Monday, October 29, 2012

Good News Keeps Coming!

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 jacks12birthday@gmail.com), 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.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fundraising Updates

Hello, and thanks for visiting! Today I would like to update you on the status of fundraising for my boys.


Jack's birthday fundraiser is still going on. For a mere $5, you can submit a photo of you, your children, or your pet holding a sign that says "I (or We) Helped Bring Jack Home!" The goal of this month's fundraiser, which coincides with Jack's birthday, is $280, which will pay for Jack's visa and passport. I'm very excited about this fundraiser, because the finished product will be a video collage for Jack of all the people who loved him from afar and helped him get to his family! So far we have raised $225. We have many slots left in the video, so please make a donation and send in your photo!


Elliot's matching grant was a success! When Elliot was listed on Reece's Rainbow one week ago today (!), his grant fund had $0 in it. The host of the amazing blog Zero the Zeros keeps a running list of all the children on Reece's Rainbow who are older than 6 and have zero in the grants. She has rolling goals to help each child get $50 and then $100 in his or her grant. Both she and I wanted to keep Elliot off the Zeros list forever, so we offered a $50 matching grant for Elliot. Not only was it met, but it was exceeded in just two days! Elliot's grant now stands at $153. Small, yes, but NOT ZERO! Elliot also has some money in the Project Hopeful grant fund I set up for him. I will keep plugging away to get this sweet boy a large grant and a home! By the way, I encourage you to stop by Zero the Zeros and become a Zero Hero. Zero the Zeros is the most unique and effective blog concept I have ever seen, and the host works tirelessly for her kids! Jason was my Hero kid, and now that he's over the $100 wall I will be picking a new child to be a Hero for.


Jason. Sweet Jason. I couldn't fall asleep last night for worrying about him. This little guy is in such need of love and therapy and a family. It chills me to think what his life will be like if we don't get him out of the institution. Unfortunately, even with my shouting for him, Jason is frequently overlooked. His grant fund is small ($151.70), and I seem to be the only one putting money in it on a regular basis. I'm trying to think of ideas to get Jason's face in front of more people. Surely a larger grant fund would mean a greater likelihood of Jason being adopted. Two children from his institution have already been adopted this year!

Alix
Sasha













Several more children from the institution are available for adoption. Nothing would thrill me more than for Jason to get a family.

You may remember that I have a standing offer of a $5 Amazon gift card for any donation of $10 or more to Jason's grant fund. Unfortunately, no one has taken me up on that offer. So here is my challenge: If five people donate just $10 each to Jason's fund, he will be over $200. I would LOVE to give away five $5 Amazon gift cards by Halloween. So please, donate to Jason's fund and then send me an email through the Contact Me button on the right sidebar of my blog, or comment here, and I will happily send you your $5 gift card!

Stay tuned to TWOB for more updates on Kalinovka and Elliot as well as many other boys who need your help. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your support of orphaned boys worldwide.



Monday, October 8, 2012

This Just In!



!FIFTY DOLLAR MATCHING GRANT FOR ELLIOT!

Donate to Elliot's grant fund between now and October 31st and all donations up to $50 will be matched! This is an effort to keep Elliot off the Zeroes list forever!

Thanks to the kind host of Zero the Zeroes for her help with this grant!

The Boys of My Heart



You know these boys. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I'm out to make sure that you don't forget them.

If you are new to my blog, let me quickly introduce my boys. Jack, on the left, turns 12 this month. Fate has smiled on Jack; he has a family coming for him. In the middle we have the boy to whom I have referred as "the brown-eyed thief of my heart." This is a boy of many aliases -- he has been known as Denis, Dennis, David, and Elliot. He is 10. On the right is 9-year-old Jason, hidden away in a remote institution and often overlooked.

These are the three boys who have stolen my heart just a little bit more than anyone else. These are the three for whom I won't rest until they are home. These are the boys of my heart.

I have some news about each of my boys today.


Jack's family is diligently saving and fundraising to reach their $40,000 adoption fee. In order to help out, I am currently running a fundraiser for the month of October, Jack's birthday month. For a donation of $5 (or more), you may submit a photo of your child, your pet, or yourself/your family holding a sign that says, "I Helped Bring Jack Home!" or "We Helped Bring Jack Home!" I'm very excited about this fundraiser because I will take all the pictures and set them to the song Three Little Birds by Bob Marley, and one day the little boy who believed he was all alone in an overseas orphanage will know that so many people cared about him all along.

You can donate to Jack's adoption grant here or through the link in the upper left sidebar of my blog. After you've done so, drop me a line through the Contact Me button in the right sidebar of my blog or at jacks12birthday@gmail.com and attach your picture. The goal of this fundraiser is $280, which will pay for Jack's visa and passport.


Denis has been listed with Reece's Rainbow! I told you that he is a young man of many aliases. Reece's Rainbow was gracious enough to allow me the opportunity to provide the alias for him, and I selected the name Elliot. When you click through to his Reece's Rainbow page, that is how you will see him listed. He's the same sweet boy I have been advocating for all the time, and now his visibility has increased substantially. I am thrilled for Elliot!

Additionally, Denis/Elliot/David was the subject of a recent front-page article at a leading Canadian website called Chick Advisor. The website has a readership of up to 3 million people, so millions more people have now seen my darling boy's face. Again, he as a different alias, but it's still the same amazing kid!

To avoid confusion, I will henceforth be referring to the child whom I called Denis as Elliot.


Jason remains Jason, but I have new photos and a video of Jason. Unfortunately, his grant fund remains disappointingly low. I have made a commitment to donate to it monthly, but between Jason, Elliot, and Jack, as well as the other charities to which I donate (which include Maya's Hope, AHOPE for Children, Tibet Aid, and Kiva), I am not able to substantially increase Jason's fund.



Beautiful Jason ... confined to a crib because he requires too much attention to be able to roam freely. So starved for attention that he has to bang and tap on his surroundings for stimulation. So deprived of stimulation that he hits himself and bangs his head on the crib bars to get it. Do you see the ugly bruise above Jason's right ear? It's self-inflicted. This poor sweet boy has bruises in pictures taken across a wide range of time.



A volunteer who met Jason had this to say about him: 

[Jason] is cognitively at a developmental age of between somewhere around 12 - 18 months. He therefore loves to explore things with his hands. Everything is new to him and when he taps it makes a wonderful noise; he also likes to flap things. Not having regular stimulation from humans or even objects has led to him finding his own ways to pass time. The two things he does most are tap the temples of his head with his fingers and knock his temples against his cot sides. From this he will a get certain amount of chemicals that the body produces which are addictive, it helps pass the time and he's done it so long that it's ingrained. Due to these behaviours and lack of care provision he is often found with his hands tied above his head so as reduce likelihood of injury. I'm not an expert but have quite a lot of experience. All he needs is for some one to have enough time to love him individually and not with all the other kids in the building. He would then soon find less damaging ways of exploring and passing the time.

Jason needs OUT of the crib. He needs OUT of the institution and INTO a family. Jason has waited years for the love of a mother and a father. In a family he could get the love, stimulation, and therapy that he needs, and he would flourish.

Please share Jason's photo, video, and information. You never know who is considering adoption, and you never know who will see a child's face and realize that they are looking at their own child.

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

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Jack! (+ a Birthday Fundraiser!)



HAPPBIRTHDAY JACK!

Jack was born this month. He turns 12. We don't know the exact date, so we will be celebrating all month!

In honor of Jack's birthday, I am rolling out a new fundraiser for the month of October! Hold on to your party hats because this one is going to be fun!



If you read Jack's original profile on Reece's Rainbow, you may remember that Jack feels that he is all alone. On his profile it stated 


Before he was about to transfer to the older child orphanage, he asked a visitor, "Do you know anyone who would like to take a boy like me? I would really like for a visitor at least, because I am all alone and have no one."

What a terrible way for a young boy to feel. What Jack doesn't know is that for nearly a year now, many, many people have been shouting about him, praying for him, fundraising for him, longing for him, and loving him. It doesn't help him feel less alone now, but one day Jack's parents will tell him about all the people who worked to bring him home and how he was never really completely alone.



And that's where this fundraiser comes in. It doesn't really have a snazzy name. I guess I could call it Jack's Birthday Gift because that's ultimately what it will be for him: a gift to show him, concretely and without mistake, how much he was loved and how many people wanted him to come home.



So here's the premise: For a minimum donation of $5 (but you can certainly donate as much as you want!) you may submit a photo of your child, your pet, or yourself/your family holding a sign that says "I Helped Bring Jack Home!" or "We Helped Bring Jack Home!" Be creative with the signs and make them as colorful and unique as you want, but please use the wording "I Helped Bring Jack Home!" or "We Helped Bring Jack Home!" I will take all of the pictures and create a video collage of them set to the song Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. This video will then be given to Jack's family to share with him when they feel the time is appropriate. It will be our gift to Jack to show him how many people cared about him.



The goal of this fundraiser is $280, which will pay for Jack's visa and passport.

You can donate to Jack's adoption grant here (scroll down to Jack's Family Found Him!) or here. You can send me your picture via the Contact Me button on the right sidebar of my blog.

You can visit Jack's family's blog to read about their progress toward bringing Jack home.

Thank you so much for your support of Jack's adoption!