Thank you to everyone who has supported us! We are currently traveling and not yet fully funded! Our FSP needs to read $22,200. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation, you can do so HERE. Thank you again!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Don't Be Afraid. We Are So Grateful.

We are adopting older boys. The first question we hear almost every time we say that is, "Aren't you afraid?" Don't be afraid. My husband met Barton yesterday. He is amazing. Just an amazing child who is going to have such a wonderful life. He came so close to missing out on a family and we came so close to missing out on him. Our immigration papers were sent in just before he turned 16 and we weren't even planning to adopt him when we did it!

Here is an update from my husband. You might need some tissues. I did. I am so thankful to be married to such a wonderful man and for the chance to have this incredible child for a son.

"I cannot even tell you how surreal today was. I am sitting in my apartment on a street I don't know in a city whose name I cannot even pronounce.  I was so nervous going in to the orphanage I was probably shaking. The children were painting the orphanage as I walked in.  I sat in the office with the facilitator and the director for a few minutes before Barton and his teacher came in. The facilitator asked me if this was the same boy and I said yes.  Then the Dr and social worker walked in and we were off to the races!  I talked to the Dr about his diagnoses and they were the same as we thought.  However, the director then asked Barton a few questions and I almost fell out of my chair when he started to answer. He can speak! I almost started to cry!  We talked about his family history.  I was asked at that time if I wanted to start the paperwork or if I needed more time.  I jumped at the chance.  I was then told that I could visit Barton twice each day that I was in the city including Sunday.  I am spending Easter with my newest son!  It only slightly takes the sting out of missing the rest of my family at home.

Then I was told to take Barton by the hand and take him out to the playground.  For two and a half hours I pushed him on his favorite swing and played ringtones for him to hear.  He loves music but that was all that I had at that moment!   Not soon after my phone died!  But by then I had to leave him and travel to the regional capital to get my forms notarized and buy a toy for Barton. The mall was nice although you have to pay about 20 cents to enter the restrooms.  We got Barton a little monster truck, a soccer ball and some playdoh like substance that is very popular but themed around a version of a Bratz doll.  I am told the other kids will want to share it with him which should make him popular.

We got back to the orphanage about 30 minutes before I was supposed to visit him but I was allowed to see him while the facilitator went over the newly notarized paperwork with the director.  Keep in mind nobody in this orphanage or the entire town understands any English except the word "American."  I walked into his classroom but the teacher was putting up chairs and closing the door.  I said "Barton?" She took me to his dorm room where he was taking a nap.  The teacher quietly called his name and he opened his eyes.  I crouched next to him and said "Prevet Barton". He opened his eyes again, smiled, and hopped right out of bed to get dressed to play.  The teacher only had to fix his socks and his collar.  Did I mention that he was in a suit to play in the playground with me?  I knew I only had a short time with him so I took him to his favorite swing and we played for a while.  Every time the wind blew in his face, or a bird sang, or I touched his shoulder he would smile.  He would smile like this was the greatest day of his life and he did not want it to end.  And it hadn't yet.  Not by a long shot.  The facilitator came out and he played with his monster truck a bit just pushing it back and forth on the wooden edge of the sandbox.  After a few minutes of that the facilitator went to his car to put on his athletic shoes to play soccer with us.  This is when the day went from awesome to once-in-a-lifetime.

The building happens to have a junior size soccer pitch including artificial turf sitting right behind it! Barton and I walked over to it, hand in hand, and began kicking the ball to each other.  His reaction is slow due to the cp and the vision problems, but he could still see the ball moving with his left eye!  As he and I kicked the ball back and forth, a few boys came over to watch us and sat on the sidelines.  Then a few more.  Then a few more.  Three of the older boys came over as well and wanted to kick the new ball a bit.  By the time the facilitator came over 15 minutes later, there were 8 boys watching along with the other three that were nicely kicking the ball to Barton and I!  I doubt Barton had ever interacted with these older boys before, including one boy who asked me my name because he had learned a few English phrases watching TV.  I told him my name and as we were leaving I heard a few boys who had not been playing whispering my name!  Barton had become a very popular boy indeed!

As we were pulling down the pothole-ridden road out of the orphanage(let me tell you that driving down the highway at 100k/hr you need to do the Lightning McQueen serpentine move just to survive) the facilitator turned to me and said "I think this boy will really open up to you.  I am seeing it already.  Much of his conditions seem to be institutionalization.  He was playing soccer for Gods sake when they said he only likes to be alone. He may really open up to you".

As we drove back to my apartment, both before and after my "final exam" where my facilitator sent me in to buy groceries myself, I was left to think about the unlikeliness of us finding this boy.  There are approximately 6 billion people on this planet.  Roughly half are 16 or under.  Roughly half are male.  That makes him one in about 1.5 billion and God led me right to him!

We are all human, but some days the good parts really show through.  By God's grace, today was one of those rare days."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Do you know Phoenix?

I'm sharing another one of the bedridden children from orphanage 50 today. This is Phoenix. Have you ever seen him before? How old would you guess he is?


He is the size of a preschooler, but he is 11. Soon he will be 12. He has almost exactly four years left before he is too old to be adopted. His grant is only $75. He seems so unnoticed but he has so much potential. You can see here how much he likes attention and snuggling. That is HUGE for any child from a laying down room. It is an incredible head start for a family and for him.

You can see his little smile peek out again here when he is repositioned for massage therapy. This is another thing that is so great for both him and a future family. He clearly enjoys his time spent in therapy and it provides physical benefits that these kids need desperately.  In addition, this massage therapist is a consistent, caring figure who these children have very clearly bonded with. These are attachments children need for healthy emotional growth.

I want him to have a family. I want him to have a mama who will sing to him and a papa who will make him shriek with laughter. He deserves a family who will love him just as he is but give him the opportunity to reach his greatest potential. A family who would be honored to have this child as their son. Where are they?

Please share Phoenix. Please donate to his grant to make it easier for a family to come forward. I am so glad that someone noticed him and donated that $75 into his fund. A larger grant will help more people see him. Maybe one of them will be the family meant for him. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I'm doing a shout-out today for two amazing families and a waiting child!

First, the Fahringer family.  I am so glad that I get to be their warrior! This awesome mama chopped off all her hair as a challenge to raise money to bring home their kids. Yep - doing anything she can for these kids. Their papers have been sent out and they are waiting to be submitted.  They still need quite a bit of money, and I would really appreciate any donations for them!

Next, Dell and Kiril's family! I really hope we will get to see Dell and pass on an update to his family about how he is doing! He seems like quite a character from what I have heard about him so far. Both of these boys have been waiting for a long time. Both of these boys need out just as badly even though the family hasn't been announced publicly yet. It can be much harder to fundraise, but they still need support!

Then there is Gene.  Gene turns 16 in August! His grant is over $7500. I love his expression in the photos where he is smiling. He looks so happy! I am hoping we can pass on an update for him also. I know for our family, hearing the experiences of people who had spent time with our boys and seeing photos and videos were crucial for us to make our decisions. The more information a potential family has, the easier it is for them to see a child as their own. So that is what we hope we can provide for the children we meet - our impressions from our brief time with them. With or without that information, each of these children needs a family.  Please consider Gene.  Is he your son?

Lastly, I would like to ask for your thoughts and prayers. Our adoption of Barton will probably be the first from his institution, also home to Dell, Gene and other children. We really want this to be a positive experience for everyone involved. We want everyone to see the powerful possibilities that these children will have in a family. They have potential. They are wanted. We want them to be a part of our family.

We want to make it as easy as possible for families coming after us to adopt. We want to present an opportunity for other children to be listed. We want the staff to be confident that we are there with pure intentions, with love, for Barton's best interest. Most of all, we want to bring Barton home.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


We are beginning the in-country portion of the process and won't be able to make too many detailed updates until we have passed court and are back home.  We do have a lot of very exciting news to share and we can't wait to be able to tell you about it!  Part of that very exciting news affects our funding.  I was planning a big hurrah post to say we were fully funded. (Trust me, this announcement will be WAY better when I post the whole thing!)  Because of this new development though, we will need our FSP to read $22,200. This remaining amount will cover all of our flights back home, so we have until the last minute to make it - but of course I'd rather not have to do that.

Thank you all so much for your support, and I can't wait to share more of our exciting news with you! While I can't blog about all of our process as it happens, I do look forward to talking about other waiting children and families in process in the meantime!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I'm A Family Warrior!

I was so excited when I found out that we had a family warrior that I couldn't wait to pass on that same feeling. I am now the Family Warrior for the Fahringer family! They are adopting two older boys. Yep - older kids. My heart. If you've read my blog before, you know. If you're new here, you'll find pretty quickly that I'm a sucker for the older kids! So here is this family adopting TWO older boys! How awesome!  I am thrilled to have the chance to support them and I hope you all will help me too.

So to get started, they have a $350 matching grant from an anonymous donor. They will receive it when their account reads $4304.24.  They've even upped the stakes. If they meet the grant before the end of the week, the mom is going to chop her long, long hair. This is such a fun challenge! I can't wait to say they have met it!

100 People Changing the World

How many people does it take to change the world? Can one person do it? Can you? Can I? Can 100 people?

Kendall is sitting in her crib.

I am wildly, passionately enthusiastic about the massage therapy Maya's Hope is providing for the bedridden children at Theo and Orion's orphanage. I can tell you about all the wonderful things it is doing for so many kids, including Kendall. I can tell you how it is moving limbs to keep muscle from wasting away and loosening stiff joints to prevent contractures. I can tell you how Kendall is learning to stand and how she clearly has a bond with the massage therapist. I can tell you that the massage therapist is giving recommendations for a higher standard of care throughout the facility. I can even show you these things.

Kendall is getting massage therapy.

But showing you these things and telling you about them doesn't help make them happen. We need to act. We need to make a commitment. 100 people each raising $100 would fund the massage therapy program for an entire year.  It would give these children a chance to continue making improvements that no one ever anticipated. It would provide a consistent, caring relationship to children for whom those bonds of attachment are crucial for healthy emotional development. This is life-changing, world-changing for these children.

Kendall is practicing standing!

Maya Rowencak of Maya's Hope has done the hard work here, in conjunction with her in-country partners. She has found good people with a reputation for transparency and ethical behavior. They have found a therapist willing to work in an extremely remote location who clearly cares for the children. I couldn't have done that. I can do other things though. I can support this work financially. I can find other people who will too. So that's why I'm here.

 A little bit of fun...

I am willing to fight for these kids to receive therapy that is changing their lives. I am willing to be one of 100 people raising $100 by June 1st.  How about you? Go to this link to donate. Share it with other people. Tell them how YOU are changing the world for Kendall and her friends.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Final Fundraising!

Orion is so good at posing for pictures!

We have an amazing $300 matching grant that we have until Friday to meet! Our FSP needs to read $16033. This is our very last little bit that we need to raise and we travel in less than two weeks! Our FSP needs to read $16385 now to be funded, so this would put us inches away. Yay! You can donate to our page HERE to help us meet this grant. If anyone wants to be a part of a great group that helps put together matching grants for older kids, I can put you in touch with some people doing wonderful things.

Theo is sitting with another boy who has a family coming! I hope they will get to see each other again once they are here!

We had a spaghetti dinner at our local church that raised $625! It was so amazing to see support and hear kind words from so many people. We haven't lived in this town for very long, so it is extra special to us to see people offer to help us. Everyone is so excited to meet the boys they have heard so much about. People also recognize some of the challenges we will all have adjusting and are sensitive to those needs, especially in the attachment area. I am floored. Just awesome, incredible stuff. Miracle stuff.  We are so thankful to have found such a great community!

I've been imagining how much Barton will love to spend time listening to frogs and birds and rustling leaves in the field behind our house.

We have a few fundraisers left. We have orders open on our outline shirts for four more days. If we get 14 more orders, we will print even if we don't meet the 50 they require.  Kids and adults t-shirts, plus long sleeves and hooded sweatshirts. These are so comfortable. I love wearing my shirt!

We also have a handful of Superman shirts left. We sold some at our spaghetti dinner so I need to recount and post what we have! If you are looking for a particular size or color let me know and I can check. (NOW UPDATED! Check it out HERE!)

Evan is still on my mind. His grant is so close to making it over the $2500 hump. A family wanting to add him to an adoption from the same orphanage would need $5000 or $7500 within the same region. He has a tremendous amount of potential. More of it is wasted every day he spends in that crib. He has been listed for YEARS. For some of that time his profile was mixed up with Theo that we are adopting.  When we inquired about Theo, no one had ever asked about either boy. I hate that he has spent years waiting in a crib in a bedridden ward when he could be going to school, to the zoo, to the park.

Gene is also still waiting for a family to step forward.  He shines in the photos where he is interacting with people.  His grant is over $7500, covering the cost for a family adopting from the same region to add him. He has until August for a family to turn in immigration paperwork. There is plenty of time to get a homestudy done before then. If a family moved fast enough, they might even be able to have their whole dossier submitted before then. Let's use this time to find his family instead of needing to wait until those weeks right before his birthday!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Gene Has A Matching Grant!

I am happy to announce that Gene has a matching grant that will move him up to the next tier on the "moving mountains" large grant page at Reece's Rainbow.  He will receive a grant of $125 when his account reads $7469.

Please donate to help increase his visibility! The larger grants help more people see him and they also make it easier for interested families to commit right away.  Once he meets this goal, his grant would cover the costs for a family adopting from his region to add him to their adoption! I am so proud of the way so many people worked together to help beautiful Salome and her family find each other.  I KNOW we can do this for Gene too! I want his family to find him before he turns 16 in August!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

21 Days of Hope Wrap-up

One of the things I regret not having time to post about more was the 21 Days of Hope campaign at Reece's Rainbow. 23 children received $2100 grants! Three of the last children were Evan, Gene and Velia.

I've already told you guys about Evan. He is such an amazing, sweet boy who is so special to us. Making the top 21 was INCREDIBLE for a child who had been listed for years with a grant of less than $100. His grant is all the way up to $2187 and so many more people know about him now! 

Next was Gene. I have signed up to be Gene's Prayer Warrior! He is one of the boys who was transferred with Barton that we hope we will get a chance to see. Gene turns 16 in August. Yep, another older child close to my heart. Some people are suckers for the babies, but these amazing kids who have waited so long have my heart. It is great that there are people who love all the babies though, because the more kids adopted when they are little, the fewer who end up still waiting for families as they are on the verge of aging out. I would love it if there were no more of these heart wrenching battles to raise money and awareness as children approach their 16th birthday. Hopefully this grant will help him find his family. His grant is now $7344!

And then there was Velia. Velia's profile pictures don't show how beautiful she truly is. She is also currently at the same place as Theo and Orion. I believe I've heard she is learning to walk with a walker. She is much happier when she is out of her crib. She even interacts with some of the other children! Her grant is now $4386!

I am so happy for all the children who were given the extra exposure and grants to make it easier for a family to adopt them!

Appointment Date!

We are very excited to announce that we have our appointment date! We will get our first referral on April 15th! We don't know yet if it will be for Theo and Orion or if it will be for Barton. The appointment for whoever we will meet second is typically about a week later.

Orion is doing puzzles. Such a clever boy!

It's pretty funny that I carried my phone around with me for ages so that I would be ready, and when I finally got the call I had to duck out of a meeting to answer.

Barton with his buddy Dell! He has a family coming too!

Our appointment is a couple weeks later than we had first anticipated, but only 8 weeks from when we were submitted. I am still running around like my hair is on fire, which is why my updates have slowed down! I won't post pictures of my to-do lists, because that would just be embarrassing. I do plan on sharing a video of the monstrosity of fundraising materials that have taken over our dining room table! That's only regular, run of the mill embarrassing.
Theo is sitting here, but he was all the way up on his knees a little while later. So exciting!

Now that we have a travel date, I am even more eager to get our fundraising finished up. We only need $1321 to meet our matching grant and be fully funded!

We have 13 days left to order our Outline shirts. You can get youth and adult t-shirts, plus long sleeve shirts and hoodies! We have 10 orders right now. I will guarantee that these will print if we get at least 15 more. I love wearing mine so that I can talk to people about what is happening there right now. Go order one! Or two!

We also have quite a few of our Superman shirts left. These are $20 each, donated to our FSP HERE and then email me your address and receipt to so I can ship! We have the following sizes and colors ready to ship as of the time I am posting this:

Sapphire:      Adult:    L - 1,    XL - 1        
                    Youth:   S - 2, M - 1, L - 1, XL - 1

Red:             Adult:     S - 1, L - 2, XL - 2
                    Youth:    XS - 1, S - 2, M - 2, L - 2, XL - 1

Royal Blue:   Adult:   S - 1, M - 1, L - 2, XL - 1
                    Youth:  XS - 2, S - 3, M - 2, L - 1

I'm hoping to add a couple more posts in quick succession here. I've started a few but haven't had time to finish and post them.  Sorry if I end up flooding anyone's feed, and also sorry if I don't have time to finish them all today like I planned. I wish daylight savings time had actually added an hour to the day instead of just changing the clocks!