Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meet Mitch!

Hello! Today I would like for you to meet Mitch!


This cutie boy will turn 10 in July! He has no mental delays and has mild cerebral palsy affecting his right side. Mitch can walk, and he very much wants to be adopted and have a family of his own.

This little guy captured my heart from the moment I saw his picture. First, I am always a sucker for the brown-eyed cuties! (My son has brown eyes!) Second, he is the same age as my son, who turned 10 this year. Third, my nephew's name is Mitchell (I know that Mitch is a pseudonym, but still ...). And lastly, one of my friends when I was young had cerebral palsy and a limp but still was able to play on my soccer team (and she was adopted, to boot!), so I have always been rooting for the kids with CP.

I wish that I had more information to share about Mitch, but not much information is given about him. I can guess, though, that he is like the many other older children residing in orphanages that I have met. He probably is reasonably content with where he lives, especially if it is all he has ever known. He probably enjoys playing with his friends and has a caregiver that he is especially close to. He probably doesn't spend too much time wondering about his future (he is only 9, after all). But he probably does think about what his family would be like if he had one; he probably does wish that he had a mom to tuck him in at night and come to him when he has a bad dream. Most likely, Mitch wants to know the love and security that kids feel only when they know they are truly home, that they belong to their parents and their parents belong to him. Even if Mitch has always lived in an orphanage, I'm betting that he knows, deep down, what he is missing. Humans are hard-wired to live in families, and even the best orphanage doesn't meet that need.

Mitch is a newly listed child, and he therefore only has $10 in his grant (can you guess who donated some of that money?). Jenny over at Zero the Zeros has him listed in the Baby Steps to $15 category. Mitch really needs a Zero the Zeros Hero to increase his grant. Can you be his hero?

Please share Mitch's photo and description. Please donate to increase his grant fund. Please consider whether Mitch has a spot in your family.

Thanks for visiting TWOB! Please keep our boys in your heart, your thoughts, and your prayers.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Celebration!

PUT ON YOUR PARTY HATS!


LIGHT YOUR FIREWORKS!




THROW YOUR CONFETTI IN THE AIR!


IT'S A PARTY!!


ELLIOT ON MFFM!!!!!

For those not in the know, this means that ...

ELLIOT HAS A FAMILY!!

CONGRATULATIONS TO ELLIOT AND HIS FAMILY FROM TWOB!



Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Beautiful Yegor

Welcome, friends! I'm glad you stopped by to check in!



Today I would like to introduce you to a beautiful little boy named Yegor.

Yegor is not listed on Reece's Rainbow, but he is available for adoption. He turns 11 this year.


Aren't his brown eyes just about to melt your heart? I have to admit that I am a sucker for the brown-eyed ones.

Unfortunately, life has not been very kind to Yegor. He resides in an institution where he spends most of his time bedridden. He is physically and mentally handicapped.

But oh ... that smile ...



Yegor is a heartbreaker if ever there was one!



Like many children who are confined to an institution, Yegor's difficulties are probably a combination of a congenital condition and neglect in the institution. Children who are confined to cribs do not progress. They are not talked to; they are not held; they are not given the physical, mental, and emotional stimulation they need to develop to their fullest potential.

But they can make great strides when they are adopted into a family and given the love, therapy, nutrition, education, and attention they need and deserve! Who knows what Yegor's potential is if he gets these things?

 I do know that, regardless of the bleakness of his circumstances, this is a child who responds to and benefits from love and attention. Just the simple act of touching his face elicits such a joyous response!

You can make a difference in Yegor's life! You can pray for him. You can help to sponsor the salary of a caregiver at the institution. You can share his photos and information. You can consider whether he has a place in your family!


Please don't forget that for a $10 donation to Jason's grant fund, you have the chance to receive a customized map necklace AND benefit and adopting family!

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Fundraiser for Jason!

Welcome, friends! I am very happy today to announce a fundraiser for Jason! But first, I would like to introduce you to a lovely family.



The Tanquarys are a beautiful family with six children. They are in process to adopt their seventh child, a four-year-old little girl from Eastern Europe named Katie. Katie has Down syndrome, as does the family's youngest child. Tosha, the mom, has come up with one of the neatest fundraisers I have ever seen. She hand-makes jewelry using maps from anywhere in the world. You can get a necklace with a map of the region your child is/was adopted from, the region where the child you advocate for resides, or anywhere else in the world that has special meaning to you. You can check out the wide variety of pieces that Tosha has made at their Etsy store. (Tosha also has crocheted items for sale.)



Several weeks ago, I received my necklace, which I ordered in honor of the children at Kalinovka. It is beautiful, made with love, constantly reminds me of the children who have captured my heart, and inspires many questions from people who see it. I have had the chance to talk to many people about Kalinovka, Reece's Rainbow, and the plight of orphaned children in Eastern Europe because of my necklace.


Jason is tied to the crib

Now, how is this related to my fundraiser for Jason? Well, Tosha has generously donated a necklace as a give-away item to benefit sweet Jason! If you win the give-away, Tosha will custom-make a necklace featuring any region of the world for you!

So here's what you need to do: Donate $10 (or more!) to Jason's grant fund. Leave me a comment or send me an email (you can use the contact me button on the right side of my blog) letting me know you donated. I will put your name on the list, and on March 19th, 3 weeks from today, the giveaway winner will be randomly selected. Additionally, a second lucky person will receive a $5 Amazon gift card! And lastly, although Tosha has offered to donate the necklace to help out sweet Jason, I will be covering the cost of the necklace and shipping as a donation to the Tanquary's FSP! Not only can you win a beautiful, unique necklace but also you can help out a family in the process of adopting!



Please watch this video for a better understanding of why it is so vital to get Jason out of the institution. This video was taken last week. Jason is clearly deteriorating. As he has become more mobile, he has been left tied in the crib more frequently. Jason can climb out of his crib, he can move about quickly, and this curious little boy gets into everything. There simply are not enough staff at the institution to look after him properly, so he is confined to the crib, where, out of boredom and frustration, he hits himself. So he is tied down. This sweet child, who turns 10 in April, endures this hellish existence every day. Please join me in increasing his grant fund so that his family can find him!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Please Don't Forget About Elliot!


Please don't forget about Elliot!


I worked hard to find out information about him!


He has a $6006.00 grant!!


There is a lot of information available about him from adoptive families who have met him and an aid program coordinator who has known him for 6 years!


Jack's mom met him when he was hosted in December! He may be available for summer hosting!




Please don't forget about Elliot!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meanwhile, Back at TWOB Central ...

Welcome, friends. Here's a catch-up post. I haven't blogged in about three weeks but that doesn't mean that I have not been thinking about the children and working on their behalf.



First I would like to remind you that Forty Days to Forever is happening right now! FDTF is a fundraiser with a goal of raising $20,000 for forty orphans. There are 40 giveaway prizes and forty days worth of chances to help! Please don't forget that sweet Jason will be featured on Wednesday, March 6th. My awesome cousin donated nearly $100 worth of prizes for this giveaway.




Chain-maille bracelets

Tie-dye onesies and toddler t-shirt

I have also been fielding inquiries from people asking me about boys they have seen on my blog. About some of the children I know quite a bit and about others very little, but I am always happy to share what I know and direct people elsewhere for more information if I can. If you have any questions about the boys on my blog or just want to chat about adoption, raising kids with HIV and other special needs, homeschooling, or anything else that's on your mind, please feel free to contact me (you can email me through the Contact Me button on the right sidebar of my blog). (Disclaimer: if you are a troll, I will delete your inquiry without responding.)

I have also been busy gathering information about boys available for adoption who are not listed with Reece's Rainbow. I am planning a series of posts about these children in the near future. I have a heart for a certain country and a certain region of that country, and I would like to help shine a light into that area in the hope of alerting prospective families to the many precious children waiting there.

On the more personal side of things, the kids' hockey has been very busy recently. I must admit that every time I watch my son play, I am astounded. Here is a kid with a host of medical, developmental, and post-institutional issues who, frankly, becomes a prodigy on the ice. He has already been (unsuccessfully) scouted by two travel teams, both of which offered him spots on the team without even having to try out. To watch a child who struggles immensely with fine-motor coordination, who can barely write and who has only recently learned to buckle a belt, a child who still steals and hoards food, a child who continues to struggle with impulse control issues and the emotional impact of international adoption, who has endured several surgeries, ongoing medical treatment, and continuing speech and language issues, a child for whom no day in life ever comes easily ... to watch that child turn into a well-oiled machine who amazes anyone who watches him just by stepping onto the ice is one of the greatest rewards not just of adopting, and not just of being a parent, but of my entire life.

                           

Something wonderful happened today! Years ago I made an online friend via a parenting website. We were in contact for quite some time, but then life got in the way, we both became busier, and we fell out of touch. Today I got a message from this friend, Kim, who saw me post on the Reece's Rainbow Facebook page. It turns out that Kim and her family are adopting not just one but TWO precious children listed on Reece's Rainbow: Nellie and Fredrick! If you are interested in reading about their journey, you can head on over to their blog. I'm so excited to find out this wonderful news. It really gave me a lift today!

       


And I've saved the best for last. I am thrilled to announce that I will be traveling to Ukraine this summer to volunteer for three weeks at Kalinovka, the institution depicted in the documentary Ukraine's Forgotten Children! The dates are picked, the tickets are purchased ... now I am just counting down the days until I am with the precious cutie pies who are in such great need of love. I will be there during my 39th birthday, and I honestly can't think of a more meaningful way to celebrate than to be with these children who are among the world's most forsaken.
  

       


Within the next several weeks I will be letting you know of some ways in which you can assist the children of Kalinovka. For now your continued thoughts and prayers for these precious blessings are appreciated.

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


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Forty Days to Forever!

Hello, friends! Thanks for stopping by! Today I will introduce you to a unique fundraiser that will benefit not just one or two but forty (that's right, FORTY) orphaned children!



You may have noticed this button that has been in the top right sidebar of my blog for a few weeks now. If you click on it, you will be taken to the Forty Days to Forever website.

The premise of that fundraiser is that one waiting child or adopting family will be featured every day for each of the forty days of Lent. Each day, you will have the opportunity to read about the child or family and enter to win the giveaway, which has not just one prize but forty ... + a mystery grand prize that will be revealed on February 13th!



The fundraiser will benefit a little girl named Lina who lives in an Eastern European orphanage. Lina has severe medical needs and is not faring well in the orphanage. A family that has a particular interest in Lina's welfare but which cannot adopt her now has organized the Forty Days to Forever fundraiser to help raise money for Lina's adoption grant and to spread the word about her in hopes of finding her a family.



The fundraiser will also benefit this boy, who, if you have visited my blog before, you will recognize as Jason! Despite my advocating for him, Jason's grant has remained small. But this fundraiser is an opportunity to raise $400 or more for Jason's grant! Sweet Jason, isolated in a "laying down room" in a remote corner of the world ... every penny helps bring him closer to a family!

The fundraiser will also benefit 39 other children and families whom you can read about by visiting the Forty Days to Forever website.

Every day for forty days, a waiting child or adoptive family will be featured along with a giveaway prize for that day. To enter the giveaway, you need to donate to two children: Lina, the guest of honor, and the child being featured that day. Twenty percent of your donation must go to Lina to be entered into the giveaway. For example, if you donate $20, $4 of that must go to Lina and the other $16 to the day's featured child. You will then need to email the Forty Days to Forever website with your donation receipt to be entered into the drawing. All donations will be made via Reece's Rainbow grant pages and are tax-deductible.

Sound confusing? You can check out the FAQ page to read more about it. The main thing to remember is that your donation will help not only Lina but also the day's featured child; you can come back every day and donate if you like, and every donation enters you into that day's giveaway AND the grand prize drawing.



Jason will be the featured child on Wednesday, March 6th. Please visit the Forty Days to Forever website that day to make a donation to Jason and be entered into the drawings! You can also donate to Jason at any time during the 40 days to be entered into the grand prize drawing. Just remember to earmark 20% of your donation for Lina.

If you celebrate Lent as a part of your religious tradition, you can go here to read about the Lenten Journey component of the fundraiser. You can read here about other ways to help the fundraiser.




Please join with me to help not just Lina and Jason but the many waiting children who will be featured during the Lenten season!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Sharin' Darren Giveaway!

Welcome, friends! Today I would like to alert you to an opportunity to help a little boy in great need as well as possibly win a great prize!


Darren is a little boy who is just five years old. He has lived in a baby house where he has been taken care of well, but because he turned five, his time was up. It was time for transfer to an institution.


Because several people who had met Darren cared a lot about him, they director of the baby house was persuaded to allow Darren to remain for another six months. The clock is ticking. He now has just over five months to remain in the baby house before he is sent away.


Darren is "significantly delayed" in his cognitive and physical development. However, TeamWorks Ukraine, a group of physical, speech, and occupational therapists, has visited Darren's orphanage and worked with him. One of the therapists reports:

This little boy was one of the first children I held in my arms on my first TEAMWorks trip to Ukraine in 2010. Since then, we have watched him grow and change, and become stronger, take steps in a walker, sit contentedly in a chair, reach for toys, and make sounds.

Darren has great potential for progress!


Another therapist who is also an adoptive parent has this to say about Darren:

He is gentle with others. When he is upset or overwhelmed, he often does 'self-stim' movements such as hand writhing or vocalizations. He listens and follows very basic directions from his caregivers. I have also observed him to be content to sit still and people watch as well as engage in quiet, exploratory play on their small jungle gym. He walks with just a little bit of help.

I have noted a developmental delay in all areas which is a natural occurrence with a child who has either congenital or environmental trauma to his central nervous system and has been institutionalized.

Darren is affectionate. He would love to have a mother and a father. I'm sure he would also adore any siblings from what I saw of his interaction with others in his room.


As you can see from this picture, Darren is both affectionate and compassionate. He used the rails of the playpen to help him walk over to this child and gently pat her head and stroke her back.

But Darren's time is running out. He needs a family to come for him before he is transferred. He needs a family to come for him before he winds up in a place where his potential for a loving, happy life is forever blighted.


And that is where the Sharin' Darren Giveaway comes in! A Facebook page has been created in hopes of bringing attention to this small boy whose need is so great. In order to qualify to win the $100 prepaid MasterCard, you need to do one or more of the following:

~Share this page, Darren's Reece's Rainbow profile (http://reecesrainbow.org/439/darren405) or someone else's blog post about him via social media and comment here to receive one entry
~Blog about Darren yourself and comment here and receive 5 entries
~Be creative and find some other way to share Darren's story, comment here and receive a number of entries TBD based on the uniqueness and ambition of your efforts. 

Begins: Monday, January 28th 
Ends: Thursday, February 28th.

A winner will be chosen using Random.org on Friday, March 1st.


That's it! It's completely free to enter, and your efforts will help Darren so much!

Please don't forget about this little boy who is truly living on borrowed time!

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

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Waiting Wednesday ... Times 3!

Welcome, friends! Thanks for coming back to see what's up at TWOB! I have a real treat for you today.

My blog focuses on special-needs boys ... mainly because my own boy has special needs (in fact, both of the children we adopted do), and I want to show the world that boys with special needs are precious, amazing beings who can enrich a family's life so much.

The boys I am sharing with you today do not have any special medical or developmental needs. They are what is referred to in the adoption world as "typical" kids. But they do, in fact, have several special needs. 



First, they are boys. The majority of adoptive families seek girls. Second, they are older. The definition of "older" varies, but generally, once a child (especially a boy) is over 2, that child is considered "older," and older children (especially older boys) wait the longest for a family. And lastly, there are three of them! That's right, a ready-made sibling group of three beautiful boys!

Please meet ...


Vitya

Vova

Misha

Victor (Vitya) is turning 16 this year. He is running out of time for a family. He is a quiet boy who likes sports and watches out for his younger brothers.

Vladimir (Vova) turns 14 this year. Vova is a good student who has good communication skills and takes other people's opinions into account.

Mikhail (Misha) will be 7 this year. He is described as "lively, bold, and very sociable." Misha can make you smile!


These brothers are lucky enough to be living together in the same orphanage. But that may not last long. The boys live in Eastern Europe, and it is not uncommon where they live for children to "graduate" from the orphanage when they turn 16. If this happens to Vitya, he will find himself not only separated from the brothers he loves but also potentially with nowhere to go, nowhere to live, and no means to support himself.

My oldest child is a young adult. We still provide her with the love, care, and support that every young person needs as they launch into their adult life. Sixteen years old is too young to do this on your own. Sixteen year old boys still need mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to love them. Sixteen year old boys, and all boys, need families. No one outgrows the need for a family, ever.

Vitya, Vova, and Misha have three strikes against them. Their time to be adopted together and continue to live as brothers is growing short. Are these boys your boys? Can you share their information in hopes that their family will see it?

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


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wonderful Wilson! (+ How Adoption Transforms Lives)


Today I would like to introduce you to Wilson. Wilson turned 6 years old in November. He is HIV+. Not much is known about Wilson other than that he was cleared for adoption this past summer. But look at those brown eyes! And those sweet, big ears! And his serious expression ... Wilson looks like he has a lot on his mind.

And he would, being a child with a serious medical condition in a country that will turn him out on the streets when he is still a young person. 

I have visited many orphanages. Some were clean and well-run. Some were in disrepair and it was the clear that the children ran wild. We don't know what type of orphanage Wilson lives in. Hopefully he is in a clean facility with people he knows and trusts and who care about him, even if they are only paid employees and not family. Even paid employees can love the children they care for.

But it's still not a family. Nothing takes the place of a family. Visiting orphanages and seeing happy children run and play, excited that they have a visitor, can give you the false impression that all is well. 

But it's just that: a false impression. Young children don't spend a lot of time ruminating on their lives, but even very young children keenly feel the lack of a mother and a father, someone who loves them first and best. Orphanages by day can be loud, action-packed places and the kids can look happy. But orphanages at night are a very different place.

Orphanages at night are places where children cry themselves to sleep. They rock themselves to sleep, sometimes banging their heads rhythmically in an effort to both self-stimulate and self-soothe. Orphanages at night are places where children keenly feel the fact that they are alone in the world, that it is likely that, should they have a nightmare, no one will come to comfort them. No one will bring them a drink of water when they are thirsty. No one will shoo the monsters out from under the bed. Orphanages at night are places of squandered dreams and lost hope.

My son was young, still a preschooler, when he came to us. He lived, when we adopted him, in a relatively small group home run by our adoption agency. He had lived there nearly a year and had experienced love and care while there. Indeed, he was pampered to the point that, when the nannies took clothes for him from the towering wall stacked with shirts, pants, underwear, and socks, my son would sometimes shake his head, rejecting their choices, and point regally to the clothes he desired to wear. My son was not left for hours in dirty diapers, and he was fed a nutritionally adequate diet (this was all in the adoption agency's group home, remember ... the huge institution he lived in before coming to the group home was a completely different environment).

But still ... our son was so insecure, so anxious to be loved, so desperate to be someone's son, that whenever a visitor arrived at the orphanage, my son would run full-speed to that person and cling to them, whining to be picked up. And once he was picked up, he would not get down for anything. He locked his little legs around the person holding him, wrapped his arms around the person's neck, and held on for dear life. If you tried to extricate yourself from his grasp, he would scream, kick, headbutt, pull hair ... anything to keep you from putting him down. His need for human contact and love was so huge that it literally terrified him to be put down and left behind. 

Even to this day, many years later, my son still seeks frequent confirmation of our love for him. The lack of a mom and a dad in his early years has had long-lasting effects.

However, he is a kind, sweet, gentle boy who has a friendly word for everyone and a large well of compassion for animals.

These children's lives are transformed by adoption, transformed by entering a family, transformed by belonging to someone and being that person or family's very own best-loved child.

Every child desires this, and every child deserves this.

Please help Wilson by donating to his (small) adoption grant. Please help Wilson by sharing his photo and information. Wilson's birthday is in November. He could potentially celebrate turning seven in the arms of his loving forever family!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Max

Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of Thankful Thursday!

As always, I will begin with something I am thankful for with regard to my son. I am thankful that, despite the learning challenges that are a lingering reminder of the malnutrition and neglect that he suffered before he came to us, my son works hard at his schoolwork and always has something clever to say about what he's learning. For example, today we were reading about the Assyrians. Although my son kept referring to Hammurabi as an Assyrian (for the record, he was a Babylonian), our reading did remind us of a long-ago Assyrian who is both famous and well-loved in our home (that's right, we have a favorite Mesopotamian!): Ashurbanipal. For those not in the know, Ashurbanipal is credited with establishing the first library. My son announced to me, "When I grow up, if I ever start a library, I'm going to call it the Ashurbanipal Branch Library!" Kudos to my son and his irrepressible spirit. No matter the challenges he has and continues to face, he always bounces back and is ready to plow forward.



Today I would like to introduce you to Max. Max will turn fifteen this year, and is his story is heartbreaking. Max is a smart, attractive boy who is a very good actor. He also has a beautiful singing voice. However, Max has strabismus in one eye and a slight limp (possibly due to a back issue), and he is therefore teased and picked on by the children where he lives.  Other children push him down. Max is very unhappy with his living situation and, when a hosting organization interviewed him, he said, "Please get me out of here. I hate it here."



Every day, Max asks the director of his school whether a family has come for him. He has been eligible for hosting, but no family has ever chosen him.



Max is running out of time. Because he will turn 15 this year, he is close to aging out of the system. Max needs a family!




You can read more about Max here and here. Both were written by people who have met and spent time with Max.



If you are interested in Max, please feel free to send me a message. I can put you in touch with several people who know Max and can tell you more about him. Also, please donate to increase Max's grant fund and share Max's photo and information. Let's find this boy a family!