Lots of people love him. But as of yet, his family remains unknown. I wholeheartedly believe that Jack has a family out there. As I have mentioned before, bringing families together through adoption requires two things: knowledge and money. First, a family has to know that their child is out there. Second, they have to have the financial ability to complete the adoption.

My blog, and the efforts of Reece's Rainbow, are an attempt to address both conditions: awareness and financial barriers. My hope is that through my advocacy, and that of many other people who "know" and love Jack, his family will find him. I also am hopeful that, through the work of Reece's Rainbow and my own fundraising, when Jack's family finds him, they will not be hindered from completing the adoption by finances. As you may know, I am currently running my June Fundraiser for Jack. Please feel free to stop by and lend a hand. I am also, however, seeking a matching grant for Jack's fund.

Here is how it would work: Any interested person or organization who desired to could pledge to commit a certain amount of money to match any donations made to Jack's grant fund. For example, someone could pledge $100 as a matching grant. Every dollar given by other donors (up to $100) is matched, turning that $100 into $200! Matching grants are one of the quickest ways to increase a child's grant fund.

So ... if you or anyone you know would be interested in providing a matching grant, please email me via the Contact Me button on the right sidebar of my blog. No amount is too small. Every penny helps. Jack is still a waiting child, and he needs your help to find his forever family as quickly as possibly! Jack desperately wants a family; he asks adopting families and visitors to the orphanage whether they know anyone who would want a boy like him and whether his mother is out there, looking for him. Please help make this young boy's dream come true!

Beautiful Boy!

Also, please take a moment to revisit my post about Tim. Tim is still waiting.

Tim is 12 years old.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Waiting Wednesday: Daniel and Thankful Thursday: Colin

Once again I offer you a two-fer! 

Please remember to check out my June Fundraiser for Jack! We have reached slightly more than half our goal. Jack is still a waiting child, and every penny helps him to be found and reach his family sooner!

Also, you should check out this family's "iPad" or "Your Choice" Giveaway with FREE Gifts! This family is in the process to bring home a little girl and is hoping also to be able to commit to a second child, a child who has already been institutionalized. The proceeds from this fundraiser will be used for the second child's facilitation fee, and the family has recently been offered a $1,000 matching grant!

Now on to our boys!

This little sweetie is Daniel. Daniel turned seven last month. He is living with HIV. A missionary who visited the orphanage in March of 2010 reported that Daniel is a lot of fun and described him as inquisitive and curious. Daniel has lots of energy and apparently enjoys jumping on the couch! (Remember, he was four when that was reported!)  The missionary said Daniel is a very sweet little boy. An update from the fall of 2011 reports that Daniel is "wonderful" and wants to be adopted!

Can't you see Daniel riding his bike down your sidewalk, or diving into the pool in his Spiderman swim trunks, or taking his turn at bat on his Little League team? Daniel has a large grant of $2500. He is available for adoption to large families as well as small and to married couples, younger or older! His region requires two trips, and total fees are approximately $25,000. Daniel's adoption could be completed in as few as seven months! 

You can help Daniel by donating to increase his grant fund, by sharing his photos and information, and by considering whether Daniel has a place in your family. You can also become Daniel's Guardian Angel and commit to helping raise funds for his adoption grant and to helping find him a family!

And now, for Thankful Thursday, I would like to relate a conversation that my own sweet boy had with his friend yesterday while we were at the cinema waiting for The Pirates: Band of Misfits to begin. My son and his friend chose to sit in the very last row, all by themselves. I overheard them talking.

Son: We're so rich we reserved these great seats at the theater! I love the rich life!
Friend: Yeah, we can do anything we want.
Son: But we'll still donate money to charities, right?
Friend: Yeah, 'cause that's what rich people do!

We are by no means rich, but I love that my son and his friend recognize the importance of doing for others. Unfortunately, sometimes doing what is needed requires money, which is why I am asking for donations to Jack's adoption grant and to the grants of all the other amazing, wonderful boys I showcase here at TWOB. It can sometimes feel like the need is so overwhelming that nothing can be done and no one person can be effective. But working together, friends, we can make a difference for these children! And for many of them, we are the only ones who can! Many of these children have no voice of their own and no one speaking for them. My oldest daughter asked me the other day, after reading through some entries on my blog, "Why do you do this, Mom? It's so sad. I couldn't do it." (Keep in mind that this child was adopted from an overseas orphanage.) I told her, "I do it because someone has to." I'm not rich. I can't fund these children myself. But I can write and speak about them and encourage others to take an interest in these children. That's my skill. That's what I can do now, and I appreciate that you have stopped by to read about these children and consider how you can help them.

This blue-eyed young man is Colin. He was born on my sister's birthday and will be turning 10 this year. Colin has cerebral palsy that affects his legs, and at this time he is unable to walk on his own. With therapy, however, it is possible that he could! Colin has no other health issues besides CP. 

Colin's situation is critical because he has already been transferred to an adult mental institution. It is reported that, as is to be expected, Colin's mental development has regressed due to lack of stimulation, care, and interaction with others. He is not receiving proper medical care or nourishment. Colin will mostly likely remain bedridden for life if he is not adopted.

Due to the fact that Colin no longer resides in an orphanage, a family seeking to adopt him should be homestudy-ready before committing to him. Colin lives in a region with fees of approximately $25,000, and he is available to married couples, young or old, with small or large families. Two trips are required to complete Colin's adoption, and he could be home in as few as seven months!

Colin does not have a Guardian Angel, and he desperately needs someone to advocate on his behalf. Could this be you? Please donate to increase Colin's adoption fund, which currently stands at $30. Please share Colin's photo and information. Please consider whether Colin has a place in your family. No child should have to spend the rest of his life confined to a bed in a place where those considered "defective" are hidden away from society.

And starting today, I will be closing every post with a reminder of another boy I have already profiled who is still waiting. If you missed reading about Chad, please do so now. Time is running out for Chad!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday Miracle: George and Teamwork Tuesday: Dmitry (+ Raising a Child with HIV)

Hello, friends! I missed my regularly scheduled Monday Miracle post yesterday because my mother-in-law and niece are visiting and we had a busy, busy day. So today I offer you a two-fer: Monday Miracle and Teamwork Tuesday with only one click of the mouse!

First I would like to mention that my June Fundraiser for Jack is still going on! We are 40% of the way to our goal! Please join with us to reach our goal of $500 for Jack's adoption grant!

This is particularly pressing because the second family that planned to commit to Jack has been unable to do so. Jack is still a waiting child with no committed family! Every penny that we can raise, together, for Jack increases his chances of being found and joining his family as quickly as possible!

I also have some very good news to share. First, Brady Murray, who was attempting to qualify for the Kona Ironman World Championship to raise awareness for orphans with Down Syndrome has done it! Brady will race in Hawaii in October for Reece's Rainbow!

Also, I was able to win two $20 donations to Reece's Rainbow waiting children through a Facebook contest. I chose to have these donations given to Marcus and Andrew. Please keep these beautiful and very special children in your thoughts and prayers.

And also, I submitted Kody's name to a drawing to determine which Reece's Rainbow child would be the beneficiary of a Scentsy party that began on June 15th. And Kody's name was drawn! Twenty percent of your purchase will be donated to Kody's adoption grant. I encourage you to visit!

Now, on to our Monday Miracle!

This handsome young man is George. George is nine years old and living with HIV. Doesn't he look like a thoughtful, intelligent boy? What a little cutie pie! There is not much information available about George, but if you contact Reece's Rainbow there are more photos available. George is available for adoption to large families and is in a region that requires just two trips. Total adoption costs are approximately $25,000, and the adoption can be completed in as few as 7 months! 

Many people are still discouraged by the idea of adopting a child with HIV. Some do not know that HIV is now considered a chronic, manageable illness and no longer a "death sentence." Daily medication and quarterly trips to the pediatric infectious disease doctor are the only ways in which caring for our HIV+ child is different than caring for our other children. (And we have a child with asthma, as well, so our HIV+ child is not even the only child taking medication. And my husband takes asthma medication as well!) 

Some people do not know that there is no risk of transmission of HIV in a normal household environment. As long as you follow universal precautions (which are, as the name implies, universal and not specific to HIV), you are safe. We don't use our HIV+ child's toothbrush or razor but other than that, we don't behave any differently with regard to interacting with our child.  

Some people believe that their child or family will be stigmatized by HIV. We have found that our family and friends are very supportive. We have never encountered a serious incident of discrimination, and our family and friends are not afraid of our child with HIV. Our child hold babies, plays with children, spends the night with friends, prepares food, plays sports, and does all the things that children not living with HIV do. We are fairly open about our child's status, and we have found that most people are fairly well educated.

We have found that HIV does not have a huge impact on our lives. We discuss HIV and its implications for adulthood with our children. We deal with some HIV-related issues in the areas of health, learning, and emotional impact, but for the most part our lives are very normal. I am always willing to discuss our experiences with both HIV and older child adoption. Please contact me through the Email Me link in the right sidebar of my blog should you have any questions.

George has $65 in his adoption grant. George needs your help! Please donate to increase George's adoption grant. Larger adoption grants help these children find their families. Please share George's photo and information, and please consider becoming George's Guardian Angel so you can advocate for him. And please consider whether George has a place in your family.

And now on to Teamwork Tuesday!

Isn't he lovely? This wonderful little guy is Dmitry. Dmitry will be 8 years old in November. He has Down syndrome and is described as quiet and affectionate. He enjoys interacting with both children and adults. He likes and participates in his classes. He is considered to be high functioning and is doing well.  Dmitry is available for adoption to older parents and single mothers as well as married couples and younger parents. His region requires three trips and total fees are approximately $30,000.

Dmitry currently does not have an adoption grant because Reece's Rainbow is awaiting further medical information for him. But you can still help Dmitry by sharing his information and considering whether he has a place in your family.

And finally, as an extra special treat for my Wonder of Boys friends, I leave you with this photo of the child who has captured my heart. He loves bugs, just like my daughter does. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Forever Friday: Alec (plus the FIRSTS of older child adoption)

Today is June 15th. We are halfway through June, but we are only 30% of the way to our goal of $500 for the June Fundraiser for Jack. If you haven't already checked it out, please do so. If you haven't donated yet, please consider donating today. We have some wonderful prizes available, and every penny you donate helps Jack reach his family as soon as possible!

I have a day off today. My oldest is at her internship at the local university's medical school. My middle kid is visiting Grandma in another state, and this morning I dropped off my son with my dad for a two-night sleepover. What a luxury to have a day to myself! My thoughts, however, are never far from the children who are growing up without families to love them and grandparents who give them special times. Children like ...

Alec! Alec is seven years old this year. He is described as a friendly boy who is active and inquisitive. He likes to play with older children and is interested in many things. Alec always wants to learn about something new. Like my own son, Alec is more interested in real-world items than in toys. He likes to be read to and listens with interest and appreciation. He responds emotionally to stories and tales. Alec is HIV+ and, like my own son, he has motor and speech delays. But none of these are insurmountable issues! HIV is treated with daily medication and quarterly trips to an infectious disease doctor. Speech and motor issues can be improved or corrected with speech, physical, and occupational therapy. 

Alec has approximately $50 in his adoption fund. Alec is available for adoption by married couples who are no more than 45 years older than he is. There is no restriction on family size.

Alec needs your help to find his forever family! He has several strikes against him. He is older. He is a boy. And he has health issues. Boys like Alec are frequently overlooked. But they can make such wonderful additions to a family! I have heard before that, by adopting an older child, you miss out on so many firsts: first smile, first step, first word. But I have to say, having adopted two older kids, that I find this not only to be untrue, but I find the exact opposite to be true! With older kids, there are so many more firsts. Your baby or young child does not remember his first trip to the grocery store, or the swimming pool, or the library. These are routine events in the life of a baby or young child raised in a family. But many older kids adopted from orphanages have never experienced these things. Almost every outing in those first weeks and months is a new experience, a first. And these older kids are old enough to talk about these things with you! Even with limited English, these children can convey their delight and wonder at all their new experiences. I have thoroughly enjoyed introducing my two older adopted kids to all the things life in a family has to offer. I don't feel like I missed out on their lives. I feel like I got to experience so many new things with them!

One of the first English words my son learned was "water tower." He pronounced it "wah-too-tow-uh." He was so excited to show off his new word, and every time we saw a water tower, he would shout, "Momma! Momma! Wah-too-tow-uh!" He would continue to shout, "Wah-too-tow-uh!" until I acknowledged him with a, "Yes, son, I see the water tower!" Eventually he was not satisfied with just my acknowledgement, and he would point out the water tower to every person in the vehicle and require that they acknowledge him, as well. It was a red-letter day in my son's life when we passed a pair of water towers. "Momma! Momma! TWO wah-too-tow-uh!" He could barely contain his excitement.

There are two things that I will always remember about my daughter's introduction to life in America. The first is her fascination with the faucet in the kitchen. It has a button to press to change the flow of water from running normally to spraying. She used to stand at the sink and change the water to spray and back again, over and over and over. The day that I grabbed the faucet and pulled out the detachable sprayer to clean out a pan, she was astonished. "Water come out!" she exclaimed.

Also, when I arrived home from Ethiopia with my daughter (my husband had stayed home with the other two kids), my husband took two weeks off from work to help get his new daughter settled into the family. We took a few car trips during that time, and my husband always drove. A few days after my husband went back to work, I took the kids somewhere in the car. As I climbed into the drivers seat, my daughter, who had already gotten into her seat and buckled in, unbuckled, got out, came around to my side of the car, and asked, incredulously, "Momma drive??" When I assured her that yes, I drove, and was, in fact, quite proficient at it, a look of sheer admiration came over her face and she repeated, "Momma drive!" with visible approval. I think the fact that "Momma drive" went a long way in cementing her approval of me.

Alec deserves the chance to experience these kinds of firsts with his family. Please donate to increase Alec's adoption fund. Please share his photo and information with those you know. Please consider becoming Alec's Guardian Angel, and please consider whether Alec has a place in your family. This little boy has a whole life of potential ahead of him!